Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Twister (1996)

Directed by Jan de Bont (1)

Cast: Helen Hunt (2), Bill Paxton (3), Jami Gertz (4), Cary Elwes (5), Philip Seymour Hoffman (6), and Alexa Vega (7)

My favourite quotes – Stop living in the past, and look at what you got right in front of you.

With Hurricane Sandy on its way to the East Coast, I just had to watch Twister again. Yes, I know that a hurricane is NOT a tornado. But I don’t know why, I just felt compelled to watch Twister with Hurricane Sandy being all over the news.

I also realised something. I was supposed to be in New York City right about now. If not for the fact that I had to cancel the leave that my supervisor had already approved because of the new project I was tasked to handle at work, right now, I would have been stuck in New York City, all alone, and unsure as to what to do, where to stay and how to rush back to Singapore for my project. So to the powers that be that made me miss Hurricane Sandy, thank you so very much.

What got me all started on this twister-mode was this article in The Philly Post written by Joel Mathis titled 'Hurricanes Are Scarier Than Tornadoes' and here's an excerpt that I really liked:

"Here’s the thing about tornadoes: They’re here, and then they’re gone. Yes, they can do a tremendous amount of damage—just look at what one did to Joplin, Mo. last year. But they come and they go in a matter of minutes, and even if you happen to see one, that doesn’t mean it’s going to get you: It might slide on by while you watch. This is why you have TV shows and movies about tornado chasers.
Hurricanes, on the other hand, are like the movie Session 9, which builds up dread for most of two hours before finally unleashing its horror. We’ve spent most of a week watching this storm head our way, and honestly: The anticipation has me all wound up
What’s more: We’re not going to just watch Sandy roll by without any harm to ourselves: If you can see the hurricane, you’re in the middle of it, and it’s already too late to escape. All you can do is hunker down and hope to ride it out."

Now about the film Twister – I love it to bits! I watch it over and over again. In fact, I've watched it so many times I can actually remember the dialogue and the lines without even putting the DVD or Blu Ray into the player. Yes, I have the DVD and the Blu Ray of this film. That’s how much I love this film. I find it pretty amazing how Twister managed to pull off action-packed scenes, science facts, dramatic tension, comedy, and even a little romance in just over 100 minutes. It wasn't a crappy or sloppy job, and it even had a really great cast!

I am weird. The logical and sane part of me never wants to be in a situation where I would encounter a natural disaster. However, the curious and adventurous part of me wants to one day be strung up to a pipe, being swept off my feet, and smack in the middle of the eye of a twister. Yup I’m nuts. Anyway, logic usually wins, so I’m safe from my crazy self for now.

Is it crazy to want to chase storms? Let’s put it this way, if everyone ran from what they didn’t understand or was afraid of, mankind would not have ventured very far from our caves or discovered fire, electricity and a whole lot of other stuff. Maybe it is because I think like this that I enjoy the film so much. Although I cannot actually chase these storms myself, I can live vicariously through them and watch them chase twisters. Yes, the film probably takes a lot of liberties with the truth and the actual science, but I still like it okay.

The film makes me both fear the wrath of a tornado yet still makes me curious about what they are really like. It's scary, and I still jump during scenes when things starts crashing into cars and houses and killing people, but still it draws me in. Now that is why I think Twister an awesome film.

At the heart of it all, it’s a film about passion. These storm chasers have to love the thrill, the danger, and the science of it all to be able to do a job like theirs. Once a chaser, always a chaser. Look at Bill Paxton’s character Bill Harding, at the end of the movie, he got sucked back into the world of tornadoes. Truth be told, I love the action of the film, but also, I think the two leads Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton had something to do with why I liked the film. I loved how the dynamics of their onscreen relationship was so in sync with each storm they encounter in the film.

Bill: Jo. Things go wrong. You can't explain it, you can't predict it. Killing yourself won’t bring your dad back. I'm sorry that he died, but that was a long time ago. You gotta move on. Stop living in the past, and look at what you got right in front of you.
Jo: What are you talking about?
Bill: Me, Jo.

I like this scene the most in terms of the relationship between Jo and Bill, I think it’s because it has my favourite line in the film. Sometimes we examine the past so closely that we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, or look forwards instead of backwards. I am like Jo; while I don’t live in the past any longer I am still a very retrospective person. I think back a lot. But I think what happened in your past shapes the person you are today, which in turn determines what kind of person you want to be in the future. So I constantly remind myself to stop thinking and reflecting about the past, and look at what I have in front of me.

Something this film also reminds me of is that whatever material goods we have are fragile and can be destroyed in a blink of an eye. But the most important thing in our lives should be our family and our friends. Who we love and care about is more important than any material item we can own. We can rebuild a house, or buy a new car, but we cannot replace a loved one and no matter what you do, you’ll never get that person back again. Live for the moment, hope for the future, that’s the best any of us can do.

On a side note, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jami Gertz were awesome supporting actors in this film. Their lines made me laugh out loud so hard. I guess it helped that Jami’s character Melissa is a sex therapist.

(1) Jan de Bont has also directed films like Speed (1994), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

(2) Helen Hunt has also acted in films like The Frog Prince (1988), As Good As It Gets (1997), What Women Want (2000), Pay It Forward (2000), Cast Away (2000), A Good Woman (2004), Bobby (2006), Soul Surfer (2011), and The Sessions (2012). She is also known for playing Jamie Stemple Buchman in the television series Mad About You (1992-1999).

(3) Bill Paxton has also acted in films like Weird Science (1985), Aliens (1986), Predator 2 (1990), True Lies (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), The Evening Star (1996), Titanic (1997), A Simple Plan (1998), Mighty Joe Young (1998), Vertical Limit (2000), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002), Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003), Haven (2004), Thunderbirds (2004), The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005), The Good Life (2007), and Haywire (2011). He is also known for playing Bill Henrickson in the television series Big Love (2006-2011).

(4) Jami Gertz has also acted the film Jersey Girl (1992) and she is now playing Debbie Weaver in the new television series The Neighbors (2012)

(5) Cary Elwes has also acted in films like The Princess Bride (1987), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), The Jungle Book (1994), Liar Liar (1997), Saw (2004), Ella Enchanted (2004), Georgia Rule (2007), Saw 3D (2010), No Strings Attached (2011), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), and New Year’s Eve (2011).

(6) Philip Seymour Hoffman has also acted in films like Scent of a Woman (1992), When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), The Big Lebowski (1998), Patch Adams (1998), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Almost Famous (2000), Red Dragon (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), Along Came Polly (2004), Capote (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006), The Savages (2007), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Doubt (2008), The Boat That Rocked (2009), Moneyball (2011), The Ides of Marc (2011), and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).

(7) Alexa Vega has also acted in films like Spy Kids (2001), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002), Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003), From Prada to Nada (2011), Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), and Machete Kills (2013).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Twister will give you plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat, but don’t let the action, fancy tornadoes, science, and comedy distract you from the core of the film. Love what you do fiercely and persevere. Love your family and friends because you never know when you might lose them. And love like you’ve never been hurt before. (4.8 of 5)

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PS: I hope Hurricane Sandy doesn't do too much damage. Friends on the East Coast, stay safe!

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