'There's a man on the wing!'
TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie, starring Dan Aykroyd, Vic Morrow, Albert Brooks, John Larroquette, Scatman Crothers, John Lithgow and many others. Written by Rod Sterling and John Landis. Individual directors are Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller.
THE PLOT: The movie is broken into four segments -- each its own horror/sci-fi story with its own director and cast. Segment one: A bigoted businessman (Morrow) gets the tables turned on him in truly mind-bending ways. Segment two: Scatman Crothers pulls a "Cocoon" at an old-folks home (please tell me this wasn't filmed here in St. Pete). Segment three: A 10-year-old boy's evil imagination comes to life. Segment four: John Lithgow takes a plane ride he won't soon forget.
MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: A helicopter accident during filming claimed the lives of Vic Morrow and two child-actors. Lawsuits followed for a decade after the tragedy.
SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: John Lithgow's segment gives me nightmares every time I fly. That damn gremlin on the wing, tearing the engine apart -- chilling stuff. Lithgow's acting in this movie surpasses anything else in his career. And when the gremlin wags his finger at him and flies away, I can finally start breathing again.
THE TUNES: Very little to remember here other than "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendix during the Vietnam scene and "The Midnight Special" by Creedence Clearwater Revival during the opening and closing scenes.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: Our favorite critic, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave individual reviews for each segment. He panned Spielberg's "Kick The Can" piece ("so convoluted and shadowy that the action is hard to follow...") but loved Miller's direction of Lithgow.
WHY WE LOVE IT ANYWAY: It's the little details. The reference to "Animal House" in the Vietnam segment. The cameos by Akyroyd and Brooks. And that dreaded gremlin the wing.
TOP 5 LINES FROM TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE
5. "Th-th-th-that's all, Ethel!"
4. "It's not fair! You're supposed to be happy when your wishes come true!"
3. "There's a man on the wing of this airplane!"
2. "I told you guys we shouldn't have shot Lieutenant Niedermeyer!"
1. "Hey... you wanna see something really scary?"