Kinda cheap-looking and with a quasi-indie, ‘who gives a shit if we ever make any money’ attitude that Miramax and The Blair Witch Project have all but wiped from the face of studio filmmaking, 1984’s Repo Man reminds us that once, not so long ago, weird-ass movies were not verboten in Hollywood. Deadpan humor, throwaway visual jokes, and oblique political and social satire may have doomed this way-cool flick to the neverland of sci-fi cultdom, but it has good company there, like its similarly themed contemporaries The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and the TV series Max Headroom.
Funnier and more touching and meaningful than its predecessor, Toy Story 2 is the rare sequel that improves upon its progenitor — and, considering how wondrous Toy Story was, that’s saying something. Toy Story — as funny and fun as it was — was also bursting with joy, with the delight the filmmakers obviously took in bringing a roomful of toys to life. Toy Story realized that secret childhood fantasy we all had, that our toys had lives of their own, that they played with one another when we weren’t around.
Maybe it’s an indication of some slight social progress, or just a marker of how fine a film this is, that In the Heat of the Night also works as a crime-fighting story in a tradition as old as the Sherlock Holmes tales and as new as The X-Files.
Tom Stoppard, I’ll grant you, is infinitely more clever and more talented than your run-of-the-mill fan-fiction writer. But he’s doing exactly the same thing as those hordes of writers who have continued and expanded upon the adventures of the crew of the Enterprise, the owner of the TARDIS, those two FBI agents down in the basement, and the fictional denizens of a zillion other cultish TV shows.