Fresh on Shout Select: ‘MATINEE’ reminds you to pay full price for this forgotten gem

James Cole Clay // Film Critic

MATINEE

Rated PG, 98 minutes.
Director: Joe Dante
Cast: John Goodman, Cathy MoriartySimon FentonOmri KatzLisa JakubKellie Martin and Dick Miller
Available today on Blu-ray through Shout! Factory’s website or at Movie Trading Co.

Before the Shout Select series released the 1993 under-seen gem MATINEE, I had only heard of it in passing, and frankly, I didn’t know what it was about. Turns out, director Joe Dante (GREMLINS, THE BURBS) made a passionate coming-of-age film that’s a love letter to the art of cinema and B-horror films. Filled with laughs and everlasting charm, MATINEE is by far a must-own for any film fan or collector.

Dante sets the film in Key West, Florida, during the Cuban missile crisis. The town is literally fearing for their lives. In an interview on the Blu-ray, Dante said, “People forget how scary each day was during that time. We didn’t know if Monday would come. I wanted to capture that atmosphere.” — It’s not until B-movie director and showman Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman), with his SHOCKING AND TERRIFYING film MANT! (part man, part ant), does it send the town’s conservative ideals into turmoil.

Goodman is used sparingly in the film, but his presence is felt throughout. Along with his loyal leading lady and girlfriend, Ruth (Cathy Moriarty), they bring the traveling spectacle to Key West, complete with electric-shocking seats and theater-rumbling “Atomo-Vision” (whatever that may mean).

MATINEE is one of the most fun films I’ve discovered at home in some time. Dante is a filmmaker that isn’t lauded enough these days, and this film is a testament to his love for cinema.

Special Feature Highlights: Packed full of hours of features, this Blu-ray has everything you want to know about the film and much, much more. This includes behind-the-scenes footage and new-and-retro interviews.

Master of the Matinee – an interview with Dante – During this 20-minute NEW interview, Dante recounts the story about how MATINEE was made. This guy is an encyclopedia of stories and film knowledge.

The Leaded Lady – an interview with Moriarty – The leading lady and screen legend talks about working alongside Goodman and their on-screen chemistry.

Out of the Bunker – an Interview with Lisa Jakub – Star of MATINEE and MRS. DOUBTFIRE makes a rare appearance in this exclusive interview as she discusses her favorite VHS tapes as a kid, as well as her work with Dante.

The Monster Mix – an Interview with editor Marshall Harvey – For serious film geeks, Harvey discusses the difficulty of crafting the complicated third act of MATINEE.

Grade: A

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