The Mean Season

The Mean Season (1985) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Tuna's comments in white: 

The Mean Season (1985) can be thought of as All the Presidents Men meets Son of Sam. Miami newspaper reporter  Malcolm Anderson (Kurt Russell) becomes the sole point of contact for a crazed serial killer. After a while, there is some doubt about who is using whom. The title refers to the fact that hurricane season (The Mean Season) has started. 

I think that it is a watchable thriller, with strong performances by Russell and also by Richard Jordan as the bad guy. The film starts strongly, but soon becomes rather boring and unbelievable.

NUDITY REPORT

Mariel Hemingway as Russell's girlfriend shows her breasts in a shower scene
Scoopy's comments in yellow:

SPOILERS

Oh, I guess it's OK. I agree with everyone else. Mediocre, but watchable. It's slick enough in a lot of ways. I thought the photography was splendid, and there were some solid background performances by Joey Pantoliano, Richard Masur and Andy Garcia, but the film just has so many weaknesses:

1. The killer comes back from the dead, ala Jason. (In effect. It's not a supernatural thing. He faked his death.)

2. Mariel Hemingway sits on the couch and screams while her beloved Russell is engaged in a fistfight with the killer. Get real. Mariel is bigger  than either of them. Russell is a jock, but Mariel has some pipes on her, and could probably take Jordan in a fair fight! But even if she was a little dainty type, would she just sit there and wait for a result? Get real.

3. That final fist fight is hilarious when viewed correctly. It takes place in a darkened room with lightning and thunder outside. The director shows us close-ups of the gun, which is currently not in the possession of either man. We hear a loud noise. Gunfire? Nope. Thunder. Lightning bolt - the room is lit briefly, Jordan is winning. More darkness. More lightning - the room is lit again- Russell is winning. That goes on for a while, as they struggle in the dark, with Mariel screaming and watching passively. Then we see a hand holding a gun, but whose hand? Lightning? No, gunfire this time. Lightning lights the face of the man who is not shot - will it be Russell or Jordan? You get the idea.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • good transfer, but no meaningful features

4. I like Mariel Hemingway in some ways, but she is not exactly Meryl Streep in the deep emotion category. 

5. When Russell realized that the killer was stalking him and his teacher girlfriend, why didn't they move to a hotel or some other kind of anonymous location under police protection? They just sat around waiting for Mr Psychotic to nab her.

6. I agree with Tuna that the first half of the film, in fact the entire film until the killer kidnaps Mariel, was respectable. Then they simply didn't know how to get out of the film, so they ended up with a morass of clich├ęs in the resolution stage. 

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 2.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.2
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna and Scoopy agree that it is a C. Watchable and pretty slick, but uninspired and familiar, with a trite resolution.

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