Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Into the Light)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Lou Diamond Phillips

We’re back with another episode of everyone’s third (okay fine, fourth) favorite version of this series!  The lack of impact behind some of these episodes has been a major stumbling block as very few of them seem to resonate as well as even the middling episodes of the original series, but I think they might have swung too hard in the other direction with this one in what seems to be a less than ideal way to redress the issue.  Is this a case of a good idea with a few sour notes in it, or are we sailing right past that into the realm of really bad taste?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a very dingy looking high school classroom (the windows are really tiny, way high up, and I’m pretty sure they have steel bars on them) where a bunch of disinterested looking teenagers are taking a written test on Romeo and Juliet.  One kid named Ben just turns in a blank sheet of paper which is pretty bad considering it’s worth a third of his grade, and when the teacher picks up the test of an unnamed kid, she reads aloud “Romeo and Juliet killed themselves because they were asshats”.  Now if that was the ONLY sentence perhaps I’d be as dejected as the teacher feels, but frankly, I’ve heard worse opening arguments for a critical analysis of a creative work; just look at this site for examples of that!  Anyway, the teacher in question is Rachel Stark (Samantha Mathis who played Princess Daisy in the Super Mario Bros movie) who’s had just about enough of this nonsense and is planning on quitting her job next week but sadly she’s in an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE which means those plans are going to get derailed.  This is another example of an episode that LIBERALLY lifts from an episode of the original series, but I’ll give them credit because the premise is much more malleable and can fit into all sorts of interesting contexts.  The episode in question is The Purple Testament where a GI in the Pacific theater started seeing a glow across the faces of men who were going to die soon, and this episode follows the same basic idea; she sees a screaming man on the bus light up like he’s about to tell a ghost story, and then he drops dead of a heart attack then and there.  Aside from the fact that she just saws someone die right in front of her, this revelation has put her on edge a bit as she saw a similar light on the face of one of her students who was riding a skateboard.  Her boyfriend the school gym coach (Reed Diamond) thinks it’s some sort of latent guilt she’s feeling for planning to quit her job and essentially giving up on the kids, but when she learns the next morning that the skateboarder had died… well, it seems like there’s more at stake than an unfulfilled work life.

TTZ28-1
“Oh my gosh, what happened!?”     He was trying to grind the rail right next to Dead Man’s Gulch.”     “And?”     “A mugger ran up and stabbed him.”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Into the Light)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Rewind)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Kevin Bray

The episode follows Jonah Beach (Eddie Kaye Thomas who played Finch in the American Pie films and the titular Freddy in Freddy Got Fingered); an obsessive gambler who may have a decent amount of skill but squanders it on his single minded pursuit of “beating the house” which in this case means beating this dude named Trevor (Ben Bass) who owns the place.  Jonah’s girlfriend April (Marisa Coughlan who was… also in Freddy Got Fingered oddly enough) works as a waitress at the casino where he spends most of his time and is either overwhelmingly empathetic to his plight or completely in denial of his gambling problem.  They have a nest egg set up for a restaurant in Florida which Jonah wants to raid for one last chance at the card table and thankfully April tells him no which is certainly the RIGHT decision but puts poor Jonah in a funk as he leaves the casino with nothing more than three bucks to his name.  A homeless with a mysterious shopping cart challenges him to a coin toss for the three bucks in his pocket, and after Jonah wins the toss he’s gracious enough to give the man the three bucks anyway.  See?  He’s not such a bad guy even if he WAS in a Tom Green movie!  The homeless man is so moved by Jonah’s generosity that he pulls a tape recorder out from his cart and gives him to him as a gift which Jonah ruefully accepts as the alternative could possibly upset the guy.  He starts fiddling with the thing at the bus stop, and wouldn’t you know it; the darn thing is MAGIC!

TTZ27-1
“Oh crap, this thing is covered in LSD isn’t it?”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Rewind)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Another Life)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Risa Bramon Garcia

I’ll admit that when I first saw this episode ALL those years ago, I didn’t get it.  It wasn’t like Tagged (an episode we’ll get to soon enough) which covered similar ground but ACTUALLY HAD a supernatural twist to it; from what I remember it was just a dude having flashbacks which feels a bit low key for a TWILIGHT ZONE episode.  Thinking back on it as I sit here ready to rewatch this story after so long, I may have been too naïve or ignorant to really understand what we was really going on under the hood, so let’s take a look with fresh eyes and see if there’s something to learn from all of this!  Is this a classic episode that just failed to connect with me, or will I learn that I was right to be nonplussed by it all along?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Marvin Gardens (Wood Harris who’s been in a lot of stuff recently including Dredd, Ant-Man, and the show Empire) who is out on his morning jog when police sirens start to blare behind him.  Nervously, he starts to turn around and even begins to put his hands up… but the patrol car just speeds by him.  We find out that Marvin is a successful rapper living out his dreams after escaping a life of poverty.  He’s got a great and supportive wife (Kimberly Elise), a loving son who he’s a great father too, and he’s even working on an album that will make him even richer than he already is now!  Everything is looking great for Marvin… except that he keeps having these hallucinations of a police interrogation where he was beaten mercilessly and told to confess to a crime he didn’t commit and being called Dwayne; a name he doesn’t recognize.  Now already, this has got some great ideas that are being conveyed with nuance even if the performances and the LAVISH RAPPER LIFESTYLE comes off a bit cheesy.  It appears that Marvin has some past trauma with the police that’s left him with some serious scars which are now manifesting as full on delusions despite the fact that he escaped from all that and he has everything he could ever want.  Well maybe another controller for his son’s Nintendo GameCube, but other than that…

TTZ26-1
“Hey can I have a turn?”     “No!”     “Well what about two player mode?”     “MOM!  DAD’S BEING MEAN!”     “Hey!  I’m the one who bought this for you!”     “AND HE’S SWEARING!!”     “Fine!  I can take a hint!”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Another Life)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (The Path)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Jerry Levine

This series claims to have two remakes of classic Twilight Zone episodes which we’ll get to soon enough, but I’m calling bull pucky on that because this episode we’re discussing today is ABSOLUTELY based on one of the classics from that original series.  Now that’s not necessarily a BAD thing as the whole reason this show exists is because of how good the original series was, and using some of those ideas in a modern context can certainly produce some interesting results!  Heck, the Jordan Peele version of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet was a BRILLIANT reworking of the fear and paranoia that was the true essence of that original episode even WITHOUT the creepy (and yet somehow adorable) gremlin dude!  Is this a similarly great remix of a classic episode, or is this a worse cover than Limp Bizkit’s version of Faith?  Let’s find out!!

The episode follows Ali (Linda Cardellini); a writer for a lousy knock off Enquirer rag where she writes stories about dying celebrities or hobbits living in Jersey, and while it’s certainly fun to write about that kind of nonsense it’s not the most noble or fulfilling career you could have as a writer.  While getting her caffeine fix at a local coffee shop, she overhears a man giving a woman advice regarding “her path” and some vague platitudes on how she should follow it.  Her interest piqued, Ali goes over to meet the man named Kanayo (played here by Method Man) and finds out that an opportunity awaits her, but she must seek it out first.  Sounds like your standard Cold Reading nonsense, but she goes back to the office and decides to call about a resume she submitted and as it turns out they were having trouble reaching her!  Her coworker and best friend Seth (Colin Cunningham of Falling Skies fame) thinks it’s all a big coincidence, but Ali is not so sure and she goes back to Kanayo several times hoping to get more advice and perhaps find the clearest way to follower her “path”.  Now if you’re ever seen more than a handful of episodes of the original Twilight Zone, this should all sound very familiar as it’s more or less a remake of the Nick of Time; a story where William Shatner and Patricia Breslin have to contend with a fortune telling napkin holder that seems to accurately predict the future.  Now the thing is, the more I think about this episode the closer I think it gets to working… without ever actually getting there.  It’s SO close and it has a few ideas that work for an update to this story, but where Nick of Time was tight and well thought out, this one fumbles with its weighty topics and never finds the right balance.

TTZ25-1
“You’ll be in a few Avengers movies.”     “That’s good!”     “But only playing Hawkeye’s wife.”     “Oh, that’s bad.”     “But you’ll be in A Simple Favor!”     “That’s good!”     “After being in both Daddy’s Home movies and before starring in The Curse of La Llorona.”     “I don’t like this game anymore.”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (The Path)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Fair Warning)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by John Kretchmer

It has certainly been a while, but we are BACK with another episode of everyone’s least favorite Twilight Zone series!  Considering that I’m somehow spending even MORE time cooped up inside, it seemed like the perfect time to stop procrastinating on this series and give you the details you’ve been waiting for on a show that hasn’t been on the air for over fifteen years!  Is this a fantastic episode to return to, or were we all better off leaving this series in the dustbin of history?  Let’s find out!!

Our story begins with Tina Bishop (Taryn Manning who was one of Britney Spears’s best friend in Crossroads a year prior to this and would later go on to portray Tiffany in Orange is the New Black) who’s the owner of a humble little flower shop that she runs with her friend Gwen (Kandyse McClure) and she spends her evenings with her boyfriend Ryan (Preston Cook) who looks like the drummer in a Papa Roach cover band, but seems to be a decent guy otherwise.  Someone who DOESN’T seem to be a decent guy however is her next customer; some dude in a blue shirt with George on his nametag and MURDER in his eyes!  Creepy George then begins to relay a timeless story of love at true sight between a man and a woman at a laundromat where the saintly princess bequeathed a cup of detergent to the lowly white knight, and it was then that George knew that she was THE ONE!  The one he will love, and the one he has to protect… from himself.  He begs Tina to stop him from killing here which I don’t know about you but seems like a particularly BRIGHT red flag, and so Tina runs to the phone to call the cops… but when she looks up, George has disappeared!

TTZ24-1
“No, no!  Not me!  I’m just here to do the spooky intro.”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Fair Warning)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Gabe’s Story)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Allan Kroeker

The episode begins with the titular Gabe (Christopher Titus who I’ve talked about in the past) smashing his car into someone else’s by accident; someone by the way who doesn’t even seem too perturbed by it which is a little odd.  His driver’s side door is half caved in and yet rather than get yell at Gabe or get his insurance information, he makes a half-hearted crack at his driving skills before calling him a loser.  Seems a bit low key considering the damage inflicted which I would certainly call a silver lining, but then Gabe is one of those perpetually miserable dudes who attributes everything to his all-encompassing belief in his own bad luck.  Well that and his lousy boss who’s keeping him down at work.  Gabe is basically the embodiment of lower white working class angst which is a topic Sir Titus is quite familiar with as he jumps right into a stand up routine while explaining to his wife (Stefanie von Pfetten) why he didn’t get the promotion due to his lack of butt kissing skills.  He goes outside to nurse his ego as well as the big lump on his head which he got in the car crash when he notices some guy in an orange jumpsuit (Kelly Perine) in the backyard killing his grass.  When confronted, the guy just oddly says that Gabe shouldn’t even be able to see him and that he should pretend this is ALL some big hallucination before turning tail and running off while Gabe just stands there; gawking at the absolute gall of this guy to just kill his grass and say IGNORE ME.  I wish I got to see the inner workings of the universe whenever I bumped my head.

TTZ23-1
“Darn crabgrass.  I should have listened to Philip K Dick when I had the chance…”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Gabe’s Story)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Last Lap)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Brad Turner

We’re back with another episode of The Half-Remembered Zone and this is one that I remember quite a bit; particularly the ending which… I don’t remember liking all that much?  It’s an interesting episode to be sure, but I mostly remember it feeling like some sort of PSA about dealing with loss rather than something I could genuinely connect with.  Then again, I watched these episodes when I was a foolish teenager and now that I’m a foolish man I might have a slightly different perspective on it.  Has this episode aged like a fine wine, or am I about to chug a gallon of fifteen year old milk that didn’t go down too smooth the first time around?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with two friends Andy and Marco (Clifton Collins Jr and Greg Serano); the former with a terminal illness and the other trying to show him a good time by driving fast and reliving old memories.  It’s not doing much to stave off the constant coughing and the fear of death, but I do think the dynamic here is very strong between the two.  Marco is definitely cheery in that way that people get when they want to help someone forget about what’s wrong and () is brutally honest about how scared his of dying at such a young age.  We find out that this car Marco is driving was built by Andy and that it’s going to be in a big race in just a week’s time that Andy is afraid he won’t get to see, but as luck would have it while they’re cruising on this rainy night, they find that the track has already been set up and that no one else is there.  At first Marco is hesitant to do this and thinks that Andy should get to a hospital, but Andy is adamant that they take one LAST LAP together and so Marco drives the course.  What neither of the realized is that driving ridiculously high speeds on a track on a rainy night is PROBABLY not the best idea and so they end up crashing the car.  Andy wakes up in ambulance seemingly no worse for wear despite the whole cancer thing, but Marco… well he didn’t make it.  Well sucks to be him I guess, but somehow (I’m guessing THE TWILIGHT ZONE did it), Andy no longer seems to be terminal.  In fact, he’s basically back to his old self which is a detail I DEFINITELY don’t remember from the first time I saw it and on top of that the race track completely disappeared when Andy goes to visit it the next morning which I don’t remember either.

TTZ22-1
“This is not my beautiful racetrack!  This is not my terminal illness!  HOW DID I GET HERE!?”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Last Lap)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Future Trade)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Directed by Bob Balaban

We’re back with another episode of Now That’s What I Call Twilight Zone!  You’re much more digestible and mainstream version of something good that you’ll forget about a heck of a lot faster!  Then again, we might just have a standout episode here if you can believe it as we’re talking about that one particular bug bear of internet sad boys; TOXIC MASCULINITY AND ENTITLEMENT!!  Yes, even back in 2002 the world thought you were all a bunch of losers.  ANYWAY!  Does this episode take full advantage of its premise to deliver an interesting take on the subject, or will it refuse to take off the kid gloves and give these ridiculous fools a pass for their behavior?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Martin (Frank Whaley) being annoyed by the most obnoxious and stereotypical hell beast of a bad wife who is literally screaming at him for being a loser and to feed the kids.  It’s like something right out of an MRA handbook as the only thing we get to see is the haggard man while the wife and kids are just voices in the distance with no discernable personality besides spite and venom.  Oh, it gets even worse from there!  The guy goes to work at a hardware store and his boss a total control freak who feels the need to tear him down for coming three minutes late for work and then when he tries to strike up a “friendly conversation” with a female coworker, she just walks away after an awkward silence.  Seriously, give this guy six months and he’ll be found dead in an alley with clown makeup and balloon animals full of anthrax.  Fortunately for the rest of us, it looks like THE TWILIGHT ZONE is about to stop his murder spree in its tracks with some twist of ironic fate as he keeps getting pop up ads about this company called Future Trade who wants to give him a one-time offer!  Now if it was you or I who got this message, I’d assume it was just another porn site trying to get your credit card details, but I guess Martin is so far down his own self-pitying spiral of misery that he’s willing to give it a chance.  Now let’s say that you or I DID go the extra step of visiting this strange company promising to give us the future we wanted, I’m pretty sure we’d turn tail and run when we realize that it’s run by Dean Winters.  HOLY CRAP, DEAN WINTERS IS IN THIS!!

TTZ21-1
This is all an elaborate Allstate commercial, isn’t it?

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Future Trade)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Found and Lost)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Vern Gillum

We’re back with another episode of The Knockoff Zone which is apropos considering this is another episode of the show that JUST SO HAPPENED to be a heck of a lot like a movie that came around the same time!  So what are we “paying homage” to today?  Well it’s not QUITE an exact fit, but there’s a lot of The Family Man in this episode which if you don’t recall is the Nicolas Cage movie where he’s an obscenely rich dude who is confronted with the life he didn’t choose to live.  You may also remember it as the movie where he goes TA-DAAAA for no reason, but sadly I doubt we’ll get to see something like that in this episode.  OR WILL WE!?  I guess there’s only way to find out!  Let’s get started!!

The episode begins with some dude name Sean (Brian Austin Green) driving to work and he barely has time to lock his car and straighten his tie before Forest Whitaker is on hand to tell us what this episode is about!  I mean I’m not about to go check, but twenty seconds into an episode sounds like a record for ANY Twilight Zone series to start its monologue, right?   Anyway, what’s ACTUALLY important is that Sean is a rich business guy who has more than anyone else could DREAM of, but seems to be deeply unhappy for some reason and is about to be interviewed by a journalist (Moira Kelly).  No, before you ask, I didn’t accidentally pop in a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Although…

TTZ20-1
“My name is Bianca Titanium, and you must be Shaun White.”     “Uh… nope.  My first name’s not even spelled that way.  Are you sure you’re in the right building?”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Found and Lost)”

Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Sanctuary)

TTZ0-0

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Patrick Norris

Welcome back to yet another episode of The Twilight Drone!  Not one of those flying things, I mean in terms of just… droning on.  Yeah, I’m just gonna be upfront with you; this is one of the bad ones in that it’s REALLY boringly made and has a message that… well you’ll see soon enough.  Oh well!  I’m sure we’ll get to something more interesting next time like aliens, or time travel or whatever, so let’s just burn through this one and try to make a few jokes along the way!  Let’s get started!!

Scott (Rob Estes) is a hot shot sports agent who’s having a rather tough start to his day as he got a flat on his tire and is about to lose one of his biggest  players if he doesn’t stop him from singing with someone else.  While waiting for a tow truck to get there, he wanders off into the nearby woods to pee on a tree (as you do), and ends up getting lost; finding not his car but a beautiful home in the middle of nowhere.  Inside he finds a woman named Marisa (Elizabeth Berkley, yes THAT Elizabeth Berkley) who similarly has to be somewhere soon but wandered into the forest for whatever reason (perhaps the SAME reason) and ended up here.  This place by the way has bad reception even by 2002 standards and their watches have stopped working as well.  The house has no light switches, no electricity, no clocks, and no cars.  Now to ME this sounds like an unbearable hell to live in whether or not there’s a good view and pretty throw pillows, but I don’t want to get TOO ahead of myself here, and it also turns out that Marisa is familiar with the area and KNOWS that no idyllic looking mountain ranges or sparkling clear ponds are anywhere close to where the two of them got lost, so they’re kinda stuck as far as finding their way back; wherever “back” even is at this point.

TTZ19-1
“DARN YOU NATURE!!  WHY MUST YOU BE SO IDYLLICALLY SAMEY!?”

Continue reading “Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (Sanctuary)”