Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shell Out The Money

The same night I watched "The Believers", which I described yesterday, I also watched a couple others. One of them was "Everyone Loves Mel", or as it has been alternately titled, simply "Mel". This is another of those cheap "family movies" that I accrue somewhat unintentionally. They are enjoyable enough at times. I find them a good palate cleanser after more extreme genre movies. The dramatic conflict is light, the characters are amiable, and they do well as a final film of the night.

I slept well enough after this one. Two brothers are struggling a bit for lack of really vigorous parental supervision. The father (Greg Evigan) is evidently a very busy lawyer, and the mother (Julie Hagerty) is a realtor or something. Deciding that it's easier to punt on their kids than their jobs, they send them off to live with her father (Ernest Borgnine). Borgnine is an irascible taskmaster who has apparently been running a farm all by himself in his 80s. He harbors a secret. Namely, he is a friend to the nearby lake's infamous monster, who is a large (if not monstrously so) turtle alternately known as Swannie and Mel. Naturally, a local developer (Jack Scalia) is after the land and has a longtime grudge with Mel.

The acting is mostly not so great. Jack Scalia is a fun villainous Texan. Borgnine is not at the height of his powers, but he's fair. The kids are lousy. The elder one is supposed to be some kind of rebellious heartthrob. The younger one plays like a bad Samm Levine in "Freaks And Geeks". The parents are lousy, which is too bad. The mom is played by Julie Hagerty of "Airplane". The older kid's romantic interest is lousy, and curiously has no family despite being a teenager. Scalia's lead henchman is amusing, and might have gotten more to do. That pretty well runs down all the characters.

The titular Mel is more of the more inert movie monsters of all time, be they evil or good. He can do little more than move his head around a little. Exactly what's special enough about him to come into conflict with others is a mystery for the longest time, but eventually it becomes somewhat more clear very fleetingly at the end. Never very clear is how the very boulder-like Mel caused the wounds to Scalia that make him wish for revenge. Still, it's a basically harmless movie that ranks far about "Tree Of Life" in terms of watchability. Nobody's getting killed over this one, which is nothing to sneeze at.

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