dir. Joe Dante
[Sorry for no podcasts this week. Schedule's got fucked, but I'll have shit for you next week.]
“I’m in a strange man.”
It never ceases to amaze me the extent that popular cinema indulges the fantasies of paranoids. I feel I’ve mentioned this on a podcast before so pardon me for possibly repeating the line, but most thrillers, most supernatural flicks, most...well, just most films might as well be titled Fuck Occam’s Razor. Of course, it ain’t hard to see why: crazy outlandish cinema makes for more interesting cinema than straightforward cinema. No one’s gonna care about a mystery, for instance, where the most obvious, simplest, boring explanation proves to be true. No, a left-field revelation like aliens from the planet Xantar using the mayor’s tie as a radio transmitter to send coded messages to the mole people is much more cinematic.
Now I don’t want to imply that outlandish movie plots are to blame for the preponderance of conspiracy theorist nutjobs in our society—crazy people have always existed—but these films sure give solace, reassurance to the craziest among us. Which is why I so loved Joe Dante’s Innerspace. It almost seemed a rebuttal to these films—by topping their insanity. To wit:
Martin Short stars as a paranoid hypochondriac who keeps his doctor rich. Any little thing, anytime he feels the least bit off, he visits his doctor to get the likely cancer diagnosis only to be told that he’s perfectly healthy. Well, lo and behold, one day while in the mall, he gets attacked by a man in a lab coat who injects something into his ass. When Short later hears a voice in his head, it is not his crazy brain talking to him but a miniature Dennis Quaid, now guiding a miniature ship through Short’s bloodstream.
It turns out that Short has unwittingly become part of a vast conspiracy involving a secret government program to miniaturize Dennis Quaid and inject him into a rabbit. Previously, when a rival group of shadowy scientists attacked the miniaturization lab, a Government scientist absconded with the syringe containing Quaid and injected it into Short. Short must now work with the man inside him to uncover the mystery and rebiggen Quaid.
It is almost as if Innerspace is just fucking with potential crazies in the audience. Hey guys, you know that voice you hear telling you to stand on street corners and wave your penis (I’m sorry—magic wand) at tourists; it’s actually a miniature man floating through your bloodstream, not the logical result of your refusal to take your meds. I only wish that Short was actually revealed to be crazy at the end of the movie.
But still, a really fun movie. This was actually one of the few Joe Dante flicks I had yet to see until this point, and though I wouldn’t place it among his best, Innerspace was a real hoot. Despite Short’s appearance. I try not to hate joy; I really don’t, but that man is just so hard to take sometimes. Thankfully, though, his scenery-chewing frequently worked in favor of this movie rather than against it. Of course, I love Joe Dante so much that, even if Short’s performance was distracting I would have likely looked past it.