With every movie book I invariably run into films that I think might fit my parameters, but don’t. Time Travel on Screen is proving no exception.
Disney Channel’s TEEN BEACH MOVIE (2013) was my first false lead: I was quite sure a movie about two surfing teens getting transported into a 1962 beach movie wouldn’t make the cut, but just in case it involved time travel to 1962, I checked it out. The story has the teenage couple disrupting the plot of Wet Side Story by breaking up the primary romance, which means the events they need to return home won’t happen unless they fix things. The baby-faced teenage cast was way too cutesy for me (Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello were in their 20s when they made Beach Party), but the scriptwriters clearly know the old movies they’re parodying. As I do too, that made this more fun than I expected, but I’m curious what the regular Disney Channel audience made of it. Do 21st century tweens know the Frankie-and-Annette movie cliches too? Or did Disney assume that the way-out fashions, wacky hi-jinx and lively dances would keep ’em happy anyway? Back to the Beach, which also revisited the same cliches, would be a good (but superior) double-feature for this. “Oh no—it’s a spontaneous musical number!”
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (2011) is a mysterious organization employing John Slattery, Anthony Mackie and Terence Stamp to manipulate human events according to The Plan, which in this case requires doing everything possible to keep Matt Damon from finding true love with Emily Blunt. As this was in my Netflix queue already I figured I’d check that they weren’t actually time cops preserving their timeline, but no, they’re not. It’s strongly implied they’re Heavenly agents, but I’d find it easier to believe they’re working for humanity’s good if we saw some sign of them benefiting people—since Blunt and Damon are obviously right for each other, the adjusters look like the bad guys. Still, I found this one charming and it would double bill well with either Serendipity or A Matter of Life and Death, which also ponder the balance between Love and Fate. “You’ve just seen behind the curtain you weren’t supposed to know existed.”
And as we still have guests in, regular reviews will be left to tomorrow.