Monstervision Host Segments for
Time After Time (1979)
"TIME AFTER TIME"
Okay, I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and speaking of kinky, what if
you fell in love with a guy, slept with him, and then found out he was
H.G. Wells and he traveled to your apartment in a time machine. Sure,
we've seen the story before, but have we seen it with Malcolm McDowell
wearing a tweed suit the entire movie? I think not. Of course, you know
what I'm talking about. "Time After Time," the story of what would happen
if Jack the Ripper escaped the London police by jumping into his friend
H.G. Wells's time machine and zapping himself to modern-day San Francisco,
where one more serial killer is NO BIG DEAL. Sounds like a comedy, right?
But it's not. This is actually one of the strangest movies ever made,
which is why I kinda like it. It came out in 1979 and has built a little
bit of a cult audience. And I don't wanna tell you a lot more about it,
except to say it's VERY well-written. It's written and directed by
Nicholas Meyer, who did the same kinda movie when he made "The Seven Per
Cent Solution," the one where Sigmund Freud meets Sherlock Holmes. He also
did Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which we showed here a few weeks
ago, and he wrote Fatal Attraction. Anyhow, let's take a look at those
drive-in totals. We have:
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TV series or motion picture is
Five dead bodies.
One motor vehicle
Not a whole heck of a lot of numbers here, because it's one
of those talky flicks.
Three and a half stars.
Check it out, and I'll be
sittin right here the whole time. Kibbitzing. Okay, roll
[fading] What does kibbitzing mean anyhow? It's a Jewish thing,
right? I didn't just say something disgusting, did I? I'm not gonna get a
call Monday morning, "Why did you tell people you were kibbitzing during
the commercials? That's outrageous. Keep your kibbitz where it
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #1
Well, who can resist
this story? There are some stories that, even if you don't do em that
great, just the IDEA of it makes you wanna watch it. And that's what we
have here--the goofy Utopian writer and inventor trying to catch the
cold-blooded killer. The eighteen- nineties contrasted with the
nineteen-seventies. And Malcolm McDowell has got this character nailed,
hasn't he? Just cornball enough to be charming. So what do you need now?
Of course, what you need now is H.G. Wells being overwhelmed by the 20th
century in funny ways. You KNEW those scenes were coming, right? Okay,
[fading] By the way, did you guys recognize Corey Feldman
as the little kid in the museum? Right after all the 1970s time-travel
effects? I liked how the effects were kinda similar to the ones in the
first movie. Little homage. It's kinda cool watching these movies back to
back. You'd think 20 years later they coulda come up with something better
than that, but hey, I'm not complaining. Well, I guess I AM
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #2
Mary Steenburgen was
cute in 1979, wasn't she? She had that charming bubblehead thing going for
her. That dippy shop clerk number. Even though she's supposed to be a
liberated woman and everything. Later on, she became a SERIOUS ACTRESS.
Why do they all do that? I hate that. I'm actually liking this movie. Does
that make me a nerd.
[fading] Of course, I AM a nerd. How else
could you do this for a living? Sometimes the truth hurts.
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #3
Now that's good
writing. When Jack the Ripper says to H.G. Wells, "The future is not what
you thought--it's what I am!"--that's a great scene. Some good ole
seventies America-bashing. It worked then, and it works now. You can
occasionally do a movie about how everything's getting better, and, boy,
won't things be wonderful in the 21st century. But 99 per cent of the
time, the audience wants to hear how we're deteriorating, dying, becoming
more and more MISERABLE with each passing year. We LOVE that, don't we?
It's making me giddy just thinkin about how AWFUL things are and how much
WORSE they're gonna be. And with every passing day, we're all gettin older
and uglier. And the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the skin on our
faces and the very molecules that make up our bodies are flaking away,
falling apart, becoming a little pile of pus that will one day be cosmic
ashes in a universe where the Earth doesn't exist anymore. . . . Okay.
Well. Back to the movie!
[fading] Actually, there was one thing I
thought of that the writer didn't. You know when the two of em are on the
bridges, and David Warner doesn't know which way he should go? All he had
to do was duck down, and Malcolm McDowell wouldn't have been able to see
him, right? I know, you guys are just thinkin about your faces flaking
away. Sorry about that. Sometimes that happens to me.
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #4
Movie's getting kinda
talky, isn't it? Obviously Mary Steenburgen and Malcolm McDowell forgot
Calvin Trillin's first rule of dining: Never eat in a restaurant that's
more than 100 feet high and REVOLVES. And normally I would have a hard
time believing that Mary was actually falling in love with Malcolm, EXCEPT
that, while they were making this movie, the two of em DID fall in love,
and they eventually got married. Just a little "Time After Time" trivia,
to KILL some time, before we get back to the movie, right about
[fading] Didn't I see Mary on TV with Ted Danson of "Creepshow?" Isn't she
married to Ted Danson now? Malcolm McDowell, Ted Danson. Malcolm, Ted. She
traded in Malcolm for Ted. They charged the network about 8 zillion
dollars so they could be in a sitcom together--"Ink," it was called--and
it flopped harder than a fat lady doin a swan dive. I'm glad I wasn't
standing next to THAT pool.
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #5
I think that's just
about enough of the cutesy little scenes where H.G. Wells confronts the
20th century--you know, the movie theater where he dives under the seats,
grinding up the spoon in the garbage disposal. I think we've pretty much
mined that vein, you know what I mean? Lot of talkin goin on here. This is
known, technically, as the part that drags in the middle. It's just about
over--the middle part, that is--so hang in there. And I haven't even
mentioned David Warner. Good job, right? Lookin' real greasy and demented.
Okay, roll it.
[fading] You know who's in this movie? Shelley Hack.
As one of the women who works in the museum. I didn't notice her, did you?
Maybe she hasn't been on yet. Shelley Hack, standin there like an extra.
Why are we fascinated by stuff like that? Because it shows they SUFFERED.
We like that, right?
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #6
You know the great
thing about this movie? It's about H.G. Wells, right? And H.G. Wells is
one of those guys, you pick up his books at a second-hand bookstore, you
read about 30 pages and then you think, "I'll get back to this later. I
need to clip my toenails." The guy was just NOT a brilliant prose stylist,
you know? I'm gonna get mail here, aren't I? SOMINEX. The man was boring.
I would rather watch this movie ABOUT H.G. Wells than read H.G. Wells. You
know how I told all about the book during the first movie? Well, you can
thank me for saving you the effort. War of the Worlds--war of the
EYELIDS. Roll film.
[fading] Or, maybe I'm just shallow.
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #7
I wonder if H.G.
Wells really said that. "The first man to raise a fist is the man who's
run out of ideas." SOUNDS like something he would say, right? Nobody in
Hollywood would write that. Can't use it in a Schwarzenegger movie, right?
I say it's authentic. We could actually look it up, I guess, but that
would involve going and actually getting the encyclopedia down off the
shelf. And I've already had three of these babies. So let's just continue
with the flick. The Ripper is gonna kick Mary Steenburgen's butt right
here, unless H.G. grows some gonads. Comprende? I thought
[fading] We should have more of these intellectual theme
nights. It feels like, I don't know, like taking mushrooms or something.
"TIME AFTER TIME" Commercial Break #8
H.G. Wells, driving a
Honda. Trying to save the life of the woman he loves. How much better does
it get? You know something I never understood about time travel, though?
Let's say you start in 1890 and you got to 1979, and you kill some people,
and then you go back to 1890 and you live ten more years and you die in
1900. Then who killed those people? When you die, does that mean the
people start living again, only it's ten years later? Or let's say the
people in 1979 travel back to 1880 and kill him at the SAME time that he's
travelling to 1979 and killing THEM. They cancel each other out, BUT they
were not at home when they were killed. They were in the wrong century.
They were killed, sort of like, on voice mail.
[fading] Are you
guys following this? Time travel messes with your brain, you know? What if
you go backwards in time and kill your mother? Would you be committing
suicide? OR, if you traveled back to before you were born, but you were
ALIVE as a sperm cell--what about that? You guys have no intellectual
curiosity. I can't believe it.
"TIME AFTER TIME" Outro
All right, H.G. Wells and time
travel--that was our theme for this evening. This was one of our theme
nights. The crack TNT programming department, they LIVE for events like
this. They say, "Hey, here's two movies on the SAME SUBJECT. Let's show em
back-to- back. People will wanna see the same thing for FOUR HOURS!" So
that's how we end up with "The Time Machine" followed by "Time After
Okay, I wanna remind you that next week we got the American
version of "La Femme Nikita," "Point of No Return," with Bridget Fonda as
a sexy hit woman, and "The Hand," directed by Oliver Stone before he got
all political on us.
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding
you that a clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad
Did you guys hear the one about Bud and Jim, a couple of
drinking buddies who work as airplane mechanics in Atlanta? One day the
airport is fogged in and they're stuck in the hangar with nothing to do.
Bud says, "Man, I wish we had something to drink!" Jim says, "Me too. You
know, I've heard you can drink jet fuel and get a buzz. You wanna try it?"
So they pour themselves a couple of glasses of high octane hooch and get
completely smashed. The next morning Bud wakes up and is surprised at how
good he feels. In fact, he feels GREAT. NO hangover. No bad side effects.
Nothing. Then the phone rings--it's Jim. Jim says, "Hey, how do you feel
this morning?" Bud says, "I feel great, how about you?" Jim says, "I feel
great, too. You don't have a hangover?" Bud says, "No, that jet fuel is
great stuff--no hangover, nothing. We oughta do this more often." Jim
says, "Yeah, well, there's just one thing." Bud says, "What's that?" Jim
says, "Have you passed gas yet?" Bud says no. Jim says, "Well, DON'T,
cause I'm in PHOENIX!"
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the
drive-in will never die.
[fading] A drunk is driving through the
city and his car is weaving all over the road. An Irish cop pulls him
over. The cop says to the driver, "So, where have you been?" Drunk says,
"I've been to the pub." Cop says, "Well, it looks like you've had quite a
few." Drunk says, "I did all right." Cop says, "Did you know that a few
intersections back, your wife fell out of the car?" Drunk says, "Oh, thank
goodness. For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."
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