In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ll be reviewing some of my Mom’s favorite movies. The first is Blast from the Past. This romantic comedy rated PG-13 has as its backdrop a unique story. Calvin and Helen Webber (Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek) are an affluent couple living in Los Angeles in 1962. For those of you not old enough to remember that era, that was the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the nation was gripped by fear of nuclear war. At that time people thought a direct nuclear attack could be survived, if they were safe beneath the earth in their own personal fallout shelter.
Mr. Webber is a brilliant scientist (and eccentric) who had a fallout shelter built underneath their 1960’s home and equipped it with enough supplies for his family to survive for three-plus decades. The worst happens, or so the Webbers think, and they seal themselves into the shelter which protects them from the radiation. In reality, a plane has crashed into their home.
Mrs. Webber is pregnant and soon has her baby, whom they appropriately name Adam. Thirty-five years later (the half-life of radioactive fallout), the locks on the shelter spring open. Mr. Webber’s first glimpses of Los Angeles in the ‘90s convince him that there really was a nuclear disaster, and the stress causes him to fall ill. Adam (Brendan Fraser) must now be the brave soul who exits the shelter to get food and supplies.
Although Adam is well schooled, he of course hasn’t seen the world face-to-face. His joy and wonder at discovering the things we all take for granted most of the time is at turns humorous and poignant. Adam also wants to find a girl while he’s out and about (remember he’s 35 years old and has never seen other humans besides his parents). The film becomes a great romantic comedy between Adam and Eve (Alicia Silverstone), who meet soon after he surfaces. Adam employs Eve to help him get the supplies his family needs, and she slowly falls for him.
There are so many great laughs in this film. Sissy Spacek should have been nominated for some acting awards for her performance as Mrs. Webber. If you’re an actor wanting to see how good comedy is done, watch her as this 1960’s housewife trapped with only her husband and son for 35 years beneath the earth. Ms. Spacek gives Mrs. Webber such personality, and she is so much fun to watch. Brendan Fraser is wonderful as the grown man experiencing the world for the first time, and I think this is my favorite performance of his. I first grew to like Alicia Silverstone in her Clueless role, and her Eve here is just the right woman for Adam. Christopher Walken is, as usual, brilliant.
My Mom is 88 years old and loves this film. And so do I. Blast from the Past would make a great Mother’s day gift, and a fun movie to watch together.