I may not make an honest buck but I'm 100% American.
Joe Johnston's fun little slice of nostalgic machine porn is pleasing enough as it hearkens back to Commando Codyand other adventure serials, but it's also caught somewhat uncomfortably between earlier, similar homages to that era, like the first three parts of Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones series and Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy. Starring Billy Campbell as a pilot who finds a prototype rocket-pack, The Rocketeer can't seem to decide if it wants to fully commit to the broad gee-whiz tone of its action sequences — scenes in which machine gun fire will, at worst, shoot the hat off your head, and where there's always an isolated gas tanker waiting to be crashed into — or operate within a more naturalistic, low-key frequency. The adaptation of Dave Stevens' graphic novel runs through an amiable succession of pre-WWII-era 1940s Hollywood tropes — gangsters (inc. Paul Sorvino), Nazis, an Errol Flynn-like movie star (Timothy Dalton), a posh dance club, a zeppelin, Howard Hughes (Terry O'Quinn), the Griffith Observatory — all of which converge in an impossibly small-world manner. The production design is nice and the action is clean, but, unlike standard-bearer Raiders of the Lost Ark, Johnston doesn't manage to sneak anything weightier or more compelling underneath The Rocketeer's somewhat shiny surface. Only when Jennifer Connelly is on-screen does The Rocketeer feel like it matters, but even that is an illusory homage to more substantial movies. Alan Arkin is fun, as usual, as Campbell's mechanic.
The Rocketeer (1991) was brought to my Potluck Film Fest by Flickcharter Nigel Druitt, who can be found on Flickchart under the username johnmason. He ranks it on his chart at #85 / 1704 (95%). The Rocketeer ranked on my Flickchart at #2021/3871 (48%).
I watched retro-superhero homage #TheRocketeer (1991) by #JoeJohnston for my #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/SWtXubqjyd https://t.co/NkB19fd43K— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Jul 23 07:14:34 +0000 2017
Links for #TheRocketeer - Amazon: https://t.co/MasBu4Km6Y iTunes: https://t.co/yZk9W17mMs #PotLuckFilmFest #JoeJohnston https://t.co/IYG2Epi54s— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Jul 23 07:15:59 +0000 2017
#TheRocketeer is pleasant w/fun plot elements, but less confident than better serial throwbacks #IndianaJones & #DickTracy. #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/DKdwn56nAy— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Jul 23 07:21:24 +0000 2017
#TheRocketeer wobbles uncertainly between natural "gee whiz" innocence & darker, broader elements. Good cast steadies it. #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/CwR3Qdf5CY— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Jul 23 07:24:44 +0000 2017
#BillyCampbell is a light lead, but #JenniferConnelly makes everything feel important when she's onscreen. #TheRocketeer #PotLuckFilmFest https://t.co/Z8Wz0dMD9M— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Jul 23 07:29:10 +0000 2017
#TheRocketeer is clean & fond nostalgia, but very slight; not a movie I'll think about, but mildly pleasing. #PotLuckFilmFest #JoeJohnston https://t.co/c7A98Nrai8— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Jul 23 07:32:49 +0000 2017
#TheRocketeer was brought to my #PotLuckFilmFest by Nigel Druitt https://t.co/ivnQw17MYU Thanks for a not-terrible pick this month, Nigel ;) https://t.co/qwCOcMVsvB— MediaLifeCrisis (@PopGap) Sun Jul 23 07:36:25 +0000 2017
As movies are added to this list, I'll add them to Letterboxd, here: