Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1981)

Director: Robert Guenette

Writers: Robert Guenette, Alan Hopgood

Composers: William Loose, Jack K. Tillar

Starring: Orson Welles, Philip L. Clarke, Ray Laska, Jason Nesmith, Howard Ackerman, Bob Ruggiero, Roy Edmonds, Ray Chubb, Richard Butler, Brass Adams, Terry Clotiaux, David Burke

More info: IMDb

Tagline: History's greatest psychic

Plot:Hosted by Orson Welles, this documentary utilizes a grab bag of dramatized scenes, stock footage, TV news clips and interviews to ask: Did 16th century French astrologer and physician Nostradamus actually predict such events as the fall of King Louis XVI, the rise of Napoleon, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? And are there prophecies that have yet to come true?

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  Yeah, in probably another 30 years.

The nostalgia factor alone is worth a lot.  In the early 80s I watched the crap out of this and ate it all up just as a 13 year old boy would.  I was just a dumb kid.  Now that I'm grown up I know that this is all horseshit but I respect the entertainment value it gives.  You really couldn't do better in 1981 than to get the great Orson Welles to narrate or host your film.  He brought a lot of weight (no pun intended) to everything he did.  Really.

See?  What's crazier is that this guy believes we all have the ability to see into the future.

It takes all kinds, I guess.  The first third of the film largely deals with Nostradamus' life and then it gets more and more into his 'predictions'.  That's when they bring out the big guns.

Dixon recounts how she predicted Kennedy's death but the truth behind that is more believable than what she says.  Pull it up on the internet and you'll see how it really went down.  Just like Nostradamus, it's soooooooo easy to retrofit events to incredibly vague predictions.  Listening to Welles is spellbinding.  He had such a commanding voice that I will literally listen to and watch anything he does.  He was amazing, even when phoning it in.  I would LOVE to have been present during the first time Welles read the script. I don't doubt his reactions to this nonsense were priceless.

There was one moment that made me sad.  Just after the one hour fourteen minute mark Orson Welles
pronounces 'nuclear' as 'nucular'.  Ugh.  Even the great ones aren't perfect.  The last twenty minutes or so are preceded by a warning that we might not want to see what's in our future.  Then they spew out all kinds of nonsense about what we can expect in the years 1988, 1994, etc.  The end of existence, btw, is sometime in the 3700s.  We've got a ways to go before we snuff it.  If Welles weren't in this or I hadn't watched it thirty plus years ago, this wouldn't do much for me.  As it is, the first two thirds is fun as fictional entertainment until it gets into the predictions that extend past the year it was made. Then it's just plain boring.  Read about Nostradamus yourself and you'll see that it's all just a bunch of nonsense predictions that you can make fit just about anything, much like the daily horoscopes in the newspaper.  Take it with a grain of salt...actually take it with lots of grains of salt on the rim of a margarita glass and you'll do better with it.  It's entertaining to a point but horseshit can only go so far.

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