Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Patrick Wilson as the captain
SPACE STATION 76 (2014). Director: Jack Plotnick.

On the Omega 76 fueling station, inter-relationships between the characters seem to take precedence over any sci fi action when newcomer Jessica (Liv Tyler of Dr. T and the Women) comes aboard. Captain Glenn (Patrick Wilson of Watchmen), who is in the closet, is upset by the departure of his lover Dan, who tells him that he is sick of the way Glenn has to get drunk to get it on and always collapses into tears afterward. Ted (Matt Bomer of Superman: Unbound) is married to Misty (Marisa Coughlan), who is having an affair with shipmate, Steve (Jerry O'Connell), who is also married. Ted and Misty have a young daughter, Sunshine (Kylie Rogers), who roams the ship, bored and boring. Jessica and Ted are drawn to one another even as the captain attempts suicide more than once. Finally there's a confrontation towards the end which very briefly wakes up the sleeping audience ... Space Station 76 has been called a comedy-drama [if only!] but it is neither funny (aside from one quick bit) nor dramatic (ditto) and descends into tedium fairly quickly. Wilson and Bomer give the best performances; Tyler is also good even if her collagen-type lips and Joan Crawford shoulders are a distraction. Ted has an artificial hand and Steve puts his mother-in-law in suspended animation and carts her around like luggage. The conceit of the film is that it takes place in the future but everything supposedly has a 1970s ambiance, although the water beds in the cabins are perhaps the only thing that ever gets this across. It's hard to believe that people actually spent time and money turning this screenplay into a movie. Calling it "minor" is an understatement; it's like a bad sitcom or TV sketch without jokes. The best scene has a huge computer-type asteroid nearly smashing the space station -- no such luck.

Verdict: Maybe a laugh track would have helped. *1/2.


Neil A Russell said...

To see a real 1970s scifi soap opera, check out Irwin Allen's "City Beneath the Sea".
Despite some typically silly scientific stuff, there's actually some character interaction and something rare for one of Irwin's flicks; a backstory.
It was done about 1970 I think and it's loaded with plastic furniture and some of the wackiest polyester age clothing in a movie that's not even a parody.
It struck me funny because the image you chose for "Space Station" has a character that looks a lot like Robert Wagner did in "City Beneath the Sea".

William said...

Now this is interesting. I've always wanted to see "City Beneath the Sea" and somehow it has eluded me over the years, though I'll keep checking youtube and other sources. Thanks for reminding me of it. It's bound to be more entertaining that Space Station! Best, Bill