The film Turbulence was marked on a folder "Save for X-mas" on a hard drive that was about to die and I was cleaning to make sure no incriminating evidence could be found by those who rummage through my garbage for cans. A Christmas movie I had planned for my annual TTDILA Christmas party and was missing a it's so bad, it's good movie...until right then. Turbulence stars Ray Liotta as Ryan Weaver, a serial killer who gets free on a plane headed to LA for Christmas. It co-stars Lauren Holly as Teri Halloran, a stewardess and the heroine of the film.
The film is The Shining on a plane. While watching with friends at the party it was hard not to make the connections and see Ray Liotta play the poor man's Jack Nicholson. At first we thought he was trying to be Jack Nicholson as the Joker from Batman circa 1989 with his facial contorts. But all too soon he was limping with a broken leg, carrying an axe-they had a very cool axe on the plane for no reason- and breaking down the cockpit door just like Jack Torrance's famous scene. If anyone wanted to take comparison shots of Jack and Ray together from their films it would be startling how much Ray stole from Jack.
Then the cameos list is huge, every part of the cast of background characters is from television or a dozen other films. The black FBI agent from Die Hard, is once again a Fed, and being black the first to die. Another flight attendant is the Mom from 7th Heaven. If a movie buff, your brain will backfire with, "Wait, I know that person!"
Wooden performances go all around or should I say, "Oh, I have to work today, " performances from the cast, with incompetence and horrible dialogue between Liotta and Holly. You want to beat Holly's character in the head for not locking the the cockpit door to just general stupidity while dealing with a serial killer. I can't explain how much you'll love to hate how dumb she is and her poor acting as her mascara runs.
Awards should be taken away from any of the actors on the ground in the control tower who talked Holly through landing the plane. Yes, the pilots don't make it through the flight and we have another staple of airplane disaster movies in place. Just listening to the ground control team is cringe-worthy on their back and forth with Holly. It's like taking a writer's course on what not to have anyone say to each other that hasn't been done a million times. We thought they were making fun of Airplane! for a while.
Now the setting ties it all together with Christmas decorations all hung around the plane with Christmas trees, which did not seem bolted into the ground or were given any thought of when they would be moving. As the plane suffers massive Turbulence as it goes through a class 6 storm-a big deal to them, fly above it- the decorations and dead bodies litter the plane like a Christmas massacre. It looked so scary nice I hope it becomes a maze a Universal Horror Nights.
Some ideas are missed like using the Christmas lights to strangle someone to death or using the axe to burst out of the floor of the cockpit, as me and a friend were hoping for. It doesn't matter when there was-no it does matter, I wanted to see him burst out of the floor and scare her, dammit-special effects for the airplane going through a Karaoke bar-spot the cameo from that Japanese guy whose been in everything- and picking up a Ford car on it's wheels from a parking lot building. ...there's a jet fighter following them in case Terri can't land the plane.
Turbulence is The Shining set on a plane during Christmas with Ray Liotta as a cheap Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance and Terri being Shelley Duval. The Christmas atmosphere with the poorest of acting and cameos makes it a crowd pleaser for those wanting something naughty for the holiday to make fun of with friends. I suggest having a nice drinking game with eggnog and taking some every time there's some Turbulence.
Rent it for $2.99 on YouTube.
*From Ryhser Entertainment who also produced this year's A Christmas Horror Story, we also plan on reviewing.
From the Wiki
*Turbulence was a box office flop, grossing only $11 million
domestically over a $55 million budget. Lauren Holly's performance in
the film earned her a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress (where she lost to Demi Moore for G.I. Jane), while Turbulence was also nominated for Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property (as it lost to Con Air).
*Despite its box office failure, the film did well enough on home video
to become a trilogy with two new direct-to-video sequels. They are Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying and Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal, each with a different cast.