Project Almanac

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I had the flu but couldn’t get any help because my wife couldn’t take time off work to help with our daughters because she had the flu a few days earlier and stayed home for three days. I then passed it on to my oldest, of course. She stayed home from school for a week, and we had to skip her gymnastics class too. The three of us (my two daughters and I) didn’t leave our house for almost a full week. Except to go to the grocery store. Which, with two children under 5 years old can be (and is) a horrible experience. Needless to say, when I started feeling better I HAD to get out of the house. Not that I’m complaining. Trust me, staying home and getting a checkup with the Doc McStuffins medical kit is way better than any real job. But you don’t leave the house for six days with sick children and tell me how gray you start going!!

Here in Northern California, we had the driest January since we became a state (September 9, 1850). In fact, San Francisco recorded ZERO rainfall for the entire month. So of course, the day I decide to go out.. Downpour. Not much in the theater, but I went and saw Project Almanac. Because there was no way in hell I was seeing Jupiter Ascending.

If those a-holes who walked in right as the movie was starting hadn’t shown up, I would have had the whole theater to myself!! Anyway, I get that I am not the target demographic for a teenage found footage movie. Still, I went in with an open mind. Knowing that I hate found footage movies. Because in any movie there are at least half a dozen moments where in real life everyone would yell “PUT THE F**KING CAMERA DOWN AND RUN!!” This movie at least has a plausible reason for recording everything.

The film is about David Raskin needing to get one more scholarship to pay for MIT, to which he has just been admitted. He is searching the attic looking through his fathers old experiments hoping to stumble across something that will be his money ticket. As his sister Christina joins him they find their dads old video camera. On it, is the recording of his 7th birthday party. In the reflection in a mirror, he sees himself.

This starts a chain of events that leads to digging through their dads private section of the basement and building of a time machine.  Christina is behind the camera for the entire movie, as she isn’t a young genius like the others.  David makes sure to tell her to record and document everything so they can go back and watch everything they’ve done.  See?  Valid reason for recording everything.  Although, there were still points when I felt like there was no need to have the camera on.

The movie is better than I thought it would be, but there is no reinventing of the wheel here. The same typical high school story lines are in place. Nerdy main character is in love with the popular girl who becomes a main part of the film. But guess what, he’s too shy and timid to tell her how he feels!  Don’t worry, I won’t spoil if they end up together or not. But I bet you can figure it out!!

Nor are any of the time travel plot points any real ground breakers. It’s all very butterfly effect. They do something in the past that changes the future and they have to rectify it and it only gets worse.

In fact, whether intended or not, I notice a lot of tip of the caps to the entire Back to the Future trilogy. The first object they try to send back is a red convertible toy car. They use a chalkboard to try and figure out exactly where they need to go back to make everything right. And like all good time travel stories, they decide that it simply isn’t worth it and the device must be destroyed. Okay after writing that, it all sounds coincidental. Maybe I’m a little too obsessed with the Back to the Future trilogy. BTTF has been on ABC Family like three or four times in the past month. I’ve watched it everytime. Yes, of course I own the DVD set.  Who doesn’t own the DVD set of Back to the Future?

Like I said, it’s all pretty paint by numbers. Maybe it’s the first found footage time travel movie? So maybe there’s that? I certainly didn’t hate it. But I’m glad I only paid $5 for it.  It’s a very innocent movie that probably didn’t need to be made. In a year, I will have forgotten everything about it. Unless of course I invent a time machine and go back to when I saw it! But I’m too dumb for that. I could be the cool friend!! Not cool enough? What a jerk thing to say! I mean, you’re right, but words hurt. Haven’t you seen that dumb commercial with the guy on the horse?


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