The Mask: A 90’s Masterpiece

I’ve seen The Mask more times than I can count. This movie is one of a handful I had as a kid on VHS that I watched over an over. Between this movie, Mallrats, Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber, I had an ever rotating stock of movies. There were others, but those four dominated the rotation. The Mask was pretty special to me because it was the first time I remember a comic book character that I enjoyed being translated to the big screen. Sure, I saw Batman when it came out but to a kid back then Batman was larger than the comics. he was his own thing. My dad got me the Mask Returns series which I loved. The art was amazing, the story was over my head (I was 12), but everything about it I loved.

Then they made a movie with Jim Carrey in 1994.

I don’t know if you know this, but in 1994 Jim Carrey was box office Gold. He had three of the top comedy movies of this year. Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask. All three of these movies are fantastic in their own rights, and still hold up on the comedy today (though Ace Ventura seen through modern eyes is a tad transphobic).

It’s honestly hard for me to tell you which of these three is my favorite. If you asked me back in the mid 90’s I would probably have said Ace Ventura, cause it was the first one I saw. If you asked me in high school I might have said The Mask, cause it was hilarious and deem down a romantic comedy. In college I would have said Dumb and Dumber based on the sheer idiocy of it. Today though? I really can’t split them up, I love them all for different reasons.

(after being shot)
Mask : Hold me closer, Ed, it’s getting dark.
(cough, cough)
Mask : Tell Auntie Em to let Old Yeller out.
(cough cough) 
Mask : Tell Tiny Tim I won’t be coming home this Christmas
(cough, cough) 
Mask : Tell Scarlett I do give a damn.
(coughs in Orlando’s face, raspberries, then farts)
Mask : Pardon me.
(he dies, the Peanut Gallery appears and applauds while The Mask is handed an acting award)
Mask : Thank you, you love me, you really love me!

However The Mask is special. It’s a comic book film that both does and doesn’t feel like a comic book film. It’s VERY 90’s, and that’s one of the things I love most about it. The entire cast is great, they all play their parts perfectly. The lines are so incredibly quotable.

I think quotability of a movie is something that helps keep a movie alive and gives the desire to re-watch it. I don’t mean to say that quotability makes a move GOOD, but it does help it live on well past it’s expiration date. The Mask has become a movie that my wife (Kaylie from Haphazard Adventures) can not only watch over and over (and now my son can as well), but it’s a movie we quote without even knowing it.

The Mask : (to Tina)  Kiss me, my dear, and I will reveal my croissant. I will spread your pate. I will dip my ladle in your vichyssoise.
(Tina kicks him and scampers away)
The Mask : (squeaky voice)  She is so coy.
(deep voice) 
The Mask : I love it!

Final thought?

If you have not seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, go watch it again.


The Mask Stats

Production Budget: $23 million
Domestic Total Gross: $119,938,730
Foreign Total Gross: $231,644,677
Total Box Office Gross: $351,583,407
Starring: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Riegert
Directed by: Chuck Russell
Written by: Michael Fallon (story), Mark Verheiden (story) Mike Werb (screenplay)
Distributor: New Line
Release Date: Jul 29, 1994
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 1 hrs. 41 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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