“The Man From Earth: Holocene” (2017) isn’t aging gracefully….

*****14,000 YEARS OF SPOILERS!!*****

In The Beginning…

After reviewing “The Man From Earth” (2007) only a week or so ago, and doing a retrospective on “One Million Years B.C.” (1966) shortly afterward, you might think I was on a caveman binge lately, but no, it wasn’t intentional. However, after reviewing “The Man From Earth”, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed the scrappy, low-budget campfire tale of immortal college professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) who has been a singular constant through the last 14,000 years of human history; leaving the frozen plains of ancient France, studying under the Buddha, seeding the foundational myths of the man later known as Jesus (!), and eventually winding up as a college professor at a California college. John has a big problem; the fact that he hasn’t aged for the last 14 millennia means he can only remain in one place for 10 years or so before the locals realize he isn’t like them.

John tells the truth to his friends…something which has unforeseen consequences 10 years later.

The screenplay was the last thing written by the late Jerome Bixby (“Twilight Zone,” “Star Trek”) before his death in 1998, and was completed by his son Emerson before being shot as a micro-budget indie film by director Richard Schenkman in 2007. That film saw John leaving his latest teaching gig, but not before his colleagues crashed his getaway and threw him an unexpected going away party… a party where John makes the fateful decision to tell everyone the truth. Taking place in one home over one evening, the little movie is absolutely spellbinding. John’s word pictures of his epic past tell the story far more effectively than any cheesy “In Search Of”-style flashbacks ever could—it’s as if he were a caveman again, telling his tale around the campfire. The climax of the movie has most of John’s friends believing he’d pranked them (as he hoped they would). However, one of his guests is left seriously offended, and another tragically realizes that John is his long-lost father just before he dies of a heart attack. The ending sees John once again moving on, as he’s done for the last 14,000 years, but with a would-be lover in tow.

Now director Richard Schenkman has directed and cowritten the sequel, bringing back star David Lee Smith as John (now going by the last name of “Young”), as well as costars William Kat (“Art Jenkins”) and a cameo by John Billingsley (“Harry”). Schenkman makes a few serious misfires by taking the story away from its intimate, intellectual, campfire story-feel and placing it in a sunny college town, with the focus placed on a young ‘Scooby gang’ of college kids (cast from “Cliches R Us”) who learn the truth about their favorite professor.

“The Man From Earth: Holocene.”

John, ever the caveman, still feels a powerful need to recharge his batteries every so often by communing in the wild…

“Holocene” takes place ten years after that fateful, revelatory evening of the first film. We see John (David Lee Smith), now going by the last name of ‘Young’ (another pun-name) living as a successful history professor in another California college town, where he keeps his students enthralled with his vivid, seemingly firsthand accounts of history. John is living with another professor named Carolyn (Vanessa Williams), whom he’s not told of his past lives as Cro-Magnon, Buddha-protege and savior of the Christian religion. And finally, for the first time in his 14,000 years, John is showing lines on his face and even some graying hair. He’s aging.

Note: Nice way to explain away the fact that the actor, who was about 53 at the time of the shoot, doesn’t look anywhere near 35 anymore. The exact reason behind John’s sudden aging is never revealed. Also, I still can’t believe that in all those years, John never went for a blood test or even an insurance physical. His DNA would be on record somewhere. I once gave blood back in 1987, and I learned that donation was still on file as of two years ago.

“I’ll drink to your legs.” “Okay, we’ll drink to our legs…”

John, comfortable in his new life, has earned the trust of the college dean, Dr. Gil Parker. When Gil learns he is going to be a granddad, he and John take to the campus bleachers and share a drink of an old, badly aged bottle of Scotch. It’s a short moment that reminisces about mortality, continuance and how fleetingly wonderful life can be. It’s perhaps the only scene in the movie that comes remotely close to the eloquence of the first film. Sadly, it too, is fleeting.

Note: Michael Dorn, of course, played the Klingon Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and five of the Star Trek feature films. This movie series has a knack for casting Star Trek talent, such as John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox on Star Trek: Enterprise), Vanessa Williams (Deep Space Nine, “Let He Who Is Without Sin”) and Tony Todd (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, both as Worf’s brother Kurn, as well as an older Jake Sisko in “The Visitor”).

Also of Note: This sequel also moves dangerously closer to the classic “Twilight Zone” episode, “Long Live Walter Jameson” (1960), which also featured a popular, immortal college professor (Kevin McCarthy) whose past catches up to him. By setting much of this story at the college instead of John’s home, the sequel teeters on borderline plagiarism. John even has an ‘older friend,’ Gil; who, like Walter’s old friend (and would-be father-in-law) Sam, is badly hurt by his immortal friend’s decisions.

Philip, Liko, Isabel and Tara; the dumbest Scooby gang ever.

Four of his students take an unusually keen interest in their professor. Isabel (Akemi Look) is a bit of a teacher’s pet, who thinks John is somehow ‘different’ but can’t quite figure out exactly why. Isabel’s bestie Tara (Brittany Curran) is the cliched ‘school slut’ who uses feminine wiles to get what she wants (“Easy A,” but without the laughs). Affable, easygoing Liko (Carlos Knight) is best buds with Philip (Sterling Knight), an uptight Christian fundamentalist who is very defensive when it comes to his faith (he’s the prior movie’s “Edith” reimagined as a young white male).

“Kids, whatever you do, never ever use a Sharpie to change a national weather map…”

While’s Tara’s libido is her primary motivation in getting to know Prof. Young a little better, Isabel is motivated more by genuine curiosity, picking up on subtle clues during his lectures. The kids invade their professor’s private life in very uncomfortable ways, including unannounced at-home visits for extracurricular ‘advice’ (not cool). There are too few boundaries between these kids (who act more like high school students) and the objection of their obsession; it’s downright creepy at times. The kids’ inexplicable curiosity about their inscrutable teacher leads them to do a little homework of their own; they find out that he has no record anywhere prior to 2007, and by snooping through his home, they discover he has a very interesting largely self-authored book collection, including a copy of a book by disgraced archeologist Dr. Art Jenkins (William Katt), which wrote of his night spent listening to John’s spellbinding tale of his 14,000 year life… from cavemen to theological savior to college professor.

Note: The scenes of the students awkwardly trying to take selfies with John, breaking into his home, and even pilfering through his belongings was truly disturbing for me, personally. Full disclosure: I was stalked once, and it was an awful, invasive feeling I’d not soon revisit. Seeing this de facto Scooby gang violating John’s boundaries onscreen was nearly triggering for me, and I immediately lost all sympathy for them.

Philip isn’t dealing with the whole “My history prof might be Jesus” thing very well, as Liko reads from a possible new-New Testament. Curiously, both actors, Sterling and Carlos, share the last name Knight.

Fundamentalist Philip is most disturbed by a passage of the book (autographed to “my good friend, John Oldman”) which claims that surviving French caveman John was (among other identities) the man later known as Jesus of Nazareth. Isabel is immediately awed; she thinks that John could be a reservoir of wisdom the world could use right now. Liko is healthily skeptical, but intrigued. Tara just wonders what it’d be like to get horizontal with the founder of Christianity.

Note: Like Edith in the first film, Philip seems more concerned that John’s story, if true, would be more of a threat to his fragile belief system than anything else. Philip’s counterarguments to ready-made-worshipper Isabel are supposed to appear ‘sensible’, but he comes off as frightened and defensive.

John, by a fireplace (cavemen like fire) tries in vain to establish boundaries between he and his nosy students.

Armed with little more than a single book and some biographical data that don’t quite add up, Isabel tries to make contact with curmudgeonly loner Dr. Art Jenkins (William Katt), who says he requires a good photograph of John before he’s convinced to drive all the way down from his home in the Arizona ‘burbs. The gang takes a photo of a sleeping John from his bedroom window (yikes) and it is enough ‘proof’ to get Art off his ass and into his shabby little car for the hours-long drive to California.

Note: Art was one of the most skeptical of Johns’ friends in the 2007 movie, so it makes very little sense that he would be the one to write a ‘tell-all’ book about his ‘good friend’ John. If anything, his book would’ve debunked the story, not corroborate it. Little explanation is offered for how and why Art went from angry, hardcore skeptic to true believer. It also makes no sense that he would sign a copy of his book to “my good friend John Oldman.” When did he see John again after their departure? It seemed pretty clear that whenever John moves on, he doesn’t look back.

Lolita-Lite: Tara’s amorous advances are more stupid than seductive. Even a caveman could say “No, thanks.”

Going off to search for her own ‘truth,’ Tara makes a clumsy pass at John in his office, foolishly alerting him to the fact that she “knows” who he really is—which is all John needs to get into his old habit of quickly departing before discovery. Tara tearfully tells her friends that she may have accidentally let slip that they’re onto John, and that he might be trying to leave right now. Isabel realizes they have to act before John flees once again.

Vanessa Williams’ Carolyn learns that her (cave)man John is a ‘club ’em and leave ’em’ type.

Realizing he might be ID’d, John quits his post at the college, greatly upsetting his friend Gil, who was clearly grooming John as his eventual replacement. That night John also breaks the news to Carolyn that he has to leave her, right now, with no explanation. He tries to sooth her broken heart, but to no avail. She is devastated and understandably pissed at John’s callous dumping of her, as she bitterly storms out of the house.

Note: In the 2007 film, John had a twenty something girlfriend named Sandy (Annika Peterson) who went with him at the end of the film. She knew his full story and yet she stayed with him. What happened to her? Did she get hit by a truck? Did she learn some new unsavory detail about John’s 14,000 year past? Did she leave him for a younger (any) man? She is never referenced in the sequel, save for fleeting glimpses (via flashback footage) from the original movie.

The kids quickly go from breaking & entering to kidnapping. I say again, this is the dumbest Scooby gang ever.

Alone in his home, John is met by his inept student stalkers in the driveway, as they awkwardly attempt to convince him not to leave. When he refuses, Liko whips out a taser and stuns him. John collapses and hits his head on a driveway landscaping rock (ouch!). Worried that they’ve killed him, they quickly realize the unconscious professor is still breathing, so they decide to tie him to a chair with duct tape in his garage until he regains consciousness. During the melee, Art calls Isabel’s cellphone and tells her that his car broken down on the highway, about an hour away. This none-too-bright Scooby gang decides to leave Christian fundamentalist-Philip in charge of the Man Who Would Be the King of Kings, while the rest of them go to retrieve Art and bring him down for a positive ID on John.

Note: In a movie filled with “Three’s Company”-style bad ideas, this is one of the worst; Philip clearly has the greatest issues with John reputedly being Jesus, yet he is left in charge of “Him” (?!). And why do all three of the remaining kids have to go and pick up Art? Why not have Isabel and Liko go, leaving Tara to stay with the clearly disturbed Philip? But nope—common sense and this movie remain total strangers.

“Forgive them, Father, they know not—oh, to hell with that. Dad? Get me outta here!”

In the basement of his own home, John awakens with blood streaking down his scalp (he doesn’t heal as fast anymore, either), and the sight of Philip standing nearby with a knife (in very unthreatening-looking khaki shorts). Philip, still having a hard time accepting that John once lived as Jesus waffles between belief and disbelief; one moment asking about the details of John’s life while decrying him as “the Great Deceiver” the next (aka the dreaded “AntiChrist“). John tries desperately to cool the unstable young man’s temperature by asking him ‘what would Jesus do’? When Philip accuses him of spouting “liberal lies” all bets are off, and before John can fully make his case for freedom, the nutty young man plunges a knife into the bound professor’s abdomen. A wide-eyed Philip is horrified to realize he may have just committed homicide, and completely loses his s#!t.

Note: The scene between Philip and the captive John could’ve been the most interesting scene of the movie, as a believer is confronted with the man who might be the very source of his religion. The scene tries to be deep and profound, but is sadly undercut by Sterling Knight’s inconsistent performance as Philip, which alternates between genuine guilt and cliched psychotic tics. And none of this ‘new’ information about John’s time as Jesus is anything we didn’t already infer from the first film. One of the most maddening aspects of this sequel is that we never learn any of the thousands of other identities John might have lived—instead, the movie blows its wad on the Jesus story, feeling at times like a half-baked agnostic answer to one of those dreadful “God Is Not Dead” movies.

Sadly, the return of William Katt as now befuddled, bumbling ex-archeologist Art Jenkins does little for the film. Nor is it ever explained how Art went from fervent skeptic to unabashed believer.

The inept Scooby gang returns with Art, and they discover the house is now a crime scene. John has escaped…his truck is gone, and there is no sign of Philip. Oh, and there’s a trail of blood leading from the basement to the driveway. Either a bleeding John somehow made it to his truck after Philip ran away, or John killed Philip and took the body away in his truck. Either way, it’s never explained.

A few days later we see Art, back at home in Arizona, getting a knock on his door from a mysterious, Men-In-Black style federal agent looking for John Oldman, presumably in connection with the possible abduction/murder of Philip. It turns out John Oldman/Young has been on the government’s radar for awhile. The plot thickens…and then stops.

Note: There is heavy mythology-building in this movie, with an unexplained disappearance of Philip, John’s aging, and even a Man in Black so heavily backlit we never get a clear look at his face. The seeds are clearly being planted for another sequel, but given that it took ten years for this one to materialize? I’m not holding my breath.

Have you seen Holocene? Harry finds a bedraggled, gray-bearded John and offers him a place to stay… if he takes a look at his ailing dad first. Is this series going where I’m afraid it’s going…?

The credits begin, but we cut to a Marvel movie-style mid-credits coda which sees John camping out in what looks like Vasquez Rocks (the popular Star Trek locale). John has a thick, iron-gray beard now (looking more like Moses than Jesus), and we see a car pulling up to his camp in the wilderness. Out of the car steps John’s friend Harry (John Billingsley), who’s received John’s handwritten letter (a terribly outmoded form of communication these days), and he promptly arrives with clothes, food as well as an offer for John to stay at his place. John accepts, but Harry asks his friend for a favor first—his father is dying from cancer, and Harry asks if John would take a look at him. They leave together.

Note: John Billingsley’s presence in the movie is both very welcome and too short, but what most disturbs me about it was Harry asking John to “take a look” at his dying cancer-stricken dad; what is the hope here exactly…? That John might cure Harry’s dad with a healing touch? Has Harry gone full fundamentalist too? Of all the guests in the 2007 film, the flippant Harry seemed healthily agnostic toward John’s story. Now he thinks John can help his dad with super-holistic healing powers? Forgive the blasphemy, but Jeeeezus. This series is starting to look more and more like a bad Kirk Cameron/Dean Cain movie. Yes, the production values in “Holocene” are better than the scrappier, more intimate 2007 movie, but it’s also nearly devoid of that movie’s intelligence and gentle humanism. The extra $100,000 in this film’s budget was clearly spent on video quality and locations—not a better script.

The End.

The Man Who Fell To Earth (hard).

“Holocene” is one of those sequels that should never have been, or perhaps handed off to writers who could’ve kept the late Jerome Bixby’s fragile mythology afloat. Without Jerome Bixby’s grace, Schenkman’s “Scooby Doo” approach to the material falls painfully flat. None of his young characters sound like real college kids; they sound like a middle-aged producer’s imagining of what college-age kids sound like today. Unlike the colorful, eccentric faculty members who populated the first film, these kids are all stereotypes; smart, overachieving Asian girl Isabel (Akemi Look), school slut Tara (Brittany Curran), wisecracking black kid Liko (Carlos Knight) and pasty-faced Christian fundamentalist Philip (Sterling Knight).

These kids are seriously dumb.

It doesn’t help that the young cast play almost everything at sitcom-level. Isabel, Tara, Liko and Philip end up as caricatures, not people. Even a minor mixup of the group’s pedestrian dynamics might’ve been interesting; what if a black girl was the leader of the group? What if an Asian boy was the ‘hip’ one? What if the Christian fundamentalist were Catholic instead of predictably white-bread Protestant? I applaud Schenkman for appearing to strive for diversity, but using his diverse cast as cliched stereotypes retards that ambition.

John has yet another home with a fireplace–because he likes fire from his days as a caveman. Like everything else in “Holocene”, this is nothing new.

With the young cast taking so much of the focus away from John, we learn surprisingly little new about our immortal protagonist in this film, other than he appears to be aging (without explanation of course, like nearly every idea raised in this film). Even John’s heart-to-heart with crazed fundamentalist Philip (as his hostage) tells us nothing new about John’s experiences during his time as ‘Jesus’. We only hear regurgitations of ideas and events which were made perfectly clear in the 2007 film (he likes fireplaces, he moves on every ten years, he lived as Jesus, yada, yada, yada). Everything we see of John in the sequel, other than his unexplained aging, is a reiteration. John, as a character, remains indecipherable.

Art has a nice home but a crappy car… that makes him a ‘failure’ somehow?

The returning character of ‘disgraced’ archeologist Dr. Art Jenkins (William Katt) is supposed to be some kind of disgraced, laughing-stock loser. Yet he lives in a surprisingly nice home for a ‘failure.’ In fact, his lovely two-story house (and pet pig) seems very much at odds with his crappy old car, which fails to make the trek from his desert home in Arizona to California. I get that we’re supposed to buy that John somehow “ruined” Art’s life, but Art doesn’t live like a failure. I would’ve better accepted that Art was a “loser” if we saw him drinking his lunch away in a seedy, rundown apartment somewhere, but nope—he’s got a shiny, two-story desert oasis home and a pet pig. And why would Art autograph a copy of his book to “my good friend John Oldman” if he blames John for ruining his life? And just how did John get Art to sign a copy if they never saw each other again after the first film? These aren’t nitpicks— they’re sloppy screenwriting.

John Billingsley’s Harry (seen here in the 2007 movie) returns to add a much welcome bit of charm to the film’s final moments.

While John Billingsley’s appearance as biologist Harry in the post-credits coda sequence was certainly welcome, it was too little, too late. Schenkman is clearly setting up for a sequel, or perhaps a streaming series, that may (or may not) answer some dangling plot threads, such as whether John is going to die, or if John killed Philip to escape, or if John is off to magically ‘heal’ Harry’s ailing father (I don’t even want to think about how badly that one might go).

After this disappointing sequel, I doubt if the current keepers of Jerome Bixby’s flame can answer any such questions truthfully or satisfyingly. I’d rather see this once-intriguing immortal man saga end without resolution than continue down this plodding road.

COVID-Safe Viewing.

“The Man From Earth: Holocene” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime (free) and YouTube streaming rental/download ($3.99 and up). To my readers, I once again wish you and all of your loved ones good health and strength during the current coronavirus pandemic. The current number of COVID-related deaths in the United States are over 445,000  as of this writing.  Meanwhile, several vaccines have been developed and inoculations have began, but it will take months for mass distribution throughout the population.  Even with vaccines, the overall situation is far from safe; many unknowns remain regarding coronavirus (can may be vaccinated and unwittingly carry or spread coronavirus).  So for the time being, please continue to practice social safe-distancing as often as you can, wear masks in public, and avoid overly crowded outings as much as possible.  Some theaters promise safety for their screenings, but the CDC guidelines currently don’t advise indoor dining or indoor theaters, so please bear that in mind.

Take care and be safe!

Photos: Falling Sky Entertainment.

28 Comments Add yours

  1. tomstitzer says:

    I am so glad you’re at her it all so I don’t have to! It sounds really awful and such a let down from the first. I had gotten through about a half hour and it just felt awful so I set it aside and figured I’d come back another day. After your review however, I don’t think I need to. Best for me to leave it with the nice memory of the first one!

    1. Always glad to help (hehe).
      Take care.

    2. tomstitzer says:

      Oy, autocorrect got me. That should say I’m glad YOU watched it all so I don’t have to.

      1. Autocollect–er, autocorrect, is the bane of my existence. 😉

  2. Sander Roubos says:

    Thanks for an exhaustive review of this clunker, I just watched both movies back to back and was disappointed to see how far the sequel fell short of the original.

    Interestingly in my version the scene with the Man in Black and the one in the desert with Billingsley are reversed; the movie ends with the slightly weird request from Billingsley and the Man in Black shows up in the credits. Totally weird scene if you ask me, framing John as a psycho-murderer is about as far as you can move away from the John from the original movie as you can. Really, really odd.

    As for Art’s inscription: This is made in the book he wrote before John Oldman leaves, Art hands this to him at the start of the original movie. So that works. What IS weird is that John would keep this book as part of his personal possessions, AND display it so prominently in his den. Of course the book is presented as the key to John’s identity as far as the students are concerned so it STILL qualifies as sloppy screenwriting.

    And yes, the scenes with the students breaking and entering were very, very creepy. Bad, bad movie.

    1. The best ideas for Jerome Bixby’s story were all there in the first film; there really was nowhere to go for the sequel, except for the awkward, Scooby-Doo direction that it took with “Man From Holocene.”

      And yes, you’re right about the book; the producer of the movie actually tweeted me over it, and I apologized for my error, but not for my review of the movie; it’s still bad, whether the book bit makes sense or not. Very much agree with you that it’s very sloppy screenwriting.

      I loved the original movie very much, which is what made the sequel all the more frustrating.

      1. Lair says:

        corrections: Leaving Philip with John was not a ‘bad choice’ made by the gang. Philip pretended to call an ambulance and said he would stay, and as the rest were scared of the ramifications, they required little persuasion to leave.
        There is no ambiguity as to ‘what happened to Philip’ as he ran away scared and then John managed to free himself.
        Harry did not want John to heal his father, he simple wanted John to meet him before he died – to pass on wisdom’N’shit.
        Furthermore, if you were 14000 years old you certainly would be murdering for fun as the FBI dude points out – this is perfectly reasonable for the audience to believe. A 14000 year-old mind would be utterly insane..

      2. Or such a person might be beyond violence altogether.

        As for healing Harry’s dad, as I responded earlier, it was heavily implicit.

  3. Denny says:

    I was disappointed in the sequel as well but just wanted to clarify a couple gripes you had about the movie. The signed copy of the book Isabel found was not the book about “John Oldman.” It was one of Art’s other textbooks. She googled Art and that is how she found the book about John Oldman. If you look closely at the books, they have different titles. She also mentions that she is going to purchase the book after she found out online.

    Regarding how Art when from skeptic to believer, I thought it was explained several times that Art was angry and sought out to disprove John but found himself further and further into the rabbit hole when he found out that John scrubbed his online identity, finding out about previous professorships at other colleges with the same physical description but no photo, etc, etc.

    1. Good and valid points.

      I know I should probably revise the review, but that would probably mean having to watch it again, so yeah…it’s okay (hehe).

      I will gladly, happily, merrily accept my readers’ corrections for any mistakes I’ve made.

  4. Bojan says:

    Harry never invited him to heal his dad. Just to talk. Because his dad probably is religious and “want to meet John”. There is absolutely no indications that he wanted to heal his dad…

    1. For me, it’s heavily implicit.
      Viewers’ opinions will vary, of course, but why else would Harry bother to mention this terminally ill father wanting to meet John, a man who may have been Jesus (who, according to those of faith, was able to cure people by his presence)? Or does Harry’s dying father have a deathbed desire to meet all of his son’s former work colleagues…?

      1. Anton says:

        Harry was raised Jewish, as he points out in the first movie. So his dad would probably be too.

      2. That doesn’t mean Harry’s practicing, nor that he believes.

      3. Doug Israel says:

        Harry is Jewish and a sceptic. He did not expect John to heal his father. He just wanted them to meet.

      4. Yes, I realize Harry is Jewish, but’s up to a viewer’s interpreted that he hoped for more.

  5. Jed Taylor says:

    I have just watched this utter mess and felt compelled to search out others whom had been affected by this disaster.
    I don’t think I’ve ever felt genuine anger and frustration after watching a film. I was in absolute disbelief when the credits started to roll!
    The original film is a firm favourite of mine but this sequel really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    1. Couldn’t agree more.

  6. Chris says:

    Hey! Just watched both movies in 2023, thanks for being here! Agreed that the sequel doesn’t even come close to living up to the original, and that focusing on the Jesus thing is basically just pandering.

    I’ll nit your nits though…I assumed the book John has from Art was given to him previous to the fateful night of the first movie, and John added it to his collection of things he takes with him (like the Van Gogh painting). Also, I think you’re misinterpreting Harry’s motivation for asking John to see his dying father. I don’t think the implication was a hope for healing…rather, I think Harry wants his father to meet this extraordinary man, just because he’s extraordinary! He knows John will be comfortable sharing his history to a dying man, and he wants his father to have the chance to question John about…everything!

    Anyway, there’s my two cents. Definitely wish they left well-enough alone and scrapped the sequel completely.

    1. I appreciate your insights, Chris, and you make a great point.

  7. Allyson says:

    So, while I agree with 95 percent of this review, I’m a bit shocked how the author of this article missed a very important piece. To answer your question:
    “And why would Art autograph a copy of his book to “my good friend John Oldman” if he blames John for ruining his life? And just how did John get Art to sign a copy if they never saw each other again after the first film?”

    There’s TWO books. In the beginning of the 2007, Art gave John O. a copy of his book ‘Shadows of the Cave: Parallels to Early Man’. THAT’S the book, with the friendly inscription, that Art gave John O. It was obviously given to him before John told his story and before ‘his life was ruined’. The SECOND book, ‘The Longest Night’ was ordered online by “Velma (of the Scooby gang)” which was never inscribed. That’s where I think you’re confused and assumed Art had to inscribed to John.

    1. Yeah, I missed that one. My bad. Really has no impact on the rest of the review.

  8. Randi says:

    I was enraptured watching the 1st movie. It literally took place in one room and outdoors nearby and yet it just pulled you in and it made you think. The 2nd one in contrast was a bit of a disappointment. I was at least hoping for more of the 1st with some deep dialogue btwn the kids & the professor. Getting those creepy scenes and seeing art driving his car to get there etc etc felt like filler and just spoiled what could have been so much more. As for John taking a look at Harry’s Dad -remember John mentioned when he was “Jesus” the healings he did were simply eastern medicine that was not widely known at the time so perhaps John does have some ideas of how to help Harry’s Dad. In contrast the ending of the 1st with the quick realization that John was the dr son was just a blow to the heart and left you wanting more. There were some good bits but it was just so messy with the college kids and where the story took them.It would be nice to see a reboot of the 2nd movie with a good script. Also could the “agent” have been the other immortal John spoke about in movie 1-and could he be a serial killer going after people left in John’s old life? Could this also have been why John moved around so much staying ahead of that guy? This could have been a good place to take the plot or jive it up a bit…

    1. Agreed, Randi.
      There are a dozen better ideas out there than that ridiculous would-be Scooby Gang kidnapping John for divine answers.

      As for helping Harry’s dad? I’m sure there are many interpretations to that, but to me, it just felt like it was opening the door to some cheesy faith-healing gag. Either way, it felt like it took a sharp right turn from the original film’s (and Jerome Bixby’s) more agnostic ideas.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply, which offers a lot of interesting ideas to consider.

  9. Doug Israel says:

    One correction. The book that was signed “To my Good Friend John Oldman” was not the book aboout John’s story. It was an earlier book about archeology. The Asian student (I forget her name) found it in his book case. She was intrigued that it was made out to someone else and googled the professor and found his last book that ruined him. Obviously John would not have a copy of the book tellin gthe truth about him oin his book case.

    1. Yeah, I realize I missed that one, but that was only one of many other more pressing issues I had with that movie, sadly.

  10. John says:

    god the 2nd movie is so horrible I have to search online to check if others feels the same too

    1. Glad I’m not the only one who was disappointed. The first film was so GOOD, too; kind breaks the heart a bit.

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