1985 / Director. Simon Wincer.
Here's another gem from my youth. It came at a time when family films were are their best. The 80s (more specifically the mid-80s) brought us a quality of family film that no other era has. At a moment in time when computer technology was only just being realised, a whole heap of movies came along with a sense of awe and wonder. Some of them forecast a better future, while others predicted the decline of mankind. Project X, Wargames, Short Circuit, Flight of the Navigator, Electric Dreams, The Last Starfighter, Weird Science... I could go on forever. Amongst them was DARYL starring Barret Oliver, a movie about a juvenile humanoid. With a completely organic body of flesh & bone, he was created by military scientists from a test tube and has a computer in place of a brain. As he ages, his human condition strengthens and thus be becomes a liability for the military and must be destroyed. In the meantime DARYL escaped the military compound and has found refuge with a loving all-American family who show him unconditional love. Of course this movie has its cheesy moments and the narrative is contrived and predictable, but it's impossible to resist. Barret Oliver is wonderful in the lead and Michael McKean brings a sincerity to the screen that he's rarely given the opportunity to explore. The film was Aussie director Simon Wincer's first American project and he stepped up confidently. DARYL was poorly received back in 1985, which was no doubt due to so many of these family-friendly sci-fi movies flooding the market. It's certainly not the best of them but it's charming, well intended and thoroughly enjoyable for all ages. Add some great dialogue and a fantastic performance by Danny Corkill, the 10 year old actor playing DARYL's best friend, Turtle. Thank God for the 80s. Hollywood have forgotten how to make movies like this.