Monday, 23 March 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 57 Car 54 Where Are You

A movie featuring a Rosie O’Donnell sex scene has to be high up on the list of movies you just don’t want to see, right? Wrong-o my one way friend. This one is something of a sleeper hit, if you’d be so kind as to pardon the pun. Oh there wasn’t one? I thought there was. In any case, the movie is bearable, and not in any way because of Rosie. Or the thankfully not so racy sex scene he is involved in. It’s bearable and that scares me to my core. Have I gone mad? Determine for yourself, as you watch me convey a few words about..

Toody wakes up from a musical dream in the middle of a riot. It's reasonable. 
Car 54, Where are you? (1994)

One of the first movies on this list I had actually kind of looked forward to. What? You heard me. John C. McGinley? Yes! Fran Drescher? Oh yeah! Rosie O’Donnell? Well ok. Daniel Baldwin? Alright I’m done. Apparently a remake of an early 60s TV show by the same name, this movie was also originally a musical, but someone thought fuck that and edited out all but two musical numbers. Which, I guess, was for the best? It’s hard to really say if the movie would’ve been improved by keeping the music in. I doubt it somehow, but then again weirder shit has been known to happen. Saying I had looked forward to seeing this movie was perhaps a rushed statement, but I will say it looked slightly better than a lot of the other movies on the list. And it turned out to actually kind of be. More on that after the break.

Rosie O'fuckingDonnell. That hair alone should make you want to watch this flick.
So the story here is straight forward and surprisingly coherent in nature. Coherent as in we don’t see too many of the B100 trademark “where the fuck did that come from?” scenes we’re used to. Granted, I was eating during the final 20 minutes of the movie, and once or twice while busy cutting out a sweet juicy bite, I missed a thing or two on screen. I considered rewinding real fast, but thought it might not be worth the effort. Anyway, I’m straying from the point. The movie is about Officer Toody and his new partner Officer Muldoon. Toody is a stupid useless fuck up, and Muldoon is his new by the book partner, that arrives at the precinct with a state of the art computer system that tracks squad cars and other crime fighting related shit that isn’t thoroughly explained and, frankly, nobody gives a fuck about anyway. He’s fresh out of the academy. At first he is all over the place when patrolling, wanting to haul every swinging dick and his great aunt downtown for questioning, but Officer Toody’s ineptitude soon puts a stop to that diligence. So often the case, isn’t it? You start at a new job and are about making a difference, until somebody who’s life force was quenched years ago manage to beat the positivity out of you, and drag you down to the slow and steady pace of the rest of us.

If Rosie's hair didn't do it, this suit should. And John C. McGinley. Seriously. 
Toody and Muldoon soon balance things out, and Toody takes the awkward with women Muldoon on a double date with his wife and the venerable Velma Velour. What Toody fails to tell Muldoon is, that Velour apparently has made her rounds with every officer at the precinct. Muldoon falls in love, and makes a food of himself when he announces this at a staff meeting. But since the feeling is reciprocated by Velour, this sub plot doesn’t really pan out like one could imagine. Much like real life, apparently nobody gives a shit about a new partners past endeavors. Points for realism. Meanwhile, their Captain wants them to safeguard a mafia informant, that the local Don wants killed. During this, Toody decides to go undercover as the hitman Detroit Dan, but his cover is blown when his antsy wife finds him and starts bitching. So much for going undercover in the part of town you reside where everybody knows who you are. Things really heat up in the exciting crescendo, where Muldoon, Toody, his wife and Velour hit Coney Island with gangsters and police in tow. Hilarity ensues. Not a dry seat in the house for this one, my friends.

If Rosie and John didn't make you want to illegally download this movie straight away, because fuck paying money for it right, Adam Baldwin ought to finish you off. 
What do you know, it’s a buddy cop movie. From the mid 90s. Actually this movie came out in the same year as Pulp Fiction. It doesn’t quite hold up like old Pulp F does, but still it carries merit. Certainly more than Plump Fiction ever did. I’ll readily agree that doesn’t take any effort on anybody’s part, but I think you’ll agree with me, that accolades are seldomly found in these reviews. I’m so torn, you guys, between an inherent need to adhere to expectations and tear these movies apart and the weird feeling that I’ve somehow managed to upset my mental equilibrium. How dire the consequences could be? What if I end up liking these movies, singing their praises from here on out? You guys? If I watch Superbabies 2 and my review would garner any less than an R rating, please call 911 and tell them there is a crazy movie reviewer on the loose. Because I will have effectively lost my shit by then, and should probably be relegated to the confines of a padded cell with some sort of restraining garments splashed across my frail but aesthetically pleasing human male frame. When you’ve called 911, lock up your kids and pets and stop the gold fish pond pump from running. Also make sure you stock up on canned peaches. I fucking hate canned peaches. I recently discussed canned peaches with this girl I’ve grown extensively fond of, and she can vouch for the truth in that statement. I really don’t like canned peaches. You may think all this canned peaches talk is terribly interesting albeit irrelevant in a movie reviewing context. If that was a thought in your head, you would be correct. I’ll let it rest, for now, and move on to an item I think you’ll find particularly juicy. Back to you, Tom.

All joking almost aside, let Fran Drescher convince you this is a must see. Just do it. 
Thank you, Dave. Toody is played by David Johansen, and he employs a really annoying voice, for some reason. I never saw the original show, so I can’t say if it’s a tribute or just a shitty decision on the part of the actor/director. The weird thing is, he actually grew on me as the movie progressed. I know, right. What the fuck is happening to me? John C. McGinley I’ve always liked, and while he’s not really very John C. McGinleyee here as the timid Officer Muldoon, he still manages a performance that elevates the quality level of this film substantially. Fran Drescher is a delight, even thought she isn’t really. I don’t know what to make of that. Her sitcom was subpar, and I’ve only really seen her in that princess Sound of Music knock off flick with Timothy Dalton, so I don’t know what I’m basing this affection on. But there is an affection. Daniel Baldwin looks like a mix between Alec and Stephen here, and while I’m not a fan of this dude at all, as the least cool Baldwin brother, even his performance doesn’t make me want to hurt somebody. The last two known faces are Jeremy Piven and Rosie O’Donnell respectively, and I have to admit Piven made me chuckle twice and while O’Donnell was so 90s I almost passed out, her deliberately annoying performance kind of fit. It’s the weirdest feeling, you guys, but I actually didn’t hate this movie.

This is the system John C has installed. It's showing cop car locations possibly? They are converging on the same important location it seems. 
Yes it was kind of stupid, and corny, but surprisingly easy to follow. And I know it’s oxymoronic really, because these movies are so simple in their structure, that they are actually hard to follow, if by follow you mean make perfect sense of. This film didn’t seem to take itself too seriously. Even though some higher up decided it needed to be more serious and cut the musical vibe, it was light hearted. There were 3 moments where I actually genuinely chuckled at… well I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I chuckled at a joke, but a few things were delivered in a way that I kind of thought was amusing. I think that may very well be a first for these reviews. Actually chuckling at the movie in a non mocking way. This scares me, because I can’t tell if I’m completely desensitized now, and the B100 movies will become funnier and better to me, or if this particular film doesn’t really deserve the spot it has on the list. I don’t think I’d go so far as to say I liked the movie, but it was definitely better than the others I’ve seen on this list. Alright so it doesn’t take much to rise above the crowd here, but remember I started with the ‘best’ movie on the list: Troll 2. And I absolutely fucking hated every mindnumbingly shitflingingly crotchpunchingly pointless second of that one. It was supposed to get worse after that. And while I will concede that there have been some absolute shitstorms on the list thus far, I think I’ll still go ahead and say Troll 2 takes the cake for me. Car 54 is a shoddy flick, but it’s not B100 crappy.

Toody goes undercover disguised as a slightly stupider looking version of himself. This picture doesn't do the gag justice, because the lady changes clothing four times as she leads him through underground tunnels. Actually I didn't get that gag. 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 58 Santa with Muscles

Christmas spent with Hulk Hogan in a sleeveless Santa outfit could just as well be the epitome of holiday feel good to me. As it happens, it is not. After viewing today’s entry, I understand why. Boosted in a very small way by a happy looking young Mila Kunis only to again be drug back down by the always annoying looking Clint Howard, this movie only manages to move past vomit inducing annoyance into the, for movies on this list, coveted ‘bearable watch on a hungover lazy Sunday afternoon’ bracket. It doesn’t make it good, but that is kind of why we are here. So move your eyes over the following picture, and feast upon the review of the Christmas movie…
Totally believable Santa. Jolly smile and fluffy white hair. 
Santa. With Muscles. I think you need to just lean back in your chair, and let that concept sink in. Then ask yourself: could this movie have been made without Hulk Hogan. After that, try to consider why somebody ever figured Hulk Hogan should be in movies. Even try and comprehend why Hulk Hogan thought it. I was never a huge wrestling fan, but I am obviously aware of Hulk’s fame. I don’t know exactly when his reign was at its highest, but I’m assuming early to mid-90s were his prime, since most movies featuring him are from that period. And him being a big name meant somebody thought they could cash in on that name. Sadly everybody forgot to consider the simple fact, that Hulk can’t act and that wrestlers acting like their wrestling personas in movies never ever do well. It’s one of the golden rules of C-list movies.
Hulk sneaks up on his own mansion. I'm not sure what the point of this exercise is. Perhaps to test his crew's anti-theft routines?
The plot of this movie is fairly formulaic. Local orphanage is targeted by evil dude with nefarious purpose and a crew of inept but well meaning henchmen. Hulk plays a Dickensian rich douchy Scrooge like guy, whose purpose in life is making body building supplements and being a general idiot who fights his staff for fun. We open with a cute little orphan girl reading her letter to Santa aloud, complete with sugary voice and golden locks. She needs help, urgently. And since Santa gives presents, surely he can also save their orphanage. The science checks out. Santa doesn’t show, but luckily for her, Hulk is out being stupid, and after dressing in a Santa suit to escape his police followers, then hits his head when falling down a garbage chute at the local mall. Upon waking up, he has lost all memory of who he is, but naturally assumes he is actually Santa. Because suit. It’s a no brainer. As luck would have it, the mall happens to need a Santa, and Hulk is only too happy to oblige. Best as he promises kids whatever they ask for, two thugs decide a crowded mall during Christmas shopping is the perfect time to rob the donation bucket from the orphanage's stand. This is sound judgment. Hulk isn’t having it though, and decides to kick some ass. Thug life just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Now a local hero, he visits the orphanage where the little golden haired girl is excited that her Santa prayers were Santa answered. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Look everybody. It's Mila Kunis and That Kid. That Kid looks like his acting - bemused and despair inducing. 
Hulk, having nowhere else to go, bunks up in the orphanage. They have placed kids left and right, apparently, and only three are left, so there are plenty of bunk beds for Hulk to crash in. This also enables him to protect the orphanage from the pressure of Mr. Evil and his Goonies, with kicks and punches. There is some back and forth, and I believe they even managed to toss in a montage. Montages are important in the B100niverse. They take up time with minimal effort, just the way we like it. The orphanage is located in an old church, and Hulk is dramatically tossed out of the clocktower after a kerfuffle with some baddies, and lands in a garbage truck. This restores his memory to his old self, and he wakes up in his old house, confused as fuck. Now we have quite a predicament, because he doesn’t remember being Santa and Mr. Evil is going for the orphanage in a big fucking way now. With no Santa Hulk to defend their honor, they are pretty much up shit creek only they seem to have mislaid their paddles. Of course it all gets wrapped up rather nicely in the end, when the now reformed Hulk finds out he was formerly a kid at the orphanage, and vows to protect it at all costs. Binga Bango Bongo, Hulk deals with the terrorist threat, blows up an orphanage (collateral damage) and saves Christmas. Hell, he could be the Tea Party's presidential candidate.
I wanted to write something about Clint Howard in the review, but I dislike him so much, I couldn't make myself, because it would've turned ugly. 
Whether Hulk Hogan has ever been in a movie that didn’t immediately trebuchet your mind down the Bottom 100 lane is something for historians to ponder over the next millennia. I’m not a betting man, but if you were to hand me a thousand dollar note (yes they exist) and force me, at gunpoint, to place a wager on whether he had or not, I'd probably have to go with not. I believe I mentioned, that I am not a wrestling fan. I remember as a kid I watched some, and while sweaty seemingly angry men beating each other up in a cartoonish fashion bore certain amounts of hilarity to my purile mind, I questioned the validity even at that point. When an 8 year old kid questions reality, you know things are not all good. So I only really know Hulk from my vast, albeit broad, knowledge of pup culture. He is perhaps the 'greatest' (that's right... quotations) wrestler of all time, possibly only surpassed by the, in my opinion, far more characteristic and talented Dwayne Ze Rock Johnson. So when I see Hulk in these movies, I can't draw on a childhood warm fuzzy feeling of admiration for a character essentially famous for having the best wrestling pre-game smack talk. Also I just wasted a whole paragraph just on dissing Hulk Hogan. And I didn't even touch upon his reality TV stint.

Me: 1 – Hulk: 0.
The outfits are the real punishment. 
There are a few well known faces in this flick, besides the Hulkster. Mila Kunis, I believe I mentioned. Mila 'Married Ashton Kutcher for some fucked up reason' Kunis. Mila... what is there even to say about her. She is a star now, but we all have to start somewhere. I'm not sure what can safely be said to have been her 'break' but one thing I know for sure is, it wasn't Santa with Muscles. She turns in a passable performance as ridiculously cute and unbelievably still left unadopted girl at the orphanage. I mean, don't get me wrong. Perhaps she was a conniving little fucker, but I have the hardest time believing Mila wouldn't be adopted right off the bat. People would walk in, look at one kid, then Mila and go 'YOU HAD ME AT HELLO!'. Anyway, besides her, we have the pleasure of that kid. Yes, that kid. The one you've seen in a trillion things. One of those kids, that literally had a bit part in like 50 flicks and looked identical in each one, making me once again question reality, because how the hell can he squeeze in so much work in so little time OR manage to look exactly the same for years and years. I mean kids grow, don't they? I thought they did. I'll refrain from posting his name here, out of respect. Also because I'm typing this on a train without internet, and I literally can't be assed to look it up on my phone. You deserve better than me, you really do. Sadly for you, you are stuck with me.
The crystal cave fucks shit up. Thanks a lot Mr. Evil. You ruined another perfectly good orphanage. 
Santa with Muscles is, like I've touched upon, a Christmas movie. It doesn't really have much in terms of Christmas messages bar the usual be kind to people bullshit. I'm all for being kind to others, but Hulk kind of makes me want to kick and scream. His mustache alone gets me riled up. And not in a good way. The goal of the bad guys in this flick are vast caves underneath the orphanage, containing crystals that, I think, generate electricity? I'm unclear on this, because I had literally lost interest at this point. There were crystals in the cave, and somebody touched them and made the patented 'I'm experiencing electrical shock in a movie' spastic body movements. Can't they come up with something new? The comedic effect of this trope wore off in the early 80s. Why Mr. Evil didn't just alert the orphanage to the magnificence of the crystal cave, and offer to help monetize it I don't know. The three kids seemed to know about it, but didn't say anything. Or perhaps everybody knew but didn't understand how to turn a profit. Perhaps they knew how to turn a profit, but couldn't open the last door? Come to think of it, this movie was pretty much too complicated for me to follow. Remember when I said you deserved better than me? I need my girl by my side when I watch movies like this. She calms my mind and I see things so much clearer. If she reads this, she should know that she is needed. Dearly! If not for me, then for the hungry readers.
Seriously though. Santa with fucking muscles. This outfit just isn't OK. Not even for daytime television.

Friday, 27 February 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 59 Leonard Part 6

An international spy organization run by vegetarians, mind controlled animals, ridiculous outfits and irony that didn't become apparent until nearly 30 years after it's release. Those are but a few elements in this bodacious piece of cinema, that brings us a newcomer to this blog – a man not usually associated with action movies, if we can safely classify this as such. We probably can't, because whatever 'action' takes place is remarkably tame and laughable. The parts that are supposed to be laughable, however, are not. Oh fuck it, let's just get to it. The movie we are looking at is...

This motherfucking happened. I'm completely confounded by this actually happening. 

Leonard Part 6 (1987)

Bill Cosby, my friends. Let that concept sink in for a second. Until 2014, that name would almost exclusively conjure up images of a respectable elderly black comedian with a PhD in teaching (little known fact) who children of the 80s grew up with as the tried and tested but affably hilarious Dr. Huxtable on the Cosby Show. Of course, as most of you probably know, that image has been diminished greatly by no less than 13 counts of sexual assault by various females. I have no idea if any of that is true or not, and it doesn't really matter. However, I was amused by the weird way in which life sometimes makes things come full circle, something I'll get back to shortly. First, let us once again consider the fact, that Bill Cosby plays a suave spy, in a movie so rich in food thematics I'm not sure what to make of it. But I'll try to figure that out over the course of the next so and so paragraphs, so bear with me.

As far as I'm concerned, this is how a successful date is supposed to end.

Cosby plays Leonard (the part 6 thing isn't really explained, and I'm afraid I can wager precisely zero guesses as to it's meaning) a spy who retired because the spy business was ruining his marriage. His marriage was ruined anyway, because despite him having retired, his wife still left him. The movie hs set 7 years after that, and yet he still asks his butler daily if she called. Because if she didn't the previous 6 years, chances are good she might have in the 7th. So it's safe to say, Leonard hasn't gotten over her. The CIA wants Leonard to come back into service, because an evil vegetarian terrorist threat has risen, and as a maitre'd at a fancy restaurant Leonard is the one and only man who can handle that kind of seriousness. This premise is ludicrous at best. I shouldn't be surprised really, but the movie seems to be relatively high in production value for an 80s flick, so it's too bad they flaked on script. The vegetarians kill by mind controlling animals, mostly small rodents, and having them nibble people to death. Presumably because it's easier to handle rabbits on a movie set than lions and rhinos. At least moderately easier. It's classic vegetarianism. Those people are just hellbent on world domination.

The Oracle goes batshit and wants to take over the world. With mind controlled animals

While that whole thing is unfolding, we are treated to a subplot in which Leonard's daughter, who drifts between fads, wants to marry a producer in the theater production she is a part of, who is like 50 years her senior. It gets kind meta at this point, with some highly awkward scenes between Leonard as the concerned but aloof dad, his scantily clad daughter and a very effeminate old producer dude. Furthermore, Leonard manages to set up a date with his wife, during which she pours various types of food over his head. Both are calm and collected, and there is a weird detachment to the whole routine that I can't quite figure out what to make of. She is pissed, obviously, because he let his career ruin their marriage, but so subdued, it's hard to imagine she really gives a shit. Leonard contemplates the dilemma of taking on another mission, thus estranging his wife further, and letting the world be destroyed by evil vegetable eaters. It's a toss up. But it's settled when his wife is kidnapped. Or daughter perhaps. Would you know, I just can't remember at this point. Leonard gears the fuck up and goes after the terrorists in their hide out, which is some kind of processing factory. Hilarity doesn't ensue, but mayhem does and it concludes with Leonard riding a fucking austrich. Yes. That happened.

Why his helmet says ipso facto, I have tried for 4 weeks to figure out. 

Food is obviously a major theme here. I don't know why it's a major theme, because besides being involved in almost every scene in some form, it doesn't really play a major role, except the inherent fun in throwing or pouring food over people. Why the terrorists are vegetarians as their only defining characteristic, and what their purpose really is besides 'kill meateaters' never becomes apparent. Perhaps that's for the best, because whatever explanation they could come up with would surely take away from what little premise this movie has. Still, it strikes me as odd that you'd involve food in this degree, without at least trying to tie together the plot elements to achieve some form of coherence. It's like the first half of the movie tries to set up some kind of reason for the second part to exist, but it doesn't. Leonard and his wife end up together, and his daughter is saved. Whoop de doo. We were never invested in any of it to begin with. And the daughter/producer subplot isn't really resolved. I guess Leonard saving the world from evil food themed terrorists was enough to convince his ex-wife that he wasn't just a deadbeat secret agent.

Love knows no boundaries, but I think I understand why Leonard is disconcerted by this pimp looking dude.

Despite how thin that plot really is, surprisingly the movie kind of seems to make sense as you watch it. It's boring and clearly pointless, yet somehow things are strung together in a way where the scene transitions make somewhat sense. Granted, the bar is low compared to the previous 40 or so entrants on this list, but that's something too I guess. What happens in those scenes makes no sense, obviously, but it's sequential and without too many strays off the beaten path. It's a little sad, when scenes being sequential is the best thing in a movie, but these flicks are on this list for a reason after all. Like I mentioned, the production value of this film seems relatively high. Cosby was a household name when it was made, and obviously it was made to try and make some coin off of this fact. He plays the role of Leonard very much in the style of his trademark role of Cliff Huxtable – father type figure, bemused by his daughter's antics, who just wants to be left alone by the world. It's all very subdued. The CIA consists of a board of weirdos in a darkened room, pleading with Leonard to come back for his standard fee of a million or 6 million or something. Classic CIA.

More food shenanigans? What is the deal here? Are they pro or con vegetarians? Food waste is a problem. I don't understand. 

We see a B100 familiar face heading up the CIA in this one. Joe Don Baker, who keen readers will remember only too well from my review of Mitchell – the 70s hard boiled cop caper featuring the always bearable Linda Evans. He's back for seconds, and while it's only in a minor role, we get another glimpse at just why he's chosen for these projects. Cosby is a newcomer, and while I don't think his acting career outside of his own sitcoms ever really took off, he isn't really that bad here. It's not a lot to work with, granted, and he doesn't do much with it. He's not believable as a secret agent or government operative in any way shape or form, but he's just Cosby, and that's pretty believable. So he's got that going for him. Leading the terrorist organization is a face I was slightly familiar with. It took me a few moments, but then I recognized her as the Oracle from the first two Matrix movies. She looked a lot better in the 80s, but then so did I probably so I shouldn't point fingers really. Again, there isn't much to work with in terms of character development here, and the motive of the terrorists isn't ever really explained. But she goes at it with gusto, portraying a deranged vegetarian who is fed up with the shit of all us carnivores out there. It's time to turn the animals on us, and make scarce humanity. To what end nobody knows. Perhaps she just wants to ride the roller coasters without having to standing in line.

I don't know much. But I do know, that this isn't something that ought to exist. I've seen it. And now so have you. I make no apologies. 

So the meta value of this film is kind of weird. I'm not one to raise sociopolitical issues in my reviews. This is entertainment afterall. I did find it kind of peculiar, that the allegations against Cosby seem to mirror some of the shit that goes on in Leonard Part 6. His daughter in this movie is heavily sexualized, for no apparent reason, and wants to date a 50 year older dude. Leonard sort of raises the question whether or not he is forcing the daughter or not. It's not really treated or discussed much, it's just a subtext that I can't figure out why was included. It would make sense, if they took it somewhere. They don't. Cosby is now in the same situation in real life, with abuse accusations raised left and right. I wonder if his legal council reviewed this movie for pointers. Or if they just watched it for the striking performances. Whatever the case may be, it's grounds for serious reflection, I think. Which is what I feel this review sort of accomplished. Didn't it? It did.