THE PIRATE MOVIE (1982)

Who else had the desire to see this today? Just me then?

Given the absolute magic that was Xanadu and The Apple its understandable the appeal to create fantastical ’80s musicals meshing fashion and sound, cartoon humor with knowing winks to the audience. So some filmmakers in Australia decided to try their hand at something everyone in the 80s was begging for – a big splashy rendition of the Pirates of Penzance.

The obvious observation out of the gate is giving this film the award for laziest title ever.  We couldn’t name it Pirates of Penzance?  How did that producers meeting go?

Producer 1: Its called Pirates of Penzance and its a musical. People like both of those things, right?

Producer 2: People won’t know what they’re getting! We need to give it a more hip, more contemporary title! We’re calling it The Pirate Movie until we think of something else.”

At this point in my blog I give a quick recap of the plot. To this one, I say, if you have to ask, then this movie just isn’t for you.  You walk in blind and let it dress your brain up in ruffles.

How much sense does this movie make? Absolutely none. None at all.

I had to link the 80s-tastic opening credits. Somewhere Gilbert and Sullivan are shaking their heads and saying, “Don’t put our names on this.”

 

The film doesn’t try for seriousness, in fact it tries for lightheartedness in the way that surgeons try to save patients lives after near fatal car accidents.   Basically, if you’re not making a goofy face on frame, then you’re not doing your job…

“Okay, we wanted this scene to show you’ve got muscles, but how will the audience know we’re being funny?”

Maybe its just this movie was made in a different time, but there was some weirdly sexual scenes included that were played up for laughs.  The ’80s synth music just made it more upsetting.
 The scenes start out innocently enough…

But what you’re missing is the weird grunty sex noises Kristy McNichol makes while Pirate John Tesh flexes his muscles.

This scene also got the Ick Medal…

(shifts uncomfortably, looks down at phone….)

“We’ve got a big goofy song and dance number going on…but the audience might not understand its funny. Get me a silly face!”

This is our villain. He’s hilarious. At least according to the director who kept making him do these faces. Espescially during song and dance numbers.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “So much dignity left at the door. How low could they go?”

Oh, they went low. Low, like the bottom of the sea.

Literally.

Kristy McNichol sings a song called “Pumpin’ and Blowin…”

…while the guy from Blue Lagoon did a weird awkward dance with animated fish.

No one asked for this, but they gave it to us anyway.

(shifts uncomfortably in my chair, stares at phone)

“Chris, this scene is funny and all but you know what would take it to the next level? Make that funny face!”

I guess an important part of the plot is that our hero can’t go out on his own and be independent from the Pirates of Penzance because he was born on a leap year and is therefore only 5 years old. I’ve filed this story twist away in THINGS TO NEVER USE IN A SCRIPT.

There’s a lot of music that is used in this. Some of it is from the original opera, some of it from a songwriter based in LA that had a “lost weekend*” style writing session when coming up with these songs.

*This infers that there’s a songwriter who did a lot of illegal substances in hopes of touching the mind of God while creating these songs. This is never the way to do it.

During this 90 minute music video, there was a music video that had this romantic montage…

…with scenes that couldn’t have possibly happened, because there was no time in this film’s timeline. Perhaps I am a stickler for the rules of space and time.

“Kristy, you clearly understand the hilarious undertones of hiding out in a knight costume are all dependent on your goofy face. You’ll have to teach Chris…”

Have you discovered your movie is funny, but could be funnier? Gather together the largest group of Keystone Cops possible and watch things really take off.

This is not photoshop. During a swordfight, our hero picks up a lightsaber and waved it around. Clearly our movie was not expecting people to sit this far into it.

The big finale was a high school production of Pirates of Penzance set in one of the chaperone’s yard.

People are playing along, but you can tell everyone who went to Julliard in this lineup is regretting everything espescially not going to that networking meeting where all those Broadway producers showed up.

But none of this matters. You know why?

Because it was all a dream.

OR WAS IT?

Happy endings all around.

And well done to the casting directors who picked the love interests to look like fraternal twins.
(uncomfortably shifts, stares at phone when realizes the implications of that reality).

 

For Your Consideration: BMX BANDITS (1983)

This movie has everything you could possibly want – that is, if your list of heart’s desires only includes BMX bikes, Australia and Nicole Kidman. And if that was your list, this might possibly explain why you didn’t enjoy Moulin Rouge. Because something very important was missing. I’ll let you figure out what it was.

The plot synopsis – three teens, one of which being a rosy cheeked Nicole,  thwart a bank robbery using their bikes.  Also, there’s walkie talkies – a box full of walkie talkies. And they’re AMAZING. Like, if you lose your walkie talkie, there’s just no getting it back. And if you do find out who stole it, then you just committed yourself to a thirty minute BMX chase across suburban Australia.

Quentin Tarantino called this Australia’s Goonies.  According to the DVD box anyway.

Or so I learned from this movie.  Let’s begin….

 

Its common knowledge that in order to gain acceptance as a legitimate sport, you need a movie about it.  Karate has the Karate Kid, archery has The Hunger Games. BMX has this. I can’t wait to see what exciting story curling has up its stony sleeves.

The movie opened with a bank heist and followed the tradition of having its participants wear creepy masks like in The Town and The Dark Knight…

 What those movies realized is that in order to have a tense and exciting heist scene, there needs to be some dignity to it.
I’ve only added this still because that’s probably the most awesome boat I’ve ever seen.
If you ever doubted just how tall Nicole Kidman is, here’s proof of how tiny she makes a grocery cart. Or grocery carts in Australia are just smaller than what we’re used to.

This movie’s thing was these odd sorts of angles. Like what it might be like to see the movie from the bike or a earthworm’s point of view. Frankly, I think this makes us all better people.

The movie’s plotline revolves around teenagers finding a box full of walkie talkies that belong to the bad guys.  The bad guys will want these back and are prepared to give chase over them.  I’m assuming there are no Radio Shacks in Australia.

 “Did I tell you I was in a little movie called BMX Bandits? Had a scene with Nicole Kidman where I showed her a carton of milk…”
Just my imagining the guy in the pink shirt’s conversation with a date from Match.com.
What I enjoy about the villain’s briefcase is that while it’s filled with your cliche’d stack of money, its also got his pens, business cards and documents so neatly organized. Does he have a day job as an insurance agent or was this a different age of the criminal mastermind?
 Whatever you do, don’t lose the boss’ walkie talkie. Because they’re super hard to find.
This kid has been destined to be the doughy comedic center to every film pastry.
They have him stripes and overalls and everything….
I’m sorry, kid. Life is going to be very cruel to you, but at least you made some people smile during a late night viewing of BMX Bandits.
I’d just like to point out that at some point in the story, three teens walked into a custom tshirt printing shop and had matching BMX BANDITS shirts made. That’ll make it harder for the bad guys to find you.
What happens next is probably the most exhausting long and pointless chase scene…
 Don’t forget, there’s walkie talkies involved.  It’s serious now.
Also boats. Because you can’t ride a bike on water?

I’m going to spare the twenty minutes that was spent in the mini mall….

And where we watched the chase from the car’s perspective…

 

…and cut straight to the part where they bike through a water slide.
And this kid mugged his way down it.

It ends with a guy getting a pie in the face.

Brace yourselves, readers.  There is a big stupid ending coming….

Our heroes round up some fellow BMX casual bandits…

…and everyone gets really excited….

 

And they fight the bad guys by dumping flour and foam everywhere.

They also took a break from the four notes that were being played with repetition with a cheap Casio, to insert some wacky ragtime cartoon music.

Needless to say, the bad guys learned some pretty good life lessons today, thanks to BMX bandits everywhere.

And now with no more distractions, lets get back to the real reason we’re watching this movie….

Never ending BMX action.

Seriously, it’s not ending.

But there’s this helpful advice from the filmmakers. No word on whether or not walkie talkies are safe to use.
That’s not what I left this movie with….
I just want to know if it got better for this kid.