Fateful Findings (2013)

Every now and then I come across a movie that’s so bad I have to see it again.

Enter Fateful Findings.

Here’s a little background on this film, in case you don’t know anything about it. Like all great cinema, this was written, directed, produced and stars Neil Breen.  Who’s Neil Breen? For starters, there this:

 Is there anything this guy can’t do?

This is not his first movie. Its his THIRD. What’s the plot, you ask? That’s a great question. Its one I’d like to know myself.  But I’ll try to sort through it. There’s Neil Breen and his a writer who throws books, he’s hacking into government secrets and he’s responsible for a lot of deaths. Also women really want him. Like, bad.

We open with   this boy and a girl, and they find a magic mushroom.

She takes an entire page to write “Its a Magical Day!” in graceful, adult like cursive not often seen in the hands of a child, just to commemorate that they found a mushroom in the woods. Then the boy moves and everyone’s just awkwardly sad. CUT TO:

We meet our hero, Neil Breen:

Like most cinematic multi-talented wunderkinds, this man has chosen to embrace every hard angle on his face and make us love it just as much as he does.  So many ill-framed tight close ups that corner you with the face of Neil Breen.

The movie really gets started when he’s hit by a Rolls Royce in what’s probably the best scene ever made of someone getting hit by a car:

You can watch it twenty times and still not get enough of it.

Its at this point where the plot of the movie goes from “I think I get this” to  “Your guess is as good as mine.”

While in the hospital, he’s visited by a spirit in Sears slacks and wingtip shoes. He’s revived, gets up, still wearing his hospital gown, giving us at home a tasty tease of his backside and walks home.

Yep, because hospitals are find with you wandering out of the facility barefoot, hospital gowned and dripping blood. 
He goes home and gets in the shower complete with bandaged head. I’d like to point out the doctor’s failing to properly tend to a headwound as he was due for a fresh one hours ago. I blame Obamacare.
His wife, a tall lady with an indeterminate European accent gets in with him and they do this weird slow dance. I’ve really learned nothing about the plot based on this. Just like to point out its probably the oddest thing put to film. 
Wives, if you care about your husbands at all, you will take him back to the hospital as he is clearly not well. But this is the world according to Neil Breen. We’re just living in it.
You can’t hold a good Neil Breen down. He’s back to the grind of his every day life, which is apparently a best selling author.
There’s a lot of this movie that was shot in this tiny office. He’s on the phone a lot where he doesn’t talk so much shout a lot.  Please not there are at least three laptops placed in the most inconvenient places possible. I have no idea how he gets anything done. 
Maybe its the head injury…
But he’s getting visited by the ghost who wears sensible suiting separates and gets handed revelations.  I think. We also got treated to a scene of naked Neil in a room covered in garbage bags.  I’m sure it meant something.

Once he’s revived, he decides he has no need for his pain meds and he’s done being a best selling author.  This opens to many many scenes of him throwing books at his laptops that he’s clearly not using.
“NO MORE BOOKS!” he cries. I feel a tingle down my spine as I watch a man become the superhero we’ve all been asking for.
His wife on the other hand has decided to get herself an old fashioned addiction to pain meds and helps herself to Neil Breen’s. There was a scene where she pulled them out of the toilet. Its not many people who will kick off an addiction at the bottom, but again, this is Neil Breen’s world.
He tells his wife that he’s now pursuing hacking into government secrets. No other specifics other than that. Maybe its the meds but she takes this news rather well. She complains about her job at the bank and we’re all very riveted by this domestic drama.
When Neil isn’t hacking into government secrets (his words, not mine) he’s going to a therapist who makes him talk about his deepest feelings in a large corporate boardroom.  Its an interesting form of therapy, but if that’s where you find comfort, then who am I to judge?
Because he wasn’t sure that his wife got it the first time, Neil explains to her that he’s hacked into government secrets and also she needs to get off the pills. She needs them, for her job at the bank.  I’ve never worked at a bank, so I’m going to assume its just non stop stress.
She is a little bit concerned about her husband’s mindset, so she slurs on the phone about it. 
He’s a man tortured – with the choice to buy too many laptops.
Not that it matters, but there’s a subplot with the neighbors – a husband and wife who don’t love each other anymore. He drinks, she also takes a lot of pills and blames her work at the bank (Who knew?) They also have a teenage daughter who has a thing for Neil Breen.
And when you think about it, I mean, yeah. Makes sense.
He wanted to hear about her project on elephants, which is a total panty dropper.
Remember that girl at the beginning? Well, she’s a super hot doctor who has not aged a day past 26 and she shows up to a poolside BBQ and gets a faceful of Neil Breen.
He’s been in love with her since he was eight. 
And because he’s the hero in this story, he takes her into the woods to look at more mushrooms, have sex under a tree and find real happiness.  His wife is at home committing suicide with prescription pills.  
So naturally, Hot Doctor moves in and thinks everything Neil Breen does is great.
And the neighbor brutally murders her husband. Its not really all that important. 
What IS important is that Neil Breen has been called for something higher. After all, its been a week and that’s enough time to get over the death of your wife and your next door neighboor’s murder.
So he goes into the desert and stares at stuff for awhile.
He’s done enough hacking so now its time to get everyone’s attention.
He makes a rousing speech that spurs people to cheers and higher level suicides. He also does it in front of important buildings and not in front of a green screen if that’s what you’re thinking.
We watch people kill themselves and then Neil Breen and his hot doctor ladyfriend wander off into the desert. We’re assuming they’re feeling great about their life choices.
With that being said, I’m going to watch this movie again.
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DOLLS (1987)

Its another Halloween – lets find something that tries so hard to chill the inner workings of our soul and fails on every level. So we’re going to talk about the movie Dolls.

You should know this movie holds a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Whaaaaaaaat?!?!?!

Our story involves six people stranded in a creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere  (so far, our story wins originality points). There’s a little girl and her love withholding father and mother,  and two Madonna clones.

Parents, if your child isn’t getting the love and attention they need from home, they will look for it in creepy dolls. Its science.

They end up in the quaintly creepy home of an elderly couple who makes dolls and seems a wee bit too attached to them but still the best example of parenting you’re going to get in this film.

So cruel and uncaring parents have made Judy give up their teddy bear, but Judy gets something waaaaay better – this Punch doll. FACT – Punch dolls are twice as cuddly as teddy bears and kids just can’t get enough of Punch’s violent tendencies.

As you can guess, its a night of terror, with people being picked off. First to go is the Desperately Seeking Susans…

After watching these two try to steal from the elderly couple, and then get beaten up…

…and shot by a firing squad, its not a bad idea to have killer dolls as your house security system.  Lets see that pitch on Shark Tank.

Next up is the cruel mother. The dolls looked for a heart and couldn’t find one. So they attacked her post-shower and sent her out the window. Here’s where I’m really impressed with these killers. No laziness here – they actually bring the body back (cleaned up the mess) and put it back in the bedroom.

Dad runs into the same character flaw that most horror movie characters do. He’s unloving and insensitive  but incredibly bland. Espescially when it comes to the fact there’s a chance homicidal dolls are out for blood.

They’re also the spirits of others, but whatevs. Shrug it off.

As you can imagine, things get a little out of hand.

I used to work at a toy store where we had a whole wall full of Madame Alexander dolls. There is no difference between them and what I just watched.

NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL.

And to the surprise of no one, Punch turns on Judy. There’s a big fight that involves human adults fighting off tiny dolls. Its stupider than it sounds. Also, there’s a lesson…

Its a very serious lesson and if you’re not paying attention you’ll miss its subtleness.

The kindly old people explain they have guests over all the time. But they put their guests through a test  to see if you respect childhood and are pure of heart – if you fail, you’re dismembered by a doll. Sort of like Willy Wonka’s less socially acceptable brother.

And we end with another group of terrible people coming to stay at the Doll house ignoring, what I’m assuming is its many negative Yelp reviews.

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CYBORG 2 (1993)

I had heard of Cyborg, the quiet underappreciated performance of Jean Claude Van Damme. I had NOT heard of Cyborg 2, which is beyond me given that Angelina Jolie stars in it. Why doesn’t she talk about it?

Oh, there’s a reason. A big stinky messy reason why….

The good news about Cyborg 2 is that you can watch it without having seen Cyborg. That’s right – the rare sequel that shrugs when you ask about the plot or the Cyborg canon. It doesn’t matter. Cue it up…

JCVD doesn’t mind at all

Since I can’t give a simple explanation of the plot, I’ll let Wikipedia do the work for me….

“In the year 2074, the cybernetics market is dominated by two rival companies: USA’s Pinwheel Robotics and Japan’s Kobayashi Electronics. Cyborgs are commonplace, used for anything from soldiers to prostitutes.
Casella Reese is a prototype cyborg developed for corporate espionage and assassination. She is filled with a liquid explosive called Glass Shadow. Pinwheel plans to eliminate the entire Kobayashi board of directors by using Casella.
Casella is programmed to mimic human senses and emotions such as fear, love, pain and hate. Guided by the renegade prototype cyborg Mercy, who can communicate through any electronic device, she and her combat trainer Colton Ricks escape the Pinwheel facility so she can avoid self-destruction, something that most corporate espionage cyborgs face. They’re relentlessly pursued by Pinwheel’s hired killer, Daniel Bench.”

None of those words made any sense to me before I saw the movie. Then I saw the movie. These words still do not make sense.  So if any of you stop me on the street and ask me what Cyborg 2 was about, I’m just going to give you the plot synopsis for Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life.

I’m not saying Angelina Jolie isn’t a good actress – she is. She also has something I don’t which is a few Academy Award nominations and the ability to look good in a pair of horns. This film seemed to be her finding her way, deciding on her style.

Which was to make this face the whole time…

and this…

 

You can’t accuse Angelina of not trying. She clearly is.

This is the other main character of this film. The casting call read “A Jean Claude Van Damme type. If Jean Claude doesn’t show up, then someone with the similar hairline.”

Clearly, this guy was the first to show up in the casting office.

His acting style said “Women are generally very impressed with me. I think.”

Look, I know by this point, you’re asking, “What about the hot cyborg action?”

Well…

There’s not much.

Angelina Jolie trusts Hairline McTanktop to save her from self destruction. People are mildly concerned about it.

Although this explosion does happen.

And Angelina still gets to make this face….

Especially when she’s being manhandled…

Seeing this never made me wish for a big musical number to break out more.

Lets talk about the best part of this movie.

You’d think it was the endless board meetings this movie schedules us in for, but you’d be wrong. Although, in the future, things actually get done during meetings.

You might also think it was one of the times (there wasn’t many) when Angelina did spring into action and lightly graze a guy in the upper chest. The sound effect it made was way worse.

You might also think it was one of the many times this movie liberally borrowed from The Terminator, but you would be wrong.

Here is the best thing about this movie….

Jack Palance doing his best to out Jack Palance himself. Which he succeeds gloriously.

This screenshot of Jack Palance standing next to the Mona Lisa makes me want to frame it, then hang it up next to the actual Mona Lisa. That’s how much of a treasure he and his performance in Cyborg 2 is.

Once you introduce Jack Palance in a scene, every scene that doesn’t feature him, makes you miss him.

You know how I know that the future is in good hands? Because Jack Palance is handling it.

Because of him, Angelina takes a moment, and breaks out of pretty face and gives it her all.

Meanwhile, Rogaine McManCleavage tries to save the world. He’s kind of successful.

Not successful enough though…

Try all you want, Malcolm McDowell, you’re no match for this face…

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For Your Consideration: LADY DANGER!


This week’s post, I’ve given the reigns over to my good friend over at First World Failure, who’s shaking up the format a bit and giving us a compilation of movies meant to inspire us to safety…
Summer’s almost over gang, and it’s time to think about “back to school.” For ladies, whether you’re in high school or college, this means a number of things: Deciding which ankle length skirt is your go to first day of school skirt. Buying all the school supplies so you can highlight your notes in three different colors. Trying not to get raped/murdered. Wait…what!?!  
It’s true. The world is a dangerous place, and there was nothing like made for TV movies from the 90s to make us aware of it. High school and college are dangerous places (unless you’re homeschooled), and we’ve put together a wonderful collection of cautionary tales to keep you safe from the prom to the frat party and everywhere in between.  
1.       A Friend to Die Foraka Death of a Cheerleader (1994) – We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re not the prettiest girl in school. Maybe your family doesn’t buy you a new car to drive. Maybe you become obsessed with a popular girl and then try to fly too close to the sun with your wax wings. All Kellie Martin wanted to be was to be one of the popular girls and Tori Spelling just won’t let her. Maybe if Tori was raised to have better manners she wouldn’t be getting the business end of a butcher knife. I think that’s a lesson we can all get behind – don’t be a megabitch who throws around the insult “freak” like it was going out of fashion.  
      Fun Fact: The highest rated TV movie of 1994.
2.    
          Co-ed Call Girl aka Her Deadly Secret (1996) – College is expensive. From meal plans to off campus apartments near the beach, the college experience isn’t something we can buy with savings bonds gifted from Grandma anymore. The first step to enjoying this movie is buying that Tori is poor. The second step is buying that Tori is a “bookish” college student. If anything, she’s “magazine-ish”. Tori just wants a little spending money as a college student, and thanks to a practical joke we find her at a Malibu-based escort service.   
      Casting Gold: Keep your eyes peeled for Barry Watson of 7th Heaven fame and Jeri Ryan of Star Trek: Voyager.  

  No One Would Tell (1996) – This is a great movie that shows what happens when a woman Just. Won’t. Listen. Fred Savage attempts to distance himself from Kevin Arnold and toward “serious actor” by playing an abusive boyfriend. It’s not too much of a leap for the audience, because Fred is the nicest kind of abuser. You know, the kind who makes you want to look the other way while he drags Candace Cameron into the locker room to change into some modest track pants. The title doesn’t lie – literally nobody has a problem with Fred’s anger problems. No one, that is, except for Sally Jessie Raphael who plays a judge and sets everyone straight in the end.

Fun Fact: SJR was on fire for acting in 1996, appearing in episodes of Touched by an Angel and Diagnosis Murder. 

4.       She Cried No (1996) – Why Mark-Paul Gosselaar, WHY!?! In an attempt to distance himself from his Saved By The Bell persona who was merely “mischievous”, MPG takes a role as a frat boy rapist (because thanks to Fred Savage, “murderer” was taken). Is there anything that Candace Cameron couldn’t do in 1996? She can’t get MPG convicted in court, but she’ able to put him in his place in math class AND by defaming him on television.  
        I like how this TV movie expands her role of “rape victim” by giving her characteristics such as “good at math” and “amateur detective.”  Amateur detective? YES. She tracks down video footage of MPG being a douchy date rapist and broadcasts it on television. AKA: This movie was also called “Freshman Fall”.
       Fun Fact: Kathleen Rowell, writer of She Cried No, also penned the teen drama favorite “The Outsiders”. 
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THE BABYSITTER (1980)

We’re deviating slightly and going to the treasure trove of ’80s made for TV movies – the kind that would take something you just assumed was safe and then terrified you to no end.  Sort of like what plays on Lifetime at any given moment.

You may ask – “What sets this apart from any of the other things I can find on Lifetime at any minute?”

This:

That’s right.  You’re all about to get Shatner’d.

The plot is right there – Mom’s going to go nuts, and Shatner’s going to venture into undiscovered country – which is being seduced by underaged girls.  Strap in.

Behold Tara, all-American girl. That is, if you’re definition of a all American girl is middle class with a inattentive father and expressing her emotions to a doll. But lets face facts- if a evil babysitter hadn’t infiltrated their way into the house, she may have been on her way to becoming one.

Like most made for TV situations, this family lives near a quaint dock, far from questioning eyes. Just serene upper middle class heaven – the kind of environment where the girl from nowhere doesn’t get questioned and is automatically offered free room and board in exchange for babysitting services.

 

 

Every Star Trek enthusiast (I’ll throw in the TJ Hooker fanset too) know that.

How did you meet your babysitter? Craigslist? Friend referral? Did you almost hit her with your car and feel bad about, and THEN offer her a job? One of these options applies to this movie and therefore the most reliable.

In case you’re wondering, “I don’t know. This family clearly would have been okay had it not been for a crazy babysitter”, let me put it to you. This movie opens with Tara, the 13 year old girl talking to dolls and then trying to steal her parents car.

“Do you always walk in front of passing cars? Your boldness would be a good match for my daughter’s mousiness and budding mental problems. Which she gets from me.”

This horrifyingly bad decision signifies that Mom has some mental instability. Not that the movie caught on.

This movie stops at nothing to show us this family is so incredibly close to domestic perfection.  So close.  As long as no one’s talking, then perfection is achieved

And as this movie cannot stress enough – MOM IS HANGING BY A MENTAL THREAD.

We should probably talk about how Tara dresses like she’s late for her shift at Alice’s Diner while complaining about oatmeal. The fact she never says “Kiss my grits” is the biggest missed opportunity.

 

Let’s talk about the babysitter.  She’s lovely in a 70s made for TV way. She had nothing going on in life but is a fantastic housekeeper and cook and enjoys talking to people from her past when there’s no one in the room. Also, when the camera does one of these tight close ups on her face, you will be treated to the sounds of a creepy moog synthesizer, which represents the tortured state of her mind. Also, she’s single.

It was mentioned that due to the Babysitter’s positive influence, Tara is not watching as much television and is no longer afraid of the outdoors.

HANGING BY A THREAD.

“I think my husband’s having an affair.”

“Do you mind if I take your car and go to a movie?”

“Sure.”

The tension in this film is through the roof.

Now this movie starts getting interesting….the Babysitter tries on a fairly modest looking nightgown and waits for William Shatner to walk in on her.

Which he does….

The spiral of destruction is in full force. The head of the house, William Shatner is a man of action. He was the Captain of the Enterprise and yelled at people to do his bidding….

 

…but in this case he stares at her and speaks in whispered tones for her to get out.

Naturally, she doesn’t, but she does say, “Fine. I’ll put it back.”

She comes back to him the next day with these words of comfort, “You had sex with your wife last night, didn’t you?”

No one plays it more mild than Shatner.  They don’t call it Shatnering for nothing.

“Whatever you do, stay bland.”

This kid let all of his emotions show through – even the ones where he was casually enjoying a boat ride with a sexy babysitter.

Know where it got him?

His only crime was loving too much. By loving I mean, sort of hitting on the Babysitter during a casual boat ride and saying, “Hey, can I see you later?”
William Shatner stays bland at all costs.
 “You take me to your parties, and if I want to drink, I’ll drink! Because you love your job too much!”
 “Shut up about my job! She loves me in more ways than you’ll ever understand!”

We get a small glimpse of his emotional threshold when she accuses him of being to judgey. Then he springs to action. Kind of. His face muscles still remain slightly rested.

 

“Hey Mom – I think the babysitter is doing a lousy job of taking care of the house. Should we fire her? Plus, why are you drinking at 9am in your slip?”

“Hello? Am I alone in here?”

Poor Tara. She’s one more traumatic incident short of becoming her own manipulative babysitter.

When the Babysitter REALLY snaps, we are treated to a all out monologue, one that I suspect was used in an audition. It has everything – a tragic backstory about being a foster child, the desire for love and belonging, and she throws in a little, “No one understands me”. Its amazing – so much so that she snaps, espescially when talking about all those other families she murdered.

The bland arms of William Shatner cannot save her from herself. Drastic measures are taken…

She goes on a murderous rampage for Tara who cleverly hid herself in a room with glass windows.

It all comes crashing down – the friendly neighborhood police take a break from cracking the case of missing bicycles and issuing citations for dogs without licenses and take the Babysitter away. Presumably to sit in jail and clean and cook for the inmates there, where she’ll convince them all that they’re alcoholics that should just give up on life all together.

On second thought, this is TV. She’ll get out and prey on a TV family, hopefully starring Heather Locklear.

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The Initiation (1984)

This week’s post, I’ve handed over the reigns  to my brilliant partner in crime over at First World Failure, Beth Seaver to do her own exploring. Strap in…

 

 

 

OK, I’ll be honest. I’ve been through sorority initiation and I thought that this movie would just be a fun opportunity to relive the passive aggressive mental abuse minus the tears and secret eating. Sadly, the sense train jumps the track early in this film, and all we can do is survey the wreckage looking for meaning that isn’t really there. Fans of Halloween will be happy to know that The Initiation steals plot points with abandon, whether it makes sense or not. 
We open with a little girl sleeping. She wakes up and walks down the hall to find her mother and a man having sex. Unlike the rest of us (who would still be washing our eyes to this day), this little gal takes a page from the Michael Meyers handbook and…

 

Stabs him! Sure. Then another unnamed man rushes into the room (might want to start examining your lifestyle choices, Mom) and she…

 

Sets him on fire! Can I point out that we’re barely five minutes in and we have no idea what’s going on except we have an angelic young girl with anger issues? Moving on.

 

Our main character Kelly wakes up from her nightmare (Stabby McFirestarter was all a dream, got it), only to be greeted with a new nightmare. It’s time for midnight sorority ceremonies in our underwear!

 

Doesn’t matter how many times you chant, “Delta Rho Chi, never will die” we all know where this is going. 

 

The girl on the left is Meagan. Meagan dislikes everyone because she is 35 and still in a college sorority. Seriously, did someone attend the Luke Perry School of looking like a teenager? We learn that for “Prank Night” the pledges will be breaking in to Kelly’s family’s department store to steal the security guard’s uniform. You may want to write this down because we won’t be revisiting this plot point for about an hour.

 

Thanks to this handy transition, we’re now at a nuthouse. What does this have to do with the rest of the plot? Who knows? For now let’s just go with it.

 

This is our Nurse Ratched – you can tell by the way that she gets mad at this old woman who just wants to rock back and forth silently all day. 

 

This is another patient at this hospital. Obviously a graduate of the Cuba Gooding Jr. School of representing the mentally handicapped on screen with compassion. 

 

And finally something relevant to the plot! The sad groundskeeper/patient who has mysterious burn scars, and an aggressive way with gardening tools. I wonder if he’ll escape the sanatorium like a certain knife wielding killer from a more successful movie franchise. I don’t know, but someone is going to murder a certain bad tempered nurse with a gardening tool first. 

 

These are Kelly’s parents, getting a call that some patients have escaped the mental hospital and wondering out loud if they shouldn’t share certain “secrets” with their daughter. Let’s wait until some more people end up murdered first.  

 

Whoops. Looks like their “secrets” are lurking around the house. Too bad a wealthy department store owner can’t afford a security system. Good thing this gun and stunned expression will ward off any danger. 

 

Now we’re back at college, and Kelly is ready to try and get rid of her nightmares by participating in a “study” run by super hot teaching assistant in his creepy basement/dungeon.

 

His red shirted assistant is there to make sure things stay on the up and up and everyone keeps their tops on.

 

I’m going to question the credentials of the sleep dungeon, because all it does is make Kelly paranoid. You really do get what you pay for. 

 

Nightmares notwithstanding, we’ve made it to Prank Night, and Kelly and her fellow pledges will be stealing this security guard’s uniform. 

 

He’s not a very good guard, because about half the students from the local college and a deranged killer manage to make it inside on his watch. 

 

The guard doesn’t get all the blame. This “department store” is apparently six stories tall and looks like a hotel. Too much ground to cover for one man. 

 

Uh oh, they’re not going to be able to sell those beds if you leave your college hormones all over them!

 

And now they’re dead. As with most horror movies from this era, many people will die before our main character catches on. 

 

I hope this clue is obvious enough for her. She’s the only Kelly in this movie, right?

 

OK, good. We’re all sufficiently scared now. 

 

Finally! The teaching assistant who dates co-eds is getting to the bottom of this! The burn victim/alleged mass killer is actually Kelly’s father. Who she set on fire? In her dream that’s really a repressed memory? 

 

What to do when a killer is stalking a bunch of kids? Make some phone calls. Call the sorority house and Kelly’s mom, but whatever you do don’t contact the authorities.

 

Kelly pushes her burned father off the roof, and professor dream dungeon finally runs in. Hey…why doesn’t Kelly look more enthused?

 

Because it’s not Kelly!!! It’s her twin sister…Terry? This is the part of the movie where the sense train jumps the tracks, and bursts into flames. Did Kelly just push her father off the roof and he’s not even the killer? Why don’t Kelly and Terry have rhyming “twin” names? Why does Terry do all her murders with her father’s gardening tools?

 

Finally! Kelly is safe thanks to dear old Mom, who shoots Terry and quickly becomes very confused. Maybe she also forgot she had two daughters?
Is your mind blown too? You’d think that there was no recovering from a movie like this, but our heroine Kelly (or is it Terry? Who’s dead?) went on to play Princess Vespa in Spaceballs. John Candy in a cat suit makes more sense than any part of this movie.

 

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – The Stuff (1985)

 

In celebration of Hollywood’s love of making us fearful of anything seemingly normal (who of us hasn’t done our own version of The Purge on a quiet Saturday afternoon?) , so I confronted my biggest fear, which is the pain of lactose intolerance. Thankfully, there’s a horror film for that. And its called The Stuff.

The film poses a more serious question of if we truly are what we eat. (The answer is yes and if you have to ask, maybe you too need a cutesy kitchen magnet to remind you). Its a societal fable of what happens when we as a people choose to eat gloopy white stuff in a purple tub and allow it to become a lifestyle. And when the FDA can’t save you, the Army will.

Let’s begin.

We open our story  with an old man who will eat anything…

If I’ve learned anything from this low budget movies, its you should never touch anything on the ground.

Here, a mannish woman tries to seduce me with Stuff. I am both frightened and intrigued.

Several white men stand on a boat and talk about ice cream, cementing exactly what I thought CEOs do in their free time.

This guy looks like he has a incredibly dumb name that he has a incredibly dumb joke to go with.

“Mo Rutherford. My name’s Mo. Because when people give me money, I always want Mo.”

Someone please feed this guy Stuff.

“Low in calories, good tasting and not a spot. Why doesn’t my son like it?”

My guess is kids don’t like being forced into things by adults with low hanging robes. Child Protective Services will back me up on this one.

 

 

YES! Down with the Dairy Council!

In this movie universe, Danny Aiello is the head of the Food and Drug Administration

In this movie universe, he is owned by a dog.

A dog who can amazingly unplug the phone when there’s an emergency. A sort of reverse Lassie.

This scene began with the guy from 2 Broke Girls jumping Mo and ended with the line, “You’re Chocolate Chip Charlie!”  That’s just quality screenwriting.

For a town that’s only eating The Stuff which has no calories, everyone here seems suspiciously doughy.

Excuse me while I throw out all those old containers of Cool Whip…

Based on this commercial alone, I could have told you The Stuff was dangerous. Bad ensembles, bad lighting, model grimacing…take it off the shelves for the love of God!

Invasion of the Stuff – your family will get even whiter than humanly possible.

Nope, even whiter.

Here’s how I know The Stuff is embroiled in controversy – Abe Vigoda is involved…

Dear God – they got Clara Peller! (why yes, I’m old. Why do you ask?)

Really not sure how The Stuff can attack you if you don’t eat it, but its definitely going to get mentioned in this motel’s Yelp review.

“Three stars for the Crystal Campground Motel even though the mattress turned into sweet soft serve then ate my brother….”

Now I’m hungry for a sundae and some Herb Alpert….

21st century America can be amazing – food is cheap and plentiful and will literally chase you down a dark alley until you eat it.

When someone makes a face like this, the last thing I want to do is hold them by the shoulders and keep my face at mouth level.

Chocolate Chip Charlie truly was what he ate.

What this movie didn’t touch on was The Stuff had no artificial preserves and was as natural as you can get.

I’ll say this for salad – it has never made the effort to rise up and be my friend. So points for The Stuff.

I would have rested much easier in 1985 had I know Paul Sorvino was in charge of the entire Army and hated desserts.

In conclusion, this is how my stomach now feels when faced with dairy…

Thanks, The Stuff!

My Netflix adventures are on Facebook, so take a moment to “Like” it or whatever it is the kids do there. Also you can find me on Twitter – I talk about food there too.

MAID TO ORDER (1987)

You guys…YOU GUYS.

This movie is not to be confused with Maid in Manhattan or any of number of maid themed porn videos that can be found online.  This is also not the American answer to Downton Abbey.

I had totally forgotten this slice of ’80s heaven  until it found me. So I sat down, took it in and was immediately whisked away to a magical place called 1987 where I drank apple juice, ate tuna fish sandwiches and watched this movie when I was done practicing my violin. There might have been a My Little Pony sitting next to me at the time, I don’t know.

The question is, how has this movie held up now that almost 30 years have gone by?

The plot for those of you who never saw it is that Ally Sheedy, years after her stint in breakfast clubs and St. Elmo’s Fires (possibly around the same time as Short Circuit) plays a spoiled rich girl who is about to get un-Cinderellafied, thanks to a fairy godmother who comes in the form of the mom from the Vacation movies. So she becomes a maid and learns important life lessons like how to treat other maids and how to hit on hunky chauffers with budding music careers.

Behold, the most ’80s title cards you will ever see…

I need to point out first and foremost that the fashion in this movie is AMAZING. True, there will never be an occasion to wear a top hat with a giant tulle bow in the back, but this movie gives you hope that maybe someday there will be. Also, this movie would like to hit you over the head with the Cinderella metaphor.

My impression of a cool sort of adulthood was doing exactly this.  I’m sorry to report that this movie lied to me and I have never gotten to do this while wearing that.

Behold another still from the adulthood I’ll never have -looking chic in a ragged ballgown and sunglasses, sitting on the street.

Ally Sheedy doesn’t deserve the life a princess because she asks her father for money and questions charities. I think we’ve all been there.

Enter the fairy godmother – she smokes and in all honesty, is pretty awesome.

Our heroine goes on her first job interview in the best outfit ever (see torn ballgown from above) and is promptly hired to be a maid based on the fact she’s never worked before and that she’s white. She also eats the interviewer’s donuts. This is another lie this movie perpetrates about adulthood – although I’ve never tried any of these tactics while job hunting.

 The story posits that because our heroine is rich and has never had a job, she doesn’t know what hair plugs or that you shouldn’t point at people’s bandages and ask what happened. 

Once again, a classic movie trope – the sassy black friend!

“She’s white and therefore I have no faith in her as a maid.  Also, I’m a cook and not a  singer. Not that you asked.”

I don’t care how much life experience you have – ironing Spandex is difficult. It should also be said that leopard print ones should never been allowed in the first place.

The other maid hates her – she’s also sassy but in a non sassy black friend sort of way.

Behold the best part of this movie. THESE TWO. Honestly, they should have been given their own movie. Or a show. I spent this movie wanting to spend more time with them

Our heroine spends her day off wearing a Prince shirt, high waisted jeans and going through her coworkers stuff.. I’d criticize her, but I think we’ve all been there.

She learns how to ride a bus – I think this was the low point in her character arc.

“Girl, I am a cook and not a singer, so stop bugging me to sing for you.  Don’t make me sing, because I’ll do it….”

 “Look, I’m just a poor chauffer that’s actually a talented songwriter who no one will give a chance.  Also, you’re the only available girl here so we’re going to start up an obligatory relationship despite a differences in background. Wanna go eat Mexican food in a seedy, non health regulated restaurant?”

 Seriously, these two should have their own movie.  SOMETHING.

 “Well, you earned minimum wage and made friends with people from a lower tax bracket than you. I’d say you learned your lesson and get your old life back. I hope the lesson sticks because I’d hate to put you somewhere where you’re actually surrounded by a lower class.”

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: STEEL (1997)

Today’s entry is sort of a bonus round. We hit 1000 likes on Facebook and we’ve now entered the big summer tentpole season, which if you’re a film lover like myself, means its the best three months you could ask for. This weekend X-Men: Days of Future Past opens, so I crawled into the bad movie archives to see what I could find that would match this kind of excitement level. And lo…a treasure fell in my lap.

Steel, which I just learned (thank you, Wikipedia) is based off a DC Comics title and stars Shaq. People criticize DC in the often heated DC vs Marvel debate, for not expanding the universe to include more characters and just not trying altogether.

According to this snippet from a LA Times reviewer, its a “…entertaining good vs evil movie”.  A review that vague HAS to mean something.

There was even a line of action figures that were released:

Watch the trailer – you can’t say that DC hasn’t tried to shake things up in the past.

They tried, people. They have tried. You don’t see Marvel stepping out of the box and doing these kinds of ballsy moves. Espescially heroes trying to make a long tired MC Hammer catchphrase work.

As a disclaimer, it should be noted this movie is criminally not available on Netflix Streaming. So I had to YouTube this experience. Your move, Netflix.

Here’s your synopsis.

Nothing ever bad’s going to happen to us, right?

Shaq is in the military and meets up with Judd Hirsch who makes high tech weapons for the military (I’m going to assume this movie exists in the Breakfast Club universe, where Bender got his act together and refocused his bitterness into government work).

“So we do a sequel to the Breakfast Club, except its at lunchtime.”

 There’s a weapons testing incident that goes wrong (spoiler: its Bender’s fault) which leaves Shaq’s best female friend in a wheelchair and Shaq with an axe to grind.

You have to hand it to Shaq. He was really trying here. Emoting is hard, people.

 Judd Hirsch is impressed.

“So I was watching Iron Man in the waiting room and I got an idea…”

 She really is the all star player in this movie. She spent the entire time staring at a computer screen, which is what I do all day. So she’s relateable.

Yep. I’m doing this RIGHT NOW.

They team up and automatically become a lower budget Batman and Oracle, somewhere in Los Angeles. 

Also, this movie would like to remind you that you have watched better superheroes do better things. Thank you.

Like a low budget Batman, they create what is likely the world’s worst superhero outfit.

Yes, that’s a hammer. Its also a gun. Take that, Batman.

Since you don’t let things like this just go wasted, they hit the town and break up a a mugging, where some criminals are using Judd Hirsch’s designs. Before he can make the connection that he’s not only a low rent Batman, but a lower rent Iron Man, Shaq goes to jail. Because…miscommunication. I think.

In the meantime, Judd’s busy. He’s making bank selling high tech stuff. I imagine John Bender from Breakfast Club going back to the Bender house on Christmas and telling his father to smoke up.

 When it comes down to it, he’s just very hollow inside.

Shaq’s still in prison though. Since he is a superhero in the sense that he depends on others and unbelievable amounts of coincidence, he breaks out and goes looking for our villain and a really big stupid final battle.

Its like Robocop but the machines are better actors (Heeeeeeyyyyoooo….)

 Shaq is a internationally known athlete. He does not run or jump or do anything more active than trudge around and light things on fire.  Granted, his suit is made of steel (Get it? Like the name?), but that’s got to be way too cumbersome.  Let me know when they change both the suit and the name to something like Aluminum.

 He’s 7’1″ walking around the dark streets of L.A. with a giant hammer. Chances are, he doesn’t really need a suit to be intimidating.

This might not have happened if he had a big awkward heavy suit making movement harder than it should be.

The main issue with Shaq’s costume is that it looks like he has a constant case of astigmatism going on.

Try as he might, he’s just not Batman. But despite the bare minimal requirements for being a superhero, he still defeats Judd Hirsch and all is right with the world.

After all, Batman never had a outdoor barbeque thrown in his honor. So points for Shaq.

For Your Consideration: BARB WIRE (1996)

 

 

Given that the summer movie season is upon us and that we’re getting a glut of superhero movies in that time, I thought it appropriate to look back at a deservedly forgotten comic book film Barb Wire, starring Pamela Anderson…

Sometimes I wonder when the discussion for bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen comes up, if there’s at least one executive who brings Barb Wire up as a reason to wait.

Don’t let opening stripper scene in water fool you – this movie is a straight up remake of Casablanca. If Humphrey Bogart had breasts and a penchant for corsets, we’d be calling it a ripoff.

In the event you haven’t seen this movie (or Casablanca), here’s the synopsis.

In the not too distant future, America is embroiled in the second world war – what it was about, apparently none of our business. What does matter is that there’s a new style of government called the American Congress and they like to dress like Nazis. Our story is set in Steel Harbor, a city that’s free yet, imprisoned with crime and home to our heroine, Barb. Barbara Karpinski if you happened to know her before the war, that is. She owns a nightclub, but acts as a bounty hunter during the day to pay the bills. Despite these two professions, she takes no sides and shows no emotions (which may or may not have been a acting limitation as opposed to a character choice).

And in true Casablanca form, a ex boyfriend wants her help to get out of town. Because we’ve all seen Casablanca, we know she does.

And lets face it. Humphrey Bogart had no business wearing anything figure hugging.

Lets just also talk about the night club where she does a stripper act under a torrent of water – which means that business hygiene standards of the future will have deteriorated dramatically between now and 2017

Nazi-chic is really big in the future. Then again, it’s incredibly slimming and great for the government official on the go.

Alternately, Pamela Anderson does change outfits in this movie. Its just she owns a lot of corsets. Black ones. At least she’s getting a lot of support, which I can’t emphasize enough – its critically important.

One common thing I find in a lot of these movies is that they’re mostly shot in darkness, either inside or outside. So shady interiors….

Or deep dark night….

Shady interiors….

….back to night…

Remember the time Tobias from Arrested Development decided to pursue a career as a leather daddy?

Not sure why I thought about that. Now back to the movie.

I’m not saying that Pam Anderson has had a lot of lip injections, I’m just saying she always looks like its a struggle to keep her lips closed over teeth….

Perhaps it would help if Pam was able to emote actual emotions while acting. Which may or may not be the definition of acting.

You’re wet and in a unhappy future with nothing but uncomfortable leather bustiers to wear. Emotions are not a priority. Which is why she makes this face in every scene.

“Hey Barb, the resistance is getting shut down by fake Nazis.”

“Barb, we’re splitting a pizza. Do you want to chip in?”

The weather may change, the hair gets styled, but you could set your watch to Pam Anderson’s acting face.

I’d be cheating everyone if I didn’t address this character:

A man who lives the life of a vagrant on the streets of Steel Harbor, surrounded by garbage and mysterious amounts of food. The abandoned ditch digger is his castle, the homeless gypsies his court, and the celebrated minds of society (aka Pamela Anderson) seek his council.

Therefore, he has been cleverly named Big Fatso.

This movie dares to go where Casablanca clearly was afraid to.

What’s Ron Howard’s brother doing in this movie? Does it matter?

What about this? Was this important to the story? Meh.

I’ll say this for the future – it may be bleak but at least there’s no water and ammo shortage.

Also, cows are still thriving to meet the demands of the leather industry. We can all sleep secure knowing that future has everything covered.