Why Did I Get Married? (2007)



To call Tyler Perry presents Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? starring Tyler Perry “ham handed” would insult the graceful subtlety of ham. Thank you Netflix for making this train wreck available in the month of September. Buckle up.



This is Janet Jackson and she wrote a book called Why Did I Get Married, just in case one minute into the film you forget what it’s called. Each year JJ, her husband, and their three closest couple friends take a vacation together, a “relationship retreat” if you will, and she used all of them as characters in her book. My favorite part of this scene is when a student asks a question about one of the couple and JJ’s all “I don’t like to talk about my friends.” Also, like EVERY OTHER CHARACTER, Janet has a deep, dark secret.

Oh well, off to vacation with friends!


Couple number 1: This is Tyler Perry and his wife. He’s a doctor and she’s a lawyer, and while you think about all which 1980’s sitcom that was lifted from, let’s go ahead and start spilling secrets because there is so much going on in this movie you’ll need some kind of chart or graph to keep up. He wants another child (even though he did a secret paternity test on the first one! Oh no he didn’t!) and she secretly had her tubes tied (I guess that’s possible?) because she loves her career.

This is Jill Scott and her husband. See that woman behind her? That’s her husband’s “employee” that he’s bringing on the couple’s retreat with them (oh no he didn’t!). The first time I saw this movie I thought the husband was a bad character, but upon more reflection I think he’s a nice guy to take care of a mentally challenged lady who can’t see what’s going on. Also, Jill is asked to get off the plane because she’s too big for one seat, and her husband is all “you drive to Colorado. Me and my employee will meet you there.” That’s no way to start a week of reflecting on your marriage, sir.


This is Angela and her ex-NFL player husband Marcus. His name is easy to remember because she is always yelling at him. She’s also almost always drunk. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Angela is hands down the best character in this movie. Side note: Angela is portrayed by Tasha Smith, and she teaches an acting class in LA. Want to learn how to yell “Marcus!” with conviction? Now you can!

Moving on…


Everyone arrives in Colorado, and the ladies are all “Men! Amirite?” and “Where is Jill Scott and why did her husband bring another lady on our vacation?” and “I hate my husband’s babymomma.” I like how Tyler Perry doesn’t use stereotypes and cliché as a crutch. Note that this movie was made in 2007, when we all had a much more liberal view on wearing fur.

 The men are all “I cheated and now have an STD!” “My wife works too hard!” “I don’t like my wife, but my secretary who came with me sure is nice…” Is your head spinning yet? Intrigue! Now we learn about the 80/20 rule. Tyler Perry lets us know that the most you get from someone is 80% of what you want. If you go looking for the other 20% that’s missing, you lose 80 and only get 20. I’m no mathematician, but that sounds like some inspiration that belongs on a poster.
Here comes Jill Scott finally. Good to see that the local sheriff is accompanying her on the last leg of her journey. The vacation can only get better from here.



 No it doesn’t. Despite the sheriff being black, apparently the only other black people this store clerk has seen are from rap videos, so she walks right up to our heroes and lets them know that she “doesn’t keep money in the store.” Yes. The women wearing gauche furs are going to rob you.

This is the dinner where all the secrets are revealed! Cheating! STDs! Paternity tests! Divorce! Can I interject here that for a group of couples that do a vacation every year specifically to work on their marriages, none of the lessons seem to have gotten through? I blame Janet Jackson’s skill as an…author? Marriage counselor? Professor? What does she do exactly? End of vacation.


The marriage retreat was a big bust, because Marcus is fed up with Angela drunkly yelling at him and his ex all the time and Anglea is embarrassed at Marcus’ fashion choices. Why are we tucking a tie dye Affliction shirt into our jeans?


Jill Scott stays in Colorado with the sheriff after her husband asks for a divorce. Sure. If I didn’t realize that my husband was cheating on me with a woman he brought on our vacation, I would be so embarrassed that I moved out of state.  


Ah, Janet can fix things! After her friends come to her asking what to do about their relationships, we realize why she is an author and speaker. Janet tells her friends to make a pro/con list about their relationships and decide based on that. What!?! C’mon Tyler, you’re not even trying. 


The men aren’t much better. Janet’s husband gives them all another version of the 80/20 rule, and they complain some more about their relationships. Does any of this help? I guess so, because…


Months later (?), everyone shows up to support Janet getting some kind of book award. Even Jill Scott, who forgot to tell everyone that she stayed in Colorado and got remarried to the sheriff. Maybe some of Jill’s “friends” should have checked in with her a little more.

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LAST ACTION HERO (1993)

For years, I have used this title as a punching bag for bad movies that nearly bankrupted studios. But I’ve never seen it.

UNTIL NOW.

Lets take the time machine back to 1993, which was one of those blockbuster years for movies. We got Jurassic Park, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tombstone, etc. It was a good time to be a movie going kid. And then there was Last Action Hero, which Schwarzenegger got $15 million to make.

If you haven’t seen this movie, its about an impressionable boy who’s only crime is to love the movies, so much so that he skips school to go, only to be pulled into a level of ultraviolence parading as fun as Schwarzenegger mugs for the camera. He learns a very valuable lesson in that violence always gets you what you want. #murica

I do not doubt the talents of the cast and crew that were hired to make this. As is the usual case with these movies,  I know that hundreds of hours of talented people’s lives went into this and they can’t be at fault. I did pinpoint where this movie goes wrong.

(Yes I know this movie is a parody of action movies – in case you were starting to draft a comment about it)

Here’s the thing that puts a damper on the whole production.

This face:

They put this face near children, folks. A studio put money behind it and that’s what happened.

Our story involves a kid skipping school, going to the movies and getting a golden ticket which allows the creation of worse movie making to enter an already bad movie. Step aside Intersteller – this movie will really scramble your head of space and time.

The star of Touched by an Angel and Lawnmower Man 1 and 2 is a seemingly wide eyed innocent kid who just really loves super violent movies. We also find out he likes to say disturbing things like “Who do I gotta kill around here to get in to see that movie?” His mother lies to cover for his truancy and during a disturbing scene where a meth head (I’m assuming) breaks in, terrorizes this kid, the police just shrug and say, “Tell your mom when she gets off her shift.”

None of this bodes well.

I’m sure this sight gag was pitched as the big joke of the movie. And here it is.

You should also know that Arnold Schwarzenegger plays two characters. One is his movie within a movie character and the other is himself. Sort of a pre-Being John Malkovich. Just without the thoughtful script and without Arnold out mugging himself in every scene.

This movie has probably one of the best lines of dialogue ever written: “What you want a bunch of guys dancing and throwing cocaine at each other? Just kick the door in!”

This child gets to sit and drive through mass explosions and have a gun discharged within inches of his face. Had more people seen this movie, I’m sure the parental outrage would have been through the roof.

Impressionable Child : “Where are you going?”
Arnold “Got to catch the red eye.”

(slow applause)

I realize that this is a parody of action films. I realize that none of it is supposed to be taken seriously. Its just a little trouble how easy this movie hands guns to minors and has them blow groups of people away.

That being said, Arnold and this kid’s negligent Mom really hit it off.

Given that this is the year 2014 and we’ve seen horrific headlines over the past few years, I don’t think I need to describe how unsettling this scene was.
Hilariously (I guess) Arnold 1 and Arnold 2 end up in the same theater together, each one trying to out act the other. Again, a great idea in the pitch room. In practice, its just two hammy guys winking at the camera.

This kid gets put in the most traumatizing circumstances and the movie merely shrugs its shoulders and barrels on into the next action sequence. And don’t tell me since its parody, the kid would be fine because once I dreamt that we had an intruder in our house because my dad didn’t patch up the walls made by the Kool Aid guy breaking through it earlier and I woke up in a cold sweat #truestory

The movie has three factors. Either Schwarzenegger is mugging….

Or this kid is explaining something in a high whiny voice…

Or firearms are being used obscenely inappropriately.

One might argue that that’s pretty much most action movies of the 80s and 90s, but I’ll tell you this. At least Die Hard didn’t ask a child to murder.

Thoughts? Feel free to discuss in the comments or on our Facebook page or Twitter.

INFERNO (1999)

I think the movie’s tagline says it all…

“Left for Dead. Burning for Revenge…”

I get chills just thinking about it. That and the fact this was brought to us by the same guy who made a squeaky voiced Ralph Macchio roar.

This is how we meet our hero…

Drunk and passed out. You can’t see it, but his motorcycle is crumpled up in a heap somewhere off in the distance. Maybe it was written in the script but something tells me this is just JCVD being JCVD.

Its now occured to me that the movie’s tagline “Left for dead…” isn’t exactly true. More like “Wasted Loser Life, Might Get Up Later.”

The other thing we establish very quickly is that JCVD’s best friend is a guy named Johnny Sixtoes. No one questions this last name, they just plow into the story as if we all didn’t just hear one of the silliest names in movie history.

As the movie will explain to you (through the ramblings of a drunk JCVD) he’s here in the middle of nowhere to drink himself to death over his actions while serving in the Army. Honoring his Army training, he recklessly fires shots in the air, which makes Johnny Sixtoes disappear (the name stays though) and a group of guys in a truck appears upset about JCVD’s inability to understand gun safety.

What follows is flareups of tempers and conflict that could have easily been avoided had these guys just driven away from the gunfire. But that would have been a blissfully short movie and we would have watched another 75 minutes of JCVD slobbering unconsciously.

If there’s one thing this movie has that other Van Damme movies don’t is that Jean-Claude is rocking a cowboy hat for most of it. He clearly really likes himself in said hat, because once its on, he seems reluctant to be without it.

Guns, grenades and cowboy hats….Van Damme for President 2016.

It should be mentioned…

Mr. Miyagi is in this. His role in this movie is useless, which is fantastic because its long been forgotten and he can remain a cherished icon of our childhoods. Instead, he works at a dumpy diner with this little love interest (van DAMN!)

Her acting is genuine – it says, “I’m playing a character that doesn’t know she’s supposed to kiss Jean Claude Van Damme later.”

Johnny Sixtoes comes back. He’s also Danny Trejo, pretending we don’t remember his name is actually Johnny Sixtoes.

He hangs out, soothes Jean Claude’s ego and then disappears into the night. God bless you Johnny Sixtoes. I’m hoping for the sequel where we meet his wife, Susie Fourthumbs.

You would think this movie would be about JCVD overcoming his suicidal guilt Army thoughts, but no, its just about him getting back at the guys who got mad at him for almost shooting them. So his plan of attack is, kill the guys and have Hot Waitress and Mr. Miyagi help dispose of the bodies, making this one of the darkest movies I’ve watched for this blog (please keep in mind I sat through two Insane Clown Posse productions).

I realize JCVD wants us to know that he’s a formidable force for good, but when you garble out dialog and insist on wearing cowboy hats that are too big for your head, it just defeats the purpose.

Man loves his hat. Not much else you can say about it.

He does take it off from time to time though…

Because its extremely hard to do a roundhouse kick in one. If Chuck Norris has mastered it, then he’s not showing it nor talking about it.

The lesson we learn from this is that if you’re depressed, do whatever makes you feel better. If someone has a problem with it, feel free to introduce them to Sonny & Cher (aka your fists).

“You guys, I’m really working my way through the grumpies. Thanks!”

Better than therapy, albeit way more messy. No word on how Mr. Miyagi and Johnny Sixtoes coping skills have held up.

Thoughts? Feel free to discuss in the comments or on our Facebook page or Twitter.

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.

Thoughts? Feel free to discuss in the comments or on our Facebook page. Geena Davis bland face impressions with me on Twitter

CUTTHROAT ISLAND (1995)

There’s been a lot of discussion lately on how women are criminally underrepresented at the box office. Men seem to have all the fun when it comes to action hero parts, superhero parts, serial killers, etc, but every now and then, there’s a rush of sort of “girl power” movies that tend to be either hit or miss. Which means in the same year we got Clueless, we also got Cutthroat Island.

I had never seen it before. Like the rest of the Earth’s population, I had missed it, well…much like a ship in the night. but now that almost 20 years has gone by, it still gets talked about. Mostly just about killed a studio (combined efforts with Showgirls, another “girl power” film, if you will). A quick search on Wikipedia will tell you that Geena Davis was married to the director at the time, that it cost hundreds of millions of dollars and only took in $11 million while in theaters. It will also tell you that no one wanted to be in it.

So, the prospect for adventure is very high indeed.

The plot is extremely complicated. Its a two hour plus extravaganza that seems to go on for at least a week. Morgan (Davis) has a stellar pirating legacy led by her father but is just waiting for the opportunity to prove her mettle, which she gets when she needs to find a place called Cutthroat Island (whoever named it was not thinking of the tourism industry or possible real estate development for families). There’s treasure, blah blah blah and also one third of a map.

I should mention that this portion of the map she does have was originally tattooed on her father’s head. He dies at the beginning so she scalps him for it and wanders around the rest of the movie carrying it around casually like its a set of keys.

I’d like to back up and just point out that the first major plot point of this film is Geena Davis scalping her father and carrying it around.  Even that would warrant a squeamish look from Quentin Tarantino.

Morgan’s foe is a bad pirate named Dawg.  Yes, you read that right. His name is Dawg and he’s played by classically trained and long respected actor Frank Langella, who also brought Skeletor to life in 1985’s live action spectacle, He-Man: Masters of the Universe. If you haven’t seen that, do yourself a favor, stop reading this and attend to that.  He’s got Map #2, which is carved on a piece of wood, proving that even he has his limits when it comes to using human skin from a loved one.

Lastly is our male romantic lead, played by Matthew Modine. I have chosen to not remember his name. His character is bland that tries really hard to have a personality. He smirks and says cutely sarcastic things, but he doesn’t bring any special skills to the table. Yet, Geena Davis will fall in love with him.

This movie cost over $100 million back in 1995, but you’d never know it. Everything in this film looks like it was done on the cheap. Except for the wigs. Those looked totally legit.

For a movie that boasts a lot of money, this is the cheapest looking treasure I’ve ever seen.

The other highlight of this movie is the ridiculously complicated missions to get simple things. For example – Geena needs to find someone who speaks Latin. So here’s the process…

Dress up like a fancy lady and go to prison.

Instead of having Matthew Modine just translate Dad’s scalp right there in prison, they break him out and cause a town riot which most likely destroys everything.

She also manages to get shot and Modine swoops in for a romantic subplot that comes in out of nowhere.

But hey, they found a Latin translator. So that’s all that matters.

Geena is leading a pirate ship to Cutthroat Island in search of treasure, which is a feel good idea for 20th century feminist America. Before we cheer too loudly, I’d like to point out that she’s a terrible leader.

She consistently leads her team into dangerous situations with no real strategy. There’s always at least one kid involved.

She makes decisions based on conversations with Matthew Modine, who she doesn’t really know all that well.

Matthew Modine’s life skills (as demonstrated by what he does and not what he says) are telling lies, kind of knowing Latin and wearing leather tank tops. Also jabbing Geena Davis with a fake needle.

He just sort of stumbles into getting caught here and there. And yet, Geena Davis’ literal right hand man.

The lesson here is that if you’re looking for adventure, just hire really incompetant people – sit back and let the drama begin. 

Dawg on the other hand has a loyal team of pirates that he treats well, listens to their ideas, unifies forces and does not carry around his father’s scalp. One might argue, he could be the hero of this movie.

Despite all that, Geena and Co. win the day, the treasure, overall life itself and sail into the horizon willing to make all the mistakes all over again.

Not the studio though – they shut down shortly after this movie was released.

However, if you still crave more Geena Davis action, you can play her as a video game…

Anybody got a Super Nintendo and $9.95 I can borrow?

Thoughts? Feel free to discuss in the comments or on our Facebook page. Geena Davis bland face impressions with me on Twitter

FRIENDS TIL THE END (1997)

I’ve dipped my fingers into the made for TV Lifetime cinematic universe and reemerged with a tale of what happens when you push Shannon Daugherty to her mental limit. The answer? A single emotional girl debating a career change (aka any College Girl USA).

Its about to get real in here, so strap in.

Once upon a time, roughly mid-90s, there was a princess of a sorority named Shannen Doherty. Born of pasty white cheekbones, raven hair and a kickin’ band where she dates one of the London twins (Jeremy I want to say) who also plays the bass (they always do).

She unknowingly has a blonde psychotic stalker who has done everything in her power to infiltrate Shannen’s life and then ruin it.  Had Shannen been paying attention, she would have remembered that talent show she competed in when she was seven and beat out that girl as well as everyone else. Since she didn’t keep tabs on it, her life is about to get amazingly complicated.

From there, Blonde Stalker (didn’t bother to remember her name) sneakily joins Shannen’s band, turns Shannen’s sorority friends against her, gets her kicked out of the band and seduces Shannen’s boyfriend.

Why is it called Friends Til the End? Because someone must die. (Spoiler alert: its the blonde crazy girl)

Shannen has a charmed life (pun intended)…

Espescially this girl. This girl who’s name I don’t remember. Not that it matters because her whole goal in this movie is to Single White Female Shannen Doherty. We’ve all been there.

Look at how much she cares. She just wants all things for all people.

Here’s the thing – and this is a Lifetime Cinematic Universe rule. Pretty white girls get stalkers. If you make a new friend and things are really going good – she’s probably planning your murder .

Its always the mousy unspectacular ones…

The one thing you should know about this movie is that Shannen Doherty sings. She sings a lot. She has a band and she wears tiny 90s dresses. Some of them have fruit. Some are made of crushed velvet. All of them took me back to a simpler time when we all thought that was okay.

I know what you’re thinking – but does she have chunky Mary Janes on?

Rest easy, gentle reader. She does.

I’ll say this…should you watch this movie, which you absolutely should (its on YouTube…for FREE), there’s some catchy songs. Like hummable, stuck in your head songs. And had this been the year 1997, I would have gotten the gumption to walk to WalMart or order the Friends Til the End Band’s (not their real name) from BMG as part of my 12 CDs for one cent offer. Sadly, its 2014 and none of those words make sense and I’m forced to move on with my life anyway. Had things been a little bit different,  Apple would have been sneakily putting the Shannen Doherty Experience (again, not the band’s real name) into our iTunes without asking and Bono would’ve been hosting Scare Tactics or doing commercials for Education Connection.

Some movies get college life and some just don’t. Maybe my college experience was unusual, but so many things that happened in this movie I had no recollection of. For example, the women in the sorority house were just genuinely NICE.

It started to feel a little bit more like home when Blonde Stalker overheard Brittany telling Shannen a secret and totally told everyone behind Brittany’s back that Brittany was super super fake and then Blondie blamed Shannen and everyone totally believed it.

Brittany totally thought she was pregnant by the way but it turns out she just can’t do math. Which is a far more dangerous rumor. Then again, I may have had a different college experience than most.

Blonde Stalker knows Rule #1 of gaining your sympathy back – when confronted with something you may or may not have done (ie spilled a friend’s confidential secret, gotten caught going through your personal stuff, killed a guy in an alley) start to act like you are in deep deep pain – either physical or emotional. Its girl catnip.

This is as good a time as any to talk about the acting styles of Shannen Doherty. Actually, she has one style. And its this –

Shannen processes new information onscreen like no one else in the business.

“Shannen, you just learned that your career won’t skyrocket due to badmouthing everyone on Charmed. You’re reaction?”

“…….”

End scene

Speaking of the 90s, you will never see anything that sums up the 90s experience than this screenshot.  Its a music video shoot for one. Jeremy London’s jacket for two…

In case you weren’t sure, Shannen Doherty is pure and blameless. She deserved none of this. See how she flourished in a nest of loving nurturement? You’d think that but then take into account she brought Blonde Stalker friend home, the friend who had no family and then rubbed her face in it.

Blonde Stalker is truly in her element behind a mic and just singing her heart out. Which makes one wonder – if she had just gotten to this point, embraced the friendship and made room for a Shannen, things would be so much different. For example we might all be downloading that one really catchy song of theirs from iTunes.

Sadly, no. Instead, we get this face…

Which I’m not going to lie. This was my face for the whole movie.

Thoughts? Feel free to discuss in the comments or on our Facebook page. You can also share your Shannen Doherty impressions with me on Twitter

OVER THE TOP (1987)

 Because I have humble Midwest roots, I searched for a film this week that was a true representation of what that means.

There’s a lot out there – so I just watched Over the Top instead.

For those of you who don’t know – Over the Top is all about sweaty man trends…like arm wrestling…and trucks…and parental visitation rights.  This movie really is a triple threat (of things that I really know nothing about…)

What you should know is that Sylvester Stallone plays a deadbeat dad who gets stuck with his kid for a weekend despite needing money and a new truck that helps him avoid things like stability and responsibility.

 His ex wife is dying and insists that he spend some time with his kid, which he begrudgingly does, and then makes grunty arguments with the kid’s wealthy grandfather. Grandpa understandably hires people to kidnap the kid.

When you’re learning how to be a father and struggling to build a dream, that usually costs money. Thankfully, there’s a arm wrestling competition – winner gets $100,000 AND a brand new truck.  Its a big enough deal where there’s a hefty prize, but niche enough to ensure truckers flock from everywhere to join.

I’d also like to point out Stallone’s affinity for girl cut scoop neck shirts. Flattering and gives just the right amount of edge.

Over the Top is an experiment in the Stallone Acting Method – behind those eyes, its all seriousness. Even if there’s something lighthearted going on – he’s like an animal watching his prey.  DO NOT GET IN THE WAY OF HIS EMOTING.

Even when he’s making bad parenting choices (like putting your underage son behind the wheel of a large, unwieldy truck), he’s all business under those dark brown eyes.

Here we have the kid’s grandfather as the main villain of our story. According to him, Stallone is an unfit father because he hasn’t been around until now when his ex wife made him, he’s not financially stable and he’s only going to drag him to a arm wrestling tournament.

Solid reasoning so far.

You can also tell his classic ’80s villain – rich white guy, red faced yelling about business in his crisp white shirt. This is a standard if you’re playing 80s Movie Bingo.

Here we have emerging Father of Year, shoving his child into hand to hand combat. Grandpa is so close minded.

Fell the moist Stallone rage. Just staring at you through your soul and your white Brooks Brother shirt. Take that corporate paternal greed!

Lets talk about what’s important, which is the actual arm wrestling competition.

Most of the participants are giant slabs of man pecs on legs. Some of them understand the point of wearing a shirt. Some don’t.

And then some of the guys are just your dad who got super bulked up just for this.

There was this moment where Valvoline got an unexpected product placement opportunity. Note to readers – drinking motor oil will not help you in athletics or really any endeavor that you pursue. This man probably collapsed within minutes of shooting this scene.

“Where’s your Valvoline now?”

Brace yourself for Stallone’s  “Straining for Victory” Face…

Straining….

STRAINING…

Victory!

 And in case this movie wasn’t enough for you to feel good about yourself and your own life decisions, you can always play Over the Top: The Home Game

My hat is now officially on backwards.

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PURPLE PEOPLE EATER (1988)

Its guest blog time – and our friends at First World Failure came back with this…


The year was 1988. I wasn’t old enough to watch PG-13 movies. Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t the household name “Dougie Howser M.D.” Dustin Diamond wasn’t Screech in “Saved By the Bell.” Throw in a post-Deliverance, pre-HomicideNed Beatty, Little Richard, and an oversized muppet that will give you nightmares, and what do you get? The movie inspired by the 1958 novelty song, “Purple People Eater.”
Purple People Eater is billed as sci-fi, comedy, family film and was written and directed by Linda Shayne. You may know Linda better from such roles as “band member” in Munchie and “Bootsie Goodhead” in Screwballs (which she also wrote). What I’m saying is, when studio execs wondered who they could trust with such a radical idea, they got the best.
This is Billy. He collects stray animals, which is important to remember because when he sees a huge space alien his first thought isn’t “BURN IT WITH FIRE!” it’s “yeah, you should come live in my garage.”

Billy is being taken care of by his Grandfather this summer, and Grandpa isn’t what we call “competent.” Veiled in the guise of seizing the day, Grandpa dupes Billy into helping him paint his apartment. 

What Grandpa doesn’t have in children supervising skills or money, he makes up for in old records. One night, Billy plays Sheb Wooley’s only hit, and the Purple People Eater appears from outer space
Instead of running for help, Billy’s all “move in to my garage. My parents are gone for the summer.” 

When Gramps finds out, he’s not the least bit alarmed. He’s all, “You should start a band with the space alien. Don’t worry about being EATEN.” 
Is anyone else noticing the HUGE plot holes in this movie? Over Billy’s right shoulder? That’s Screech.
Also, perhaps the Purple People Eater is an allegory for how we exploit immigrant workers in this country. Yes, Linda Shayne was way ahead of her time. 
 


Billy, unaware that he’s letting aliens take all the good jobs from American band members, plays with his new band all over town. It should be noted that their first gig is a wedding and nobody is put out that an alien who plays music through his horn is taking center stage. Then again, Chubby Checker was there…


Really? Nobody is worried that young Thora Birch is going to be murdered by a Purple People Eater? Oh, the main antagonist is a landlord named Mr. Noodle? Sure, sounds plausible. 

Gramps has a bee in his bonnet because Mr. Noodle is selling his apartment building and all the old people will need to find a new home! Could someone introduce him to the computer and show him what Craigslist is? Problem solved. There’s about 50 minutes you can cut from this movie. 
 
 

Guess it’s easy to get the laws changed and save Grandpa’s apartment when Little Richard is the mayor. Way to fight against GREED Billy!
 

And the townspeople still refuse to treat the monster from outer space as the threat he is because he can play music and hasn’t eating anyone yet. A likely story.
  
This movie has a 63% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which can only mean that 63% of people are idiots. 

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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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Caveman (1981)

As long as there’s been an influx of pop stars who have been marketed above us mere mortals, there have been pop stars who feel they can act. Sometimes they actually can (say what you want, Dolly Parton made a 9 to 5 world plausible…) and there are those who can’t.

That’s my way of saying, I watched “Caveman”. Ringo Starr is in it.

Ringo Starr, commonly thought of as the luckiest man alive (also see my post on William Shatner’s tour de force performance in 80’s TV paranoia The Babysitter), stars in this story of a budding civilization faced with the conflict and trials of battling evolution and discovering one’s theological center.  Just kidding. Its the story of a drummer who put on skins, mugs a lot and occasionally gets farted on while walking into scenes with claymation dinosaurs.

Best actor in this whole movie was the hand supplied to this puppet.

I will say this – the monsters in this were kind of cute.

If you enjoy your movies with lots of grunting, and a tuba heavy soundtrack that never lets up, then by all means, throw this on. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, watch this….without paying attention the action on screen. Unless you enjoy 90s minutes of moaning and groaning.

It should be noted…

This is meant to be Ringo’s show, and it is – but Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long are along for the ride. Its probably best that this movie rarely comes up in conversations about them.  Until now.
Its almost painful how seriously Dennis took this role.

Dear sweet Shelley Long – she played this the same as if Cheers was set in the Fertile Crescent. Diane Chambers of today, Diane Chambers of the yesterday.

There’s a bit of love triangle in that Ringo hits on the sister of Daisy Duke, but she’s not interested. Then he’s no longer interested (when Shelley Long’s in the house, you tend to rethink these things) she changes her mind. Women, amirte?!?!?

 I just posted the screenshot because it was kind of a cool shot. Even if clay is the biggest thing used in the scene.

Lets talk about Shelley Long – she has her Diane Chambers hair, her words are garbled, but there’s a faux-college snobbish tone involved even when she leads a blind man next to a large pool of water (spoiler alert: he still falls in).

This movie is clearly a fantasy – not because there’s cavemen and dinosaurs but because this is a universe where time after time, Ringo keeps saving the day. I’m pretty sure there’s three Beatles who would beg to differ.

Also, if you thought to yourself, “Its been so long since I’ve had to think about what it would look like for Ringo Starr to squat…” then by all means throw this on. Its 90 minutes of that, but, another spoiler alert, he does learn to walk upright.

Usually I stay away from writing about movies that are intentional comedies (I was burned and burned badly by the cinematic offerings of the Insane Clown Posse). But I went into this one just out of the sheer earnestness that the actors. They gave it their all despite a screenplay with only grunts and moans, and being required to walk around like auditioning dancers on So You Think You Can Dance.

There are moments, slight glimmers in Shelley Long’s eyes that say, “Please let Cheers be a hit. Please let Cheers be a hit…”

Meanwhile, Ringo’s just passing time until the next Sgt Peppers rerelease. Also, we learn that the cavemen don’t walk upright, but there’s no real consistency in how they walk. Some drag their arms on the ground, some are just bent slightly, as if carrying Target shopping bags filled with candy. Others, like this larger gentlemen, just aren’t trying at all. #evolution.

At one point, Ringo invents music, which I have to say, falls enthusiastically under the file “RINGO’S IMAGINATION”

No one can resist the charm of Shelley Long.  I know I can’t.

And in the end, Ringo has a difficult decision to make, one that’s been universal since the begining of time. Brunette vs blonde?

And he goes with Shelley Long. Because you do not..repeat, DO NOT say no to Shelley Long.

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