Assorted Film Reviews


2,000 MANIACS! [1964]
“This is gonna be the best centennial we ever had. Dogged if we don’t!” The southern town of Pleasant Valley was totally wiped out by Union troops during the Civil War. Now, 100 years later, the ghosts of those murdered have risen up to exact revenge. The “Wizard of Gore” himself, Herschell Gordon Lewis, directed this masterpiece, one of the first of the splatter film genre. 2,000 Maniacs was filmed in 14 days in St. Cloud, Florida, on a miniscule budget. Look for a moving performance from former Playboy Playmate, Connie Mason. Here’s an actual quote from the movie poster: “An entire town pulsing human blood! Madmen crazed for carnage! Brutal . . . evil . . . ghastly beyond belief! . . . Gruesomely stained in Blood Color!”

I’ve always wondered why I tend to watch Along Came Polly, a rather pedestrian 2004 comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston, every time I stumble upon this flick on DirecTV. Now I realize it’s because of the hilarious performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman as obnoxious former child star Sandy Lyle. Hoffman steals the show and even managed to add a new word, “sharted”, to the vocabulary. Well, someone inevitably decided to just pull together all of Hoffman’s best scenes into one clip – so now I don’t have to sit through the whole thing ever again! Awesome!

Jack Lemmon portrays a lonely office worker who lets upper management use his dwelling at all hours of the night to entertain their “girlfriends.” You see the poor guy is hoping his generosity will lead to a promotion. Then he falls for an elevator operator played by Shirley MacLaine (who is actually less obnoxious than usual, believe it or not!). After watching the late Jack Lemmon and the late Walter Mattheau stumbling and bumbling through that piece of crap Out to Sea, it’s easy to forget that Lemmon actually made some classic movies back in the day. Billy Wilder directs the stellar cast, which includes Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston and Edie Adams. Bottom line: Rent this flick in a double feature along with Office Space—then go to work tomorrow and tell your boss to go fuck him/herself.

Two “swingers” (named Cyril and Fiona) attempt to live out their dream of paradise but are inevitably forced to deal with the crushing weight of reality. Another couple, one-armed Hugh and Catherine, crash their van into a river and are befriended by Cyril and Fiona. Cyril has sex with Catherine. Fiona tries to seduce but strikes out with the guilt-ridden Hugh, who would rather take photos of nude peasant women. The group makes an excursion to a “ruined fortress” where Hugh digs up a medieval chastity belt. Hugh forces Catherine to wear the medieval chastity belt. Hugh accidentally hangs himself while masturbating to photos of peasant women. Catherine goes crazy and is committed to an asylum. As you can see, this ain’t no Sleepless in Seattle. However, if you’re looking for a little titillation, go rent a porno flick. This movie is about as unerotic and bland as Showgirls. The death of American author John Hawkes in May 1998 barely caused a ripple throughout the literary world (it didn’t help any that Hawkes died the day after the “chairman of the board” Frank Sinatra took his final voyage to the great beyond). It’s true that Hawkes wasn’t the most accessible author in the world. His works have been variously regarded as “avant-garde,” “experimental,” “meticulously crafted,” “postmodern” and “demanding.” He never managed to join John Grisham, Jimmy Buffett and Jesse Ventura on the bestseller list with his novels such as The Cannibal, The Blood Oranges, Death, Sleep and the Traveler, Travesty and Adventures in the Alaskan Skin Trade. Hawkes once revealed in an interview that he began to write fiction “on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting and theme…” Granted, Oranges is probably Hawkes’ most accessible book but it’s also full of imagery and flashbacks, while lacking in plot and character development. One critic said the novel was the product of a “contemptible imagination.” As for the film, the all-star cast includes Charles Dance, Sheryl Lee, Colin Lane and Laila Robins. I have never even heard of any of these actors. The acting is fairly poor across the board. As the delusional Cyril, Dance reminded me of one of those dirty old men in raincoats who hang out in front of adult theaters. The Blood Oranges is similar to Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, both being quality books that don’t translate well to the silver screen. If you have no familiarity with the works of Hawkes, you will probably find the film muddled, stupid and boring. Even if you are familiar with the works of Hawkes, you will probably find the film confusing, moronic and dull. Therefore, I would strongly suggest that you read the book before even considering renting this claptrap. But what the hell, I have to give the filmmakers some credit just for making the effort, knowing that the film would be relegated to the catacombs of cinema but forging ahead for the love of Hawkes. Even though I was totally underwhelmed with the film, I did go back and reread the book. That’s saying something, isn’t it?

Often referred to as “the little chill,” this generic comedy-drama hasn’t aged too well. During a day’s detention, a group of diverse high school students discuss their differences. It’s all a little too talky and gets real boring, especially when transferred to the dim light of the television set. Stars a handful of then-famous “brat pack” stars: Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. None of these actors has appeared in anything worthwhile since.

CASINO [1995]
When Martin Scorsese came out with Casino, some critics complained that it was nothing more than a cheap imitation of 1990’s acclaimed Goodfellas. I for one didn’t give a damn! Personally, I wish Scorsese would direct a gangster film at least once every two years. I don’t care if he rehashes the old plots, characters and sets – let’s even throw Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro back into the mix. Let’s face it, Scorsese has mastered the genre. Nobody in the business does it better. Who else could bring life to these two pedestrian crime novels? I love the ear for dialogue, the attention to detail, the creative use of violence and the inclusion of fascinating characters. Why can’t Scorsese stay focused on gangster films and avoid mediocre scripts like Bringing Out the Dead?

CLERKS [1994]
Bill Chinaski: “How did you like Clerks?”
Jim Foley: “I was not impressed with Kevin Smith’s initial effort.”
Bill Chinaski: “Hahahahahahaha!”
Jim Foley: “I like that he gave props to Jarmusch.”
Bill Chinaski: “I’ve got to admit that the guy is overrated.”
Jim Foley: “The characters were caricatures.”
Bill Chinaski: “Yeah, I haven’t seen it in a couple of years but thought it was just okay.”
Jim Foley: “The store customers reminded me of bit players in a Woody Allen movie. Honestly, Jay and Silent Bob were the best characters in the movie. No wonder you hear nothing about the other actors.”
Bill Chinaski: “Don’t watch Mallrats then. It was even worse than Clerks.”
Jim Foley: “I thought An Evening with Kevin Smith was good . . . nice rapport with the audience and crazy Hollywood antics . . . better than his scripts anyway!”
Bill Chinaski: “He’s got such a cult following, it’s almost amazing because when you watch the films you’re like, ‘that’s it?’ He must have tapped into some type of teen/twenties angst in the ’90s and he’s been riding the wave ever since.”
Jim Foley: “Yeah . . . I guess Mary Jane helps a whole lot.”
Bill Chinaski: “Huge blocks of his films are just amateurish, like if you gave some guy off the street a camera and sent him into a mall to get some footage.”
Jim Foley: “Yeah, the dialogue was just so stilted . . . at least it is now . . . nearly 20 years later.”
Bill Chinaski: “I agree that Jay and Silent Bob are the only good aspects of the film but actually would reduce that to ‘Jay.’ I think he’s kind of funny. I mean the Harpo Marx routine wears thin after awhile.”
Jim Foley: “He is in the movie so sparingly, I don’t mind him not talking. But Jay is funny as shit.”
Bill Chinaski: “Wait till you see Mallrats! Silent Bob has a bigger role and that does not help the movie at all. The Batman antics in the shopping mall seriously lack humor and are actually annoying at times . . .”

Errol Flynn’s last movie, also known as Assault of the Rebel Girls. What is there left to say?

It took David Lynch, a former art student, five years to make Eraserhead, a curious blend of Kafkesque horror and Orwellian nightmare. At one point, Lynch even took a job delivering the Wall Street Journal on a paper route to support himself during the film’s production. Lynch once remarked, “Waking dreams are the ones that are important . . . I like to dive into a dream world that I’ve made or discovered; a world I choose.” In Eraserhead, Jack Nance portrays total loser Henry Spencer (Nance died under mysterious circumstances in 1996 after a fight at a donut shop). After viewing Eraserhead, you’ll know who served as the inspiration for fight promoter Don King’s unique hairstyle. Lynch once revealed in an interview that he had a chocolate shake at Bob’s Big Boy at 2:30 PM every day for seven years: “Two-thirty is Bob’s time . . . I can think there and draw on napkins and have my shake. Sometimes I have a cup of coffee and sometimes I have a small Coke. They both go great with shakes.”

The plot centers around a geek who turns to a sleazy ticket scalper for advice on how to score with Jennifer Jason Leigh. “…put on Led Zep IV, man. It works every time.” The battle between stoned surfer Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) and Mr. Hand (Ray “My Favorite Martian” Walston) is very memorable. In the most famous scene, Phoebe Cates catches Judge Reinhold burping the chipmunk. Full of horny students (and adults), malls, surfers, bong hits, abortions, crappy fast-food jobs and total fuckin’ geeks, Fast Times changed all the rules and defined the teen film for the ’80s. Everybody’s wearing Members Only jackets and combing the mall for chicks. Nicholas Coppola (Cage) appears for about two seconds in the film. Also look for Eric Stoltz, Forest Whitaker and Anthony Edwards in minor roles.

In this brilliant adaptation of author Chuck Palahniuk’s cult novel, a lonely, depressed insomniac becomes addicted to attending support groups. He soon discovers an alternative view of life through the help of a free-spirited, eccentric (and ultimately nihilistic) soap salesman. The two eventually start their own support group – underground clubs where the participants beat the living shit out of each other. Fight clubs soon become the rage across the country and the participants soon focus their energies into darker, even more sinister goals. Loaded with intense, disturbing and humorous images, Fight Club makes A Clockwork Orange seem like The Warriors in comparison. The late, great film critic Roger Ebert called it “the most frankly and cheerfully fascist big-star movie since Death Wish, a celebration of violence in which the heroes write themselves a license to drink, smoke, screw and beat one another up.” I can’t think of a better endorsement, can you?

FROGS [1972]
Wheelchair bound Ray Milland and his family live on a private island, get attacked by hordes of killer frogs – “Millions of slimy bodies squirming everywhere—millions of gaping mouths!”

No, this isn’t the critically acclaimed Jim Jones biopic starring Emmy award winner Powers Booth. In this ludicrous, slapped-together flick, Stuart Whitman stars as “Jim Johnson,” a drug-crazed evangelist who leads his flock to ruin in the jungles of Guyana. Believe it or not, this piece of shit stars such name actors as Joseph Cotton and Yvonne DeCarlo. Also known as Guyana: Crime of the Century.

GYMKATA [1985]
“The Skill of Gymnastics . . . The Kill of Karate.” Have you forgotten how hilariously, unbelievably awful Gymkata actually was when you caught it for the first time at 3 AM on cable televison? This legendary turkey starred former Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas and former Playboy model Tetchie Agbayani!

America’s favorite cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, escapes to Florence, Italy. Meanwhile, Agent Starling sits in a FBI basement sifting through files in her futile attempt to capture the demented serial killer. A twisted, grotesque former patient of Lecter, Mason Verger, plots his own revenge against Lecter, drawing him back to the States for a confrontation that ranks up there with Blood Feast. Wandering aimlessly through the multiplex after viewing the sequel to Silence of the Lambs, I ran into a former coworker, a person who I disliked immensely (for practical purposes, we’ll just call him “Jim Bob”). He seemed to be in a state of agitation, ranting on and on endlessly about why he thought the film was a total piece of shit. Here is a sample of our conversation (Roger Ebert and sidekick eat your hearts out!!!:
Alternative Reel: So what did you think of the film?
Jim Bob: I thought it sucked big time. Hannibal must be America’s dumbest cannibal!
Alternative Reel: What do you mean? He outsmarts everybody, doesn’t he? 
Jim Bob: That’s the whole point! Here’s a guy on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list, one of the most notorious criminals in the history of the United States and yet he roams freely around Europe without a disguise. He even takes a job as a high-profile art historian in Florence, for godsakes! 
Alternative Reel: Don’t you think it was fascinating how they tracked him down and flushed him out of hiding? 
Jim Bob: Hiding? This guy was hanging out in sidewalk cafes sipping tea with a big white floppy hat? Here are a bunch of FBI agents sweating it out in basements analyzing cheap cologne when they could have gone over to Europe, flashed this guy’s photo around for about a week and arrested him. 
Alternative Reel: It’s true that they seemed to introduce a handful of characters – a greedy Italian detective, an obnoxious FBI agent and a grotesque sex offender – just so Hannibal would have somebody to torture and kill. 
Jim Bob: Exactly. Hannibal comes away looking like a superhero next to these morons! His life never seems in any danger. Look how easy it was for him to escape the attack of the wild boars. This guy’s untouchable. The whole character of Hannibal has become a total dead end. He’s turned into The Silver Surfer or something. If he’s never vulnerable at all, who gives a flying fuck about him or anyone else in the movie? 
Alternative Reel: How about Julianne Moore as “Agent Clarice Starling”? What did you think of her performance, stepping in for Jodie Foster and all? 
Jim Bob: She bored the shit out of me. She conveyed no emotion whatsoever. It was like her jaw was wired shut or something. Isn’t that how that fat chick from Wilson Phillips lost all of that poundage? 
Alternative Reel: You mean Carnie Wilson? I think she had her stomach stapled. 
Jim Bob: For most of the flick, this “highly decorated agent” sits in a basement. She’s got no friends to speak of and the other agents treat her like garbage. One fellow agent tries to hit on her using the phrase “cornpone pussy.”
Alternative Reel: I thought Gary Oldman was rather effective as Mason Verger, the disfigured and wealthy sex offender who vows to hunt Lector down and feed him to a herd of wild boars. 
Jim Bob: Oh yeah, Verger looked like a cross between ‘The English Patient’ and Jim Carrey’s ‘Fire Marshal Bill’ character. This guy’s worth about a billion dollars and yet he hires four bumbling amateurs to kidnap Lector and drive to his estate in a cheap van. Don’t you think he would have paid out a little cash to hire some trained assassins? Didn’t this guy know who he was up against? Wasn’t Hannibal the guy who once convinced him to cut off his own face and feed it to the dogs? 
Alternative Reel: You’re right! Judging by Verger’s estate, he must be worth a couple 100 million dollars. Did you know that the mansion scenes were shot at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville? With 250 rooms, it’s the largest private residence in the United States! 
Jim Bob: Yeah, notice how Clarice has no trouble driving all the way through the grounds up to the foot of the estate – couldn’t Verger afford to hire some security and cameras and shit? 
Alternative Reel: I know. Try driving through the grounds of Biltmore Estate after hours and see how far you get before security pummels your ass! 
Jim Bob: Yeah you’d be arrested before you had a chance to whistle Dixie! 
Alternative Reel: Do you believe that Ridley Scott directed this shit? 
Jim Bob: He ought to stick with sci-fi. I thought both Alien and Blade Runner were classics. In fact, I think that the baby alien bursting out of William Hurt’s stomach was grosser than the Ray Liotta brain-eating scene! 
Alternative Reel: I think you mean John Hurt, who also starred as the tumor-ridden freak in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man.
Jim Bob: Who gives a fuck? You knew exactly who I was talking about! 
Alternative Reel: I gotta go. 
Jim Bob: Hey, aren’t you gonna ask me why – even though I hated it like poison – I’ve watched Hannibal twice in a row and plan to go back into the theater for a third time and view it once again? 
Alternative Reel: Later, man. Have a good life…
So I left Jim Bob in the parking lot of the multiplex, talking to himself and searching frantically through his pockets for more money to buy another ticket. You know the funny thing? I don’t even think he remembered who I was at all.

Don Knotts portrays a total nimrod who yearns to be a fish. This dimwit gets his wish (in animation) and helps the U.S. Navy spot German subs in the Atlantic during WWII. One of the dumbest, most unpleasant movies you will ever experience . . .

“This is the most outrageous spectacle I’ve ever witnessed . . .” An incoherent version of the H.G. Wells’ classic, this total piece of crap stars Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando—as the insane scientist who creates man-beast hybrids on a remote island. If you want to see the story actually done well, skip this one, avoid the insipid 1977 version with Burt Lancaster and Michael York, and instead opt for Island of Lost Souls with Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi. Besides Marlon Brando’s over-the-top performance (which has to be seen to be believed, by the way), one of the most amusing aspects of the The Island of Dr. Moreau is the epilogue, whereby the narrator tries to turn the absurd flick we just witnessed into some kind of meaningful statement about today’s society (complete with video clips of violent imagery): “I look about me at my fellow man and I’m reminded of some likeness to the beast people. And I feel as though the animal is surging up in them. And they’re neither wholly animal or wholly man but an unstable combination of both, as unstable as anything Moreau created . . . And I go in fear.”

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango in Paris (Ultimo tango a Parigi) details the bizarre relationship of an American widower (Marlon Brando) and a young Parisian woman (Maria Schneider). The film caused much controversy for the so-called “butter scene,” which is extremely tame by today’s standards. Schneider, who claims she is still haunted by the scene, was quoted in the New York Post(July 23, 2007), claiming that the scene wasn’t part of the original script: “The truth is it was Marlon who came up with the idea . . . I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script . . . I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and, to be honest, I felt a little raped . . . Thankfully, there was just one take . . . I never use butter to cook anymore – only olive oil.” According to a court in Bologna that banned the film: “Obscene content offensive to public decency . . . presented with obsessive self-indulgence, catering to the lowest instincts of the libido, dominated by the idea of stirring unchecked appetites for sexual pleasure, permeated by scurrilous language . . . accompanied off screen by sounds, sighs and shrieks of climax pleasure.”

Let’s face it, there’s nothing mystical about the game of golf. You’ve got a bunch of overweight, obnoxious assholes out there on a green hacking away at a little ball and then retreating to a clubhouse where they proceed to drink themselves into oblivion and bitch about what a shitty day they had on the links. Besides, golf courses are just a tremendous waste of space on land that could be used for parks or protected natural areas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an average acre of golf course receives 55 pounds of pesticides annually and requires 500,000 to 800,000 gallons of water a day. Bottom line, if you want a safe, unchallenging slice of pablum that will leave you bored as shit, as bored as watching the practice round of the Masters Tournament, give Bagger Vance a shot. I think it sucked. [Editor’s Note: One dedicated Alternative Reel reader, known only as “Captain Catera,” provided an alternate take on Bagger Vance for your reading pleasure: “I was somehow unlucky enough to stumble upon this website’s review of Bagger Vance. My beef is not with your review, the movie was predictable and appealing to golfers…however I don’t understand why you throw your opinions about the game of golf in this. I have not doubt that the reviewer has never touched a golf club and urge him to do so…then watch 5 minutes of golf on TV. Also his opinion that all golfer get shitfaced after their round and talk about their shitty day may be somewhat true…but I doubt that he’s never been shitfaced and talked about how much he hates the touch of his rough right hand.”]

And so the movie starts at 7:10 PM and we’re already late and I tell my wife to call her brother because he pre-paid for the tickets the night before and he tells her that they are running late and I look at my watch and it’s 6:35 PM and she says we will get a bite at the food court and hopefully they will get there with the tickets in time and she says that her brother said don’t worry because hell the previews run for 20 minutes but I complain because this is opening night and the fuckin’ place is going to be packed so we’ll probably end up in the front row and she says don’t worry nobody is going to be there but I tell her that they marketed the shit out of this film and besides it’s PG-13 so everybody and their mother’s going to be there and then we grab a bite to eat at Pita-Pita and I get some sort of chicken pita thing smothered in cucumber sauce and I’m feeling like I’m gonna puke or pass out and I look at my watch again and it’s 6:50 PM and still no sign of her brother and I look at this huge line in front of the ticket window and I imagine myself in the front row and now I’m really getting pissed and then we start waiting in front of the theater and before you know it the time is 7:05 PM and they finally arrive with the tickets and my brother-in-law has to excuse himself and grab some McDonald’s to smuggle into the theater and we finally make it into the theater and the only rows that have seats left are the two in front and so we find four seats together in the second row at the end and the lady behind us has two obnoxious kids and a baby that’s crying and then my brother-in-law asks if I want an apple pie from McDonald’s and I say no and then he says he’s headed to get some popcorn and asks if we want anything and I say that I want a Coca-Cola slurpee and he comes back with a cherry slurpee because there are no Coca-Cola slurpees and I HATE cherry slurpees but I start wolfing down popcorn and then I realize I have to take a major dump because of the lousy pita with the cucumber sauce and so I miss a huge portion of the flick on the shitter and then when I return the kid behind me is screaming his head off and for some reason they’ve cranked up the heat in the theater and I’m wearing a sweater so I’m sweating my balls off and before you know it the movie’s over and we sit there watching the credits and it’s 9:15 PM and my wife looks over at me and says that the mall closes at 11 PM so we have almost two hours in which to do Christmas shopping.

The years haven’t been kind to this shallow, overly stylistic adaptation of an even shallower 1985 bestseller. Just think, I once actually thought this was a powerful movie, but now I mainly chuckle at some of ridiculous dialogue and predictable plot twists. Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ sophomoric novel (once hailed as the “first MTV novel”), Less Than Zero details the sordid lives of three aimless teens from wealthy Beverly Hills 90210 families who were best friends in high school but whose lives are now going in opposite directions. Clay (Andrew McCarthy) returns home for the holidays from his stint as a freshman at an Ivy League college to find his former girlfriend, Blair (Jami Gertz), strung out on drugs and his best friend, the nihilistic Julian (Robert Downey Jr.), on the downward spiral toward total addiction. Worse still, Julian has been banging Blair while Clay was away reading the Harvard classics. Everybody proceeds to get fucked up, move from party to party, try to half-heartedly bail Julian out of his troubles–you get the idea . . . It’s worth watching just to marvel at the sleazy performance of James Spader (“Rip”), who portrays one of the lamest drug dealers ever to hit the silver screen. It’s also interesting in hindsight when you realize that Downey wasn’t really acting at all when he portrayed the drug-addled loser. Also look for Brad Pitt in an uncredited role as one of the drunken revelers and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers as “Musician #1”. One of the best things about this flick is the classic soundtrack, which includes “A Hazy Shade of Winter” (Bangles), “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night” (Poison), “Bring the Noise” (Public Enemy), “Life Fades Away” (Roy Orbison), “Bump ’n Grind” (David Lee Roth), “Moonlight Drive” (The Doors) and “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix).

MANIAC [1934]
A madman steals corpses from the local morgue. Scenes are interrupted throughout with text describing various forms of mental illness (“Unhealthy thought creates warped attitudes which in turn creates criminals and maniacs”). A legitimate challenger to Plan Nine from Outer Space as the worst film ever made! Film is very loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat.” Yes, Poe must have done a backflip in his grave after he viewed this one. Director Dwain Esper and his scriptwriter wife Hildegarde also made such classics as Marijuana, Weed with Roots in Hell and How to Undress in Front of Your Husband.

The only thing I remember about this piece of shit is that Dennis Hopper played a whacked out science teacher.

The National Guard is called out to battle giant four-foot-tall Easter bunnies. The stellar cast includes Stuart Whitman, Janet (Psycho) Leigh and Rory (Motel Hell) Calhoun. Make sure to watch as a double feature with Frogs (see review above).

A true Western epic from director Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in the West (C’era una volta il West) stars Charles Bronson as a mysterious stranger (“Harmonica”), Henry Fonda (cast against type as blue-eyed villain, Frank), Jason Robards (as the likable outlaw Cheyenne) and Claudia Cardinale (as the beautiful Jill McBain). Once Upon a Time in the West is punctuated by an incredibly powerful Ennio Morricone score.

Few people actually realize that South Carolina played a major role in the American Revolution. In fact, some of the major battles that took place here toward the end of the war turned the tide against the British, forcing them to surrender at Yorktown, Virginia. However, even though The Patriot was filmed in South Carolina, the history aspect is almost immediately thrown out. In fact, if you know nothing about Revolutionary War history, you won’t even know what the fuck is going on! What we are left with is a typical revenge plot—a weird mix of Braveheart and Death Wish II. Mel Gibson stars as “Benjamin Martin,” a reluctant patriot who is forced into battle after a sadistic colonel (Jason Isaacs) brutally murders his son and takes his other son captive for no apparent reason. Film was based on the life of Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion. However, it seems the real Marion actually committed a few atrocities himself in the French and Indian Wars, so we’re given a fictional composite. All the British are naturally portrayed as cruel and sadistic. The Americans are all honorable, of course. In fact, I kept thinking that Gary Busey was going to show up in British uniform as “Major Joshua.” The film includes some of the old ultra-violence that one has come to expect from a Mel Gibson revenge flick. It’s also riddled with cliches. Most of the battle scenes are well done. If you’re fascinated by the image of a soldier getting decapitated by a cannonball, this film is for you!

Pink (Bob Geldof) is a rock star in the midst of an intense mental breakdown; shaves his chest and eyebrows, dreams of fascism. Songs from Pink Floyd. Note: I have never seen this film sober.

Billed as “The Great Bela Lugosi’s Last Film,” Plan Nine is often referred to as the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Slapped together by the legendary Ed Wood Jr., the entire film was built around a couple of minutes of Lugosi footage shot just before he died in 1956. Aliens invade the Earth and awaken the dead in their bid to take over the world. Although it’s often referred to as the “worst film of all time,” I find the film entertaining in its ineptness. Plan Nine also stars Tor Johnson, Mona McKinnon, Dudley Manlove (as Eros the Alien!) and Vampira. Narrator Criswell repeatedly asks the audience, “Can you prove it didn’t happen?”

Another generic 1980’s teen flick featuring more horny losers, this time bumbling their way around a swanky resort. Stars Johnny Depp and Rob Morrow, as well as Hector Elizondo, who totally embarrasses himself as a befuddled jewel thief. Look for Andrew “Dice” Clay in a bit role as (what else?) a sleazy guido type from New Jersey.

Super boring drama that takes place right before World War II. Richard Benjamin directed the flick, which stars Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage and Crispin Glover. A notch above watching paint dry.

In 1992, Charles Bukowski wrote the following letter to Film Threat: “This is in response to all the hype regarding RESERVOIR DOGSHIT. Tarantino’s student film is probably the most overrated in the last twenty years. Give us a break! What’s all the praise about anyway? Like I said — the film should be retitled RESERVOIR DOGSHIT. I regret paying the $7, when I could have instead rented a couple of tapes starring the real thing: Jimmy Cagney, Eddie G. Robinson or even Bogey.”

Ten years before For a Few Dollars More, Eastwood appeared in a decidedly minor role as a lab technician in the first sequel to the cult classic, Creature from the Black Lagoon. Eastwood gets a few choice lines near the beginning of the film such as: “I’ve lost my white mouse.” Ironically, Eastwood’s film debut is about the only thing memorable about this ultimately mediocre monster flick.

A group of pathetic nobodies led by Robert Carradine organizes its own fraternity, Lamba Lamba Lamba. As “Booger,” Curtis Armstrong rattles off some of the best lines in the flick, such as: “What the fuck are robster craws?” In the much less successful sequel, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, the boys head down to Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break and Booger meets his mentor, “Snotty.” In my favorite scene from Revenge of the Nerds, Booger utters one of the greatest lines in film history in response to the question, “What are you looking at nerd, huh?”, posed by Stan Gable, leader of the Alpa Betas: “I thought I was looking at my mother’s old douchebag, but that’s in Ohio.” Ironically, Stan and Betty have already rode off and none of his fellow Tri-Lam nerds are within earshot, so Booger essentially wasted this awesome insult . . . Everybody remembers the opening scene of Revenge of the Nerds: Mr. Skolnick is driving Louis and Gilbert to their first year at Adams College. Gilbert is apprehensive about leaving home. Louis tries to reassure Gilbert by telling him that they are going to score with a lot of hot coeds. Mr. Skolnick blurts out, “You college guys are all alike, all you care about is getting laid. I wish I was going with you.” Then all three of these dorks break out into a fit of nerd laughter. So I’m sitting in bed channel surfing well after midnight the other night when I catch the beginning of the Revenge of the Nerds, exactly as I’ve described above. Well, not exactly, this thing was severely edited, so what I actually heard was this: “You college guys are all alike . . . I wish I was going with you.” Since I’ve seen this flick about 20 times, I knew exactly which part of the line was censored; however, anyone watching it for the first time would have to scratch their head and wonder why these assholes were guffawing over Mr. Skolnick’s bland, unfunny comments. So I turned the shit off and went to bed. Chalk one up for the fascist censors, who are afraid someone might actually hear the word “laid” after midnight on a Saturday night and get permanently scarred! Speaking of Revenge of the Nerds, I actually paid attention to the lyrics of the theme song (by The Rubinoos!) that drones on in the background during the opening scene. Yes, it’s got to be one of the dumbest tunes I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s so bad that it’s actually funny as hell! You be the judge: “Okay, guys, let’s go. Mom packs us our lunch and we’re off to school. They call us nerds ’cause we’re so uncool. They laugh at our clothes. They laugh at our hair. The girls walk by with their nose in the air. So go ahead, put us down. One of these days we could turn it around. Won’t be long, mark my words. Time has come for revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. We wear horn-rimmed glasses with a heavy duty lens, Button down shirts and a pocket full of pens. We’re straight A students. Teacher’s pets. They call us nerds, but we’ve no regrets. So go ahead, put us down. One of these days we’ll turn it around. Won’t be long, mark my words. Time has come for revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. While the jocks work out with the football team, We’re tryin’ to score with the girl of our dreams. You know, we ain’t good lookin’, but here’s a surprise, Nerds are great lovers in disguise. So go ahead, put us down. One of these days we’ll turn it around. Won’t be long, mark my words. Time has come for revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. Revenge of the nerds. So if they call you a dork, a spaz, or a geek, Stand up and be proud. Don’t be meek. Hey, beautiful people, haven’t you heard? The jokes on you, it’s revenge of the nerds. So go ahead, put us down. One of these days we’ll turn it around. Won’t be long, mark my words. Time has come for revenge of the nerds.”

This dreary film starring Al Pacino as a revolutionary soldier has been universally panned, but I believe the cinematography is outstanding and worth a look. It’s probably the best film ever made about the American Revolution (hell, I think it’s the only film made about the American Revolution!). One British critic likened Pacino’s performance to an “impersonation of a distraught short-order cook.” See if you can spot singer Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics as a Revolutionary graffiti artist. Pacino’s career took 10 years to recover from this one.

Thirty years after stunning Hollywood and capturing the Best Picture Oscar for Rocky, Sylvester Stallone is back with Rocky Balboa and if the string of crappy Rocky sequels are any indication this new flick will fall into the same dull, contrived formula of comeback, training and victory (except now Rocky should be a candidate for a nursing home – or at least assisted living!). I like to remember Rocky as it once was before Mr. T, Brigitte Nielsen and Tommy “Machine” Gunn invaded the scene and reduced the whole concept to nothing more than an A-Team type cartoon.

If you’re in the mood for a really (and I mean really!) dumb and raunchy comedy along the lines of Dumb and Dumber or Kingpin, then I wholeheartedly recommend Saving Silverman. In fact, this is perhaps one of the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen and I’ve sat through a ton of dumb movies in my time. I seriously believe that my IQ dropped a couple of points while viewing this thing. However, sometimes a totally brainless comedy is in order and Saving Silverman delivers. Shit, this flick makes There’s Something About Mary seem like Masterpiece Theatre in comparison. Saving Silverman depicts the plight of two total dipshits, Wayne Lefessier (Steve Zahn) and J.D. McNugent (Jack Black), who will go to any length in order to stop their best buddy, Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs), from marrying THE QUEEN OF ALL BITCHES, Judith Fessbeggler (Amanda Peet). You see, Judith’s arrival is a threat to the future of these losers’ Neil Diamond cover band, “Diamonds in the Rough.” Yes, believe it or not, all three of these fuckwads idolize none other than insipid lounge lizard Neil Diamond! So Wayne and J.D. end up kidnapping Judith and what’s left of the paper-thin plot goes downhill from there. But who the hell really cares? R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) provides some inspired casting as the psychotic, sadistic Coach Norton. I have no idea why Ermey’s character is in this movie but he manages to effortlessly steal the show nonetheless. Neil Diamond appears as himself.

The kids at Taft and Adams High School (“T&A;”) are young, stoned and horny. They all want to nail the homecoming queen, “Purity Busch.” This dreck ranks with the worst of the raunchy teen comedy genre.

A thoroughly laughable and unerotic look at the sleazy side of Las Vegas strippers, this turkey stars the untalented Elizabeth Berkley (Saved by the Bell), a spunky but brain-dead dancer named “Nomi” who works her way up the showbiz ladder from lap dancer to showgirl. Kyle MacLachlan, looking and acting just as he did when he portrayed Ray Manzarek in The Doors, plays Nomi’s boyfriend, “Zack” (effectively terminating his once-promising career).

One of the greatest “drinking” movies of all time, Sideways goes down best with a good bottle of Cabernet or Pinot Noir – but never Merlot! Bottom line: Don’t watch this flick sober!

Critic Harlan Ellison once said that Spaceballs “rivals L’Avventura as the single most obstinately boring film of all time. An invincibly tasteless farago of lame jokes, obvious parodies, telegraphed punchlines, wretched acting and idiot plot.”

Bill Chinaski: “I just watched Attack of the Clones the other night on TV and it was as bad if not worse than i had remembered it. Looking forward to seeing [Revenge of the Sith], however i really think they should unearth what’s left of the original cast (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, etc.) and make three more flicks, the final trilogy after Return of the Jedi. That would be really something!”
Jim Foley: “Funny you should mention that piece of garbage (Episode II). George Lucas is infamous for going back and reworking the original trilogy to add scenes and effects. I say he should rework Episodes I and II by cutting 75% of the scenes and replacing them with anything else. I would rather see Yoda take a dump than that contrived, stretched-out courtship between Anakin and Padma.”

I rarely clean out my car, so when I found a McDonald’s french fry under the seat the other day I realized it must have been sitting there for approximately 3 months. The funny thing is that it looked exactly the same as it did the day I bought it as part of a 2 cheeseburger value meal. So I was thinking to myself, “What the fuck is this thing made of?” Morgan Spurlock—director, writer and producer of Super Size Me—performs a similar experiment with fries that you can find in the bonus section of the DVD. The conclusion? These things are virtually indestructible, so just think what they are doing to your stomach. In Super Size Me, Spurlock takes viewers on an entertaining (and somewhat disturbing!) journey that involves his quest to survive wholly on McDonald’s food for an entire month (averaging about 5,000 calories a day!). He ends up gaining 25 pounds, while his blood pressure and cholesterol both skyrocket. I know how it is – after eating fast food for a couple of days I start to get bloated and stupid, just like Bobby Bacala in The Sopranos. Spurlock gives us a humorous, daily account of his ordeal as he wolfs down an inordinate amount of greasy fast-food fare. However, did we really need the close up of him vomiting a double quarter pounder with cheese out of his car window? In addition, Spurlock’s girlfriend, a vegan chef, is horrified by his experiment and even comments that she has to “get on top” during sex because he is so physically exhausted from eating McDonald’s crap. As the film so thoroughly documents, super sizing has practically become a religion in this country. Take the Big Gulp at 7-Eleven – who’s that fuckin’ thirsty? McDonald’s actually got rid of “super size” meals a couple of months after Super Size Mewon acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. However, they’ve also introduced the dreaded McGriddle, which offers a whopping 550 calories and 33 grams of fat. One glaring omission in the film is any talk of the sordid conditions in the slaughterhouses. If you could actually tour a slaughterhouse, I can guarantee that you would never crave a quarter pounder again. In the end, there’s nothing that profound about Super Size Me but it’s entertaining nonetheless. Of course this shit’s bad for us, but we eat it anyway because were a nation of dumb fucks who can’t help ourselves. Pass the fries . . .

This movie is a total piece of shit, the only novelty being a cameo by legendary author and boozer, Charles Bukowski, as a “water boy” for a wet T-shirt contest. I’m not kidding . . . check out the clip above! Watch as one of the contestants recoils in horror as the “Poet Laureate of Skid Row” makes a move on her! I haven’t found any information on how Bukowski ended up in this flick. Very strange but funny as shit!

Life in an urban high school . . . ho hum. Nick Nolte is the burnt-out teacher. Notable for Crispin Glover’s lively performance as a whacked-out student. Some claim he introduced the so-called “grunge look” years before its time.

Cartoonish, surreal look at at gang life in New York City as The Warriors take on various “ruthless” gangs such as the Baseball Furies and The Lizzies. David Patrick Kelly steals the show as the creepy Luther —”Warriors, come out to play!”

At least the first Bernie’s had a modicum of originality; Weekend at Bernie’s II [1993] is a tasteless piece of garbage that resurrects our favorite dead host (Terry Kiser) through voodoo as he heads to the Caribbean in search of lost treasure. Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman haven’t been heard of since.

ZAPPED [1982]
This lame comedy about “teenage telekinetics” stars two of the worst actors to ever hit the silver screen: yes, I’m referring to none other than Willie Aames and Scott Baio. Heather Thomas bares (someone else’s) breasts.


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