"I take orders from the Octoboss."


tn_disorderliesA couple weeks ago the United States Congress finally squeaked through the Baby-Steps To Health Care Reform legislation, a bill that does several good things such as not allowing insurance companies to refuse coverage to people because of a pre-existing condition, giving tax credits to small businesses that provide health insurance for their employees, and letting kids in their twenties stay on their parents’ insurance a couple more years than before. Unfortunately, too many Democrats are in the pocket of the insurance companies and they were too insistent on bending over backwards to find every possible compromise that could conceivably tickle the fancy of a Republican (a year long torture session that netted them a grand total of zero Republican votes) so the reforms aren’t as strong as most people would like.

So we’re still stuck with a health care industry instead of a health care system. It’s run by companies that are trying to maximize profits, which is a conflict of interest. I mean, what if we had a for profit fire department, and they’d only be willing to put out certain types of fires that required less water, and even then only if the people inside are already paid up? You can try that system if you want, but I’m against it. I prefer that it’s a public service paid for by taxes. I guess that makes me a commie. Come get me, puny American. I must break you.

There is a movie that exposes the dangers of for-profit medicine – a powerful story with sharp, incisive satire and a well researched look at exactly how the business works and why it fails us. Or maybe I imagined that movie, so instead I watched DISORDERLIES.

The Fat Boys, playing themselves, are working at the world’s worst nursing home, but they’re fired for stealing 16 chocolate cakes for the third time this week. Meanwhile, in Palm Beach, Florida, a Malcolm McDowell-esque rich dude is hoping his sick uncle Albert will die so he can pay off the gangsters he owes gambling money to. He finds out about the Fat Boys and hires them to watch Albert, figuring their incompetence will make it easy to get away with murdering him.

I think I can see what the producers were thinking: we have here a comedy team for the ages, a Three Stooges for the ’80s. I mean, think of all the similarities. Three Stooges = 3 members. Fat Boys = 3 members. And etc. Throughout the movie they bicker and slap each other, with Flinstones sound effects. They fall down or get a boner and it goes BOINGGG!!! They eat lots of pizzas and use slang like “def.” Then Uncle Albert says a couple things like that, and he listens to the Fat Boys on a Walkman and snaps his fingers. Because get it, you’d never expect an old rich white guy to do that. The walls of class and race are crumbling.

This would be a funny double feature with NOTORIOUS to show how far fat rappers came in less than 10 years. Funny as in “interesting” though, not as in “you will laugh at the funny jokes.” Although Prince Markee Dee (the less fat Fat Boy) does get to date one of the maids, there’s nothing else dignified here. They get bit by a doberman, they cause a ledge to break while peeping on skinnydippers, they do stupid things like steal plates at a charity dinner because they hear it’s a $1000 a plate dinner. Despite theire job they don’t have any medical knowledge. The only way they help Albert is by losing his pills by using them as gambling chips, then it turns out he was overmedicated. They were lucky too because they acted like little kids and wouldn’t fess up that they lost the pills, even though they thought he was gonna die. These are not the disorderlies I would want working for my elderly uncle. They do take him to a roller rink and get a girl to sit on his lap, I guess that’s something.

There are a couple points where the strength of their street knowledge comes in handy. True, they do wear Hawaiian shirts, but they’re from Brooklyn, so they know how to use a coathanger to commandeer a police car from the back seat and take it for a high speed drive in reverse. They somehow escape and impersonate police officers, pull over a white guy in a Cheap Trick t-shirt and steal his car. Later they find a huge arsenal and smile slyly when they’re walking around with machine guns and bandoliers. Luckily they decide to put the guns away after one of them is frightened by a cuckoo clock and plugs it like they did those trees in PREDATOR.

The score is by the group Art of Noise, who also collaborated with Max Headroom. It’s funny because sometimes they’ll do serious dramatic cues, like when Markee Dee finds video proof of the murder plot. But then he trips over a taxidermied dog, the tape flies into the fireplace and it goes BOINK!

One thing that’s weird: they never mention being rappers. But about 50 minutes in they find a camcorder and “make a video” of themselves lip synching their song “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” Later “Wipeout” plays on the soundtrack, and there’s occasional beatboxing.

I’m not sure what I think about the Fat Boys. They did alot of crappy gimmick songs, like “Wipeout” and the rap version of “The Twist” with Chubby Checker and the official Freddy Krueger rap that wasn’t as good as the unofficial one by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. But just as vocalists they were pretty good for rappers of that era. They had some skills on the mic, if not in the hospital. They shoulda stuck with the day job.

So we have learned a few things:

1. When somebody can make more money by not giving good health care, that can cause problems.

2. At one point it was considered hilarious to watch fat guys cram fistfuls of cake into their mouths.

3. DISORDERLIES would be a really clever title it it wasn’t just shortened from THE DISORDERLY ORDERLY.

And that’s what I have to say about health care and the Fat Boys.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

30 Responses to “Disorderlies”

  1. Aw shit, it must be something like 15 years or longer since I saw that one. And although one TV channel back then aired it at least once every two months (The channel was new back then and didn’t have a big archive) and I was even watching it two or three times, I can’t remember anything about it.
    I also always thought one of the Fat Boys played “House” in Police Academy 4 & 5, but this was only because they once had a guest appereance in the cartoon series. (And no, he wasn’t one of the Fat Boys.)

  2. The question is, when does zaniness become a cry for help? Is it when you start walking around with pizza in your back pocket? Or is wearing a coonskin cap in itself a red flag?

  3. I don’t know, Vern, this sounds pretty hilarious to me.

  4. I think my favorite Vern reviews are these crappy comedies that give him license to go off on insane tangents and do all kinds of goofy shit. This, Soul Man, the Teen Wolf saga, all are endlessly re-readable.

  5. I snuck a pizza into the showing of us marshalls in my pockets.

  6. This movie somehow sounds awesome to me. Queued.

    DL, Vern has briefly addressed the Seagal issue in the comments for the ‘Find Me Guilty’ review. Personally I anticipate a respectful ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.

  7. weren’t the fat boys also gonna make a movie called “fat werewolf” or something? too bad that was never made

  8. I happened to be reading a Robert Englund interview recently, and he talks about hanging out with the Fat Boys. He says the night started at the BET Awards, with the Fat Boys drinking Gin from Milk Glasses at their table, and somehow ended up with them all eating sushi at a Bowling Alley in the Ghetto.The Fat Boys must be the Jack Nicholson of playing Wacky Hijinks, they just play themselves.

  9. Not to belittle this fine Fat Boys movie, but I’m interested to read Vern’s response to Steven Seagal being accused of, not to put too fine a point on it, rape and slave trading(!!!)

    That could be a pretty heavy chapter for the next editon of the book…

  10. Hmph. Well, they can’t all be KRUSH GROOVE, now can they? Speaking of which, I see a natural follow-up review to this…

    The soundtrack also had the dubious distinction for many years of being the only place you could find Bon Jovi’s “Edge Of A Broken Heart”, a top-40 hit that received the sort of radio airplay in my Aqua-Net-clouded childhood community normally only afforded to top-5 hits. Yep. Knowledge permanently burned into my brain. I’d try to finesse that little factoid into a request for a YOUNG GUNS II review or something, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already said too much.

  11. “…their song…”

    Really, Vern? C’mon you’re the man. The Fat Boys covered a Beatles song, and rather poorly at that.

  12. It may have originally been by the Beatles (there’s no way to really know), but obviously it is now mainly known as a Fat Boys song. Much like “Hound Dog” is known for the Elvis version and not Big Mama Thornton.

  13. I think it’s funny how the Republicans gave zero votes to the health care bill that passed after Obama and Pelosi worked with them for over a year trying to get as many as their ideals in as they could only to see zero support in the end run. Then to top it off, after it passed, the republican leaders made public statements about “Well Mr. President, if that’s how it will be you will get no support from us for the rest of the year!” Really? These assholes are living in their own version of reality/America. Bill Maher said it best a few weeks ago, when republicans lose THEY SQUEAL LIKE PIGS.

    Makes me think they should have just thrown in the public option to begin with, ya know. I mean, the way they talked about it with all the death panels and rationing and other made up bullshit the democrats should have seen they were on their own and they could have made some of the big changes that got left out for the watered down bill that got no support anyway.

    But as a parent who has a child with a pre-existing condition and a person who campaigned for Obama I gotta say I was incredibly happy that the bill got passed. It was looking in Jan/Feb after Scott Brown won Ted Kennedys old seat that they had managed to kill the bill and Obama was going to be a one term lame duck president. I’m glad they grew some balls and got it done. I also think history will show that Nancy Pelosi was the real champion of the bill. She had to work her ass for the votes in Congress even after Obama had started to lose some of his momentum.

    Oh, and a very funny review Vern, as always.

  14. dieselboy – I wonder if at one point Pelosi and Obama (with Obama the QB, Pelosi the lineman) realized that if they do lose some of their congressional majority in the fall (which is likely), well at least let’s get one of our crusades accomplished while we still can.

    Some things are worth losing elections over.

    I think the modern GOP under the Karl Rove mentality has quite lost that lesson. If they hadn’t, who knows maybe I would still be there with those assholes.

    Then again GOP ’12 is such a trainwreck field. You’ve got Palin the diva which everybody else but her hardcore inner-GOP fanbase thinks she’s dumber than Dubya. Romney who can’t decide if he is his dad or Reagan 2.0. and not exactly doing a good job at either. He was for healthcare before he was against it.

    Thume, Perry, and Pawlenty are vanilla bland. Huckabee is a likeable if nutty guy, and Wall Street hates his guts.

    His views on the Constitution or sorta insane, but I have a fondness for Ron Paul. But the GOP will never back him, at the least because he was anti-war (I doubt his calling Dubya/Obama’s wars “Imperialism” will make new NeoCon fans) and he’s for some sort of progressive legalization of pot.

    Which is funny because the right-leaning PPP claimed in the last poll, he would go neck/neck with the President.

  15. To say thing look bleak for the Republicans in ’12 is a bit of an understatement. The party has no leader right now other than the talk radio crazies like Limbaugh,Beck, Hannity and Savage. Michael Steele is a joke. Bobby Jindal has zero charisma. John Boehner has no character other than looking like an orange.

    And as far as I’m concerned Sarah Palin is the biggest hack in the entire political system. She has made a career out of scaring the shit out of ignorant simpletons that Obama wants to take their freedoms and destroy capitalism while simultaneously making us weaker when it comes to national defense. Of course, none of this is backed up by any evidence, but to her followers her word is more than enough. It’s the same crowd that voted in Bush because he reminded them of themselves. They want to have a beer with her/him. They don’t like that Obama is well spoken and uses big words or that he went to(HOLY FUCK)Harvard Law and taught in a fancy liberal college.

    Add to all that the Republicans want to tap into this tea-party movement that really has no leader or clear message other than…no more taxes?….Obama is like Mao/Stalin/Hitler???… We’re losing our freedoms?… I don’t know. I watched several of their rallies and enough coverage to know that those people look like lunatics on TV with teabags hanging off their ears and Obama/Hitler posters. That kind of crazy doesn’t win you elections,

  16. Hey Vern,

    Doesn’t seem like you’re the biggest fan of the Fat Boys, but this article is pretty exhaustive and amazing.


    My favorite line is for sure “This actually is a pretty good Fat Boys record, combining straightforward Fat Boys style of storytelling (where nothing really happens, but they seem really excited about it).”

  17. The first Fat Boys album, which includes the eternal rap classics “Jailhouse Rap” and “Stick ’em” is a must for the record collection of all discerning music enthusiasts. It will be a fixture of your turntable.

  18. I have now achieved my goal of creating a thread that contains simultaneous discussion of American politics and the music of The Fat Boys, with both being completely on topic. Thank you all for helping my dreams come true.

  19. “It’s called the WIPE OUT! Wipe out wipe out wipe out wipin’ out wipe on out…”

    Jesus. Movies of my youth I had forgotten.

    Anyway, Coppola’s THE RAINMAKER is a pretty damn good indictment of the whole health care mess. With Matt Damon’s first lead role, a wilderness-years Mickey Rourke great as a sleazy ambulance chaser, Virginia Madsen also incredible as the former Health Insurance company employee who reveals how sleazy and criminal they are…I could go on and on. Great cast, and as a film, arguably equal to Mann’s THE INSIDER.

  20. Vern – actually “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” is indeed a Beatles-composed/recorded song. A B-side tosser at that.

    Of course I wasn’t intimate ever with the Fatboys so I wasn’t aware they recorded a cover of that.

  21. In honor of the late, great Prince Markie Dee, I have dropped yet another hot track on the world. Except for some drum loops (and the verses, obviously), it is entirely made of samples from Fat Boys songs. You’re welcome.

    Stick 'Em

    A tribute to the late, great Prince Markie Dee. All samples are taken from Fat Boys songs.

  22. Good job, Majestyk. Have you ever read Jake Austen’s “The Fat Boys: A Large Body of Work”? It is a very Vern-ish masterpiece, which is not a comparison I make lightly. It was also a foundational work of Disco 3 (and, in turn, hip-hop) scholarship. Here is an excerpt, which is, incidentally, one of my “origin” writings, in terms of many sorts of influence.

    “Wipe Out,” a remake of the Surfaris classic, was packaged as a duet with the Beach Boys, and made it to #12 Pop and #10 R&B. As the Beach Boys do some harmonizin’ and Doo Wopin in the background, the Fat Boys tell the story of how they ended up in the Golden State and met “the real Beach Boys!” When promoting the single Kool was asked by a reporter if they actually surfed, and he responded “HELL NO!” This actually is a pretty good Fat Boys record, combining straightforward Fat Boys style of storytelling (where nothing really happens, but they seem really excited about it) with some great Beatboxing, and some solid vocal delivery. For some reason the video featured boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini with the Fat Boys behind him and boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho with the Beach Boys behind him, and by some jump of logic this incites the original East Coast-West Coast rivalry. The Beach Boys go to NYC and use their powers to turn hardened homeboys and homegirls into hang-loose Beach folk, and the Fat Boys go to California and experience bikini girls, volleyball and sand that can’t take their weight. At the end they all get together, with the Beach Boys scratching on the turntables.

    The Roctober website seems to be down, but I would recommend searching out any Roctober Magazine back-issues to anybody seeking for a “RIYL: Vern” sort of a writer. Austen was an early and vocal supporter of many forms of art that were not as appreciated at the time of his early pieces, I think Vern people would find a lot of common ground and forms of enjoyment there. Jake Austen is great, I met him for about half a second while he was filming a Chic-A-Go-Go segment and I’ve never been more starstruck, it reminded me of when I met Bowie or something, I just could not believe it.

  23. I am not great with HTML or websites, that second paragraph of the above is the one written by Jake Austen.

  24. I have not read that. I love the Fat Boys but I’m far from an expert. I am generally not that interested in the stories behind music as I am in the stories behind movies. I used to have to read and review a fair amount of rapper biographies and autobiographies for work, but all that did was make me respect their subjects less. Think “The Message” is Grandmaster Flash’s crowning achievement? Well, tough shit, because he was sleeping off a drug bender while it was being recorded. Love the fraternal interplay between Run and DMC? Too bad. Run is a shallow, mercenary prick and DMC hated most of the shit Run made him do. The only exception was Prodigy’s memoir, which gave so many of his lyrics a personal context that made them more interesting. More often than not, it seems, musicians are alarmingly disappointing people, so I prefer to maintain the mystery. That’s why I love A Tribe Called Quest to the depths of my soul and will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER watch that documentary about them.

  25. Jake Austen rules, great guy. Check out that article here: https://web.archive.org/web/20110609194404/http://www.roctober.com/roctober/fatboys.html

    ALF, have you read the new Roctober yet? I just picked up my copy on Friday.

  26. Jake Austen rules, great guy. Here’s where you can find that article, which I promise you won’t make you love them any less: https://web.archive.org/web/20110609194404/http://www.roctober.com/roctober/fatboys.html

    ALF, have you read the new, revamped Roctober yet? I just picked my copy up on Friday.

  27. Majestyk – I think you would appreciate Austen’s work for that very reason. He is from ‘zine and record culture, not celebrity biography, music PR or general scoop-sleuthing. (Also, rock books are so bad too, particularly in the 70s and 80s where people literally just made shit up.) Austen’s ‘zine, Roctober, has a quality similar to that of Vern’s work in that he has the ability to be silly or serious about things that others aren’t in a way that never, ever feels contrarian. His interviews tend to be important works of scholarship more than people realize at the time, but his critical biographies particularly shine with serious-minded and funny reverence for their subject matter’s work as a part of an artist’s world outlook in a way that is very Vern. He was another writer I had learned of in my teen years who ended up contributing greatly to my world outlook and comedic “voice”. He is an icon to people living in the great city of Chicago, that Chic-a-Go-Go show is such an amazing and reliable positivity.

    Here’s another excerpt from his Fat Boys piece:

    But what would prove to be so charming about their strongest work is hinted at here. On their best records they write rhymes that “read” like a well-intentioned High School term paper; simple and straightforward, structurally solid (you can almost see the outline and sentence diagrams), occasionally losing focus between the beginning and ending of a section, and prone to revert to lists. While this may sound like a putdown, it isn’t. People think about the “Fat,” but it’s the “Boys” part that’s just as important. By avoiding the dire, street tough image of many of their contemporaries, they also allowed themselves to be the kids they were (they were 17 when they debuted), and the fun, goofy, youthful energy they exude is one of the most endearing aspects of the early Fat Boys. The 11th Grade English class vibe of their writing only enhances the youthfulness of their work. The fact that their outfits (matching t-shirts with their names on it) and simple dance moves also invoked a high school talent show added to this magic. Perhaps of all the rap acts, The Fat Boys capture the joys of youth the best. Kool’s amazing, beaming smile (a rap rarity) captures this joy.

  28. Just so you guys know, the spam blocking has been pretty aggressive since the sight got destroyed and rebuilt a few weeks ago, and the software seems to pick out random comments like Handsome Dan’s below and mark them as spam. I manually approve them when I notice them, but that’s why some of them are slow in posting. Sorry about that.

  29. The Fat Boys are good 1980s nostalgia. My friend had the album CRUSHIN’ which included “Wipeout.” They were relatable at a time when I was starting to get fat. Therefore I should have liked DISORDERLIES when I tried to watch it in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me at the time.

    A VHS copy of DISORDERLIES got left behind when a roommate moved out about fifteen years ago. I still have it and should watch it sometime. It should be more nostalgic now. Plus I didn’t know about the Art of Noise soundtrack. That adds value.

    The first time I tried to watch DISORDERLIES, the raccoon hat reminded me of the one worn by Lister in RED DWARF.

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