Psycho Goreman

As you may know, I can sometimes be a grump about horror comedies, because I’d rather be watching a horror movie that’s funny than a funny movie that references horror. But here’s a movie that’s on Shudder and has gore in it that is a straight up comedy and I kinda loved it.

The closest I can come to succinctly describing the vibe of PSYCHO GOREMAN is “that movie STAR KID combined with THE TOXIC AVENGER.” Or “WISHMASTER meets POWER RANGERS but a comedy.” Or “THE GUYVER meets SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER.” It’s about two little kids who find an alien artifact called “The Gem of Praxidike” buried in their backyard and then learn that it gives them power over a murderous alien supervillain the opening narration describes as “a nameless evil” and “ruthless being” that “had amassed power beyond measure, and was preparing to strike down all that was good and just in the universe.” He says he’s called “The Arch-Duke of Nightmares,” but Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) think that’s stupid, so they rename him Psycho Goreman, or P.G. for short. And Mimi treats this hateful monster as her personal play thing, making him do silly things and not really caring when he uses his powers to turn people into goo.

Like the GUYVER movies, part of the fun is the impressive creature designs and elaborate, rubbery effects created on a modest (but clearly not shoestring) budget. There’s a whole alien council of robot people, talking brains in jars, etc., and an army of P.G. disciples called The Paladins of Obsidian. Some of them have names like Darkscream and Witchmaster, and they’re genuinely cool in a Power Rangers/Transformers/Voltron sort of way. Here are two of my favorite minor characters:

I wish it was in 3D so this guy could fly up to your face like Fuzzball in CAPTAIN EO

But I cannot claim that the movie is in any way playing it straight. For example, the reason the kids are digging around in the backyard in the first place is that Mimi wins a bet that gives her the right to bury Luke alive. He accepts this fate like a true sportsman, and somehow single-handedly digs a cave-sized hole for himself.

I can’t believe someone actually called it “heartwarming”! It goes through the rhythms of being a sweet story when it’s very much not – that’s the joke. I guess maybe the part where he apologizes?

That’s an odd thing about this movie that really cracks me up. I don’t know if I’ve seen another movie where the protagonist is a little girl who’s just a complete asshole. I doubt this is the intent, but her dialogue plays to me like a hellish exaggeration of a type of children’s entertainment that horrifies me whenever I stumble across it on TV, where precocious tweens glibly deliver hacky sitcom insults under the theory that it’s adorable for somebody to be an obnoxious little cock if they’re too young to get punched in the face for it. Here the novelty is a little girl not wanting to call the police because “I don’t trust cops,” or telling a boy, “Hey cutey, you look good in your little… outfit there. Why don’t you give us a spin, hunky boy?” or replying to P.G.’s “Know this, the power you wield will be short-lived” speech with an impatient, “Sure, sure. But first, let’s test this baby out,” or ending a prayer by saying, “Why am I even talking to you? There’s a new god in town, and his name is Psycho Goreman, and he’s comin’ for you, buddy!” Then breaking her crucifix over her knee. You don’t see that on Nickelodeon, usually.

Without being a period piece or anything it seems nostalgic for children’s entertainment from somewhere around the late ‘80s or early ‘90s – the monsters, the humor, the authentically over-earnest end credits rap song about what we just saw happen. But it mashes that up with a rowdy and dark grossout humor – heads ripped off and exploded, P.G.’s mouth expanding to graphically chew up and swallow entire beings, a cop turned into a hideous zombie with a VIDEODROME bio-gun-hand that he tries to use to put himself out of his misery. It really does remind me of what I liked about the best Troma movies back in the day, but the filmatism is much better.

And it also just has a nice sense of silliness. P.G. transforms Luke’s friend Alasdair (Scout Flint) into a giant brain with eyeballs and tentacle arms; this never changes, and he just has to learn to be okay with it, and get the occasional pep talk to cheer him up. And they have a band with brain-Alasdair on keys and P.G. on drums. During a rock out montage there’s also a good old fashioned trying-on-different-outfits montage. Although P.G. has previously just walked around in public as a monster, suddenly he tries to pass in sort of a cowboy outfit with sunglasses. And this is a movie that understands that it can be funny to have a monster wear sunglasses, or to ask a human child “What… is love?,” or to not be able to do anything about it when a little girl throws something at him and says, “Heads up, dumpy butt!”

There’s not a moment of sincerity in this movie, especially when they homage sweet moments from E.T. or T2. And I’m not sure there’s any substance to it either, but if there is it’s an anti-authority message in the way it presents cops and parents as idiots incapable of helping you. More importantly, no less an authority than the omniscient narrator (Kenneth Welsh, DEATH WISH V, TIMECOP, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD) presents it as a Saturday morning cartoon style good vs. evil scenario, but we can see for ourselves that it’s, as Mimi puts it, “a huge battle between evil and worse evil.” Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch, voice of Anna Tierney), a member of the “forces of light” called the Templars, says things like “the light of Heaven will always extinguish the darkness of evil” and “may the gods watch over me” while she’s crushing a random human into a cube, smashing her on the table and wiping the blood all over her face. And though it doesn’t justify any of the stuff he does,when P.G. tells his backstory (“a tale soaked in the blood of a million dead memories”), it involves his entire planet being enslaved by the Templars before he overthrows them with the powers of the gem. (“Well, that boring dumb story made me tired,” Mimi says when he finishes.)

Director Steven Kostanski and production company Astron-6 are behind a number of mostly postmodern-grindhouse type movies I’m aware of but haven’t seen. They started with MANBORG in 2011, but maybe got the most attention with the more serious THE VOID in 2016. And then they did LEPRECHAUN RETURNS. I guess I should check out more of their stuff.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 at 6:59 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Monster, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. 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.

41 Responses to “Psycho Goreman”

  1. I’m glad you reviewed this movie. The creature designs are fun and that hunky boys line might be one of the greatest lines ever. But man, fuck this movie. lol I’ve never hated a child actor more in my life. Just the dirt fucking worst. Anyway, thanks for letting me get this off my chest and now the rest of you can gush over the film like 99% of the people I know do.

  2. Steven Kostanski

    June 22nd, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Vern, I want you to know that you’re my favourite movie critic and I’ve been reading your stuff since I was a teenager so this is a huge heckin deal right now. What a pleasant surprise to start my day with! Thanks for reviewing PG!

    Also thank you for reviewing Bloodsport 4: Dark Kumite which I didn’t know existed until I read your review. What a bonkers movie.

    -Steven Kostanski

  3. I love everything Astron 6 is involved in. Can’t forget about Father’s Day! Too bad Troma ended up screwing them over on that one, which is sad considering all of Lloyd Kaufman is constantly talking about how much we need to support independent cinema, then acts just like his hated nemesis Hollywood by basically stealing a young up and comers art to make money on while screwing them over. I think may have been the death knell for the group, even if they say it’s because family commitments etc make it too hard to work on films. Technically The Void, Leprechaun and this one are not Astron 6 productions, just Steve’s movies and he uses some of his Astron crew as actors.

  4. I don’t know if LEPRECHAUN RETURNS gets any better after the first 30mn because I gave up. But if it doesn’t, it has to be the worst LEPRECHAUN movie, tied with the WWE produced episode that doesn’t even have a “real” leprechaun in it. And it’s not like the series set the bar really high.

  5. I kinda avoided this movie so far. While it sounds like a fun premise, it also looks too much like one of those “calculated cult movies”, where they just throw a bunch of shit together that the nerds love (Funny splatter, pRaCtIcAl EfFeCtS, maybe a bunch of references to everybody’s childhood favourites, a synthiescore [does it have one?], etc, and wait for the film Twitter buzz to start, until everybody forgets about it within less than a year.

    That said, a bunch of people who I trust actually enjoyed it, so I might give it a chance.

  6. I never understand this idea that it’s bad for a movie to want to be a cult movie. It just means you know you’re making a movie that is likely to have a limited audience, but you want that audience to like it as much as possible. What’s the alternative? Making a movie you hope nobody likes just so people who wouldn’t like it anyway don’t make fun of it? Timidity like that is how A24 becomes the biggest name in horror. Give me a movie that just says fuck it and lets it heart want what it wants. Even if that heart prefers the early 90s to the early 80s. Everything I’ve ever heard this director say indicates that he lives for this shit, and that sincerity more than keeps this film out of the try-hard category.

    I thought it was hilarious, personally. The little girl was the perfect parody of the Kardashian-style “Narcissism as empowerment” thing, and I loved how much elbow grease was thrown into characters who barely show up onscreen. This is striving for excellence, people. It’s probably my favorite Astron-related thing so far, and I’ve liked everything of theirs I’ve seen except THE VOID, which felt like when Sam Raimi only started getting good reviews when he toned down all the things that made him special and started doing the same shit as everybody else. This one takes the technical chops learned from that movie and the LEPRECHAUN one and applies it to the kind of material that is clearly where their hearts lie.

  7. The main problem for me is when a movie just feels like a get quick rich scheme. There is a difference between filmmakers doing something that they think is fun and cool and it turns out that it somehow resonates with audiences, and a movie that basically has the filmmakers yelling in our ears “OH MY GOD, CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW QUIRKY AND WEIRD AND ODD THAT IS!? LOVE ME ALREADY! WE SELL T-SHIRTS! THIS IS CULT!”

    Although neither of those qualify as cult movie, I think the best examples for the difference between those are PIRANHA 3D and PIRANHA 3DD. Alexandre Aja sat down and tried to make the damn best 3D killerfish movie he could. Something that would reward the audience for buying a ticket for a movie named PIRAHNA 3D. The guys who made the sequel, just thought audiences are dumb and will eat it up, as long as you add David Hasselhoff. Or put it this way: Is your movie a BLACK DYNAMITE, a lovingly put together movie that you can be proud of, even if maybe only five people saw it during a short festival run, or a KUNG FURY, an aggressively shitty checklist of ADULT SWIM tropes for the “so bad it’s good” crowd?

    Now I’m glad that the makers of PSYCHO GOREMAN apparently put some care into their movie, but you really can’t blame me for avoiding it at first, after having hundreds of “next new cult sensations” shoved down my throat in the last 10 years alone.

  8. I guess I’m just asking how you can tell. How do you know the director of PIRANHA 3DD (Clu Gulager’s son, by the way, a guy who knows a thing or two about cult movies) was made with only cynical intentions? How do you know he personally didn’t die laughing thinking about the Hoff starring in his movie? You can judge a movie on its quality after you’ve seen it, but I don’t see how you can judge what’s in the filmmaker’s heart, especially without seeing the thing.

    This isn’t about you, CJ. I’ve seen this criticism bandied about for literal decades, many times about movies that went on and did become cult classics. I never know what it means. Don’t put your craziest ideas into a movie because then people might think you’re trying too hard? I just don’t understand why anyone would choose a labor-intensive, low-payoff venture like a no-budget practical effects comedy if all they’re interested in is an easy buck. If you’re not in it for the love, why even bother? Nobody is getting rich off of PSYCHO GOREMAN, I’ll tell you that.

  9. It’s not about crazy ideas…in fact this movie is pretty much just nerd bait, as safe as anything. Don’t worry, we won’t REALLY be offensive ha ha it’s just a joke! We’re not sincere like ACTAL cult film guys who are making art they feel strongly about, this is a gag! I agree with CJ, this is as trope-filled as anything. You see five low budget movies, they all look the damn same…hey, remember the 80s! This is our tribute! Look, synth soundtrack we know it sucks but we love it and so must you!

    I agree, fuck these lame movies. This is basically just Sharknado 5, ha ha look Ann Coulter is in it because we know nerds will love it when she gets killed! Calculated CRAZINESS!

    As for Astron-6, I think they make some good stuff and wish they were able to stick around, but making a movie on no budget (and I think they had less on those than on this) is hard. People get older and say eh, passions were nice but fuck it, I need to buy a house and have kids. Happens to almost every 40 year old…they usually have to give up AFTER the kids. I liked Father’s Day a lot, and thought the last 15 minutes of the movie were pretty amazing and didn’t see that weirdness coming. Their last movie (aside from a short film) was the much slicker The Editor which was a pitch-perfect satire of Italian giallo films.
    Had some really funny stuff in there too.

  10. As for John Gulagher, I imagine Piranha was made as fairly cynical. No problem with that, sit most directors who started with Corman stopped making the kind of shit they made with Corman the second they got out…that was mercenary and cynical to. Doesn’t mean they’re trying to do a bad job. But I doubt Gulagher’s big wish is to make a Piranha sequel. Frankly I wish someone would unleash that guy to make a movie of his own because I think he could make something awesome. Seeing how his version of Feast was WAY more interesting in his plans than what he got forced to do was really something. His casting was spot-on, and they made him replace most of his cooler, more fitting actors with pretty Hollywood faces who also really sucked. Was a shame. Movie was sort of okay though.

  11. Lillith rules. My favorite character is obviously the “SINATRA!” guy.

  12. Ha, I got a nice comment from the director of this movie and it got flagged for spam. Fixed now. Sorry about that, and thanks Steven! Dark Kumite 4ever.

  13. Muh, since I like you I have chosen not to take offense to you calling this movie “just nerd bait” full of cynical bullshit that they threw in “because we know nerds will love it” *underneath my review where I said I loved it*. But having watched it weeks ago, finding myself still thinking about it, rewatching parts of it and trying to convince my friends to watch it I feel confident that the reasons I loved it were the ones I tried to express in the review and not some trick that I stupidly fell for because I’m a nerd.

  14. I unabashedly love this movie, and I hate nerd bait shit, ergo this is not nerd bait shit. That’s just science.

    Very glad you reviewed this one, Vern. PG is a movie with its heart in the right place: ripped out of your chest by an evil alien overlord and dripping blood on the confused giant brain guy who just wants to go home and have pizza. It’s a celebration of childhood viewed through an unapologetic lens, a glorification of the grotesque and just an all-around damn good time.

    Now I just sound like a slavering fanboy, but I’ll have you know, I have not succumbed to the commodifying of Psycho Goreman and ordered the action figures.

    Well, not yet…

  15. I wouldn’t mind those but mostly I want the soundtrack.


  16. I was already looking forward to watch this, but damn Vern, you had me at “Star Kid.”

  17. Mr M, have you seen PIRANHA 3DD? I think everybody who makes a movie that tries to be “So bad it’s good” has not a really high opinion of their audience. Also it just runs barely 1 hour, with extra long end credits, to bring this to “We promise this is a real movie” length. That doesn’t scream exactly: “I truly gave 100% and want to give my audience a great experience for their ticket money”

    Muh articulated my incidental problems with the movie a bit better, but also have to point out again that I’m glad that there seems to be more to it and I most likely have been missing out on a good movie, thanks to my cynicism about this subject. (And have to make clear again that I also said that before it became clear that its director reads this websight. )

    The problem is that people way too often try to fabricate cult, but it doesn’t work like that. Like when THE FINAL GIRLS bombed at the box office and the directors tried to do a bunch of midnight screenings to make everybody like it. But come on, the biggest cult sensations were always the things, that nobody expected to catch on the way they did. Like a Rock & Roll musical about B-movies and transvestites or a cheap horrormovie about a guy in a white Shatner mask.

  18. I guess I don’t understand why you care about a filmmaker doing everything in his power to get people to like the work he spent years of his life making. What skin off your nuts is it if he believes in his movie and wants people to see it? All I hear is “This isn’t the kind of movie I like so no one else should like it either.” You make assumptions about the character and sincerity of both the audience and the filmmakers, yet you think everyone else are the cynical ones here, not you. Sometimes a goofy movie is just a goofy movie. Nobody’s trying to pull a fast one on you.

  19. I think this really just comes down to whether the main character works for you or not. She did not work for me, but, I’m glad I watched it anyways because I adored the creature designs. The bucket of blood guy was a standout

  20. I’ve only seen BAD NEW PIRANHA and not REPORTEDLY QUITE GOOD NEW PIRANHA and I agree that it lives down to the name I just gave it. The only good thing in it is, shockingly, David Hasselhoff’s role; yes the “lol the Hoff lol thing” was well and truly played out by 2012, let alone now, but he actually has an arc and gives an actual performance, and it’s more interesting than anything else in the film by far.

    In BAYWATCH it turns out Generic Rock Character #8675309 has Hasselhoff as a mentor, and for a second you think oh cool, they’re going to have a bit of a CREED or SHAFT 2000 thing going, at least for a scene or two, but, nope; he just turns up smiles, then winces, then they play the theme for a second and ask him to please leave. The Pammy cameo is a big nothing too. Man, fuck that movie, even though I kinda enjoyed it.

  21. grimgrinningchris

    June 23rd, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Crown aside, the design on Darkscream reminds me a lot of the one bad guy/main henchman in Ewoks-Battle For Endor.

    I wonder if that was intentional at all.

  22. Let’s all appreciate for a moment that in this thread I am the cynical asshole and Mr Majestyk is the live and let live guy who suddenly sticks up for filmmakers who try too hard.

  23. I liked it! I am very resistant to watching new movies in general, particularly genre-y things, so much of this movie’s context in terms of the actual filmmaking of these nerd movies I have only heard of is lost on me.

    The main kid was so genuinely shitty and weird yet oddly at least cognizant of the idea of morality being something that exists somewhere. Even though there was the aforementioned “Narcissism as empowerment” quality, she was far more bad Truffaut kid than My Super Sweet Sixteen or whatever, or what I imagine todays very jaded and word-oriented kids’ social networking among each other must be like. She didn’t seem too concerned with the outside world despite her insane vanity, which was cool, and made it something more likable than just satire. It was successful, accurate “kid logic”. The dialogue was inventive and made it seem like the writer was having fun thinking things up. That and rude kids are my own alternating-caps practical effects – no dis, CJ, I laughed at that one – so I was trepidations about someone attempting those delicate arts with qualities of nostalgia to it, usually a sign of hacky art. This was for sure not hacky, and I did not feel like I was being “sold” anything, besides ideas. Sell me ideas all day, that’s my favorite thing to buy, I wish more people had actual ideas they were selling me. (Also, I did actually pay for it, thank you Google for giving me a five dollar Google Play gift certificate for paying for your stupid e-mail service.)

    The part I laughed the most at was the generic two dollar hardware store “NO TRESPASSING SIGN”, with handwriting that had no qualities of “little girl” to it at all. Usually, the “the theater of the mind is better than anything you could actually show” rule works great for film and literature where comedy is concerned, but this movie had such a great tone and cast that I would have liked to see her actually AT the hardware store, actually angrily scrawling her name on the sign and ruining the markers or whatever, etc. There was plenty of that sort of thing in this movie, of course, and that is what made it work, but even just five percent more KENNY & COMPANY or GEORGE WASHINGTON would have really made all the rest “pop” so much more, for example when characters are exploding left and right. Also, I would have felt a sense of relief for the filmmaker for getting to film something funny that did not involve staging or creature effects.

    If I may talk my dumb 90s shit, the kids reminded me of one of the bullies from Pete and Pete teamed up with the kid from KAZAAM, which is the sort of weird combo you actually would see in the world, the sort of thing people were talking about in the DON’T TELL MOM THE thread. Also, the parts where he was standing on the basketball court dressed up like Peter Bogdanovich sure made me laugh, and reminded me of the best parts of KAZAAM, where he is just standing there hilariously.

    It was always my dream to make a kids’ movie that was far too violent for kids, and I am grateful someone actually made that sort of movie, for the actual kids that get to watch it. I would have far rather watched this as a kid than the GUYVER movies, and I like the GUYVER movies, both then and now.

    I hope that all the other Vern readers are legit working on their projects, it is a nice culture of people who love thinking up ideas and watching this with the knowledge that a Vern fan made it had me feeling very hopeful and enthusiastic about the idea of the rest of you all writing and making things.

    Also, it did not have a synth store, that is not really relevant to PSYCHO GOREMAN. It had a normal movie score, completely successful to the point where I often forgot there was music in it. That is much, much better than noticing a score because it is overly stylized, or just plain not good.

    I’m sure the girl from this movie will think back on it with a happiness similar to the girl from THE BONEYARD.

  24. Oh yeah, also all the space freaks were great. There are indie comics that basically just do that Dungeons and Dragons shit and nothing else, and are successful and interesting for being some deluge-of-language postmodern thing or poetry or whatever. This movie actually made me happy I was watching a movie and not reading a comic book, which is rare. I always wish someone would invent fifty billion new freaks with weird names and weird looks and actually put them in a good story, and no story is greater than a little kid learning about morality. Good one Canada.

  25. Oh, one more thing, sorry everyone SPOILERS FOR THE END OF PSYCHO GOREMAN OR WHATEVER – the thing I actually find to be the senseless nostalgia is the CALLBACK. Fuck callbacks. Callbacks are almost always bad, and usually leave me feeling the opposite of satisfied. This applies in movies, stand-up comedy, even music – sometimes they bring back the theme at the end of the album and I feel like I am that phrase they say on the internet, “I see what you did there”, or whatever.

    The callback in this movie actually worked, because it both gave reason for a scene that reaffirmed this movie’s love of ideas, and because it allowed for the more subtle (and much, much funnier) callback of Psycho Goreman standing around like Kazaam.

  26. It’s a topsy turvy world,CJ. Cats and dogs…living together…mass hysteria!

  27. What a weird world this place is. I mostly hate his movie but I’m also responsible for him finding out about Bloodsport 4 so I hope we’re good lol

  28. FlyingGuillotine

    June 23rd, 2021 at 10:55 am

    I unabashedly love this film, easily one of my favorite recent movies. I understand the issue some people take with Mimi, but I thought she was hilarious.

    As to other Astron-verse titles, I can also highly recommend THE EDITOR. If PG is an homage to ’90s-era kids entertainment, THE EDITOR is a take on giallo that gets the genre better than any other “homage” I’ve seen.

  29. MANBORG is probably still my favorite.

    I’m a simple creature.

  30. That’s because MANBORG rocks. It would make a great double-feature with KUNG FURY.

    I’m going to go dig up THE EDITOR now, since I continue to hear great things about it and I do love giallos.

  31. grimgrinningchris

    June 23rd, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Kung Fury is the definition of shitty, overhyped cynical nerd bait (with BS like the “gritty” Power Rangers short/fake trailer in a close second). Its polar opposite would be something like this or like Turbo Kid. Movies with actual stories, creativity, characters and heart and a clear love and not just an ironic, cynical distance from what they’re making and a bunch of shitty tablet CGI.

  32. Counterpoint: KUNG FURY co-stars Andreas Cahling as Thor, which overcomes many flaws.

    I see where you’re coming from, although I did enjoy KF as a fun, overpacked short. It’s light years behind PG and of course TURBO KID, but I don’t think that’s the playground it was attempting to play in. I could be wrong about that, but TURBO KID and PG were both made as legit movies, whereas KUNG FURY seemed like one step up from a fake trailer.

    I’ll have to watch it again with your comments in mind. Maybe I was just in a forgiving mood when I saw it a few years back.

  33. The sad thing about KUNG FURY was that the guy who made it has talent, but the result seemed like him just watching Adult Swim and browsing Reddit for a day and making a lazy checklist.

    Extreme, yet funny violence? Check!
    Ninjas? Check!
    Nazis as cartoony pulp villains? Check!
    Hasselhoff? Check!
    80s vibes? Check!

    You could basically hear the director jerking off and yelling “THIS IS GOING VIRAAAAAAAAL!”

  34. The Undefeated Gaul

    June 24th, 2021 at 12:56 am

    The good thing about KUNG FURY though is that it’s incredibly funny, and it looks like it was super fun to make. Personally I don’t get any cynical, try-hard, nerd-bait vibes from it at all. They’re messing with some standard tropes, sure, but who cares when the execution is funny?

    I loved PSYCHO GOREMAN as well btw, one of my absolute faves of recent times. With this, BOSS LEVEL and NOBODY I feel pretty spoiled so far this year.

  35. grimgrinningchris

    June 24th, 2021 at 4:46 am

    Shrug. Different strokes. I didn’t find it funny – but funny is so subjective.
    I was mildly amused for about 5 minutes but then it started to feel like an MTV Movie Awards cold open fake movie put together by someone that designed cut scenes for first generation PS2 and just kept going and going and going…

    I don’t hate it enough to argue it too much.

    I still need to watch Boss Level.

  36. This movie rules, the little girl’s hilarious, all the puppets are just the right amount of stupid, and I feel really sorry for anyone whose brain won’t allow them to enjoy this because they’re afraid people are trying to trick them into liking it for the wrong reasons or whatever.

  37. I hope this does not seem too much or too wordy:

    I don’t even think it’s a matter of not being able to see where people who disliked the 90s-ish-ness of it are starting from. I will try to offer a thought of understanding to this viewpoint (to later criticize it) that is going to be critical about someone who did a fine job of something that I found to be unenjoyable from my own perspective. Personally, I did not find the rap song at the end to be funny, and I wasn’t completely doing delighted celebrations for the song they sing SPOILERS several times during the movie instead of making non-song character-based jokes, but that’s a part of movies. A lot of the time you get a movie song when you don’t want one, it’s cool.

    I have some friends who like some songs I think are awful, I had to listen to them during some of our otherwise memorably fun (and mentally-creative) times. The actual younger people who watch this movie will probably love both songs. My second favorite movie has a song in it that I find annoyingly of the era, and that I am not much of a fan of. It is still my second favorite movie ever.

    It’s sorta like, I am not very much a fan of cars. I find them stressful, wasteful and I don’t drive. There are still car movies that I like and am able to appreciate, I’m not like I hate all cars get these awful wasteful abominations out of my movies. Um excuse me I tried to watch ANOTHER 48 HOURS and at one point there was a car. I’m able to say I do prefer not to watch car movies, though.

    The 90sness of this never bothered me when it didn’t work for me, and did seem very genuine and of an effort of a lot of consideration. Even extremely worn-out and simplistic 90s cultural reference points like The friggin’ Simpsons are worth making – there were the obviously sarcastic statements/tone changes, like when the girl thought the awful dad was great at the end and they over-articulate the opposite of a good message. That was literally a Homer and Bart scene, better written than anything I’ve seen on my occasional viewings of weird computer-animated recent Simpsons with all the handsome and beautiful “Simpsonized” guest stars. It wasn’t just, like, they went to a disco and the guy was like welcome to Stu’s disco, and it was of a “reference”-y effort that deserves to be commended for being something greater than the jokes in this movie where, like, the school is named after Ghostbusters, or the movie opens with a crawl that references Dungeons and Dragons. A kid wearing a Far Side, Fresh Prince or S-Mart t-shirt can still make a hilarious joke to you. It is possible.

    Also, I don’t like PULP FICTION, sorry everyone just my thing put the tomatoes down don’t cue the Sandman, etc. I also, annoyingly, LOVE fake-ass seventies tributes to the fifties. You may have heard me reference Laverne and Shirley, the thing I like about them isn’t just that the show is hilarious. I love dumb crap like AMERICAN GRAFITTI and fifties-sounding glam. My problem with PULP FICTION isn’t that I think it gets the fake-ass, overstated nostalgia wrong. Who cares about that.

    I get all pissed off at art I think is trash too, but even if you deem this (very enjoyable, fun, distinctive) movie to be trash to you I think this one is at least worthwhile for acknowledging as being active with ideas, with an obvious large amount of ideas left out, or world building that was hurried through because that’s a funny thing to do, and also, that is more accurate satire. SPEED RACER and EPISODE II were obviously were planned a lot more meticulously and the result of the power of weirdo vision than, uh, I dunno, HARRY SHEARER VS GODZILLA or whatever.

    Also, the guy is a Vern fan! Who posted in this thread! So quickly he might as well have said “FIRST!” Be nice! We are not Reddit, in my opinion.

    Though I thought it was genuinely good from my own, vaguely grown-up, “I have too much actual 80s/90s material to revisit to watch the pretend shit” place, I really am taking an Ebert stance on this one: “This kids movie was great for kids if you’re a kid!”. This is the movie that I wish I saw as a nine year old instead of GUYVER II, and something I am happy exists for reasons including the Little-Rascals-inspired movie that opens with an insane hard-R bank robbery scene that a late friend and I will never write.

    It reminded me of SLIME CITY. The dumb, character-based jokes that made no sense (while making perfect sense, and seeming like the weird world) and havin grossout fun on a budget were that good. That’s a serious compliment.

  38. Of the two songs, the first is the “best” because it’s genuinely fun for its exuberance, especially when paired with the sight of PG on drums and brain guy on keyboards and little girl being the frontman. But I just love the end credits rap because it gets so exactly what’s hilarious about the TMNT end credits song without being a soundalike. It’s the perfect competent rap voice, using an overly serious tone as he straight forwardly explains the silly things that happen in the movie as if they’re very important. Just a dead on analysis of a very specific pop culture thing I’ve always found fascinating and amusing – that stage of evolution between Barney Rubble rapping about Fruity Pebbles and Method Man rapping about the Mon-Stars, when they were able to find people with enough skills to make a professional sounding song but not to write non-laughable lyrics about ninja turtles.

  39. That is very true and very well said, Vern. It just did not work for me, but it did work, and both songs were technically well done. One of my favorite comedic (and expressive) things is when someone understands how both extreme and boring language can be very funny, and this movie does that very well. That rap song was nothing if not understated in the plainness of the language, and I do mean that. Going for your own hilariously plain language is so admirable to me, because most of the time people just go for clichés, or ease of “big” language. Most screwball writing does not have the nerve (or powers of observation) to accurately represent the boring shit.

    I also thought the way the girl sang the dumb lyrics like they were very important and theatrical was very funny, and seeing Psycho Goreman drumming was a funny image that reminds me of the hilariousness of when he would just be standing there. Again, I am sure those kids are going to happily remember filming that song, and that is way more important of a thing than that some commenting guy on a website was grousing about how he was bored by it for way longer than it took to be bored by it.

    The idea of summing up plot points in a competent list format that has a weird quality of being kind of character-approving is very accurate, and not something you see very often in tributes or “parodies”. A lesser movie would have went with easy solution of the generic end credits inspiring power ballad, which would have worked “better” for me, but also would have been less admirably ambitious of an effort.

    I also like dumb shit like Addams Family’s Addams Groove by Hammer, that funny one where the song has ZERO to do with the movie and some of the lyrics don’t make sense of any kind. I know the movie was not this directly nostalgic, but I would not have been opposed to some type of “Psycho Goreman (Whoomp!)”.

  40. grimgrinningchris

    June 28th, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Somehow it only just hit me that PG’s planet is named after the creator of D&D.

  41. BuzzFeedAldrin

    July 2nd, 2021 at 6:01 am

    How anyone (especially readers of Vern’s site) cannot fall completely in love with this movie is beyond me?! Best movie of 2021, easily.

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