MOM AND DAD SAVE THE WORLD is a comedy-sci-fi-fantasy thing apparently released pretty wide (but viewed very narrowly) on July 24, 1992. I saw this one when it came out on video and I remember kind of liking it for all its crazy sets and costumes and puppets and shit. Unfortunately, this time I found it extremely hard to sit through. It’s interesting that something could so clearly have so much work put into it and still turn out feeling like it’s barely a movie.
The cartoonish super villain who sets the plot in motion is played by Jon Lovitz, who we last saw in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. He’s the sleazy tyrannical ruler of the planet Spengo and his name is Emperor Todd Spengo. I don’t know why it’s funny for a character like that to be named Todd, but it is. It’s one of I believe two things that made me laugh in this movie. The other is a couple minutes in when Emperor Todd Spengo decides to postpone destroying Earth with his “Super Death Ray Laser” because through his telescope he spots the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen – Marge Nelson (Teri Garr, THE PLAYER) very awkwardly doing aerobics in an ugly sweatsuit. (read the rest of this shit…)
“I didn’t choose any of this, you know? This chose me.”
Friday, May 1st, 1992 was day 3 of the L.A. riots. The day Rodney King said “Can we all get along?” President George H.W. Bush invoked the Insurrection Act, so California Army National Guard and federal troops were activated under the newly formed Joint Task Force Los Angeles. In L.A. and San Francisco, NBA and MLB games were moved or postponed. Van Halen, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and the WWF all cancelled events. Tension and shock spread across the country.
But also some people went to see movies. Mostly BASIC INSTINCT, which was still #1 in its seventh week. And a very small number of people must’ve went to see LEAVING NORMAL, a perfectly sweet little comedy-drama about white women. Maybe it wasn’t the best time for it. It was not a big enough release to make it onto the box office charts, and I honestly don’t remember ever hearing of it before researching this series. But if I’m gonna do Weird Summer I better cover a movie about leaving normal.
Actually it’s about a young woman named Marianne (Meg Tilly, PSYCHO II) and an older bar waitress named Darly (Christine Lahti, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS) deciding to leave a small, boring town called Normal. But I think we all get the implication. (read the rest of this shit…)
Like many citizens of the world, I love most of Steven Soderbergh’s movies. Still, the nature of streaming services and the lack of urgency their releases seem to inspire in my brain have left me behind in his return-from-retirement period. I haven’t seen the basketball one, the app one, the laundromat one, surely others.
But my favorite Soderberghs are the crime ones: #1 OUT OF SIGHT, #2 THE LIMEY, #3 the OCEAN’S series. And there was another one about a lady beating people up that I raved about for ten years, but that’s on hiatus for a while. These are all very different from each other in most respects other than quality. But his most recent one was released straight to Home Box Office Maximum and although this review is very late I actually managed to watch that one right away. And I loved it.
NO SUDDEN MOVE is another new mode of Soderbergh crime picture. Maybe it’s closest to THE LIMEY in tone: serious, with a high level of tension, but plenty of dry, dark, odd humor coming out of the characters and situations. Set in Detroit in 1956, it’s the story of small time criminal Curt Goynes (Don Cheadle, THE METEOR MAN), recently out due to overcrowding, still disgraced in the underworld after whatever the fiasco was that got him busted. So it’s either real lucky or awfully damn suspicious that someone he doesn’t know – white middle man Doug Jones (Brendan Fraser, MONKEYBONE) – is offering him five grand for what’s described as “a simple babysitting job” that will take three hours of his time. He doesn’t have to know he’s in a movie to have a pretty good hunch it’ll end up being more complicated than that. (read the rest of this shit…)
BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (1989) is one of those beloved comedies you take for granted. I hadn’t seen it in 20+ years, so I was kinda afraid it might not hold up. It’s kind of hard to put your finger on why it works so well, and it would be hard to explain why it’s funny if somebody asked. I’m not sure if you had to be there or not.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s a pretty straight forward comical premise: what if a couple of dumb guys got a hold of a time machine and recruited actual historical figures to help with their history test? But for the most part that’s not really what’s funny about it. It’s the particular personalities of the dumb guys, and the reasons they have access to time travel.
Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter, DEATH WISH 3) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves, THE NIGHT BEFORE) are a Californian version of what we used to call “rockers” and some regions called “heshers” – guys whose lives center around heavy metal and/or hard rock. In the wild you’d expect them to have longer hair and leather jackets, smoke lots of pot and drink lots of beer, but Bill and Ted mostly just idolize Van Halen, talk about “babes,” and laugh at the number 69. They have a band called Wyld Stallyns, which features only the two of them on guitar, an instrument neither of them knows how to play. Still, their worst fear os for the band to be broken up if Ted fails his history test, in which case his dad (Hal Landon Jr., ERASERHEAD), who is a police captain and wears an NRA jacket while off duty, will ship him off to Oats Military Academy in Alaska. (read the rest of this shit…)
“Are you tellin us that you’re gonna arrest a guy for bein a plumber? Get outta here!”
May 28, 1993
Okay, look. I’m not claiming to know a better way to make a live action movie based on a video game about an Italian plumber eating mushrooms, punching bricks and murdering hundreds and hundreds of turtles but also collecting coins while trying to rescue a princess. And seeing how directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel reimagine the world of the famous Nintendo game as a dystopic Manhattan in an alternate dimension where people evolved out of dinosaurs is the closest thing to fun this movie has to offer.
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