The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

Garbage Pail Kids Movie 2When I was a kid, it was a big deal for us when we reached the age when our parents would allow us to ride our bikes six blocks down to the local corner drug store. Now, six blocks doesn’t seem like much, but this meant crossing “the busy street.” At the drug store, we would buy stuff like candy and baseball cards. In 1985, one of thing we often bought were Garbage Pail Kids. These were cards put out by Topps that depicted grotesque parodies of the popular Cabbage Patch Kids. They were actually stickers, but if you were collecting them you didn’t do stupid things like actually stick them on things. These things were popular, and in 1987 they ended up coming to the big screen in “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie”

Garbage Pail Kids Movie 3The film follows a young teen named Dodger (MacKenzie Astin) who is often picked on by older kids, especially the uber-jerk Juice (Ron MacLachlan). Juice often hangs out with the lovely Tangerine (Katie Barberi), who Dodger has a crush on. Dodger’s status on the popularity scale isn’t helped by the fact that he works in the antique store of the strange Captain Manzini (Anthony Newley). One day, while in the shop, Dodger discovers a strange garbage can which the Captain warns him not to open. Of course, when Juice and his pals come over and cause trouble, the can gets knocked over. What comes out of the can? You have to ask? It’s the Garbage Pail Kids.

Garbage Pail Kids Movie 6Now there are hundreds of Garbage Pail Kids cards. Thankfully, we only get seven of them in the movie…among them are the likes of Messie Tessie, Valerie Vomit, Windy Winston (he farts alot), and Ali Gator. Captain Manzini is none too happy about the kids being let out, so he sets out to try and find a magic spell to return them to the garbage pail. Meanwhile the kids need to stay locked up in the basement, which doesn’t exactly thrill them.

Meanwhile, Dodger sets out to try and impress Tangerine. He goes out with her one night to a club where she sells stylish clothes in the parking lot. Dodger becomes convinced that he needs some cool new clothes to impress her. The kids end up helping him come up with something using the stuff in the antique shop. Tangerine ends up loving the outfit and asks Dodger if he can get more clothes she can sell. So, he puts the kids to work making clothes for Tangerine. Essentially, he gets his own sweat shop going.

Garbage Pail Kids Movie 5The kids have various adventures as they sneak out of the shop to visit the movies or a bar…dripping snot on things and peeing their pants the whole way. But big problems arise when the kids get locked up in the “State Home for the Ugly” and must escape to break up Tangerine’s big attempt to exploit their work in her fashion show.

You’re not getting any deep film analysis here today folks. This movie is all pee-pee and booger jokes. Of course jokes are supposed to be funny. There is nothing even mildly amusing about this film. Disgusting…there’s plenty of that, but amusing, not remotely. We’re talking about a film based on trading cards. At least “Mars Attacks” was based on cards that had somewhat of a story to it. I mean, I collected these things, but I don’t necessarily want to see them barfing on the big screen!  The story is dumb, the script is juvenile, and just when you think it can’t get worse…there’s even a musical number.

Garbage Pail Kids Movie 4The big problem here is the central characters are just plain terrible. The look of the costumes is on a level of what you might see walking around the world’s worst amusement park. The mouths are so inarticulate that, in many scenes, the filmmakers don’t even try to have them move in sync. Even the voices are horrible, which is painful for me to say considering Jim Cummings, one of the great voice artists, provides several of them.

I guess it’s a good thing I never saw this movie back when I actually collected Garbage Pail Kids. It would’ve ruined the whole thing for me! They were funny little cards, but they made for on horrible movie.

Forgotten Filmcast Episode 3: It! The Terror from Beyond Space

Forgotten_Filmcast_ItEpisode 3 of the Forgotten Filmcast is now up and ready for your listening pleasure. On this episode, Todd is joined by Vic from Vic’s Movie Den to discuss a forgotten, but influential, sci-fi film, “It! The Terror from Beyond Space.”

Be sure to spread the word about the new podcast and share your thoughts on the show by e-mailing us via the e-mail address shared at the end of the show!

You can find the show in these places:

Show Notes:
Vic’s Movie Den
Music Alley

Warner Archive New Releases – April 16, 2013

nick carterThis week, the Warner Archive brings us two triple features of classic films. First up is a 3-film set of films featuring Walter Pidgeon as Nick Carter.

Nick Carter Mysteries Triple Feature
- Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939)
- Phantom Raiders (1940)
- Sky Murder (1940)

fastNext up is a triple bill of films, all self-described as “fast.’

- Fast Company (1938)
- Fast and Loose (1939)
- Fast and Furious (1939)

The Landlord

The Landlord 1Last week, completely by coincidence I ended up watching both the first and final films from director Hal Ashby. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. His last film was 1988’s “8 Million Ways to Die” featuring Jeff Bridges…review to come soon. His first film, interestingly enough, features brother to Jeff, Beau Bridges in an intriguing look at attitudes on race and class in the early 70’s. The film is 1970’s “The Landlord.”

The Landlord 2Bridges plays Elgar Enders, a rich young man who has been wandering somewhat aimlessly through his life, living off his parents’ wealth. However, he finally decides to do something with his life by purchasing a tenement building in Brooklyn. He plans to gradually evict the residents and renovate the building into a luxury pad for himself.

The Landlord 5It doesn’t take long, however, for Elgar to begin to take a liking to the poor residents of his building. The first person he meets is Marge (Pearl Bailey), who greets him with a shotgun, but quickly treats the new landlord to some home cooking. He also meets Fanny (Diana Sands), a young mother with a live in boyfriend named Copee (Louis Gossett Jr). On their first meeting, Copee threatens Elgar with a bow and arrow. Later, when Copee ends up behind bars, Elgar and Fanny end up hooking up.

Elgar’s family is none too thrilled with this “investment” he has made. His mother, Joyce (Lee Grant in an Oscar nominated performance), especially doesn’t understand this latest endeavor. All of his family are very racist in their attitudes and encourage Elgar to quickly get rid of the building’s residents. Later in the film, when Joyce comes to pay Elgar a visit, she enjoys a few too many drinks with Marge and ends up making somewhat of a connection with her.

The Landlord 8At the same time, Elgar has also become interested in a dancer named Lannie (Marki Bey). At first, Elgar thinks she is white, but she comes from a mixed background and is a very light-skinned African-American. Things get a bit more complicated for Elgar and Lannie later on when he finds out that Fanny is pregnant with his child. Needless to say, the militant, and free once more, Copee doesn’t respond well to this news.

Hal Ashby, of course, went on to a very interesting career, featuring the likes of “Harodl & Maude” and “Being There” before his early death in 1988. “The Landlord” is as strong a directorial debut as you are likely to find. It’s got that gritty feel that is 70’s cinema through and through. At times it is very funny, and at times heartbreakingly tragic.

The Landlord 10Bridges’ approach to his role is spot on! It is interesting to watch the progression of his character. He begins by buying the building to get out of his family’s home, yet, ultimately, he’s still doing it with their wealth. He’s then all too happy to not proceed with his plans of evicting the tenants when he sees how much it rubs his parents the wrong way. Eventually, he truly becomes invested in the lives of the these people. There is a wonderful realism to Bridge’s performance, the type that makes it tough to call it a “performance.” It just feels too natural to label it in such a way.

The Landlord 7I’ve gotta give a lot of credit to screenwriter Bill Gunn. The dialogue is tough, honest…but not heavy-handed or preachy. It all unfolds very naturally. The characters don’t come across as concoctions designed to make a point. These are believable characters. The one character who does seem a bit over-the-top at first is Elgar’s mother. However, it all comes together in the truly remarkable scene shared by Lee Grant and Pearl Bailey midway through the film. That moment alone may have earned Grant her well-deserved Oscar nod.

If ever there was a film worthy of being rediscovered, it is “The Landlord.” It’s a movie that remains as intriguing, poignant, hard-hitting, and funny as it ever was…even 43 years after it’s release.