Archive for January, 2016

An Idiocratic Thing Happened to Action Jackson on the Way to Hawaii


(2006, dir. Mike Judge)

Plants crave electrolytes.

Plants crave electrolytes.

When Mike Judge delivered Idiocracy, 20th Century Fox executives scratched their heads trying to come up with a marketing angle. They failed, buried the movie for a year, then released it with no marketing at all. Thank Moloch for home video, the greatest invention of the 20th century.

Idiocracy doesn’t go to too much trouble trying to hide the subtext that the supposedly future setting is poking fun at modern-day society. The jokes are not exactly subtle, but on the other hand there’s plenty of them. Perhaps not a classic, but definitely worth more than one viewing.

Action Jackson

(1988, dir. Craig R. Baxley)


There’s absolutely no homoerotic subtext in any of this, no sir.

Hot on the heels of the previous year’s Predator, action-hero-in-the-making Carl Weathers is upgraded from a sidekick to the man of the hour in this amalgam of 80s excess. The franchise the studio was obviously aiming at never happened, and if you’ve seen Action Jackson, you’ll know why. Gratuitous violence, even though it was the name of the game back then, just isn’t quite enough, even with Craig T. Nelson as the bad guy delivering seriously badass roundhouse kicks.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

(1966, dir. Richard Lester)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Rest your gaze upon this image and take in all the hilarity, provided you can handle it.

I’m a bit confused now. I was under the impression that AFTHotWttF is a legendary comedy with wall-to-wall funny moments. Instead, I walked away thinking that it just wasn’t that entertaining. There are a lot of jokes, true, but they’re all telegraphed so far ahead that by the time they finally arrive, there is no payoff – just a vague feeling of disappointment. I don’t know, maybe men dressed in drag was daring and outré in 1966. The original stage play (which the movie appears to follow religiously) may have worked better, I wouldn’t know. Buster Keaton, for all of the 2 minutes he’s in this, is endearing though.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

(1987, dir. Andy Sidaris)

That snake's gunna git it.

That snake’s gunna git it.

This time I’ve saved the best for last. Directed by Andy Sidaris, the Visa Mäkinen of Uhmurica, Hard Ticket to Hawaii is the Citizen Kane of low-budget schlock. HTtH has it all: gratuitous nudity (courtesy of a bunch of Playboy models), awful acting (see above), a nonsense plot involving diamond smuggling and chasing a monster snake, a hilarious “sex” scene, cheezy special effects, etc. etc.

Still not sure whether this is down your alley? If a rubber anaconda being blown away with a rocket launcher inside a house and said rocket launcher being wielded by none other than Ronn Moss (as CIA agent Rowdy Abilene) doesn’t do it for you, then by all means, go and watch Titanic for the umpteenth time.

What’s conceivably even more amazing is that Ronn Moss, whom we all of course know and love as Ridge Forrester of The Bold & The Beautiful, is easily the best actor in the whole movie. This, of course, is more of a statement about the entire ensemble. YouTube has an abundance of choice moments – such as the infamous “beach frisbee” scene – but really, do yourself a favour and go to the trouble of viewing the whole thing. Your life will never be the same.

What I Did On My Vacation Strikes Back


(1981, dir. Michael Mann)

My name is Frank. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Used car salesman by day, master cat burglar at night, James Caan is on top of his game here as Frank the Thief. The plot is nothing to write home about, with holes big enough to drive a truck through – director Michael Mann would revisit many of the same themes later, with much greater success, in his seminal Heat. Still, if you enjoy a gritty tale of the underground with a neurotic relationship story pasted on top, you could do worse than watch this stylish (I am really trying to avoid saying “gritty” again, but it’s kind of hard to resist the temptation) anti-hero tale from way back.

Wake In Fright

(1971, dir. Ted Kotcheff)

Wake In Fright

Beer, the breakfast of champions.

For some reason, I was under the impression that WIF is a horror movie set in the Australian Outback. Well, I got the Outback part right, but really, WIF is closer to a promotional film by the Woop Woop Tourism Board (especially with the alternate title Outback) than a horror flick. I suppose some tender souls might be horrified by the almost non-stop beer skulling (& associated blatant product placement) and general debauchery, all of which was probably quite outrageous back in 1971 when the movie came out. That, and the kangaroo slaughter – even if the movie makers went out of their way to point out that the roos were slaughtered by professionals who had been tasked with keeping the numbers down, and really, these particular roos were kind of asking for it anyway. Worth a watch for a great performance by Donald Pleasence as an alcoholic bush doctor.

Hobo With A Shotgun

(2011, dir. Jason Eisener)

Hobo With A Shotgun

All right, you primitive screw-heads, listen up! See this? This… is my boomstick!

Hobo is a hodgepodge of wink-wink-nudge-nudge over-the-top cliché and hammy acting, with a title doubling as the script (see Snakes on a Plane). It would be a stretch to say that Rutger Hauer puts in a career-defining performance, in fact far from it, but I guess there are a few bits here and there where he’s actually kind of sympathetic as the underdog who rises to the occasion and kicks some serious arse.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

(2001, dir. Karan Johar)

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

Waiter! There’s a fly on my nose!

K3G is a veritable cinematic smörgåsbord in that there’s a little bit of everything, except there’s not just a little bit but so much to gorge on (and quite a lot of it cloyingly saccharine) that gastric lavage might be required to restore a modicum of sanity. This is, of course, par for the course for a Bollywood spectacle. Much has been said about the on-screen chemistry of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, and it’s all true – they do work very well together. One can’t help though but think that the running time of 210 minutes (3 1/2 hours!) could be whittled down just a touch, especially seeing as the plot is pretty paper-thin and, frankly, ridiculous.