Monday, February 19, 2024

How To Be A Teenage Ninja [1990] & How Can I Tell If I'm Really In Love? [1986]

Today we had two short films. They're both on YouTube though so you can check them out there.

First we had How To Be A Teenage Ninja, an instructional guide on some basic martial arts moves. Some kids are being chased by bullies so they hide in a cave. There a ninja man (or spirit, it's a bit unclear), instructs them in martial arts until they are ready to be released back outside to scare off the bullies. You are clearly meant to do the moves and exercises with the kids who are all standing way too close to each other so they're all in the frame. They manage to go from white belts to yellow belts to green belts to red belts in 25 minutes. Overall, there were a few chuckles, but it's mostly an exercise video.

Spoon Rating: 3

The second film was a 50 minute hodgepodge of teens, including Jason Bateman and Ted Danson of all people, talking about what they think love is. No clear conclusions are made. It's chaotically edited with no clear organization, consensus, or definitions, and plenty of weird images just stuck onto scenes like someone just learned video editing software. It's somewhat anti-sex and very heteronormative and stereotypical, which is kind of funny, but mostly it is way too long. That being said, we did get a good amount of laughs from the unhinged editing and some of the comments the kids made.

Spoon Rating: 5

Monday, February 12, 2024

Good Burger [1997]

After a few weeks off due to illness and family stuff, we came back with a blast from my childhood. One day Adam and I were discussing movies from when we were kids and how they sometimes made good bad movie night picks, and I remembered how at one point my brother and I watched Good Burger over and over for two days straight before we had to return it to the video store and I never saw it again. So Adam whipped up some good (impossible) burgers with good patatas bravas instead of our usual BMN soup and we started the evening with some of the All That sketches that inspired the film. Much to our surprise and pleasure, they weren't unwatchable. In fact, some of them were genuinely funny. Good news for good burgers.

The film has a pretty simple premise stuffed with wacky hijinks. Kel plays Ed, the character we know from the sketches, and Kenan plays our everyman, Dexter, who thoroughly messes up by borrowing his mom's car while she's away and crashing into his teacher's, Sinbad's, car after driving without a license. In order to pay for the damage, he has to get a summer job, starting at the pretentious new Mondo Burger and then getting a job at the titular Good Burger when he couldn't hack it. He somewhat begrudgingly becomes friends with Ed, hits on Monique (one of the other employees), and drives the Burgermobile, which is still more dignified than the Wienermobile. Things change for Good Burger though when Dexter tries Ed's special sauce and they start putting it on the burgers, making them real competition for Mondo Burger and their space suit uniforms. From there, it's wild moment after wild moment. Dexter takes advantage of Ed's ignorance to get 80% of his sauce bonus! They make a delivery to Shaq! Unfunny Lori Beth Denberg cameo! Mondo Burger sends Carmen Electra to seduce Ed into revealing the recipe and it fails! Monique discovers that Dexter is exploiting Ed for money and tells him to leave! Ed buys Dexter a thoughtful gift showing that Dexter really is an ass! They get thrown in a mental hospital with Abe Vigoda (the fry cook who longs for death), George Clinton, and the girl from Freaks and Geeks in her first film role! MENTAL HOSPITAL DANCE SEQUENCE. Did I mention the Good Burger manager is Dan Schneider?! Mondo Burger is putting dangerous chemicals in their burgers to make them huge! Ed saves the day! Play the Less Than Jake punk ska version of "I'm A Dude"!

Honestly, this is a completely watchable film. I don't know if kids nowadays would find it as fun as my brother and I did when we were little, but as nostalgic millennial adults we all got some genuine laughs and weren't bored.

Spoon Rating: None.

Star Rating: 3/5

Monday, January 22, 2024

Yor, The Hunter From The Future [1983]

For baby Connor's first movie night (you know, before he has any personality and is just a potato that eats, sleeps, and craps), we ended up watching this film made as part of that swords-and-sandals craze. Yor is apparently in the future but it looks like the past and also Cappadocia, Turkey. He meets some other people who are immediately enchanted by him because he's blond and fights. One woman falls for him and is quickly threatened by the idea of him meeting another blonde lady and leaving her. He does. She tries to kill her. She dies unrelatedly at the hands of some more barbarian types. The film is ultimately pretty boring outside of some dinosaur fights, where the dinos look like 90s Disney ride effects. Then in the last twenty minutes or so it turns out that it definitely is the future and a high tech society that's totally not ripping off Star Wars wants them for breeding or something? It's lame. The Overload dies. We amused ourselves with pictures of Glenn Danzig buying kitty litter.

Spoon Rating: 3

Monday, January 15, 2024

Where Did I Come From? [1985], Be Cool About Fire Safety [1996], & Instant Adoring Boyfriend [2002]

We got a triple feature of shorts tonight from all different decades and with all different target audiences, none of which are us necessarily but it's fun to speculate a little bit on who exactly they are for and how effective their rhetoric is.

First up we have "Where Did I Come From?" a video about how babies are made, particularly appropriate since Sarah is going to be induced tomorrow. This video is obviously meant to answer that question, but we all questioned what age exactly is this video meant for. Obviously, Jade at two years old is too young, but what makes this video so curious is that it really gets into detail about sex. It talks about anatomy and the baby growing obviously, but it really goes into some specifics about sex. Weirder than that is that it says the reason people aren't having sex all the time is because it's tiring? That's it? Not, you know, because it can make a baby and that's a big responsibility? Or any other reasons? Also, when they show the mother and father's genitals in a tub, there's a duck just staring them both right in the groin and it's hilarious. The science is, as expected, a bit questionable even though they were clearly going for straightforward and accurate.

Spoon Rating: 5

This next one caused me to have a little PTSD from the second the jingle played. Made in 1996, this fire safety series was peak for our childhoods and I vividly remember shortened versions of this video playing on television in between kid's shows on Nickelodeon. The messaging is accurate and not bad, but the jingle is incredibly ear wormy (I remember it after nearly 30 years) and the video itself is really cringy. At the time it probably read as out-of-touch attempts from older people to appeal to kids with rapping about fire safety, but now it's a perfect 90s time capsule in the clothes, sets, and editing. They really did love their fisheye lens. They also  emulate the styles of hip-hop artists of the time and the Beastie Boys fairly accurately but in an uncanny kind of way. And there's a talking smoke detector who's just awful to look at. It's not really funny, but it's at least kind of interesting . . . unless you had to hear it on a daily basis as a kid. The jingle lives rent free in my head, but god, I wish it paid.

Spoon Rating: 3

The final feature was the absolute best: "Instant Adoring Boyfriend." Those TikTok teens making date POV videos wish they were this passive aggressive! A man of dubious accent talks to the camera as if you are his girlfriend and he is utterly obsessed with you, saying all the things some woman apparently wants to hear. Sometimes he just lifts weights or reads gossip rags near you, but mostly he just says a bunch of bull about how beautiful and perfect you are. He has no hobbies outside of you, is living off of millions of investments, cancels plans with his friends for you, feels you chocolate cake (which he sloppily puts whipped cream on, messing up your floors), irons your denim skirt (why?), and says he'll drive you home from the club at 3AM with KFC in tow. At the end, he proposes. He is going to take out a life insurance policy on you and then kill you. He is talking to a corpse just off screen. This man has escaped from somewhere, either an institution or a tech lab, and I'm not sure which one. It's hilarious. When it was over, we discussed whether this was meant to earnestly be a fantasy fulfilling product or a gag gift. Sarah and I firmly rested on gag gift because there's a point where all his fawning becomes just a bit too self aware. Adam falls a bit more on the side of earnestness. Either way, not a dream boyfriend but definitely a dream bad movie short.

Spoon Rating: 8

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Clash In The College [2011]

This movie attempts the amazing feat of making a very political movie with absolutely no stance, climax, or resolution all within the framing of the story being a love triangle between a guy, his professor/landlord who he's sleeping with, and a girl at his college who he is ideologically opposed to. What is this movie trying to say? As far as we can tell the thesis is: people disagree on stuff at colleges. Wow. Nailed it.

The movie starts with a few different plots. We have a guy just arriving at the airport and looking for a place to stay near the college who then ends up getting a spare room in his professor's house (and yes, ending up sleeping with her; messy). We see a blonde woman go to a doctor who waxes poetic about Marie Curie and women in STEM. We see another girl talk to a conservative guy at a bus stop, and then leave, apparently not needing the bus. Then we get a man who has apparently never seen snow and who no one can understand even though his English is not hard to understand even with his accent. We wondered if this guy was meant to be an alien for a good long time and we were just being told he was unintelligible even though he's not. Turns out no. This man is the director, and this is maybe meant to be a commentary on immigrants. Also, he's very old and in college, which is totally fine, but the movie is framed like we are supposed to believe he is the same age as his 19-year-old classmates. Conservative guy has conservative meetings with the other guys, and starts dating bus stop girl who's a centrist but kind of annoyed that he won't have premarital sex. Eventually the professor-screwer starts dating the blonde woman who went to the doctor and we have a love triangle with no real resolution. Also, he gets really conservative from hanging out with conservative guy and she gets more liberal by talking to a liberal girl. This could be a conflict, but mostly it's about the love triangle. A lot of political talking points of 2007/2008 are brought up signifying nothing. 

This film is quite funny but a bit too long. The sets are all hotel rooms or the children's section of the library, you can see the shadow of the cameraman a bunch, the audio is horrendous, the acting is flat, and the story doesn't arc at all. The problem is, it's two hours long. It's definitely fun for the first hour and 15 minutes but then it starts to really drag. Definitely good for one watch, but maybe not a repeat.

Spoon Rating: 6

Monday, January 1, 2024

Lycan Colony [2006]

We were going to watch a movie by the maker of Things, but we couldn't find it for free so instead we switched to this one: Lycan Colony. It was a perfectly good switch!

The film is kind of weird to follow but we have a family with an alcoholic surgeon dad, a not-Jennifer Coolidge mom, and a teen son. The teen son is tempted into a graveyard by a neighbor girl who bites him and her starts werewolving (but his costume looks a bit more like a puppy). The dad attends AA meetings that people drink at. Later in a bar we encounter siblings on the hunt for their missing hunter dad and we discover that the bartender is an evil werewolf cannibal. It turns out, this town is full of werewolves and the AA meetings are actually about abstaining from eating people. One of the wolves helps the family adjust to their puppy!son and then takes the sister to meet a witch whose magic is distributed through her tongue. We have a final battle of witch versus bartender and somehow the brother of the siblings gets resurrected or something. End on a happy werewolf community.

This film is hilarious. There is liberal use of all the worst special effects: a protected tattoo, green screen, cheap transitions, sped up or slowed down footage, weird use of coloring (the redwoods are just a red filter!) everything. The acting is really bad: stilted or overly dramatic or strangely accented. The camerawork is often inexplicable with freezes and zooms that are clearly meant to heighten drama but feel like punchlines. This film is so solid; you have to give it a watch. Two paws up.

Spoon Rating: 7

Monday, December 18, 2023

Cool Cat Vs. Dirty Dog - The Virus Wars [2024]

Yes, that date is correct. The movie said it was copyrighted in 2024 so I'm sticking to that story. Also, if this sounds a bit similar to Cool Cats Fights Coronavirus, there's a reason for that. Similar to the Cool Cat Kids Superhero situation, this movie is kind of a retread of the previous film but it's longer and does actually involve some new footage. They seemingly used most of the footage from Cool Cats Fights Coronavirus, but this film is a full hour as opposed to twenty minutes. So what was added to the film? Mostly scenes of Cool Cat and Daddy Derek going to various houses, inspecting them, and selling them. Did you know Derek is a real estate agent? He has to highlight something he does every time that has nothing to do with the plot and that would be of no interest to actual kids. There's also at least one new song, and oh man, these songs just keep getting worse. The plot, by the way, has to do with Dirty Dog creating a new virus with magic after Cool Cat defeats corona in the same way he did in the last film. Dirty Dog has a gopher sidekick that is just a stuffed toy voiced by Savage. In the end, Cool Cat stops this virus too (when the Cool Cat harrier jet dropping napalm apparently couldn't) and The Dog references shooting up a school so Cool Cat Stops A School Shooting could still be on the horizon. 

Ultimately if you want to see one of these weird virus movies, this one is more worth your time than Cool Cats Fights Coronavirus but in isolation, it's pretty meh.

Spoon Rating: 4