Monday, May 9, 2022

Cop Rock: Episodes 1-2 [1990]

Every once in a while at Bad Movie Night we have the dubious honor of watching something that isn't funny-bad or painful-bad but mysterious-bad, unusual-bad, curious-bad. The only times I can really remember that happening were with After Last Season, the money-laundering scheme that was hidden behind a movie no one was meant to see, and Deadly Lessons, a movie I am completely incapable of summarizing. Both of those films we gave 5 spoons to with an asterisk saying that you should maybe just watch it for the strangeness, and that's exactly how we feel about this television show. To be clear, Cop Rock is a canceled show of eleven episodes that's half police procedural and half musical, and you probably should not watch the whole thing. We watched two episodes before deciding that was enough. If any brave soul wants to attempt the whole thing, you can but we decided two was enough to get the picture.

We went in wondering if it would be an episodic show but it turned out to have a few consistent threads: the mayor is corrupt or something, two of the cops really want to bang but one is married to a potentially lying detective who isn't as hot as her coworker, a cop gets killed in the first ten minutes of the first episode and his partner gets a new partner who likes to sing Motown, one of the cops abuses people in the interrogation room, etc. The problem is, there is no investment in any of these characters at all (and I kind of couldn't tell any of the white guys apart either). The show is really blandly written. In fact, were it not for the musical aspect, this show would have flown so far under the radar as to be invisible. It's really a very standard and boring police procedural until someone suddenly starts singing. Of course, when they sing it is also a boringly written song that often sounds like a rip-off of something that would have been on the radio at the time. One song was clearly Bryan Adams, one sounded like "The Joker", and there are a lot of late 80s style ballads. Each 45 minute episode has about five songs, most of which are pretty mercifully short. Are they good singers at least? Some are. A lot aren't notable and some are kind of confusingly bad, shocking since according to Wikipedia 200 people tried out for this show. 

Aside from the obvious absurdity of the premise, this show invites even more questions when you watch it. Chief among them is probably, who is this show for? As a musical fan myself, I have asked this question a lot about shows doing the theater circuit and the answer is often a misguided attempt at getting those straight male dollars. But this isn't Broadway trying to court a new demographic; it's television. It's meant for maximum appeal on some level. Could the target be old people? Conservatives who like radio hits? Army wives? I just don't know. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one of my favorite shows of all time and even though it's a brilliant comedy-drama-musical, it had a hard time finding an audience because of its title but won people over with its writing and clever use of music. But that's a show about more universal ideas around mental health, identity, and relationships and not a corrupt police force.

The other really weird thing about this show is the tone. This show is completely devoid of humor during the non-singing scenes with the small exception of one joke in episode two that worked. The music is also seemingly meant to be serious. However, because of the absurdity of the tone shift when the song playing is something upbeat instead of a solemn ballad, it ends up being funny: not in a laughing way but the slack-jawed-what-is-happening way. The best moment in the two episodes was a song called "He's Guilty" where they just start singing a gospel song in a court room, again seemingly not trying to be funny but succeeding by sheer audacity.

So should you watch it? I don't know. You could definitely get some amusement from the clips on YouTube of the best songs. In a way though, you kind of need to see that tone shift for yourself to really process how weird this thing is. It's not really fun or worth your time but maybe you should anyway?

Spoon Rating: 5*

*I mean, what else do you have to do?

Monday, April 25, 2022

Ghosts On The Loose [1943]

The dice gods do not like us and want us to suffer. At least it was only an hour.

Ghosts On The Loose is a film featuring a "comedy" troupe called The East Side Kids who are a void of humor. One of their sisters is getting married so the beginning is all about them preparing for the wedding by stealing flowers and a suit from dead people. Then they go to the house the couple has bought and steal the furniture from the supposedly haunted house next door. Turns out the two houses are connected by a tunnel or something and Bela Lugosi is a Nazi spy who is mad about the house being sold because he needs it for Nazi business. He tries to scare them with revolving bookcases and picture frames or something. It sucks. One of the guys comes down with German measles, which means his face is covered in little swastikas. Har har. 

I honestly can't top this review from the film's Wikipedia page, "The Los Angeles Times called the film 'a feeble and cheaply produced bit of unenticing nothingness.'"

Spoon Rating: 1

Monday, April 18, 2022

Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainville [2007]

We're down to rolling a d12 to decide on our movie, and the dice really didn't like Kay since they picked the one movie she least wanted to see, Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainville. In addition to Kay not liking serial killer things and fixating on the very inaccurate 50s costuming, Erik was prepared with the facts and ready to debunk every misstep in the retelling of Ed Gein's life. This still didn't make the movie watchable.

The movie seemed to have absolutely no concept of plot or pacing. Ed goes around killing people until he is found. He isn't really the main character since the film actually focuses on a cop whose girlfriend ends up being one of the abducted. They are insanely boring. The only interesting part of the whole thing is in the very beginning when Ed is digging up bodies with a friend who, after apparently doing this multiple times, finally questions the morality of what they are doing so Ed kills him and ties him to his truck like Achilles did to Hector (in spite of him having a flatbed truck?). We mourned his loss. 

Visually this movie is frustrating. The whole thing has this washed-out look that's like dirty faux black and white without being fully black and white. There are some gross scenes, as expected, but something about the utter lack of realism in the visuals kind of helps from anything being too traumatizing. And, of course, as a movie set in the 50s, the clothes are mostly wrong, the hair of both the men and women is entirely wrong (although one woman curiously has good 40s hair), and the makeup is basically modern. 

Do not bother. This movie cost Adam and Sarah $4, and they were robbed. With so many losers, soon we'll be switching over to watching some episodes of bad TV including the fever dream known as Cop Rock. It will get better.

Spoon Rating: 2

Monday, April 11, 2022

Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal [2001]

We rolled a critical fail on the dice role and on the movie as our film for today was Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal. Adam had seen the first Turbulence film and basically predicted that whatever the plot was it was going to end with a random person having to land the plane.

The basic premise is that a Marilyn Manson-esque rocker named Slade Kraven is going to be performing his last show on a modified plane with 40 fans in attendance. We are introduced to a bunch of random characters including a normie-ish fan who wants to be a journalist and her horny friend, a woman investigating a hacker of the cameras on the plane, the guys in air traffic control, the pilots, the flight attendants, a reporter of the concert who's a jerk and her cameraman, and, of course, the band. The show starts and Kraven quickly turns from shock rocker into literal murderer when he kills the copilot and seemingly holds the reporter hostage. The hacker and investigator learn that Kraven is actually someone else who disguised himself as the rock star in an effort to get publicity for his Satanic cult. He, the reporter jerk, and the pilot are actually all part of the cult and they have plans to crash the plane into a church in Kansas as part of some doomsday ritual. The real Kraven ends up escaping from the storage unit and gets in contact with the hacker who helps guide him in what's going on. He fights the imposter, sees the pilot kill himself, and then gets the guidance from the hacker to successfully land the plane and save the day. Hacker and investigator hook up. The normie girl gets report on the events with the help of the cameraman. Kraven is a hero. 

For its kind of wild plot, this movie is pretty boring. So much of it is just people on the phone with each other, and it feels like forever for the plot pieces to come together. The most interesting part really was trying to actually categorize the band's music (the menu song sounds like Godsmack, the first song they play sounds like Smashing Pumpkins, and the whole song performed sounds like Marilyn Manson; none of it is the "death metal" it claims to be).

Spoon Rating: 2

Monday, April 4, 2022

Time Cop [1994]

The dice determined that we would be experiencing the final of the three "double Van Damme" movies tonight, which also happened to be a favorite of Adam's when he was a kid. Van Damme plays a cop who tries to stop time crimes after time travel is invented. Of course, it is immediately used to make money to fund a political campaign. This being a Van Damme movie, he also has a wife who he has sex with and then she immediately dies, clearly setting up a future motivation to save her life. 

In general, the movie was kind of strange to follow. The plot wasn't specifically complicated, but, ironically, the pacing of the movie was really off. It was kind of hard to tell where we were in the film and every major plot point seemed to either happen way too early or way too late. Perhaps that's the real joke here: bad timing. Overall, it was just a bland Van Damme film, without anything specific to note about it. It certainly was missing some of the weird lines of other movies of his. The two main highlights involved some body horror CGI that was very mid-90s, but otherwise it's pretty forgettable.

Spoon Rating: 2

Monday, March 28, 2022

High Impact Hand Safety & The Prince of Egypt [1998]

We had a series of shorts this evening. First, we started off with a new classic: High Impact Hand Safety. This 18 minute safety training video is the funniest gore movie we've seen in a minute. The film is a safety training video that is 90% recreation of brutal factory accidents with the same scream and a lot of prosthetics.  Just when you think they are done, there are more. You start to get almost frustrated at how stupid people are the more you watch them clean machines without shutting them down first. Still we all picked favorites afterwards. As a companion piece, we also watched a German parody YouTube video called "Forklift Operator Klaus" that is very similar but intentionally over the top. You'll get laughs from both.

Spoon Rating: 9

After that, we decided to do another Dingo Pictures, this one being The Prince of Egypt. It was extremely minimal on the details of the story, which Erik's Catholic upbringing and Adam's religion minor were annoyed by. The thing with Dingo Pictures is that there's definitely a sweet spot of how many you can watch before they get pretty repetitive and we are probably past that point. Most Dingo Pictures are good, but they are all good for the same general reasons. This one is mostly notable for having some really solid smash cuts. The first was of Moses calmly saying, "I'm going crazy" before we get a wide shot of him sitting in front of the burning bush and that's our intro to God, who looks like Ron Pearlman. The other solid one involved the Egyptian armies first chasing with high energy music and then just a bunch of soldiers walking casually with no music at all.

Spoon Rating: 5*

*May be higher or lower based on how many Dingos you've already seen.

We also watched some commercials by Jim "The Hammer" Shapiro. Well, worth looking into if you've got two minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Exit Wounds [2001]

The dice decided that we would have to deal with another Steven Seagal and a rapper movie although this one was a lot more convoluted than the last one. Seagal is a loose canon cop who doesn't play by the rules and gets sent to anger management for a hot second where he meets Tom Arnold. Meanwhile, DMX is a drug dealer except he's actually a dot com millionaire who is only pretending to be a drug dealer to try to expose some crooked Detroit cops (and get his brother out of jail, it seems?). The film also has Michael Jai White who Adam was very excited to see fight Seagal as they are two martial artists only to have them sword fight instead. The film seems to set up a potential love interest with the police commissioner but then she unceremoniously dies in a car crash two-thirds of the way through with no romantic set up anyway. This movie has some writing issues. It was at times completely incomprehensible. We got a few laughs with some good dummy work and weird directing, but this movie was far more painful than fun. 

Spoon Rating: 2