Film Review: The Preppie Connection (dir by Joseph Castelo)


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The Preppie Connection, which is currently playing On Demand and in limited release, has got a 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.  That seems a little bit harsh to me.  I mean, The Preppie Connection isn’t exactly a good movie but it’s still not a disaster.  It’s main sin is that it’s generic and forgettable and squanders a potentially interesting story.  That’s definitely not a good thing but still, The Preppie Connection is still better than some of the other films that currently have a zero score on Rotten Tomatoes.  The Preppie Connection may not be great but it’s still better than Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star and A Thousand Words.

0%?

Not hardly.

More like 25%.

Anyway, The Preppie Connection is apparently based on a true story.  Tobias Hammel (Thomas Mann) is a poor kid who wins a scholarship to an exclusive private school.  At first, Tobias struggles to fit in.  He doesn’t know how to relate to his wealthy classmates and he’s embarrassed when his friends from the old neighborhood show up on campus.  When he is instructed to sign a 200 year-old book, he accidentally knocks the book to the floor.  As a result, the other students beat him up.

Fortunately, for Tobias, everyone assumes that — since he’s poor — he’ll be able to get them drugs.  At first, everyone is satisfied with weed but, since this movie is taking place in the 80s, everyone soon starts to pressure Tobias to get them cocaine.  Fortunately (and conveniently), Tobias has befriended the son of the Colombian ambassador.  Soon, Tobias is making regular trips to Colombia and returning with bags of cocaine hidden away in his travel bag.

Usually, I love films about wealthy drug addicts.  There’s usually a few good scenes of drug-fueled decadence and, since they’re rich, everyone’s usually dressed nicely.  But no… sorry.  The Preppie Connection just doesn’t work.  Visually, the film is flat and, even worse, it appears that the budget was too low to be able to afford the rights to any period music.  I was hoping to hear at least a few classic 80s songs but instead, the film only offered some generic synthesizer-fueled music.

Speaking of generic, Thomas Mann narrates nearly the entire film and it’s some of the most vapid narration that I’ve ever heard.  I mean, I understand that everyone loves Goodfellas and Casino but that doesn’t mean that every period gangster film has to feature nonstop narration.

Ultimately, The Preppie Connection is such an incredibly forgettable film that I really can’t even come up with more than 400 words to type about it.  That said, Logan Huffman and Lucy Fry both give good performances as two of Tobias’s customers and they’re good enough to bump the film up to at least a score of 25 out of 100.

Take that, Rotten Tomatoes.

Guilty Pleasure No. 29: On The Line (dir by Eric Bross)


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Last night, as I watched Dead 7, I could not help but think about the 2001 film, On The Line.  Don’t get me wrong, On The Line does not feature any zombies and there’s next to no violence.  However, much like Dead 7, it does feature quite a few boy banders.  In fact, with the exception of JC Chasez, every member of *NSYNC makes an appearance in On The Line.  Lance Bass stars in the movie.  Joey Fatone plays his best friend.  Finally, at the end of the film, in a scene that is so homophobic that it practically screams 2001, Justin Timberlake and Chris Kirkpatrick show up as a flamboyant makeup artist and an even more flamboyant hairstylist.

Lance plays Kevin, a shy and somewhat nerdy advertising exec who lives in Chicago.  Kevin falls in love easily but he’s always been too shy to have a serious relationship.  One day, Kevin is returning home from work on the train when he starts talking to Abbey (Emanuelle Chriqui).  It turns out that they both love the Chicago Cubs and Al Green!  (Oh my God!  Who would have guessed that two people living in Chicago would both love the local sports team!?)  It also turns out that both Kevin and Abbey can name all the Presidents in order!  Obviously, they are meant to be!  The universe arranged for them to both be on the train at the same time so that they can get married, have children, and discuss the presidency of Rutherford Hayes while watching the Cubs and listening to Al Green.

Unfortunately, despite being a single guy who has just totally hit it off with a single girl who is obviously attracted to him, Kevin forgets to get her phone number.  The movie explains this by saying that Kevin is shy but if he’s so shy that he can’t even give out his phone number then how did he ever find the courage to tell Abbey that he loves Al Green in the first place?

(Actually, Abbey isn’t really single but her fiancée is such a jerk that she might as well be.  Anyone who has ever seen a movie knows that Abbey is not meant to marry a guy who spends all of his time on the phone, yelling, “Sell!  Sell!”)

Of course, if Kevin had gotten her phone number, there wouldn’t have been a movie.  So, instead, he recruits his loser friends (including Joey Fatone) to help him track down Abbey.  He puts up flyers all over Chicago.  A story about him appears in the newspaper.  Soon, the entire city is obsessed with whether or not Kevin will find this girl that he talked to for ten minutes.  However, Abbey apparently never watches TV or reads the newspaper because somehow, she doesn’t know all of this is going on…

There’s an interesting subtext to On The Line.  Lance Bass himself produced the film.  Five years after On The Line flopped at the box office, Lance officially came out as gay (and, it must be said, that whenever Kevin talks to Abbey, he comes across less like a future lover and more like every girl’s ideal gay best friend).  Lance has said that he was still deeply closeted when he made On The Line and there are times when the film seems to be almost desperate to convince us of Kevin’s (and, by association, Lance’s) heterosexuality.  In this context, that end credits scene with Chris and Justin, limp-wristed and speaking in exaggerated falsetto, is even ickier.  “Gay?” the film says to be saying, “If there was a gay person in On The Line, would Justin Timberlake be playing a makeup artist?  Would Chris Kirkpatrick be willing to appear as a hairdresser named Angelo?”

On The Line is not a particularly good film and yet, oddly, it’s one that I always find myself watching whenever I come across it on cable.  Lance may be miscast and he’s obviously uncomfortable in the majority of his scenes but he’s also likable.  You never believe for a second that Kevin and Abbey will last as a couple but Lance seems like a nice guy and Emmanuelle Chriqui is so pretty that you’re happy that they at least got to go on a date or two before breaking up and never seeing each other again.  They’re both pretty and it’s fun to watch pretty people talk to each other, even if they do lack a certain romantic chemistry.  As well, though his character is pretty obnoxious, Joey Fatone is still always fun to watch.

On The Line is no Dead 7 but it’s still watchable in its own stupid way.  I would suggest, however, skipping the end credits

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan

Pop Up Fly: SQUEEZE PLAY (Troma 1979)


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Welcome to the wacky, wonderful world of 70’s sexploitation comedies. Today we’ll be dealing with two Great American Obsessions: boobs and baseball! (Actually, it’s softball here, but why quibble).  SQUEEZE PLAY is brought to you by Lloyd Kaufman and his team at Troma Entertainment, the folks responsible for such cinematic gems as THE TOXIC AVENGER and CLASS OF NUKE EM HIGH. Let’s slide right into the plot of the movie, shall we?

SQUEEZE PLAY is your basic Battle of the Sexes romp. The Beavers are the champs of the Mattress Workers Softball League, and the guys on the team have been ignoring their women folk for softball. This is causing much friction between them (and not the pleasant kind!), especially our two leads, team captain Wes and his fiancée Samantha. Things change when Mary Lou, a pretty heiress on the run, comes to town and demonstrates a killer arm (seems…

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Film Review: Dead 7 (dir by Danny Roew)


Dead 7 is a strange one.

The latest film from the geniuses at the Asylum (and I mean that as a compliment because there is definitely a strain of genius at the heart of The Asylum’s madness), Dead 7 premiered on SyFy last night.  I watched it.  My friends, the Snarkalecs, watched it.  And about a million boy band fans watched it.  As usual, the Snarkalecs and I attempted to live tweet the film.  Unfortunately, for every genuinely witty tweet from me and my friends, there were a few thousand tweets from people begging Nick Carter to retweet them.  A lot of wonderful snark got lost in the deluge of fangirl exhortations.

But I can’t really blame the fangirls.  If I hadn’t discovered the joys of snark and if not for the fact that I have too much self-worth to beg anyone (no matter how hot or famous) for a retweet, I might have been there with them.  Dead 7 is many things but it will probably best be remembered as the movie that featured a lot of former boy band members fighting and being eaten by zombies.  (As more than one tweeter put it, Dead 7 was like watching all of your childhood cruses die a terrible and bloody death.)  Not only was the film’s story conceived by Backstreet Boy Nick Carter but he also starred in it and convinced a lot of other boy banders to join the cast.  Of course, neither Justin Timberlake nor Lance Bass are anywhere to be found in the film.  (For that matter, I was surprised that Aaron Carter didn’t show up.)  But the film does feature three Backstreet Boys, two from *NSYNC, Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees, and O-Town.

Yes, O-Town.

(Fortunately, super creepy, super sleazy, and super imprisoned Lou Pearlman did not have a cameo.  I imagine that he was one of the first people to be eaten during the zombie apocalypse.)

As for the film itself … well, it’s not exactly easy to describe.  The plot was not always easy to follow and there was a surprisingly large amount of backstory for an Asylum zombie film.  The apocalypse has come and gone and now, the world has been transformed into the old west.  What remains of humanity lives in tiny and isolated communities.  Gunslingers wander through the desert.  High atop a mountain, a mad woman named Apocalypta (super scary Debra Wilson) breeds zombies and holds the town below hostage.  Sheriff Cooper (Jon Secada) recruits a group of warriors to take out Apocalypta and her hordes.

(Incidentally, Apocalypta’s main henchman is named Johnny Vermillion.  Johnny wears clown makeup and giggles uncontrollably.  He also gouges out a man’s eye.  Johnny is played by A.J. McClean of the Backstreet Boys and he makes for a surprisingly effective villain.)

Despite the fact that Cooper and his impressive sideburns are later eaten by a zombie horde, the warriors still go after Apocalypta.  They are the Dead 7, not quite magnificent and almost all dead by the end of the film.

O-Town’s Erik Michael Estrada is Komodo.  He’s a samurai.  He kills a lot of zombies with a sword.  Watching the movie last night, we all really loved Komodo but I think we mostly just liked the sword.

Carrie Keagan is Daisy Jane, who I liked because she was a woman who kicked ass.  (Plus, Carrie Keagan was a good sport and replied to a few of my snarky tweets.)  Daisy’s boyfriend is Billy, who is played by 98 Degrees’s Jeff Timmons.  Personally, I think Dead 7 needs a prequel that will focus exclusively on Daisy Jane or Billy.

Joey Fatone is Whiskey Joe.  Whiskey Joe is boisterous and always seems to be having a good time.  He’s also always drinking whiskey but when he explained that he can blow himself up if he ever finds himself overwhelmed by zombies, I cringed a little because it was such obvious foreshadowing.  If nothing else, Dead 7 forces you to consider whether a world without Joey Fatone is a world worth living in.

Whiskey Joe’s partner is the Vaquero (played by Howie Dorough).  The Vaquero is good with a rifle and, at one point, calls Whiskey Joe “estupido.”

Sirene (Lauren Kitt-Carter, who is married to Nick in real life) is a mysterious woman who shows up nearly halfway through the film.  She doesn’t say much but she’s good at killing zombies.

And finally, Nick himself played Jack.  Jack is a man of few words, a stoic gunslinger who always does the right thing.  Nick Carter does a surprisingly effective Clint Eastwood impersonation.

By the end of the film, only one member of the Dead 7 will still be alive.  Can you guess who?

Beyond the cast (and former boy banders play even the smallest roles), the most interesting thing about Dead 7 is how seriously it takes itself.  This is not another Sharknado 3.  There’s very little intentional camp to be found in Dead 7.  Instead, it’s a gory and violent film, one in which characters die terrible deaths while howling in pain.  The juxtaposition of boy banders and blood makes for an odd viewing experience.

Fortunately, I like odd things.  Dead 7 may not be perfect (the editing occasionally feels rushed and haphazard and, as a result, the story isn’t always easy to follow) but when it concentrates on zombie mayhem, it works well enough.

Keep an eye out for Dead 7!

(Just make sure that AJ McLean does snatch it out of your head…)