The TSL’s Grindhouse: World Gone Wild (dir by Lee H. Katzin)

“World Gone Wild!?  What’s that about?”

Don’t ask me.  I just watched the movie and I’m not particularly sure what the point of it all was.  Released in 1987, World Gone Wild is one of those films that was made to capitalize on the post-apocalypse boom of the 70s and 80s.  Basically, imagine a Mad Max film that sucks and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what World Gone Wild is like.

There’s been a nuclear war.  Civilization has collapsed and now, there are just tiny outposts of humanity who are trying to survive.  It hasn’t rained in decades.  Old-timer Ethan (Bruce Dern) is in charge of a town called Lost Wells.  He remembers what rain was like and he also remembers what rock music used to sound like, too.  As for Lost Wells, it’s one of those dreary little desert communities that always tend to pop up in movies like this.  Angie (Catherine Mary Stewart) teaches the community’s children in an abandoned school bus.  They have a bunch of books on etiquette.  One little girl can recite every word ever written by Emily Post.  That gets annoying fast.  Emily Post didn’t live on a school bus in the desert.

That etiquette doesn’t do much good when it comes to protecting Lost Wells from Derek Abernathy (Adam Ant), a cult leader who dresses in all-white and who wants to take control of Lost Wells away from Ethan.  (In a somewhat clever twist, it turns out that Ethan learned how to become a cult leader by reading a book about Charles Manson.)  Knowing that the majority of the people in his town are too obsessed with Emily Post to fight off Derek and his army, Ethan recruits a group of mercenaries led by George Landon ( who is played by Michael Pare, who looks like he was absolutely miserable while shooting this movie).  George and his men agree to protect Lost Wells from Derek and, in the process, they regain some of their lost humanity and they start to believe in the possibility of rain.  Or something like that.  Fortunately, one of George’s mercenaries is played by the supercool character actor Anthony James.  He doesn’t get to do much but hey, it’s still Anthony James and Bruce Dern in the same movie!  Yay!

For a film called World Gone Wild, this is a strangely low-key affair.  Even the most unimpressive of Mad Max rip-offs will usually have an exciting car chase or two.  At the very least, there’s usually a big battle where people sacrifice their lives for the future of humanity.  In World Gone Wild, the mercenaries pretty much just go to Lost Wells and then wait for Derek to come back.  And when Derek returns, there’s a few explosions and some gunfire but that’s pretty much it.  Neither side really puts up much of a fight, which leads me to wonder if Derek really even cared about Lost Wells.

On the plus side, the film has got Bruce Dern, doing his wild-eyed old-timer bit.  That’s always fun to watch and, if nothing else, Dern appears to be having fun in this movie.  At the very least, he’s having more fun that Michael Pare and Catherine Mary Stewart, both of whom seem to spend the majority of the movie looking for a way to make a quick escape.  And I suppose the film does win some novelty points for casting Adam Ant as the main villain, even though Derek ultimately turns out to be not much of a threat.

In the end, World Gone Wild‘s greatest strength is Bruce Dern.  He’ll make you believe in the rain again.

Guilty Pleasure No. 57: The Voyeurs (dir by Michael Mohan)

The Voyeurs premiered on Amazon in 2021 and I have to say that I’m a little bit angry that I didn’t bother to watch the movie until last week.  Seriously, someone should have alerted me about this film because this is exactly the type of shamelessly sordid, narratively nonsensical film that I always end up enjoying.  Seriously, I expect better from my friends.

The film opens with Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) trying on lingerie in a chic shop, just to suddenly realize that anyone looking through the shop’s front window would be able to see her.  Pippa glares reproachfully at both the window and, presumably, the people watching this movie.  That’s right, the film opens with the lead character judging you for watching.  However, as we soon discover, Pippa is a bit of a hypocrite.

Pippa was buying the lingerie as a way to celebrate moving into a new studio apartment with her boyfriend, Thomas (Justice Smith).  Unfortunately, Thomas is kind of a lame-o and he ends up falling asleep as soon as they move in and before Pippa can show him what she’s bought.  When Thomas does eventually wake up, he and Pippa discover that they can stare straight into the the apartment across the street from them.  That apartment is inhabited by a handsome and sexy photographer (Ben Hardy) and his beautiful wife (Natasha Liu Bordizzo).  Pippa and Thomas find themselves obsessively watching as Thomas and Pippa make love in the kitchen and basically everywhere else in their apartment.  (Meanwhile, Thomas is still complaining about how much he hates his job.)  Eventually, Pippa and Thomas even figure out a way to capture the vibrations of the other apartment’s windows so that they can “hear” what the photographer and his wife are saying to each other.   While Thomas worries that Pippa is becoming too obsessed with the neighbors, Pippa is busy fantasizing about the photographer and befriending his wife.  When Pippa discovers that the photographer is cheating on his wife and cruelly gaslighting away her concerns, Pippa makes a decision that leads to….

Well, it leads to a lot and I certainly won’t spoil it.  I will say that it’s all wonderfully melodramatic and silly.  The Voyeurs has multiple twists, none of which make much sense.  Indeed, it’s best not to think too much about any of the twists or the film’s rather macabre conclusion.  Instead, watch it for the sex, the glamour, the spacious apartments, and the beautiful people.  Don’t worry about logic.  Instead, just accept The Voyeurs as a dream.  Sydney Sweeney brings some much-needed sincerity to her role while Hardy and Bordizzo both appear to understand exactly the type of film in which they’ve found themselves and, wisely, they fully embrace the sordidness of it all.  At times, Justice Smith seems to almost be taking the movie too seriously but even that adds to The Voyeurs off-center charm.  Someone always takes things too seriously in a film like this.

The Voyeurs is the type of sordid daydream-turned-nightmare that we can all love.

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
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer
  40. Parking Wars
  41. The Dead Are After Me
  42. Harper’s Island
  43. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
  44. Paranormal State
  45. Utopia
  46. Bar Rescue
  47. The Powers of Matthew Star
  48. Spiker
  49. Heavenly Bodies
  50. Maid in Manhattan
  51. Rage and Honor
  52. Saved By The Bell 3. 21 “No Hope With Dope”
  53. Happy Gilmore
  54. Solarbabies
  55. The Dawn of Correction
  56. Once You Understand