I watched this video and I immediately thought of Twin Peaks: The Return.
I watched this video and I immediately thought of Twin Peaks: The Return.
So, this happened:
Every Saturday, I get together with my friends in the Late Night Movie Gang and we watch a movie. I’m usually the one who picks the movie. I usually try to pick something fun and kinda silly. For instance, every Christmas, we watch Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. Last week, we watched Tobor The Great. And this week, I selected a 51-minute program from 1978. The name of that program?
Disco Beaver From Outer Space.
Now, I have to admit that this was one of the rare instances where I didn’t actually bother to watch the entire movie before selecting it. I did watch the first five minutes on YouTube. It featured someone in a beaver costume walking around New York City and eating stuff while disco music played in the background. That was all I needed to see.
An alien beaver eating New York!? I thought, Disco music!? How could this possibly go wrong!?
Add to that, the movie only had 51 minute run time. Even if it’s terrible, I thought, at least it won’t be long!
However, once the film started, I discovered that 51 minutes can be a very long time indeed. Unfortunately, it turned out that the beaver wasn’t actually in much of the film. He showed up at the start of the movie and then he popped up in the middle and finally, he showed up again at the end. That the beaver was cute and came with his own disco song made it all the more regretful that he wasn’t in more of the film.
Anyway, it turned out that the film itself was a collection of vaguely connected sketches. The idea was that a husband and wife were looking for something to watch and , as a result, they kept changing the channel. One channel featured a country western singer. Another channel was showing Masterpiece Theater. And then there was this movie about a vampire called Dragula.
The joke about Dragula was that he was gay and … well, that was pretty much it. Dragula was gay and everyone he bit turned gay and eventually Lynn Redgrave showed up as Dr. Vanessa Van Helsing and she managed to destroy Dragula. If you think this sounds homophobic … well, it was. When the humor wasn’t homophobic, it was misogynistic. I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’m not easily offended and I’ve never been the type to need a safe space but I have to admit that I spent the majority of Disco Beaver cringing. Of course, the problem wasn’t that the humor was politically incorrect. The problem was that the majority of it just wasn’t that funny.
Disco Beaver was produced, for HBO, by National Lampoon. In fact, HBO was only 6 years old when it broadcast Diso Beaver so I’m going to assume that this may have been one of the first original programs ever specifically made for the network. Perhaps that explains why the entire production has a sort of “look how naughty we can be on cable!” feel to it. “We just dropped the F bomb! Here’s a whole skit about breasts! And now, here’s a skit about how to spot a homosexual. We’re so daring!”
From the minute that Disco Beaver started, I felt as if I could literally hear the coke being cut backstage. How many lines of cocaine were snorted over the course of the making of Disco Beaver? Remember that scene at the end of Scarface where Al Pacino had a mountain of white powder on his desk? I imagine that’s what the Disco Beaver production office looked like.
Anyway, we survived Disco Beaver and, at the end of it, we swore that we would never speak of it again. And I learned a very valuable lesson! Always watch the entire movie!
So, in case your curious about the film that just won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival, here is the trailer for Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Shoplifters. Magnolia Pictures has obtained the rights to release this film in North America but, as far as I know, it still doesn’t have an American release date.
(If I’m wrong about the lack of a definite release deate, please feel free to correct me in the comments.)
Here’s the plot of the film, according to Wikipedia:
In Tokyo, Osamu Shibata is married to Nobuyo, who live in poverty. Osamu receives occasional employment and Nobuyo has a low-paying job, but the family relies in large part on the grandmother’s pension. Osamu takes his son Shota shoplifting for groceries, and discover a girl, Yuri, homeless. Osamu takes Yuri to their home, where the family informally adopts her. However, the Tokyo police, aware Yuri is missing, begin to search for her.
And here’s the trailer!
Two weeks ago, while I was sick in bed, I watched The Legend of Billie Jean, a deeply silly movie from 1985.
Okay, get this. Billie Jean (Helen Slater) and her younger brother, Binx (an incredibly young Christian Slater), live in Corpus Christi, Texas. Binx has always wanted to go to Vermont. That right there should tell you just how silly this movie is. Not only does it feature a character named Binx but it also features Texans wanting to go to Vermont. I’m a native Texan who loves to travel but I can tell you right now that the last place I would ever want to go would be Vermont. In fact, down here, we tend to assume that Vermont’s just a place that was made up by the media. Bernie Sanders? He’s just an actor. Seriously, there’s no way that Vermont actually exists.
Anyway, after Binx throws a milkshake in the face of local bully, Hubie Pyatt (Barry Tubb), Hubie steals Binx’s scooter. (If you’re stuck with a name like Hubie Pyatt, it seems kinda predestined that you’re going to grow up to be a bully.) After getting nowhere with the police, Billie Jean returns home to discover that Binx has been beaten up and his scooter has been dismantled. Billie Jean goes to Hubie’s father (Richard Bradford) to demand some money to get the scooter fixed. Mr. Pyatt responds by attempting to assault Billie Jean, which leads to Binx shooting Mr. Pyatt in the shoulder.
So now, Billie Jean and Binx are on the run.
Joining them in their flight are two idiot friends (Martha Gehman and Yeardley Smith) and Lloyd (Keith Gordon), the son of the local district attorney. Because this is a movie, Billie Jean quickly becomes a media superstar. Everyone wants to meet Billie Jean. Everyone wants to help Billie Jean. A sympathetic police detective (Peter Coyote) is determined to capture Billie Jean without violence but that might be difficult with the media constantly getting in the way.
While hiding out in a motel, Billie Jean turns on the TV and watches the classic 1928 silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc. (I have to say that I’ve stayed in a few motels around Corpus Christi and never once did I turn on the TV and just happen to come across a classic silent movie.) Moved by Renee Falconetti’s performance in the lead role, Billie Jean decides to cut her hair really, really short (though not as short as Falconetti’s). I guess Billie Jean is supposed to be a 1980s version of Joan of Arc, which really doesn’t make any sense. I mean, Joan of Arc heard the voice of God and led the French to victory over the British. Billie Jean is just trying to get some money to get her brother’s scooter fixed and pay for a trip to the imaginary state of Vermont.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pyatt has recovered from his wounds and is now selling Billie Jean merchandise in his store. The detective mentions how weird that is but Mr. Pyatt is just out to make some money. Can you blame him? The entire country is obsessed with Billie Jean!
As you might have guessed, The Legend of Billie Jean is incredibly silly but likable. Despite having an inconsistent Texas accent, Helen Slater does a good job in the lead role of Billie Jean and it’s interesting to actually see Christian Slater before he developed the sarcastic style that, for better or worse, has come to define pretty much all of his performances. Never for a second do you believe that Billie Jean would actually become a media superstar. (Nor do you ever believe that she’s the type who would have the patience to watch a silent movie.) I mean, when you get right down to it, it’s a pretty dumb movie. But, when you’re sick in bed, The Legend of Billie Jean is a perfectly acceptable way to pass the time.
Previous Guilty Pleasures
We’re a few days later in sharing this but, as always, it’s better to be late than never!
Say what you will about Tom Cruise. He’s definitely an actor who I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, he’s got undeniable talent and, whenever I watch him in a good movie (like Edge of Tomorrow), I’m surprised to be reminded of just how compelling he can be onscreen. (Hell, I’d even defend his performance in The Mummy.) On the other hand, I have some friends who flat-out refuse to watch anything that feature Cruise, specifically because they find the whole Scientology thing to just be too creepy.
But, with all that in mind, the Mission: Impossible films have consistently been exciting and entertaining. While Daniel Craig’s James Bond spends all of his time drowning in self-pity, Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt reminds us of why we love spy films in the first place.
Here’s the trailer for Mission Impossible — Fallout! This film will be in theaters on July 17th.
Here’s the trailer for Shock and Awe, which is apparently a film about the media at the start of the Iraq War.
Don’t get too excited. It was directed by Rob Reiner, who hasn’t done anything worthwhile in quite some time. To be honest, this sounds like exactly the type of project that will bring out all of Reiner’s worst, most middlebrow instincts as a filmmaker.
But who knows? At least Tommy Lee Jones is in it.
So, at the start of this year, I thought that The Happytime Murders might be a one of those surprising, no-one-saw-it-coming Oscar nominees. The film takes place in a world where both humans and puppets co-exist, though puppets are treated like second class citizens. The film is a murder mystery but, obviously, the plot would seem to suggest that there’s a possibility that there could be a lot more going on underneath the surface.
Then I watched the trailer.
And … yeah, it’s probably not going to be an Oscar nominee. The Academy has changed a lot of over the last few years but I still don’t know if they’re ready to embrace a film that features muppet jizz. The trailer for this one so reminded me of Sausage Party that I was shocked to discover that Seth Rogen is not in the film.
However, Joel McHale is! He’s so adorable.
Also, I noticed that the trailer bragged about being from the same people behind the recent Muppets TV show. Uhmm … I’ll have to ask Leonard for sure, because I think he’s the only TSLer who regularly watched it, but didn’t everyone hate that show?
Anyway, here’s the red band trailer for The Happytime Murders! If you have kids, be sure to take them. You know how much kids love puppets…