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SJ talks about why The Beast of Yucca Flats is one of the worst movies ever made.

What makes this the one of the worst MST3k movies is the random narration of disjointed events ranging from flags on the moon to a women’s purse.  There was no connection between any of the scenes.  The characters were thin as they had neither acted or a story and hardly any dialogue—it was all narration and grunts.

Half of the movie was spent watching cars drive on dusty roads in the desert this even went so far as to have a long flying scene with some idiot shooting out the window at an innocent man.  Then he jumped out of the plane to hunt him down and finish the job.

The director of The Beast of Yucca Flats also created Red Zone Cuba an equally bad movie which will be reviewed soon.

The MS3k crew as usual made the movie bearable.  Crow T. Robot was funny as he pestered Mike Nelson (a Wisconsin Native) about lunch time continually asking him if it was 11:30.

SJ’s advice is simple: DON’T WATCH THIS MOVIE WITHOUT THE MST3K PEOPLE TO MAKE IT TOLERABLE.  BE WARNED!

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Movie Reviews

 

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Elizabeth Olsen in “Silent House” (2012): Keep Quit If You Are Asked to Watch It.

This was one of those rare movies that is so bad I don’t even know where to begin.  It’s the acting, it’s the writing and it’s directing that makes this movie the blemish on mankind that it is. The story, at times, makes no sense, nor do the actions of the main character, Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen of the Olsen twin’s fame).  The fact that someone approved the making of this movie, and that people actually got money to make it, is an outrage surpassing the 2008 financial bailout.

Taking its elements from a 2010 Uruguayan film, The Silent House story is pretty basic – which makes sense for a movie with only a few characters and an especially limited scale.  We are forced to follow leading-lady Sarah (Olsen) through “a tense,” and at times “horrifying,” ordeal: Sarah, along with her father, John (Adam Trese), and Uncle, Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens), is in the process of fixing up the family’s dilapidated vacation home, in an effort to make the property more attractive when they attempt to sell it.  Sarah begins to hear mysterious noises in the upstairs portion of the house, and when she and her dad attempt to investigate the sounds, it quickly becomes clear that they are not alone – nor are they safe.  Whether or not the alleged “true event” inspiration of the film ever actually occurred remains unsubstantiated (and was a point of contention among fans of the 2010 Uruguayan film); however, “based on true events” or not, the fundamental storyline is inadequate within the confines of the 88 minute timeframe.

 

The only interesting part of this is movie is that film was shot in “real time.”  Due to this unique nature of the film’s presentation they had to use as a single take methodology, the production crew ran into several technical issues while filming, mainly surrounding lighting issues and mobility around the house.  Since the movie was filmed in 12-15 minute takes, there were several occurrences where entire sequences had to be thrown out and re-done repeatedly due to lighting problems or missed cues.  It also created a Blair Witch Project type of effect where the camera was bouncing up and down and twisting in all directions—it was like being on a bad roller coaster.

To be frank, I cannot write any more about this movie because it was so bad I had to turn it off.  As I have mentioned before, my threshold for bad movie pain the legendary, this film, however, was the Chinese water board torture of movie watching.  Its plot is thin, its acting is wretched and the writing seems like it was created by 100 monkeys chained to typewriters.  Remain silent if you are asked to watch this movie and exit as quickly as possible.  

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

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By Request: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! (1984)

An old chum of mine recently left me a comment asking why, as a co-connoisseur of the inane, hadn’t The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! been reviewed.  Answer, I don’t know.  So here you go MF this one is for you.

People have a love-hate relationship with this film.  Many, especially younger people, believe it is (at best) a cheap sci-fi want-to-be made by idiots for idiots.  Others look at The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! and see it as brilliant because it is at once a spoof of 50’s era science fiction and a celebration of all sci-fi in general.  The film is a cross between the action/adventure and science-fiction movie genres, and also includes elements of comedy, satire, and cheap, cheap romance.  Well a movie can’t be all things to all people and anyone who knows anything about movies would have seen this film and known it was destined for the controversial cult classic list.  If you like sci-fi and don’t take yourself too seriously to laugh at the genre sometimes, then you will probably like Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!

Let’s take a look at the cast.  Buckaroo Banzai was directed and produced by W. D. Richter (writer of Brubaker and Big Trouble in Little China (excellent movie)) and has a pretty impressive supporting cast including John Lithgow as Dr. Emilio Lizardo/Lord John Whorfin, Ellen Barkin as Penny Priddy, Christopher Lloyd as John Bigbooté, Peter Weller as Buckaroo Banzi and Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey.  For a low budget sci-fi that is a pretty impressive cast—remember that Lloyd would go on to co-star in Back to the Future the next year–one of the biggest box office hits in history. 

Ok so far we have a film that is going to be a spoof and a strong cast. There is only one thing left, the story.  The story is where the film loses its appeal to the great unwashed philistines who unfortunately comprise a vast percentage of the movie going audience.  I will concede that the film’s plot has many twists, turns and stops but anyone who does not have a serious case of ADD should be able to follow it.

Now to try to sum it up.  The film opens with Banzai is preparing to test run a heavily modified Ford E-Series van powered by a jet engine capable of exceeding Mach 1.  The car is also equipped with an “oscillation overthruster,” that looks just like a flux capacitor and that Banzai and his comrades, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, hope will allow the truck to drive through solid matter.  The test is a success; Banzai drives the Jet Car directly through a mountain and emerges on the other side, but finds that an alien organism has attached itself to the “car.”

Learning of Banzai’s success, mad scientist Dr. Emilio Lizardo breaks out of the mental hospital for the criminally insane, where he has been a resident for 50 years.  A black and white flashback shows Dr. Hikita (Robert Ito) (Banzai’s mentor) present at a failed overthruster experiment of Lizardo’s in 1938, trapping Lizardo briefly in the 8th dimension where his mind is taken over by Lord John Whorfin.

Whorfin is the leader of the Red Lectroids, a race of alien reptiles who waged an expansionist campaign against Planet 10.  After being defeated by the peace-loving Black Lectroids, Whorfin and his group were banished into the void of the 8th dimension.  Kind of like the villains in Super Man II but with no mirror.  Lizardo’s failed experiment accidentally released Whorfin, and he soon brings many of the Red Lectroids to Earth in an incident that was accurately reported in 1938 by Orson Welles in his radio broadcast The War of the Worlds, only to be retracted as fiction.

The Red Lectroids are incognito as owners and employees of a defense firm named Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.  The Reds have been building a large spacecraft in the guise of a US Air Force program, the Truncheon bomber.  They intend to rescue any remaining 8th dimension exiles and then try to take over Planet 10 again.  Whorfin plans to steal the overthruster because they can’t make one of their own.  Banzai’s team finds out about what really is going on at Yoyodyne and hacks into their computer only to discover that everyone there has the first name John. At first they believe it’s a joke, but then they notice all the Yoyodyne employees applied for Social Security cards on November 1, 1938 and all in the same town, Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.

In the meantime, a Black Lectroid spacecraft orbiting Earth contacts Banzai, giving him an electric shock that enables him to see through Lectroids’ camouflage (kind of like in Predator they change their image—the Black Lectroids appear to be Rastafarian Jamaicans, while Red Lectroids are Caucasians.)  The ship also sends a “thermo-pod” to Earth, with a holographic message from the Black Lectroids’ leader, John Emdall, that gives an ultimatum: stop Whorfin and his army or the Black Lectroids will protect themselves by staging a fake nuclear attack, causing World War III.

With help from the Hong Kong Cavaliers, a collection of civilian volunteers named “The Blue Blaze Irregulars,” and a young woman named Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin) (a long-lost twin sister of Buckaroo’s late wife), Buckaroo succeeds in his mission, destroying the Red Lectroids and saving Earth.

Whew, that was not the easiest summary to write.  The talented cast each play their roles well and the film overall is low budget and looks it.  The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!, with its low-budget look and cheesy special effects, fits with its theme of a spoof of 1950’s era science fiction films and all things sci-fi in general.  If you can’t laugh at sci-fi don’t bother with this movie you would probably take it personally.  Where do I stand on this movie?  Well I like it, but I don’t think it is the end all be all of cult movies.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

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TV Shows that may be lost and forgotten–Part 1 of 3.

Let’s take a look at some TV shows that may be lost and forgotten. Obviously, these shows may not be lost and forgotten to all of our readers here at JPFmovies, but my guess is that at least two out of the three of the shows I’ve picked probably were lost, forgotten or maybe never heard of. The three lost and forgotten shows are: Love American Style, The John Laroquette Show and The Ropers. When I was thinking about the trio of TV for this post, I wanted some shows that had character but were not terribly popular and easily forgotten. I think each of these series fits the bill.

First Love American Style.

This gem aired from 1969 to 1974. Each show featured several vignettes each lasting about 10-15 minutes of unrelated stories of comedy & romance. The episodes featured different characters, stories, and locations and often featured the same actors playing different characters in several other episodes.

The show introduced the “mini comedic soap opera” form used later by Aaron Spelling for The Love Boat. In contrast to the The Love Boat, Love American Style’s episodes within the show had no connection to each other but told the same predictable light, emotional stories about love, romance, and relationships.

Garry Marshall (creator of Happy Days) said that Love, American Style was “where failed sitcom pilots went to die,” a theory that was true. If a TV producer could not sell a pilot, they would instead sell the script to Spelling, who took the best parts of the pilot and recast them as a segment on Love, American Style.

The series also used 10–20-second “joke clips” between the highlighted segments, which allowed the show to be padded to the required length without altering the main skits. These joke clips were considered then “risqué,” burlesque- comedy of visual jokes.

After the Show was canceled it became standard in syndication as the stations could edit the show to a half-hour by linking the clips with a main segment, successfully making ten seasons out of five.

They just don’t make them like Love American Style anymore. Some say that is good thing, but I disagree—the show is a fun look back into the campy humor of the late 1960’s and early 70’s. And of course there is the famous theme song that is tough to get out of your head once it is in there.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Movie Reviews

 

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Here is a series that is may be lost but not forgotten: The Tick

The Tick was the cartoon version of the comic book that didn’t get nearly enough exposure from comic book stores it deserved.  The show takes place in “The City” which is filled with other superheroes and super villains.

The saga starts when The Tick crashes the annual superhero convention where various heroes and their side kicks are matched with the urban areas they are to defend.  The Tick unintentionally pretty much destroys the convention center while demonstrating his super powers—nigh invulnerably and super strength.  He is assigned to “The City,” and travels there in a bus where he meets up with Arthur, a mild-mannered accountant who walks around in a moth suit dreaming of becoming a superhero instead becoming the necessary sidekick.  The two – along with occasional help from fellow superheroes like the cowardly yet self-styled ladies man Die Fledermaus (The Bat), the capable American Maid who throws her stiletto heals at villains, the Sewer Urchin who uses his smell against evil doers, the Civic Minded 5 and many more.  Some of the super villains  included such inspired creations as The Idea Men, The Breadmaster, Pineapple Pokopo, Chair-face Chippendale just to name a few.

The Tick’s sidekick, Arthur, was a pudgy accountant who found a “Moth Suit” that lets him fly around, and left his old hum-drum life behind to fight crime.  A chronic worrier with a belly, he’s the smart but timid counterpoint to the Tick’s brazenness.  His catchphrase of “Not in the face!” pretty much sums him up.

“The Tick” enjoyed a three season run in the mid-’90s, largely fueled by the fact that the show was enjoyed by adults just as much as it was children – it offered wacky battles between the heroes and increasingly bizarre villains, but was always quite clever. The series, which certainly didn’t take itself too seriously and is a funny today as it was when I watched it originally.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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Baian The Assassin–The Review.

Since I have been in an Asian mood lately, I decided to watch a popular Japanese TV miniseries entitled “Baian the Assassin” starring Ken Watanabe as Baian Fujieda, an acupuncturist by day and an assassin by night.  His preferred method of dispatching his prey is inserting a long needle into a certain place on the victim’s neck.  His friend Hiko, a toothpick artisan by day, is also an assassin by night and often teams up with Baian to assist in their complicated and diabolical deeds.  The series comes in four parts and while it was made for the general audience of television it nonetheless contains many elements of the more violent assassins like Zatoichi and the Lone Wold.

Another interesting technique used in this miniseries is a fair amount of narration. Some found the narrator to be annoying or otherwise unnecessary, however I found it quite helpful and appropriate given my general unfamiliarity with the subtle rules of assassination.

The entire series consists of four DVDs each containing several episodes lasting about 90 minutes apiece. I must say for a TV show this isn’t too bad at all. I don’t have a problem watching one of the episodes over again particularly when I’m with somebody who has never seen the series.

All in all it’s worth a watch, but it is not always the easiest flick to find. It certainly is not crap. Plus I never knew anyone could make a living making toothpicks by hand as our friend Hiko does in his day job.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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