The Apple; a very good, very bad, very disco musical

Over the weekend we got together with some friends to watch a very bad movie. What we watched was a really great bad musical called, The Apple. The Apple is a post-apocalyptic movie from 1980 telling an allegorical story of a future 1994 in which the boyfriend-girlfriend duet of Alphie & Bibi is tempted to music fame by Mr. Boogalow and his biggest stars: Dandi & Randi. Sure this movie is really loose on the plot and heavy on the allegorical retelling of Adam & Eve but it makes up for it in COSTUMES! And well choreographed (by Nigel Lythgoe, no less) numbers in which the lyrics and singing isn’t great but the music is usually bangin’.

If you like bad movies, bad musicals especially and you haven’t seen The Apple, you need to correct yourself immediately. It has everything. From the devil with one horn, Mr. Boogalow, the song about Coming that is as unsubtle as a brick the forehead, a mandatory nationwide dance-hour, to the biggest and most literal version of Deus Ex-Machina that’s ever happened in any movie ever; this movie has everything. And did I mention the costumes?

This movie, meant as a Hebrew stage presentation was being written in the mid-seventies and then updated to a musical movie meant to cash in on the musical movies fad that America was going through in the late seventies. And it might’ve been collectively panned when it came out, once you watch it you’ll see the hints of its influence all over the nineties and early aughts. It’s amazing. Speaking of influences, it’s filming location of West Berlin which is painfully obvious throughout the movie.

I don’t think you can watch the whole thing anywhere for free — though the soundtrack is on YouTube. There are also a lot of amazing clips from the movie on YouTube if you need a taste of just how fabulous it is. The video of BIM Hour is my favorite. BIM Hour is of course the hour of 4-5pm when everyone everywhere sets aside what they’re doing to dance. And it’s mandatory. Just like the holographic stickers (BIM marks) everyone is wearing. Don’t let the police catch you without one.

A word of warning if you take this on: there is a really unfortunate and tone-deaf reggae song where Mr. Boogalow talks about what a great ‘master’ he is. It’s an obvious reference to the allegorical part of the story, Mr. Boogalow is supposed to be the devil but it just comes across racially insensitive given that two of the principal singers are black.

I mentioned that it began as a Hebrew stage place, so it is also worth noting that the story was written by an Israeli husband-wife writing team, Cory & Iris Recht. And that the script for the movie was written and produced an Israeli man, Menahem Golan, who created a lot of movies under The Cannon Group a production company run by his cousin. The Cannon Group is well-known for it’s slate of early 80’s low-budget American action flicks, including Superman IV: A Quest for Peace.

If you’ve got 90 minutes to spare and want a few well-deserved laughs, The Apple has them waiting for you. I’ve heard there’s a Rifftrax’d version of this out there too, so if you prefer your laughs pre-filtered give that a shot instead.

After all, how can you say no to this masterpiece? It even comes complete with an ‘actual vampire’.

The Mads are Back @ the Alamo Drafthouse KC

Saturday night Matt and I went to the Alamo to see The Mads are Back show live. Trace Beaulieu & Frank Conniff travel around doing shows a little like the Rifftrax crew or the current MST3K crew. They pick an old B movie to riff with one or two shorts. Frank & Trace also did a signing before and after, along with a Q&A after the show.

Frank and Trace created, wrote, and starred as Dr. Clayton Forrester/Crow T. Robot (Trace) and TV’s Frank (Frank). Saturday we watched the movie, The Choppers (another Arch Hall Sr. great) starring Arch Hall Jr. The Choppers is a movie about a gang of teenage boys that’ve gotten into the business of chopping cars and selling the parts to a local junk yard.

As seems to be typical of the Arch Hall Sr. movies, his son plays his own music in The Choppers. There are a couple of scenes in this one where Arch Hall Jr. is either playing the guitar or listening to the radio on which his music is playing. Nothing is ever said about these songs belonging to Arch Hall Jr. it’s just a fun piece of trivia. I’ve included a clip down below (thanks YouTube).

I’ve seen a lot of bad movies at these events and no matter which group is doing the riffing, it’s always a good time. The Mads event was no different, although I’ll admit that it was nice of them to do a Q&A afterward, talking about the movies they watch, their days on the old MST3K and what goes into the scripts they create for these events.

You don’t have to have any knowledge or history with MST3K to go to one of these events though, not even the Rifftrax ones. If you’re down for a bad movie and some good jokes, find one of these events and have yourself a good night out.

Pacific Rim: Uprising; spoiler-free review

I LOOOooooooooooooooooooooVED Pacific Rim. Listen until Wonder Woman came out, the Pacific Rim theme was my ring tone. (Now it’s the WW theme if that wasn’t clear.) My love for it was only partially because of my love for Idris Elba in pretty much every role he’s ever in, the other part was the depth Guillermo del Toro put into what was essentially a robots vs. monsters movie. Good old GdT doesn’t do sequels and the writer Travis Beacham didn’t return for Uprising… but I know how to go into a movie with low-to-middling expectations, so that’s what I did.

I’m not going to go into detail here, this is after all supposed to be spoiler-free. But, I will say that if you’re going into this movie for a lot of plot… or science… or solid ties to the original… you might not find what you’re looking for. But if you, like me, are going into Uprising looking for a robots vs robots or robots vs kaiju extravaganza, well, buckle up and prepare for a good time. Go for the new cool-ass jaegers, stay for the mighty morphin power kaiju.
And if you’re on the fence, check out this Nerdist vintage kaiju movie version of the trailer and tell me that doesn’t look like a good time.


Tomb Raider 2018; no-spoiler review except this spoiler: I loved it

I’d planned to take my little sister out to see Love, Simon tonight but it was nearly a sold out show, which rarely happens at our theater. So, rather than wait for a later show, we went to see Tomb Raider instead. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve seem some pretty cynical reviews and some really shitty ones from manbabies that care more about the size of Lara’s chest than anything else in the movie. Taking everything I’ve heard with a huge grain of salt, I thought we’d check it out. I was never a fan of the early Tomb Raider games, they felt unnecessarily difficult and way too focused on Lara’s appearance (they were).

In recent years with the reboot of the video game series, I decided to check them out again. And I fell in love with Lara, the story, the game play. They’re fantastic games. A little bit open-world, a little bit puzzle-platformer, a little rpg. They’ve got good story, good puzzles and a great protagonist. I’ve never really gotten into the multiplayer aspects, but I’ve loved the single player content of both games and am eagerly awaiting the third.

I’m really pleased to be able to say that I loved this movie. It’s everything the rebooted games are but in live action. They follow a similar story path, we see the same younger, scrappier Lara the games have gifted us and plenty of room to expand. I do have a soft spot for the cheesier Angelina Jolie movies, but this movie is a world apart. The action scenes are really great, none of it felt like too much CGI for me and several of them gave me really great flashback moments to the 2013 Tomb Raider game.

There’s a lot of new stuff coming out soon (YES, I DID WATCH THE INFINITY WAR TRAILER AND GET SUPER EXCITED WHY DO YOU ASK?) but I’d love to go see this again if I get the chance. It’s not perfect — I wish there were more women for one — but it’s a really good place to start for a new series and I hope that we get the chance to see where they take it. Alicia Vikander is a great Lara Croft, playing up the athleticism and the feisty sarcasm as her video game counterpart. I think she could make something great out of this series. 

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick; reading different and switching up genres

Typically I read a lot of fantasy, modern (read: urban) and low-magic, but I also love a good historical fiction or horror novel. As not picky as I am about music, I tend to be pretty particular about the stuff I read. But lately, I’ve been a little tired of fiction, finding it difficult to get through the ends of books if it slows down even a little. I talked a little bit about it when I talked about reading Mamrie’s book. But since then I’ve picked up a few other memoir/non-fiction/celebrity kind of books to read. They tend to be a little short reads, but since they’re typically set up in short chapters/stories as well it feels like they’re faster too.

I finished Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick today. Memoir isn’t really the right word but it’s sort of a collection of her stories of getting into show business and the business of being a sort of an anxiety-ridden misanthrope. I’m a fan of her work both musicals and movies, I even saw Camp, which is … recommended only if you’re a fan of musicals and can stomach a poor teen comedy.

Anyway, I enjoyed her stories and honestly, it was just kind of nice to be grounded in stories about places and things that are recognizeable. It’s less work for my stressed brain. It might be one of the reasons I’m enjoying podcasts that are less about adventures and fantasy as well. As much fun as escapist fantasy can be, personally I think it requires more thought on my part that I’m not in the mood for lately. Especially on busy or stressful days.

I don’t know if anyone else is like this too. I doesn’t happen to me very often at all but this is lingering a little. Next up, I picked up I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee.