Wednesday, May 11, 2022

AMERICAN ANTHEM (1986)

American gymnast Steve Tevere (played by real life gold-medal-winning gymnast Mitch Gaylord) quit the team due to an arm injury and personal issues at home.  Things change though when an attractive girl, Julie (Janet Jones), joins the team.  Suddenly, Steve is fired up and ready to rejoin the team.  But it's gonna be tough.  Damn tough!  Grrrrr!

AMERICAN ANTHEM has it all.  Awesome 1980's pop songs, insane over the top lighting, montages galore, sincere acting to a horrible script, multiple spreadies to the gods and spreadies to the underworld, an unemployed drunk and abusive dad, an angry guy who doesn't need a wheelchair getting into an electric wheelchair and slamming himself into the wall face first, random fog in the background, a dude walking into his own house and casually throwing his motorcycle helmet into something offscreen that makes a crashing sound, dude doing angry gymnastic in a darkened forest at night during a rainstorm, cracking eggs with your front teeth and then sucking out the insides, wielding without a mask on, the lines "colon caterpillar" and "how far can u squirt?" never used even once, a motorcycle chase, people flying through the air, an athlete with a knee made of Play-Doh and a heart made of gold, cassette tapes, Mitch Gaylord with his shirt off, the coach from ROCKY IV (with his shirt on), lots of sporty gymnasts tumbling and springing all over the joint doing tricks that probably have names like the Flip Six Three Hole, Wookalar Nards and Cookie Dough Dick.

Who knows what watching this film was like back in 1986 (and apparently not too many people do since it tanked at the box office), but watching it nowadays (5/2022) I had a blast!  Quick pace, solid acting, no real ups or down, lots of fun songs for me to change the lyrics to.  AMERICAN ANTHEM is a great stress-free, lazy afternoon guilty pleasure to giggle at and secretly enjoy.  Recommended.  I watched it twice and I'm totally going to watch it again.  My only real complaint is the camera seemed too zoomed in for the entire movie.

[This has absolutely nothing to do with the review but, true story, I fell asleep last night thinking about this movie and had a dream that during the nighttime forest gymnastics scene the gymnast flew up into the clouds and 69'd a pelican before safely falling back to earth.]

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

AX 'EM (1992)

Some college friends go out to a house in the woods to do some partying.  Things go alright for awhile (and by "awhile" I mean over half of the movie!) until an old zombie-looking dude with a crusty face and a machete shows up and ruins the festivities.  After that, the last 30 minutes of the film is just non-stop screaming and people running all over the woods and back and forth in the house and another house and god only knows where.  It was confusing, but entertaining.  To laugh at.

AX 'EM is not a good film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is unique and fascinating to experience.  I don't mean watching it in the background while playing on your phone, but actually watching it with your full undivided attention.  Non-existent lighting, middle school level special effects, horrible sound (you can hear the wind blowing against the microphone multiple times), no attempt at actual acting, a long scene of "yo mama" jokes (and not a one of them is funny), zero character development, zero gore, zero tits, boring kills, a scene with a man playing with a clapperboard while standing directly behind the actors, confusing pacing and much more.  I think the best way to relay the level of incompetence displayed in this film is that not once, but twice, you can hear the director yelling out instructions.  Once at the end of a scene (at 14:41 on the DVD release) he clearly yells out "Cut!"  The other time (1:01:39), before the scene starts he can be heard yelling out something like "Camera's ready" before the actors start moving.

When I first saw AX 'EM back around 2004 I remember really disliking it, but now as the years have moved on and my handsome brain has become even more handsome, I've found myself enjoying AX 'EM.  I've probably seen it around 10 times and anytime I show it to new people, we have a blast.  So, while it might not be a skillfully made movie...it is an entertaining film (to the right audience).  Hell, any film with the classic pick-up line "You're so fine, I could kiss your daddy's ass." can't be all bad.

So, in summation, AX 'EM is a fucking dung beetle turd of a movie, but I'm glad it exists.  Just like I'm glad dung beetles exist.  They're so cute!

[Handsome writer hits Publish button on computer screen. As he stands up and walks away, the reader hears a voice yell "Cut!"]

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I did some research before sitting down to write this review and discovered a few interesting things.  First off, AX 'EM (released on DVD in 2003) was originally released theatrically in Baltimore, Maryland in 1992 as THE WEEKEND IT LIVES.  (No clue if it was the same 71-minute version or not.)  Also found a newspaper ad for that release (see below) and an interview with director-actor-editor-producer Michael Mfume from 1992 claiming that during the making of this film he found a group of investors who put up "nearly $400,000".  I'm completely flabbergasted by that statement.  Is he saying the budget for this movie was $400,000?  There's no way.  I have a hard time believing it could even be $40,000!  He also said it took him thirteen days to write the script.  So that's implying there is a script?  Really?  I find that hard to believe also.  An outline, yes.  But script, no.  If there is, my god, would I love to read it.  He also states that he's written four other scripts.