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Five Really Really Really Bad Sci-Fi Movies

There’s bad and then there’s bad, y’know? As a connoisseur of fringe culture, I try to keep my threshold of intolerance high. If I feel it slipping, I pop one of these into the VCR. If I’m the last to leave the room clutching my head, I know I still have that edge.

Solarbabies

Lukas Haas, following his child-star-making turn in Peter Weir’s Witness, plays a post-apocalyptic deaf-mute orphan who finds a glowing silver orb called “Bodhi” that can cure deafness and make it rain indoors, and doubles as a space-lacrosse ball. When a Native American orphan steals Bodhi, Haas chases him, followed by his entire Rollerblade team. Fortunately, the entire parched post-nuclear wasteland is crisscrossed with skate ramps. Then there’s a city made of tires, some eco-terrorists and a torture robot, and the plot kind of falls apart after that. But it’s an allegory, man. As one Amazon reviewer observes, “The kids are not following a glowing ball, they are following an ideal, a higher consciousness that we all possess if we can only find it. The water represents a rare kind of nourishment that comes from the depths of the cosmos, a nourishment that is indeed becoming more and more scarce in today’s world.” Amen.

Slapstick of Another Kind

This one isn’t even on Amazon. Released the same year as The King of Comedy, this Jerry Lewis vehicle is auteur Steven Paul’s incoherent adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s ’70s novel Slapstick. Lewis and Madeline Kahn play the mutant twins with hidden superhuman capacities, and Marty Feldman is their father. Includes cameos by Merv Griffin and — I kid you not — Sam Fuller. More effective at stopping rational cognition than a zen koan.

Leprechaun in the Hood

The fifth in the series, and second using Hollywood genres as a jumping-off point, following the highly compelling Leprechaun in Space. This gets the nod because of the presence of Ice-T and the heretofore-unsuspected resonance between the ancient Celtic tradition of limerick-speech and the contemporary urban subculture of rap music. Oh, wait: I forgot about House of Pain. They should cover the theme song, “Lep in the Hood — Up to No Good!” Talk about street cred!

Mac and Me

This is not a really cheap version of E.T., okay? So there’s a loveable diminutive pop-eyed scrotal alien puppet hiding in a kid’s closet and nobody believes he’s there and the government agents are after them, but in MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature), the kid is in a wheelchair and played by a real authentic paraplegic, and there’s awesome cross-branding culminating in the big dance contest in the McDonald’s, presided over by Ronald McDonald himself, with MAC in a bear costume breaking on the service counter. And in the end there’s not just one MAC but a whole pop-eyed scrotal family and they put on dorky ’50s clothes and get sworn in as American citizens and drive off in a pink Cadillac down the 405, illegals no more! So much for your rip-off theory! Still waiting for the promised sequel.

Hercules in New York

Our governor, a.k.a. Arnold “Strong,” in his first (1970) feature film as the heroic demigod transported to Central Park by a bolt of rebar. To find himself. This is so gay. The DNC needs to copy and distribute a few million copies before 2008.


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