Tuesday, May 30, 2017

ZAPPED! (1982)

ZAPPED! is too weak for it's own good.  All of the posters and advertising make it look like a wild teen sex movie where Scott Baio has a magical power that allows him to lift up girls skirts, but in reality, it's just a tame, unfocused and not very funny comedy about a science nerd who after 11-minutes of story development, has an accident in his lab.  The accident somehow gives him the power of telekinesis.  That doesn't make any sense, but whatever, let's see what he does with his newfound power!  Oh.  He uses it to move equipment around the lab, move toys around his bedroom, help win a baseball game and then help his friend win a "vomit contest" at an amusement part.  Wow, that's really exciting!  The filmmakers did sprinkle in some topless scenes, but they're all lame and never more than a second or two long.

Good pace, two supporting actors (Corinne Bohrer and Eddie Deezen) who would later go on to star in SURF II, Scott Baio purposely(?) acting stiff the entire movie, Heather Thomas looking hot as shit (but never getting naked...rumor is, they used a body double), unfunny parody bits spoofing "Star Trek", THE EXORCIST and CARRIE, numerous moments where the background actors are obviously just following orders, an advertisement in the background for what appears to be some ridiculously expensive(?) Memorex T-60 videotapes, Scatman Crothers married to LaWanda Page, nice locations around Los Angeles, dumb ending.

ZAPPED! wasn't a bad movie, just meh and forgettable. The story does have a lot of potential and the title is great!  I'd love to see a proper reboot.
I will not smoke dope in the girls locker room.

Monday, May 29, 2017

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)

Jimmy Stewart has lived his entire life in the small town of Bedford Falls, New York.  As a child his main goal in life was to escape the town and explore the world.  That never happened.  Life and Fate prevented his ever leaving, but maybe that wasn't so bad because he ended up marrying the beautiful Donna Reed, having some cute children and giving the townsfolk a banking alternative to the wicked Lionel Barrymore who is a slumlord and runs the towns biggest bank. (I always get a kick out of seeing Lionel play an evil character, since, in my mind, I always see him as Kringelein from GRAND HOTEL.)  Things are actually going pretty good for Stewart...all the way up until Christmas Eve, 1945.  That's when Stewart's banking partner, Thomas Mitchell, makes a foolish mistake which could destroy Stewart's life and pretty much the hopes of the entire town.  Stewart is beside himself with fear and decides to throw himself into the river to make it look like an accidental drowning.  That way his family could cash in on his life insurance.  But then, right as he's about to jump, some blinking star creatures send an angel down to talk some sense into him and show him what life would be like if he had never been born.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is a wonderful film with great acting from an impressive cast.  It also looks really nice, but one of the things that always bothered me is when Stewart turned down his childhood friends offer of investing in plastics.  His friend ends up filthy rich and Stewart ends up literally one mistake away from suicide!  I felt that twist in the story was unneeded.  Another thing that bothered me: the last act went completely over the top with the unrealistic sentimentality.  And Lionel Barrymore never got any punishment for being a total asshole for decades or for stealing the other banks money!  And while the "never been born" part was very entertaining, it was (for somebody like myself who cannot see that my being alive is beneficial to anybody) kinda depressing.  If an angel-in-training was ever sent to talk me out of suicide with this "never been born" bullshit, he'd have to walk home defeated and still wingless.

That said, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is still required viewing for anybody who loves Cinema...mainly because of the acting.  Also (for anybody keeping score), I fully believe that THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES was the correct choice for Best Picture of the Year.  It's simply a better film than IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.