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Land of a Thousand Dances (1985)
"Just Clap Your Hands"
This is the kind of fun video we'll never get to see again because WWE doesn't have great gimmicks/characters anymore. Back in the 1980s, we had the Iron Sheik (before he deteriorated into a profanity-spewing meme-generating caricature of himself), Rowdy Roddy Piper (at his most intense and funniest), Nikolai Volkoff (at his unmusical best), the Junkyard Dog, Don Muraco, Mr. Fuji, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Freddie Blassie, George "The Animal" Steele, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Hillbilly Jim, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Captain Lou Albano, Uncle Elmer, SD Jones and Koko B. Ware, and it was back when Vince would let himself be silly like he does here. If you're like me and you were around for this era, it's a great trip to a bygone era. If you weren't around, you don't know what you missed. It's notable for the fact that Hulk Hogan wasn't involved, and there had to be a very good reason for Hulk Hogan not to be part of something in 1985 WWE.
A good start
I was surprised to find the El Rey Network as an option on the "Entertainment On Demand" channel on my cable service. I wasn't thrilled that, right from the start, they are using the same tired "Evil Promoter" gimmick that WWE and TNA have run into the ground. That said, once it got down to business, I enjoyed it. The three matches were really good, and I was surprised to find who some of the guys were once I looked them up online. I am happy to have Chavo Guerrero Jr. and the former Johnny Nitro/John Morrison on my TV again. I also liked Sexy Star's vignette and her ring work. I am looking forward to more from this promotion.
The Gong Show Movie (1980)
Absolutely Insane- The Missing Link Between Ed Wood and "Reality TV"
I was born in 1975 so I was too young to have ever seen "The Gong Show" on TV, though I found several clips on YouTube. For those who are not familiar with it, try to imagine "America's Got Talent" minus anyone who is in any way marketable. Chuck Barris created the TV show and wrote and directed this movie that mixes footage that was censored from the original TV show with a storyline about Barris trying to escape the show while battling both the network censors and the talentless losers who want to be on it. Barris staggers through the film in a way that suggests what Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" might have been like if it had focused on Wood's post-Lugosi decline into alcohol and soft-core porn movies and novels. I should point out that I didn't laugh so much as just stare in stunned amazement at the acts. Some of this stuff is infamous and you've probably at least heard of them if not seen edited versions. The acts are presented in a rapid-fire montage style that predates MTV by a year. It's not for everyone, but if you've got an open mind, it is worth seeing.
Syd Barrett's First Trip (1966)
I watched this out of curiosity, since I am a big fan of Pink Floyd. Unfortunately, even if you are one too, I still can't recommend this. There are scenes of Syd running around and he and the other members of Pink Floyd mugging for the camera and not too much else. The best thing I can say about this is that it tends to go by rather quickly, but that really is the one positive thing. If Pink Floyd's music was featured or there was some kind of insight added from the other members, maybe it might be worth watching. Because that is not the case, you should watch the 2003 documentary "The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story" and the movie "Pink Floyd: The Wall" instead. I have never used LSD or anything like it and never will. At the same time, it was at least shorter than "Tell Your Children."
I hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. The first sign that trouble was on the way was seeing Will Ferrell's idiot grin and realizing he and the other guy were supposed to be playing Woodward and Bernstein, roles previously played by real actors Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. I laughed, maybe, twice. This is a perfect example of a film that deserved to flop, since it wasn't any good. For some reason, some critics gave this film good reviews which is something I will never understand.
There is a good, funny movie featuring clueless teenagers wandering around the White House. It's called Beavis and Butt-Head Do America and it is much more entertaining than this stinker could ever be.
Stir Crazy (1980)
OK, but it could and SHOULD have been better.
I really wanted to like this movie. For the most part I did, as there was a good mix of physical and verbal comedy. I remember thinking that, with the basic premise established in the first 20 minutes or so, they probably could have the whole thing be nonstop laughs for 90 minutes. Somewhere along the line, the writers sort of lost track of the jokes and the film ended up being much longer than it needed to be to tell the story. The last half-hour or so is pure plot without any reason to laugh. There are some very funny moments here, but, given the participants, there should have been more. It's Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and they are stuck in a film that's too long and not funny enough to justify the running time.
Bad Train Wreck
I once watched the entire saga of Trapped in the Closet on IFC. It was a true train wreck in that it was awful but somehow I could not stop watching. The story was so complicated and R. Kelly was so pretentious that I simply could not make sense of or care about what happened. If the focus was supposed to be on the tangled sexual relationships of the characters, what was that whole business with the mobsters and the train doing in the film? I honestly hoped that someone would get killed since I thought that it might help end this stupid thing. I have no idea how anyone could actually find this mess genuinely entertaining and not just as a "so-bad-it's-good" alternative classic. In conclusion, it's a bad train wreck that you are better off avoiding if possible.
Overlong and Overrated
I don't get all the positive reviews for this movie. I found it overlong and I could not find a reason to care about any of the characters. Technically speaking, there was no true heroic character, as it was a bunch of technologically-advanced criminals and their victims. At several points during the movie I was pleading "Go home! Go home!" It had a decent idea but I have to think that Rod Serling (RIP) probably could have done a much better job with this and he would have done it in a shorter time. I really think the writers and producers could have made a tighter film with better and more interesting characters. Christopher Nolan did terrific, terrific work with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but this film is unworthy of its success.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
I first ran across this film while checking my channel guide for what movie was going to be shown on IFC Grindhouse that week. The plot description said the generic stuff about a killer loose at a summer camp. Having previously watched, and enjoyed, The Burning and Madman on previous episodes, I went in having a rough idea of what to expect. I was wrong. The first thing that shocked me was the staff members were clearly pedophiles which is terrifying in itself before all the violence starts. Even when you think you have figured out who the killer is, you get hit with a finish so stunning that you can't help but think about it for a long time.
This movie deserves to be better known.
Tell Your Children (1936)
Tell Your Children...That This Movie Sucks.
I watched this after taping it from an episode of IFC Grindhouse. It was so boring that I could barely stay awake watching it. Maybe it was because I have never smoked pot and never will that it didn't work for me on any level. It wasn't effective as propaganda or unintentional camp. I fast-forwarded it at some points just because I wanted to get to the ending.
Aside from the fact that I have never smoked pot and never will, maybe the fact that I saw it 72 years after it was made would explain why I found zero entertainment value. I applaud Dwain Esper for his hard work keeping the movie Freaks out of obscurity, but this movie just stunk.