Remote Control (1988)
User ReviewsReview this title
From the get-go everything falls on the quirky and low-key side. It's daft, but it knows it and plays it accordingly with its often witty, but undemanding script. Where it builds upon paranoia and conspiracy laced inclusions, but despite its small groundwork Lieberman's able direction makes it work and the self-parody is hard to dislike. Even Peter Bernstein's music, expertly harked back to those eerie 50's sci-fi scores. The vibe that was created was perfectly pitched. Tim Suhrstedt's camera-work sparsely moves around and effectively judged which it's at its best during the attack scenes.
Little to no FX is used (which would be due to the considerably low-budget), but an attempt at story-telling and heighten suspense comes to the forefront. It works to its strengths and this is what makes it more so successful. Some passages can get slack or repetitive, but the pace manages to be snappy and the fashionable décor holds your attention. Not letting you forget what era this was from. There's convincing performances (done in mock-seriousness approach) from a reliable Kevin Dillon, a wonderful Deborah Goodrich and an all too short, but a perky Jennifer Tilly. No matter how small her part is, Tilly always does her best to leave an imprint on proceedings. I didn't think that Dillon would be strong enough to carry the lead role, but surprisingly he looks and acts the part.
It seems like low budget film, but the basic idea is so interesting. Even though this movie was made in 80's, most of scene are good except for several unnecessary and weird action. If some famous directors remake this, it will be fantastic. Also, the female actress, Deborah is so cute. She's not so popular in my country, but I know she was starred in April Fool's Day.
I've got this film recently. It was really hard, but it deserved it and reminded me of the old memory.
How '80s do you like your films? I only ask because this quirky little sci-fi flick from director Jeff Lieberman (Just Before Dawn/Satan's Little Helper) takes everything already tacky about the decade of day-glo and back-combing and pushes them to the limits, with exaggerated fashion disasters and bizarre hairstyles that make Cyndi Lauper and A Flock of Seagulls look positively reserved by comparison. If you find the idea of metallic lame blouson jackets at all upsetting, then you would probably be better off giving this one a miss. If, however, you appreciate absurd low budget obscurities and revel in the colourful and kitsch, then dive on in.
In addition to its clever plot device (whereby the '50s film that the aliens use to control their victims has the same narrative as the film we are watching) and all of the gaudy 80s style, Remote Control delivers lots of nostalgia for those who grew up in the video era (check out all of the cool titles and posters in the video stores!), some cheesy fight action, Jennifer Tilly sporting a truly awful hairdo, a surprisingly good explosion, and an impressive full body burn stunt. While not quite as accomplished as Jeff Lieberman's horror movies—a bigger budget would certainly have helped to fully realise its potential—Remote Control is still a unique experience from a true auteur, and should provide a fun time for those curious enough to seek it out.
REMOTE CONTROL is an undeniable product of the 80's but also parodies that same era. Quite unique, I'd say, and therefore extremely enjoyable to watch. Videostores were spawning all over the country during the 80's, and this movie portrays them as distributors of evil. It makes particularly fun of the 'tv-generation' and the youngsters in this movie are all caricatures. Just look at all their colorful costumes & crazy hairdos. It portrays the 80's generation as if seen through the eyes of the 50's generation, applying their notions and ideas of the concept 'futuristic'. So you see REMOTE CONTROL goes pretty far in terms of parody. And between all this spoofing insanity, it also manages to refer to François Truffaut's BAISERS VOLÉS. I think director Jeff Lieberman comes close to being a genius. But that's only because of his ideas and the fact that he knows his stuff, not for his technical skills or stunning visuals. He certainly is no Tim Burton (I'm only mentioning him because he made MARS ATTACKS!, which is probably the ultimate sci-fi-spoof. So I'm NOT comparing him to Lieberman).
It was also so much fun to see a rather young Jennifer Tilly in this one. Now, we all love Ms. Tilly, don't we! And I personally think she deserved the part of Deborah Goodrich. That way she could've lasted the whole movie, instead of killing her off so soon. Kevin Dillon maybe isn't a great actor, but he was decent as Cosmo, the video-clerk with a mission. I liked him better in the '88-version of THE BLOB, though.
I desperately want to rate this movie a bit higher, but I can't. Because the rest of the acting wasn't so good and the rather low budget & production values really showed from time to time. This movie also could've used a bit more cheesy special effects, 'cause there are practically none. And there's also no blood (exept a few gun-shot wounds and the death by a futuristic knitting device), in case you were wondering. And then there's the fact that we never actually see the aliens. Only their human puppets, doing all the work. They're only referred to as being on a distant planet, controlling everything. But in the end this movie succeeds in what it intended to do: making a funny sci-fi/horror-spoof that will have you laughing at its intentional stupidity & silliness.
Kevin Dillon and his friend witness one of the murders and are blamed for them. They soon escape and realize that the movie Remote Control is causing everyone to go crazy, so they go around California destroying every copy they can find. It turns out that the rest of the movie Remote Control is a b-movie version of what they are doing. This movie could be called "Plan 9 From Outer Space" meets "Videodrome" I recommend watching it if you can get a copy.
Take my advice, grab your remote and change the channel if this tripe ever shows up on your t.v. screen!