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Time Chasers (1994)
It could be worse, but not much.
Whether or not you're a fan of 'Back to the Future', it's hard to argue against it being a good movie; it's a perfect example of how a time-travel movie can work. A torn-up poster for 'Back To The Future' shows up in this movie, representing -- probably unintentionally -- what the makers of 'Tangents' (aka 'Time Chasers') did to the time-travel formula. Then again, the movie was made in 1994, but it looks -- and sounds -- like it was actually shot at least ten years earlier, so maybe they achieved some sort of time-travel after all.
Start with an aggressively unappealing leading man. I mean, what woman doesn't love gangly, whiny, lantern-jawed, butt-chinned, mullet-men with giant Coke-bottle glasses? Well, prepare to tough it out, ladies, cuz that's our hero ("Hey, movie? I wanna see your supervisor, movie; this will NOT stand!").
Second, add a leading lady who -- while not entirely unattractive -- personally embodies many '80s clichés: big hair, too much makeup, two different plaids ("Oh, man! I'm a naked robot and even I know that's a fashion no-no."), shoulder pads, acid-washed mom-jeans, etc.
Throw in a Michael Medved look-alike who wears pink blazers and white pants, a painfully transparent villain who talks like Mortimer Snerd and has an office that looks like a circus-themed library, and evil henchmen who seem to have nothing better to do than direct air traffic ("Oh, so they're the really NICE evil guys!"). That's our cast, folks.
I don't want to spoil the plot, but since I've yet to figure out exactly what the plot IS, I'm not too worried about it. In fact, it would probably be less time-consuming for you to just track down a copy of this movie and watch it yourself. If YOU figure out the plot, please contact me; I'm curious.
I would strongly advise watching this movie with the help of the folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000; I don't think it could stand on its own... beer would probably help, too.
The film, 'Tangents': 3 stars -- they tried.
MST3K's 'Time Chasers' episode: 8 stars -- they succeeded.
The Touch of Satan (1971)
Just a touch...
Thank the powers-that-be that there's no more that a touch of Satan in this movie -- it's more than enough. From the incredibly long opening credits all the way to the end, this movie is mostly empty space. Our heroine's head is also mostly empty space, but she's pretty anxious to 'get out on her own' (we all know what THAT means) so our hero -- in a moment which is unusually realistic as far as this film goes -- takes an instant liking to her.
They meet after he stumbles onto her family's farm where they introduce themselves to each other -- TWICE! We get to meet her family which consists of her creepily pleasant mother and her sweaty, cider-obsessed father who apparently finds himself VERY amusing as he chuckles a lot.
After all the introductions, our heroes (Jody and Melissa, by the way [Jody's the guy]) take walks, meet Melissa's prune-faced Great-grandmother, go shopping, inform the viewers that fish live in water (who knew?), say each other's names a lot and go hang out at Melissa's private cabin. This is where Melissa does her witchcraft. While they're there, Grandma kills a deputy sheriff and gets sent to bed. Then the family locks Jody in the barn. Being the bright young man that he is, he starts suspecting that something is weird about this family.
In a flashback, we learn that Melissa saved her sister Lucinda from a particularly mellow bunch of witch-burners about 120 years ago. Selling her soul to Satan was clearly the best way to do this, so now she's not aging, her sister won't die and she's still stuck with this stupid family. So now Lucinda is posing as her Great-grandmother until the deal can be broken. A good start to the deal-breaking comes when Melissa sets fire to Lucinda.
After all this, Jody is sworn to secrecy and goes on his merry way. He gets pretty far, but then remembers he still didn't get any from Melissa, so he turns around. They roll around in the grass for awhile, and for some reason the deal is broken by that. Who would've guessed that breaking a pact with Satan could be so much fun? As a result, Melissa's actual age catches up to her. Jody's not too impressed with her new look, so he sells his soul to Satan to age her down again. So now, in an uplifting ending for all ages, these two morons are still tangled up with Satan. Happy trails!
This movie is almost unwatchable. The dialogue is bad enough, but the pauses in-between are what really make you want to peel off your own skin. Even if you like so-bad-it's-good movies, only watch this film if you have A lot of patience. If you don't, try this film a-la Mystery Science Theater 3000.
I give the film a 2/10 just because they managed to complete the thing.
The MST version gets 8/10 -- one of the best episodes I've seen.
Space Mutiny (1988)
It would be sad if it weren't so pathetic.
OK, folks! Don't worry, I won't be giving away anything important, although I don't think I could spoil this movie if I tried. So off we go...
As what sounds like Kintaro's arrangement of 'O Fortuna' wafts our way, we are subjected to the film's opening credits. They look like they were produced by a Commodore 64 and they freeze up more than once because there are too darned many moving objects on the screen.
Welcome to Battlestar Galactica-- I mean, the Southern Sun! This ship is home to an entire civilization, despite the fact that 90% of it appears to be a brewery. In charge of this magnificent flying basement is Captain Santa Claus, assisted by his Billy-Idol-wannabe sidekick. I've seen this movie at least a dozen times and still am not really sure what the plot is, but it has something to do with a greasy-haired guy named Kalgan trying to disrupt the transportation of a bunch of magical -- and (of course) extremely horny -- women. Santa puts our seemingly brain-damaged hero Ryder in charge of defeating Kalgan. Meanwhile Captain Santa's daughter Leah, who somehow doesn't seem much younger than the Captain himself, gets pretty chummy with Ryder. In the words of Crow T. Robot: "If you pretend you know what's going on, it's actually kind of exciting."
Watch and enjoy the following: Vacu-formed unitards, ridiculously small weapons, Santa's incredibly fake beard, tinfoil muu-muus, Kalgan's giggling fits, Ryder's bizarre reaction shots, a woman who punches in at work despite the fact that she was just murdered, Leah's sensual Dance of the Hoola Hoop, the most '80s bar scene EVER, women who reeeeeally like Van DeGraf Generators, countless shots of computer screens (graphics by Kenner), Ryder's attempt to say 'auxiliary', and numerous molasses-fast chase scenes involving golf carts... or floor waxers or something.
This movie is not campy; it's just that everything is wrong in all the right ways. Acting, sets, lighting, costumes, dialogue... they're all just plain goofy. These folks tried to make an exciting space-drama -- and maybe it would've been if they had dared to take ANYTHING up a notch -- but every aspect of it just says, "space movie" and nothing more.
If this movie was just plain bad, you might have to feel sad for the people that made it, thinking it would work. However, it makes such a leap into the ridiculous that you just have to laugh. A must-see for fans of so-bad-it's-good movies. And whether you love or hate sci-fi, this is a very funny movie.
I give it a 4 -- it may not affect you the way it's supposed to, but it's great entertainment.