Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who Wants a Plexiglass Keyboard?

Let me preface this by saying that I really, truly, love "bad" movies. I listen daily to people who speak of movies like Wild Hogs and National F**ing Treasure like they were quality films, benchmarks for their respective genres. Sadly, to
the contrary, those movies suck. Last night, based on a recommendation, I watched The Apple, a movie released in late 1980 that chronicled a totalitarian future in...wait for it...1994. Roll the clip.

So, did you know, that in 1994, everyone would wear shiny sequined outfits, with terrible sparkly makeup, and we'd all drive 1970s station wagons with large pieces of plastic on top and listen to loud disco rock music with synthesizer controllers held in plexiglass. Oh, and everyone would be gay-ish.

So, what the hell is this movie about, you ask? Well, it's a very thin...I mean very thinly veiled metaphor for the Biblical Adam and Eve story. In 1994 (The Future!!!) a music conglomerate called BIM has plans to take over the world with its terrible, crass commercial music. One of its bands plays a concert and the
crowd goes wild, blah blah blah. This is the Eurovision competition, after all. After they perform, they are followed by a wholesome young folk duo, Alfie and Bibi. The two then visit a private BIM party with loads of transvestites, and Bibi begins her "fall from grace." The next day, the two go to BIM headquarters to sign their
lives away (literally) into contracts that will offer them fame and fortune in return for their souls. Well, Alfie will have no part of this, and he refuses to sign his contract, but Bibi signs her. She then proceeds to have a career of singing awful pop/disco/cock rock. Of course, Bibi isn't happy, and she tries to get back to Alfie.

Once Alfie goes back to BIM, he is drugged and left to die in the park, where he meets a haggard Joss Ackland. Joss tells him about people from the 1960s, called "hippies" that have started a commune in the park. Bibi escapes, very easily by the way, from the BIM compound, and goes to look for Alfie at his apartment. He finds
out from his (landlady? mother? woman he breasthandled earlier?) that he has joined a commune and Bibi follows. One year later, after the two have succesfully adapted to commune life. Bibi had a baby, Alfie grew a fake beard, Joss Ackland got a gold car, the BIM executives arrive to arrest Bibi and all the hippies for not wearing silver
triangle stickers on their head. The commune refuses, and are taken to heaven in a giant translucent gold car. Then Mr. Topps (aka Joss Ackland,aka God) discusses the meaning of life and this mass exodus with the president of BIM, aka, the Devil. Then you're like, Oh! This whole thing was a biblical allegory after all!
It is a terrible, terrible movie, but I actually want you to see it. I can imagine Vondie Curtis Hall, in 1999 or 2000, watching this film and saying: "I could make a musical about Mariah Carrey, call it Glitter and there is no way it could be as terrible as this piece of s**t, The Apple. But au contraire, Mr. Vondie, both
movies are terrible, and both should be viewed, as a double feature. Here's more bad costume design, bad singing, terrible acting, and bad dialogue.

Why, do you ask, should you watch this? I don't know...because there is nothing more fun than a cinematic train wreck of epic proportions. This movie is a jewel of that. The acting, as mentioned earlier, is beyond bad. The premise is really stupid. The production design is cheap and crass. And the music, an element that has saved so many movies
is absolutely TERRIBLE. There is not one hook in the entire piece, one piece of music that makes you say..."Hey, this movie doesn't suck!" I can't help you there friends, it is terrible, but that's why I'm recommending it. I was wondering why I had never heard of it until my friend Nate had mentioned it. It's because it's Awful. People hated it
so much back then (1980) when it came out that they actually threw their free soundtrack LPs at the screen at the Paramount theater in LA, nearly destroying it. At the premiere. Unbelieveable. What are the roots of this damned classic, you may ask? Well, it was directed by Israeli immigrant Menahem Golan, who along with his partner Yoram Globus ran
Cannon Pictures back in the 1980s, producing commercial hits like Over The Top and Cobra with Stallone. Anyway, Golan decided that he was going to co-write and direct this movie, and you can't really blame him. What were the 2 biggest movies of that time period? Star Wars, a sci-fi, futuristic space opera, and Grease, a
nostalgic musical. So what is The Apple, then? A futuristic sci-fi musical, with terrible songs and bad acting! This is a glaring example of when people who are smart financiers and know how to run a business (i.e. a movie studio) are given, or give themselves the helm of a feature film. The Weinsteins did it with a movie called Playing For
Bob Shea did it, with a movie called The Last Mimzy. It seems like a good idea...these 3 men, between them, have produced hundreds of movies, many of them huge critical and financial successes. There's no...buffer, though. If you're financing a multi-million dollar movie, and you're paying for every part of it, who's going to argue
with you? Who's going to be a good line producer and tell you that you can't spend that money? All these movies, have of course, been financial and mostly critical duds, and it serves to warn all Hollywood tycoons. Keep your day job, but please, Dear Reader. See The Apple. It won't hurt for long, it's only 84 minutes.

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