For fans of eighties cinema, Mill Creek Entertainment offers up a collection of eight noteworthy eighties movies on DVD for the more cost conscious collector. Among the eight films in the collection is 1990’s “Flatliners.” The David Cronenberg supernatural drama about a group of medical students exploring the effects of near death experiences stars Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Julia Roberts, respectively. James Woods and Robert Downey Jr. co-star in the 1989 drama “True Believer,” about an embittered lawyer who re-opens an old murder case with a young lawyer, unraveling a web of corruption, and conspiracies.
I respect Tim Burton’s legacy a lot and I admire what he was going for with “The Corpse Bride.” Not a lot of mainstream directors aspire to deliver movies that are more bent toward the Gothic sensibility with homages to folks like Edward Gory. Burton is a man who clearly has a love for the style, and I love it as well. Sadly, “The Corpse Bride” is a weaker approach toward the stop motion animation that Burton was mostly known for with “The Nightmare Before Christmas” for a long time. The aforementioned film is so much more charismatic and entertaining than “The Corpse Bride” in the end. Granted it’s not an awful movie, but it just feels like Burton is trying to recapture the brilliance of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
Once upon a time, Kevin Smith decided that he liked “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” so much that he’d copy the cliff notes and paste them on to a recycled fossil of his former glory in the shape of “Clerks” and build himself a brand spankin’ new cult classic. Instead what we get is a movie pandering to teens that is very obviously made by a fifty year old man if he were trying to write like Diablo Cody. I imagine Kevin Smith spent much of his time writing his screenplay for “Yoga Hosers” and promising to cast daughter Harley Quinn in it if she helped with the dialogue and much of the modern colloquialisms. Meanwhile he stuck to what he knew: which is stuff about convenience store clerks, and mocking Canada wholesale. There are shelves of maple syrup in the background, and boxes of cereal like “Cheeri-EHs.” Plus, our two main characters begin their work shift (almost in a subliminal apology to the audience) muttering in repetition “Sawrry Aboot That.”
For the five people that loved Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Disney decides to give us yet another take on Lewis Carroll’s tale, as Alice ventures in to Wonderland to travel through time. And literally tries out run it as she experiences the oncoming specter of adulthood and hard decisions rearing its ugly head at her. Stepping in for Burton this time is James Bobin, who manages to assemble virtually the entire cast from the first film to tell what is essentially a very convoluted and incredibly tedious movie. Truthfully, director Bobin’s film isn’t as bad as Burton’s first film, but Bobin spends so much time trying to Burtonize his sequel, he forgets to inject any kind of entertainment in to the nearly two hour drama adventure.
If you’re in the market for some summer time comedy filled with raunch, eighties madness, gratuitous nudity, and a bunch of aspiring movie stars or future movie stars like Johnny Depp, and Jamie Lee Curtis, Mill Creek has the four movie line up for your pleasure. Now on Blu-Ray, these are four of the most terrible and yet entertaining movies of the eighties for economic movie collectors.
Well it just goes to show all the aspiring actors out there hoping for success. Most times you have to earn your stripes by being in junk you think is awful, all for the sake of an inevitable break out role. The two stars of the piece are Rob Morrow and post – “Nightmare on Elm Street” Johnny Depp at very young ages, and starring in what was one of maybe two hundred teen sex comedies released in the eighties. Ben and Jack crash a Jamaican resort club during Spring Break intent on causing trouble with the colorful variety of guests, and scoping out babes for the sake of getting laid.
In the process they run afoul hotel security, a weird spiritualist, her goofy wealthy grandmother, a jewel thief, an abusive waiter, a meat head hotel patron and his drunken girlfriend, and a sexy Southern Belle. While “Private Resort” is often pure nonsense, Morrow eventually went on to a long interesting career in television and film. As for Johnny Depp, after this he went on to a break out role in “Platoon” and then from then on, I think he worked in other films and TV, who knows? Did we ever hear from Johnny Depp after “Platoon”? That said, Depp and Morrow allegedly despise “Private Resort” and who can blame them?
I often bash some movies for having absolutely no narrative, but hot damn does “Private Resort” have no story. It’s like one giant punch line to a joke without the initial set up and build up. Yet another entry in the shockingly popular sub-genre from the eighties that began with films like “Last American Virgin” and “Porky’s,” George Bowers “Private Resort” embraces the sub-genre without any of the finesse of classics like “Revenge of the Nerds.” It’s just eighty five minutes of stock comedy tropes running in to one another and clashing for the sake of hopefully grabbing a laugh from the audience.
Ben and Jack are two teens that break in to a local resort in Jamaica during Spring Break, and begin walking around harassing guests, causing trouble, and looking to get laid. That’s literally the entire movie. There’s no explanation how they got their room, who they’re staying with, or why they’re at the resort originally. Most of their time is spent walking around the lounges and pool side hitting on women and trying to lure them back to their suite for the sake of having sex with them. On occasion, their wacky misadventures spiral out of control and they end up getting in to a sexual scenario.
During one scene Ben and Jack meet Leslie Easterbrook’s incredibly sexy Bobby Sue, who is sun bathing pool side, and despite their flirtations, she rebuffs their advances. Accidentally leaving her room key behind, they think it’s a hint, and break in to her room. Bobby Sue has a very viciously jealous husband, of course. He’s called the Maestro and is played by Hector Elizondo for reasons I’m sure involved an easy payday. He’s the obligatory villain of the comedy mistaking Morrow’s character Ben for the hotel barber prompting Ben to mangle his precious doo while Jack is in Bobby Sue’s room nude and trying to find an escape.
Like one long episode of “Three’s Company,” there’s a ton of goofy physical double takes, Depp trying his damndest to be wacky, and many scenes involving the pair of pals running around the halls of the hotel outrunning someone who rightfully wants to arrest them or beat them up. And wouldn’t you know it? Despite this hotel being a high priced swanky vacation spot, every room has a lion share of wacky and outrageous residents. For some odd reason during the big chase scene in the finale, Maestro crashes in to a room where two sumo wrestlers are apparently standing around preparing to fight? I think?
Like every teen sex comedy, Ben and Jack eventually run across women they want to have sex with but end up in potentially meaningful relationships and given the opportunities to redeem themselves. For Ben his form of redemption involves getting potential girlfriend Patti out of an abusive relationship with a waiter as she refuses to stand up for herself afraid of losing her job. Obviously the complicated problem is solved by a comical punch in the face, and a declaration of love, because why add some characterization to what is unsalvageable dreck by the time the second half rolls around.
Elizondo is seemingly in the movie for no reason, so he’s given a half assed sub-plot mid-way where he plans to romance wealthy woman Mrs. Rawlings for the sake of stealing her precious diamond. That proves disastrous thanks to Ben and Jack when they accidentally interfere with his attempts to seduce her constantly. Every cast member is so ill fitted for the movie that if there is a laugh or two, it will be entirely accidental. To show how utterly inept the movie tends to be, even at the standards of a forgettable cash in, “Private Resort” actually steals a running joke from “Airplane!” involving a taxi and its running meter as Bobby Sue waits in the car.
If none of “Private Resort” appeals to you, then you have to at least sit through it for the sake of Leslie Easterbrook. If you ever sat through any of the “Police Academy” movies wondering what she looked like underneath the uniform, Easterbook is an absolute bombshell here who flashes skin as character Bobby Sue. She appears constantly in skimpy clothing and bathing suits, and even wears a see through robe that reveals her amazing bare body underneath.
Easterbrook is one of the most underrated sex symbols of the eighties, and she shows here why she deserves to be the reigning queen above everyone else. One scene finds hotel security harassing a woman for wearing a skimpy bathing suit and she teases him by making it shorter and wiggling her back side. There’s also the insanely hot Lisa London who plays the drunken girlfriend of Andrew Dice Clay’s character. While she’s mostly on the floor, she shows off her curves without hesitation and looks incredible.
Meanwhile while her husband is involved in all sorts of running around, getting in to fights and inevitably getting the crap kicked out of him by Dody Goodman. It then simply ends on a freeze frame of Morrow. There’s no resolution, no climax, it just ends so swiftly. Almost like tearing a band aid off. Is there any wonder there was never a Private Resort 2″? Everyone starts somewhere, and for good inspiration on how major actors also have to pay their dues, “Private Resort” is a prime example. Rob Morrow, Johnny Depp, Hector Elizondo, and yes, even Leslie Easterbrook who went on to cult fame with the “Police Academy” film series, are all here slumming it up with a sub-genre milked way beyond its threshold in the 1980’s. It’s not at all the worst of its kind, but it is definitely a low point for teen sex comedies of the decade.
Johnny Depp has never been one to be defined as a comedy genius of any sort, and it’s pretty telling of that fact when the one gag he has to ride on throughout “Mortdecai” is his mustache and how it twirls. That’s basically the defining comedic element of Mortdecai. He’s painfully proud of his mustache despite the obvious disgust by his loving wife, and he takes great pride of flashing it around. He even gleams proudly when he finds himself in America packed in to an elevator with men donning mustaches and beards of their own. That’s what counts as comedy in the painfully unfunny “Mortdecai.”
With “Tusk,” director Kevin Smith completely rips off Stephen King and Tom Six, mixing together “Human Centipede” and “Misery” in to one really awful concoction that I was barely able to make it through. Serving as a simultaneous ad for his crappy podcast, this time rather than James Caan as a respected writer, Justin Long is an amoral moronic podcaster whose own celebrity status has transformed him in to a fame obsessed pseudo-Howard Stern. Much like Kevin Smith. I can only laugh at Smith’s self-congratulatory inference that today’s podcaster is the modern storyteller like the writer. But hey, at least he got to squeeze in obligatory cameos from his and Johnny Depp’s daughter.