Jem and the Holograms (2015)

I’m a child of the 80s.  I bathed in the glory of the awesome toys and amazing cartoons of the decade.  While a lot of the sheen of those shows faded as I grew up, it’s okay.  That’s because I’m a grown up and can understand that those things are special for what they were then and it’s hard to recapture that love and the exact feelings I had when I first discovered the cartoons.

That said, I still love the toys and still smile at everything surrounding those glory days of cartoon and capitalist infusion.

Now, while I didn’t exactly watch or love the show Jem and the Holograms, I knew A LOT of people who did.  Regardless of watching or not, and certainly not having the dolls that were released, I still liked the gimmick and idea of the whole concept.  I talked about it a couple weeks ago when I reviewed Teen Witch, but wish fulfillment is really, really, really important to young people.  Jem certainly encapsulated that too, but it wasn’t entirely made specifically for girls.  Maybe not the toys, but the show had a fairly decent mass appeal.

The cartoon ran for 65 episodes from 1985 to 1988.  It was one of those Hasbro properties like her brothers G.I. Joe and Transformers.  The cartoon revolved around music company owner Jerrica Benton.  With the help of her advanced hologram computer, Synergy, she can transform into her alter ego, the rock and roll superstar Jem, lead singer of the Holograms.  Perfect wish fulfillment.

Now, there was some perfect Hasbro marketing stuff too.  The Holograms were made up of Jerrica’s sister, Kimber, who is the main songwriter.  The guitarist is Aja, an Asian-American girl.  The drummer, Shana, not just Jerrica and Kimber’s foster sister, but also African-American.  There was a little something for everyone really.  On top of that, the Holograms had two rival bands, the Misfits (the better known arch rival) and the Stingers (introduced in the final 12 episodes).  So there were lots of opportunities to sell various toys and what have you.

The toys themselves were mostly generated for Hasbro to compete against Mattel’s Barbie line.  Barbie was a little too big to bring down at the time.  It would take Bratz to finally start creating cracks in the Barbie stronghold on girls’ toys.  I know this because… shut up.

Jem is still a very loved property by a lot of girls who are now in their 40s, but I think there is a halfway decent following for younger generations.  The thing is, though, it’s not a property that is able to really sustain comebacks quite like Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Transformers have been able to.  It’s possible Jem misses out on a lot of gimmicks that other boys’ toys use as well as the fashion gimmicks that Barbie and Bratz and the other dolls employ, and, thus, it’s hard for it to keep up with all the other properties out there.

But you know what wasn’t a very loved thing?  The 2015 movie for Jem and the Holograms.  Director Jon M. Chu, director of G.I. Joe: Retaliation as well as a few of the Step Up movies, along with producer Jason Blum worked with Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures to adapt the cartoon and toys into something that was more relevant for the contemporary viewers.  However, there are a few problems with the premise, which I will get to later.  Generally speaking, Chu was very passionate to make a Jem movie that would give fans what they want while also pleasing the adult fans of the original show.  That’s nice, but, again, I’ll get to some of those shortcomings of the movie and adapting something beloved and updating it.

The movie was disastrous.  The release was met by considerable negativity.  A 22% on Rotten Tomatoes is not great, but when fans go hard against it causing it to completely fall apart at the box office, only playing for two weeks before distributor Universal Pictures yanked it from from theaters.  It only made half of its $5 million budget.  Also, it had the worst opening weekend gross of any wide release film in 2015.  It just tanked HARD.  Plus, it is often the butt of many jokes for pseudo-reviewers online…

Ummmmmmm…

Er…  I do feel bad for Chu, though.  Yet again, I will dig deeper into some of the issues and how incredibly difficult it is to update a beloved property from the past and please those fans.  That said, he was trying something different.  Whether that excuses any and all issues is yet to be seen, but at least he was trying a new thing.  He did bounce back in 2018 with the immensely popular and well received Crazy Rich Asians.  So, good for him.

Okie dokie.  I guess we should get this thing started.  I’m legitimately not going only look for the negatives of the movie.  I will point out when something works.  I already basically know where some of the issues lie, but I’ll get to those as they come up or as it seems appropriate to point it out.

The movie starts with a collection of people who are making videos of their various performance art.  Some people have bands.  Some people have talents with more bizarre or unusual instruments.  Some are acting things out as various characters.  Others are dancers or simply vloggers.  Enter Jerrica who has deep stuff to say about why Facebook gives you a wall, so that after you make your life perfect, you have something to hide behind.  However, she isn’t exactly sure who the real her is.  This is some deep shit right here – especially if you are between the ages of 10 and, say, 18.  You know, the years in which things are fine and dandy before you become an adult and life sucks.

This is being treated as a confessional.  She was a nobody.  Now, she’s a superstar.  Apparently, she’s got a secret.  She tells us that she was taken in by her aunt, Bailey (Molly Ringwald), with her sister, Kimber.  Aunt Bailey also has two adopted kids, Shana and Aja.  Okay, so the Holograms are together.  Kimber and Jerrica’s father was an inventor and he built some sort of robot called Synergy (spelled 51N3RG.Y – which I will never type that way again)…?

Okay, well, the band is here.  The Synergy thing is actually a robot that Jerrica can’t turn on, but whatever.  At least some of these things are here.  We also get to see each of the girls’ characteristics and what they do.  Kimber is addicted to being online with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  Basically, she finds her appearance and status to be extremely important.  Aja is the tough girl who makes out with boys, throws them away when she tires of them, and has blue hair.  Shana is an aspiring fashionista.  Jerrica is more or less the smart one I guess.  The movie is coming through her perspective and she’s talking in that way that teenagers do in movies all the time where they talk beyond their age and maturity, but whatever.

Whenever the girls are fighting, Molly Ringwald tells Kimber to “hit a C Note” to which I’m thinking this movie lost money because they are giving out hundred dollar bills to everyone watching the movie, but no…  Kimber hums a C, and each of the girls are supposed to match it so they can… harmonize.

Oh Jem and the Holograms, touché.

Kimber decides the girls need to record a music video.  She asks Jerrica to back her up on vocals and she initially refuses, but is kind of forced into it at the insistence of Aunt Bailey.  It also just so happens that Aunt Bailey has the most truly, truly outrageous 80s clothes just waiting in the garage like it is a fashion store for the girls to wear.

So, one bubble gum pop music montage later, the girls… sound pretty damn polished for a garage band.  Granted, not my style, but I kind of feel like this little band will be going places – plus, it’s just a charming little scene for these girls to have.  Kimber would like Jerrica to sing the next song, but she’s nervous and shy.  The act is broken up momentarily by Jerrica getting a letter delivered that says Aunt Bailey has 30 days before she loses their home.

After watching the video from earlier, she decides to sing one of her songs solo to the camera.  She’s too insecure to be herself, so she creates the persona of Jem.  She sings one of her slow songs, though I kind of feel like all of Jerrica’s songs are deep, and slow, and emotional like all those emotions a teenager feels.  The other girls hear her singing and they all have that moment of, “Oh man, we are going to milk that emotion cow for all we can for fame and fortune.”

Kimber walks in after the song and Jerrica claims she didn’t record anything.  Kimber knows better and decides to take the video and upload it to the interwebs.  Overnight, Jem goes viral and she’s an instant superstar.

Let’s stop here at the spiritual end of the first act and get to my first issue with this movie.  Before that, allow me to say that, generally, I don’t see much wrong with this first 20 or so minutes of movie.  If I was a 14 or 15 year old girl, I’d probably dig it.  There are stock characters in a stock sticky situation.  Nothing wrong or offensive about the story there.

However, I wish this movie was a jukebox musical instead of a movie using original music.  Sure, nothing sounds all that bad, but if you are going to make a movie about a viral sensation, you better be goddamn sure the music you are going to go with is worthy of viral sensationalism.  You know that movie that came out last year, Yesterday?  That movie took to the idea that the Beatles would be forever regardless.  Anyone can sing those songs close enough and they’d still be big.  The reason why that works is that those songs are all-time greats.

The song that Kimber uploads and turns into a viral sensation, literally overnight, is not bad, but is far from great.  It’s just a song steeped in angst and emotion.  That’s not really good enough to prove to the viewer that she isn’t just yet another voice in the gaping maw that is YouTube.  I’m not against the fantasy element of this movie at all.  However, you’re dealing with subjective subject matter.  People are VERY critical of music and particularly rough to people who bare all online.

I’m okay with Jem being updated to reflect the mid-2010s instead of the mid-1980s.  If you are not going to set the movie in the hypothetical past, then you need to make sure that the present reflects the audience’s truths and understanding of contemporary things.  You decide not to make Jerrica a music mogul, fine, that means you need to find another way to turn her into Jem.  The YouTube/social media/you aren’t ever really yourself stuff does come across pretty vapid and immediately dates itself.

Which is funny because the 80s property, as dated as it is, is still beloved 35 years later.

So, Kimber realizes that the world has gone apeshit for Jem.  Aja and Shana join in on wanting Jerrica to embrace this.  The top music company owner queen of the world Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis) offers “Jem” big money and instant concerts right away, but Jerrica is not happy and doesn’t want to be famous.  The girls compare her to being as famous as the water skiing squirrel that went viral, I dunno, like 10 years before this movie or something.  And just to make sure everyone knows what they are talking about, they show a clip from that video.

And that’s another major problem with this movie…  The reliance on other viral videos that act as transitions from one scene to the next is really annoying.  I don’t know if this was a decision to insert those to compare Jem to these other people who had minor internet stardom, or if it is meant to contrast her to those, or if it is to make some sort of statement about the importance of becoming famous for who you are more than intentional fame, or if it is done because that’s what the filmmakers think the mostly young audience will want.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t help with my take that this is trying to say something that comes across as kind of vapid.

Internet fame is ever fleeting.  I mean, nobody will ever be as famous on the internet as I am, but for just about everyone else, that fame doesn’t last very long.  It’s a temporary jump in notoriety, but it fades quickly as the next thing pops up.  Again, comparing to the original, Jem was a for real superstar in that world.  Like Madonna or, I dunno, Tom Petty.  The point is, it’s unlikely Jem would lead to the same wish fulfillment if she becomes internet famous.  So that leads me to believe that, well, this movie is rudderless in what it wants to say and do.

Jerrica reaches out to Raymond to say that her sisters are her band.  They have to come to and be contracted just as she will be.  Raymond is like, “No dice.”  However Jerrica plays hardball with the queen of the music industry.  Jerrica wins and Raymond arrives the next morning to take everyone to the world of fame and fortune.

They are taken to Starlight Industries where they are assigned a personal assistant, a hunky college intern named Rio.  They have to first go through boot camp to be remade into new images.  They have new instruments.  They need to release a single ASAP.  Of course, since this is a movie about becoming a popular band, they have to first get their new look before they can record a song because if you don’t look good, you don’t sound good.  Ask Milli Vanilli.

The first night at Starlight Mansion, where the girls will be staying while they become big time superstars, Synergy activates for the first time.  I’m really beginning to wish this movie was a jukebox musical.  Did I mention that yet?  What does that have to do with Synergy?  Nothing.  I’m just suddenly reminded that this is a movie about these girls becoming rock stars but there hasn’t hardly been any music, and we really haven’t seen THEM perform much music.  Give us a Go-Go’s song.  Shit.  I’d take a Linda Ronstadt song right about now.

I guess this movie and I travel to the beat of a different drum.

Anyway, the girls are shown the Santa Monica Pier by Synergy.  Jerrica decides that it is showing them where to go as if it is some kind of scavenger hunt.  There, they realize a song that Jerrica and Kimber’s dad used to whistle while working on the robot is made by pipes that are out of tune with the wind blows over them.  They fix it, and Synergy shows another video.  He then unveils a cassette like thing that they have to put into Synergy.  He then shows another map to another place, but they caught by Rio.

I have a question.  Actually, I have several questions.  First, why are we distracted from the musical plot of the movie by a robot?  Why is the robot leading them to places where the rest of his missing pieces are found?  Why did Jerrica’s dad leave pieces of the robot around in various places and not just, you know, finish his own robot?  Did he know he was going to die and therefore stashed the final pieces of the robot for a wild goose chase for his daughters before he was rubbed out?

Finally, we get a little musical interlude as Rio explains that Erica is his mother and he’s learning the music business by keeping an eye on Jem and Holograms.  He brings up a good point when he says he wants Starlight to mean something again with real artists who can sing without auto tune and not just some YouTube jailbait.  So the girls sing a shitty song and he joins in on it, and even beat boxes a little bit.  They get yelled at by a homeless woman while they sing under the pier.  They just laugh that off because it’s so funny when you accidentally interrupt the sleep of the poors.

This… was embarrassing.

The next stop on the scavenger hunt is at the “legendary” (they say that every time when they say the name of the place) Open Air Club.  It is where Jem’s first concert will be.  And I guess it goes over okay when they sing a song about Rob Liefeld’s “Youngblood” comic book.  However, when a power outage at the “LEGENDARY” Open Air Club, it’s up to Jem to get the crowd to use their cell phones to light up the stage and clap their hands and stomp their feet so they can keep singing.

What happened to the scavenger hunt part?  Is this the musical part?  What is this movie?!?

So here’s another problem.  Again, I get it this is a wish fulfillment movie.  However, what this movie is sorely lacking is any kind of arc whatsoever.  At least a meaningful arc because I feel like the beginning of this movie is setting up a bullshit, forced arc.  Anyway…  before that music video Kimber made with the others we had ZERO understanding that they were musically inclined in any way.  No real set up that any of the girls could even sing, let alone play an instrument.  Sure, Jerrica was shy about performing the music she herself wrote, but we see no progression from her being comfortable singing alone to a camera to then being able to sing to a sold out venue.  All the wires are crossed with this sudden introduction to a scavenger hunt to help finish what Jerrica’s father started with this amazing little Star Wars robot.  I guess you get yourself a robot, get yourself three sisters, and you can be an international pop star with no roadblocks or no need to learn how to be comfortable with public performances.

This movie is pretty bad.  I will say that I do like the four girls playing our leads.  They are at least likable and natural in their parts and seem to embrace what is fun about this movie.  Aubrey Peeples, who plays Jerrica, was the daughter in the first Sharknado movie so that’s rad.  I can’t really fault Juliette Lewis or Molly Ringwald for this movie either because, hey, you gotta work.

I also don’t like that Kimber is kind of left out of her own father’s scavenger hunt.  Synergy showed an old video of their dad showing Jerrica how to play the guitar.  There hasn’t really been anything for Kimber to do.  We haven’t even seen a younger version of her interacting with their father.  I guess she’s just chopped liver.  Jerrica is the real star of this family, so…  Like, get out of here, Kimber.  Go find another dad somewhere.

After Synergy gets another piece from Jerrica’s father’s guitar that hangs in the “legendary” Open Air Club, it… doesn’t do anything.  No further clues for the one, final missing piece.  That’s when we get to one of the more shitty aspects of this movie.  When the film was being conceptualized, people were asked to send in videos showing their love of Jem.  It’s framed around their love of the cartoon.  You can tell because outside of a few really young girls, it’s mostly adult women who are geeking out about Jem and showing makeup tutorials on how to do her makeup and everything.  They were asked to send these in and several were chosen to appear in the film.  They didn’t know that the film would practically have as much similarity as I have with Brad Pitt.  But this is underhanded and pretty cynical.  Shit…  They even have Jimmy Fallon talking to someone about Jem and how it was always his sister who watched that (referring to the show).

Okay…  So here’s where I need to bring up the next, big issue I have.  I’m someone who constantly calls for people to divorce themselves from their fandom, and maybe even their nostalgia for something.  Look, we all love the things we grew up with.  It means something a great freakin’ lot to how we connect with the past.  As each of us get older, we miss those things more and more.  The sad truth is those things will never come back.  They are forever past.

What that means is that we should be happy for what was, but also let things go so the next round of fans can get something that does for them what that original thing did for us.  When new versions of Thundercats or Star Wars or Transformers or whatever comes along, we have to accept that it isn’t really meant for us.  Sure, the companies that own those things sure hope they can bank on our own nostalgia so we’d buy in for our offspring, but, sadly, the royal “we” often find ourselves in some sort of anger cycle because this isn’t OUR Thundercats or OUR Star Wars or OUR Transformers.  “We” then take it out on the new property and seem almost singularly try to hate it into oblivion to make “us” feel like “we” can make them give “us” what “we” want – which will never be accomplished because we already got it 30, 35, 40 years ago.

Jem and the Holograms did something I think is nothing short of reprehensible.  It asked fans to put the camera on themselves to express their love for a thing they THOUGHT they were going to get, and what the film gave them in return was nowhere near that original property and these poor fans’ videos are used as fodder for this stupid movie’s misfit means…

Say…  Misfit?  Is this movie literally the Misfits to the original cartoon and concept’s Jem and the Holograms?

Nailed it.

Jerrica and Rio talk about how she is frustrated with her double life.  However, we didn’t really see this same thing from her perspective either.  When was she mad about being a different person as Jem than as she is when she’s not Jem?  Is this just for a dumb fuck meet cute?  It is, because Rio talks about how swell Jem is and how that is coming from Jerrica.  Rio’s mom is pretty upset about this because she thinks he’s going to distract Jerrica and ruin her precious Jem.

Aunt Bailey reveals that she lost her appeal to save the house.  Jerrica has to go to Erica for an advance on the money to save the family home.  However, in order to get it, Erica says Jerrica has to go solo and cut her sisters loose.  If she refuses, Erica will replace her as Jem because, after all, the star is anonymous.  So, sign that fuckin’ contract or beat cheeks, honey.

Also… Maybe get a lawyer before you sign anything?

Oh fuck it.  She signs the solo contract.  I guess the house is saved but Jem’s a bitch for telling the sisters to get fucked.  The sisters let Jerrica have it, and I agree with them.  She – A) signed the contract on her own terms, B) didn’t even discuss anything with her sisters, C) didn’t even TELL her sisters she signed the contract, and D) generally sucks.  Okay, maybe not D, but still.  This is one of those things in movies that irritate pretty much everyone.  The character is presented a problem.  A discussion solves everything.  Discussion does not happen.  New problem arises that is worst than the original one with no way to fix either problem.

Hey, here’s an interesting fact about this movie.  The day that Jerrica made her video that Kimber uploaded was made basically with 30 days before Auntie Bailey would lose the house.  This movie – the video, the instant fame, the makeover, the superstardom, going solo – that has all been done in three weeks.  I think the movie wants its audience to forget that, or at least not realize it.

Okay, so Jerrica returns to her first home where she and her father lived… Oh for fuck’s sake.  Okay, now I’m starting to get frustrated here.  This picture below should help tie some of those threads together that I’ve been weaving about the vapidity of this movie:

Normally, this sort of stuff wouldn’t really bug me, but here it does.  First, Jerrica tells a story of how the Everly Brothers broke up in a big, public meltdown.  Okay, fine, she knows something I actually didn’t know and I looked it up to find that it was true.  That’s something people like to do all the time with young characters by injecting knowledge of some older, looooong before they were born, rock and roll trivia into their overall makeup.  That’s also why she is wearing a mall-bought Peace Love & Rock shirt.  But…  That’s the problem here.  This stuff is really shallow.

“Peace, love, and rock and roll” is a great message when put into the proper context.  However, when stuffed into Jem and the Holograms, a movie about YouTube personality fame and it creating a lavishly over produced and over stylized pop star, you’ve ruined that message.  It doesn’t make your character deep.  It makes your character a model in the most recent American Eagle ad.  It turns the message into a product…  Much like the snapped up YouTube star.  Much like Jem as a property.  It’s all here to be bought, packaged, and sold into consumable pseudo-feels.

Sigh…

Kimber, Shana, Aja, and Rio find Jerrica at the old homestead.  It’s there they have an extremely quick make up.  Seriously, they had their third act break up literally five or six minutes ago, now everything is cool again.  Before they found her, Jerrica has herself a little cry session on the front steps of the house when she sees the perfect little family having dinner inside.  I guess that does beg the question if that family is aware these strangers are outside having a fairly loud conversation about being jerks and harmonizing and shit.  Jerrica realizes her earrings, which she handed over to Erica before they all had their makeovers, is the final piece to Synergy.  It’s time to break into Starlight Industries to get those earrings!

“Um, excuse me, ladies? Would you mind keeping your singing to a minimum while we eat our dinner? We will call the police if you don’t move along soon.”

Some shenanigans involving Rio using Erica’s car, a doofy valet, and more viral videos intercut into the scenes ensue.  They break into Erica’s safe and find Jerrica’s earrings as well as Rio’s father’s will.  Shana is able to hack into the security cameras to play the viral squirrel video which distracts the dumb security guards.  They are able to get out because no one knows that Jerrica and Jem are the same person and she’s able to distract the same idiot guards when they want an autograph so he can slip out.

We are effectively at the end of the movie’s real story, and there’s still 25 fucking minutes left.  Jerrica put the earrings into Synergy and he has a seizure and explodes thus ending any hope of Jerrica to have a happy ending.  Nah, I’m kidding, her dad has recorded a message for her (also, fuck Kimber).  Basically, he built Synergy for Jerrica to follow the clues so he can prove to her that she is just the tits (also, super fuck Kimber).  There’s a brief postscript that mentions Kimber in his video, but it feels like an afterthought.  That’s it.  That’s all that plotline had to do with anything.  This could have been on a VHS or a DVD or in a journal somewhere.  No, it’s a robot and a scavenger hunt that is completely pointless to the totality of the plot.

There is still 22 minutes left and I’m beginning to lose all my patience.

Now, the movie comes full circle.  Jerrica reveals herself to the world in a video and plans to upload the video until she has one more plan.  She deletes the video, which also… deletes the whole movie up to this point.  I am not kidding you, it rewinds the whole movie to delete it all.  What is the point of this movie?  She plans on going out on stage with her sisters and revealing their true selves.  Before she does so, she watches her fan videos which I can’t tell are some of those real fans or fake movie fans and there’s some pretty sad stuff in there and it is, again, reprehensible if it is the real videos sent in that takes advantage of these poor people’s fandom of an 80s cartoon.

“Allow me to tell you of my blood oath to our lord god Satan…”

Rio confronts his mother after he learns that his father planned to give him Starlight when he felt he was ready.  He feels ready right now and fires his mom.  Jem and the Holograms go out for their show to reveal themselves where they all ritualistically slit their own wrists and bleed out on stage to die.  No, sadly that is not how this ends.  She doesn’t reveal her real identity.  She just says we’re all Jem so, like, revel in that shit, and buy her shit, you fucking clowns!

Again, the movie goes back to the obviously older fans of the original cartoon talking about how watching that show made them feel better about themselves and revealing some fairly emotional shit that is now being used to sell a shitty movie version of the thing they loved and had a really deep connection to.

You know what this would be like?  It would be like someone coming up to me in 1987 and asking me how I felt about the Monkees.  What their songs meant to me.  How I love to sing along with them all the time and how they will stick with me for, well, forever.  Then I find out they use all my heartfelt feelings about something that I dearly love to this day for The New Monkees.  I’d be really, really pissed.  And hurt.  And I’d feel betrayed and lied to.

If you are a fan of Jem and the Holograms from the 1980s and you made one of those videos and sent it in and it didn’t get used, be thankful.  If yours did get used, I think you are justified in trying to find every copy of this movie possible and bury them all right next to the E.T. Atari cartridges.  I feel really bad for you that your fandom got used in such a shallow and cynical way.

In a mid-credits scene, Erica goes to an abandoned warehouse or something to find a trio of girls she had initially dumped at Starlight.  This, of course, are the Misfits.  I guess they will come back in the sequel to cause all sorts of problems for Jem and the Holograms or something.

Hahahahaha…  There will never be a sequel.  Apparently that is Kesha as Pizzazz, the leader of the Misfits, but I don’t know nuthin’ about her and can’t give two fucks.  I’m just glad this movie is finally over.

I can’t fault anyone for wanting to do something different, but I can fault almost every decision made between the story, the editing in of other viral videos, and the use of those fan videos.  It’s one of those movies that feels like a first draft movie.  That entire subplot with the scavenger hunt could be excised for character building to show the girls getting better at being performers going from garage band to world class performers.  We needed to see Jerrica overcome her fears or realize that she truly is better when she is NOT herself and having to grapple with how that affects her relationships and such.  She never fully comes to terms with the fact that she is being sold as something other than who she actually is.  It’s shallow as fuck and that is the true calamity of this movie.

Everything outside the casting is wrong and atrocious.  Give one more year to see Spider-Man: Homecoming come out to super high reception and see how it embraced the 80s, and you could have set this movie into the 80s, or with a higher degree of that aesthetic and it could have been something better.  It needed less the fleeting pop sound of today and more of that classic feel.

That’s why I said a jukebox style of musical would have been great.  You can contemporize a Madonna classic or a Go-Go’s song or something like Blondie and it could still really work on the music side of things.  Hell, there’s a band out there right now made up of teenagers called The Regrettes.  They have far more understanding of how to mix the current with the classic feel of something from the 60s, 70s, or 80s and make it worth a damn.  That would work so much better than this.  This movie uses music too contemporary to be timeless in tone.

The movie also never addresses the problem of fame and how utterly vapid internet fame is.  Through Juliette Lewis, we at least understand the bloodsuckers that feed off that for their own gain, and we see what happens when they throw away those that start to either fade or try to branch out on their own.  However, we see all these viral clips and all these people that no one knows about anymore, nor does anyone care about any of them.  Well, except for that squirrel.  That squirrel water skiing clip is among the best the internet ever did.

In all, this is the one time that fans, true or interlopers alike, got it right.  This was a bad production, a horrible representation of the original property, and an overall terrible movie.  I’d normally say that something like this might become a cult classic in 20 years, but I doubt it.  It’s too long for a bad movie night and most would probably find it fairly boring too.  It’s not over the top enough like so many other bad musicals (like The Apple for example) to stand out.  If you see it hitchhiking on some dangerous stretch of desert road, you should pass it by and never look back and never wonder if you did the right thing to leave it for the vultures.

Next week, I want to do some honest to god exploitation.  Thankfully, Stephanie Rothman will provide nicely.  I’m going to take a look at 1974’s The Working Girls!

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