We’re going to shake things up this April Fool’s Day, everyone. Instead of riffing on a “bad” movie, today I’ll be recounting my experience watching Orson Welles’ very important movie Citizen Kane, apparently because someone thought it’d be funny to assign me a “good” movie to watch. How droll!
Join me after the jump to learn more!
Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie
OK, I task you to look at the image above. Look at it. That movie exists. I watched it. Again. For the first time since I was a kid, when I caught it on Showtime in the middle of a sick day.
I didn’t get better.
I want everyone here to know that I deliberated mightily over what video to include that I felt best depicted the feeling you get watching this movie. After hours of soul-searching, I submit this video for your approval:
I believe I’ve made my point, but let’s delve deeper into the brute fact of this movie’s existence. We all remember Cabbage Patch Kids. They were weird. They were the Big Gift one Christmas in the 80s. I think it was 1985. Who gives a fuck. Garbage Pail Kids – and let’s start calling them GPK so I don’t have to finger-rape my keyboard any more than necessary – emerged to lampoon the Cabbage Patch Kids.
And I’ll give credit where credit’s due – they were pretty good satire. If memory serves, the marketers behind Cabbage Patch Kids liked to pretend that they were all unique specimens, even including adoption papers with each one. In reality, they all looked like the same kid, bore the same dazed expression and were distinguished by vague differences in hairstyle and skin tone.
But the GPKs, now they were different!
Oh, Ali Gator. Windy Winston. Barfin’ Barbara. Nat Nerd. I remember longing for you the first time I gambled and lost with a fart while reciting the multiplication tables in front of my third grade class. As you can see, the GPKs all combined goofy names with, well, the grossest thing imaginable. I mean, look at Barfin’ Barbara – she’s puking into her dinner! Holy fuck!
The GPK movie cobbles together …
Wait. I am a complete fucking asshole. Now that I’m thinking about the movie again, I just realized that I included the wrong video to show what it’s like to watch this shitpile. Respectfully, I submit:
OK, now that I’ve squared that away, let’s look at some of the facts related to the GPK movie – the Facts of Life, that is! Mackenzie Astin, who played that little fucker on The Facts of Life, stars in GPK as some little fucker. I think his character has a name. Hm. What was it? Sleemy? Ream-Bo? Dogger! No. Dodger? Yeah, that was it – Dodger. He lives in a town with bullies who throw him into puddles all the time, until one day they go into some place with stuff where they knock over the titular pail full of garbage-y kids.
When you watch a movie like this, the soulless machinery of the Hollywood system lurches into view with heartless certainty. The narrative is clear: The GPKs were a hot property for an instant, and Hollywood sought to cash in on it. So they made a movie, which means that actual people looking for work in Hollywood got hired to work on this and made money while doing it. And they were happy to get the work.
But by Crom, you can’t help but watch this movie and imagine the black thoughts that went through director Rodney Amateau’s head every night in his trailer. Amateau had been a successful TV director for 37 years before he got tapped to direct GPK, but do you want to know how many directing credits this poor bastard had between GPK and his death in 2003?
Zero. Which reminds me once again that I am a complete fucking asshole for daring to compare this movie to the last video I posted. With deepest apologies and on bended knee, I submit:
Amateau shared screenwriting duties with someone named Linda Palmer, and while watching their efforts, you can see some legitimate attempts to wring some kind of moral out of the null concept they had been dealt (wordplay! Ding!). For no reason, the movie deals with the DIY fashion industry in some small town. The little fucker from The Facts of Life falls for some chick who’s way too old for him, and after running into the GPKs, he figures out that they can make clothes really well. So he makes a bunch of clothes for the DIY babe, who winds up betraying him. Or something. At movie’s end, the little fucker parts ways with the DIY babe, and the GPKs escape certain execution after being taken captive at the State Home For The Ugly.
(Side note: Due respect goes to Mackenzie Astin for weathering this shitstorm and going onto a long career.)
(Side note: Dude, at the end of this movie, there are a surprising amount of scantily clad boobs. You know how the GPKs can make clothes real good? Well, after the treacherous DIY babe steals their clothes for her own fashion show, they storm the catwalk and start ripping off everyone’s clothes. Dude! For reals!)
(Side note: I apparently hate joy because I chose the wrong video again. Please don’t kill me until I can submit this video for your approval:
There are many, many things about this movie that depress me. Its overall ass-ness depresses me. The barrel-bottom production values depress me. But what depresses me most is how this booger-ball wasn’t even as cool as the trading cards. At the very least, the filmmakers could have shot for some kind of invention when it came to the gross-outs. One of the GPKs has terrible acne, and not once do we see him blast someone in the eye with abscess by popping a zit. There’s the alligator GPK, and he sort of snacks on body parts, but not once do we get to see him actually chomp off a finger. Boo!
So, to whoever suggested this movie for April Fools’ Week: This isn’t over. I’ll find your fucking ass. Rob Van Winkle had to get this movie from someone, and I’ll make him beg to give up the name. I’ll make him squeal. Like this kid:
Author: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
Robert J. Peterson is a writer and web developer living in Los Angeles. A Tennessee native, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s written for newspapers and websites all over the country, including the Marin Independent Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet, CC2KOnline.com, Offscreen, and Geekscape.net. He co-hosts the podcasts Make It So and Hiram’s Lodge. He’s appeared as a pop-culture guru on the web talk shows Comics on Comics, The Fanbase Press Week In Review, Collider Heroes, ScreenJunkies TV Fights, and Fandom Planet. He’s the founder of California Coldblood Books.