Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Celebrate Bad Movie Month!

I unofficially declare August to be Bad Movie Month-I know,bad movies crop up bigtime in January/February but since August is the only month without a holiday in it,it deserves the crown much more. Is it a coincidence that Deuce Bigalow:European Gigolo is coming out this month?(if you really think so,you should not enter a video store without supervision,seriously).

In honor of this glorious tradition of bad cinema,I intend to write about a bad movie every week-let's start with the John Travolta Folly known as Battlefield Earth. I didn't see this when it was out in theaters but I recieved a very interesting phone call at work the weekend it was released. I got the call on Sunday from Bridge Publications(the official publishers of L. Ron Old Mother Hubbard's books) and a ultra-cheerful female voice said:

"Hi,We're calling from Bridge Publications and were wondering if you had Battlefield Earth in stock and how many you've sold so far!"

First off,it's unusual for any publishing house to make any calls on a weekend,particularly a Sunday(most are closed on weekends)and while a publishing rep might call to see if you recieve the latest new releases in on time,they rarely ask about how many you sold. Anyway,I looked up the title(we only had two copies-no movie art covers,just a "now a movie" sticker pasted on the front)and told the lady"Sorry,we haven't sold any."

"Really? Where do you have it in the store?"

"In the science fiction section."

"Is it face out?(face out means instead of shelving the book with the spine showing,you place it cover first so as to catch the eye)"

"Yes,it's face out"

"Where do you have it on the shelf? Is it up front? Is it near the front of the store?"

Ok,this was getting much too much-I wrapped up the call as quick as I could and wondered about it with my co-worker. The scary thing was...

They called again the next day.

I kid you not-I handed the phone over to my boss(who had been told about the previous call). She let them know she didn't need any other titles and hung up,fast as hell. If that is not the workings of a cult,I don't know what is. I wound up seeing BE on HBO(which I no longer have,not due to watching BE but it came close after The Postman aired)just to see how bad it was. Whoa,mama! This is the kind of movie that you watch for a few minutes and think"This can't get any worse" and yet,it does. You watch Barry Pepper go into his hair whipping action poses and say"This can't get any worse" and it does while John Travolta in a bad mutant Wookie Klingon suit runs around,calling people "rat-brain" and forcing poor Forrest Whittaker to join him.

The stupidest thing about BE is not the costumes,the bad overacting or the image of Kelly Preston with a giant alien tongue;no,the plot premise is the worst thing about it. The plot is this: Earth is taken over in a matter of minutes by an advanced warlike alien race,out to use Earth as a gold mine(this was written in the fifties,after all) and humans have become ignorant savages that John Travolta decides to enslave as a cheap source of labor to find more gold to get a promotion(Earth's like working in a crappy neighborhood). However,the Aliens have no idea that Fort Knox exists-it's only when Barry Pepper gets a mental upgrade from some techno glowworm f/x that he is smart enough to find Fort Knox and use the gold still there to turn the tables on the alien overlords.

Now,I ask you-how am I suppose to believe that an alien race,bent on conquering Earth to find gold,is so highly advanced that the invasion lasted only a matter of minutes that they can't find Fort Knox?! Have no clue that it exists?! People,please-suspense of disbelief is all well and good but this is barely a thread here! Truly a bad movie for the ages-only wish there was a MST3K version of it available on DVD.

No comments: