Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I waste my time

I'm not a bad movie fan. The only time I ever watched bad movies was when they appeared on Mystery Science Theater and then only because the commentary was so funny.

I know it's just me but sitting through even fifteen minutes of a crummy movie just for a few giggles strikes me as a waste of time.

However, as we all know, all such hallowed truths have their exceptions.

On the treadmill this afternoon I was racing throgh the channels when I came to TCM and saw Chubby Checker entreating a supposedly upscale NYC dinner club of middle-aged folks to get up and twist.

For the next twenty-five minutes I was pole-axed by some of the worst writing, acting, set designing and exploitation I've ever seen. The two storylines concern a "network exec" looking to save his job by finding something new and exciting (or something). He ain't having much luck. This guy is from the BIg Lug school of acting. God is he bad.

But Marie Blanchard is even worse. She plays a fashion designer whose recent line was dumped on a by hoity-toity "fashion critic" who looks a bit like Aunt Bea from Mayberry. Blanchard overacts to the point that she gives Vampira a run for her money (I ain't kidding). She won't marry Big Lug because she's in love with her career. He's walking so she tries to save the day by inviting him to her "lodge" (which looks a whole like like a ranch style house).

They get invited to this teen dance and there by God he finds the solution to his network problem and she to her dress design problem. The Twist! These fantastic kids at the dance (the main dancers look to be pushing twenty-five easy) will appear on the network and she'll design dresses for Twisters of all ages (her brainstorm--take your standard tight cocktail dress and put shimmy-stuff on `em). Ah but the kids won't dance (true facts) unless any money they make goes to the orphanage they're suporting. Guess how it ends.

Chubby Checker is good in his sweaty overenthusiastic way (for some reason I always felt sorry for him, knowing I guess that when it was all over he'd be living in a trailer somewhere); Gene Chandler proves that he IS The Duke of Earl; and The Dovells with their Bristol Stomp demonstrate the power of good doo-wop.

There are other acts including Vic Dana who sings one of the strangest pop songs I've ever heard "Little Altar Boy." He's praying to an altar boy because he's so sick of what he's become. Holy shit--a forerunner of Christian rock? Dana also does some "acting." Even the Big Lug looks stunned by how bad it is. And that, friends, is saying something.


Fred Blosser said...

"Don't Knock the Twist." I meant to DVR the movie today from TCM and forget to set the timer before I left for work today. If I remember correctly, it was a Sam Katzman production, and a bookend with Sam's earlier "Don't Knock the Rock." Both relics from the stone age when all the grownups believed that this rock n' roll trash was a passing fad.

Then the grownups started doing the Twist, and the Beatles came along to sweep away the whole postwar Hit Parade era of pop music.

Man, if those fogies who were upset by Elvis, the Beatles, and Jerry Lee could only have foreseen gangsta rap, Madonna, and Britney.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I almost turned into "Get Yourself a College Girl" at six, but feared I had lost my taste for the early sixties dance crazes. What will we watch on the treadmill! I've watched Leave it to Beaver more than once, but that had pretty good writing even if the acting was subpar.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how TCM schedules movies... sometimes it's a great day of classic stuff, and other days... it's a load of dreck.

Case in point. Monday of this week, back-to-back, they were showing "The Maltese Falcon," "Casablanca," "The Philadelphia Story" and "Citizen Kane."

And on Tuesday, the day of your treadmill, it was a long series of crappy 50's and 60's movies I had no interest in watching...

Funny world, ain't it.

Craig Clarke said...

I agree about bad movies. I usually avoid them, too, but I came across Don't Knock the Rock one night and could not tear my eyes away.

I guess you could say I "dug it the most, man."