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Garbage Pail Kids Movie, The

MGM // PG // July 12, 2005
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted June 17, 2005 | E-mail the Author
In 10 Words or Less
Proof that not everything from the '80s was great

The Movie
There are five words the world will likely never see again: "Produced by Topps Chewing Gum." For that, we can all be quite thankful. For when these purveyors of fine products like Bazooka gum and Wacky Packages turned to film production, the resulting movie gave new meaning to the phrase "bad idea." In comparison, going into Vietnam wasn't so bad.

The story, what there is of it, is patently insane. Supposedly, Cap'n Manzini (Anthony Newley, Doctor Dolittle) is keeping the Garbage Pail Kids in a trash can in his antiques shop. Dodger, played in two alternating moods, surprised and dismayed, by former "The Facts of Life" orphan Mackenzie Astin, works for Manzini in his shop, breaking untold amounts of child labor laws. Though warned countless times about the trash can, Dodger accidentally knocks over the pail when being assaulted by one of the prettiest '80s villains ever, the make-up wearing thug named Juice.

Juice has what one could loosely call a girlfriend in the awfully named Tangerine, a fashion designer who sells crappy clothes to stupid club kids. Her creative outlet allows the film to wallow in some of the worst costume designs ever. Of course, despite her having at least 10 years on him, Dodger desires this '80s street trash. The only way to her heart? Of course: fashion. '80s fashion.

That's where the Garbage Pail Kids come in. Creepy, creepy, CREEPY midgets in rubbery costumes marked by GIANT HEADS. With mouths that barely move and one horrendous aspect after another, including vomiting, snot, and terrible breath. Their one redeeming feature? An amazing ability to stitch together clothes that challenge Tangerine's in terms of garishness. To be truthful, I only finished the film 30 minutes ago, and beyond that, I don't remember much else in terms of the plot. I also don't think there was much more, which made this 100-minute film an exercise in abject terror for anyone with a sense of style or logic.

For my own enjoyment, I would like to describe a scene from this film. Astin, looking like a JV Chippendale's dancer in a rhinestone silver bowtie and matching sparkle-highlighted tuxedo jacket, runs into "The Toughest Bar in the World," whistles and commands the bikers inside to help him. Maybe it's just Astin's complete lack of acting ability, the costume designer's idea of a cruel joke or the fact that I was punchdrunk from watching Nat Nerd urinate on himself a few too many times, but this scene just stood out to me as another example of why I sometimes think that film directors should need a license.

This would be the last movie TV veteran Rod Amateau would ever direct, and after watching it, you understand why. Though it featured the jiggling girls that marked his later career, there was next to nothing else in this film except the concept of making a children's movie that would horrify and disgust both the kids and adults in the audience. That was certainly a mistake that this film never recovered from. From the first image on-screen to the final frame, this movie reeks of crass, meaningless product placement and without a bit of creative filmmaking to counteract it. Oh, and two of his kids are in the movie too.

While I have spent the past six paragraphs trashing this film, I must now say, it's worth a viewing for fans of truly bad movies. The Garbage Pails Kids Movie is not a movie that's so bad it's good. It's just bad. But it will amaze you that it was actually made. Yes, it's an amazing film. (That was for the ads...I'll expect my check shortly.) It's also a disturbing blend of Freaks, Even Dwarves Started Small and Snow White. Your reaction to that statement will tell you everything you need to know about whether you need to see this.

MGM apparently lost a bet and thus is releasing The Garbage Pail Kids Movie on DVD in a one-disc release, packed in a standard black keepcase. The disc features static, anamorphic widescreen menus, which offer scene selections, the film's trailer and subtitle options. The scene-selection menus feature still previews and titles for each scene, while subtitle options include English, French and Spanish.

The Quality
The quality of the widescreen anamorphic video on this film is surprisingly good. Colors are good, though the picture is a tad on the dull side, and the level of detail in the transfer is pretty decent. Though there's some occasional dirt, and the grain is acceptable, overall, this video is much better than I expected, thus you can see a stream of pee clearly.

The audio, presented in Dolby Digital Mono, is quite standard, though at times a bit muddy. The voices of the Kids in particular can be a bit tough to understand. Unfortunately, the god-awful song sung by the Kids is heard clearly and will affect the way you feel about musicals for the rest of your life.

The Extras
The only extra on this DVD is the film's anamorphic widescreen theatrical trailer, which is in pretty good shape, with just some dirt marring the image. This is an old school trailer, the kind of character introduction preview you just don't see anymore.

The Bottom Line
Wow. I don't think I've seen a film as amazingly bad as this in a long time. It took every bit of strength I had to not change discs at several points, especially during that musical number. But at the same time, it's also a car wreck you can't turn away from. The DVD doesn't offer much more than a good presentation of the film, but will you really ever watch it more than once? Could you sit through a second run for a commentary? If so, you are a very strong person. I would say this is a rental, but I'll say skip this instead, and if you happen to catch it, well, then that's your issue.

Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

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*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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