|Copyright 1980 NF Geria III-Produktion München
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 29 January 2006
- Alphie - Incorruptible and a talented singer. After he grew all that facial hair I was waiting for Burgermeister Meisterburger to show up. Ascends to Heaven. (He is from Moose Jaw, Canada.)
- Bibi - She spends a goodly part of the movie engaging in all sorts of debauchery, before realizing that her place is at home, in the cave, raising the children. Also Heaven bound. (Also a Canadian.)
- Mr. Topps - Not exactly the picture of the almighty that most of us might imagine, but he does have a cool ride.
- Mr. Boogalow - The Devil went down to Georgia, to start his own recording company (BIM: Boogalow International Music). He also stole Darkness' chair, probably because Darkness never answered his calls.
- Pandi & Dandi - The female (Pandi) and male (Dandi) BIM stars who were created by Boogalow. Pandi gets saved.
- Shake - Wow, talk about a comprehensive study in glitter eye shadow and metallic lipstick.
- Bulldog & Fatdog - These would be Boogalow's pet musclemen. The latter guy needs to drop a few pounds.
- Ashley - The head of BIM's marketing department. I do not think this is a guy; it looks more like an ugly woman.
|Wow, but this movie is ever a crazed study in wasted energy. Not only are people constantly breaking out into song and dance, but there is also the insane addition of the Almighty and the Devil. Watching films like the "The Apple" keeps me up for days, trying to work off the pure frantic energy radiated. Worrying that the producers might make a sequel is another reason for my insomnia.
All of that having been said, I actually enjoy this movie. It fails gloriously.
The movie begins with what looks like a Battlestar Galactica convention gone terribly wrong. What is really taking place is the Worldvision Music Contest, where different acts perform in front of a live audience. In addition, billions of viewers tune in via television to watch the performances (must be a Tuesday night). The audience is important, because the show's officials monitor their heartbeats and other vital signs to determine what songs are the best.
The judging criteria irk me for some reason. I guess it is the removal of conscious audience voting. Do not get me wrong, I completely ignore American Idol (in fact, the only real reason I turn on the television is to watch a movie). Just imagine some producer saying that the audience is too stupid to vote for who they liked best. Instead, data like respiration and heart rate will be used to tell you who were the best. Gah!
You know, a smart manager would hand out free Mountain Dew and candy to the crowd before his act went on stage.
Anyway, the most successful act is Pandi and Dandi performing their "Do the BIM" song. Imagine a forgettable Janet Jackson song combined with the cast of "Flash Gordon" going crazy. I was thrilled, but have been known to be distracted by shiny objects, like dancer's uniforms. The audience goes wild during the performance, pumping the meter up to 150 heartbeats. After that is over, amazingly, Alphie and Bibi inspire an even greater number with their simple duet of "Love, the Unchained Melody." Mr. Boogalow is not pleased at the sudden turn of events and instructs an incredulous Shake to play the red tape. This causes an annoying warbling over the loudspeakers and the crowd boos the Canadians off the stage.
Ok, I have a problem with the entire bit about the red tape. Shake hands this damn thing to a technician and tells the guy to play it. The tech responds, "What if somebody sees me" and Shake responds, "Then you're dead." Not only is that a serious punishment (a firing squad, vice just firing), but Shake handed the man the tape plain as day. How does someone not see this? Why does the audience boo at Alphie and Bibi when the unpleasant warbling is obviously some sort of sabotage?
Why do I put so much thought into movies like "The Apple?"
With their dreams of stardom crushed, the duo is enticed by Mr. Boogalow into attending his party. While there, Bibi shows her true colors. She takes some unidentified drugs before being smooched and fondled by Dandi. The evil male singer, sensing her weakness, croons "You Were Made For Me." (Bibi must be a GM product.) The end result is that Alphie grabs his girlfriend's hand and storms out.
The next day, the two enter the BIM headquarters for an appointment with Boogalow. This is where the limited scope of filming locations comes into play. I think that about 75% of this film was shot in and around a large convention center. You know, the one from the first scene. You should see the inside of the BIM building. It has huge open spaces, escalators, and short knap carpet. It does not look like the largest and most evil music entity in the world. The movie does not discuss the RIAA, so I am assuming that they either do not exist or that Boogalow International Music is a pseudonym.
Does it seem to you like I keep getting sidetracked? It sure does to me. To press on, Alphie and Bibi are urged to quickly sign contracts with BIM. Now, Boogalow is not using force. What happens is that they are dropped into the middle of a press conference, told that they have an appointment with a famous fashion designer in 20 minutes, and that their first tour is scheduled for the following week. Bibi responds enthusiastically to all this, because she just wants to be a star, but Alphie sees the dark shadows looming in the room's corners. Well, actually nothing that subtle. Not from this movie. Every time Alphie considers the contract he sees a vision: the city in flames, darkness falling, and an earthquake. Eventually, this all segues into a trip to Hell. Boogalow with horns, Shake wearing a lizardman suit from "Flash Gordon" (must have been a good year for that prop company), and lots of choreographed undead. Alphie awakes from his vision and vows never to sign. Personally, I think it had to be something he ate. Mercury, perhaps.
The following scenes establish Bibi being groomed as a BIM star. This is accomplished with a musical montage. Once you get past the absurdity of the songs, they are not that bad. Sort of endearing, in the same way as a newly hatched baby robin. You know that it is supposed to be cute and even find a way to care about the jumbled mass of bones and swollen skin, but if the thing was much bigger (say, the size of a dog), you would run screaming.
Alphie's fortunes are looking just a little worse. He is living in a messy apartment that he does not pay for, only because of his kind landlady. He is still writing songs, but nobody will buy them. I guess this is supposed to impress upon the audience the unfairness of everything that is happening. Still, this guy is trying to sell folksy love songs during the 80's (though the movie claims the year to be 1994). The terrible state of affairs is compounded by the government adopting BIM in a big way. Citizens are required to purchase BIM marks (small glittery triangles) and wear them. There is also a BIM hour every day. This is announced via loudspeakers and everyone is expected to stop what they are doing and dance.
Yeah, it is one of those movies.
Desperate to see Bibi, Alphie tries to muscle his way past Dandi to speak with his ex-girlfriend. The fit of stupidity earns him a couple of hard knocks from Bulldog and Fatdog. He limps home, crying out his love and misery. The landlady is relieved to discover that he is still alive the next morning. She then gives him what is possibly the worst advice I have ever heard. The insane woman tells Alphie to go find Bibi. Are you out of your mind? He just got the crap beat out of him for doing just that. Let the ribs heal first.
Despite her success, Bibi is not happy. Lost in a world of drugs and sex, she pines for her old flame. Sounds a lot like "Forrest Gump," but Alphie exhibits normal intelligence. I bet he has some other malfunction, like turning the lights on and off ten times before leaving the bathroom. Maybe, and this would be delicious irony, Alphie is allergic to shrimp.
Okay, back to the movie at hand.
While playing vagrant, Alphie happens across a tribe of hippies. They all live together, in a natural cave under an old bridge, in complete harmony. Bibi eventually flees from her destructive lifestyle, finding her way back into Alphie's arms. The Moose Jaw natives discover peace and raise a child.
Stop! Where do all of these hippies get the food to survive? Are they scavenging discarded lettuce from the dumpsters at Taco Bell? Do they dig underground tunnels into grocery stores? So what if they are by the river. Teach a man to fish, and then only give him fish to eat for two years; I bet that he is not going to sit around singing kumbaya in praise of his life. Also, and this is never explored, just whose kid is that? Bibi's for sure, but are we sure Alphie is the father? It could be Dandi's for all we know, which would make it the Devil's grandson.
The movie ends with the most jaw-dropping scene in recent memory. Mr. Boogalow shows up with his entourage and a bunch of riot police. The entire commune is arrested. I was hoping the hippies might be processed into Soylent Green, allowing Mr. Heston to shout, "You're eating Canadians!" (Probably not the same dramatic impact, come to think of it.) Suddenly a brilliant white Rolls Royce drives across the sky. A distinguished figure, also clad in white, strolls down from hovering automobile and intervenes on the hippies' behalf. This is Mr. Topps, who is quite cross with Mr. Boogalow over the current state of affairs. He is taking Alphie, Bibi, and the others away, where Boogalow's taint can never touch them again. Everyone who believes in salvation walks across the sky and climbs into the big, white Rolls. The end.
What in the heck? The Almighty finally takes overt action against his wayward son over two folk singers from Moose Jaw, Canada? God: "Listen here Satan, the Black Plague was bad; as was slavery, genocide, and Nazi death camps, but pop music and arresting the last hippies is just going too far!" The creative association that went into writing that ending is impressive (and frightening).
You think I complained about the movie? I never even mentioned the road warrior station wagons used as standard transportation.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Never underestimate the musical value of Plexiglas.
- The Devil speaks English, French, German, and Italian.
- Ballet can include sequins and even a firebreather, but a midget might be stretching things a bit.
- Satan uses Miracle Gro in his orchard.
- Disney will eventually purchase Amtrak.
- Having a big perm is a distinct disadvantage in a fight.
- The entire cast of "Cats" went to Hell.
- Hippies hate television.
- The Rapture is when God descends from Heaven in his white Rolls Royce to whisk away all the hippies to a new planet. The rest of us will be left to suffer the horrors of popular music.
- 16 mins - I doubt the pill worked that fast. You are just a loose woman.
- 24 mins - Mr. Boogalow must have a large office.
- 30 mins - Ah, yeah, the Devil got a little jungle love at some point.
- 44 mins - Where in the heck did that urge come from?
- 52 mins - So, what exact occasion was Bibi planning for when she got dressed this morning?
- 54 mins - "Cry for me. Where has all the pity gone? Bibi, I'm bleeding internally. I think they ruptured my spleen."
- 65 mins - Just aim for the center one. (Which does not work with an even number of hallucinations.)
- 71 mins - What is that bar made from, a colossal molar?
- Boogalow: "Bring the hors doeuvre."
Shake: "Our special hors doeuvre?"
Boogalow: "My special hors doeuvre, the apple!"
Shake: "Bring the master's special hors doeuvre, the apple!"
- Alphie: "I know you too."
Joe Pittman: "Yeah, Joe Pittman."
Alphie: "Joe Pittman from the Daily Post. What's he doing here?"
Pandi: "He works for Mr. Boogalow now."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Boogalow: "Who the hell are they?" |
Shake: "They're nobodies, I swear. They're just a couple of kids from Moose Jaw."
Boogalow: "Moose where?"
Shake: "I think it's in Canada."
Boogalow: "They're good."
Shake: "But boss, for Christ's sakes, they're singing a love song. Love songs are out!"
||Alphie: "The guy's a shark. He'll eat us alive!" |
Bibi: "He's just an agent. He doesn't own us. He's only taking fifty percent."
Alphie: "Have you ever seen an American contract? It's hundreds of pages of doubletalk!"
||Yes, I know how to be a mas-ter!
||Head Hippie: "These are refugees from the 60's, commonly known as 'hippies.'"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Alphie and Bibi's short little trip to Hell and her temptation by Dandi.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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