December 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
Okay, little confession. I originally planned to review something else in this Christmas season but given what I mentioned back in October, that certain “something else” is somewhere in my room that I cannot find. So with that, why not review something else that has already been reviewed many times before. Yeah, that would work because when Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas came out, everybody decide to tear this up immediately to shreds. From Brad Jones to Ben of Oddity Archive to to uh, 119 Ministries?!? Well, it is a Christian propaganda movie so that makes sense. And in addition, Rotten Tomatoes joined in the action enough that Kirk became so disillusioned (which he already was) and wants his fan base to make this movie certified fresh.
So really, this is really a hard way to review something because I already state the obvious on Rotten Tomatoes which became news late last year and I could tell you the plot… but how exactly? It’s Kirk playing a version of himself teaching his brother-in-law (that’s played by the director of this movie) about the faithful joys of Christmas with a hint of their comedic styles and materialism involved. And you know what? There, I explained the plot just now. The synopsis I brought up is kind of the whole premise of the movie. So how the fuck am I gonna do a review that’s different from all those other reviews before? Well, I have some interesting explaining on both Kirk and the director so that’s a bit of a start.
And it is about time where I wanted to talk about former child star Kirk Cameron, I have been waiting for this since… well, ever. Now I never seen an episode of Growing Pains and have not much interest to see it anyway. When it comes to family oriented sitcoms from the 80s, I’m more of a Family Ties and ALF kind of guy. So I didn’t know Kirk back then. No, the first time I came to know him is instead a dreadful kind of first time – has anybody seen the mid 1990s Kirk sitcom that aired on The WB? I did and I have seen bunch of episodes… that show is so friggin’ bad that I am currently tracking down the complete series and yet, it is so hard to find.
Kirk himself plays Kirk Hartman who wants his comic book artwork to give a greenlight which would have worked but it was the time when Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee and Randy Queen dominate the Wizard Top 10 artists list. Heck, I even remember an episode where he wanted to meet Stan Lee but instead of the co-creator of Marvel Universe, he met some other guy known as Stan Lee and that is the joke. Despite the show being bad, it can be watchable for bad sitcoms and I have seen tons of episodes of USA High at four in the morning to know it. BTW, that show in on YouTube but not Kirk? Heck, even one episode of Pauly Shore’s own sitcom made it there so it boggles me on why one of Kirk’s vanity projects didn’t.
And after that sitcom came the infamous Left Behind adaptation trilogy. Again, it’s watchable for bad end times propaganda so if you want something for bad movie riffing night, check these out and you will thank me later if you did. I heard nothing much from Kirk since then except when it comes to news reports involving crocoduck and him being homophobic or something. Then came Saving Christmas which I have been waiting to see all year, I’ll get to my thoughts on this shortly but I’m done with Kirk so how about I should waste a bit more time on the director, co-writer and co-star of the movie.
Enter Darren Doane which was more famous as a music video and commercials director. Honestly, I have issues with current state of directors whose work is originally known for music videos, they want to be like David Fincher and Russell Mulcahy but instead failed their approach to be Marcus Nispel and The Brothers Strause instead. Just because you make good music videos doesn’t equal to you thinking you can make good movies as well. But why bother complaining since Hollywood is diluted enough to say yes to anything bad nowadays. Darren did direct one Kirk Cameron vehicle before this called Unstoppable and have made a few bunch of flicks like Michael Madsen-starrer 42K which I saw everywhere on bargain bins.
And his music videos? I’ve seen a little to be honest but I’m not in a hurry to see the ones he did for Jason Mraz and MxPx. And last thing to mention about his body of work is that he did make two short movies for Malibu Comics which is a promo for Hardcase starring Gary Daniels and Firearm which is established as the zero issue of the comic book series. It’s a 90s speculator boom thing. And I have seen Firearm issue zero from start to finish and you know what? I should have review that one instead of this movie because this is both good and hilarious to watch even right down to these promos featured before the movie. In fact, I should throw in a link for you to see it for yourself.
Okay, enough stalling here and finally, my own thoughts on what I think of Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. It is gloriously bad from start to finish and it’s obvious that you heard it all before. Production wise, it felt like you’re watching an awful Christmas movie like The Christmas Shoe and A Christmas Story 2 since the setting, the characters and storytelling felt a bit lifeless, unrealistic and sometimes preachy. And the message about it is that materialism is awesome to have at the holidays so yeah, Kirk is into this holiday enough that he likes being wealthy and wants everybody in the whole world to know it. Heck, he thinks Christmas is the only holiday in December to ever existed so to the ones celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus and anything else, he doesn’t matter about those other holidays here and gives no damn about it.
And the message he brings to convince Darren’s character is the stuff of crackpot theory legends. Kirk tries to explain his take on Jesus Christ, Santa Claus and the Christmas tree in the most questionable way possible. Now granted Santa Claus being a badass warrior is cool but it’s kinda been before if you look at Santa The Barbarian or in recent times, Grant Morrison’s take on the guy. Yeah, I brought up comics in this review so it doesn’t matter if you want the best comparison, the logics of this movie is similar to Bill Jemas’ infamous mini-series Marville since ooh, that one is bad and not in a good way. Just to give one example, Bill made Rush Limbaugh look like Ace Rimmer in this story.
Comic book aside, the acting is cheesy even to Bridgette Cameron doing nothing much until near the end when she participates in a out-of-nowhere dance sequence that kills every dance sequence in movie history. The best part in my opinion is as Santa Claus since the first sight of him is a look that caused laughter and the origin story is fine and the other part is the whole “War on Christmas” monologue which is ADR to the point that I want to see a fan-made clip of Seinfeld and George Constanza do the same in one episode. The story (or stories) felt like a confused anthology sketch movie that almost sort-of but not really worked, it is focusing on why materialism is cool to Kirk and his pack but with Kirk explaining it why heads off to it that he’s trying to parody it. And he failed at that but his failure is done in glorious WTF sense.
It is a strange movie to behold and is worth looking it. I do apologize if this review is like this but this is the best I could do for a review on something that’s already unreviewable at this point of time and try to differ this one from the others. When I find the one I’m looking for, I will review it since that one is kinda obscure and I did my checking on it. If not, then I don’t know, a episode of Beverly Hills 90210 might be another substitute but I can’t think of anything else. And hey, Kirk’s other sister Candace Cameron-Bure is reprising her famous role in the upcoming Fuller House and since I’m never really a fan of the original show, I’m guessing it might be as cheesy as what I already reviewed.
On second thought, never mind and I am so not watching this. Uh, anyway, Merry Christmas as well as other holidays that I mentioned and may have missed and hope 2016 is another good year. Come to think of it, 2015 seems alright to me except for one month I wish never existed so I don’t know, it is nearly time to throw in my best and worst list again.
December 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
Alright, I’m getting set to take on Lavalantula and you guys have no idea why I might be ecstatically happy about this. I’ve been a fan of the Police Academy franchise since I was a kid and I saw those seven movies (yeah, that includes the awful Mission to Moscow) and some episodes of live-action series and really wanted to see a reunion movie so this one is pretty much as close as it gets. And to add something pretty nostalgic, Patrick Renna of The Sandlot fame also stars in this movie and why not? I already brought his brief cameo up in Gamebox 1.0… come to think of it, I actually didn’t.
So who better to combine spiders and volcanic lava in this monster mash-up but none other than Mike Mendez who already made a spider monster movie known simply as Big Ass Spider! He also did other movies before this which to be honest is not worth mention except he did a spoof of Independence Day known as and this is no joke… Bimbo Movie Bash! Yeah, he parodied a movie best known for Will Smith punching an alien that he sees for the first time under that title. I got nothing to add and have to wonder why he went to that title. But I have to see how this one fares.
The movie begins with Colton West (Steve Guttenberg) who’s an washed-up actor facing his usual problems – assault charges, conflicts with the director and issues with his family. However, when a volcano erupts while he’s stuck on the freeway, Colton is now alerted and decides to go from 90s B-Grade action hero actor to literal action hero and he wants his wife and son safe from the chaos that involves giant-size volcanic spiders invading Los Angeles. He first decides to hitchhike a tour bus (while leaving the driver to possibly die) and with Chris (Patrick Renna) as one of the passengers.
While his wife Olivia (Nia Peeples) discovers that her psychiatrist friend Doris (Leslie Easterbrook) died after encountering the spiders before using various “prop” weapons to kill spiders, his son Wyatt (Noah Hunt) and his friends are surviving from the dangers but one by one suffers the spiders attack. Colton and Chris later escapes the bus (along with other passengers) and team-up to survive but back to Olivia as soldiers stormed through the place and rescues her. Colton and Chris meet up with Pirate Jack (Ralph Garman) and they try to survive… and then, this happened.
Well, the crossover cameo was over in less than a minute and after that, Colton, Chris and Pirate Jack escapes with Jack’s car but the ride is short-lived so they decide to hide out in the museum. They encountered Dr Erik Von Struebel (Time Winters) who explains why there’s volcanic spiders around. Meanwhile, Olivia survived more spiders invasion as the soldiers got killed one by one. Back at the museum and Pirate Jack became spider snack before the three escapes with the building exploded. The chopper arrived with Chris and Dr Erik parting ways with Colton as he continues finding his family.
Olivia however found Colton with her driving the army truck and they both gone to find Wyatt who is surviving the chaos. They arrived to him in time as Wyatt tries to kill a spider with a fire extinguisher that’s losing nitrogen. The spider died and Colton figured out nitrogen is a good source of stopping those spiders. This leads to them going to film studio with Marty (Michael Winslow) and Teddie (Marion Ramsey) hiding out along with others. They are making their plans to stop the remaining spiders which cuts to Colton, Marty and Teddie shooting spiders (all while Michael brings his sound effects gimmick while going ecstatic).
Colton then goes solo while ditching the two and Michael continues the gimmick while imitating as William Wallace in Braveheart. Colton then shoots few spiders in the rooftop before he decides to don the suit of his world-famous Red Rocket character and complete with jetpack while stopping the biggest spider of them all. And the plan worked as Colton West became Los Angeles’ greatest hero and the movie ends with both Marty and Teddie becoming self-aware by predicting a sequel to come along. Now this movie is cheesy and fun with familiar cast as always and… I hope and really hope it doesn’t suffer the same dreadful self-parody sequelitis fate that Sharknado is getting.
It is worth checking out and probably one of SyFy’s good movies to come around in a long time. It knows how to send up the Hollywood lifestyle and not come off in a lousy shallow parody way. Mike did a good job even if he made two monster movies involving Spiders so far so yeah, there’s a bit of one trick pony there but hey, I will check out the sequel and who knows who would pop up there. Maybe G.W. Bailey, George Gaynes and Bobcat Goldthwait will be part of the cast so now, let’s move on to… that Christmas movie that I am dreading to review! I should have chosen another awkward Christmas episode of a television show instead.