THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE (1987) Review
Only in America can you sink (supposedly) $30,000,000 into a movie populated by idiotic non-characters and stereotypical caricatures, fill it with religious and mythological allegory, take the plot out, constantly give the middle finger to the audience and call it The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. Only in America can you do this and still earn a paltry $1,576,615 in return. God bless the United States.
And where did the money disappear to? Fuck knows. The GPK budget is like the film version of the Haiti aid money. All of this money being poured into this effort and it just vanishes. And just like the Haitians, nobody cares about the Garbage Pail Kids, either.
Seriously, where the fuck did the money go? And I’m not talking about Haiti. I’m talking about something far more important: GPK. Actually, never mind where the money actually went, who thought it would be a good idea to fund this piece of shit film with $30,000,000? Who thought it would be a good idea to fund this with anything?
It’s good to know our fellow Americans can just throw this kind of money around when there are people suffering in a country that’s obviously inferior to the US, where money just disappears inexplicably… like Canada.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is just another example of a late ‘80s film that was nothing more than just a feature-length film advertisement. Much like The Wizard was for Nintendo, GPK is for, well, Garbage Pail Kids.
It’s also infamously bad.
GPK is a funny film, indeed. Its claim that it’s a family film is disputable since the filmmakers seem to do everything they can to distance their film from families. It’s awesome in its political-incorrectness and brazen stereotypical portrayals. I honestly think it’s the closest thing we’ll ever get to Freaks (1932) in this day and age.
You’ve got a bunch of midgets and dwarfs in these offensive costumes, each presenting a single-minded purpose and/or stereotype. These things are intentionally created as some kind of a sideshow.
GPK’s nature as a contradictory farce on multiple levels is laughable. For instance, it wants kids not to judge others by their appearances, but the Garbage Pail Kids – over-the-top parodies of the Cabbage Patch Kids – are designed to be disgusting. Everything about them is appearance. Furthermore, how can I take seriously these caricatures that are purposely designed to be monotonous, one-note and stereotypical?
The movie also has a seriously fucked up undertone of sexuality going on between Dodger and Tangerine. There are also religious parallels, sexism against women and discrimination against just about everyone, product placements, and feels like this is all going on in some sort of alternate dimension. It also destroyed the careers of pretty much everyone involved.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie plot? Uh… They’re from a garbage can and they’re gross. Also, there’s some shit about a fashion show. Exciting. Seriously, for a film that’s this over-the-top, you would probably be expecting a ludicrous plot. And it is, but not in the way that you expect.
The film starts with a trashcan floating through space.
We get a hint of the Kids we’ll be introduced to later. Then we cut to Dodger, our hero, being chase by… Street punks? Gangsters? Not sure. Dodger is played by Mackenzie Astin.
Mackenzie Astin, half-brother of Sean Astin, with half his half-brother’s career under his belt, has a Wikipedia page that apparently does not even acknowledge the existence of this film in his biography section.
Dodger gets caught by two henchmen. One’s got no personality; the other’s got no personality and the most heinous laugh in all of cinema. I don’t even know what their names are. Then there’s Tangerine, a sort of gangster’s moll, femme fatale and love interest of Dodger.
Finally, there’s Juice, who is one of the baddest villains in history. And by baddest I mean worst. He’s got a monotone. He can’t act. I don’t even know why he’s so feared by everyone. Supposedly he’s this big shot. I never really see him do anything “evil”. But in this film, it’s his dogged and single-minded pursuit of just ruining Dodger’s shit that amuses me the most.
Why pick on Dodger? Does he have something against the L.A. team? I have no idea. Juice seems to take an extreme existentialist position. He knows his place in the universe. He knows his role and he follows it wholeheartedly.
Juice provides society with some crucial services: one, keeping our crappy kids in check. Our youth are running wild and someone needs to keep these bastards in line.
Juice is also our frontline in the fight against imaginary enemies, whether they are kids, or hideous and deformed monstrosities from the garbage cans that the kids conjure up to terrorize society.
So, you see, folks, Juice is our frontline against everyone and everything that is un-American, and that means stereotypical and bigoted caricatures like the Garbage Pail Kids.
Let me just highlight the discrepancy between Juice and Dodger, here. Juice might be a dumbassed monotonous villain with no apparent motives for what he does, but at least he does something.
He apparently just likes crusading against the old, the ugly, the deformed, the hideous, etc., with no real reason except that he has principles… like destroying Dodger and his friends… which he abandoned for money… Gee, that sounds familiar.
Dodger, on the other hand, is completely fucking useless. He doesn’t do a god damn thing in this film. He relies on everybody else to do his shit for him, and then attempts to take advantage of said hospitality. He can’t even do what he’s not supposed to do, IE releasing the Garbage Pail Kids.
Dodger is lazy and does no work in the movie. In fact, he might be the most useless protagonist in film history. He is an oppressive white male, subjecting his stereotyped “friends” to slave labor, forcing them to work for nothing to make products and provide services that he’ll take to give to some other white person, who may or may not be a pedophile, and turn a profit… Kinda like Wal-Mart.
White people using others for slave labor? Sounds about right.
Anyway, the story basically goes like this: Captain Manzini (God) allows Dodger to look at and touch anything he wants in the store (Garden of Eden), except for the magic trashcan (Tree of Knowledge, or whatever). Dodger brings Tangerine, a woman, back to the antique store. While there, they have an awkward moment which is mercifully cut short when Juice (the serpent) enters the store. Dodger bringing Tangerine back ultimately leads to the opening of the trashcan (Fall of Man) and the releasing of all the evils of the world (Pandora’s Box)…
Uh, wait, mixing up mythological bedtime stories here…
So the Kids get loose. What follows is an odd combination of age-inappropriate sexuality, a fashion show plot, and the Kids doing random shit to and with random people. What’s really fucked up… is the age-inappropriate sexuality…
Don’t get me wrong. The whole older chick-younger guy thing has probably been around since our elders sat around the first campfire exchanging stories about how, when they were kids, they banged their friends’ moms, while the dads were out hunting and gathering… What young boy doesn’t fantasize about getting with an older chick?
But this is just fucked up. It’s pretty disturbing…
When it’s a younger boy with an older woman, it’s all good. Hey, it’s innocent and funny, right? But when it’s an older man with just about anybody else, it’s creepy and disgusting. Fuck that. We men have faced this double-standard long enough. We want our pop cultural depictions of older men with young kids to be funny, too.
But wait… I spoke too soon. There are actually a lot of people after Dodger’s supple young body.
The main thing is a fashion show plot. The Kids can sew. Dodger wants the Kids to sew for him so he can win over Tangerine.
So the Kids send Dodger home whereupon they launch into a completely random and impromptu musical number. Wait, what? It’s not like the Kids are sitting around in a scene and then they start singing. Nope. There’s an extremely quick cut, and it’s like we’re in the middle of the fucking song.
Plus, this song just plain sucks ass. “We can do anything by working with each other,” they sing, over and over and over again, until your eardrums bleed. I think someone should have told that to this film’s production team.
I also can’t even begin to describe the hypocrisy at display here. They’re singing about how they can overcome and about, you know, teamwork, while stealing sewing equipment. Hi, kids, you, too, can work together with your cronies to steal fortunes from other hardworking people.
IMDb and everyone else with only half-a-brain lists this film as a musical. Even though the Kids sing just one song. Ah well, if Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and just about everyone else who’s popular these days can be considered musicians, then the Kids are in good company.
So Dodger “hires” them to sew shit for him because apparently these ass-ugly clothes are stylish. I don’t know if I’m the best judge of clothing since my mom still dresses me, but I just can’t imagine these clothes being popular in any era. I know the ‘80s has an infamous rep for being bad with just about everything, including fashion, but this is worse than anything I’ve ever seen.
The rest of the first hour or so is just the Kids going around doing random shit to fill time. They go to the movies in trenchcoats and hats. And, of course, this being the ‘80s, nobody can tell they’re deformed monstrosities.
Some of them go to a biker bar named “The Toughest Bar in the World”. Ali Gator’s toe fetish gets them into trouble.
They fight their way to popularity and win the bikers over. And, yet, nobody even bothers to question the fact that there’s an anthropomorphic Arab alligator walking around.
They also go around pulling all sorts of pranks on Juice and his cronies. How these guys know where the gang is, is beyond me. But their guerrilla warfare proves effective.
At about the hour mark, we’re introduced to a completely ludicrous subplot from out of left, right and center field. The Kids are worried about their other Kid friends. Where are the Kids’ friends, you might be asking? In the State Home for the Ugly. You heard that fucking right.
Finally, a political initiative that I can get behind. Ronald Reagan, you were the best. First Iran-Contra, and now the State Home for the Ugly.
I don’t even get this shit. There’s a trashcan floating in space that ends up on Earth that these Kids live in, or something. But for some reason a bunch of them have gotten separated and are in this “State Home for the Ugly” and the rest are under Captain Manzini’s care.
What the hell is Manzini a captain of? Industry? How the hell did Manzini even get a hold of these things? There are no international space agencies or, you know, people, who noticed a fucking trashcan falling towards the Earth that wasn’t burning up in the atmosphere? How long have they been here? Why am I asking questions to which there are no answers?
Anyhow, we’re all of a sudden introduced to a new subplot, involving saving their friends from the State Home for the Ugly, like it was this big fucking deal before. That’s what so awesome about this: the State Home for the Ugly is so ingrained into this universe’s public consciousness.
Dodger assists Tangerine with the fashion show, which is called McBundy’s.
Meanwhile, Juice arrives at the shop, knocks out Manzini, kidnaps the Kids and sends them to the State Home, being paid handsomely for his citizenly duty. The State Home is obviously run by a bunch of old white guys.
Dodger inevitably finds out about the betrayal – mostly because he gets his ass handed to him again – and rushes to save his friends. Apparently time is running out because they not only lock up hideous and deformed creatures, they kill them, too.
GPK does raise interesting questions. Is Juice really evil if he is just performing his citizenly duty to turn in those that are ugly? When do laws become illegitimate and should we follow or not follow laws that clearly go too far? In this case, yes. The world needs less ugly people.
The film also treats women in three ways: they’re manly, they’re “pretty” but clearly out to manipulate little children, or they’re disgusting. Perhaps Reagan’s State Home for the Ugly did not come to fruition but he could always be content knowing he continually oppressed women.
So, to put it short, Dodger, Manzini and the bikers break everyone out of the State Home.
Dodger, the Captain and the Kids decide to take down the fashion show. Fuck the bikers, I guess they’re just useless now.
Long story short, they engage in a ridiculous climax. At first they knock out the henchmen, and then proceed to crash the McBundy’s fashion show.
By stripping all of the models of their clothing.
Dodger then somehow manages to beat the crap out of Juice, says goodbye to Tangerine and everyone lives happily ever after.
Good fucking god.
Honestly, I can’t even begin to describe how ludicrously-bad this film is and how one should feel towards it. It’s like taking the dumbest plot you could think of and then cramming in as much prejudice, stereotypes, bigotry and nonsensical shit you can think of. Then just ending it. It’s ungodly bad, but it’s got this weird charm.
I think the movie pretty much speaks for itself…
Of course, we wouldn’t have a shitty movie if it weren’t for our cola sponsors.
Next, I journey to the future, or the past, or something. And there might be aliens from another planet, or there might not. There definitely isn’t only one.
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- May 21, 2012 / 3:49 am