3 Ninjas

3 Ninjas
Color Coded Ninjas.  And they wear their masks as hats.

The year was 1992, the ’80s were finally dead, and ninja-mania was winding down.  Someone figured out that the best way to give ninja movies the dishonorable death they had been craving for years was to make the ninjas pizza-loving pre-teens.  There are FOUR 3 Ninjas movies, and I recommend watching any one of them, but you could easily watch all 4, because they each have their own merits.

3 Ninjas Something or other
I don’t even remember which movie this is.

First, there’s 3 Ninjas.  Despite being totally white, Samuel, Jeffrey, and Michael Douglas have a totally cool Japanese grandfather named Mori Tanaka.  He lives in a cabin in the woods and he’s a highly trained ninja (allegedly).  So, every summer, the 3 brothers stay with Tanaka and he teaches them the deadly art of Ninjutsu (allegedly).  This summer is special, because, despite being very different ages, Samuel, Jeffrey, and Michael have attained some degree of ninja mastery (allegedly).  In honor of this, Tanaka bestows NEW NINJA NAMES upon the boys.  Are you ready?  Samuel becomes “Rocky.”  Jeffrey becomes “Colt.”  Michael becomes “Tum Tum.”  Rocky, Colt, and Tum Tum.  Ninja names.

3 Ninjas Murder Punch
Pretty soon, all of his organs will graphically explode.

The rest of the movie involves Tanaka’s former student, Hugo Snyder, being an evil arms dealer and general bad guy who uses his assistant’s surfer nephew named Fester (and his friends) as thugs.  Blah blah blah, the 3 Ninjas out-ninja Snyder and his minions.  I’m skipping a lot because I want to cram the other 3 movies into this entry, not because you shouldn’t watch the movie.  After they win, they all go out for pizza.  Though critics were negative buttholes about it, 3 Ninjas generated a healthy box office gross, proving once again that nobody knows quality like the American public.

3 Ninjas Threat Signal
It’s either a sign of solidarity, or a threat.

Next up is 3 Ninjas Kick Back, but this is actually the THIRD movie in the series.  3 Ninjas Knuckle Up was filmed before Kick Back, but released 3 years later.  I’ll keep these in order by release, though.  3 Ninjas Kick Back only sees one of the original boys returning (Colt), the other two being replaced… you probably won’t care enough to notice the difference.  Grandpa Mori Tanaka is also the same guy, but his name is now Mori Shintaro.  This time, the 3 Ninjas are going through teenage problems (read: real world problems that really matter), and basically demonstrating how undeserving they are of being highly trained ninjas.  The bad guy this time is Koga and his nephew Glam.

3 Ninjas Sumo Threesome
This is going to go real bad, real fast…

The trio goes to Japan to keep Koga from making Tanaka tell him where the lost cave of gold is hidden.  Traditional ninja stories, you know?  Koga, by the way, is an adversary that Tanaka defeated in a tournament 50 years ago.  After being defeated this time, though, he decides to stop being evil.  The movie ends with a bunch of little league baseball players trying to beat up a girl.

3 Ninjas Sexy Hulk Time
THIS is going to go real bad, real fast…

3 Ninjas Knuckle Up stars the original kids because it was made right after the first movie.  What are they up to?  Typical early ’90s sequel stuff, like stopping an evil industrialist named Jack Harding from illegally dumping toxic waste on Native American lands.  Despite being highly trained ninjas, the boys continue to prove that they’re immature jackasses, but they end up maturing (allegedly) and saving the day by stopping a serial kidnapper from obstructing justice.  Woo.

3 Ninjas Neo
This is going to go real ba… what the fuck is Neo doing at Mega Mountain?

Finally, you have the bottom of the barrel, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.  All three kids have been replaced, and we’re 6 years out from the original movie.  Grandpa Mori Tanaka/Shintaro is the same guy.  The title pretty much tells you what to expect, plus it’s the late ’90s, so Hulk Hogan, Loni Anderson, and Jim Varney are here.  The 3 Ninjas are growing up, but they’re going to Mega Mountain one more time, where Dave Dragon (Hogan) is retiring his action hero status.  Suddenly, Mary Ann “Medusa” Rogers (Anderson) and Lothar Zogg (Varney) take over the park, hijacking all the rides with computer hacking because she wants 10 million dollars. And…

3 Ninjas Game
Apparently there’s a game.

So.  This is exhausting, I’m done.  That’s 3 Ninjas in a nutshell.  Again, I recommend watching one of them, at least.  I’ve watched two and a half.  It’s my time, and that’s what I chose to do with it.

Disco Godfather

Disco Godfather Put Your Weight on it
Put your weight on it!

Until I sat down to write this, I never thought of Disco Godfather as being a favorite movie of mine, but now I think it may actually be one.  The movie stars Rudy Ray Moore, who you may or may not know as Dolemite.  If you don’t, you should, because there’s 3 Dolemite movies.  He’s not some nobody.  Let’s get into Dolemite later, though.

Disco Godfather Fight
FIGHT

SO, he’s not Dolemite, but Moore is someone just as good (maybe even better): Tucker Williams.  Williams is a retired cop who was probably the best cop the force ever had because he’s entirely bad ass.  Now, though, he’s a DJ and owner of the Blueberry Hill disco… place.  What do you call a breeding den for disco?  Whatever it is, it’s one of those…  And, oh yeah, he’s the DISCO GODFATHER.  No one can out-disco this guy.  He’s like disco personified.

Disco Godfather Strange Trip
What a long, strange trip it’s been…

But then, ANGEL DUST hits the streets!  PCP!  Williams won’t have drugs on his streets, and he takes extreme action.  What follows is an incredible movie with one of the BEST endings I’ve ever seen.  I still think about it.  Though I really want to write about it, I won’t spoil anything, because it’s great, right down to the final frame.  He’s not all business, though.  Williams leaves himself plenty of time to disco and rhyme and sweat and shout at you to “Put your weight on it!”

This movie belongs in my collection- everything about it is great.

Get it on Amazon.

The Thing with Two Heads

The things with 2 heads driving

“A rich but racist man is dying and hatches an elaborate scheme for transplanting his head onto another man’s body. His health deteriorates rapidly, and doctors are forced to transplant his head onto the only available candidate: a black man from death row.”

The things with two heads side shot
One such instance

And so you have The Thing with Two Heads.  The plot is pretty solid, the effects are entirely awesome.  There are many instances where it’s incredibly obvious both actors still have their bodies.  I can’t argue with the acting or the dialog either.  Unfortunately, the movie features some fairly boring spans, as well.

For instance, the famous car chase scene is a little (read: lot) on the long side.  How many times do you need to watch the same car run into different ditches?  Rosey Grier is probably the highlight of the movie, but everyone does a pretty decent job of being… what you’d expect from this movie.

The things with 2 heads gorilla
The first thing with 2 heads

Wow.  Not much to say on this one.  Don’t take that to mean this is actually really good, though. I’d say it’s worth watching once, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again.

Maybe it’s on Amazon.

Raw Meat

Raw Meat is boring
Who cares…

Finally, a movie I don’t want to recommend.  It’s been a while, right?  Raw Meat is one I picked up from an internet list of “bad movies you should watch,” but it’s actually just a bad movie.  Half of our group bailed on it pretty early on, going to other rooms to do other things.  Those who stuck it out really only got through it by being really drunk, riffing, and going off on tangents while the movie unfolded in the background.

Raw Meat is a British horror movie, but it’s called Death Line in its homeland.  It features highly British people, standing around being British.  It also features Donald Pleasence.  The plot is simple enough: inbred cannibals live in the London Underground.  They’re descended from workers who became trapped while building the damn thing.  Interestingly, though, they weren’t as trapped as they thought, because their modern-day cannibal descendents are able to get out, no problem.  The police and, separately because they don’t really get along, an American college student hunt the cannibal down.  Meanwhile, the cannibal acts like most normal men, kidnapping and drooling on women, murdering opponents, and mumbling mostly incoherently.

Despite a brief appearance from Christopher Lee, this movie is boring.  It’s not even 90 minutes, and it feels twice as long.  The poster is great, though, so maybe just stare at that for an hour and a half.  Surprisingly, it has a decent score on IMDB, but then, there’s no accounting for taste…  Again, I’m going to recommend avoiding this one unless you have some real fortitude.

Luckily, it’s not on Amazon right now.

Jack the Giant Killer

Jack the Giant Killer Monster Battle
Fantastic.

Don’t confuse this movie with the recent Jack the Giant Slayer (2013).  Jack the Giant Killer (1962) is sort of based on the old folktale of the same name and features stop motion animation.  Two versions of this movie exist, and one’s a musical!  This movie has dragons, wizards, bottled leprechauns, drunks, magic toys, witches, a chimp, sea monsters, and a cool hero.

Jack the Giant Killer Jack
The movie is full of cool phallic men.

Surprisingly, this movie has a 6.4/10 on IMDB.  There’s probably a bit of nostalgia at play in the ratings, because going into this movie as an adult, never seeing it as a kid, Jack the Giant Killer is pretty bad.  “Good bad,” at least, but I’m cutting it a little slack because it’s 50 years old.

Jack the Giant Killer Elaine
A witch or something.

I would love to see the musical version, because “songs were dubbed onto the soundtrack. Some of the footage was doctored to make it look like some of the original cast were singing rather than speaking their dialog.”  There’s a Rifftrax version, which I have seen, and it’s really good- so if you’re going to watch this movie, watch it with them.  They say more about it than I could (or want to).

Get it on Amazon.

Glitter

AND THEN THERE WAS GLITTER.  Actually, Glitter happened before Crossroads… in fact, Crossroads probably should have learned from Glitter.  Or maybe it did, and that’s how it ended up as good as it did.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that Glitter is not so great.

Glitter Cover
Lisa Frank’s first feature film

It’s the story of Billie, who goes from being an orphan (abandoned by a drunk mother) to a club dancer to a backup dancer to a superstar.  Billie forms a relationship with Dice.  A lot of dumb stuff happens, and the movie will occasionally make you angry, but the ending will probably make you feel a lot better about the whole thing.  One of Glitter’s big problems is that it’s over 90 minutes long (104 running time), and should have been 20 minutes shorter.  On the plus side, you get Terrence Howard and Da Brat.  Just kidding about the “plus side.”

Glitter Trio
Glitter and her cool band. They’re OUT-rageous!

If you like cliches and bad acting, Glitter has it in spades.  It’s not a well regarded bit of cinema, but this has more to due with it having been released right after the 9/11 attacks than the movie itself- at least, that’s how Mariah sees it.

Glitter and boyfriend
Glitter and her cool boyfriend. You can tell he’s cool by looking at him.

It’s not Crossroads, Cool As Ice, or Showgirls, but Glitter is “a’ight,” and worth watching at least once.

Get it on Amazon.

Crossroads

I don’t usually like to call a movie bizarre unless it’s really, really out there.  If you want a qualifier or a point of reference, David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowski movies are not bizarre.  So don’t take it lightly when I say that Crossroads is a bizarre movie.  If you watched Showgirls and thought “How am I supposed to take this seriously?” then Crossroads is going to cave your skull in, because you have no idea where this movie is going.

Crossroads Car Trip Friends

On its surface, it’s just a teenage road film.  Kind of a comedy, kind of a drama.  Brittany … sorry, Britney… Spears plays Lucy, a smart high school girl with good grades and a winning attitude.  In her childhood, she was friends with Kit and Mimi, and they buried a wish box one night and promised to be best friends forever.  Instead, Kit became the popularity queen, and Mimi became a pregnant piece of garbage.

Crossroads Singing Time

When it’s finally time to graduate, Lucy convinces Kit and Mimi to dig up the wish box, and they suddenly realize what fools they’ve all been.  They decide to be BFFs again and take a road trip so they can each fulfill their wishes:  Lucy wants to see her absent mother again, Kit wants to get married, and Mimi wants to go to California.  Naturally, they all agree to set out to make their wishes come true and oh yeah, also let’s go get a record deal.  At this point, the movie is lulling you into a false sense of security.

Crossroads Awkward First Time

What follows should have been innocent enough, but instead we get car rides with convicted killers, karaoke contests, parents calling you a mistake, and rape babies.  Yeah, there’s a RAPE BABY.  You’ll be left in awe of this movie.  I was.  I thought “why are we watching this, I don’t want to,” but then it all became clear.  Crossroads is on par with Cool As Ice, although it takes everything to the next level.

Crossroads Such Friends

It’s worth watching, and I’d be willing to have it in my collection.  There’s a Rifftrax version, but I haven’t seen it.

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Plan 9 Grabby

Look, there’s no WAY you haven’t seen Ed Wood’s masterpiece, Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Plan 9 Vampira

It’s a Perfect Storm movie.  Watch it.  Own it.

Plan 9 Stupid
Stupid, stupid!

There are a couple of Rifftrax versions, here, here, and here.  You don’t need these to enjoy Plan 9, though, because it’s completely amazing.

Plan 9 Gun to Head
Safety first.

Also, watch any Ed Wood movie, they’re all good.