REVIEW: SPACEBALLS

CAST

Bill Pullman (Independance Day)
John Candy (Uncle Buck)
Daphne Zuniga (The Fly II)
Joan Rivers (Shrek 2)
Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein)
Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters)
Dick Van Patten (Cannon)
George Wyner (American Pie 2)
Leslie Bevis (Alien Nation)
Dom DeLuise (Cannonball Run II)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Tony Cox (Bad Santa)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Phil Hartman (The Simpsons)
Micharl York (Logans Run)

Planet Spaceball, led by the incompetent President Skroob, has wasted all of its fresh air. Skroob schemes to force King Roland of the neighboring planet Druidia to give them their air by kidnapping his daughter Princess Vespa on the day of her pre-arranged wedding to the narcoleptic Prince Valium. Skroob sends the villainous Dark Helmet to complete this task with Spaceball One, an impossibly huge ship helmed by Colonel Sandurz. Before they can arrive, Vespa abandons her wedding and flees the planet in her Mercedes spaceship with her droid of honor, Dot Matrix.
Roland contacts mercenary Lone Starr and his mawg (half-man, half-dog) sidekick Barf, offering a lucrative reward to retrieve Vespa before she is captured. Lone Starr readily accepts, as he is in major debt with the gangster Pizza the Hutt. In their Winnebago space ship the Eagle 5, Starr and Barf are able to reach Vespa before Spaceball One, rescue both her and Dot, then escape. Spaceball One tries to follow, but Helmet foolishly orders the ship to “ludicrous speed,” causing it to overshoot the escapees.
Out of fuel, Lone Starr is forced to crash-land on the nearby “desert moon of Vega”. The escapees travel on foot in blazing sun and pass out. They are found by the Dinks, a group of diminutive red-clad aliens, and are taken to a cave occupied by Yogurt, who is old and wise. Yogurt introduces Lone Starr to “The Schwartz”, a metaphysical power similar to the Force. Yogurt also introduces the audience to the film’s merchandising campaign. Starr and Vespa begin to flirt, but Vespa insists she can only be married to a prince.
Helmet and Sandurz break the fourth wall by using a VHS copy of the film to discover Vespa’s location, and Helmet orders Spaceball One to the moon. The Spaceballs capture Vespa and Dot, and return with them to planet Spaceball. Their captors threaten to reverse Vespa’s nose job, forcing Roland to give over the code to the shield that protects Druidia. Helmet and Sandurz take Spaceball One to Druidia, where they transform the ship into Mega Maid, a giant robotic maid with a vacuum cleaner that begins sucking the air from the planet. Lone Starr and Barf rescue Vespa and Dot from captivity, and then race to Druidia. When the vacuum bag is almost full, Lone Starr is able to use the Schwartz to reverse the robot’s sucking action, returning the air to the planet.
Once the air is successfully returned to the planet, Lone Starr and his allies enter the Mega Maid to attempt to destroy it. Lone Starr is forced to fight Helmet with lightsaber-like “Schwartz rings” near the ship’s self-destruct button. Lone Starr manages to defeat Helmet, causing him to involuntarily strike the button. Lone Starr and his friends escape the ship, while Skroob, Helmet, and Sandurz fail to reach any escape pods in time. Trapped in the robot’s head as the ship explodes, they land on a nearby planet, much to the regret of its Planet of the Apes-like population.
With Lone Starr’s debt to Pizza nullified by the gangster’s untimely death, he returns Vespa to Roland and leaves, taking only enough money to cover his expenses. After a lunch break at a diner and a strange incident involving an alien and an astronaut, Lone Starr finds a final message from Yogurt informing him that he is a prince and thus eligible to marry Vespa. He manages to reach Druidia in time to stop her wedding to Valium, announces his royal lineage, then marries Vespa.Spaceballs is seriously just a great comedy, I guarantee you that you will have a good laugh by watching this film. Every scene is just so funny, I highly recommend Spaceballs for anyone, please see this film, you won’t regret it.

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REVIEW: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986)

CAST

Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters)
Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies))
Vincent Gardenia (Moonstruck)
Steve Martin (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Tichina Arnold (Wild Hogs)
Jim Belushi (Red Heat)
John Candy (Spaceballs)
Christopher Guest (The Princess Bride)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Miriam Margolyes (Babe)
Stanley Jones (Super Friends)
Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf)
Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) and his colleague, Audrey (Ellen Greene), work at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, lamenting they cannot escape the slums of New York City, living in a run-down, rough neighborhood referred to as “Skid Row.” Struggling from a lack of customers, Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) prompts to close the store, only for Audrey to suggest displaying an unusual plant Seymour owns. Immediately attracting a customer, Seymour explains he bought the plant, which he dubbed “Audrey II”, from a Chinese flower shop during a solar eclipse. Attracting business to Mushnik’s shop, the plant soon starts dying, worrying Seymour. Accidentally pricking his finger, he then discovers Audrey II needs human blood to thrive.

Audrey II continues to grow rapidly and Seymour becomes a local celebrity. Seymour soon attempts to ask Audrey out, but she turns him down because she has a date with her sadistic, mean-spirited dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin). Despite this, Audrey is interested in Seymour, as well as dreams of marrying him and escaping Skid Row. After Seymour closes up shop, Audrey II (Levi Stubbs) begins to talk to Seymour, demanding more blood than Seymour can give. The plant proposes Seymour murder someone in exchange for fame and fortune: Seymour initially refuses, but agrees upon witnessing Orin beating Audrey.
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After Orin was finished with his patient, Arthur Denton (Bill Murray), who requested “a long, slow, root canal”, Seymour books an appointment with Orin and arms himself with a revolver: however, he cannot bring himself to use it. Orin, who abuses nitrous oxide, puts on a type of venturi mask to receive a constant flow of the gas. Accidentally breaking an intake valve and unable to remove the mask, Orin begs Seymour for help removing it, but as Seymour just stands there. When Orin asks Seymour what he ever did to him, Seymour coldly replies, “Nothing, it’s what you did to her.” Orin dies from asphyxiation and Seymour drags his body back to Audrey II. While dismembering the body for the plant, Seymour is unknowingly witnessed by Mushnik, who flees in fear.
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After feeding Orin’s parts to Audrey II, Seymour discovers the police investigating Orin’s disappearance. Audrey, feeling guilty about wishing Orin would disappear, is comforted by Seymour and the two admit their feelings for each other. That night, Mushnik confronts Seymour about what he saw and holds Seymour at gunpoint, threatening to report him to the police. Mushnkik then attempts to blackmail Seymour, giving the option to flee the country in exchange for the ownership of the plant. With no choice, Seymour steadily backs him towards the plant, which swallows Mushnik whole.
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Despite widespread success, Seymour worries about Audrey II’s growth and unstable appetite. Offered money and a contract for a botany TV show, Seymour plans to escape Skid Row with Audrey using the money, leaving the plant to starve. After Audrey accepts Seymour’s marriage proposal, Audrey II catches Seymour leaving and demands another meal: Seymour agrees, but insists on meat from a butcher. While Seymour is gone, the plant calls Audrey, coaxes her into the shop, and then tries to eat her. Seymour, returning in time to save Audrey, escapes the store with her. Explaining that he fed the plant to become successful and win Audrey’s heart, Seymour discovers she has always loved him. Approached by an executive from a botanical company named Patrick Martin (James Belushi), Seymour is offered a contract to breed Audrey II and sell the saplings worldwide. Seymour drives Martin away, and realizes he must destroy Audrey II for the sake of humanity.
2Returning to the shop, Seymour learns that Audrey II is actually an alien from outer space. Audrey II traps Seymour and destroys the shop, but Seymour grabs an exposed electrical cable and electrocutes Audrey II. Leaving the destroyed shop, Seymour safely reunites with Audrey. The two wed and move to the suburbs: arriving at their new home, which is the one seen in Audrey’s daydreams, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in their front yard.
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Little Shop of Horrors is so amazingly special and unique, that viewing it almost transports you to another world. It’s quite possibly the best film representation of a stage musical ever made–the sets are perfect, the casting is perfect, the music is perfect, and everything else about the film is perfect

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS II

 

CAST

Harold Raimis (Year One)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Rick Moranis (Spaceballs)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Harris Yullin (Training Day)
David Margulies (Ace Ventura)
Kurt Fuller (The Good Wife)
Wilhelm von Homburg (Stroszek)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)

After saving New York City from the demi-god Gozer, the Ghostbusters—Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore—were sued by several city and state agencies for the property damage. Rather than face financial ruin, they accepted a restraining order barring them from operating as paranormal investigators and eliminators—forcing them out of business. In the eyes of the city, they are now considered frauds.

Five years later, Ray owns an occult bookstore and works as an unpopular children’s entertainer with Winston; Egon has returned to Columbia University to conduct experiments into human emotion; and Peter hosts a pseudo-psychic television show. Peter’s former girlfriend Dana Barrett has had a son, Oscar, with a violinist whom she married then divorced when he received an offer to join the London Symphony Orchestra. In order to take care of her baby, Dana quit performing and now works as a restorer at the fictional Manhattan Museum of Art, working to prepare a malevolent-looking portrait of a legendary sixteenth-century tyrant named Vigo the Carpathian of Moldavia for an upcoming exhibition. After an incident in which Oscar’s baby carriage is controlled by an unseen force and drawn to a busy intersection, Dana turns to the Ghostbusters for help. Meanwhile, Dana’s colleague Dr. Janosz Poha has become increasingly obsessed with the glowering image of Vigo in the painting and falls under its spell. Vigo, whose spirit inhabits the painting, orders Janosz to locate a child that he can possess, allowing him to return to life on the New Year. Janosz, infatuated with Dana, offers to bring baby Oscar to Vigo in exchange for Dana, a deal which Vigo accepts.

The Ghostbusters’ investigation leads them to illegally excavate First Avenue at the point where the baby carriage stopped. Lowered underneath, Ray discovers a vast river of pink slime filling an abandoned pneumatic transit line. Attacked by the slime after obtaining a sample, Ray causes a city-wide blackout by accidentally kicking a cast iron pipe that breaks, falls, and shorts out an electric cable. After this, the Ghostbusters are arrested by the NYPD. Ineffectually defended by Louis Tully, they are found guilty of violating the restraining order by Judge Wexler, aka “The Hammer.” Before they are taken to Riker’s Island, Wexler angrily berates them. In response, the slime recovered by Ray and taken as evidence explodes, releasing the ghosts of two murderers that the judge had condemned to death that proceed to devastate the courtroom. The Ghostbusters capture the ghosts in return for the cancellation of the restraining order.

Later, the slime invades Dana’s apartment via the bathtub and attacks her and Oscar. She seeks refuge with Peter, and the two begin to renew their relationship. Investigating the ‘psychomagnatheric’ slime and Vigo’s history, the Ghostbusters discover that it reacts to emotions; it can be charged positively or negatively. They suspect that it has been generated by the negative attitudes of New Yorkers. While Peter and Dana have dinner together, Egon, Ray, and Winston explore the underground river of slime. While measuring its depth, Winston gets pulled into the slime flow, and Ray and Egon jump in after him. After they escape back to the surface Ray and Winston begin an angry argument, but Egon realizes that they are being influenced by the slime, so they strip off their clothes. They also learn the river is flowing underground directly to the museum where Dana works.

The Ghostbusters go to the mayor with their suspicions, but are dismissed; the mayor’s assistant, Jack Hardemeyer, has them committed to a psychiatric hospital to protect the mayor’s campaign for governor. Meanwhile, a spirit resembling Janosz as a nanny kidnaps Oscar from Peter’s apartment, and Dana pursues them to the museum alone. After she enters, the museum is covered with a cocoon of impenetrable slime. New Year’s Eve sees a sudden increase of supernatural activity as the slime rises from the subway line and onto the city streets, causing widespread paranormal activity with ghosts attacking citizens. In response, the mayor fires Hardemeyer and has the Ghostbusters released. After heading to the museum, they are unable to breach the slime barrier with their proton packs. Determining that they need a powerful symbol to rally the citizens and weaken the slime, the Ghostbusters use positively charged mood slime and a remix of “Higher and Higher” to animate the Statue of Liberty and pilot it through the streets before the cheering crowds. As they arrive at the museum, the slime begins to recede and they use the Statue’s flaming torch to break through a skylight to attack Vigo and Janosz.

Janosz is neutralized with positively charged mood slime, but Vigo immobilizes the Ghostbusters and attempts to transfer into Oscar’s body. The positive feelings accompanying a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” by the citizens outside weakens Vigo, returning him to the painting and freeing the Ghostbusters. Vigo momentarily possesses Ray, and the other Ghostbusters attack him with a combination of proton streams and positively charged mood slime. This destroys Vigo and changes the painting to a likeness of the four Ghostbusters standing protectively around Oscar. Outside, the Ghostbusters receive a standing ovation from the crowd and, at a later ceremony to restore the Statue, the Key to the City from the mayor.Ghostbusters II hasn’t been particularly well-received, even despite its more family-friendly tone and message about the folly of mean-spiritedness. But it’s just a good sequel, nonetheless, not bad, not superior to the original, maybe on par with the original, but it’s just really good fun.

REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

CAST

Harold Raimis (Year One)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Rick Moranis (Spaceballs)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
David Margulies (Ace Ventura)
Casey Kasem (Transformers)
Reginald VelJohnson (Family Matters)

Parapsychologists Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, and Egon Spengler are called to the New York Public Library to investigate recent paranormal activity. They encounter the ghost of a dead librarian but are frightened away when she transforms into a horrifying monster. After losing their jobs at Columbia University, the trio establish a paranormal investigation and elimination service known as “Ghostbusters”. They develop high-tech equipment capable of capturing ghosts and open their business in a disused, run-down firehouse. Egon warns them never to cross the energy streams of their proton pack weapons, as this could cause a catastrophic explosion. They capture their first ghost, Slimer, at a hotel and deposit it in a specially built containment unit in the firehouse basement. As paranormal activity increases in New York City, they hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore, to cope with demand.

The Ghostbusters are retained by cellist Dana Barrett, whose apartment is haunted by a demonic spirit, Zuul, a demigod worshiped as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, a Sumerian shape-shifting god of destruction. Venkman takes a particular interest in the case, and competes with Dana’s neighbor, accountant Louis Tully, for her affections. As the Ghostbusters investigate, Dana is demonically possessed by Zuul, which declares itself the “Gatekeeper”, and Louis by a similar demon, Vinz Clortho, the “Keymaster”. Both demons speak of the coming of the destructive Gozer and the release of the imprisoned ghosts, and the Ghostbusters take steps to keep the two apart.
Walter Peck (William Atherton), a lawyer representing the Environmental Protection Agency, has the Ghostbusters arrested for operating unlicensed waste handlers and orders their ghost containment system deactivated, causing an explosion that releases hundreds of ghosts. The ghosts wreak havoc throughout the city while Louis/Vinz advances toward Dana/Zuul’s apartment. Their romantic encounter opens the gate and transforms them into supernatural hounds. Consulting blueprints of Dana’s apartment building, the Ghostbusters learn that mad doctor and cult leader Ivo Shandor, claiming humanity was too sick to survive after World War I, designed the building as a gateway to summon Gozer and bring about the end of the world.

The Ghostbusters are released from custody to combat the supernatural crisis, but after reaching the roof of Dana’s building, they are unable to prevent the arrival of Gozer, who appears in the form of a woman. Briefly subdued by the team, Gozer disappears, but her voice echoes that the “destructor” will follow, taking a form chosen by the team. Ray inadvertently recalls a beloved corporate mascot from his childhood—”something that could never, ever possibly destroy us”— and the destructor arrives in the form of a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and attacks the city. The Ghostbusters cross their proton pack energy streams (reversing the particle flow) and fire them against Gozer’s portal; the explosion defeats the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and frees Dana and Louis. As thousands of New Yorkers wipe themselves free of marshmallow, the Ghostbusters are welcomed on the street as heroes.There is no set definition of the word “classic” but I’m sure this film qualifies as such or will in the near future, since it was so unique and popular….and remains so today, over 20 years old later. It’s just one of those films that you remember seeing when it came out at the theaters. I doubt if anyone has forgotten the catchy theme song, either. Despite numerous viewings, I still find this very funny as I suspect many people do, because it entertains so well. I know the story is ludicrous and I don’t believe for one second in ghosts so I ignore the “theology” and just laugh at Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson.  Murray, as he tends to do, grabs the spotlight more than the rest and delivers more laughs than any of the cast but my favorite was Moranis as the nerdy “Louis Tully.” I wish his role had been bigger. All the guys, however, plus Sigourney Weaver, the love interest of Murray’s, are fun.A true classic.