Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Fat Spy part 1 & 2 & 3

Six years ago I was perusing the discount DVDs by the counter of a Walgreens on Santa Monica Boulevard in fabulous Santa Monica, California.

As I passed over the dozens of public domain John Wayne films and badly packaged cartoon sets I was intrigued by one title The Fat Spy.

The box showed both Jane Mansfield and Phyllis Diller, a combo that excited me even more than the fact I was IN the town where Three's Company took place.

I took the movie back to my apartment where I planned to watch it that night. Instead a bizarre series of events led to me being on TV with Mr. T for a few seconds that night.

You can read that adventure here. It's a better story than this one.

Anyway, the DVD then was pushed back in favor of other movies or shows or 'actually doing things' for a few weeks. Eventually it just became one of the many DVDs I bought and never got around to watching.

Since then I have moved twice, met Mr. T a few more times, and watched hundereds of other bad movies.

Then, the other night, the time for The Fat Spy was upon me.

I stuck the DVD in and suddenly (with no logos, titles or warning) I see a shot of some guys playing guitar. Two minutes later they are still at it. Strumming away and singing something about how 'people act funny when they have money.'

Just a static shot of two guys standing outside... singing.

Finally the song ends and the opening titles start. Yep, this is The Fat Spy.

I should mention here that The Fat Spy is public domain... and yes... it's on

So, if you really want, you can follow along. You don't have to... I wouldn't if I were you.

Two minutes after the brilliant lyrics "people sure act funny when they get a little money" and "people sure act strange when they get a little change" the titles show up and we here the instumental theme.

Then it immediatly cuts to a new song as we watch footage of some crazy teens on a boat. One of them has a bird tattooed on his chest. The camera shoots it, then shoots it upside down.

Obviously they are focusing on the tattoo because it will pay off later.

Maybe this guy will do something and he will be caught because of the identifying tattoo... or maybe they are just killing time.

Oh... I guess they are just killing time.

Later, after SIX minutes of bad music we FINALLY start the movie. For real this time. No more music videos.

After a little bit of talking and a little bit more of Jayne Mansfield we have a plot:

Some cosmetic company doesn't want the teens on the island for some reason. I wasn't able to retain the reason because the scene also had a bust of Abe Lincoln and the busts of Jayne Mansfield.

It's easy to see how I got distracted.

The youtube clip doesn't seem to be synched correctly. The DVD was. It doesn't really make it better.

Around this part of the movie we meet Jack E. Leonard who plays a set of twins. One is named Herman and one is named Irving.

If you don't know Jack E. Leonard, it's understandable. His star has faded since he died in 1973. But... he was actually a very well known and influential comedian pioneering the 'insult comedy' genre before Don Rickles made it a popular comedy form.

Irving is the closest thing to a fat spy in this film. He does a small bit of spying and he's kind of fat. Not phat. Just fat.

After a minute or two of plot IT IS TIME TO DANCE.

Dance dance dance. Singing and dancing. Plenty of singing and even more dancing.

Then Jack E. does his thing... playing straight man to HIMSELF and BAM, it's Phyliss Diller time!

I love Phyliss Diller. She was my favorite 'old lady' comic when I was a kid (even topping Lucille Ball) and I am pretty sure she is my favorite old lady comic today (even above Tina Fey.)

Oddly enough this movie also features an old Phyllis Diller.

Was she ever young?

She pops up as a cosmetic's competitor of some kind who wants to steal whatever is on the island (I think this is what the Fat Spy is watching the teens for.)

Confused? Yeah, it's stupidly complex.

After some banter we get more music. Some sappy song about Nanette (who is one of the teens in the film.) We also get footage of a horse walking on the beach and I belive the soundtrack features the 'clip clop' of a horse walking on a hard surface rather than the 'swish swish' of a horse of sand.

And that swish swishes us to the next youtube clip:

This clip is just an odd stop motion shot of Hulk Hogan accompanied by some guy softly saying "I wanna meet that dad."

It has nothing to do with this movie.

Oh, I should have warned you... if you jacked up the volume for the Hulk Hogan clip you should have tuned it down for part 3 of The Fat Spy.


Anyway, the movie barrels forward with some dork named Dodo who wants to find love or fish or both and Jayne Mansfield flying a plane.

Then there is some schtick with Dodo's mom calling the boat phone and the dude with the eagle tattoo making out with two skanks at once.

Dodo then finds a naked lady in the middle of the ocean. As he helps her on the boat he notices she has a fish tail.

The screen freezes and the word "tail" appears on a title card.

I think we are supposed to laugh at this.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Snow Day

Oh boy! Nothing in the world as much as a snow day... except that cartoon nurse on Tiny Toons.

So when a recent snowstorm blanketed the east coast I invited 4 of my closest pals to watch a marathon of snow related features:

Snow Day: This film started the day off... and rightfully so. It's from the year 2000 and it tells the story of a few groups of people and what they did on a snow day. Chris Elliot drive a snow plow as the younger kids try and stop him. Meanwhile, the older kids try and find romance as Chevy Chases stands around not being very funny.

Snowball Express: This is a Disney picture from 1972. In it Dean Jones inherits a hotel in the mountains so he tells his boss (Dick Van Patten) to take a hike.
I kept waiting for the boss to re-emerge from his figurative 'hike' because you don't hire Van Patten for just one scene.
Or maybe you do.
Suffering massive Van Patten withdraw I kept hoping Dick Van Patten would return. Heck, after 30 minutes I would have settled for Timothy... or even Vince (well, not Vince.)
Anyway, the movie was loads of goofy fun.

Mickey's Magical Christmas- Snowed in at the House of Mouse: Following up some Disney live action with some recent animated stuff seemed a good fit.
This is a feature based on the House of Mouse show. The plot of the show is that Mickey owns an nightclub where famous Disney characters perform and fill the audience. Sorta like the Muppet Show (sans the Ruth Buzzi guest spots.)
In this one the gang is stranded at the club because of the snow, so they watch cartoons.
At this point I realized that I was stranded inside because of the snow and suddenly Dick Van Patten entered the room and made a hysterical, off the cuff, quip. Chevy Chase tried frantically to write it down, but he couldn't remember it so he cried and cried.
I was about to laugh at him, but even his sorrow isn't funny.

Jack Frost: This is a weird movie. Really, really weird. Micheal Keaton plays a father (named Jack Frost) who doesn't have time for his son because he is on the road with his band. For about 35 minutes the film deals with the drama of a family being apart and how tough it is on the parents and the kid. Then a gig almost forces Keaton to miss Christmas. But, he decides to return home (despite icy road conditions) and he dies in a car crash.
Now, if you have never seen this movie hold on to your pants. This is gonna shock you.
Micheal Keaton then returns from the dead in the form of a talking snowman.
Let me say that again:
Micheal Keaton then returns from the dead in the form of a talking snowman.
I had seen this movie 8 years ago when it was new so I knew this was coming. I would love to show this movie to someone that wasn't expecting it.
For over 1/3 of the movie you are watching a family drama... then BAM.. talking snowman. Silly talking snowman who gets in snowball fights and worries about dogs whizzing on him.
Then right before it ends (spoiler) it gets serious again.
What a strange freakin' movie.

Snowboard Academy: The only film ever to star Corey Haim and Jim Varney, Snowboard Academy is a gem for many reason. Actually just that reason. And... I am probably the only person around that finds that to be a big deal.
This is a silly kids vs. authority film where Haim and his snowboarding pals keep getting kicked off the hill until a competition is staged between skiers and snowboarders.
Along the way Ivan Drago's girlfriend shows up in a bathing suit.

Snowbuddies: I have been meaning to write a junk article on the Air Bud series for a while. It's longevity is amazing. Currently they seem to be on a pace of one direct-to-DVD film every 10 months. Snowbuddies came out in 2008 (2009 will see the release of Spacebuddies and Santabuddies) and had the "buddies" acting as a dog sled team.
The film is a step above most direct-to-DVD flicks and certainly has it's moments.
I didn't notice that because of was far to busy focusing on the child star of the film.
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The child is introduced as "Adam" so I assume it's a boy. After all Adam is the name of the first male on earth. How could this be a girl.
But, then again, he does a have feminine way about him and a rather wispy voice.
Could Adam be an Eve?
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Maybe this is one of those odd movie names. Like when they call a girl "Charlie" or "Sid" or "Omarosa." Perhaps it's not a boy.
A scene in the kid's bedroom gives us no clues. The decor features paintings of ducks and old maps. No sports stars or stuffed animals... NOTHING that would give any clues.
But, Adam has to be a boy.
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Doesn't he?
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I missed lots of plot points as I searched for clues. He or she? I hoped that the kid would be seen entering a public restroom or something. It boggled my mind.
Thankfully eventually one of the dogs referred to Adam as a boy. So case closed... except... what do dogs know?

I hope it doesn't snow again. This snow day was far to taxing on my brain.