Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bite me: "The Apple"

For the first time ever, I'm scared to write a post. Quite simply, there's no way I can do this "movie" justice.

Most of you know I'm not prone to blanket statements and rampant hyperbole, i.e. "This is the best burger I've ever had!" or "'Night Eyes 2' is the best Skinemax movie ever!" Call me crazy, but I always like the hedge my bets, even when it comes to movies. I've been happy to hem and haw over the best and worst films I've seen. Got some time? Sit down ... let's talk.

Until now. Until "The Apple."

First, the backstory. My uncle Paul insisted I see this 1980 musical that applies the sell-your-soul-to-the-devil theme to a futuristic song-and-dance contest, pitting a wholesome couple from Moose Jaw, Canada, against a pop juggernaut guided by, it would seem, Lucifer himself. As Paul described it, "The Apple" was "Xanadu's retarded cousin." I beg to differ. It's Xanadu's inbred offspring.

Rather than have me elaborate on the plot, just read what's on the DVD jacket:

"Take a trip back to a time when rock ruled the world, with this mind-blowing, magical musical that's "a camp lover's delight" (American Cinematheque)! Deliciously decadent and exploding with glitter and glam, The Apple is a psychedelic sci-fi feast for the senses! When folk singers Alphie and Bibi enter the World Vision song contest, their wholesome appeal catches the evil eye of music mogul Mr. Boogalow, a Faustian fiend who promises the pair fame and fortune. Seduced byBoogalow's devilish denizens, Bibi surrenders her soul and soon becomes a superstar and a pawn in Boogalow's plot to take over the planet with the power of pop music! Now, Alphie must free Bibi from Boogalow and save the world from rock-and-roll ruin!"

That's right ... "a psychedelic sci-fi feast for the senses!" With characters named Bibi, Alphie and Mr. Boogalow! And this makes "The Apple" sound better than it is.

Honestly, I don't think I can concoct a coherent narrative of my shock and agony at watching this movie. So we'll resort to bullet points:
  • With zero setup, the movie starts with a big song and dance number that features the unholy trinity of crappy music, laughable choreography and silly costumes. (And I've seen "Can't Stop the Music.") Look at all the glitter and shiny-shiny!
  • Our villain is played by a guy who I swore was Izzy the snitch from the "Miami Vice" TV series. I was wrong, although he does play a Russian officer in "Red Dawn." Either way, the only way I stomached the scenes with "Mr. Boogalow" is by thinking of the far superior "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo."
  • The director is Menahem Golan, prolific producer of bad movies (with partner Mr. Globus) whose resume behind the camera -- beyond this fine work -- extends to "Over the Top," "The Delta Force" and even more forgettable fare. Don't wait for that Lifetime Achievement Oscar, Mennie.
  • Apparently 1994 came and went without all of us wearing triangle-shaped clothes. (No comment on the gold-painted thong.)
  • As bad as the songs and dances are, the sets are even more awful. Shot in Germany -- garden spot of the world in 1980 -- the future of 1994 is made to look like ... Germany in 1980. Behold the bland architecture! Witness a big dance number in what appears to be a convention center atrium, complete with industrial carpet! We can fix this, though. More glitter!
  • Ludicrous as the movie was, there still is a bizarre left turn in the last several minutes, when we meet some hippies and finish with a literal deus ex machina. If you thought "Repo Man" wrapped up in an odd way, "The Apple" is for you.
Strike that. "The Apple" isn't for anybody. Really. No, it's not super campy fun. No, it's not so bad, it's good. It's so bad, it's really bad. Amazingly bad. Stupefyingly bad. (Insert other extreme adverb here) bad. So bad that I want Paul's DVD out of my house immediately. And yet, sending it to him would mean spending money on this movie. Talk about two sh*tty options. If only this were the future of 1994, when I could ask WWMBD: What would Mr. Boogalow do?


At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes a kick in the nuts sound pretty good.

At 2:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to IMDB the opening night audience pelted the screen w/ their complimentery soundtrack cassettes causing major damage. You have to admire a movie that stirs up that much passion.

You also have to admire the creative use of mylar in the clothes.


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