Saturday, June 7, 2014

Junesploitation Day 7: Bikers!

Some machines are more than most men can handle!

27 comments:

  1. TRIP WITH THE TEACHER (1975) on Amazon Prime for the first time.

    Well, it had to happen. You work at a farm long-enough you're bound to get smeared in shit, and with "Trip With The Teacher" I wound up knee-deep in it. A female teacher and her all-girl students are on a field trip somewhere between Arizona and New Mexico when their school bus breaks. A trio of bikers (two brothers and a good samaritan) stop by, tow the bus (three regular-sized bikes towing a school bus??!!) to an abandoned shack and, well, things get pretty rapey and nihilistic when one of the brothers goes bonkers. There are cat-and-mouse games between the girls and their captors (including a bike race that seems to go on forever), which sadly just keep umping the misogyny factor exponentially.

    Played by future soft-porn purveyor Zalman King (the offspring of a threesome between young Marlon Brando, 80's Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn-as-Jeff Spicoli with the acting genes removed), our chief bad guy Al starts the movie at peak douchebag level and only grows more unpleasant and unlikable as it goes. Basically there aren't enough ways for Al to die a horrible-enough death to appease the audience's blood lust for him to get it at the end, which means "Trip With The Teacher" sets itself up for disappointment. And yet this trashy film, which is shot with the most basic of camera set-ups and framing angles with community theater-level performers, still has the balls to end with a 'good cast is worth repeating' montage of scenes for the credits, "Manos" style.

    Now excuse me while I go shower with Ajax and a Brillo pad.

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  2. Girl in Gold Boots (1968) MST3K version- special 8 word Junesploitation review

    Just barely has bikers but has golden boobsploitation!

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    1. Wait, doesn't the 'teleportation' scene make this a sci-fi movie? ;-)

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  3. The Hard Ride (1971)

    Now this is curious – an exploitation film that is scared to be too exploitive. It starts out strong, with a nice basic story – Vietnam vet runs afoul of evil biker gang. Unfortunately, the movie mostly jettisons that story so we can have endless sequences of our hero and heroine riding his chopper through picturesque scenes, while a soft rock song plays on the soundtrack. Occasionally they stop, and it looks like something interesting might happen. It doesn’t, and we are then treated to another California travelogue. It was nice to see Robert Fuller in something (I was a big fan of Emergency! growing up), and the cinematography is pretty good. But it seems the director was aching to make a “serious” movie and was suspicious of anything that might actually be entertaining. The ending is profoundly unsatisfying.

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  4. Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991)

    Should-be-fun premise: two colorful outlaws in the near future set out to rob a corrupt bank to save a friend's bar (because reasons) and end up accidentally stealing a whole bunch of drugs so now they're being pursued by the evil bankers and the drug-dealer's Kevlar-trenchcoat-attired hit squad.

    The sad truth: no movie with that description should be this boring. Mickey Rourke, who has been charismatic and compelling in so many other movies, sleepwalks through this to the point that you're left wondering if this is a real movie or just some sort of Madame Tussaud's demo reel. Don Johnson has found new life recently as a terrific, dependable character actor, and I'm glad for that because his co-lead performance here shows almost no signs of life. This is a "fun" action movie where all the fun seems to have been surgically removed. It plays like the filmmakers want to make some sort of statement about banks and/or corporate culture (the title refers to the lead characters' actual names, there are also characters with names like Virginia Slims and Jack Daniels) but they have no idea what statement it is they want to make.

    Also, for a movie with the words "Harley" and "Davidson" right there in the fucking title there's a criminal lack of motorcycle action. I thought even if the movie was bad it might at least have some fun stunt work, but there's not a single thrill to be found. What a waste.

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    1. Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) First Viewing

      JP You beat me to it. It's funny how I had such a different take on it. I had a lot of fun with this one. I thought Johnson and Rourke had some chemistry as co-leads (If they had made sequels I would be adding them to my queue). I liked the little near-future touches (A Movie billboard for "Die Hardest" was my favorite). And what little motorcycle action was there I thought was well done. I couldn't be 100% sure but it really looked like Don Johnson speeding on sidewalks and doing some of the stuntwork. And you didn't like Big John Studd laying down his motorcycle then blowing it up along with another car? Good stuff! Sure the philosophizing was junior high level at best, but it didn't bother me. I would recommend it!

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    2. The Big John Studd moment was cool, I agree with that. The rest just left me cold. I'm glad you dug it, though! Riske is watching it today too, so we'll see which side of the divide he lands on, and the lonely person on the other side will hang their head in shame. I would have liked more touches like the Die Hardest poster, it seemed like the movie was afraid to have any fun with it's semi-futuristic setting.

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    3. I've read that both Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson were pretty miserable during the making of the movie. Rourke has specifically cited it as when he felt like he bottomed out, which is fascinating because he would sink WAY lower for the REST OF THE '90s.

      Totally agree that there are very few actual "future" touches, but I'm a big fan of this goofy, dopey movie.

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  5. Chrome and Hot Leather (1971)

    Super stiff acting seems to be the first criteria for being hired in this movie. After HHH's luke warm endorsement I had moderate to low expectations for this flick, and it limply met each one of them. The oddest part of the movie is that when the army guys go under cover into the world of chopper bikie gangs they buy four dirt bikes then spend the movie riding these Kawasakie dirt bikes while infiltrating these gangs of harley davidsons....and no one says a thing. Its just how Marvin Gaye rolls.

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  6. The Hellcats (1968, dir. Robert F. Slatzer) Comically inept portrayal of late-'60s counterculture: stiff acting, motorcycles, beer drinking and kissing! A soldier goes undercover in a biker gang to find out who killed his brother. That plot description actually makes the movie sound better than it is. Because I'm in the mood for this kind of thing this month, I had an ok time with it...but I recognize it's mostly boring and terrible. A full five minutes are devoted to a fight between two bikers until another character breaks in and ends it by saying "Brothers, no more war," at which point everyone stops fighting, laughs and hugs. It's that kind of movie.

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    1. I really HATED the Hellcats. I think they made it up as they went. The movie peaked when they tied that guy up between two motorcycles.

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    2. There were enough goofy touches to keep me going, like the songs that were catchy but totally out of place -- like someone said "We need rock songs!" but didn't care what the rock songs were. I'll never watch it again.

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  7. Run Angel Run! (1969)

    Hard to believe this was the 12th highest grossing film of that year. It's shot with great style and editing (really cool cut scenes, split screen, quadruple screen!) but ultimately it's really really boring. Angel took an offer for some money to give up some info about the inner workings of bicycle gangs, therefore he's on the run from all of these people wanting to kill him. He and his girlfriend take refuge with a farmer and are allowed to stay because they help out on the farm - and that's where things slooooooooow down from Harley to Big Wheel status. Disappointing but, hey, I had zero expectations as I am not really a biker movie fan in general. Just glad there was some DePalma-esque shots in there.

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  8. THE MINI-SKIRT MOB (1968)

    I decided to go all the way back to the ‘60s for this one, for some good ol’ AIP fun. A tough guy leaves his gang to marry a nice girl. The gang, now led by the guy’s bad-girl ex, terrorize him and his new bride on a cross-country trip. Diane McBain totally owns the movie as the vengeful bad girl. She’s got the icy stare, smoky voice, and killer strut down pat. A young Harry Dean Stanton is here as well, doing his Harry Dean Stanton thing. The sex n’ violence is tame compared to similar movies that came later, but it’s still effective. Also, the mean girls wear matching jackets with “The Mini-Skirts” printed on the back. If I had a girlfriend, I’d try to convince her to get one of those jackets and wear it around the house.

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  9. The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1986 ABC Saturday Special)

    Loved this. Vaguely remembered seeing this as a kid and watching it as an adult just makes me wish they made 'em like this still (I know, that sounds like old man talk). Seriously though, the stop-motion/radio controlled puppetry mixed with live elements is top notch and for a TV special at that! Looked better than some CGI stuff I have seen. Heidi Kozak (plays the dimwit maid) was in Sorority House Massacre II, Friday the 13th VII and Cold Steel - that's pretty awesome. I had a lot of fun watching this.

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    1. Correction - Slumber Party Massacre II

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  10. There is a Film Special study at my University called 'Cult films, trash aesthetics and exploitation'. Unfortunately I couldn't take that module! Luckily though this module means there is quite a few films at my disposal in the library that I can watch over this month. I am a newbie to exploitation films (apart from a few exceptions) so I feel like this month will help me fill in this gap in my film knowledge and hopefully my reviews will get better as the month goes on.

    Motorpsycho (1965): For some reason I didn't connect with this one. I am not a fan of the rape, the stiff acting and I didn't connect to anyone in the film or really care what was going on. Am I missing something here?

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    1. It's a shame the movie is poo because that title is fantastic

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    2. I know I was really excited! Maybe that was why; I expected something and it was something quite different.

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  11. The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968)

    Motorcycles - check! Mini-skirts - check! Mob - sure! Movie - um, well...Judging from other reviews this might just be a rough category in general, unless you're into motorcycles? I didn't hate it and it has some good moments (and Harry Dean Stanton!) but at times it was struggle to stick with it. Felt like a pretty good, if maybe a little tame, representation of the subgenre though, so I'm glad I watched it.

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  12. The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968)

    It looks like other people beat me to this!! I won't say much else except I found the ending super satisfying. Also, I totally dig 1960's eye makeup...

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    1. Yes! I meant to mention that it does stick the landing which makes the whole thing a little more worthwhile.

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  13. Easy Rider: Some accuse this of being a relic but I think this film is more than just a piece of history as it still has so much to say as well as having some beautiful moments. One of my favourite parts is where the bikers are riding along to The Band's The Weight. As they drive along the barren landscape, the camera is able to be as expressive as they are, which makes you feel both the film-maker's and the characters' freedom.

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  14. C.C. and Company (1970)

    Joe Namath is a horrible actor! As if that was surprising news to anyone. Anyway, this movie was pretty bad on all sorts of levels. The opening scene when Broadway Joe is stealing food to make a sandwich in a grocery store pretty much sums up what this movie is going to be like. However, you have to love a biker movie that has a disco dance scene. Sid Haig sighting.

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  15. Northville Cemetary Massacre trailer / full movie

    The bikers are the good guys. The director did Harry and the Hendersons. The music is by Michael Nesmith.

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  16. BMX Bandits (1983)

    Kinda cheated with this one, but figured "Bikers" was a good day to watch it (I had never seen it before). So Australian. So much frizzy hair. So little BMX'ing (until the end). Overall, pretty goofy (the slapstick villains are absurd), but also a little ... boring? I kinda wish I grew up with it, but, alas, I'll always be a Rad man.

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  17. Beyond the Law (1993)

    This might be known by some other title in North America like 'Finding my Shadow'? This one finds Charlie Sheen doing the other thing his known for; acting....sort of.

    Sheen goes deep undercover to infiltrate a big biker gang headed by Michael Madsen. Sheen grows a bead, a mullet, and has 'crazy sheen eyes' for 89% of the movie.

    I couldn't access a good copy of it so was relegated to watching it on youtube with Greek subtitles. Might be part of the reason why I didn't like it very much.

    Do kinda want to become a biker though.....

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