The Cold War spy comedy is a favorite genre of mine, but I have to draw the line somewhere. The Experts (1989) is the perfect place for that line. The  pink neon-sign-font opening credits heralding career-low John Travolta and TV mainstay Arye Gross as the stars do not kick things off to a promising start, despite the involvement of EGOT Marvin Hamlisch and directing credit for SCTV alum Dave Thomas.  The plot, which also made for a very goofy episode of Alias, centers on a fake American town in the USSR, where Soviet spies are trained to pass for Americans circa 1955. Naturally the wonders of consumerism, shoulder pads and slang like “bean juice”* drive the faux-mericans to shed their commie ways while learning lots of important socio-economic properties, for example, it’s a good idea to drive to a lake when you want to have a party. Communists are also distinguished by their inability to catch a football, an inherent lack of rhythm, and lackluster libido.

Silhouette art by Francisco J. Gutierrez



Mommiecine-meh2You can keep your Rays and your Aviators your Lincolns—my heart belongs to Mommie Dearest (1981), a gem of a biopic that knows how to have fun.

But I’ve always wondered how a little kid could possibly get wire hangers into that gated-compound of a house. Was the local dry cleaner playing a prank on this kid by planting them in the closet?

“Barbara, please!”

WiseGuys-meh2Killer thriller director Brian De Palma tried his hand at a screwy mob send-up…and fell flat. Wise Guys (1986) is a timeless example of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink comedy, right up there with Ice Pirates.

Silhouette art by Francisco J. Gutierrez

James Woods’ Max Renn tried on his silly specs once he’s through the looking glass.
Alice wears a bird for her spectacles. Or does the bird wear her? DUN-DUN!

Not a feature film, but a 1983 Australian mini-series that ran as a movie on U.S. television, “Return to Eden” included attempted homicide by crocodile attack (leave it to the Aussies), and a post-plastic surgery revenge plot to end all previous revenge plots.

Silhouette art by Francisco J. Gutierrez

Being forgettable  reaches unforgettable heights in this week’s Cine-meh showing!

We saw so many movies with my dad on our weekend visits that sometimes we ran out of things we wanted to see and just took what we could get. And that’s how we ended up in the Elmwood Theater watching Water (1985)…Starring Michael Caine! With Music by George Harrison and Eric Clapton!

With that kind of star power why wasn’t it a hit?

I’m sorry, I can’t tell you. My only memories of it are Michael Caine’s feather-top chapeau and my utter incomprehension of the plot.

Silhouette art by Francisco J. Gutierrez

George Burns does some body switching in 18 Again! (1988). While George gets to live it up in his grandson’s body, his grandson languishes in Burns’ comatose bag o’ bones.

Silhouette art by Francisco J. Gutierrez