Spoof and parody movies have, in recent years, gone right down the toilet. Movies like the Scary Movie franchise and not another whatever movies have ruined the art of the spoof and parody. Those movies capitalize on the recent trends and pop culture and think topical humor would make good movies; scratch that, they think its an easy cash grab. Instead of implementing timeless stories and plots, let’s parody a commercial with a basketball (I remember the commercial but no idea what it was selling since it’s been over a decade).
The only way to watch good parody and spoofs is to watch the classics where characters were acting like what they were doing and saying was supposed to be an everyday normality. Movies like Airplane and the Naked Gun franchises work is because the actors were treating it as if they’re supposed to say it straight and not be overly goofy. One of the earliest movies that seemed to implement the strategy is Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. This movie is a parody/spoof movie that takes Hitchcock tropes from his The Birds movie and incorporate it into a sci-fi comedy musical. Did it work and does modern audiences even feel any kind of inclination to want to watch a movie with such a goofy title? Let’s look at the plot, the comedy and whether or not it will be funny for modern day audiences. Let’s sit back and see if this movie is ripe (puns are funny) as we review the movie, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
The plot of the movie is quite different and makes the movie quite interesting. We have mutated tomatoes on the loose throughout the USA and they are attacking and killing people with no remorse. It’s up to the government and a selected few agents to find a cure or solution to the tomato problem and end it before more and more people get killed and hurt. The movie is trying to be a comedy and spoof version of The Birds.
The movie has this feel of anxiousness because we jump from scene to scene with almost as little context as possible; whether we’re showing different short snippets of people getting attacked by the tomatoes or to government buildings and senate hearings and the president sitting in the oval office. The pace of the movie works to its advantage so it can show the “dire” situations of the tomato problem and also compress all these different scenes in as well to make it a longer feature. Are there scenes that weren’t needed in the movie? There were a couple of scenes that didn’t add to the movie and felt unnecessary, but, it doesn’t harm the movie. It makes you want to think, okay, that missed, but, what else do they have to offer. The plot was explained decently with some surprises along the way but, once we got the story out there and no more setup scenes, the pace slowed down and it was a lot more easy to follow who the characters are and what their purposes are.
The comedy of the movie is fantastic. The opening credits has an operatic singer singing the killer tomato song, which the song itself is so goofy that I am genuinely tickled by it. The actors were playing straight characters (not the goofball) and they were just thrown in funny situations (similar to Airplane). Some of the comedy (without spoiling the movie), features government officials having to get on the desk in order to reach their seats because the room is way too small, a paratrooper constantly in his uniform with the parachute always deployed, mocking Donny Osmond going through puberty, etc.
Watching this movie, I can see where movies like Mars Attacks took some ideas from (mostly the loud pitch song to drive the creatures into a weakened state). Not only is the one liners and action funny, but, its also a musical! Yes, a sci-fi comedy musical. There are a couple of scenes where people will break into songs and sing about what’s going on in the scene and what they hope to accomplish. One scene features a commercial public relations head honcho sing about consumerism and people will listen to whatever he says. Another is when the army is facing great odds against the tomatoes, one soldier solemnly sings about American history in war and like that, it turns into a cabaret/early rock and roll boogie woogie style all about what they’re going to do to the tomatoes when they come face to face with them. It came out of nowhere and I was very happy it did.
Comedies are very hard to write. It’s all subjective and in the PC age, one has to be careful not to offend anyone or else it can lead into a trigger attack and people smearing posts on the internet and whatnot. Most of the comedies in this generation are ingrained in pop culture and drugs and innuendos. Sometimes, we need to take a step away from what’s easy to write and think in twenty years, would this still be funny or would it be outdated? When watching Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, I laugh at the scenes that needed to be.
The jokes are funny due to great writing, and the actors portraying their tough exteriors in scenes that are so out there that the audience would have no choice but to laugh at the absurdity. This movie has timeless jokes and antics that don’t get old no matter how many years has passed. This movie was made in 1977 and in the year 2017 (40 years), I was able to enjoy the jokes and humor this movie offers because it wanted to be funny and timeless, not topical and the local fad. People of this generation and next should be able to sit down and find enjoyment in this movie whether it be the absurd premise or the musicality or the goofiness of some of the characters. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes should be on equal or close to equal par with other successful movies like The Kentucky Fried Movie and Airplane. It’s got a cult following, and one day, it won’t just be a cult phenomenon but will somehow break the glass and just be a forgotten gem that the public would enjoy.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm