The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Friday, March 19, 2010
As we continue Superman week on our DTVC Wild Card look at comic book movies, our second stop is the 1984 classic Supergirl. I believe the first time I saw this was on TV, but who knows. I just remembered it wasn't very good, but Helen Slater was very hot.
Supergirl I think is about a group of Kryptonians that fled when the planet exploded, led by a be-Cosby Sweatered Peter O'Toole, and now live in some enclosed town where their very existence hinges on a tiny spinning ball. Slater accidentally loses the ball, and now has to go to Earth to get it. Lucky for her, the ball is safe. Unlucky for her, the evil sorceress Selina, played by Faye Dunaway, has it. Now she not only has to get the ball back for her people, but she has to get it away from Dunaway before she subjugates the entire human race.
I could easily say I felt like I was shoved into a flying parallelogram and banished to the Phantom Zone while watching this film. I mean, the plot was ridiculous, and when it wasn't dragging along and making us suffer through inane scenes of Slater trying to understand our foreign Earth Culture, it would jump from one thing to another without even bothering to try and explain how we got there. I felt like I was reading a book with pages missing. One moment she's in a space ship in a robe, the next she's soaring through the air as Supergirl, with the complete costume. This felt every bit like the rushed cash grab it was.
Still, this had some very redeeming qualities. It wasn't just how hot Helen Slater looked as Supergirl, but it was the kind of female hero she was-- which we never see anymore. She was sweet and feminine, not as a way to trap or manipulate men, but naturally; yet when push came to shove, when she had to kick ass, she got shit done. Today's heroines are all these tough chicks in black leather who have no time for guys because falling in love is a sign of weakness. If anything, this film was able to have its cake and eat it too. Also, they used a pretty guy in the damsel in distress role, flipping the script perfectly, all the way down to the villain trying to coerce the damsel to be her lover instead of the heroine's. The reality is, I'm not sure if a movie like this could be made anymore, which is kind of too bad, because I'm not sure another superheroine movie has done a better job of making it's female lead a complete person.
There's one scene where the hunky guy is trapped in the bumper cars, while Dunaway has them racing around him. The bumper cars are designed like football players charging someone, and they all had NFL helmets, which was great for the nostalgia factor. It just so happened that the one Slater used to fly her boy-toy to safety was the one that had the old logo to my Patriots on it, along with the LA Rams. It's one of those things that doesn't make the film great at the time, but really adds to it's charm 25+ years later. Even better was the "What is Love" by Howard Jones that Dunaway played at a party she threw. I wonder if in 2030 I'll think it's as cool to hear the bad rock in films like Daredevil and Punisher. I doubt it: Seether and Evanescence are no Howard Jones.
Matt Frewer of Max Headroom fame has a cameo, dressed in a too sweet A&W root beer T-shirt. There's actually some other A&W product placement, along with a great Schlitz Malt Liquor and Popeye's chicken, but I only grabbed an image of Frewer in the shirt. Also, as I was capturing the image, I was listening to the commentary, and they pronounced his name FROY-er, as opposed to FROO-er, which is the way I've always said it. Have I always been wrong? I can't even remember when I first heard it as FROO-er, because it may have just been a friend who didn't know any better.
We've had some great actors featured here at the DTVC, but Peter O'Toole might take the cake. In Supergirl he plays a kind of misunderstood genius in a Bill Cosby Sweater. I'm thinking, though, 1984 might have pre-dated the concept, because the show didn't debut until that same year, and the film had to have been made before that. Does that mean, even if it is essentially a Bill Cosby Sweater, I can't refer to it as one because he wore it before the show?
Okay, maybe the story left a lot to be desired, but there's something to be said for a female heroine in something other than black leather who likes people, wants to co-exist peacefully with men, and can still kick ass. Don't get me wrong, I love the black leather, but a Supergirl or Wonder Woman outfit is just as hot, and really, isn't much sillier than something like Halle Berry's Catwoman outfit. I think whoever tries to make the next superheroine movie would be foolish to write this film off completely.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088206/