Thursday, February 12, 2009


Does anyone else out there remember the terrible 1981 sci-fi/comedy atrocity "Heartbeeps", starring Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters? I was recently doing some research for a post about robots in the movies when this piece of shit popped into my head, I guess I had totally blocked it out due to its traumatic effect on me. I found it in a video store in Santa Cruz about 4 years ago and immediately rented it based solely on their terrible cover art and the presence of Andy Kaufman in the cast. Goddamn! This movie is fucking AWFUL!
After spending the better part of my morning trying to remember the name of it, I finally remembered Mr. Kaufman was the star (for some reason I remembered it being Robin Williams - I think I mixed it up with "Bicentennial Man"), and hit up to track down the name. There it was: "Heartbeeps". Dude. SO bad. Even by Hollywood standards.
According to Wikipedia, "Heartbeeps" had a budget of over $10,000,000, but managed to make only one-fifth of that money back at the box office. It even got nominated for an Academy Award (for Stan Winston's make-up work, which is in fact mediocre at best).
"Heartbeeps" tells the story of two robots (Kaufman and Peters) who defy their circuitry to fall in love, and as a result have to go "renegade", pursued by robot cops and their human masters. The film, which is labeled as a "comedy", is painfully unfunny and hard to watch, one of the most unintentionally creepy and uncomfortable films I've ever sat through. It's ALMOST so bad its good. ALMOST.

The soundtrack, composed by John Williams (best known for his work on the independent art film "Star Wars") was actually a huge departure for him, as he used analog synthesizers and experimental noise in place of the huge orchestras he is known for. I'm actually really interested in tracking it down. I bet it RULES.

Anyhow, after pondering it for awhile, I began to wonder: was this film an actual, honest-to-God Hollywood strikeout, or another one of Andy Kaufman's high-concept jokes on the public? I guess we'll never know.


Aesop said...

It was terrible but it had great design sense. It was a cool looking film with an absolutely banal plot. One could say the same about TRON.

Shelby Cobras said...

don't you DARE bring Tron into this, dude!

Aesop said...

I love TRON, but you gotta admit, the story is a bit predictable and lame.

Shelby Cobras said...

if by "predictable and lame", you mean "a milestone in awesome sci-fi filmwriting" then , yes, i agree.