This week: THE APPLE!!!
So the laptop is still busted and it's gonna be a couple more days before I can upload any tunes for you guys, but fortunately I am technologically stable enough to bring back 'Monday Morning Movie Madness', and it's just in the nick of time.
Why, you ask? Because I just saw one of the most fucked-up, uncomfortable, embarassing, hilarious, and amazing films EVER last night -- A coked-out, flamboyant, and utterly WTF?-inducing little sci-fi/musical gem from 1980 called The Apple. I had heard of this film before, with several friends telling me things like "It's the best movie ever" or "It's the worst movie ever" or even "It's the best bad movie ever". They were all correct.
Shit, I don't even know where to start with this one...
Released in 1980 but set in the amazing year 1994, The Apple is probably the first (and one of the most stunning) takes on the "future-of-the-80's" film, envisioning a world populated by glitter-faced drag queens, leather-daddy Stormtroopers, and rock bands equipped with angular, mysterious instruments and their New Wave factor cranked up to 11. The film was a MASSIVE box office failure, and for several good reasons:
1) Due to its elaborate sets, costumes, and futuristic vehicles, The Apple took a long time to make. Since most of the music in the film is super disco-y, its soundtrack was completely forgettable to the movie-going public of 1980. Disco was already dead. But no one told The Apple.
2) The songs are fucking HORRENDOUS (even for disco).
3) The plot makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, despite lofty references to The Bible, Nazi Germany, and corporate politics. More on this later.
4) The acting is painful. Many lines are delivered straight into the camera (often sung straight into the camera) without the slightest hint of humor or cheer. The viewer is left uncomfortable, confused, and more than a little irritated.
Despite all of these fatal flaws, I personally could not tear myself away from the screen for the duration of this film's 90 minutes. Morbid curiosity? Perhaps. Sheer enjoyment? Not quite. But The Apple is truly a sight to behold, a mixture of Grease on acid, Beyond The Valley of the Dolls on coke, and Rocky Horror on a Castro-flavored speedball. There must have been EPIC amounts of good cocaine on the set of The Apple. EPIC AMOUNTS.
The plot, albeit rather confusing, goes something like this:
Alphie and Bibi are two country kids from Moosejaw, Canada. After entering their sappy love song "Love: The Universal Melody" in the Worldvision Song Contest, they are offered a contract from the evil Mr. Boogelow (above, center) from a record company called BIM. BIM controls the song contest, and screws the two young lovers out of winning the competition (the song is actually so bad it nearly incites a riot). But soon it is revealed that BIM not only controls the Worldvision contest, but the entire world. Every citizen on Earth (circa 1994) is required to wear a BIM sticker on their forehead, under penalty of arrest. Once a day, the entire population of the planet must also stop what they're doing and rock out to a BIM-sponsored song during BIM Exercise Hour (this is actually a pretty good idea).
But back to Bibi and Alphie. Bibi caves in right away, selling her soul to BIM for the chance of an American tour. She soon gets caught up in the manifold excesses of the rock and roll/disco lifestyle, shacking up with a creepy dude in a gold g-string and also (gasp!) drinking alcohol. Alphie sees through all the glitz, though, and in a series of completely unrelated and only semi-explained hallucinations (in which he visits Hell, screws some chick PG style, and somehow gets ahold of a kaleidoscope) realizes that he must save Bibi from rock and roll.
Below: Bibi succumbs to the temptations of Rock.
But the last 15 minutes are where the GOLD really is. Stop reading if you don't want to ruin the surprise.
After Alphie's unsuccessful attempt to retrieve Bibi from the clutches of Mr. Boogelow, he wakes up, for some reason, on a park bench in the forest. Some hippie dude explains that a whole bunch of hippies (from the 60's, although they all appear to be in their early 20's...?) live in the forest as well, and that they are the only ones safe from BIM's umbrella of control. Then Bibi is there, too, and everything appears to be fine. It is explained that Bibi and Alphie have been living happily with the hippies for a year now, and even have a 3-year-old son (???). But OH SHIT, HERE COME THE LEATHER-DADDY STORMTROOPERS!
Luckily, some previously-unintroduced character by the name of Mr. Topps (or maybe Mr. Tubbs) comes out of the sky in a golden Cadillac and takes all the hippies away to Heaven. Or something. Case closed.
Like I said, plot ain't this movie's strong point.
Have a look at a couple of musical numbers from the film for a basic idea of the obscene levels of depravity and madness contained therein:
"Coming For You":
Below: From the Cannon Films VHS release of The Apple: "Rock music and martial arts... In one electrifying movie!"*
* This film contains no actual martial arts (???).
Get The Apple on Netflix here. But do so at your own risk.