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.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Meatballs IV (1992)

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This was one of those USA Up All Nite 2 AM to 4 AM staples that would pop up about once every four months. It amazes me that USA has done away with Up All Nite and all it's great movies. What happened to Rhonda Shear? I bet she has a MySpace page. Anyway, I'd rather watch quality cinema like this film and its brethren than reruns of Monk or House at 4 AM on a Saturday morning when I'm trying to work off the old spinning bed syndrome after a night of heavy drinking. Did accountants auditing USA's TV schedules years ago find the channel could really generate more revenue with this new programming format over the old one? I find that hard to believe.

Meatballs IV has little to do with its namesakes other than it takes place at a camp. This installment is a ski camp that's losing money to its ritzier rival up the road. They call in champion water skier Corey Feldman to whip the campers into shape so they can beat the rival at the area ski meet. They do, but the evil woman (played by the evil woman from the Christopher Reeves Superman movies) who runs the other camp won't give up without a fight. Seems the owner of the cute camp we like has a money back guarantee policy, and the evil woman at the bad camp wants that to backfire on him. Her goons sabotage the camp, and when Feldman finds out, it's almost too late. The only thing left is an all or nothing one-off rematch with the bad camp. It'll take everything ol' Feldy's got to pull this out.

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This movie should be as lame as every other film in its genre, but it ain't, and there's only one reason why: Corey Feldman. He's so amazing in this, as he is in everything. This was a few years prior to Dream a Little Dream 2 and only three short years after The 'burbs, a classic which he did with Tom Hanks. When the drop happened, it happened quick for him. It was like Nirvana erasing the Hair Bands, and I guess Corey's Nirvana came in the form of narcotics. Either way, as I look back on my childhood and the plethora of Feldman/Haim flicks, it does seem like they vanish suddenly from the silver screen without any notice, and I'm suddenly watching the new ones premiere on Cinemax at a friend's house. He even jokes about his waning fame at the end of this film, and I think there's a sense that because he was only a few years removed from the Big Time, he'd be back quickly. 15 years later, and it seems poor Mr. Feldman is a footnote in the annals of Hollywood, relegated to a life of DTVC films and reality TV shows.

Maybe it's more the nostalgia and less the actual movie that's won me over. It's like in watching the one scene where Feldman dances like Michael Jackson to a thinly veiled instrumental rip-off of "Black or White", I'm seeing the wave of a great Hollywood career break on the surf and recede back into the abyss. At the end of the film, as he pleads "I was in Goonies and Stand By Me and Lost Boys", we plead back "God damn it! I know!" If this film had the budget, it should've played Don McLean's "American Pie" during the credits. Not the whole thing, just the slow part. "Bye... bye... Miss American Pie..."

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As a huge Point Break fan, I had to notice Bojesse Christopher as Wes the hot camper. I couldn't place him right away, and almost did a mid-movie imdb search to figure out who he was. I hate doing that, because it's like surrendering without giving a real valiant attempt. But it was eating at me that I couldn't remember exactly what I'd seen him in. Then it hit me. The Hendrix playing in the background, my viewpoint being that of Keanu's Special Agent Johnny Utah walking into Bodhi's party, and there he was, Bojesse Christopher, dancing in front of me. No need for the mid-movie imdb look up, thank God.

A major That Guy, listed as J. Trevor Edmond, is also in this. He played a jerk jock in almost everything in the 80s and 90s. I remembered him best on 90210. According to his bio, he hasn't done anything since 1999. Unfortunately, this makes plenty of sense. At thirty, it gets harder and harder to cast you as a teenager. The one show that might have done that, 90210, which had a reputation for using thirtysomethings as teens, by 1999, were into their college years. Same with Saved by the Bell. Now he's 38, and he could probably only play a teen bully in a high school spoof film, like Wet Hot American Summer, and I think Paul Rudd did a better job than he could in that one.

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There was plenty of T n' A in this bad boy, as can be expected. Though I definitely dug that, perhaps the hottest woman was Sarah Douglas, the evil woman running the other camp. You may remember her as Ursa from the Superman movies. All right, so maybe it's a stretch to say she was hotter than the Asian chick the fat dopey guy wanted, or the camp councilor Bojesse went for, but she was way hotter than the girl Feldman got. What was he thinking? Rich and hot and old... well, as Meatloaf says "Two out of three ain't bad".

If you grew up in the 80s, you need to see this for the Feldman factor. He's awesome. The rest of it is take it or leave it, but so are a lot of movies. I'd rather watch this than a National Treasure or Da Vinci Code, or a rerun of House or Monk at 4 AM. If you don't like Feldman or are too young to comprehend him, avoid this, because it's crap, and without Feldman, it's got nothing.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104837/

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