Space Ramblings

Tag Archives: Classics

Cherry 2000

In the old WPIX days, Cherry 2000 was one of those movies that was always in rotation. The love story of a man, a woman and a robot was how the station ads described it and it wasn’t an inaccurate description.

Cherry 2000 is one of those movies barely strange enough to qualify as a cult film and not nearly bad enough, despite its premise to be worth seeing on the “so good it’s bad” grounds.

The story is simple enough to be completely ridiculous. An executive’s sexbot (who in true Hollywood fashion usually reserved for hookers he truly loves) breaks down causing him to hire a beautiful female tracker to find a replacement body for her that he can stick the mini disc with her memories into in the lawless parts of California after the breakup of the united states and the collapse of civilization.

Cherry 2000 dances on the edge of satire with its mockery of California and its strange fusion of Mad Max and a love story, but never crosses the line. It has moments of striking visual style, especially in a western town on the edge of civilization that blends the wild west with a 1980’s view of 21’st century technology or when the executive ends up in the surreal ranch of the local warlord, Lester who sounds like a granola compound leader… But it’s mostly bland.

Despite some epic settings the action scenes fizzle and the love story never adds up. The male lead is too bland to hold the spotlight and Melanie Griffith’s tracker with red hair, a machine gun and a tender heart becomes the focus of the film.

Which makes Cherry 2000 a peculiar movie about a woman who rams through armed barricades for a living but falls for a man who is in love with a sexbot for no obvious reason except that he is good looking and then mopes about waiting for him to wise up while dodging bullets.

It’s weird but it’s not weird weird, it dances around satire but never gets there, but it’s a strange artifact of a time when movies like this got tossed off without a second thought.

Return of the Hand Drawn Animated Cartoon

The Lion King beat Moneyball to rule the box office (I could make some joke about roaring to the top, but why bother) and score some 70 million bucks. Not bad for a movie from the 90’s that dared to break Disney’s princess template, upset Pocahontas and became one of the few late Disney movies to endure for its characters, not for its line of backpacks.

In the age of Pixar, the return of the Lion King is a reminder that maybe the old cel-shaded animated hand drawn movie isn’t dead, it’s just been allowed to die off, replaced by Pixar’s plastic. Sure the Lion King release is 3D, the original movie was partly modeled in 3D, but it was smooth art, not Pixar’s plastic parades of characters who look like toys, even when they’re not supposed to be.

The Lion King was cinematic in a way that no Pixar production can be. And it’s what Disney left behind when it jumped all the way on the Pixar train. Disney killed its own animated golden goose with mediocre art by committee movies following a template. And Pixar which had a whole different workflow has taken over. But the Lion King reminds us of what we we lost getting there and what we could have again.

Holmes and Yo-Yo

What do you get when you create a parody of Dragnet using classic slapstick and set around a SciFi premise? You get Holmes and Yo-Yo where Joe Friday is a bionic robot named Yo-Yo with a Polaroid camera in his mouth and a tape recorder in his chest. A bionic robot played by John Shuck.

Holmes and Yo-Yo was an experiment six years before Police Squad and ten years before Sledge Hammer. Like them it did badly. But unlike them it didn’t go for the surrealism. Holmes and Yo-Yo was pure slapstick. It didn’t bother setting up a leading man police officer to mock the way they did. Holmes and Yo-Yo were both aging, overweight and out of shape. Their rapport was natural and the comedy was pure vaudeville, without the surrealism that Police Squad and Sledge Hammer added to their physical comedy.

Holmes and Yo-Yo wasn’t great television, but it was entertaining, especially if you thought that everything else on television was just as dumb, but didn’t know it. Which might be why Holmes and Yo-Yo was hated so much. You won’t find a TV critic then or now with a good word for it.

In the year of Baretta, Welcome Back Kotter, Kojak, the Bob Newhart Show, Chico and the Man, and the Rockford Files, there was no room for a show that mocked the cop show and the blandness of television. It was a little too close to mocking the viewer. Police Squad and Sledge Hammer got by on including the viewer in the joke. Telling him that he was intelligent if he watched it. Holmes and Yo-Yo didn’t pretend to be smart. Like a clown they were ridiculous. Shamelessly ridiculous, gloriously lame and enjoying every minute of it.

Great SciFi Movies

In some ways it is not that difficult to create a list of the greatest Science Fiction movies of all time as it might be to create a list of the greatest detective movies or westerns primarily because Hollywood has made few good Science Fiction films, let alone great movies. Even today relatively few Science Fiction movies get made and the majority that do are often misclassified comic book themed movies or disaster movies or ghost stories with a technological twist, ala Pulse. Few true Science Fiction movies are made and those that are worthwhile are truly worthwhile.

Metropolis

One of the great classics, Metropolis ushered in the modern world with its vision of oppressed masses, mechanical women and a society built on the shaky pedestal of human misery. As revolutionary socially as it was technologically, Metropolis remains one of the great classics of cinema and Science Fiction.

The Greatest Science Fiction Movies Of All Time

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