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The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh

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Nothing says "screwball" comedy like professional basketball in the late 70's. So why not have a film about a terrible team that becomes great via the powers of astrology? Toss in Dr. Julius Erwing, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Meadowlark Lemon and repeat stinker stars like Branscombe Richmond and Julius Carry III and you've got some loonie business that is right up our alley.

On paper this film should be one to steer clear from. Even just watching the trailer is enough to give casual viewers of crummy films the heebie-jeebies. Yet somehow there is a serious level of charm to this film beyond the obvious live-action WB cartoon version that Jonathan Winters was shooting for. There's a seriously well blended volume of comedy of all types that award both fans of basketball and those that loathe all sports.

Everyone loves the Harlem Globetrotters and this film reinforces why that works.

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Cliffhanger

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Stallone gives us further evidence he didn't write Rocky as this screenplay serves us up with some of the worst dialogue and biggest head-slapping action sequences we had in the 90s and THAT's really saying something. Also...there are 0 cliffhangers. 

Somehow critics have been quite pleased with Cliffhanger as evidenced by a 69% on RottenTomatoes and 60 Metacritic score. How that happened is one of the biggest surprises that this film offers up. Don't confuse yourself - this thing is enjoyable for sure but it is as dumb as anything. It's Roadhouse dumb. How any professional film critic could give this a positive review and put it alongside films that try to make statements and be true art and then look themselves in the mirror is confounding. So this falls right into our "Good Movie Debunked" category of film review.

The showcase is the dialog which comes to a head with the team of "expert" criminals. These guys are good enough at burglaring that they heist $100 million from the US Treasury Department. You'd likely get executed for this and at minimum sent to Gitmo and never heard from again. So they must be the best of the best right? Like Ocean's Eleven clever and Hans Grubber organized, right? Well that is clearly not the case. This team is just a bunch of 16 year old boys having a piss contest even if that means they fail in their mission. It's astounding how they even got into the car on the way to their big crime without killing each other. Astounding.

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Zardoz

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It's Sean Connery in a man-diaper with bullets. It's a genderless Utopia while showcasing knockers. It's a whirlwind of confusion and questionable film-making decisions. It's a serious mess covered in psychedelia while making some heavy, heavy, heavy social commentary. Get ready for your mind to be melted.

Imagine you've got Zardoz in mind and you sit down to write it. "Open on a gun-barfing god's floating head." Then try to go from there. Zardoz is just bizarre in how it decides to get to were it needs to. It may have been John Boorman's intention to distract the viewer with the weirdness so that when he reveals the plot and message to the viewer they weren't prepared for it. Along the way though, wow.... You might have your brain turn into rubber and question the use of your weiner/vaginer.

Connery's Zed is at no point a likable character as he is the deliverer of death and rape to the poor and weak for his entire career, but he is a sympathetic character. Connery is a blast throughout, if you're a fan of leaping around and chucking women across barns all while wearing his infamous bandolier equipped Euro mankini.

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Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time

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"Let's take the barbarian guy out of his world of fantasy and put him in our world of taxes and endless advertising," said a man in a tie once or twice. Unfortunately, for said tie guy, no fan of film has ever said, "Yes I want that." Yet this travesty of the genre still attempted to woo audiences by sending the Beastmaster into Los Angeles so we can watch what happens when he wants to get pizza. Hooray!

While the premise of this film is one that typically infuriates fans (see Masters of the Universe and Jason Takes Manhattan), Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time pleases from end to end. It has some sort of charm that doesn't make sense. The jokes are total crap. The acting is painful. There's no boobs. Yet somehow it all adds up to shenanigans that simple entertain lovers o' the stupid.

The true highlight is Wings Hauser's Arklon, who is arguably the lowest IQ villain in cinema history. His plan is seriously to blow up his world. He has already conquered the world, yet he thinks blowing it up will give him more power. There isn't some mystical element that blowing the world up turns him into a god or anything. He just wants a neutron bomb to blow the whole damn thing up, including himself. Ok, let's put that aside. In order to accomplish his goal of suicide and world-ending destruction, he decides to enlist the unwilling support of LA Girl, Jackie (Kari Wuhrer) who knows nothing of nuclear weapons but knows a lot about 90's fashion. Standing right next to Arklon is the witch Lyranna (Sarah Douglas) who has a great rack, wants to bang him, rule the world at his side, has superpowers, knows where the bomb is, has the means to get there and continually helps him without getting a single utterance of "thank you". Arklon's moronic antics culminate when he falls into a lake of fire and shouts his victory at Dar - and then burns up to death. Yup, you sure won buddy.

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Steel

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He's a blue-collar Batman, that comes loaded with super-strength and a compassionate, pacifistic outlook. Slap on a bunch of not-bulletproof metal armor and give him a hammer/gun and Oracle (from Batman) and you've got Shaq looking pretty doofy.

So it stinks, sure. But we think this film is abused a little too much. It's currently at a 2.8 on IMDB and a 1.4 on Letterboxd. That puts it below Batman & Robin, and Catwoman. It's not even close to that bad. By your standard movie goer rating scale, this is just a 4. By our standards, it's a little higher than that. We make no claim that it's awesome but in no way is as awful as Catwoman. It's just a shitty movie.

However, it does have it's moments. The action is filled with dumbness. Steel's powers and weapons look terrible on screen. Shaq himself, in Steel Armor, looks like he belongs in Flash Gordon and he's just too damn big to be taken seriously. It appears the film-makers may have realized this and crammed this jobber with loads of camp. 

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