Sunday, August 7, 2022

R.I.P., Clu Gulager

This one hurts. Clu first came to my attention as "Lee" in Don Siegel's THE KILLERS, where his vicious calm and truly inspired acting choices made such an impression that I was compelled to seek out as many of his films as I could get my hands on. 

First, it was the easiest ones to find––like THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, WINNING, or MCQ; and then it was the rarities––staying up late to catch IRONSIDE, WALKER, TEXAS RANGER, and MURDER, SHE WROTE reruns, or buying old dog-eared videocassettes of WONDERLAND COVE/a.k.a. STICKIN' TOGETHER and THE WILLIES and HUNTER'S BLOOD and THE INITIATION. Recently, I'd been overjoyed to see him reaching new audiences with bit parts in Sean Baker's TANGERINE and Tarantino's ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

His work is magnificent, no matter the context; in turns it can be morbid, melancholy, rugged, or hilarious. I saw him sow deep, satisfying empathy across a rogues' gallery of murderers, abusers (THE GAMBLER, among others!), and perverts (TAPEHEADS, among others!). There's his wonderfully macabre work with his departed wife Miriam Byrd-Nethery in FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM, creating a very human monster who bleeds pathos and induces in the viewer something approaching a somber state of agony. In each role he is intensely connected achieves a shocking level of intimacy; in each role he captures something that is true. Even in the films where he given nearly nothing to work with, like COMPANY OF KILLERS.

Then, I discovered Clu as a filmmaker. I saw the haunting and poetic A DAY WITH THE BOYS (available on the Criterion edition of GEORGE WASHINGTON and nominated for the short film Palm d'Or at Cannes), a film that wrests the viewer from reality and into a dream-space, one that's frightening and powerful. I saw several of the shorts he collaborated on with his family for their legendary acting workshops, read about the struggles of FUCKING TULSA (an incomplete film I dearly hope to have the opportunity to see one day), and got many kick from his son John Gulager's lovably demented horror features from the past decade (which are truly Gulager family affairs––films like the FEAST trilogy and PIRANHA 3DD). The entire family's work is infused with a fearless Grand Guignol sensibility and an infectiously gleeful streak of sadism, but it grapples with something larger and darker and more mysterious. In their incredible story, I see the anguish of life's stumbling blocks and I see the joy of what compels human beings to create. Clu and his family are soldiers of cinema, in the Herzogian sense.

PS–– For more context, I also highly recommend this piece about the Gulager clan (Clu, his wife Miram Byrd-Nethery (R.I.P.), his sons Tom and John, and daughter-in-law Diane Ayala) which first appeared in L.A. Weekly in 1997.

Monday, July 25, 2022

R.I.P., David Warner

R.I.P. to David Warner: glorious Shakespeare actor, genre movie standby, and, for a VHS enthusiast, one of the most recognizable faces of all time. Best known to children of the '80s as the villain in TRON and TIME BANDITS, and best known to '70s horror fans from THE OMEN and TIME AFTER TIME. Maybe he'll be remembered by a new generation from his appearance in 2018's MARY POPPINS RETURNS.

At Junta Juleil, we've seen him suffer through the courtroom clichés of MR. NORTH and the peasant blouse nonsense of Cannon Films' HANSEL AND GRETEL.

In TITANIC, he was Billy Zane's henchman, and in his finest moment shot a disapproving look after catching Leo and Kate doing some unauthorized folk-dancing hanky-pankery.

He stopped by as a drama professor in SCREAM 2, a human in STAR TREK V, a Klingon in STAR TREK VI, and a dad in THE COMPANY OF WOLVES.

On TV, he effortlessly jumped between fare like TALES FROM THE CRYPT, THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, and CAPTAIN PLANET. He improved some of the roughest patches of TWIN PEAKS Season 2 by his mere presence, and delivered a lot of pathos in the TWIN PEAKS-adjacent WILD PALMS.

He had fun as Van Helsing in MY BEST FRIEND IS A VAMPIRE and hammed it up as an evil wax museum impresario in WAXWORK.

He collaborated twice with John Carpenter, playing members of the medical profession in BODY BAGS and  IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS. He collaborated thrice with Sam Peckinpah, playing a reverend, a rapist, and a Nazi, respectively, in THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, STRAW DOGS, and CROSS OF IRON.

He rocked out––so hard––to the music of Vanilla Ice in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES II: THE SECRET OF THE OOZE, and made us believe it. He exuded dignity no matter where he ended up.

R.I.P.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Only now does it occur to me... SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (1991)

Only now does it occur to me... that SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO––a film by action master Mark L. Lester, director of COMMANDO and CLASS OF 1984––functions as a true culmination of his favorite thematic obsessions: brilliant/groan-inducing action one-liners, explosions, and male musculature.


From my understanding, this film was butchered by the studio during the edit, but I think the general sensibility of Lester's vision still shines through. For instance, the man who brought us the lingering closeup of Arnold's jiggling pecs during a machine gun battle in COMMANDO begins SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO with what feels like a formalist experiment: male musculature––covered in full-body irezumi (yakuza tattoos) is drenched in, alternatively, light and shadow.

It's the early 1990s action equivalent of Hollis Frampton's experimental 1969 short LEMON, whereupon a static shot of a lemon is subjected to different lighting techniques, revealing something 'profound' about the nature of darkness. Anyway, Lester and Frampton both pare the narrative to the bare essentials: in this case, pectoral muscles, and the different and dramatic ways in which one can view them.

Also, this movie––and those pecs, by extension––were shot by David Cronenberg's resident cinematographer Mark Irwin (SCANNERS, VIDEODROME, THE FLY, etc.). How 'bout that!

What is this movie about? You may be wondering. I've already told you. But if you insist on labels, it's about two tuff cops: Dolph Lundgren

 

 and Brandon Lee.

It's set in Los Angeles' (apparently) yakuza-ravaged Little Tokyo, and its premise is firmly rooted in 1991. You see, Dolph's Aryan-looking buddy cop is fluent in Japanese and was raised in Japan. Whereas Brandon's Asian American buddy cop was raised in the Valley and apparently has never even heard of Japan. This creates what we call dramatic tension. 

 

Acting-wise, as "the straight man," Dolph is basically doing That Thing that Dolph does, and Brandon, as the "funny one," is kind of doing a less cartoonish Bruce Campbell shtick. My wife and I are pretty sure that Brandon Lee took some acting classes before appearing in THE CROW.

Tia Carrere (WAYNE'S WORLD) is in here, too, as a singing gangster's moll who eventually is swept up in a (chemistry-challenged) romantic subplot with Dolph. The tracks she sings sound very "Olivia Newton John."

The villain is yakuza boss Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (MORTAL KOMBAT, THE PHANTOM, VAMPIRES, LICENSE TO KILL) who, as usual, treats us to some solid scenery chewing throughout.

The music, by David Michael Frank (THE MASK, OUT FOR JUSTICE), is, like the pecs, majestically pared down to the basics. There are essentially two tracks here, a "danger" track––used for all the action/peril scenes––and an "ambient" track, for everything else. The ambient track sounds a lot like the rootin-tootin electro-nonsense in THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS: THE MOVIE. All of this is intended as a compliment. 

The one-liners are amazing. COMMANDO brought us "Don't disturb my friend, he's dead tired" and "Remember Sully, when I promised to kill you last? I lied." SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO gives us "You have the right to remain... dead!," "It's kinda like one of those video games... you just defeated the first wave," and "We're gonna nail this guy, and when we get done, we're gonna go eat fish off those naked chicks!" The latter refers to a yakuza restaurant featuring the klassy combination of nude women and sushi, and is immediately followed up by this manly hand clasp, straight out of PREDATOR.


Speaking of gender politics, SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO objectifies the male and female form with relative and trashy equivalency.

Of course, we have to give the advantage to the male form, so celebrated in this film that I'm pretty sure both Dolph and Cary-Hiroyuki spend more time in various states of undress than they do clothed.

 

The highlight (lowlight?) may be when Brandon Lee's character tells Dolph, apropos of nothing, "Kenner, just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you, you have the biggest dick I've ever seen on a man." That being said, I am certain there is nothing in this film that can match the poetry of the final battle in COMMANDO.

In the end, I would categorize this as second-tier Lester and a damn fun time. Also, I'm pretty sure Tarantino is a fan, since A. It stars Dolph Lundgren, and one of Tarantino's first jobs was working as a P.A. on the Dolph Lundgren workout video, MAXIMUM POTENTIAL; B. it stars Brandon Lee, and Tarantino is a Bruce Lee obsessive (and a "children-of-Hollywood-stars" obsessive); and C., Dolph's character's backstory is very similar to O-ren Ishii's in KILL BILL (as a child, his parents were murdered in front of him by yakuza, in their bedroom).

Finally, I must point out that one Little Tokyo filming location––a crime scene exterior––is shot outside the church from John Carpenter's PRINCE OF DARKNESS! (Which is now the Union Center of the Arts.)

(Also note, far left: Vernee Watson, a.k.a., "Viola 'Aunt Vy' Smith" from THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Only now does it occur to me... SIDE OUT (1990)

Only now does it occur to me... that there's only one movie where you can witness a neon-candy-colored Jose Cuervo-sponsored volleyball Kumite. And that movie is SIDE OUT.


So what is a "side out?" It seems to be an arcane bit of volleyball jargon which is, as far as I remember, never defined by the film itself. As to the question of what is "SIDE OUT," the movie? we can creep a little closer to clarity.

So what we have here is C. Thomas Howell (THE OUTSIDERS, THE HITCHER, RED DAWN). He's playing a law student on summer break. (Can we thank our lucky stars that it's not his blackface-wearing law student from SOUL MAN?) He's picked up at the airport by volleyball-enthusiast/hearse-driving buddy Christopher Rydell (best known to readers of this site for starring in Dario Argento's TRAUMA). Rydell immediately ingratiates himself to the viewer by forcing a weird Freddy Krueger reference



which sort of implies that he deserves primo airport parking because he's picking up... a burn victim child murderer? (C. Thomas Howell does not play a burn victim in this movie, not even if we're counting sunburn.)


Rydell has rad vanity plates, too, because this is a movie made in 1990.

Anyway, C. Tom Howell is really here on the West Coast to do the bidding of his evil uncle (Terry Kiser, of WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S)

who is absolutely just reprising "Bernie" from WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S. It's basically a prequel. He's a real estate lawyer who puts poor C. Tom up to some white-collar repo man antics, evicting poor people and gathering materials to help dastardly land developers (again, this is a movie made in 1990).

Kathy Ireland is here, playing the evil uncle's paralegal, or something. 

 

She's in the movie for such a brief span, I have to imagine she had other scenes which were deleted. Which is a shame, because Cannon Films' ALIEN FROM L.A. revealed that she has better acting chops than you might expect.

Anyway, C. Tom finds out that obeying corporate masters is much lamer than jus' hangin' out and playin' beach volleyball all day.

 

So Rydell makes him an offer he can't refuse.

And C. Tom gets a girlfriend along the way: Courtney Thorne-Smith (MELROSE PLACE, ALLEY MCBEAL, SUMMER SCHOOL), a waitress at the local volleyball-themed watering hole.


 Check out that totally tubular neon sign out front, of a volleyball getting swatted back and forth:


And can we talk about Courtney Thorne-Smith's blouse for a minute? The costumers were up to some wacky shit here––obviously neon pink was a staple of a 1990 beach fashion ensemble, but when we finally get a reverse shot, it reveals a heretofore unseen transparent plastic back panel

which is practically some outré, cyberpunk, "Zhora in BLADE RUNNER" type-stuff. (There will be more on this neon fashion manifesto later, that's a promise.)

Anyway, she is the romantic lead, and she is mostly defined by her blondeness and physical proximity to C. Thomas Howell. I'm pretty sure this doesn't pass the Bechdel Test, but you already knew that.

So C. Tom is living his best life, and participating in volleyball tournaments which are far more plentiful and higher paid in the SIDE OUT universe than in ours. Oh, look––C. Tom and Christopher Rydell are doing the crane kick from THE KARATE KID, a playful reference to a film starring C. Tom's OUTSIDERS cast buddy, Ralph Macchio:

Anyway, Christopher Rydell is tragically injured during this match, and C. Tom must join forces with crusty volleyball veteran Peter Horton (CHILDREN OF THE CORN, THIRTYSOMETHING), who is absolutely the poor man's Steven Weber. Think about those implications.

Through many montages, the two learn to work past their differences and become an awesome volleyball team. Also, C. Tom helps him out with some real estate difficulties, and really sticks it to the man (his uncle "Bernie"). Whew.

A good drinking game you could play with this movie is, "drink every time C. Thomas Howell takes his shirt off."

Eventually, it's time for the big tourney, the Jose Cuervo-hosted volleyball kumite with a $100,000 prize.

If you've seen ROCKY IV, you can probably predict exactly how this goes, point by point,

even if you don't predict the use of the rad 1990 insult "cheese dick."

The movie ends the instant they win "the big game," without any additional character development/reaction/resolution, because the movie knows itself well enough to know that would be completely unnecessary. 

What I don't understand is this: why isn't this just called VOLLEYBALL: THE MOVIE? If you polled a thousand people at the mall and asked them what sport a "side out" is from, how many would guess volleyball? This movie's entire raison d'être is the Kenny Loggins volleyball montage in TOP GUN, and they're even brazen enough to recycle "Playing With the Boys" for it's biggest volleyball montage.

One final thought. At a fashion-show-within-a-volleyball-tournament they actually spell out the formal aesthetics of this movement. It's practically a manifesto. I thought this sort of rigorous self-definition went out of style with the Dadaists, Surrealists, and the Cubists, but here it is, veritably thriving in 1990!


 

 

Volleyball fashion is an ethos, really. Also, there are women in that crowd, and that woman is talking about a fashion manifesto––so I guess this sorta passes the Bechdel test? 

SIDE OUT, ladies and gentlemen.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Only now does it occur to me... HEART LIKE A WHEEL (1983)

Only now does it occur to me... that I've found my new favorite alliterative way to refer to this movie, and that is a "Bonnie Bedelia/Beau Bridges boundary-breaker biopic."


The story of Shirley Muldowney (the first woman to become a champion top-fuel dragster), HEART LIKE A WHEEL is a solid studio programmer with a compelling lead performance by Bonnie Bedelia (DIE HARD, THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY?, THE BOY WHO COULD FLY, SALEM'S LOT). Most importantly, it allows me to make statements such as:

"Bonnie Bedelia and Beau Bridges are bitterly brooding at a bar––bring Beau a Bacardi" and

"Bonnie Bedelia and Beau Bridges' Byzantine bond becomes a burden at this Baton Rogue B&B"

 

Directed by Jonathan Kaplan (TRUCK TURNER, WHITE LINE FEVER, OVER THE EDGE, TV's ER), HEART LIKE A WHEEL is basically a rogue's gallery of Roger Corman veterans, including cinematography by Tak Fujimoto (DEATH RACE 2000, CAGED HEAT), a bit part by Dick Miller (A BUCKET OF BLOOD, THE TERROR), 


Because this is "a movie," that means Dick Miller is in it

 

supporting roles from Leo Rossi (GRAND THEFT AUTO) and Bill McKinney (CANNONBALL!), as well as a wonderful Paul Bartel (HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, ROCK N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL) cameo as a sexist French chef (playing the character, "Chef Paul").


We've also got baby Anthony Edwards (with hair!) as Bonnie Bedelia's teenage son 

and a variety of other interesting players, like THE OFFICE's Creed Bratton and musician Hoyt Axton.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Only now does it occur to me... BLOWN AWAY (1994)

Only now does it occur to me... I can show you what you need to know about Stephen Hopkins' BLOWN AWAY better than I can tell you. In short, it's a delirious slice of mid-90s madness, as if PATRIOT GAMES and SPEED were ground together into mélange of Jeff Bridges running in vain toward slo-mo explosions, the absolute worst Irish accents ever put to film, and a sensibility that screams "Bruckheimer," though no Bruckheimers were involved in this project. It was ahead of its time.

But first, a few clips, with very little context.

The first, I call: "Forest Whitaker Fails to Notice an Extremely Conspicuous Tommy Lee Jones."

Here, Forest is jogging up a Boston staircase and is so zoned out to the beautiful strains of U2 that he does not notice Tommy Lee Jones––in the busiest Jesus t-shirt ever worn––taping him with a camcorder from six inches away.

The second, I call: "Tommy Lee Jones Is Suspiciously Protective of His Crab Bag."


Here, he simultaneously creeps out and amuses Suzy Amis, who has never seen crab puppet theater performed on a public beach.

The final clip, I call: "Tommy Lee Jones Drunken Dance Mania."

While in some ways this is of a piece with "Ed Harris Dance Mania in CREEPSHOW," the intent is more along the lines of "Ted Levine/'Goodbye Horses' in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS." I have excised the footage of Jeff Bridges wandering around the cobwebb'd periphery of Jones' lair in this clip because it did not involve Tommy Lee Jones drunkenly rocking out to, yes, the exact same U2 song that Forest Whitaker was listening to in Clip #1.

I believe I have now informed you of all you need to know about BLOWN AWAY, and you may carry on.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Film Review: SUPER MARIO BROS. (1993, Annabel Jankel & Rocky Morton)

Yoshi Eggs: 2.5 of 5?
Running Time: 104 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Bob Hoskins (THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, MONA LISA, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT), John Leguizamo (ROMEO + JULIET, CARLITO'S WAY, ENCANTO), Dennis Hopper (BLUE VELVET, WATERWORLD, EASY RIDER), Samantha Mathis (BROKEN ARROW, PUMP UP THE VOLUME, AMERICAN PSYCHO), Fiona Shaw (MY LEFT FOOT, MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, the HARRY POTTER saga), Fisher Stevens (MY SCIENCE PROJECT, HACKERS, SHORT CIRCUIT), Richard Edson (DO THE RIGHT THING, STRANGE DAYS), Lance Henriksen (ALIENS, HARD TARGET, NEAR DARK), Don Lake (WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, POLICE ACADEMY, BEST IN SHOW), Francesca P. Roberts (HARD TO KILL, INSIDE MOVES). Music by Alan Silvestri (BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE AVENGERS, MAC AND ME). Cinematography by Dean Semler (THE ROAD WARRIOR, APOCALYPTO, COCKTAIL, XXX, YOUNG GUNS). Edited by Mark Goldblatt (TERMINATOR 2, RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II, HALLOWEEN II, PREDATOR 2, BAD BOYS 2, XXX 2: STATE OF THE UNION).
Tag-line: "This ain't no game."
Best one-liner:  "Remember, trust the fungus!"

For this particular film––from the directors of MAX HEADROOM and many a "Rush" music video, and in which stars Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo allegedly drank themselves into a stupor between takes––I feel that my review is best delivered as a series of questions to which there are (likely?) no answers. As it were, a sober philosophical inquiry.

Why did they feel the need to invent an entirely new mythology for the Super Mario universe, one which involves a parallel dinosaur dimension caused by the extinction asteroid event and called "Dinohattan?"


Could there possibly be a more '90s tableau than a recumbent "Luigi" Leguizamo in acid-washed jeans, a sideways ballcap, a generic "flaming yin-yang" tee, and while playing with a Pin Art executive toy?

Is it now official canon that the Mario brothers are so called because their actual names are "Mario Mario" and "Luigi Mario?" Is it canon that they are half-brothers separated by twenty-two years of age? How did they manage to shoehorn in "Manhattan land developer villains" in a movie which takes place largely in the SF&F hellscape of "Dinohattan?"


Are all of the dinosaurs here because of Yoshi's popularity, or because of JURASSIC PARK's? How many dinosaur bones are under the Brooklyn Bridge anyway?

How strange is it that the "portal to another dimension" plot feels nothing like the SUPER MARIO BROS. games, or even anything like the formative "magic gateway" genre classics (ALICE IN WONDERLAND, WIZARD OF OZ, THE LION, THE WITCH, et al.), but in fact most resembles the Cannon Films/Kathy Ireland classic ALIEN IN L.A.?

Is it wrong that I like the sprawling, chaotic, teenage mutant "Albert Pyun"-itude of it all, and way more than I should? 

Here's a question I can answer: is it because the production designer is the Oscar-nominated David L. Snyder, who worked on BLADE RUNNER, DEMOLITION MAN, PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, and BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY? Yes, yes it is.

Is it wrong that it feels so strange to see Samantha Mathis (the egg-hatched-and-raised-by-nuns Princess Daisy, here) in an early '90s movie without Christian Slater?


Do you think Slater/Mathis were more of an early '90s Tracy/Hepburn, or more of a Bartel/Woronov?

Do the creators of "Dinohattan" regret including the now-chilling image of a crumbling World Trade Center?

(The movie was released fewer than three months after the 1993 WTC bombing. See also: DOWN/THE SHAFT.)

Did the producers realize that one of their trendiest resources was not, in fact, Was (Not Was)' "Everybody Walk the Dinosaur," but having Sonic Youth's Richard Edson and Naked Angels Theater Company co-founder Fisher Stevens as rando Dinohattan henchmen?

Is the greatest moment of Fisher Stevens' life when he said "Sayonara, dicknose!" in MY SCIENCE PROJECT or was it his Grand Skateboard Entrance in HACKERS?

Was it a mistake to reimagine King Koopa as a "germaphobe Frank Booth" with weird Maggie Simpson cornrows and a bitchin' snakeskin jacket?

In which of his '90s villains does Dennis Hopper channel BLUE VELVET the hardest? Is it his work in WATERWORLD, SPEED, CHASERS, RED ROCK WEST, or SUPER MARIO BROS.? (Eh, I actually think it's SPEED.)

Who is "Lena" meant to be in the wider SUPER MARIO mythos? Does it matter when it's essentially the great Fiona Shaw playing, um, a live-action Disney villain?

Is the Yoshi puppet actually.... really impressive? I swear, it's one of the better puppet/animatronics of the CGI era and pretty much equal to anything in JURASSIC PARK. How 'bout that?

Why does the film take such a hard turn into a Terry Gilliam-influenced Kafka nightmare, complete with Rube Goldberg torture devices and Soviet gulag ambience?

Is it a "fun" gag when the Mario Brothers are nearly executed at a Lavrentiy Beria-style tribunal which resembles Goya's painting "The Third of May 1808?"

Is John Leguizamo even acting at this point, or has he surrendered to the existential horror of appearing in this film?

Is a tableau such as this what the kiddies are hoping for in their SUPER MARIO popcorn fare, an extrajudicial political prison to contain their favorite 16-bit heroes?

I mean, this would be at home in an Andrzej Żuławski film, or maybe an early Lars Trier joint, but...

 

maybe they've stumbled onto something good here, with this conceit of the "De-evolution" chamber––can finally the disparate worlds of MAX HEADROOM and IN THE PENAL COLONY co-exist? Do you receive a similar religious epiphany when you Devolve as you do when your crimes are carved onto your flesh with Kafka's Machine?

What was the impetus behind reimagining the "goombas"––tiny villainous mushrooms, in the game––as BEETLEJUICE-shrunken-headed dinosaur monsters?

Can Dennis Hopper explain it to us? (The answer? "Partially.")


Should the entire movie instead have been refashioned to center on Francesca P. Roberts' character, "Bertha," who has rocket boots and the best fashion sense in the film (courtesy of THE MANDALORIAN and NEAR DARK's costume designer Joseph A. Porro)? (Undoubtedly, the answer to this one is, "yes.") 

Why does the sequence of the movie which seems most directly based on a video game––featuring Bob Hoskins dodging traffic––

 take its inspiration not from SUPER MARIO BROS., but from the arcade classic FROGGER?

Why does the final showdown with Dennis Hopper/King Koopa center entirely around gunplay, when guns and first-person-shooting are have never been associated with the sort of games released under the SUPER MARIO umbrella?

 


And are you going to tell me that, ackshually it's kosher because those are SNES "Super Scope" guns, which technically were a Nintendo product compatible with exactly one game in the SUPER MARIO-verse, the mostly forgotten YOSHI'S SAFARI (1993), which, again, represents only one of forty-nine (!) MARIO-adjacent titles and is only representative of the series at large if you are a big ol' nerdy nerd?

So why does Lance muthafuckin' Henriksen play King Reznor, who, now that Dennis Hopper has been defeated, is no longer a giant fungus installation piece, and... er... who is King Reznor anyway? Trent's dad?

Is a fitting finale to have Lance Henriksen sit up in a golden throne and exclaim, "I'm back!––I love those plumbers!"

Perhaps it is.  

Then there is a post-credits scene which tries to imagine that this film is simply the ur-text from which Japanese game developers adapted the games. Okay!

What's the worst thing Bob Hoskins ever did? Wait... I'm being told we have an answer for this one!

"The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Brothers. It was a fuckin' nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! Fuckin' nightmare. Fuckin' idiots."

–Bob Hoskins, as told to The Guardian in 2007

Well, there ya have it folks. SUPER MARIO BROS. 

To quote this film's version of "May the Force Be With You," I'll leave you with this benediction: "Trust the Fungus."