Word up ladies and gentlemen? Muldoon here with a new column to the site. So what exactly is “WTF Hollywood?” Once a week I’ll be bringing you flicks that for some reason or another fell through the cracks of pop culture and have been buried in the years since their initial release. I’ll be bringing you movies exactly the opposite of BACK TO THE FUTURE, STAR WARS, or JAWS and focusing on flicks that studios took a gamble on that blew up in their faces, movies that leave you scratching your head at just how in the hell they ever got made. Think of it like Quint’s “This Should Happen,” though more like “How The Hell Did This Happen??” I hope to stick with flicks on NetFlix Instant, so you guys can give it a shot without digging through any VHS bins at places like Half Price Books. That said, who the hell knows where we’ll go with this column, let’s just have some fun with it.
So what do you get when you take Oscar winning film composer John Williams, creature effects legend Stan Winston, comedy gods Christopher Guest and Andy Kaufman, and then top it off with the forever-beautiful Ms. Bernadette Peters?
The film stars Kaufman and Peters as “Val” and “Aqua,” two robots who fall in love while awaiting repairs in a factory. The two immediately fall in robot love and escape in a van along with a comedian-bot named “Catskill” who’s voiced by Jack Carter. Hot on the trail of the small robot group is a violent enforcer robot, though somewhat inept, named “Crime Buster” and two factory workers, one of which is a very young pre-batshit insane Randy Quaid.
The design of the robots is oddly breathtaking and very much ahead of its time, certainly worth checking the film out for. Unfortunately it feels like that’s where a huge chunk of their $10,000,000 budget must have gone since the bulk of the film takes place outdoors with little to no set dressing or production design. Make no mistake, Kaufman and Peters are incredibly charming and do what they can, but simply aren’t given much to work with it seems.
Now according to my extensive research perusing sites the like of Wikipedia and IMDB, this flick was meant to be a test to star check Kaufman’s bankability as a lead in a flick. He had pitched Universal on a screenplay based on one of his many out there characters, the anti-lovable Mr. Tony Clifton. When this flick bombed in theaters making around 20% of it’s $10,000,000 back all hopes of THE TONY CLIFTON STORY were straight shot to hell and left Kaufman publicly apologizing for the film’s very existence while on LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN.
Is this a date movie? No. Is this an escapist movie? Maybe a little. Is it worth checking out for the novelty of seeing Andy Kaufman all robotted out?? Hell yes and honestly your kiddos might dig it too. Fair warning though, this movie is like going to Olive Garden and getting all you can eat breadsticks… sure it tastes good and will fill you up, but there’s no real nutritional value. If you’re the type who seeks out bizarre movies, well… chances are you’ve already seen this, but if you haven’t – quick, go hit up NetFlix and give it a shot.
If there’s a flick out there you think fits into this column or if you happen to have had anything to do with this film’s production and feel like chatting about it please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org