To wash away the sadness of Leonard Nimoy’s death I was looking for something really fucking stupid to write about and I found a winner.
I picked up the Bluray edition of Midnight Express for $5 today, no homo, and decided to peruse Director Alan Parker’s credits. Seems he hasn’t made a film since The Life of David Gale back in 2003, however, he has several notable movies on his resume such as Fame, Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning and The Commitments along with some shit like Pink Floyd The Wall, The Road to Wellville, Evita and Angela’s Ashes.
I was reminded that he made Bugsy Malone and, having not given a fuck about that movie for quite some time, I decided to take a look and by the end all I could think was “what the fuck was he thinking when he made this fucking trash and, if I hunt down and KILL Alan Parker, will I get back the 90 minutes of my life that have been stolen from me?!?”. Parker got his start in the commercial industry and decided that, for his first film, that he’d make a MUSICAL set during 1920’s Prohibition Chicago with an all child cast who shoot each other with “splurge” guns when not pelting one another with volleys of custard/whipped cream pies and driving cars that they have to peddle with their fucking feet like the motherfucking Flintstones!?!
70’s heartthrob Scott Baio, making his acting debut and six years away from his defining uber-thespian turn in ZAPPED! (1982), plays the titular hero of the piece while Jodie Foster, coming off of Taxi Driver and a TV/film veteran by age 13 and probably familiar with the taste of pussy by then, plays his moll Tallulah. Save Foster, the entire cast was made up of kids who had little or no acting experience, and it shows, while there must be punishments in Hell less severe than corralling 200+ squealing cumstains in front of a camera. By the end Parker must have wished that he had John Landis shooting second unit helicopter footage!
Apparently Parker got the idea of doing a gangster film and it was his son who suggested making the entire movie with kids. After the debacle that the project became and its ensuing failure, if that had been my child, I would have coated him with honey and left him in the middle of New York’s meat packing district at 1AM on a Saturday night.
It’s admirable that anyone thought this was a good idea to make into a movie to begin with but it was the 70’s and drugs were cheap and in abundance. Looking at the trivia section of the IMDB, it’s unbelievable how much bullshit everyone went through to make this load of fucking wank, due to child labor laws, when it would have been easier to just start a fucking sweat shop in Calcutta with preteens sewing soccer balls and much more profitable. A kid could fall into machinery over there and all the factory owners would say is “well, he saved us from having to buy lube for the gears today!”.
It just seems odd making a movie about a serious subject matter and attempting to sanitize it of the real life violence while, at the same time, sexualizing the young girls playing flappers in the roaring twenties who get creamed with “splurge”. When I was 13 I thought that was fucking great but now that I’m pushing 40 it make me cock an eyebrow. I’m sure John Hinckley Jr. loved it. It’s also interesting to note that all of the singing was done by adults as Paul (The Phantom of the Paradise) Williams composed the score, probably because he thought he could have a part due to his childlike stature. In that case I guess we can be thankful that BM tanked and Parker wasn’t able to make an all kids musical version of Caligula.
About the only good things I can say about this moronic shit is that it’s reasonably well made, has nice art direction/costume design that evokes the period fairly well and I have to say that it’s one of those movies that could have only been produced during the greatest batshit era of American cinema. My only regret is that Alan Parker didn’t make Bugsy Malone a gore filled bloodbath filled with grime, sleaze, filth and degeneracy. Perhaps what we need today is a Disney Produced remake of Scarface Directed by Paul Verhoeven which would look something like this…..