Thursday, July 19, 2012

Never Too Young to Die

Wow. Now here is one that treads that fine line of good-bad and bad-bad. In the former category, we have masterpieces like Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf, She-Devils on Wheels and Drive Angry. Cheesy, cheap, stupid, derivative -- sure, all those movies are that, but they're all entertaining. You will enjoy yourself as you watch them. The second category contains about 500 times as many films as the first, I Know Who Killed Me, Leonard Part 6, Lifetime made-for-TV movies, most of the later work of Adam Sandler. You don't have fun there. Never Too Young to Die, i'm still not sure about.

John Stamos and his big poufy head of hair play Lance Stargrove, a high-school gymnast who wears either creepily tight jeans or scarily semi-transparent white Z. Cavaricci pants. His dad--played by George "I was James Bond once. Once." Lazenby--was some spy who got whacked for some computer disc that can contaminate! The city's entire! Water supply! Forever! (I guess it has some kind of water-soluble virus on it.) Vanity plays his dad's former partner or something, in a lot of spandex and bronze makeup and the two of them have to get dad's killer and find the disc.

So, anyway, who was it that whacked Papa Stamos Bond for the disc of dampness? None other than Gene Simmons. In drag. Yes, you read that right. Gene Simmons stole one of Cher's old wigs and a few of her cheesier outfits (There is a moment when you will indeed scream "Turn back time!" at the screen and then wonder whether Cher laughed or punched him in the nutsack. Or both.) to play a transsexual or transvestite or hermaphrodite or something--the plot is vague on this, as it is with many things. Now, we all know that Gene Simmons has no shame and this was during the Lick It Up era but, still, really? Now, Stamos is supposedly a nice guy, like a vampire does not age and, lord knows, from General Hospital to Glee, the man is always working. And i really liked Vanity's other film, The Last Dragon, the Berry Gordy kung fu movie. But this flick, well...

Actually, this entire film feels as though it was generated by Mad Lib. And Gene Simmons -- sorry, Velvet Von Ragnar -- has an army of Road Warrior-rejects to do his bidding, all done up in the best "punk" attire the crack-addled, clinically insane and underpaid wardrobe lady could come up with, including that ubiquitous spike/shag synthetic "punk" wig that appeared (usually with wraparound sunglasses) in every "punk" crowd scene during the 80's. (And I say underpaid because she had to measure Stamos for those pants. And Simmons for the gold lame corset. Let us shy away from Vanity's buckskin fringed bikini altogether.) As if all this weren't disturbing enough, Robert "Freddy Kreuger" Englund appears as Simmons' lackey. And sometimes they touch each other. In unsettling ways.

Other disturbing events? How about the seemingly endless and definitely pointless scene in which Vanity strips, hoses herself down, takes her top off and hoses herself down more while Stamos chomps down on a variety of apples and bananas and you cannot tell whether this is supposed to be some kind of parody or the folks who engineered this masterpiece were just that dumb. How about the scene where Simmons stars flouncing around in full pink feather showgirl drag? And then unfurls the tongue that once rocked Detroit City and sticks it down the throat of Stamos? The array of really bad fake facial hair inexplicably sported by various characters throughout? Did someone involved in this flick own an off-price wig shop that was going out of business? 

No wonder Vanity left the entertainment industry and turned Christian: After watching Never too Young to Die, I felt like I should spend the next three years praying for forgiveness.

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