Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bachelor Party

Tom Hanks used to be funny before he got AIDS. Prior to his Oscar winning performance as AIDS sufferer Andrew Beckett in 1993’s Oscar slog Philadelphia, Hanks was the comedic actor in Hollywood. As Cast Away and Saving Private Ryan later proved, he may have secretly been operating as one of the best actors in Hollywood the entire previous decade, a fact not surprising to anyone who saw Splash. Yet, no other movie better captured his uncanny ability to elevate dreck than 1984’s Bachelor Party. How is it possible that a single movie could hit almost every wrong note of decency, yet still, after 30 years, be better than The Hangover? Print up your scorecard and get ready Meh. Just do it.
  • Filming a movie in which your hero's chosen career as “Catholic School Bus Driver” stands as direct fuck you to society. = +6pts (Some things never change.)
  • Bus chaos: child ogling mysteriously procured Playboy, topless dashboard hula girl, gambling, boom box playing bizarre new wave rock abortion. Good times! = +7pts
  • Opening establishing song that somehow wipes its fetid balls across (at least) 5 different genres of ‘80s music. = +10pts (For somehow still successfully facilitating opening exposition of Hanks’ bro crew. Take that John Williams!) 
  • Using a photo shoot as an opportunity to take suggestive pictures with a child’s large breasted mother, while said child lays on table wide-eyed and too terrified to look behind him. = -3pts
  • Inviting your friend to help out. = -6pts
  • Drinking motor oil instead of a beer and only being slightly annoyed by it. = +2pts
  • Being more annoyed at how cheap American cars are. = +4pts
  • Remembering the ‘80s: Back when a guy could make a living selling concert tickets over the phone. = +4pts
  • Blonde guys can’t read. Duh! = +2pts (In any decade.)
  • Lead actress works at store that could very easily stand in as an American Apparel circa 2013. = +13pts 
  • Tom Hanks cooking and providing his own commentary at least 15 years before commentaries became the standard in the industry. = +2pts
  • Remembering the 80s: Back when the idea of a man cooking was a great opportunity to make jokes. Potato salad made out of potatoes and lettuce!? Wah-wah! = -1pts (Ha, men cooking is stupid!) 
  • Purposefully tanking a game of tennis with your rich soon-to-be in-laws as a way to show them that you have no respect for them whatsoever. = +5pts
  • Having a woman state that “men are pigs” and then filming an entire movie that validates this statement, while at the same time making the person making the statement come across as one of the main villains of the movie. = +9pts (It’s an art.)
  • Alienating your in-laws during lunch by proposing the idea of having children…by adopting a 17-year old Korean girl who has great "birthing hips.” = -5pts
  • It wouldn't be an ‘80s movie without a stuffy blonde white guy to play the villain. = -4pts (Robert Prescott is no Willima Zabka.)
  • Remembering the 80s: When Hollywood executives were still working out the Holocaust through typecasting Nazi youth-types in movies. No score, just an observation. 
  • For implying that there is only one pimp in all of LA for the sake of plot. = -2pts
  • Introducing a childhood friend affectionately called “Peckerhead,” only to reveal that he has become a whacked out basket case. = +6pts (We’re sure him being called “Peckerhead” throughout adolescence had nothing to do with how he turned out.) 
  • Sarcastically applauding the hotel manager after he announces that he is the hotel manager. = +2pts
  • Being way to excited to watch a porno with a group of guys. = +4pts (In 1984, -3pts, In 2013 +7pts)
  • Over the top reaction of group of women at the sight of two beautiful ladies of the night doing beautiful things to each other with whips and what appears to be a large vibrating ice cream cone. = -5pts (In 1984 +2pts, In 2013 = -7pts)
  • “The car! Debbie! The car! Debbie! Take the car! Take Debbie! The car! Debbie!” = +5pts
  • Reaffirming your heterosexuality by going to a male strip club. = +4pts
  • Naming a character Nick the Dick because he’s a dick. = +3pts
  • Oh, and because he has a giant penis. = +12pts
  • World Trade Center Reference dick joke. = -2pts (In 1983, +9pts, In 2013 = -11pts)
  • Watching your mother-in-law give a handy to a male dancer for the purposes of a good prank. = +50pts (Almost no score high enough.)
  • Indian pimp speaking in blackface. = -50pts (Almost off the charts racist.)
  • Congratulating your older brother on his infidelity with a prostitute. = -4pts
  • Adrian Zmed’s last moment of ‘80s glory: Zmed, still (literally) high off of the “success” of Grease 2, takes his shirt off and sings the forgettable song “Little Demon.” = +3pts
  • Okay, Tom, your gluttonous “Mexican” friend, who’s excess and caveman attitude reaches its apex in the scene in which he stuffs his face into a bowl of potato chips, grabs a strange (horrified) woman’s boobs, and spits a mouthful of beer into another woman’s face, clearly needs more help than Peckerhead who is attempting to slit his wrists with an electric razor. = -5pts (For lacking priorities.) 
  • Peckerhead’s maniacal “laughter.” = -1pt
  • Wearing forest camouflage in downtown LA. = -2pts
  • Attempting to murder someone with a crossbow and not living in Westeros. = -2pts
  • It wouldn’t be an ‘80s movie without a troubling scene in of Asian male sexuality. = -6pts
  • Never have we been so happy to watch a donkey binge on amphetamines and cocaine during a donkey show. = +5pts (For saving us the horror of the impending bestiality. Sometimes you have to put an animal down in order to spare its suffering.) 
  • “Uh-oh, it’s Mr. Laughs!” = +3pts
  • Blackmailing your soon-to-be father in-law by dressing him in bondage gear and surrounding him with prostitutes. = +4pts
  • Sacrificing yourself to a gangbang in an effort to save your friends from the perverted Japanese business men. = -4pts
  • Continuing to place traffic cones despite riding along during an obvious kidnapping. = +4pts
  • Apparently kidnappings are an everyday happening in LA since not a single person seems to give a shit. = -2pts
  • 3D movie joke. = -5pts (In 1983, 0pts; Post Avatar, +5pts; Post Aurora, -10pts)
  • Deciding to commit suicide by driving a bus into a building full of people. = -2pts (In 1983, +9pts, In 2013, -11pts)
  • Final Sub-Score: Overreacting to Encounters with Homosexuality: 5, Progressive Views on Sex and Sexuality (i.e., non-misogynist/non-homophobic): 0. = -5pts (You’re trying too hard Hollywood!)
Total Score: +53pts
Available on: DVD, On a loop in Todd Phillips basement

How does a movie finish with such a positive score despite all evidence to the contrary? (I mean, bestiality, people. Come on.)  Well, in the ‘80s, the answer was simple: hire Tom Hanks. By sheer force of will, Hanks’ Rick Gassko remains one of the more endearing douchebags of the ‘80s. Indeed, it is his inherent sweetness and moments of introspection that believably (not a word we use lightly in this context) elevate this troubling movie into something slightly better. It becomes a movie about making the right choices despite what friends and family would have you do. Basically, it’s like The Devil’s Advocate, only funnier, with better acting, and more boobs; and is, by far, one of Tom Hanks best comedic performances. Right behind Forrest Gump.

Score Technician: Sean McConnell

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