Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pia's Voyage, which never took off...

A dear, dear friend (who shall remain anonymous to protect his innocence) lent me this 'forgotten treasure' from 1988: "Voyage of the Rock Aliens" (dir. James Fargo, US, 1988, 95 mins.). It stars Pia Zadora and Ruth Gordon and others, who have disappeared into television guest stardom, it seems. It seems more like an excuse to promote the Pia Zadora/Jermain Jackson single "When the Rain Begins to Fall." The film never had a US release, short of straight to video. The dvd I watched was from the UK (PAL, no region). I found myself compelled to take notes.

Here they are. Unedited. (The titles in quotations are the musical numbers.)

An hour and 35 minutes?!! I'll NEVER make it!!!

Oh, this is... is... uh.. uh... ohmigod Pia Zadora and Jermain Jackson are singing to a hideously sound mixed track!!
It's barely even MTV material! Even at it's time.

Actually this opening number (When the Rain Begins to Fall) sort of reminds me of a bad Toto video.

(I'm just going to jot notes as this creeps along...)

Pia's white boyfriend is sorta hot. In that '80s way.
Ooooo... they're fighting! Very choreographically. Almost "West Side Story."
This is the first time I've ever really appreciated sound mixing. The song in the background and the fighting foreground, though Pia and Jermaine are singing in the foreground of the fighting... it's all so fucked up.

Robot puppets... oh dear. Waking up the crew? Oh dear. Oh, hello pretty blond boy. Oh my. They wish to be Devo. "It's the 21st Century" at least looked well produced. Considering.

Lake Eerie scene. "Real Love" I love these clothes! Flashback!! Flashback!! Oooo... Frankie... Ooooo.... What a BUTT on that boy!! I want his hair. And jaw. And butt.

Ruth Gordon. She had Oscars, ya know. Writing and acting. And here she is. Poor thing. I like (dubbed) blond alien boy. I hope he undresses in this. Oh fuck the robot puppet seems to be a major character.

Frankie and Pia making out at the 'bar'. He must be gay. I hope he is.
Where is he now?Craig Sheffer, now

When's the next song?

Oh finally. A soda shop song. "Justine" I don't like the blond boy who is singing this, though. Frankie (Craig Sheffer??) just walked into the soda shop with an open jacket and no shirt and I am aroused. This whole aliens-enter-the-soda-shop scene could have worked had it been faster. [30 minutes down, 60 to go.]

The girl's toilet song, now. Does Pia have balls for doing a song in a toilet or does she get major demerits?

Craig Sheffer is on "One Tree Hill" these days it seems. (My mind was wandering during the next alien song...)

Blond alien boy (who is actually six to TWELVE years older than the rest of the cast?!), Tom Nolan, was in "Batman Begins"?!

"A Little Bit of Heaven" sort of pops out from nowhere, huh?

Ah! Michael Berryman in a 'cameo'!?

Alien blond boy's 'force field' is sort of a HOOT! har har har!!

Ooo! More Michael Berryman! woo hoo!

ohmigod what is she wearing?! It's huge! It's blue plaid! It's a tablecloth!! Thank god there is a song to distract us from it! (It underscores chainsaws big scene.) "Troublemania"? [55 minutes down, 35 to go]

The only thing keeping this from being a HOOT of a midnight movie is it is sort of sloppily/slowly paced...

Craig Sheffer... sigh... Pia in that hideous dress! blech! What to do?! Oh, she's had a costume change into a white jumpsuit sort of thing. Craig is glaring at her and clenching his jaw. I am aroused.

"Let's dance tonight" is recorded terribly! I don't remember how it sounded on the CD. Ooooo... it's a battle of the bands! Oooooh I get it now! It's classic rock versus future rock!

I'm waiting for Craig to crawl across the floor, nearly naked. Is it soon??

Pia is a trooper. I'm at the lakeside-can-I-join-the-band scene, where blond boy is telling Pia that he is an alien. I would be aroused if he would get rid of that terrible costume.

The rebuilding the chainsaw bit should have been cut completely.

Only 20 minutes to go and my patience is waning. It's time for Sheffer to get nekkid! Oh, but Frankie is at his locker now... Maybe, it's time?! He's posing against the door as he speaks to a picture of Pia and I love him. He lipsyncs terribly, but... "Nature of the Beast"... Oh, I love his little strutting thing going on here. I LOATHE the editing to the cougar! More Sheffer!! LESS cougar!! OH!! ask and you receive! Oh my. I am aroused. Must freeze frame. pause. pause.

pause.
pause.

pause.
pause.

pause.
pause.
Ok, we continue.

Silly gang scene... silly Pia and blond boy scene... silly... Oh, it all seems silly after "Nature of the Beast". Let's rewind for a moment.

pause.
pause.

Ok, back to the film, er, movie, er... well, whatever. I hate that thing on Pia's head. I didn't notice it beyond the white jumpsuit-thing, but I hate it.

More chainsaw schtick.

Oh NO!!! Sheffer has a LOT of clothes on now! MORE than before the cougar song!! Hmmm.. rewind? No, keep going...

Coming up to something of a finale or climax, it seems. Big rubber monster from the Lake (aka out of nowhere) has popped up, only to be interrupted by MORE chainsaw schtick. Poor Michael Berryman. It's almost like watching Lon Chaney wrestling with the rubber squid-beast.

Ok, so Pia has picked Sheffer over blond boy Tom Nolan. I guess that's ok.

Poor Ruth Gordon involved in stupid steamroller bit. Poor dog involved in stupid fire hydrant bit. Poor Tom Nolan, trapped in a bad movie as the secondary and losing love interest. And he's trying to act, too.

Oh! The final scene!! I sort of hope! (Then I can rewind to the cougar song, again!) Flowers blooming while Sheffer lipsyncs to Jermain Jackson. Oh, what happened to him? He was in the first scene singing this and then... How did we get here from there, anyway?

p.s. Here are requested screen captures of the fat jogger girl and the cephalopod:

9 comments:

JimmyD said...

The rubber lake monster does NOT come out of nowhere. It is seen early on when OverWeightJoggerChickCoveredInCandyBars steps on it while jogging on the beach. A scene so pivital that the designer of the DVD cover felt the need to feature OverWeightJoggerChickCoveredInCandyBars over Pia Zadora(ble).
When I first saw this film, the monster really scared me (cos I was on acid??). It had the same sense of realism that came with aliens and creatures in the original 'Doctor Who' series.
What also frightened me was that this was Ruth Gordon's final film appearance.
PS: Jermain's name in the opening video is 'Rain.' It's in the credits.

JimmyD said...

I see you have chosen to not post the screen captures I sent of OverWeightJoggerChickCoveredInCandyBars stepping on RubberMonsterThing during the first musical number that actually moves the plot (as oppossed to the commercial music video stuck in to sell a few Jermain 'Rain' Jackson CDs).
I spent minutes saving screen captures. MINUTES I tell you!
In one, you can see the actual names of the candy bars that were probably unplanned product placement which probably led to the direct-to-video distribution deal.

Maestas said...

God, that sounds hilarious. Yes, Scheffer was HOT back then! What's the Squid Beast??????!!!

Cephalopods!

Jay, the Angry Little Man said...

To JimmyD:
I am unable to post pix in the comments and couldn't find a good place to post it in the original post, though I may do that at the end of it as a p.s.

Would you like that? ;)

Oh, and THANK you for the screen-captures! :)

Anonymous said...

Now I see the Craig Sheffer obsession. My but he has changed.

JimmyD said...

I feel that if OverWeightJoggerChickCoveredInCandyBars was important enough to be featured on the cover, over Pia, she should be seen here... since more people will see you WONDERFUL review than will ever see the DVD.

maestas said...

OMG! Those pics are hysterical!!!!! Thanks for posting.

The Chosen One said...

Loved the notes. Too funny.
Craig Sheffer? I don't get the fascination... but, on the other hand, Pia does not appeal to me either...? I do think the rubber monster is hot. What the hell is wrong with me!?!!

Anonymous said...

I have always hated Pia and loved Scheffer!