Sunday, December 6, 2015

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is on Netflix...

Which would have been nice to know before I purchased it on Amazon yesterday, but whatever. It's worth just about any price of admission anyway.


I always like lighthearted documentaries about the audacity of B-movie making, particularly Machete Maidens Unleashed and Corman's World. Electric Boogaloo fits nicely with those films, never shying away from the hilariously politically incorrect film clips. Seriously. This documentary has a ton of awesome clips, including one in which Marina Sirtus sword-fights topless in a period piece. How I didn't know that movie existed until now, I'll never know.

Lots of former A- and B-movie talent agreed to be interviewed: Franco Nero, Bo Derek, Sybil Danning, Robert Forester, and an actress who showed up just to set fire to her only copy of the movie she was in. "This is what I think about Cannon Films," she says as a puny flame spreads across the corner of the VHS.

You'll learn how Over the Top came to be. You'll finally know why Superman IV is the cheapest looking entry in the franchise and why Missing in Action 2 is a prequel to the "original" film (answer: because it was supposed to come out first). Above all, you'll find out how such a gigantic, multi-million dollar studio came crumbling down.

Good times.

* * *

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention A Very Murray Christmas, which began streaming on Netflix this weekend. It's one of the best things I've ever seen in my life, period. I have no idea how the project came about, other than Sophia Coppola directed it (her Lost in Translation is probably in my top ten or twenty favorite films of all time, so maybe that's why I liked this so much) and that it's just about the most charming thing in existence.


The title is dead on: it is very Murray. My favorite thing about the guy is his ability to be funny without jokes, which very few actors can do. There are no setups, no punchlines. Just Murray out-Murraying himself. My face still hurts from smiling so much, particularly when Clooney showed up towards the end.

As far as TV goes, Netflix is probably the reigning king of entertainment. Here's a project that couldn't exist anywhere else because it's somewhere in between a television show and a feature length movie. I love the idea Netflix is abandoning arbitrary time limits—it's 56 minutes long and has more in common with a 90s independent film than the variety show it wishes to emulate.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said broadcast TV will be dead by 2030. I'm not sure I believe the absurdly powerful media conglomerates will let that happen; personally, I predict the decency regulations are going to ease in the future so they can reasonably compete with premium offerings like GOT, but Netflix is certainly giving 'em a run for their money. At the very least, here's hoping Netflix won't try to do too much in too little of a time period and end up collapsing much the same way Cannon Films did.

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