Arnold Quick Takes: Happy Anniversary and Goodbye, Dave, Beretta’s Island

happyanniversaryandgoodbye_3Happy Anniversary and Goodbye (1974)
twohalfstar

Starring Lucille Ball, Art Carney, Nanette Fabray, Peter Marshall, Don Porter, Patricia Blair, Doria Cook-Nelson, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Directed by Jack Donohue

I’ve been a Lucille Ball fan for pretty much my whole life, but I’d never seen anything other than I Love Lucy and The Long, Long Trailer. Judging on Happy Anniversary and Goodbye, I don’t know that I was missing much. The hour-long TV special presents the story of Norma and Malcolm Michaels, a married couple who have exhausted about every shred of love their relationship once had. After the first scene, composed almost solely of yelling, name-calling and snide remarks, the couple has decided to divorce. The special punctuates this real-life drama with levity, but it often feels odd to laugh when this couple is at such a low point. I have a hard time imagining a similar special being made today. Their personal journeys while separated are much more successful, though, with some classic-styled Lucy antics and a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger at nearly the start of his career. I doubt anyone involved thought his acting career would amount to much, as his usual spark is missing completely. It’s still fun to see him at his rippling, bodybuilding peak. This one can surely be skipped, but as a fan of Lucy, Art Carney and Arnold, I did enjoy it overall.

Dave_1Dave (1993)
twostar

Starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley, Charles Grodin, Faith Prince, Laura Linney
Directed by Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman made Dave in-between two Arnold vehicles (Kindergarten Cop and Junior), and Dave is every bit as unbelievable and outlandish an idea as Arnold teaching five-year-old kids or carrying a baby to term. Dave is a regular guy who gets to be the President of the United States after the real guy has a stroke. At first he’s just a simple stand-in, but as Dave’s personality shows through, the people love him. He cuts budget items as quickly and easily as you’d make a grocery list, he does magic tricks to cheer up a homeless kid, he uses giant robotic arms to tell fishing jokes; Dave does it all. Except the film itself is not nearly as charming as they make Dave out to be; it’s actually fairly slow and plodding, existing in a middle-ground between unfunny comedy and ineffectual drama. Arnold’s cameo as himself is ultra-minor, but it reminded me of going through the Presidential Fitness Tests at school. At the time, I thought they were super cool because they were affiliated with Arnold, and that if I did good, maybe I could meet Arnold. Alas, I wasn’t good enough (nor did I look enough like an actual winner to impersonate them, Dave-style).

BerettasIsland_1Beretta’s Island (1994)
On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar

Starring Franco Columbu, Ken Kercheval, Elizabeth Kaitan, Van Quattro, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jo Champa, Tammara Souza
Directed by Michael Preece

If you’ve seen Pumping Iron you probably remember Franco Columbu as Arnold’s workout buddy and co-competitor. Their friendship continues to this day, and in a lot of early Arnold movies Franco is somewhere in the background in a small role. So it only makes sense that when Franco finally had his own starring vehicle that Arnold would cameo in it! The buddies pump some iron together in an early scene, spurring each other on in much the same way I imagine they do in real life. It’s nothing special, but it’s one of the most honest and believable moments in the film. The rest of the film is some of the most ridiculous, dumb-action-movie stuff ever crammed into a low-budget movie. Franco plays Franco, a retired Interpol agent now living the high life in LA… so basically riding his motorcycle, pumping iron and making wine. But he gets a special assignment to go back to his beloved Sardinia, now plagued with drugs and the associated villainy, and because this is a dumb action movie, the drug lord lives right next door to Franco’s best friend.

Beretta’s Island has so much to offer the B-Movie aficionado who harbors a special love of Arnold and the general ridiculousness of the ’80s drug lord action film. Things like: a couple of lengthy workout scenes, an ’80s-style score, and Franco shirtless at every opportunity and then some. In addition to being a vanity project for Franco, Beretta’s Island is also a cultural love letter to his Sardinian homeland with its multiple sequences of folk music, traditional festivals and dancing, horse racing, soccer, boxing, making out on the beach, etc. Beretta’s Island is the kind of movie you can’t recommend because virtually no one will like it, but I had a total blast with it and I know some like-minded soul out there would too. So get in the right mindset and give it a shot! You’ve never lived until you’ve seen a shirtless bodybuilder jump onto a motorcycle to chase the drug lords he recognized in the crowd of the boxing match he was coaching and then started fighting himself because the opponent was on cocaine. 🙂

Assault of the Killer Bimbos (1988)

assaultofthekillerbimbos_2Starring Elizabeth Kaitan, Christina Whitaker, Tammara Souza, Nick Cassavetes, Griffin O’Neal, Jamie Bozian, Mike Muscat, Patti Astor, Arell Blanton, David Marsh, Clayton Landey, Jeffrey Orman, Eddie Deezen

Directed by Anita Rosenberg

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover — or a movie by its title — but I wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they did so with Assault of the Killer Bimbos. It’s just one of those titles that lets you know exactly what you’re in for, and if you venture past the “looking at the box” phase, it’s really on you if you don’t enjoy yourself. You can’t complain that you thought it would be great, because if you have high expectations going into a movie called Assault of the Killer Bimbos, well… you might be a bimbo. And I say that with all due respect.

Assault of the Killer Bimbos tells the thrilling tale of Lulu (Elizabeth Kaitan) and Peaches (Christina Whitaker), a pair of go-go dancers on the run from the law. Well, Peaches is a go-go dancer, while Lulu is a waitress aspiring to be a go-go dancer, but whatever. What’s important is that one night in the Los Angeles burlesque club where they work, a hitman named Big Vinny, who works for Dirty Louie, kills the girls’ boss, Shifty Joe. (And yes, I constructed that sentence specifically so I could include all those hilarious, dumbass and mostly irrelevant character names.) Lulu and Peaches walk in on the murder, and before they can even grasp what’s just happened, Big Vinny is pushing the gun into Peaches’ hand and running out the door. This, of course, leads everyone who comes around the corner in response to the noise to immediately accuse the girls of murder. I guess they thought nothing of the sleazy dude rushing away from the scene, but I guess if the gun’s in your hand, you shot the man.

Continue reading Assault of the Killer Bimbos (1988) →

Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987)

Starring Elizabeth Kaitan, Cindy Beal, Don Scribner, Brinke Stevens, Carl Horner, Kirk Graves, Randolph Roehbling

Directed by Ken Dixon

Expectations: Moderate. I love The Most Dangerous Game, and I love cheap sci-fi, so where can this go wrong?

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity is a film with limited appeal. Basically, if you’ve ever watched a sci-fi film, but wished the protagonists were played by buxom beauties in loincloths, then your search is over. There’s also the niche group of audience members that may have secretly wished for the same buxom beauties in something of a Most Dangerous Game scenario. Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity fulfills both fantasies, but beyond that it doesn’t do much. And if that wasn’t your thing going into the movie, I doubt the movie has the power enough to sway your sexual fantasies into the weird and wild. But who knows, give it a shot!

So as I alluded to: Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity is a science fiction re-telling of Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game. The slave girls of the title are Daria and Tisa, who escape from a prison ship in the opening minutes. They hijack the ship and set out for stars unknown, but instead they end up crash landing on a nearby planet inhabited by an eccentric hunter named Zed and his robot servants. He invites the girls to dinner, where they meet a couple of other shipwrecked people under the care of Zed. This would normally be a seminal scene of the story, where the hunter reveals some sadistic fascination with hunting, but instead it’s just kinda boring.

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