Apple, The (1980)Reviewed By The Ultimate Dancing Machine
Posted 02/16/03 21:02:16
I've just found the worst movie of all time. My brain seizes at the memory. This is not your average everyday New Wave sci-fi Biblical allegory musical. No, this is a very special New Wave sci-fi Biblical allegory musical--I mean "special" in the sense of the Special Olympics. This movie resists summary--like a unexpected car-crash, it leaves you with nothing but fragmented impressions. What happened? What the hell did I just see?Where to begin? In the distant year 1994, a pair of Osmond-type singers, Bibi and Alphie, battle evil record promoter Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal), who's in fact the Devil in disguise. Our hero and heroine (George Gilmour and Catherine Mary Stewart, both doomed to Hell for this) run about an abysmally tacky futuristic world where everybody dresses like they're at Flash Gordon's S&M party.
Bizarrely choreographed musical numbers appear out of nowhere; the songs run the gamut from bad to very bad. One of them has Stewart wailing about "speed" and I don't think she meant fast cars. And just when you think the movie's gone to Hell, it literally does, and you're treated to a fucked-up beefcake and-and-dance number in a red-tinted underworld in which a near-nude English rock star exhorts Bibi to bite his apple. It's a Biblical allusion--I think.
And it's so very, very gay, up to and including the final scene where a glowing celestial being named Mr. Topps arrives in his equally celestial Rolls Royce to rescue humanity. As I watched Vladek Sheybal wink at the camera while drag queens frolicked about him, I had the distinct impression I was receiving some not-so-subliminal message. But as with all horrible movies, you can't tell what's deliberate and what's not. It would be nice to think it's just a joke when Alphie sings "my back's against the wall" as he leans against a brick facade, but I can't be sure.
Bad movies are one thing, but you've never seen anything so loudly, garishly, in-your-face howlingly bad as THE APPLE. It was brought to us by Menahem Golan, and let's just say that when he later produced BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO and ALIEN FROM L.A., he had since made quantum leaps in taste.
1980 was the year of POPEYE, THE GONG SHOW MOVIE, CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC, and "Let's Get Physical" topping the pop charts for 10 weeks straight--they must have been floridating the water supply with LSD back then. And somehow THE APPLE simply sinks beneath the rest. It's so hideous it ruins the curve for all other movies. BLACK KNIGHT wasn't that bad, was it?
THE APPLE was recently revived by the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles for the film's first theatrical screening in decades. Hundreds of people showed up to sing along with the tone-deaf songs and shout bad one-liners at the screen a la MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000. I just stared at the screen in horrified fascination and remained as still as possible to minimize the pain. Yes, the APPLE underground is growing.But are we ready for it?
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