Sunday, July 20, 2014

Prayer of the Rollerboys (Rick King, 1990)

Rollerboys?!? What about Rollergirls? I mean, what's up with that? And while we're at it, where are the Rollerpeopleofcolour? I didn't see one black dude skating with the Rollerboys in the totally awesome, Prayer of the Rollerboys. What's that? Get the fuck out of here. Really? Even though I'm playing dumb, I've just been informed that the Rollerboys are a gang of white supremacists who view women as merely sex objects. Just for the record, I threw in the latter distinction because: A) They have no female members. And: B) You should have seen that party the Rollerboys staged midway through the film, it was like something straight out of Caligula or an Alex de Renzy flick. Welcome to the Los Angeles of the not-so distant future. Do you know how I know it's the "not-so distant future"? No, not because the city is rife with rollerblading racists who wear white winter coats. And not because Patrica Arquette is wearing a leopard-print jacket with a sailor hat (oh my god, I can't wait to talk about the outre outfits she wears in this film). You know it's the not-so distant future by the unorthodox way old-timey televisions are employed.

Since television in the not-so distant future, especially the dystopian variety, is reserved for the wealthy elites of society, the rest of humanity have managed to come up with alternative ways to utilize them. And the most common way is to display them as decorative pieces for their home or hovel. The best way, I've found, anyway, is to combine the television set with the body of a mannequin. (You mean like Prince Robot IV in Saga?) Yeah, kinda like that.

(Didn't you love it when gay porn flashed on his screen/face after he was wounded in battle?) Yes! That was one of the coolest things ever. Oh, I'm sorry. As most of you know, but just in case some of you don't, Prince Robot IV has an old-timey television set for a head, as do, I'm guessing, the majority of blue bloods who live in The Robot Kingdom, and... yeah.

Anyway, when I saw that the headquarters of the Rollerboys was decorated with television sets attached to mannequin bodies, I knew I was wallowing in the not-so distant future. And now that I've established that this film does in fact take place in the not-so distant future (pats self on the back), I think I'm going to use next paragraph to openly opine about how Corey Haim reminded me of Justin Bieber.

I'll admit, thinking about Justin Bieber was the last thing I wanted to do while watching a pretty kick ass action flick with sci-fi overtones. But I couldn't help it. The similarities were downright eerie. Is it okay if I move onto another subject, like, say, the sound Patricia Arquette's red panties made as they swooshed past her black stocking-ensnared thighs? 'Cause I don't feel comfortable talking about this. What's that? Write one more sentence? Fine. Um, let me see... Okay, I got one. The similarities between the two don't just apply to looks, as I bet the Biebs, much like Corey Haim's character, is pressured on a daily basis to become a member of an all-male gang of rollerblading white supremacists.

Ugh, I'm glad that's over. It's not that I'm above writing about Justin Bieber, it's just that I don't like polluting my little corner of the virtual universe with something that is so aggressively lame.

Opening with the sight of Corey Haim's Griffen, a.k.a. Ramrod (this film, by the way, is my first real Corey Haim experience since I saw Lucas back when I was a gothed up Winona Ryder fanatic) rollerblading in a white tank-top, you would think it was just another average day in 1990. But you're wrong, it's... (Yeah, yeah, it's the not-so distant future. We got it.) What I was going to say, before I was rudely interrupted, was that, yes, it's the not-so distant future, but get this, the United States of America is bankrupt.

According to a speech being broadcast over the airways via a pirate satellite by Gary Lee (Christopher Collett), the leader of the Rollerboys, a paramilitary group of disaffected teenagers, there was a "great crash" that basically left America in financial ruin. Blaming "alien races" for the nation's downfall, Gary Lee hopes to inspire a new generation by assembling a white army of rollerblading patriots.

When Gary Lee holds his fists up and does the official Rollerboy salute after his speech, did anyone else think of Darryl Kromm from Strange Advance as he appeared in their video for "She Controls Me"? Oh, c'mon, it couldn't have been just me. Are you serious? Whatever, man.

After finding a used coffee maker while out dumpster-diving, Milton (Devin Clark), Ramrod's younger brother, spots Casey (Patricia Arquette) while trying to hawk the appliance at a local market. Anyone care to guess what the first words out of his mouth are when he spots her? He says, "Whoa." If you think that's a bit much. Let me tell ya, if you saw the way Patricia Arquette looks throughout this movie, you would say whoa too.

Wearing a sailor hat(!), a leopard-print jacket(!), an orange belt, sunglasses, a black skirt, and black nylons, Patricia Arquette's first ensemble had me literally bouncing off the walls. I mean, her outfit was so fucking fierce. Think about it. She's wearing a sailor hat with a leopard-print jacket. Ahhh!!!! And it keeps getting better.

We see the same outfit in the next scene, as Casey stops by the house that belongs to Speedbagger (Julius Harris) to get her roller-blades fixed (it would seem that everyone roller-blades in this version of the not-so distant future, and that Speedbagger fixes roller-blades). Since most white people live in "Municipal Homeless Centers," Speedbagger allows Ramrod and Milton to pitch a tent on his front lawn, and that's how Ramrod sort of meets Casey (they didn't actually talk, they just made goo-goo eyes at one another).

You can't really blame Casey for assuming Ramrod's a Rollerboy (as the film's opening proved, he's an excellent skater). But he's not a Rollerboy. He is, however, a pizza boy, and, in the next scene, we see him delivering a pizza (in an armored van) to one of those homeless centers I mentioned earlier; not to the homeless, mind you (they can't afford pizza), but to the guards guarding them - they're kind of like prison camps.

I liked it when Ramrod consults the "dash map" (a sort of GPS system) to find the homeless center. Oh, and given that the homeless center is called "No. 87 Municipal Homeless Center," I'm going to go ahead and assume they're must be a lot of them.

Rescuing a Rollerboy–get this–named Bullwinkle (Morgan Weisser) from a burning building using his pizza van, Ramrod suddenly finds himself in the good graces of the Rollerboys' leader, who apparently lived next-door to Ramrod when they were kids.

In order to not cause any further confusion, the only character in the film who calls Griffin by the name "Ramrod" is Jaworsky (J.C. Quinn), a police detective. And since I prefer the name "Ramrod" that's what I've chosen to call him in this movie review. So, if there's anyone out there wondering why I keep calling Corey Haim's character "Ramrod," that's the reason.

While practicing his rollerblading moves in a parking garage with Milton, Gary Lee and the Rollerboys, including Bullwinkle and Bango (Mark Pellegrino, I love this guy), come skating towards them in unison. The sight of the Rollerboys skating in unison is somewhat comical yet awe-inspiring at the same time (their white coats flowing in the wind... so awesome, so cheesy). At any rate, Gary Lee tells Ramrod that if he should ever need anything that he shouldn't hesitate to ask. Oh-oh.

Flouting society's conventions at every turn, we see Patricia Arquette's Casey wearing a bra as a top in the next scene. I know, a bra as a top. (So, what else was she wearing?) Didn't you hear what I just said? She's wearing a bra as a top! It's lewd, lascivious, salacious, and, to be perfectly honest, outrageous!

With American colleges literally moving overseas (Harvard is now located in Japan), what's a teenage juvenile delinquent with great hair to do? Attend a raucous party being thrown by the Rollerboys, that's what. I'm not the biggest Nine Inch Nails fan in the world, but even I have to admit the sight of Corey Haim strutting through the crowd to the strains of "Head Like A Hole" was pretty bad-ass.

A hedonistic free-for-all for the ages, the Rollerboy party has everything: Balloons... (Funny-shaped balloons?) Well, no, unless round is funny. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, the Rollerboy party. It has female mud wrestling, chicks dressed as mermaids, a working merry-go-round, and leggy babes in black pantyhose. See what I mean, everything.

Running into Casey, who is wearing a white ruffled collar, a white tutu, black opera gloves and a black bowler hat, Ramrod takes her outside to "chat." After making out for a few seconds, Ramrod proceeds to remove Casey's red panties. Reaching down towards the area where her red panties are currently housed, Ramrod slowly hikes them down. In order to help facilitate Ramrod's attempt to peel off her red panties, Casey lifts one of her legs up to allow for greater hiking leverage.

As her red panties go swooshing past her black stocking-ensnared thighs and calves (which, by the way, is the best sound ever), Ramrod hands the red panties to Casey and walks away. What just happened? Oh, I know what's going on. Ramrod thinks Casey wants to have sex with him just so he'll hook her up with some mist.

What's mist? It's the drug of choice in the not-so distant future. And guess who controls the distribution of mist in the not-so distant future? That's right, the Rollerboys.

Little does Ramrod know, but Casey is an undercover cop. Soon, however, Ramrod finds himself working for the police, too. But he's not going undercover out of some sort of misguided civic pride, he wants to prevent his little brother becoming a Rollerboy ("Once in, never out," is the Rollerboy motto). To make matters worse, his little brother has started misting.

Already a legend as far as I'm concerned, costume designer Merilyn Murray-Walsh manages to top herself when she unveils Patricia Arquette's orange and black cowgirl outfit. Hell, even the denizens of the not-so distant future can't help but do a double-take when they see Patricia Arquette walking down the street in her crazy cowgirl get-up.

It's a good thing Patricia Arquette's Casey was such a fashion risk taker, as the film's lack of female characters was a tad depressing (she's the only woman with a speaking part). But then again, the film more than makes up for it in other ways. How so, you say? Um, the film's about a gang of rollerblading racists who wear white winter coats. Nuff said. Day of the rope! Day of the rope! Day of the rope! The Future is ours!


  1. I loved this via VHS when it hit my local video store...

    On another note; do you take requests/suggestions and, if so, how do I communicate them? I've been loving your blog for several years now and have an idea or two that may be apropos.

    1. It's funny you should mention a video store in correlation to this movie, as one of the images I came across from this movie had Corey Haim posing for a picture in a video store next to a copy of Prayer of the Rollerboys.

      Feel free to leave requests/suggestions in the comment section.

  2. "she's the only woman with a speaking part"

    Well if you want rollerGIRLS, you should look elsewhere ;p