Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drop Dead Rock (Adam Dubin, 1996)

Even though the music industry depicted in this movie doesn't exist anymore (believe or not, in 1996, bands the world over would submit their music to so-called "taste-makers" in the hope that they would bestow upon them something known as a "record deal"), that doesn't mean Drop Dead Rock is irrelevant. On the contrary, there are still millions of deluded souls out there who possess very little in the talent department who expect to become to rich and famous. Only difference being, the scumbags who used to be in charge weeding out the talentless have been replaced by washed up has-beens and shiftless sycophants. Oh, I don't mean to imply the people who preceded the washed up has-beens and the shiftless sycophants were saints (despite the fact I called them scumbags), I'm just saying... Wait, what am I saying? Oh, I remember, the music industry is a cesspool, and this mildly satirical enterprise, co-written and directed by Adam Dubin ("Fight For Your Right To Party" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"), lands a few well-placed punches on its greedy, scab-laden face.

Woo-hoo! I just did a whole paragraph without mentioning Shelly Mars' surprisingly sexy stems, Shoshana Ami's jet black, Long Island garage-quality pantyhose, Apollo Smile's shapely calves encased in radioactive fishnets, Chelsey Parks' robust ex-porn star thighs, or the tops of Deborah Harry's tan stockings. I deserve a treat.

Seriously, someone give me a treat. Actually, you know who should give me a treat? Adam Dubin and his writing partner Ric Menello (Tougher Than Leather), that's who. You see, by reviewing this film, I'm giving it my stamp of approval. And in turn, increasing its profile in the cult movie universe. You could say, I'm a taste-maker. Except, I'm not a scumbag, nor am I shiftless sycophant (the jury's still out on my status as a washed-up has-been).

Anyway, I can just picture Adam Dubin and Ric Menello patiently wondering when Yum-Yum is going to get off his butt watch their movie.

Think about, their movie contains a lesbian rock drummer with amazing legs, a Long Island floozy who wants to either replace Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune or Dian Parkison on The Price Is Right, a brain-dead VJ who lounges like a goddess, an ex-porn star who continues to practice her fake moaning despite being an ex-porn star, and a middle-aged new wave legend... who proves she's still got it.

In other words, they must be thinking to themselves: If our movie contains such a high degree of awesomeness, why hasn't he watched it yet? Um, hello, it might have took a little longer than you expected, but I finally got around to watching your movie. And I must say, it was totally worth it.

Following the ups and downs of a Long Island rock band called "Hindenburg," the film, which premiered at a film festival in Aberystwyth, Wales back in 1995, opens with the band failing to gain any traction using traditional methods. All but blacklisted from the lucrative L.I. battle of bands circuit, Hindenburg are in desperate need of a break.

When their drummer dies after a light falls on him, their clueless leader, Chick (Robert Occhipinti), decides (after a brief run as a power trio) to audition a new drummer. Only, Dino (Todd Anthony), their clueless bass player, and Scratch (Riz Fairchild), their clueless guitar player, weren't expecting Chick to hire a chick. That's right, it's time for the gorgeousness that is performance artist Shelly Mars to make her presence felt.

Playing Andie, a take no shit lesbian (the best kind) who knows her way around a drum-kit, Shelly Mars wipes the floor with the other actors, as their charisma-challenged personalities simply crumble before the majesty that is Miss Mars.

Though, I have to say, Chick's girlfriend, Bonnie (Shoshana Ami), does wear tight purple pants (with a purple top and a purple scrunchie) in her first scene. And that does manage to undermine some of Shelly Mars' innate sex appeal.

Which reminds me, she may be sexy, but Andie bristles when Chick implies that she needs a makeover. Telling him straight-up that she's not going to be, and I quote: "Some half-assed wet dream to a bunch of slobbering orangutans in Metallica t-shirts," Andie makes it clear that she ain't no bimbo.

Speaking of bristling and bimbos, Bonnie bristles when Andie mentions the word "bimbo," but the latter is able to placate the situation by saying "no offense" (while gesturing toward Bonnie) immediately after saying the b-word. This allows Bonnie to say, "none taken."

My favourite non-tight purple pants moment during this sequence is when Dino tries to hit on Andie after she officially becomes a member of Hindenburg. The look of surprise on Dino's face when he finds out Andie is a lesbian is adorable. Things get even more adorable when Dino (a.k.a. Sheldon) says, "You like girls?!?" To which Andie replies, "Don't you?" Realizing that they both dig the ladies, Andie and Dino are now best buds for life.

Even though the new line up is gelling, the members of Hindenburg are still depressed about the lack interest in their music. That all changes when the band see a music video on television by Spazz-O (Ian Maynard), a punk rock singer who seems modeled after the likes of Ian Dury and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Watching him perform his classic early '80s song, "Inseminator" ("I'm your inseminator... your midnight infiltrator"), Chick, Scratch, Dino and Andie come up with the idea to kidnap Spazz-O and force him to listen to their music.

Actually, it's Andie who comes up with the idea to kidnap Spazz-O; on top of bringing some much needed sex appeal to the band, Andie is full of ideas. Only problem being, the plan is a tad on the flawed side. But more on that in a second, as Andie is about unleash the raw, erection-causing power that are her shapely gams on an unsuspecting Spazz-O.

If you're wondering why Bonnie wasn't used to lure Spazz-O. It's because Bonnie can't be trusted to perform even the simplest of tasks. Besides, have you seen Andie in a tight red dress? It's quite the sight to behold. Anyway, showing up at Spazz-O's hotel room in the aforementioned red dress, Andie seduces the aging rocker with a breathtaking ease.

Employing her legs like they were a pair of flesh-covered swords dipped in lukewarm molasses, Andie has Spazz-O eating out of the palm of her hand in no time. Grabbing him just as he was about to mount Andie, the band stuff Spazz-O into one of them wheeled music cases and take him to Dino's parents' garage out on Long Island.

If only the members of Hindenburg could have seen the way Spazz-O treated his fans in an earlier scene, they would have probably thought twice about kidnapping this colossal wanker.

Someone who knows first-hand what a colossal wanker Spazz-O is, is his manager, Dave Donovan (Adam Ant), who, along with Holly Everest (Chelsey Parks), Spazz-O's ex-porn star wife, conspires to have him killed. The only problem with that plan being, the members of Hindenburg kidnap Spazz-O just as the assassin (Glenn Rothenberger) they hired was about to do him in.

After hurling a wide array of insults at the members of Hindenburg while tied to a chair in Dino's parents' garage (my personal fave was "you pathetic, prattling, pinko, pimple-faced poofters"), Spazz-O eventually calms down when he realizes that they only want him to listen to their music.

You would think Hindenburg's music was the worst thing ever judging by the way people react when they listen to it. Nevertheless, the members of Hindenburg soon discover that having a washed up punk rocker locked in your garage is a lot of work. Enduring a barrage of verbal abuse, being given an unrealistic list of demands, and having to put up with multiple escape attempts, Hindenburg, like Adam Ant, begin to wish Spazz-O was dead, or at least wish they never kidnapped him.

Pretty soon, however, the kidnapping becomes nationwide news, as MVN (Music Video News), the police, a record exec named Thor Sturmundrang (Deborah Harry) and the Moldinian Front (Free Moldinia!!!) all take an interest in the Spazz-O saga. You could say, being kidnapped is the best thing to happen to Spazz-O's career in years.

A cross between, oh, let's say, Weekend at Bernie's, Breaking Glass, and Ladies and Gentlemen - The Fabulous Stains, Drop Dead Rock, despite having a super-small budget, is easy on the eyes (thanks to costume designer Laura Jean Shannon), is whimsical in places and even boasts several moments that are on the cusp of being funny.

Just as I was about to declare Deborah Harry's finest moment in Drop Dead Rock to be the part where she calls Chick, Dino and Scratch: "Prick, Dildo and Snatch," she inadvertently shows us the tops of stockings while sitting next to a Spazz-O-fied Shelly Mars on a hotel sofa. I was like, I can see the top of your stockings, Debbie Harry. Wait a minute, forget about "inadvertently," Debbie totally knew the tops of her stockings as she sat cross-legged next to Shelly Mars, as the Blondie front-woman is always aware or not if the tops of her stockings are showing.

Oh, and during the montage that featured various real rock musicians talking about Spazz-O, Rick Allen of Def Leppard is the only one who was genuinely funny.

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