Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bad movie that was good for the soul, bad for the brain!

Skidoo (1968)



There are bad films in this world. Ones that are meant to “die” and go away, but my friends and I refuse to let them. There are films of such god-awful despair that we search them out, share them with each other, typically on Monday nights. We call it “Boys Nite”.

We have been slacking lately in our “bad” film choices of late (too many good movies have been available) so I thought I would reenergize us with the worst possible film I could find. It’s called Skidoo. The film is a musical comedy from 1968. It is quite possibly the worst Hollywood studio film I have ever seen. Funny thing is, I can’t get it out of my mind.

The film is a trippy-hippie comedy starring people who have no business being near this movie: Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Groucho Marx, Peter Lawford, Frankie Avalon, Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, George Raft, Mickey Rooney and directed by the great Otto Preminger. If you don’t know who these folks are, simply Wikipedia and then come back with a sense of awe and despair at this film. I guess that was the point. Taking the fishes out of the water and making an old fashioned comedy of errors in the hippie era…. with musical numbers that include singing and dancing trash cans. It is mind boggling.

The plot, such as it is, deals with Gleason playing a former mob guy forced for the sake of his family, to do one more job for God (Groucho Marx in his final film role). His wife (Channing) and his hippie loving daughter attempt to trackGod down and find their missing husband/father. Tagging along are an assorted cast of characters and Gleason’s character trapped in prison trying to make an escape. Even writing this gives me a headache, you should see what happens when drug scenes and musical numbers (particularly Channing’s painfully earworm rendition of the title song) are added.

The film is famous for the “first five minutes” that involves nothing more than a flipping television screen and several bad commercial parodies. While actually pretty innovative at the time, the parodies themselves are travesties involving fat jokes and gun violence. When Slim Pickens shows up as a LSD fed phone operator it all just becomes too much to take.


Interesting Notes:

It has been reported that Jackie Gleason’s performance in this film cost him the starring role in The French Connection.
Frank Gorshin, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith and director Otto Preminger would receive accolades within the year as playing The Riddler, The Joker, The Penguin and Mister Freeze in the TV show: Batman.


Skidoo is not a very good musical comedy, or comedy, orreally a very good movie. It is just a nightmare of a movie that must be seen to be believed.  Also stick around for the end credits that are not only shown, but put to song. Beware of this one kids!

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