Saturday, July 24, 2010

SCAVENGER HUNT

Here's another re-post of a popular movie "review" from last year.The other night my friend Dennis brought over a VHS copy of a 1979 film called SCAVENGER HUNT (directed by Michael Schultz). So we invited a few like-minded friends over and after we hooked up our only dusty VCR, we watched it. As a fan of the brilliantly funny IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, I'm always disappointed when other films try to copy the 'all-star cast on a quest format'. 1981's CANNONBALL RUN was an attempt to recapture the spirit, so was 2001's RAT RACE. Here the stars are smaller and the quest is sillier, and the laughs are few and far between.

The whole she-bang starts when a kooky old game maker Mr. Parker (played by Vincent Price) dies during the opening credits, and his will states that his multitude of heirs must compete in an elaborate scavenger hunt in order to inherit his fortune. The hunt turns out to be a zany quest where the 15 potential beneficiaries must outsmart and outrace one another to inherit the big bucks!!! EIGHT IS ENOUGH star Willie Aames plays one of Vincent's nephews. He is seen here in a costume from perhaps CIRCUS OF THE STARS?

The huge cast includes a mix of 1970s character actors and TV favorites. In the spirit of competition, our viewing crew decided to call out who was still ALIVE : Richard Benjamin, Cloris Leachman, Dirk Benedict, Willie Aames, Stephanie Faracy, Richard Masur, Stuart Pankin, Stephen Furst, Arnold Schwarznegger, and Liz Torres. And who was DEAD: James Coco, Scatman Crothers, Cleavon Little, Roddy McDowall, Robert Morley , Richard Mulligan, Tony Randall, Avery Schreiber, Ruth Gordon, Pat McCormick and Carol Wayne. It looks like the DEAD team wins by one point - two if you count Vincent Price! Here's Willie again, probably from THE BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS...
I could go into details about who played who and who is on what team, but suffice to say it would be an exercise in futility – because you'll never want to watch this film for any reason other to see 19-year-old pre-Bibleman Willie Aames running around in tight Angles Flight disco slacks. (This is Dennis' fondest memory of the film). Post-BATTLESTAR GALATICA and pre A-TEAM Dirk Benedict also provides some moments of hunkiness that can be enjoyed.
But the rest of the film, with its repetitious scenes of fast food being used to entrap fat people, French maids,  toilets named 'Monclare" and its all-star ostrich wrangling is too dumb to be enjoyable. Our group did laugh a lot, but mostly at our own comments-which due to certain circumstances I can't recall right now. Our friend Danny actually had lines memorized from repeated viewings as a child. Maybe he can provide some more insight on why one should watch this movie.

6 comments:

David K. said...

DUDE. I loved this movie as a kid.

I have vivid memories of Scatman Crothers strumming the guitar while Robert Mulligan tries to vogue his way out of the museum. AND THEN HE HELPS WIN FOR EVERYBODY OVER DEMONIC CLORIS LEACHMAN. And the even gave the fat chick a share of the money at the end!!!! (Was she one of the Fat Twins from MIDNIGHT MADNESS one wonders?)

Jesus, I need help.

Jeffrey S. said...

Yea, this movie actually verged on torture.

Rob W. said...

We were just talking about this movie! So want to see it again, no matter how bad it is. When's the Criterion Collection DVD going to be released?

Mike J. said...

I like the part where the fat broad breaks the couch.

Anonymous said...

If you like these kinds of films (or if you just like laughing at how bad they are), you have to see Disney's Midnight Madness, starring David Naughton and a pre-Family Ties Michael J. Fox. It's like the Dexter Riley comedies on crank.

Brett F. said...

Omg...and I though he was hot in Zapped! Too bad he found Jesus and lost his sexy. Why does that happen?! Look what God did to Appalonia. I'm thinking to become atheist just to stay cute!