Monday, May 18, 2009

The Return of THE DOLLAR TREE Double Feature

From September 2007.On a visit to the local Dollar Tree Store, I found an entire endcap of TWO FOR A DOLLAR dvds. After digging through hundreds, I actually found only two worth buying...and reviewing. Ladies and gentlemen I bring you The Dollar Tree Double Feature.

First up...EVEL KNIEVEL! Ever wonder how (the late) motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel got his start? Well director Marvin J. Chomsky attempted to tell us all about it in this 1971 biopic which combines unintentional laughs as George Hamilton (looking a lot like Count Chocula) wears the helmet and real chills with clips of actual stunts (most of which end up with Knievel in the hospital). The film traces real events from Evel's life, from his early years as troubled young man to his success as the man with more broken bones in his body than anyone else.

There's plenty of white trash antics as we flashback to Evel's roots, and his career as a unsuccessful bank robber. At times I felt like I was watching an episode of MY NAME IS EVEL. The best scene involves young Evel busting into the all-girls home where his lady Linda lives. The den mother (let's call her Mrs. Garrett) seems more concerned that "there's a man in the house" than the fact that he's driving his cycle up and down the staircase and hallways looking for his gal. Another highlight is the decor of the apartment that Evel shares with his lady: one wall was black, one wall a brilliant blue and the third wall: wood paneling. The sofa? yellow leather! I kid you not. Just for that set decoration alone, this one gets 8 out of 10 "Huhs?". Also - there's a terrible theme song that we are treated to at least three times throughout the 90 minutes.

Our second feature has the unfortunate title IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME. Which of course, prompts one to ask "What time was that?". John Trent directed this 1976 Canadian romp which features John Candy (in his first film role) prominently displayed on the cover - despite him being in only two or three scenes.

The plot goes something like this: Anthony Newley (Joan Collin's real-life ex) plays a washed up writer is still shagging his ex-wife money-hungry Stefanie Powers, who is unhappily remarried to a wealthy construction contractor, who's sole aim seems to be to tear down her mother's house! Are you following this? Georgia then decides to support a candidate for mayor (Llyod Bochner, who married Collins on DYNASTY) by screwing him. Newley pulls a assortment of stunts in order to attract Stefanie's attention. Somewhere along the way, there's a crazy kidnapping scam, and two dopey cops (one played by Candy) show up to save the day. There's a madcap finale involving cops dressed as garbage men. Oh boy! Issac Hayes appears as Newley's artist friend and Yvonne DeCarlo (aka Lily Munster) has a few scenes as Stef's mother.

This is the kind of wild film farces that Americans and Brits made in the 1960s - it took our friends up north a bit longer to catch on. The tiresome slapstick is a bit much to take at times, as is seeing Newley with his shirt off. This one rates only about 5 out of 10 "Huhs?" - meaning it's bad, but not worth your time and effort to watch it. Even though it might seem like a good idea at the time...

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