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The Apple

Posted by martinteller on May 7, 2013

In the far-flung future of 1994, Alphie (George Gilmour) and Bibi (Catherine Mary Stewart) are singer-songwriters from Moose Jaw, Canada.  They’ve entered the Worldvision Song Competition.  The favorites to win are Pandi & Dandi (Grace Kennedy, Allan Love), representing the mighty music conglomerate BIM.  BIM — Boogalow International Music — is run by the devilish mastermind Mr. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal) and his sidekick Shake (Ray Shell).  When the self-promoting anthem “BIM” appears to be losing to Alphie and Bibi’s earnest “Universal Melody”, Boogalow rigs the contest.  However, he does offer Alphie and Bibi a contract, promising fame and fortune.  The naïve Bibi signs up without hesitation, but Alphie has a hellish vision of her taking the apple of temptation and selling her soul and he refuses.  Can Alphie rescue Bibi from the fascist corporate machine?

Boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve hated a movie this much.  Where do I begin?  Well, it’s a musical, so let’s start with the music.  The lyrics are by screenwriters Coby & Iris Recht, the music by George S. Clinton (no, not that George Clinton).  For all of them, it’s their first film credit.  “How to Be a Master” is a decent reggae-influenced tune sung by Sheybal, and Kennedy’s innuendo-heavy solo “Coming” is not bad for formulaic disco.  The other 10 songs range from boring and bland (“Cry for Me”) to disastrously obnoxious (“Speed”) to oh-dear-lord-please-make-it-stop (“BIM”).  It’s all soullessly produced.  The choreography is generic, repetitive and incompetently filmed.

The actors — again, mostly first- or second-timers and for some their only credit — are a sorry bunch as well.  Gilmour looks like a poor man’s Ryan Reynolds but has even less personality, Stewart seems to barely exist there’s so little she brings to her character.  Kennedy is okay, but Love (who I recognized and remembered from an episode of “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”) is just off-putting.  Shell is really over-the-top and not in a fun way.  Sheybal (notable for appearing in Kanal, but also notably the worst character in that otherwise excellent film) would actually be enjoyable if the movie succeeded in matching his campiness.  It doesn’t.  Oh, and then there’s Miriam Margolyes as the most Jewish landlady ever.

The art direction is hideous.  This is an exceptionally unpleasant film to behold.  It’s one of those ridiculously outrageous visions of “the future”, with pointlessly flared shoulder pads, glitter on everything, nauseating colors.  In the future, everyone wears tons of makeup and dyes their hair all crazy, don’t you know?

The story is a dumb mess of dumb religious allegory, dumb commentary on the music industry, and dumb paranoid dystopia.  The ending may be insane, but it’s also pretty predictable… if not in the details then at least the general gist of it.

You might be thinking: “But, Martin!  You loved Xanadu!”  And yes, I was hoping for an experience similar to the one I had with that other much-maligned, “cult classic” 1980 musical.  It was pretty much the opposite experience.  There is none of the joy, none of the goofy earnestness, none of the genuinely enjoyable music.  No one seems to be delighted in making this film.  It feels like it was a chore.  There’s no heart to it.  It’s a bummer, a buzzkill, a drag.  Rating: Crap (11)


2 Responses to “The Apple”

  1. Danny said

    I just rewatched this a few weeks ago myself (Rifftrax covered it, though I know that’s not really your thing). It was somehow worse than I remembered, with that lengthy number in the BIM corporate headquarters having one of the worst musical rhyming patterns I’ve ever heard. And you have to love the ending that makes no sense since the film’s prologue had been cut out. It just reeks of a film where everyone realized what they were making and ran away as soon as they could.

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