A Discussion of Great Sequel Names

Not all sequels have subtitles or creative names. The second Back to the Future is simply called “Back to the Future Part II.” The second Ride Along is just “Ride Along 2.” This suffices, I suppose, but there is no art to these titles. Now, I am not enough a connoisseur of the history of film to create a power rankings of the best movie sequel titles of all time, as I would undoubtedly leave a few out. However, I would just like to share a bunch of my favorites, and why exactly they’re so great.

It’s important to note that in my opinion, any change or subtitle is preferable to no change or subtitle at all. A lot of these objectively suck, but upon reflection, are amazing.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

I would be perfectly okay if every sequel from now until the end of time had the subtitle “The Squeakquel.” It makes me smile just thinking about it. I have never seen Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (while I have seen the original — a discussion for another time), but I can tell you for certain that its title goes for it. It makes no bones about how much squeaking is going to happen in this movie. Also, let this first entry set the tone of the fact that I have not seen a great deal of these films.

Speed 2: Cruise Control

When I pitched the idea for this entry to my suitemate Nick, this was the first one he came up with. And for good reason. Not only is “cruise control” a common phrase, it is also the plot of the film. They are literally trying to control a cruise ship. In just 4 words, I get that this is a sequel to Speed and that they will be controlling a cruise. I sure hope that the title was not the reason Keanu chose not to return, or else I’ve lost serious respect for the man.

Die Hard with a Vengeance

There are plenty of great sequel titles to choose from in the Die Hard franchise, and if I run out of steam before reaching my goal of — I don’t know — 50,000 words, I might add them to this list, but this one has got to be my favorite. Like many others, it just lets you know the plot from the get-go. What is this one about? Someone is taking vengeance, you can discern from the title. And wouldn’t you know it, the villain in this one is the villain from the first one’s brother! The added stakes both make the film (which I quite enjoy) and the title that much better.

Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a film that is only known by me and most people because of its incredible subheading. I have no earthly idea what the movie is about, nor do I want to know. There is no way it can hold up to the joy that the words “Electric Boogaloo” bring to my soul. Not to mention the fact that they rhyme with “Breakin’ 2.” Truly masterful work.

Aliens

You might think I’m crazy for honoring a title that literally just added one letter onto the original, but think about how it raises the stakes. You thought shit was crazy when there was one of these guys? Now there are multiple. You know Sigourney and company are in trouble. It’s also great because of how confusing it makes it to talk about the films. Like, if you mishear one syllable, the whole conversation goes to hell and handbasket, which is the real goal of any serious filmmaker.

Rocky Balboa

Don’t kill me, but I must confess I’ve never watched a Rocky movie in its entirety. With that out of the way, let me say I love the power move of calling the sixth movie in your series the full name of the main character, despite his first name being the title of the first five. Because, in many ways, it’s like hitting the reset button, rather than going to six, but it also retains the essence of the series, and it is by no means a spin-off. Let’s move on, because I feel myself getting too sincere about why I like this one.

The Final Destination

Another power move. You know that word they were using in all of the other titles to refer to something else? Well now, it refers to the fact that this is the last film in the franchise because of the word “The” in front of it. Isn’t it nuts how English works sometimes?

Babe: Pig in the City

I don’t know why, but this one just brings a smile to my face. It’s a freakin’ pig… in the city! It just gets me excited. Additionally, and you might know this already, but this film, believe it or not, was co-written and directed by none other than George Miller, A.K.A. the guy who made all of the Mad Max movies. Speaking of which, a few of those have good sequel titles, so Mr. Miller may be making a reappearance. And I’m not being coy. I honestly don’t know what’s coming next, as it’s not like I plan ahead or anything.

Analyze That

I know so little about the series of Analyze This and Analyze That except that their titles, when put together, are movie-making magic. Despite being made like a decade apart, they manage to have a conversation with each other, which is all we’re really trying to do in this life, right? Like others, this sequel title only works in relation to the original, which is not a knock on it. In fact, I think it makes it all the more special.

Magic Mike XXL

The sequel to the highly-successful Magic Mike doesn’t shy away from what made the first one successful. What viewers want out of the sequel is not just another one, as “2” would signal, but they want it to be bigger, both from a figurative standpoint, and in regards to the size of the main cast’s packages. Many sequels say they go bigger in advertisements and whatnot, but this one promises it.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

It is no secret that I am a sucker for replacing the word “to” with the number “2,” and this film does it well. Especially because the original, Journey to the Center of the Earth, used the word “to” in its usual form. This does get docked some points because, quite frankly, I don’t care how mysterious the island is, it can’t beat the center of the Earth. Thank god the Hunger Games happened or Josh Hutcherson’s career might have been best known for this vehicle.

Teen Wolf Too

My love of misusing all of the forms of “to” goes all directions. This one works great because, in the film’s universe, the main character really is a teen wolf as well. His cousin, M.J. Fox’s character from the original was the first Teen Wolf, so, naturally, he’s a Teen Wolf Too. Great title, great marketing, and, as far as I can tell without seeing it, horrible film.

For a Few Dollars More

This is of course, a classic western that I have never seen, as I would rather eat one of those solid tires that comes on forklifts than sit through a western, but boy does it have a good title. The first is called A Fistful of Dollars, so naturally, in the sequel, they go for a few dollars more.

2 Fast 2 Furious

If you thought they were fast or furious in the first installment, wait until you see this one. They are too fast and too furious this time. One thing sequels do really well — or poorly, depending on how you enjoy movies — is be more excessive than their predecessor. This movie lets you know from the title that it will be doing it. Those things you love about the original (namely the fastness and furiousness) will overwhelm you in this one. Good call, guys.

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Those are all of the ones I can think of off the top of my head, but of course, if you have any others in mind, let me know in the comment section. Follow this blog for more, stupid pop culture shit just like this.

 

A Discussion of Great Sequel Names

‘The Room’ Character Power Rankings

I love “The Room.” For those not in the know, The Room is writer-director-actor Tommy Wiseau’s film about a man named Johnny whose fiancee Lisa is cheating on him with his best friend Mark. It is, however, considered one of the worst movies of all time. Obviously, I have seen this movie about nine times. Therefore, it is only right to rank every character with a speaking role in the film (excluding the baristas who recommend the cheesecake, because that’s kind of background noise). The rankings are based primarily on how much they add to my enjoyment of the film, and what they bring to the table. Without further ado, The Room character power rankings.

11. Flower Shop Woman

tumblr_n03jnxkqhu1rskk8io1_1390887501_coverThe flower shop woman’s low rank is simply due to her lack of screen time. Had Tommy Wiseau written a longer backstory to her, I’m sure she would shine. However, all we see her do is give Johnny flowers, and that isn’t much to write home about. However, the scene is famous for its ludicrously fast, unnatural dialogue. It’s also worth mentioning that, despite working at (or perhaps owning) a San Francisco flower shop, she knows Johnny decently well. At first she remarks that “[She] didn’t know it was [him]” and then, as he is leaving her establishment, mentions that he is her “favorite customer,” which of course raises the question: how many flowers does he buy? I don’t have the answer to this, and you’ll find that that is a common theme in these power rankings. I can only rank what I see on screen.

Also, while she couldn’t be lower, she is aided by her adorable dog on the counter, although I doubt the dog is content in that position. He doesn’t have anywhere to go.

10. Michelle

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Michelle is Lisa’s, Johnny’s fiancee’s, best friend and confidant. If I had to venture a guess, she exists because Tommy Wiseau had seen a “best friend character” in other films, and thought she was needed. The only thing that puts her over the top of the Flower Shop Woman is screen time. She is in the movie for far too long to be ranked last, and, quite frankly, far too long in general. Oddly enough, her character’s performance and dialogue is not good by any means, but rarely bad enough to mention. No one goes to a screening of The Room quoting Michelle lines.

On the other hand, and we’ll talk about this more later,  she and her boyfriend Mike apparently sneak into Johnny and Lisa’s apartment to have sex on a regular basis. Why do they do this? No clue. They might be homeless transients. And in that case, I can sleep well at night knowing I didn’t put a homeless transient last on my list.

9. Steven

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It should come as no surprise that the character of “Steven” only exists because the actor who played Peter, the other friend of Johnny and Mark’s, quit midway through production. Therefore, during the climactic scenes, they gave all of Peter’s lines to a character named Steven. Why is Steven ranked above Michelle, despite having one-eighth of the screen time? Because he delivers one of the most over-acted, nonsensical lines of the film, “I feel like I’m sitting on an atomic bomb waiting for it to go off.” What does that even mean? And does Tommy Wiseau know how atomic bombs work? You really can’t sit on them, and furthermore, they tend to drop from the sky rather than “go off.” You could talk me out of putting Steven here, and that’s fine, but a bad movie is always helped by an unexplained character coming out of nowhere joining the action.

8. Peter

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Yes, Peter is only slightly better than the guy who replaces him. The important thing to remember about Peter is that he is a psychologist, and he always “plays psychologist” on Johnny and Mark. He (and Steven by extension), exists only to be a friend of Johnny’s who is not sleeping with Lisa. He however, has a problem with Mark’s behavior, specifically smoking weed on top of the roof. Because of this, Mark nearly throws him off of said roof. It is debatable if this is the closest anyone gets to being murdered in this film.

However, Peter just talks a lot in his scenes. Not much is accomplished. When he “plays psychologist” he kind of just points out obvious things about other characters’ behavior. Sure, the scene where they play football in their tuxedos (don’t ask) and he falls down is funny for a bit, but it is such a ham-fisted attempt at slapstick comedy that, even in a movie like this, it is neither actually good or so-bad-it’s-good.

7. Denny

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Denny is, at times, too creepy and dare-I-say autistic to generate laughs in a so-bad-it’s-good sense. Denny is a college(?) student who lives in Johnny’s building, who it is revealed doesn’t have parents and is living on Johnny’s dime. He is like a son to them. However, he is very attracted to Johnny’s fiancee Lisa. Johnny doesn’t have much a problem with this for some reason, but there’s too much stuff in this movie to dwell on this.

Denny’s peak moment occurs at the beginning of the film when Johnny and Lisa very clearly are going to have sex and go upstairs. When they get up there, Denny runs up and starts pillow-fighting with them. He then, I shit you not, delivers the line “I just like to watch you guys.” The man/boy lives on these people’s money and has the gall to tell them that he likes to watch them have sex. In fact, the central question to Denny’s existence is if he is a man or a boy. It’s worth noting that Tommy Wiseau remarked that he believed Philip Haldiman, the actor who played Denny, to be little bit mentally-challenged.

The climax of the Denny storyline is of course the drug deal gone wrong in the second half of the film. This, we will cover with another character.

6. Mark

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It might be sacrilege to rank a main character relatively low in a power rankings, but I am left with very little choice. Mark just does not contribute that much to this movie. In fact, he is only ranked six because he, by being a main character, is involved with most of the good scenes in the film. It’s worth mentioning now, by the way, that in between the three main characters, there are four sex scenes (two with Johnny and Lisa, two with Mark and Lisa). None of these sex scenes are sexy and they all render any audience uncomfortable. In fact, they’re only “funny” upon reflection. I digress.

Mark’s only purpose in the film is to service the story. We are given literally no reason as to why he betrays Johnny other than “Lisa is hot.” When Lisa first goes out of her way to seduce him he asks, “The candles… the music… the sexy dress… what’s going on here?” I actually do not blame Mark that in this scene there are no candles or music, but I do blame him for being so slow on the uptake. Lisa is literally caressing him at this point.

Then, their first sex scene takes place on the spiral staircase in the apartment. At first, that seems like a cool, inventive place to do the deed. But on further inspection, it has to be the most uncomfortable setting in the world. Was that Mark’s idea? I have to blame him, as all of the sex Johnny and Lisa have is strictly in bed. Which reminds me, the spiral staircase leads to the bed. Could he really not control his libido for that long?

Mark is the best-looking person in the moving, being played by male model Greg Sestero, who, to his own credit, wrote The Disaster Artist, the book about the making of The Room that James Franco is turning into a movie. However, that does not excuse him for having a plot point in which he shows up without a beard. You may be wondering: was this Lisa’s idea? Does she like him for this? Did he screw up shaving in the mirror? We have no clue. We are just told it’s a big deal because we zoom-pan up to his clean shaven face.

Mark, though, is an awful friend, and not in an aggressive manner that would be funny to watch. He doesn’t so much cheat with Lisa as he lets her cheat with him. He is a passive character, and besides almost throwing Peter off of a roof because he has problems with his pot-smoking, he does very little in the film. The movie would have been worse and therefore funnier if Tommy Wiseau made Mark an interesting character.

5. Mike

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The main reason Mike is number five is because he makes this face while getting blown by Michelle. If this isn’t the single-greatest acting moment in the twenty-first century so far, tell me what is. So much is going on here. As I mentioned before, Michelle and Mike like to have sex in Lisa and Johnny’s place, so the facial expression you see is happening while they’re trespassing. However, we have not seen the last of Mike being a great character. When Michelle and Mike are eventually caught by Lisa and Claudette (her mother), after having done the deed, Mike comes back in the room to retrieve his underwear and is caught by Claudette. In a later scene, he recalls this incident to Johnny, describing them as “me underwears.” Truly a god among men.

Also, in a scene that has yet to be explained to anyone, Mike gets pushed into a trash can by Mark, maybe? I can’t tell if it’s on purpose or just bad physical acting. It’s during one of The Room’s famous football-tossing scenes, so we’ll never know.

4. Lisa

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The Room’s terribleness is mostly fun and harmless until it comes to Lisa. Being about five and a half years away from the first time I saw this movie, I can confidently say that Lisa is a manifestation of pent-up misogyny from Tommy Wiseau. She is literally a character who cheats on her perfect fiancee simply because she is “bored.” And that is the explanation you get when you pry. She just cheats because, I don’t know, that’s what women do. It’s kinda messed up when you think about it, and since I enjoy watching this movie, I try not to.

Anyway, Lisa makes the top four because she is so downright reckless in her schemes. She plays with fire at every opportunity, going as far as to sneak downstairs with Mark to fool around with him at Johnny’s birthday party. Not to mention the fact that she will discuss her affair with anyone who will listen that is not Johnny. Obviously part of this is in how Lisa, in some way, wants to get caught, but a lot of it is far beyond that.

Lisa, however, thinks about everything. Why wait for Johnny to tell you that he wants a pizza? Order the pizza already! Lisa’s attitude towards Johnny fluctuates wildly. Like, at the beginning of the film, you would never expect Lisa to want to cheat on him. They literally bone within the first ten minutes, and all Johnny had to do was get Lisa a red dress. Yet, around the halfway mark, she gets him drunk so she can accuse him of hitting her. If Tommy Wiseau wanted to elicit a reaction of “Bitches be crazy,” he certainly succeeded.

What is most puzzling about her character’s actions, and I think this makes the movie more entertaining is when she and Johnny announce at his birthday that they’re expecting a child. However, when pressed on it, Lisa admits to Steven and Michelle that “There is no baby” and she made it up to make things more “interesting.” What? Is she playing the Sims 3 or something? In what world is it beneficial for her to make things more “interesting?” That’s not something that real people do. Unless she’s based on someone Tommy Wiseau dated, and in that case, I feel very bad for the man.

And, SPOILER ALERT, at the end, when Johnny kills himself, she has the audacity to, leaning over her dead fiancee’s body, say to Mark that “at least [they] can be together,” as if that’s something he’d agree to in that situation. Not only does she cheat unrealistically often, she does it in such a piss-poor manner that it’s impossible to feel bad for her.

3. Claudette

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Lisa’s mother, Claudette starts the top 3 strong. She is completely superfluous in this movie for so many reasons, and that makes her scenes even more enjoyable. Like, literally every word out of her mouth doesn’t service the story.

There is no use beating around the bush as to what he best moment is. It is this line, which is, without a doubt, the best line delivered by someone other than Johnny. Before you ask, no, this is never brought up again in the rest of the film. She just declares to her daughter that the test results say that she “definitely has breast cancer,” and they move on. It is never referenced again. Lisa shows no concern for her dying mother. Rather than being the life-or-death situation that it should be for her, it is simply another thing she needs to worry about.

Claudette is in this movie because apparently she spends time with her daughter with a ridiculous frequency. This movie takes place over a fairly short time span and she is at their apartment on numerous occasions. Most notably, besides the breast cancer reveal, is when Denny gets held at gunpoint by Chris-R. After learning that he owed him money for drugs, she chews Denny out for being involved with that type of person. Denny, for his part, responds, “You’re not my fucking mother!” leaving us to thank Tommy Wiseau for including such an unnecessary character to be yelled at.

2. Chris-R

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I know I said that the Flower Shop Woman was ranked so low because of her lack of screen time. Obviously, Chris-R doesn’t spend much more time with us than her, so how is he number two? Simple. He holds a (likely) mentally challenged man-child at gun point while wearing a black skull cap. The tone of his appearance is so wildly different from the rest of the movie, any writer-director with a basic understanding of movie-making would have cut it on the first edit. Why exactly does Denny need to have bought drugs? And why didn’t he pay for them? Once again, these questions are never answered.

As Chris-R (who called this by Denny, and credited as such, despite there being no other Chrises in the film or mentioned in the film) yells “Where’s my fucking money, Denny?” repeatedly, it becomes apparent to the viewer that, holy shit, this guy is the best actor in the movie. When he pulls the gun out of the back of his pants, he actually does it like a regular person would. I have literally no problems with Chris-R’s performance, which is great, because he lets the preposterousness of his existence in this film speak for itself.

Chris-R, after being confronted by a concerned Johnny and Mark, is taken away “to the police station,” apparently without putting up much of a fight. This hurts his stock a bit. However, any character in a bad movie who pulls a weapon on the mentally-challenged character is special in my book. So Chris-R is secure in his number two spot.

1. Johnny

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Is there any surprise? If you haven’t seen this movie, and you really should, don’t think for a second that I’m only putting him number one because he is the main character. He is sincerely the thing that makes this movie as bad as it is. Tommy Wiseau’s writing and directing would be never have been noticed if not for his atrocious acting. The most famous scene of his, is, of course, the “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART LISA” scene, so there’s a link to it if you want to remind yourself/see it for the first time. It is truly something to behold. Not to be overlooked is the “Oh, hi Mark,” bit, which is also pretty well known outside of people who have seen the whole film. These lines and performances, however, are nothing out of the ordinary for the movie. Tommy Wiseau manages to go the duration of the film without saying a sentence like a normal person. It’s quite the accomplishment.

Johnny is, to put it mildly, an approximation of a regular American guy from the perspective of an alien. He works at a bank: but what does he do? We don’t know, other than the fact that the bank has put his ideas into practice, and that they save money. This job, though, is stable, as Claudette repeatedly reminds us. He has two close friends, with Mark being his closest. How did any of these people meet? We never know. He plays football with his friends? Does he throw a football in an overhand spiral like a normal person? Of course not. He tosses it underhand like a loaf of bread.

He looks, both face and body wise, like a God crumpled up a person like a piece of paper and then unfolded them. And then, on top of that, gave them gangling, long, jet-black hair. Also, God convinced them that they look good in Stevie Wonder sunglasses.

Johnny does not only pronounce things unlike a regular person, he also says phrases no person in their right mind would say, like, “I will record everything!” to himself, after deciding to put a tape recorder on his phone. In addition, he has no clue what a chicken looks or sounds like. He makes no sense.

It’s clear Tommy Wiseau wanted to make Johnny this perfect guy that we would feel deep sympathy for when we realized his life was crumbling around him due to the actions of his horrible fiancee Lisa and his evil best friend Mark. What we felt instead was nothing but confusion. Who is this person, and how can we return them to their home planet?

What is certain about Johnny, though, is that he is exactly who Tommy Wiseau wished him to be. Which is probably the scariest thing of all.


If you disagree with my list, let me know. If you enjoyed it, let me know that as well, if you want. For more deep dives into pop culture, follow this blog and read the stuff that’s already here. More will come.

‘The Room’ Character Power Rankings

The Master of Disguise: 13 1/2 Years of Questions

In the year of our lord 2002, I saw the Dana Carvey film, The Master of Disguise, in theaters. It was during a weeklong vacation to Cape Cod. For some reason, my father and our family friend decided to take me, my two brothers, and our family friend’s son (our friend… it’s confusing to refer to one’s family’s friends) to the movies to see the film.

 

I don’t remember much of that experience, except that right after we had gotten tickets, another family tried to buy some and were told that the showing was sold out. I cannot begin to explain the ways my life would have been different had we been that group.

 

Apparently, after seeing the film, I was satisfied. In fairness, I was only 6 years old, so moving pictures across a screen were usually enough to satisfy me. But, what was more confusing was my older brother, who was eight at the time, who should have known better.

 

We were so satisfied, that Christmas, we got the DVD as a gift. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have seen the film nearly a dozen times since then. And every time I watch it, and every time I Google it, I am left with more questions than answers. No answers will be provided in this blog, only explorations of the nuclear meltdown of a film The Master of Disguise.

 

The Master of Disguise killed Dana Carvey’s career. If you check IMDB, he did not have a starring role in any movie until 2011’s Jack and Jill–another dumpster fire–and even that was almost a cameo. The director of Disguise, Perry Andelin Blake, never directed another film. It would be unthinkable that a movie that made more than twice as much as its budget would kill two careers, had you not seen the film.

 

For those fortunate enough to avoid Disguise, here is a quick summary that will, no doubt, make zero sense. Dana Carvey plays Pistachio Disguisey (yes, that is his name), an Italian boy/man/child? who works for his parents restaurant in America. Little does he know that the Disguisey family (surprise, surprise) has a long history of disguising itself. However, his father, Fabrizzio, played by the woefully miscast James Brolin, decided to that “this is no life for [his] son. He will never learn of his true destiny.”

 

Unfortunately for our nutty-named protagonist, Fabrizzio and Pistachio’s mother, whose name I cannot recall, get kidnapped, and with the help of his estranged grandfather, Pistachio uses his genetic predisposition for disguise to get them back and save the day.

 

Obviously, much of the “humor” from the film is derived from Pistachio’s disguises, which, of course, take advantage of Carvey’s talent at impressions. In total, Pistachio does 21 different impressions (or 20, if you don’t count being a literal pile of shit as an impression). [Exact numbers provided by Johnny Efstathiades (@jefstathiades).]

 

The first set of questions I will ask is about the impressions he chooses, because, boy, do they make no sense whatsoever. For a character that is supposed to use disguise to get places and information he normally wouldn’t be able to, he sure disguises himself as things that make him stand out. For example, when trying to get invited to the main villain, Devlin Bowman’s (played by Brett Spiner of Star Trek fame) party, he disguises himself as a handsy elderly woman named “Gammy Num-Nums.” This disguise choice is so bad, that he is completely unsuccessful in his mission.

 

Furthermore, the disguises that Pistachio uses are much less sophisticated that than of his father and grandfather. While all of Pistachio’s disguises look more or less like Dana Carvey in makeup or a wig, those of his father and grandfather are played by completely different actors. These are the logical inconsistencies that can plague one’s mind for years on end.

 

Having watched the film several times in my adult life, it has dawned on me just how many references in the film went completely over my head as a child. Now, that is something you can probably say about most kids movies. However, there are entire scenes and motifs that could not possibly be gotten by anyone under the age of ten. For example, one of Pistachio’s disguises is basically just Tony Montana of Scarface. What person in the target demographic of the film would have seen Scarface? I get it. Dana can do a decent Al Pacino. But when I was a youngin, he was just a strange guy with a lot of chest hair. Also, for what it’s worth, the classic, outside-of-the-house shot from The Exorcist is recreated. Fun for the whole family.

 

The Master of Disguise was a big studio film. Several dozen people had to say yes to most of these decisions. It is truly a tragedy that Dana Carvey’s career had to end due to their negligence.

 

Speaking of tragedies: the Turtle Club scene. Whenever I bring this film up to friends, the only scene any of them ever remember is the Turtle Club scene, and it’s little wonder why. Pistachio, trying to get info from the exclusive Turtle Club, dresses up as a guy who looks like a human turtle. He has a shell on the back of his green suit, thick rimmed glasses, and a bald head. Also, he moves his neck like a turtle, and speaks with the cadence that a turtle would, I suppose.

 

Obviously, the Turtle Club is actually a lounge for rich gentlemen, but that is no matter for Mr. Disguisey. You would think his assistant, Jennifer Baker (played by Jennifer Esposito), would correct him on this mistake, but nope. Anyway, he gets into the club after Baker, being attractive, convinces the bouncer that it’s been his dream. Once in the Turtle Club, he acquires the information from veteran character actor Eric Avari and then gets made fun of, because he looks like a complete weirdo.

 

Then, in one of the most puzzling scenes in cinema history, he proceeds get into some kind of scrum with some suited guys. At one point, he literally bites a man’s nose off, drawing no blood, and spits it back onto his face, perfectly. No one makes anything of this. No one says, “Holy shit. This guy is magic. He just ripped a guy’s nose off his face, and put it back on perfectly.” After this, in what is the most confusing editing choice I have ever seen in all of my life, we slow fade to a top down shot of Pistachio break dancing on the floor of the Turtle Club, yelling the word “turtle” for no more than five seconds. This means, that after violently assaulting patrons and not belonging in the first place, they let him break dance unmolested.

 

However, I have not gotten to the most important detail of the Turtle Club scene. I would not believe this if it were not confirmed by IMDB’s trivia section. The Turtle Club scene, which is without a doubt, the most memorably bad scene from this memorably bad film, was filmed on September 11th, 2001. Apparently, after news of the terrorist attack reached set, the cast and crew held a moment of silence. I wish we could chalk the work they produced up to grief and confusion, but something tells me it didn’t make much of a difference.

 

None of the characters in this film make any sense. For one, by all accounts, Pistachio Disguisey was raised in America his whole life. However, he retains as thick of an Italian accent as his father and grandfather. What’s more, his grandfather looks no more than ten years older than his father. I don’t know how they casted those roles so poorly.

 

And that brings us to Jennifer Baker. Why does Jennifer Baker become Pistachio Disguisey’s assistant? Because she needs dental insurance for her son Barney, a name I didn’t think people were still being named after the Reagan administration. This children’s movie had jokes about dental insurance. Yay. Baker is the only competent person for the duration of the film. She, being played by pre-gluten allergy Jennifer Esposito, is way out of Pistachio’s league. Of course, they fall in love anyway.

 

Which begs the question: what does she see in him? Is there a boyish charm in 47 year old Dana Carvey playing an ambiguously young loser? Throughout the movie, Pistachio demonstrates a half dozen markers of autism and learning disabilities. He is not a schlubby manchild. He is literally a man with the mental capacity of a child. Not to mention the fact that he speaks in the silliest Italian known to man, despite being from the same freaking city as Jennifer Baker.

 

In case you were wondering, and I know you weren’t, the reason Devlin Bowman kidnaps Fabrizzio is to force him to use his powers of disguise to steal priceless artifacts, like the Apollo 11 module and Liberty to sell on the Black Market. If you were wondering if the aforementioned “Black Market” was a literal online market and not just a general concept, then congratulations, you may have written this movie. Who is purchasing things on the Black Market? Obviously, Kenan Thompson, as “Kenan.”

 

One of Fabrizzio’s disguises, by the way, is of actress, model, and international icon, Bo Derek. Because movie magic isn’t magic at all, Bo Derek “plays” Fabrizzio disguised as her. If my memory serves me correct, she is on screen for no more than a minute and a half. However, this did not stop her from being nominated for a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. It’s that kind of movie.

 

I just cannot emphasize enough how inane, thoughtless, and, one an occasion or two, racist the disguises are in this movie.

 

Oh, and I almost forgot. What is the name of the mystical power that gives Disguiseys the ability to disguise? Energico, of course. Energico is not explained at all, and something tells me it’s for the best. If there were a Master of Disguise prequel in which someone explained that his grandfather had abnormally high levels of “Energico,” it would have been a Star Wars/midichlorians-type situation.

 

Pistachio spends a large duration of the film training to be a Master of Disguise. I suppose this is a good a time as any to mention that the film’s running time is only 80 minutes, and that includes ten minutes of credits. This film almost couldn’t be considered one of the worst movies of all time simply because it was almost not a feature-length movie.

 

And the during- and post-credits stuff sure is a doozy. For reference on how long this goes on, imagine the shwarma scene at the end of the Avengers. Then imagine that it lasted another nine and a half minutes. Dana Carvey literally performs new characters just during the credits, which suggests that even during principal photography, they knew that their film would be just a nose longer than an episode of True Detective.

 

And what would a film be without an original score. What original songs are on the soundtrack you ask? There’s M.A.S.T.E.R. Part 1 by Hardhedzz featuring Play. There’s M.A.S.T.E.R. Part 2 by Play featuing Lil’ Fizz from B2K. There’s also Master of Disguise by Vitamin C. The subject of all three of these songs, as should be no surprise, is the Master of Disguise.

 

I have so, so, so many more questions about this movie. As does my brother Kevin (@mskevinchristie),  who aided in writing this tour-de-force. Like, why after almost getting attacked in her fake kitchen set-up, does Pistachio’s mom look at the surveillance camera and say, “No more caramel corn for me” as if she knows Pistachio is watching? Or how exactly did Pistachio get into his cow poop outfit so quickly? Did he have it on him in his Tony Montana outfit? Or did he improvise it with actual cow poop? And why does he get up so quickly after laying on the ground in that outfit? These are all questions that are only appropriate to discuss around other people who have seen the film more than seven times, so I will spare you the exercise.

 

However, I do still have a copy of the movie in my dorm, so if you would like to watch, I am always available for a movie night.

 

 

The Master of Disguise: 13 1/2 Years of Questions