Monday, January 5, 2009

Kazaam (1996)

I like to think that it's only in collections like mine where a director known for seemingly the best science-fiction/fantasy movie ever and the worst science-fiction/fantasy movie ever can have both of his creations given a supremo place upon my shelf. Yes, I'm talking about Paul Michael Glaser, the writer and director of this flamboyant film, as well as the director of the infamously glorious future-feature, The Running Man. And those are some serious credentials. Looking back on it, it almost makes sense. The gratuitous costumes and theatricality are all there. Plus a bunch of actors known more for their action-based reputation and, in this case, line-drive delivery, then their actual acting or actual line delivery. Maybe he just doesn't like working with real actors because he thinks they talk too much or something. Not the case here. Unless your referring the plot-imperative and perfectly ridiculous raps thrown down by the one and only Shaquille O'Neal in what is definitely another masterpiece perfectly chosen by The Big Galactus. Actually, wikipedia seems to indicate that Shaq is known precisely for his elocution, something that makes me worry a little bit for the other players. No, but seriously, it is now a real-life goal of mine to own all 4 legitimate Shaquille movies (no, that doesn't include his cameo appearances in Freddy Got Fingered or Scary Movie 4; there's just no way I could ever justify that!), and I'm well on my way with this beauty and the absolutely scrumptious action-hero flick, Steel. Well, the plot seems pretty self-evident, and the reviews seem pretty poor (did you know that Rotten Tomatoes nominated this movie as the worst of all time? Who are they kidding? Have they even seen Stay Cool or Random Hearts or Glitter or Groom Lake or whatever? This has to be a joke, right? This movie will go down in history! When will studios realize that if they've got a clunker on their hands, they just have to suck it up and head down the cult path [eg. Mindwarp, a movie that would be nothing ever noticed without the triumphant portrayal by Bruce Campbell]?) I'm assuming that the reception was so terrible because this movie bends boundaries in a way that the 20th century just wasn't quite ready for. Rapping genies that live in boom boxes? Fur schizzle. Wiggered orphans with teeth for gnashing? Absolomundo. And the kid is so awesome with his galaxy shirt that is the only one he wears in the whole movie and his star map on the ceiling. Who are they appealing to? Is it just me? The violence certainly eliminates a few families. Oh well, I guess no complaints on my part. For some weird reason all the imdb comments are totally angry or totally wasted. And I have a suspicion that there's some backhanded reverse psychology going on here at times. WTF? Does society no longer appreciate value? Apparently not, since this $20 million film fell just short of recouping costs. We can only hope for justification in longevity and DVD sales I guess. It made it to DVD, right? Oh Wilt're still my hero!

I deem it: "God's gift to genies and the rap scene!/Quite possibly the most brilliant piece of musical film work to come out of the nineties!/Oh the costumes!/The sheer glory of this bodacious beauty is like a blinding star of mid-nineties perfection!

Behold the most elegant quotes of this fine film:

Max Connor: You smell like hippopotamus butt!


Kazaam: Grab my belly and make a wish!

and of course...

Kazaam: Who dare to wake me? Ain't gonna name this a mystery. Don't wanna do time on your wishes three. Watch it, boy! You don't want to dis me! Or I'll dish out my misery. Now. who's that sorry wanna-be that disturbed my z's? If you wanna be number one, I'm sorry boy, that's been done! But if you got the itches for a sack of riches don't matter how avaricious, I'm the man that can grant your wishes! Hey, don't turn your butt on me! I'm the man of the ages, straight out of the pages. Hang on! I'm contagious, outrageous, spontaneous! You can't contain this. I am KAZAAM!
Max Connor: I'm really happy for you.
Kazaam: Where do you think you're going? Make your three wishes and I'm of your face, back in my box and out of this place.
Max Connor: listen Mr. Psychopathic Dork in the Basement, I don't think you're ordering anyone.
Kazaam: Do you realize who I am? I'm your genie!
Max Connor: In that case I wish i was as big as you, but not so stupid.

Well said Max, well said.


Tesla said...

He's just so jolly!

Ram Peters said...

great post! i've been waiting for this one to turn up on your blog...