One of my favorite places to watch rare and forgotten movies with a bunch of really well educated geeks is the “nerd clubhouse” that is, The Cinefamily. Every so often they host an event that is called, “The 5 Minute Game” that involves an audience watching the first 5 minutes of 15 different movies (all shown on good old VHS) and voting on which one they want to watch in its entirety. The selections are always movies you’ve either never heard of or something you’ve seen staring back at you on the video shelf, but you’ve never taken the risk of renting it before. In past 5 minute games the audience voted on and watched a 70’s kung fu-revenge flick called DEATH PROMISE, an insane European action-sex movie called MAD FOXES, and a crazy 80’s horror film about a killer pussycat loose on a yacht called UNINVITED.
For this evening’s choices we were shown the first 5 minutes of the following movies:
1. RETRIBUTION – Cheesy 80’s horror.
2. BROTHER ENEMY – Gang of teenagers learn about art.
3. FRAZIER, THE SENSUAL LION (a.k.a. FRAZIER, THE LOVABLE LION) – Everybody loves Frazier the lion in this “family” film.
4. HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE – An 80’s sex comedy about hamburgers. AWESOME!
5. LEGENDARY PANTY MASK – Trippy Japanese movie that baffled the whole crowd.
6. PARDON MY BLOOPER – Vintage gags and mistakes from the past.
7. IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I HEAR – Starts out with a blind guy making a new friend in a public shower when he drops his soap and needs help finding it. Not gay porn.
8. GHOST WARRIOR – ?
9. RUNNING OUT OF LUCK – Julien Temple directed and co-wrote this weird looking 80’s movie with Mick Jagger (who plays himself) and also stars Jerry Hall (who plays herself), Dennis Hopper and Rae Dawn Chong. It’s about Mick getting kidnapped in Rio. Bananerz!
10. ANARCHY U.S.A. – A documentary that blames the Watts riots on communism. Wow.
11. VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS – A romantic “gay” Christmas story. I hope the “sugar plums” aren’t a metaphor.
12. NINJA: SILENT ASSASSIN – Ninjas doing their thing.
13. JOEY – Not the kangaroo movie.
14. WILD GYPSIES – Just as the title says.
15. THE HIJACKING OF STUDIO 4 – Ultra-low budget DIE HARD rip-off shot on a VHS camcorder about terrorists taking over a local cable station. I must see this!
After viewing all the clips, the audience voted for their top two choices on ballots and handed them in for tallying. I voted for RETRIBUTION and the one I really wanted to see HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE (the crowd favorite), which simply had the best opening 5 minutes of any of the movies shown and ya know, that’s the name of the game. Check out the opening for yourself HERE and tell me how awesome the title song “Hamburgers for America” is! It had the whole audience joyously singing and clapping along with it.
While the votes were being counted we hit the back patio and grilled up some food on the big gas grill. I cooked and ate a gigantic cheeseburger to prepare myself for what I was certain would be the winner. I’ve had a knack for picking all the previous 5 minute game winners and I felt this one was a lock. After the break it was official: HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE had won in the biggest landslide victory ever in 5 minute game history! We took our seats and sank our teeth into the grease and ketchup covered madness that is…
There were a lot of zany sex comedies in the 80’s that did not achieve the same status as say an ANIMAL HOUSE, CADDYSHACK, BACHELOR PARTY or even a PORKY’S. I’m talking about little T and A epics like JOYSTICKS, FRATERNITY VACATION, BEER, HOT DOG: THE MOVIE and of course, HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE. Who says fast food and sex jokes don’t work? I remember seeing the VHS box for HAMBURGER in the video stores for years and years, but I always turned up a snooty cinema-brat nose to it and never once considered it for home viewing. Like a bottle of fine wine, I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to uncork this gem and introduce it to my senses and now finally, here I was about to consume it with an enthusiastic crowd of movie-maniacs in the best environment possible! Ok, in every single way imaginable this is a totally cheesy and bad comedy from the late night cable scene. The script, acting and direction are really low grade, but there is a weird charm to it in a post modern ironic kind of way that was a lot of fun to watch.
The plot of HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE concerns a young college student named Russell (played by an actor in his 30’s) who keeps getting kicked out of one college after another for “crude, lewd and nude behavior”. Even the hot chick expelling him tries to fuck him. In desperation he applies to Busterburger University to train to become a Busterburger restaurant manager. It’s not as easy as you’d think, because BU is run like an army recruit center under the supervision of the racist, homophobic drill instructer Drootin (played by the acting challenged ex-Chicago Bear, Dick Butkus). The new recruits aren’t that great either. You’ve got a nerd, a couple of hot chicks, a fat guy who violently shocks himself to keep from over-eating, a Prince impersonator, a sexy Latina armed with an uzi who comes from a country called Guacamole (OH!), and a horny cougar.
There is a scene where the new recruits are “tested” on how well they can handle a big rush of customers when an “eating club” is let loose in a Burgerbuster restaurant and the obese members go completely crazy ordering enormous amounts of food, farting uncontrollably and eventually attacking customers and stealing their burgers. It is a scene that degenerates from mildly amusing to nauseatingly disgusting to oddly surreal. There’s also a scene where a group of students shout at a little girl to, “Put the cookies back MOTHERFUCKER!” and another head scratching moment in a club where the lead actor wears a pink sweater covered in what appears to be a bunch of purple swastikas. Those crazy 80’s fashions.
One of the things I really admired about HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE is how it joyously celebrates America’s love affair with burgers, fries, and fast food. In a way, this movie is like a greasy fat chili-burger for the brain with a pair of big tits on the side! It was also the perfect film to follow a Labor Day BBQ and another great time with The Cinefamily! This one’s not available on DVD (a crime!) so you’re gonna have to hunt for it. Bon appetite!