5 - 1
You know those commercials that come on late at night, suffering dogs and cats in various states of injury and/or mange looking at the camera like refugees from a Keane Painting, all to worm their way into you jaded and cynical heart and pull out a contribution to your local/nearest/national ASPCA? Now envision this as an actual narrative device in an equally twee and depressing hipster comedy. As a cinematic device, an injured stray has certain inherent dramatic possibilities (right 1970’s J.T. ?). Here’s it our narrator (?!?) with a voice so whisper tortured that it makes you hate yourself for ever laughing at a Itchy and Scratchy cartoon.
Remember John Byner, the popular ‘70s variety show comedian and impressionist who later parlayed said fame into a stint on cable’s first “naughty” late night sketch show, Bizarre? Of course you don’t. He’s as locked into one era as the Pet Rock, or space food sticks. Still, Disney decided to hire him to play a sort-of talking dog thing with the voice of an asthmatic Donald Duck for this film. While the movie itself is still considered The House of Mouse’s worse, one has to wonder how big a role Byner’s wheezing worthlessness and his character’s overall unintelligible quality contributed to said failure.
Let’s face it - Dakota Fanning could scream…at least, when she was 11. As the youngest daughter of Tom Cruise’s disaffected dad battling invaders from outer space, this plucky actress wails like Louis Armstrong after the Swiss Kriss kicks in. Banshees are jealous of her ability to shriek like a Civil Defense siren and there’s no denying the lung capacity to continue same. But this is all little Rachel does. She stares wide eyed at the horrors going on around her. She may ask a simple question or two, and then, before you know it, she’s Dr. Arthur Janov’s best friend. Just eardrum piercing.
Oh boy. This is a tough one. The very fact that Chris Tucker’s entire career is based on his hyperactive improvisational motor mouthed comedy style means that director Luc Besson clearly thought this character would be embraced as brash, bold, and capable of considerable belly laughs. All this intergalactic DJ winds up offering is a splitting headache and the beginnings of tinnitus. His opening monologue has its moments, as does his interaction with Bruce Willis’ Corbin Dallas. But once the bullets start flying and bombs begin going off, Rhod is a wreck, and he aurally wants everyone to know how scared he really is.
Want to know how bad this is? Want proof that this entry deserves to be numero uno for more than one reason? Perhaps you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of this movie until now. That’s because the adaptation of Gus Edson and Irwin Hansen’s WWII-set comic script was so reviled, and the character (and actor David Kory who played him) so hated, that the studio pulled the film from future distribution. Now, you’re lucky to catch in on a bootleg. A major entry in Michael Medved’s infamous Golden Turkey Awards book, Dondi’s alien tongue (he speaks a pseudo-slang only he understands) and moronic moon pie face are enough to drive you to drink…or worse.