I have only watched this Film once. That is more than I needed. It was a few years ago with my boyfriend at the time. We had watched a video review of this film by the world famous online producer The Nostalgia Critic (many of you may have heard of him. If not, you can find his videos on ChannelAwesome.com. They are hilariously poignant). The writer, producer, and title performer of the show, Doug Walker, stated that he reviews bad films for a living and of all these bad movies, Garbage Pail Kids is the worst film he has ever seen. So when my ex boyfriend and I put on a copy of the film, we were excited. We loved watching bad movies and laughing at their misguided efforts, so we felt that this would be the Holy Grail of bad films. How excited we were! How full of life we were! How naïve we were…
This is the only cinematic adaptation of the famous Garbage Pail Kids cards. A set of cards created and distributed in the 1980’s as a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids. I was not alive in the 80’s but I did look up the cards online. Some got a chuckle out of me, some were too gross even for my tolerance, and some were just plain violent. All in all, looking at the cards, I could see what the appeal was for elementary to pre-adolescent boys during the 1980’s when the media took kid’s entertainment more seriously. After seeing these cards and watching the Nostalgia Critic Review, I figured the film would strive to be odd, grotesque even. It would aim to shock and fail miserably. But only having tastes from this buffet of shit, my ex-boyfriend and I thought we were in for a treat in the same way fans of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room are.
The first ten minutes of the film had us laughing as we expected they would. There is a Garbage Pail floating in outer space presumably with the GPK’s inside. It somehow ends up in the antique shop of Captain Manzini (played by Anthony Newley) who assumes care of these “kids” without question. From there, we meet the lead kid Dodger (played by Mackenzie Astin who I am sure would rather I did not bring up his name in this review). Dodger, a thirteen-fourteen year old, is being chased by bullies, who are clearly approaching thirty, because they want his lunch money. As my ex and I laughed at this ridiculousness, we did not know that this would be the last giggle out of us for the rest of the film.
We started out sitting up in our seats with anticipation for the next poorly put-together scene. But as the film progressed, our chairs seemed to be feasting on us for how deeply we sank into them. We went from being hyped to see the worst movie ever made into a sickening, psychologically deadening state that resembled food poisoning to the outside world and trauma to a first-year psychiatrist. I had seen films that I believed were bad in my life, but not one of them caused me to die inside until this one. The ex and I periodically paused it. When we did, we would sometimes sit there for a few moments, contemplating our life choices. I hoped those few moments would never end, but alas they had to because we were on a mission to finish this God-forsaken film. I remember one of us always would have to be coached into continuing it, like Harry Potter coaching Dumbledore to keep drinking in the cave in the sixth book (I’m purposely being vague with that analogy because I dare not spoil it for the next generation who reads/sees it).
Dodger meets the kids when they rescue him from the thirty-year old bullies tossing him in the sewer. When he wakes up, the GPK’s are watching him while he is in the bathtub. I don’t understand why and I’d rather not think about it. They then proceed to list their names and do the gross things they are associated with including one acne-ridden GPK who urinates on himself at least three times in the movie (because that joke is entirely the equivalent of the “pushing the van” running gag in Little Miss Sunshine. You just keep thinking that, movie). There’s Valerie Vomit who vomits, Ali Gator who eats people’s feet (a little creepy to be honest), Windy Winston who breaks wind so-to-speak, and many (far too many) others who wreak havoc when exploring our world in their trench coats and sunglasses. You read that right, trench coats and sunglasses, because no one in this film is written with enough brain power to breathe let alone notice that Satan's mascots are running around disguised in trench coats and sunglasses.
While the GPK’s are interacting with a world that seems surprisingly okay with these mutants who don’t even have the luxury of super powers like in the X-Men movies, two more plot lines arise. Dodger gets the GPK’s to make clothes for his crush, Tangerine (one of the thirty year old bullies) to put in a fashion show, and the kids become at risk for getting imprisoned by the State Home for the Ugly. A prison for people legally deemed too ugly to function in society. I did not make this up. Someone who had truly malicious intent toward Hollywood did.
I believe from here, the film’s intention is to convey the message that looks do not matter. That it is all about who you are on the inside. That is a good lesson for a movie. What is not good is portraying that message in a film where the characters are not only bland but abominably obnoxious, the sets, costumes, effects and general look are dark and difficult to look at, and the plot cannot stay focused long enough to even pretend it’s trying to hold your attention. I watched the Nostalgia Critic review of this film one year later when I believed I was ready to watch the clips again. As funny as that review is, I had to turn it off halfway through because my reaction was akin to suffering from PTCD: Post Traumatic Cinema Disorder. Watch the review at the link below if you must satiate your curiosity. But if I were you, I would avoid this movie like the Bubonic Plague contracted A.I.D.S.
Nostalgia Critic, Garbage Pail Kids: http://channelawesome.com/nostalgia-critic-garbage-pail-kids/