1/14/10

Ladies Night Presents: Never Too Young To Die (1986): Double-O Stamos!

Once a Month, T.L. Bugg takes a day off and hands the keys of the Lair over to his lovely wife, Miss Directed, and best friend, Fran Goria. The Ladies of the Lair take this chance to shine a spotlight on some of the best and worst films out there, and you never know what might happen when it's Ladies Night!

Never too Young to Die (1986) Director: Gil Bettman. Writers: Steven Paul, Stuart Paul. Starring: John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons, and George Lazenby.

Drew Stargrove (Lazenby) is a top notch, secret agent (does this sound familiar to any one else?). He is in possession of a top secret 5 1/4” floppy diskette full of all the government information needed to poison the city's water supply. Velvet Von Ragner (Simmons) is a psychotic, hermaphroditic crime lord (it could happen) who wants the diskette to, well, poison the city's water supply. Ragner kills Stargrove in an attempt to obtain said diskette. Now it is time for Stargrove’s high school gymnast son, Lance (Stamos), to team up with dad’s old partner, Danja Deering (Vanity, yes really), to bring Ragner to justice and save the day.




TIDBITS

- Bettman’s biggest claim to fame was the documentary The Long Road To Cabo (2003). He went on tour with Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth, and with no Van Halen in sight.

- Writer Steven Paul was nominated for a Razzie award in 2005 for his work on Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2005).

- Stuart Paul’s alias is Q. Mark.

- In 1980, Lynda Carter covered the Kiss song “I Was Made for Loving You, Baby” for a TV special. During the number, Carter was dressed as a female Kiss member. In Never Too Young To Die, Gene Simmons wore the same outfit for the musical number “It Takes a Man Like Me To Be a Woman Like Me”, YEAH!


Ok, I know what everybody is thinking, “Fran, I didn’t know that you covered nonfiction in your reviews! I saw this story on the news just last week.” Well, don’t be fooled by the realness of the plot, it is just an eighties movie. I do, however, love it when a movie is ripped from the headlines, so to speak. I often turn on the news and see an item on roving bands of Mad Max (and Beyond Thunderdome) extras, following their hermaphrodite, hell bent on world domination, gang leader, who is hunting high and low for an elusive 5 1/4” floppy disk, in order to poison the water supply of some city or other. Luckily, there is always a high school gymnast around to save the day with his Mullet of Glory. Wait…what? That hasn’t happened? But, it all seemed so real. I have stocked up on bottled water and hairspray already! Oh well, maybe some other catastrophe will happen on a sea full of bad hair.

This is one of the best terrible movies I had never heard of. As a matter of fact, if it were not for a Facebook friend posting a clip (thanks Barloff!), I still would never have heard of it. Most of the major players don’t talk about it. It’s that dirty little secret everyone wishes would go away. It is quite difficult to find any noteworthy information on the movie. When I watched the clip, I knew it was gold. I immediately called T.L. and told him to make it happen; and he did. One used VHS with no cover later; I was once again a happy girl.

First of all, I would like to talk about my personal favorite part of the movie, Gene Simmons. His character, Velvet Von Ragner, the hermaphrodite lounge singer/ gang leader with delusions of grandeur, was AWESOME! I can’t say that his acting skills were great, but anybody who read the synopsis can probably tell this role really needed to go over the top. Boy did it ever. Simmons really gave his all for this part (tucked and everything). And, his musical number was just the tops, baby! Watching him run in heels, makes me feel better about all heel mishaps I have ever had. Gene Simmons was just great, he was completely entertaining and funny and a joy to watch.

John Stamos, well, it really depends on the angle as to whether he did a good job or not. Let me explain. I felt he was totally believable as a mullet having, gymnastics suit wearing high school student. However, as a debonair, world saving, action hero…not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the Stamos. Every time I watch a Chris Seaver film, I look for the famous Stamos pic, but I would not call him a great actor. Never Too Young to Die was pre-Full House, so he had yet to make soccer moms the world over weak in the knees. The wardrobe from this movie did not get him there any faster. White, high waisted, pleated slacks and a blue mesh half shirt do not look good on anybody. While we are at it, tight acid washed jeans, with matching jacket and giant white sneakers does not say action hero at all, teen of the eighties maybe, but not action hero. This definitely was not a sexy look, but his character landed a spy. When you’re thinking about Stamos’ Stargrove, you also have to consider the out of place love story that is borderline statutory (Lance was a high school student), but hey, I guess he was such a cool guy that the age and the clothes didn’t matter.

Vanity, she was a model, she was Prince’s protégé, and she was in an all female musical group called Vanity 6. Now her life is filled with, and devoted to, Christ’s love. Yep, that’s right, she went from Prince to Jesus, but somewhere along the way, she stopped to make Never Too Young To Die. She played a spy named Danja, which rhymes with ganja, which I suspect was the involved in the conception of this movie. Vanity, with her poorly delivered dialogue, did not convince me that she was a spy. In case any one is interested, Vanity’s wardrobe was not any better then Stamos’. As a matter of fact, all of the clothes were bad, except for Velvet’s, those were fabulous.

The best actor in the movie was George Lazenby. Even he went overboard with his character, but it was easy to see the talent (even though he was my least favorite Bond). Unfortunately, he was only in the first part of the movie. Another underused actor was the one and only Mr. Robert Englund. That’s right, Freddy himself was Ragner’s top scientist. Just don’t blink, because he only appears twice and speaks one line.

I hope I have not swayed anybody from watching Never Too Young To Die. It is a must see for anybody who likes entertainment. It is also a great background piece for casual gatherings. I liked this movie so much that I cannot wait to see it again. All of the bad things I mentioned earlier are exactly why I like it so much. I highly recommend this movie, um…unless one requires substance in films. I do not, and I thought it was hella good.

Stamos Rating


You have to be a special kind of person to know what September 18, 1983 meant for the world of entertainment. Any member of the KISS army can tell you, that date marked the start of a dark time in the band's history. As their albums started to go gold again, the fan base started to wonder what happened to the band many had built their life around. By this time the album Music from “The Elder” happened, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were so disenchanted all they bothered to do was show up for the pictures and cash the checks. Then on September 18th the fans had gathered around their T.V. and found out Gene Simmons was no demon at all. He did not look like he wanted to Rock and Roll All Nite (or Party Every Day). Without his makeup on, he just looked like some dude that would have a hard time getting a girl's phone number.

It only took three more years to get Gene back in makeup. Unfortunately for KISS fans, when he did, it was less creature of the night, and more walker of the street when he stared as Velvet Van Ragner in Never Too Young To Die. For his character, the film makers went way past sweet transvestite, all the way to creepy evil hermaphrodite. Now Gene Simmons isn’t the kind of guy that is easily lead, and I have to assume he read this script. I have to believe he thought, "yep, this is a good career move". Well, he had been wrong before. Watching Never Too Young To Die is a rollercoaster. From the very beginning, I got the feeling this was a movie with something to say. The problem is I think they might have been saying it in a language I don’t know.

The story of Lance Stargrove, played by the John Stamos, starts in his high school gym. The back drop sets the film up perfectly to make fun of homophobic stereotypes. I started to get the feeling this could be my kind of film when the Stamos takes the jocks down a peg or two. Then bikes and transvestites get added into the mix, but I think I’m still with you guys, sally forth. Things get a little shaky when Vanity made her first appearance on screen. It took me a second to realize it wasn't Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef, and then, sure, I back on board. By the time Stamos starts to talk about society and its woes, I have given up trying. Some where along the way, I go from being a grown woman, to a child of the 80’s. If I had to sum up this film for a friend it might be, “Uncle Jesse from Full House and Prince's girl friend try to save the world from Gene Simmons and the extras from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”

It’s like they took a whole decade, put it in a blender and pushed puree. On no level can this movie be called good, but it is entertaining. I found it so hard not to laugh uncontrollably, I had to be careful when I drank my coke. If you are going to watch this movie, get as many people as you can together to do so. I don’t know if it would be as good otherwise.

Stamos Rating
There is a trailer you can find on YouTube, but it's only 30 seconds and doesn't really give much of a feel for the film. Instead here are a couple of clips from the film to give you folks a taste.


7 comments:

  1. I watched this one with the Ladies, and I had a great time. Never Too Young to Die needs a DVD release with a commentary by Stamos and Simmons!

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  2. One of my childhood favorites. I haven't seen it since the 80's. Based on the review and clips, I think I'd still get a kick out of it.

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  3. Rev, I think you should absolutely revisit this gem of a film.
    T.L., I agree that we need a DVD release, but I suspect that the commentary would be a no show.
    I had lots of fun reviewing this one, and I really dig the fact that Miss Directed's rating and mine were so different. We are usually a bit closer, but I kinda like it.

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  4. I do want to say, I loved watching this movie, I just had a really hard time rating it. This one was wicked funny, but I couldn't decided if the people making the film were in on the joke. I really did look on line to try and find out, sadly not that much info on that. If they were it would be close to genius, if not they were way off the mark.

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  5. Def a so bad it's good film. I happen to see this on cable a couple years back and it's still as cheesy now as it was back then. Love the "Stargrove" theme song. Can you just imagine the band that performed that song recording it in the studio?

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  6. Geof, I totally forgot to mention the kiss ass Stargrove theme! I also neglected to mention the great dummy work.

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  7. I'm willing to bet Simmons would do commentary for a DVD release if he was paid for it. John Stamos has most likely spent the last twenty years working so he can buy the rights to this one and have the master reel destroyed...

    I love this film as I think it's one of the worst movies ever!

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