Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Summer Camp


Every now and again, the topic for Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, hits too close to home. Take this week, for example. We're talking all about summer camps. Here's the deal: I've really been in camp all summer since that's how I keep ends meeting when school is out. Most days I have lots of fun with all the tykes I get to hang out with all day. You know what I don't want to do for the next couple months? Come home and watch a movie about summer camp. With that in mind, here is a trio of terrible movies on the subject that you should avoid.


Meatballs Part II
(1984)
Lots of people love the original Meatballs which stars Bill Murray as the head counselor at a cut-rate summer camp. Many of these same people have no idea this sequel even exists. There's damn good reason for this. It has absolutely nothing to do with the first movie except the title. This one involves competing summer camps who operate on the same lake and decide to settle things with boxing. Okay, fine. I guess that's not too bad. Sounds like it needs another subplot, though. I know, let's add a story about a girl camper trying to see a penis for the very first time. She doesn't want to do anything with it, mind you. She just wants to see it. Um, 'kayyy. Still needs more. Something's missing. I got it. We'll make one of the campers an alien from another planet and have the kids running around trying to hide him from the adults who work there. Imagine the shenanigans. Or don't. Sigh.

Ernest Goes to Camp
(1987)
I hate Ernest. I mean I really hate Ernest. More than that, I hate the Ernest movie franchise. For those of you not aware of how this particular plague came to be unleashed, Ernest was a character created and played by actor Jim Varney in a handful of shitty television commercials that somehow got so popular they gave him a movie deal. The "films" that came out of this...worse than the commercials. In this particular installment, Ernest is working in a summer camp for juvenile delinquents. Full disclosure, I started watching this one time years ago at the insistence of a so-called friend. I didn't laugh at all during the early parts of the movie before passing out from total boredom. Never bothered going back and don't plan to.


American Pie Presents: Band Camp
(2005)
Here's another sequel that absolutely no one was asking for. This one is the first of four straight-to-DVD sequels to 1999's American Pie. They were all released between that film's theatrical sequels American Wedding and American Reunion. Don't worry if you somehow missed them. They all suck. I will say that at least the idea for this one is really good. The original gets a lot of mileage out of talking about what happened "This one time in band camp." Why not make a movie showing us what went down in band camp? It could be great...if any of the characters we gave a flip about were in it. They're not and nothing funny happens. We get a bunch a low-rent knock-offs played by inferior actors. I mean that quite literally as our hero is Stifler's younger brother and portrayed by some dude doing a terrible Seann William Scott impression. His mission in life is to get into the porn business like his big bro (huh?) and he plans on starting right here at camp. The only other tangible link to the theatrical films is the presence of Eugene Levy, still playing Jim's dad even though Jim is nowhere near this movie. I think he appeared in all four of these things. I can only assume times were damn hard for Levy or he committed a murder and the people who made these movies know where he's hiding the body.



20 comments:

  1. I've seen Meatballs II and Band Camp and yes, they both suck. The former doesn't have the spirit of the first film despite Pee-Wee Herman's appearance while the latter is just awful because of the guy trying to be Seann William Scott in the worse way.

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  2. I've never seen these, but I always wondered why Levy was in those DVD sequels? Did he need money? Was it in his contract? How was that a good idea?

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    1. The answer is it wasn't a good idea, at all. If he wasn't just flat broke, I hope he fired his agent.

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  3. Hi Dell,

    It's been a bit chaotic in my world of late and I see I missed your birthday so let me start with belated best wishes. Hope the birthday was great and you were able to do something that was tons of fun.

    Well these are terrible piles to be sure! I have seen Meatballs II mistakenly thinking that any movie with expert comic actors Richard Mulligan and John Larroquette couldn't be too bad. I was so very wrong.

    AP-Band Camp was streaming late one night and I couldn't sleep, so again I thought how bad can it be? Wretched that's how bad, I did nod off though so it wasn't a total loss!

    I too hate Ernest and have never even contemplated watching one of those things he made.

    I can see how spending the summer with the kiddies would make you reluctant to watch films about them but never having been to camp myself I enjoy films about it. I'm happy to say I've found three that are much higher quality than yours.

    Camp (2003)-At Camp Ovation, a summer theatre camp for young performers, a diverse group of kids come together and though at first there are tensions they eventually form close friendships. During their time there they also influence one of the counselors who has grown bitter with regret to move forward with his life. Because the film is just a little rough around the edges it makes the story and the kids much more real.

    Indian Summer (1993)-A group of young adults (including Diane Lane, Bill Paxton and Elizabeth Perkins) gather at Camp Tamakwa outside Ontario where they spent their summers as kids for a 20th reunion. While they spend time reminiscing they also deal with problems of their present lives and try and find a way to keep the camp from closing down permanently.

    Marjorie Morningstar (1958)-Beautiful college student Marjorie Morgenstern (Natalie Wood) spends her summer as a camp counselor at a Catskills resort. While there she becomes enamored with a performer at the camp, Noel Airman (Gene Kelly) a caddish older man who doesn’t take the romance seriously. Returning home Marjorie is pressured by her parents to marry and settle down. Still carrying a torch for Noel she pursues an acting career as Marjorie Morningstar while trying to make a relationship with the older man work. Various complications ensue including her Jewish parents objections to the Gentile Noel. Adaptation of a Herman Wouk novel has a rich studio look and a great cast, aside from Natalie and Gene there’s Claire Trevor, Carolyn Jones, Martin Balsam and a host of recognizable character actors.

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  4. Thanks for the well wishes. Didn't do anything more exciting than eat cake and ice cream. Then again, there might not be anything more exciting than that.

    Meatballs II, ugh. It has a GREAT cast and is still a complete dud. At least AP Band Camp helped you sleep, so there's that.

    Haven't seen your choices. Camp is one I've only recently even become aware of. Sounds very interesting. Might try that one, first.

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  5. Ugghhhh! Meatballs 2. My gosh that this was such a stinker. And Earnest Goes to Camp. Sigh. How did that character ever get a franchise??? Wasn't one of them the perennial holiday classic "Earnest Saves Christmas"?:P

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    1. I'm still asking myself how that character blew up to the degree that it did. We collectively suck is my best answer. And yes, Ernest Saves Christmas is one of them.

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  6. Oh. Dear. LORD.

    Meatballs, Band Camp..... fucking ERNEST....

    Dell, this is why we love you!

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  7. I'd rather have my teeth drilled than watch Ernest...I hated those commercials but I did feel bad when the actor died for real. I saw Meatballls when it first came out but I successfully avoided Meatballs 2. and Band Camp...horrible.it reminds me of Porky's

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    1. I'm with you on everything except Band Camp. I actually love Porky's and won't hear a bad word about it. You cut me, Birgit. You cut me deep.

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  8. I've only seen Band Camp and I almost picked it myself. It sucks though.

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    1. That it does, my friend. That, it does.

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  9. I love how you picked camp films you don't like haha! Haven't seen any of these and I guess I deff won't now.

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  10. Quit hatin' on Ernest bro. That's my boy. Lol. Seriously. Goes to Camp is one of the good ones. I didn't even like the original Meatballs enough to think about a sequel...and aren't there life four or five? Good Lord. As for Band Camp....I actually liked it...in a this is really bad but I'm still laughing for some reason way. Good bad picks!

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    1. Goes to Camp is the only one I even attempted. If that's one of the good ones, yeesh. I'll keep it that way. There were at least 3 Meatballs. There might have been more, but I never bothered after the second. Thanks!

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  11. I may have seen the Ernest movie, but as for the rest, I guess it's a good thing I haven't seen any them.

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    1. Definitely a good thing. The best thing about the Ernest movie is you're having trouble remembering it.

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