Rad~ 1986, Hal Needham, USA


Rad is, unquestionably, the single most clichéd movie I have ever had the privilege of suffering through. If Rad wasn’t shot in color, I would have assumed this was, in fact, the very first movie ever made. It isn’t, though, Rad is just the most derivative film anyone could possibly make.

THE PLOT~ When a secret cabal of old, wealthy, white men (oh no!) get together to launch a BMX track based money making scheme, they find their “sure thing” investment dashed by a determined local boy named Cru, who will stop at nothing to enter the race, even though he is horribly, nightmarishly deformed.

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He’s hideous…

The bad guys bring with them a whole team of cronies, including the current BMX world champion (some blonde uber-douche called “Bart,”) and two twin brothers who dress like G.I. Joe villains.


There they are.

Also a member of Team Mongoose (the bad guys) is the implausibly pretty Christian (Played by Lori Loughlin), who has become disenchanted with her team’s off the charts douchebaggary, and wastes no time defecting to Team Rad (the good guys). For some reason, she immediately develops a romantic interest in the hellishly disfigured Cru, suggesting that she herself is somehow mentally ill.

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That’s exactly what Freddy Kruger would look like after a bunch of botox.

From there it’s just neat bike tricks and old people trying to keep the youth down. Except for all the old people who are really nice. So really, it’s only like, a handful of old people that suck in Rad. Otherwise, most people are cool.

Rad isn’t well done no matter what angle you look at it from. Anytime you’re flying high on the wings of nostalgia and really need a reality check, pop RAD into your VCR and prepare to be reminded of just what an intellectual gas chamber the 1980’s really were. This turkey bumbles and sucks to and fro, back and forth, all the live long day. And that kid they cast as the lead…

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It’s like one of those Team America Marionettes made a wish to be a real boy…

Still, it is probably the best movie about BMX bikes ever made, for whatever that’s worth. It certainly beats BMX Bandits, in my opinion, and is likely the closest thing the bike world ever got to their very own Thrashin’. If you were a BMX kid in the 80’s, you probably loved this film, and that was not wrong of you.

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He looks like a trout after a fatal overdose of sleeping pills.

It’s not even necessarily wrong to love Rad now. It sucks, you need to admit that, but nearly everything we love about the 80’s sucked at least a little bit. Somewhere amongst all the stupid, this thing winds up being somewhat lovable, and even a little bit fun.

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That’s exactly what Earthworm Jim would look like if he were real.

Of course, Rad also features a sequence in which the bad guys hog the dance floor of the local high school with an elaborately choreographed dance routine, which is so staggeringly awful that I was embarrassed to actually see it with my own eyes.

twincestPlus, where was the Vatican on this one? Are they just not condemning anything anymore? Someone needed to do something about this.

Then things go from unthinkably bad to immeasurably worse when Cru and Christian retaliate against Team Mongoose by wowing students and faculty alike with an impromptu freestyle tandem bike dancing routine of their very own.

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I included these pictures because who would believe me otherwise?

Nothing could be more damming in a film review than photographic evidence of a tandem bike dancing routine, so clearly, we have proven beyond dispute that Rad is 90 minutes of utter humiliation and gonzo dog shit that the human race really didn’t need to add to our rap sheet, but as bad as all that is, here’s where I get real with you for a second… We have to remember that no matter what, at the end of the day, this is a film from the 1980’s… It’s about BMX racing, and it’s called RAD. Rad for fuck’s sake! Let’s just face the facts… There will always be an audience for this film. It has irony locked in a full nelson for all eternity, and the many heinous shortcomings I’ve outlined in the above text will actually keep Rad alive for decades to come.

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…For better or for worse…


more movies

Roller Blade

Roller Blade ~ 1986, Donald Jackson


Things have changed since the rock ‘em sock ‘em dog days of 1986. Let me set the scene for you, and give you some perspective (I was two years old); At that time, The Berlin Wall was still standing fully intact, a constant impediment to the freedoms of the East German people. The Soviet Union was still in operation, ideologically opposed to American values, and seemingly determined to squash out the spirit of democracy, by force, if necessary. The threat of Nuclear War loomed threateningly in the zeitgeist of the entire human race, and the future was very much a topic of much debate, as well as pessimistic speculation. In 1986, it really did seem like we might just be looking at an apocalyptic doomsday in our near future, at a world where barren, Radioactive wastelands would blanket the entire Earth, where mutants and bandits would pillage without compassion for the weak or the unfortunate, and where a militarized religious order of roller-skating babes would fight to protect what was left of human civilization. This really did seem like an unavoidable certainty, just waiting to happen. Honestly, I don’t know how we have avoided that reality for so long, and I’m forced to assumed we have only postponed it… For now.


THE PLOT ~ The evil Dr. Saticoy, who looks like a combination of a Canadian Mounty and a gimp, and who constantly carries a hand puppet, not unlike Mr. Hat, hatches an evil plan to steal a power crystal from the noble Bod Sisters, a chapter of roller skating nuns who have been charged with keeping order in an apocalyptic wasteland filled with adults who ride around on rollerskates. It’s very realistic. Soon, the Bod sister’s are infiltrated by one of Saticoy’s spies, the crystal is stolen, and a confrontation between vicious, uncivilized killers and attractive young women on rollerskates comes to a head. Movies like this exist. Go watch them.

So, there’s other stuff in there… Saticoy’s spy ends up redeeming herself, some ranger type dude gets his son kidnapped, and there’s this dude who talks just like David Lee Roth, but really, who gives a shit? All of those things are Roller Blade’s honest attempt at giving you a plot to care about, and, to be frank, it’s a failure you probably predicted going in.

It’s truly amazing that movies like this can happen; movies with a concept so riddled with madness that hearing it explained it is infinitely more entertaining than actually watching it play out. Far too often these movies fall into the same trap; no matter how nutso your idea is, you either have to be equally insane, or legitimately talented, and if you’re not one of those two things, your movie is going to suck. Again, when you’re making a ridiculous ass psychotronic film, the worst thing your movie can be is boring. Roller Blade is not worth 90 minutes of your time, and that’s the tragic truth. You’ve probably imagined a better movie just reading the description, so quit while you’re ahead.

The real reason Roller Blade is important, though, is that it is, doubtless, an uncompromisingly realistic portrayal of our inevitable future. Is there a chance that soon the human race will engage in an atomic war so furious that vast expanses of the Earth will be left total uninhabitable? Without question; yes. And when this happens, what is the only logical outcome of this scenario? Well, any intelligent person knows that within weeks what is left of humanity will form a limited government/police force/religious order of roller babes to skate around and kill mutants. That’s a given! The logic is airtight, so if you want any chance at survival, it’s time to bust out your skates and get real comfortable with zooming around in short shorts (and that’s addressed to both male and female readers.) Roller Blade may not be entertaining, but neither was Driver’s Ed; however, both are necessary forms of education without which, we would be woefully ill prepared. I’m not sure if the future really will include a hand puppet enthusiast mounty-gimp, though. Probably. Hell, somewhere in the world that’s probably already a thing.

Also worth noting; Donald Jackson did manage to pull off at least one pretty solid film, Hell Comes to Frog Town, released two years later. It’s a good old time, friends. Review forthcoming!