Gamera Vs Jiger!

Gamera Vs. Jiger ~ 1970, Noriaki Yuasa, Japan


Worry not, ravenous Kaiju philes, Japan’s second most popular gigantic reptilian monster hero is back after like, several months, with a brand new beast busting blockbuster! Yes, Gamera is back, but does he have moves like Jiger? The answer is no, no he does not- nobody does, because like all of Gamera’s foes, Jiger is nonsense incarnate. This is basically a win, though, because after studying how freaking bizarre Gamera’s rogue gallery has been up to this point, it would be truly jarring to see him on screen with anything that made sense.


Pictured: Nonsense.

THE PLOT~ The people of Earth are throwing a World Expo (basically a mixture of the World’s Fair and Disney’s Epcot Center) in Japan to celebrate peace and unity for all of mankind. First on their list of preparations? Actively disgracing precious African cultural sites for their own amusement and giving zero fuck’s about it. Peace and unity for the win! You see, there’s this giant, ancient stone monolith embedded in the Earth somewhere in Africa called The Devil’s Whistle. This is one impressive whistle, so the world expo people are like “hey… We kinda want that. That thing is neat.” Next thing you know, they got a horrified African dignitary is in their offices, pleading with them to let the whistle stay where it is. He makes an impassioned, reasonable, case for the whistle staying put, and in actuality, he has basic human decency on his side, and Japan is in the wrong to remove the whistle, which is plain to see. Unfortunately, he’s also black, so Japan doesn’t fucking care. They take the whistle anyway, and wouldn’t you know it, that turns out to be a bad idea. You see, apparently the whistle wasn’t for decoration, it also functioned as a means of imprisoning Jiger, an ancient, weird dinosaur thing. Now that the whistle is gone, Jiger is fucking shit up, and things look bleak for humanity.

tumblr_nopo0kkkyv1qgckmbo1_500Until Gamera shows up. I shouldn’t really have to drag you through the plot here, if you’ve seen one, you’ve kinda seen ’em all, but I’ll sum up the particulars. Apparently, Jiger is vulnerable to sound, and is also a female, so that’s fun. She uses her weird rocket horns to lay her monster eggs inside Gamera’s freaking heart, which basically puts him into a near death, unresponsive state for a large chunk of the film. In hopes of rescuing everybody’s favorite whirling turtle beast, two young boys called Hiroshi and Tommy, hijack a submarine (this feels familiar) and pilot it into the open mouth of the now catatonic Gamera on a mission to reach his heart. When Hiroshi and Tommy discover a baby Jiger living tucked away inside Gamera’s freaking guts, they damn kill it, with a Walky talky. Now THAT is awesome. I wanted walky talkies super bad when I was a kid, and I was totally unaware that they could be used to murder monsters. Walky talkies just keep getting better and better! There’s also a point at which Gamera rams telephone poles into his ear canals to block out the noise of some Anti-Jiger Noise weapons the Japanese cooked up, and I greatly enjoy that, too.


It’s hard to say if Gamera Vs Jiger is an improvement over the big guy’s last few tumblr_nopsuxyr2n1qgckmbo1_400adventures or not. Gamera Vs. Guiron strayed a little far from the formula and felt scaled down from earlier outings, and Gamera Vs Viras upped the ante on how much it was willing to pander to children while also filling out it’s run time with an inexcusably generous use of recycled footage. Gamera Vs. Jiger doesn’t repeat any of those mistakes, except for some mild child pandering, and it feels much closer to Gamera Vs Gyaos than we’ve seen in some time, so that’s all good. It doesn’t stack up well against the second and third Gamera films when quality is concerned, though. By this point, Gamera felt cheap and uninspired. Gamera Vs Jiger is okay if you’re happy with more of the same, but just don’t expect it to knock your socks off. I hate to say it, but Gamera’s once promising uphill trend was a long forgotten thing by this point in his franchise. He’s just phoning it in.

Worth bringing up, Gamera is well known for his bizarre and suspiciously unconditional love of children…


…But Tommy and Hiroshi are looking a little old in this one. They’re in the early stages of puberty, and these poor bastards have no idea that they’re just probably just one awkward year away from Gamera suddenly giving zero shits about them. Yeah, you just stole a mini-sub and sailed it into the tusked maw of a radioactive guardian monster to save his life, but he’s “friend to all children,” not “pal to all tweens.” Pretty soon, he’s just gonna stop taking your calls. Go ask Corey Feldman, he’s been there.


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Prayer of the Rollerboys!

Prayer of the Rollerboys – 1990, Rick King


The website credits Canadian born Corey Haim as having 48 known roles as an actor, and as having enjoyed a career which spanned more than two decades in both television, and film. For much of his youth, Haim was a big name, who grabbed tabloid headlines effortlessly and routinely scored leading roles in popular movies. If one were to collectively gather the sum total of his work and cut it all together into one massive montage, you would have days and days worth of footage, and there would be, throughout his acting career, in totality, fewer than three minutes total where Corey Haim’s mouth wasn’t sagging open like a damn trout. That was his look. “The Mouthbreather.” People seemed to be okay with it. Behold.







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“An open mouth is an open mind.” – Confusedcius

Coming in toward the “has-been” era of Haim’s acting career we have Prayer For The Rollerboys, surprisingly, it’s one of the more solid films featuring this young Proto-Bieber. While it’s not a great movie, it’s also not a terrible one, which is shocking to say the least, given that it’s about Corey Haim on Rollerblades. I was actually super disappointed, this movie ISN’T utter shit. What am I supposed to do now?!

THE PLOT~ Griffin and his little brother Miltie are orphans a hostile and economically devastated America of the Not-Too-Distant-Future. Here, basic human rights are jeopardized constantly, all businesses and institutions have relocated to foreign soil, and  poverty is universal, save for an extravagantly wealthy few. It’s an America where the previous generations have governed things so poorly that any hope for prosperity or opportunity have been completely stamped out, and where the basic freedoms guaranteed you in the constitution of the United States of America are no longer protected. So, basically, it’s right now; this movie is an incredibly accurate prediction of the year 2015. It’s fucking creepy.

The only real difference between the world you see when you look out your window and the world you would see if you hit PLAY on Prayer of the Rollerboys, is that in the movie; the presence of organized gangs openly congregating is slightly more apparent. The most powerful gang in this film are the titular Rollerboys, a wealthy and powerful white supremacist crime syndicate who rollerskate around town wearing giant coats and who peddle a designer drug called Mist to everybody and they’s momma. The Rollerboys are a major problem for what remains of the police force, and truthfully, they’re poised to potentially make a power grab that would make them unstoppable if somebody doesn’t step up and do something about it very soon. Enter COREY HAIM:

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Through coincidence, Griffin (Haim) grew up with Gary Lee, the charismatic and brilliant leader of the Rollerboys, and Gary Lee seems to really cherish their childhood memories together. Although Griffin is in no way cool with racism, drugs, or the world according to the Roller-Fuhrer, this connection makes him an ideal candidate for a police led operation to infiltrate this dangerous gang and take them down, from the inside. Griffin is initially not interested, you see, he already rollerblades a lot- but when you leave your mouth hanging open constantly, like he does, rollerblading can be difficult because you swallow so many bugs. He’s unsure if he can commit to rollerblading even more often, which is what it would mean for him to infiltrate the Rollerboys, but he eventually agrees. Also, Patricia Arquette is in this movie, and she dresses like a damn crazy person. I dunno, maybe you’re into that.

So, it’s a quasi-post-apocalyptic, gang warfare/cop film staring Corey Haim that involves a hell of a lot of roller blading. Sounds utterly insane, right? Well, yeah, for sure it does, but then you watch it, and it just isn’t. So… what the hell is going on? Can we isolate why this movie isn’t really shitty? Let’s break it down:

THE ROLLERBLADING: This is yet another film which displays the commonly held, pre-1994 belief that the future would belong to people on roller skates. That, in-and-of-itself should guarantee this movie be at least 30% goofy- and I think we pretty much get the minimum rollerskate related WTFs possible out of it. They definitely rollerblade, constantly, when the bad guys get arrested they don’t even take their skates off, they just roll them over into the squad-cars, inlines intact- so that’s periodically pretty silly, but beyond everyone simply skating around all the time, there isn’t a lot of skate related content here. They don’t really do any tricks or jumps or anything, the movie opens with a brief sequence of Haim ripping it up at a skatepark, but that’s really the extent of it. They also don’t really harp on the skates being cool, they just kind of pass them off as a fact of life in the future, so with this, we see many, many missed opportunities for this film to have pissed me off. As a matter of fact, it actually wouldn’t be difficult to forget that you’re watching a movie where two thirds of the cast have wheels fastened to their feet at all times, and that’s completely insane. Given that I expected Prayer of the Rollerboys to glorify the skates in the same fashion that BMX Bandits fetishizes bikes, I was a little taken aback by how not stupid the rollerblading is here. They really left me hanging.


THE FUTURE: So, this is a post-apocalyptic movie, right? Well, here’s how post-apocalyptic it is: It’s SO post-apocalyptic, that in this movie, the pizza delivery guys all carry machine guns, in case anyone gives them trouble… But it’s not so post-apocalyptic that we don’t have pizza delivery guys. They even have to wear lame little uniforms, like the people who work at Pizza Hut or something, so how post-apocalyptic can it possibly be if you can still pay for a human to drive a pizza to your door anytime you want?! Not post-apocalyptic at all, that’s how. I would imagine that restaurant-to-home pizza delivery would be one of the first services we would lose in the event of an apocalypse.

Actually, I’m only a little bit kidding when I say that the future depicted in this movie feels eerily in line with what we’ve seen happening in the United States just recently; I would say that this depiction of the future isn’t so much imaginative as it is speculative. Which is unbelievable. Fact: The wackiest thing about this movie is the juxtaposition of far fetched ideas, like rollerblading, teenaged gangsters, with markedly more reserved economic speculation and sociological predictions. It’s the weirdest bait and switch ever, it’s like someone sold us something with the promise that it was going to be just terrible, and then when we got it home we found out it actually didn’t suck. Are you kidding me? This movie is completely fine! Thanks for nothing!

THE QUALITY: Nobody even did a bad job! The dumbest things in this movie are Patricia Arquette’s wardrobe and Corey Haim’s face, but the technical crafstamnship is perfectly adequate! They didn’t even fall prey to old stand-bye pitfalls, like shitty soundtracks, or flavor of the month stylistic gimicks. I am horrified how well Prayer Of The Rollerboys holds up; in fact, due to the shift in economic realities we are now experiencing, this movie might be even BETTER now than when it came out. Damn it! Skunked again!

THE COREY: Let’s get one thing straight; I hate Corey Haim. I always have. I don’t even care that I’m mocking a dead man, I hate both the Coreys, and that has been my official stance on them since day one. Haim especially is heinous, because at least Feldman was Tommy Jarvis, Donatello and Mouth. When I popped this movie into my VCR, this kid was skating his dumb, open maw right into my trap, and it was my every intention to come down on him and his dumb ass rollerblade movie with the furious might of Thor… And yet… Dammit, he did a good job. This movie isn’t very shitty at all, but the problems that it does have cannot fairly be blamed on Haim. His performance is strong, even if his role is flimsy, and he’s barely even annoying. I don’t know what the hell happened, I really thought this one was in the bag, but apparently I’m living in topsy-turvy land, where up is down, left is right, and Corey Haim isn’t a bumbling jackass. I hate it.

Now; I’m not raving about this movie. It’s not a classic, it’s not a masterpiece, and it’s not a homerun…. But it is, no question, light-years less shitty than I ever dreamed it would be. Prayer of the Rollerboys is like a cunning conspiracy theory, you dismiss it outright, but the more you pay attention, the more it starts to make sense in your head. Whatever, Rollerboys. Just leave me alone.