Thursday, August 13, 2009

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (1983)

Ok, I've done a few classic films, now it's time to do a little trash.

Granted, my fondness for this film has much more to do with the fact that it was mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000 as opposed to the film being hilariously bad, though it still kinda is.

Raul Julia plays Aram Fingal (easily the greatest named film character of all time), a lowly computer programmer who lives in an Orwellian type future where computers control everything and the obese "Chairman" is in charge. Apparently the Chairman is bad, I don't really know why, as far as I know, we aren't shown anything to suggest that he's evil.

Anyway, Fingal likes to "scroll up Cinemas", in other words, he likes to watch movies instead of working. His favorite happens to be Casablanca, which becomes a mjor part of the film. Once he is caught watching movies, he is forced to be "doppled" as a mandatory vacation in the hopes that it will do him some good. When someone is doppled, their conciousness is placed into an animal, as a sort of vacation. Since he doesn't have the money, Fingal has to become merged with a dirty old baboon named Daisy, but when he has to be taken out of the Dopple do to an emergency, his body is lost, causing him to be uploaded into the Main computer for safekeeping (Why you would put some poor guy in the computer that controls everything is beyond me). There, his romantic interest Apollonia James must monitor him to prevent his identity from being erased. But Fingal decides to incorporate Casablanca into his virtual reality, where Raul Julia also plays Rick and and his sidekick is a creepy Peter Lorre lookalike. But the Chairman enters this reality in the hopes of getting Fingal to stop fiddling with things.

Really, that's the plot, and I've seen the movie at least 10 times and I still don't understand it, because there's this subplot about Apollonia's friend being some sort of spy, though nothing comes out of it, and there's this matter of being "Interfaced" that doesn't make any sense, neither does the final showdown between Fingal and the Chairman.

Plus, the film features a Faux Casablanca set, including a bar called "The Place", not to mention that in order to coax Fingal out of messing around with the computer, Apollonia inserts herself into the reality and gets his attention by descending naked from the sky on a seashell, wearing nothing but some carefully placed foliage, carrying a set of Ten Commandments that say "Thou shalt not mess around with things thout does not understand" or some such nonsense. I'm not making that up.

Worst of all is when Fingal uses his powers in the computer to make a virtual version of frumpy co-worker spend days in bed with him and then makes her disappear when he gets bored with her (Apollonia's response to witnessing Fingal in E-Coitus is to say "Now he's playing around with himself!") And the entire medical system revolves around placing colored fabric circles on the hands of unconscious patients, so a child switching Fingal's circle with another circle basically causes society as a whole to melt down.

Really, it's just an awful movie that doesn't make very much sense, but the production values are so low, and the special effects are so bad, that it's hard not to be entertained.

Any movie that has the line "Electrons don't dance Fingal, they don't make love" needs to be seen.

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