Cannon Film Distributors
Directed and Written by Menahem Golan
Produced by Yoram Globus
Music by George Clinton (and no, it’s not the one you’re thinking of)/Coby Recht/Songs by Iris Recht
Cinematography by David Gurfinkle
Edited by Alain Jakubowicz
Once in a decade or so there comes a movie that is so astronomically bad that it pounds through every level of badness there is and comes out the other side having achieved such a holy transcendence of awfulness that it approaches genius. And in the 70’s the movie to have achieved this Mount Everest of What The Fuck?! is THE APPLE.
There is nobody who has seen THE APPLE is going to tell you it’s a good movie. As a matter of fact, calling it a bad movie or an awful movie or even a terrible movie is being extraordinarily kind. And yet for those of us who have seen THE APPLE will recommend it to everybody who asks the dreaded question: “So should I see it?” we’ll always say “Yes.”
Why? Why does THE APPLE have such a hold on us who have seen it? In my case I’ve seen it multiple times and I swear each and every time I do so I sit there with my lower jaw hanging open in disbelief at what I’m watching. Maybe it’s because even because it’s so bad I don’t see where it’s a malicious or mean-spirited film. The people making it and the actors really give it all they have. I get the feeling that they really believed they were making a good movie. Except for maybe Vladek Sheybal who gives me the impression he knew full well he was in the middle of the grandmomma of bad movies but determined to have as much fun as he could while doing so.
It’s 1994 and life is nothing but show business. Alphie (George Gilmour) and Bibi (Catherine Mary Stewart) are two wide-eyed young singers from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan who have come to America to perform in the Worldvision Song Festival.
Their poignant folk love song; “Universal Melody” and simple performance is no match for the glitter rock duo of Dandi (Alan Love) and Pandi (Grace Kennedy) and their monster hit “BIM” which is a song that I guarantee you’re going to hate by the end of the movie like you’ve never hated a song before in your entire life.
BIM stands for Boogalow International Music. It’s owner, Mr. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal) sees something in the innocent naivety of Alphie and Bibi that cries out to be corrupted and seeks to lure them into signing a contract with him. Bibi quickly and willingly embraces the dark side while Alphie resolutely sticks to his values and principals, resisting the drugs, sex and wild partying. From the title and a vision Alphie has halfway through the movie you’ll soon guess the true identity of Mr. Boogalow and what the entire movie is; a retelling of the Adam and Eve story as a disco/rock musical.
THE APPLE is the sort of movie that I watch and while watching it wish that I had some of whatever substance the writer was ingesting when he was writing it. It’s the kind of movie that the longer it goes on it gets crazier and crazier. It’s by no means a boring movie at all. The songs and production numbers, terrible as they are come one right after the other so there’s no real lag time with a lot of plot or story. There’s just enough to get you from one musical number to the other. For instance, BIM goes from a mere record company at the beginning of the movie to ruling the world with not so much as a line of dialog to explain how that happened.
Not that all the songs are terrible. The best ones are performed by the guy who can’t sing; “How To Be A Master” is performed by Vladek Sheybal. He’s the guy who fills the “Who The Hell Let HIM In This Movie?” slot as you’ll most likely recognize him as one of the SPECTRE spymasters from the James Bond movie “From Russia With Love.” He does that Rex Harrison/Richard Harris thing where he’s really not singing but talking along with the music but he does it very well. It’s a delightful reggae flavored tune that Mr. Sheybal performs with sly mischief. The lyrics are actually quite clever and fun. And his other big number, “Showbizness” is also pretty good as a commentary on the values of living in the media obsessed world of 1994 America.
But then we have ear bleeders like “Coming” sung by Grace Kennedy as Pandi tries to seduce Alphie. It’s such a blatant rip-off of Donna Summer’s “Wasted” that I hope like hell that somebody got their ass sued. “Speed” “I Found Me” and “Cry For Me” are equally as bad.
And undoubtedly most of the fun of watching the movie is how the filmmakers in 1979 thought people in 1994 would dress. Everybody in this movie has clothing that had to be inspired by David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Earth, Wind and Fire, Funkadelic/Parliament, Kiss and Elton John. The only people who dress like regular folks is Alphie and the hippies from the 60’s he falls in with after having the piss beaten out of him by two of Boogalow’s thugs who for some reason have tusks coming out of their mouths. And no, don’t even ask why they have tusks. This is a movie that gets so outrageously batshit insane that the only way things can be resolved is for God Himself to come down from Heaven and take control of the plot. And no, I am not kidding.
So should you see THE APPLE? Without a doubt Yes. THE APPLE is one of a very few movies that you can watch, be totally sober and still feel like you’ve taken some kind of hallucinogenic. It’s audaciously awful and spectacularly bad. But for all that, it’s a movie I recommend with no reservations because at the end of the day, it’s fun to watch and bad as it is, if you approach it in the right spirit you won’t feel like your time has been wasted.