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Rated R
Copyright 1979 Apple Juice Productions Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 13 Jun 2011

The Characters:  

  • Tucker Williams - Rudy Ray Moore! He wears heavy makeup and shiny high heels, but no underwear.
  • Noel - Carol Speed! She is either a stripper or a gangster, perhaps both.
  • Dr. Mathis - He is in charge of the local PCP rehabilitation clinic. How this man puts up with the mix of loopy addicts and loud Baptists (there to pray for the addicts) is beyond me.
  • Bucky - Tucker's nephew and a promising athlete. A bad PCP trip screws up his life.
  • Lt. Hayes - There is one white guy in the entire vice department, and guess what? He is the guy in charge.
  • Sweetmeat - Pimp who is the usual cause of the neighborhood's problems. Now his fly pimpness is being overshadowed by PCP.
  • Kilroy - He was here until he committed suicide.
  • Stinger Ray - A corrupt businessman who is running the local angel dust production and distribution network. He also owns a basketball team. A really short basketball team.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

An alternate title for this film is "Avenging Disco Godfather," which adds a fun twist to an already bizarre title. Even more surprising is that the title is not an attempt to obsfucate the plot. Rudy Ray Moore's character is a popular disco DJ and Bucky's godfather, and when Bucky ends up in the hospital after using PCP, Rudy Ray Moore takes on the underground drug empire.

The "disco" part is the reason you should not go into this movie unawares. When the film starts, we are inside of a hopping disco club. Get used to the disco; you are going to see a lot of it. You are also going to see a lot of the disco club's patrons, henceforth known as the disco dancers. Collectively, the disco dancers are the film's main character. I am harping on this, but you just cannot imagine how much disco padding the film contains until you see it. The only time I have ever been exposed to more disco dancing was a 1977 episode of "American Bandstand."

Grand Master of Ceremonies for planet disco is our protagonist, Tucker Williams. He keeps the club filled with music and is prone to memorable comments that, while making little sense, are so catchy that you cannot help but to repeat them. In fact, the litmus test to positively identify if a person has ever come in contact with "Disco Godfather" is to tell them, "Put your weight on it!" You do not have to wait forty-eight hours to read the results. If you say, "Put your weight on it!" to someone and they laugh, smile, or giggle, then they have definitely been exposed to this movie.

Granted, if they look at you like a reproductive organ is growing out of your forehead, then they haven't seen "Disco Godfather" and you should immediately change the subject to something completely unrelated, such as anteaters.

As the disco cranks up for another exciting evening, Bucky climbs into a car to smoke some mind-altering substances with an acquantance of his. It is not a good trip. His reaction to the hallucinations is so extreme that he stands out in the crowd of disco dancers. An accomplished basketball player, Bucky finds himself surrounded by a team of evil guards; crashing through them to score causes a lot of chaos in the club. However, most of Bucky's PCP-induced visions are centered around a fiendish voodoo kabuki witch who wants to chop off his hands. Being exposed to somebody knee-deep in that kind of hallucination is not good for your blood pressure. Tucker tries to snap his nephew out of the nightmare, but an ambulance eventually has to take Bucky away.

Speaking of freaked-out people reacting to weird stuff that is not real, I have dealt with my five-year-old son sleepwalking while having a nightmare that apparently involved involved big, hairy spiders crawling all over him. Not fun.

Visiting the PCP treatment clinic the next day, Tucker finds his nephew is still suffering from psychotic episodes caused by the hand-hating voodoo kabuki witch. Even more frightening is the fact that Bucky's delusion is fairly normal, even pedestrian. Heck, everybody who uses angel dust seems to see the voodoo kabuki witch. Other patients at the clinic are trapped in hallucinations which have no end in sight, and some have committed acts so terrible that being lucid enough to understand them is not a blessing. One woman cooked her baby and served it to the rest of her family while under the drug's effects.

Thankfully, we only see the facial expressions of the people seated at the dinner table and not the infant a l'orange itself.

Alarmed by the harm that angel dust is causing to his neighborhood, Tucker gets to work on tracking down the source and organizing the community to stop the criminals who are distributing the drug. So, this is a civic movie and a disco movie. It's a civic disco movie. Great, just what I needed: people protesting. Please understand, I have nothing against movies with protests (the protest is probably my favorite part of "PCU"), it's just that between the disco and the protests, I would appreciate it if the movie spent five minutes doing something that did not feel like padding.

The catchphrase for the community's war on drugs is "Attack the Wack." Unfortunately, a number of the actors completely foul up their lines, resulting in quite a few calls to "Whack the Attack." Transposing the sentence like that gives me the giggles because it's such a frightful misquote. It sounds positively lewd. It also has the ring of a military operation, which makes a sort of sense - in an idiotic Cold War plan sort of way. I can imagine the operations briefing now:

"Gentlemen, we are going to whack the attack. At 0300 hours, under the cover of darkness, 'Operation Happy Ending' will commence as our hand-picked mama-san commandoes infiltrate the enemy's positions. Their goal will be to drain the communists' strength before our main thrust. We estimate that 50% of their men will be incapacited within the first thirty minutes of the engagement. Mopping up the remainder should take less than two hours. The Russians won't know what hit them."

I could probably fit a few more double entendres in the previous paragraph, but what would be the point?

Tucker's involvement in the "Attack the Wack" campaign puts him on the skyline, because drugs can be traded for money and money is a source of power. The only way to protect that power is to protect the drugs, so Stinger Ray quickly takes notice of the nascent movement. The drug kingpin sends two goons to affix a bug to the DJ's telephone, but Tucker catches them in the act. After that, more than one assassin tries to kill the disco godfather, but nobody can stop the avenging disco godfather. Tucker successfully attacks the wack at every turn, while Stinger Ray's attempts to whack the attack are unsuccessful.

Obviously this is a yin and yang sort of thing.

Throughout this, there is still a lot of disco padding. In addition to busting drug dealers, raiding PCP distribution houses, and rehabilitating Bucky, Tucker still finds time to spin some vinyl for the funky crowd at the club. People disco skate, girls shimmy in flashy dresses, and men shake in tight shorts that are way too small even for a Kenny. Yes, I said Kenny, as in he of the small shorts in the Gamera movies. I think that the reason Japan is often targeted by giant monsters is not the mountainous terrain, numerous nuclear power plants, or plentiful seafood. The attacks are nature's way of saying that disco must die.

More than likely, the kaiju are trying to stop both disco and karaoke.

Just when I have finally given the movie up for lost, Tucker makes an end run on the angel dust factory. He quickly finds himself surrounded by Stinger Ray's hired muscle, and about to get his Bee Gee'd fanny kicked when a random kung fu expert in a jogging suit happens along. The martial arts master asks what is going on, Tucker replies "This is an angel dust factory!" and both men commence with the kung fu. What the heck? Anyway, Tucker battles his way into the factory before coming face to face with a massive man wearing a chainmail vest. The big guy squeezes Tucker unconscious and gives him a suitcase wedgie!

Again I ask: what the heck? Meaning, I have no idea how or why even half of this is happening.

The last few minutes of the film are definitely its most annoying. Stinger Ray's cabbage patch barbarian puts an angel dust filled gas mask on Tucker. That causes the protagonist to freak out for at least five minutes. Included in the bad trip are the usual suspects, like the voodoo kabuki witch and Tucker's momma (momma turns into a cartoon before an animated snake bursts out of her stomach). Trapped inside his delusions, Tucker believes that Stinger Ray is the devil. He tries to choke the evil out of the corrupt SOB until Bucky and Lt. Hayes arrive.

Parts of "Avenging Disco Godfather" are entertainingly bad, including pieces of the poorly realized drug trips. I could even laugh at the disco up to a point. What happens is that the absurd padding goes on for too long. It overstays its welcome. After five minutes, I had had enough disco. Ten minutes of disco and I was visibily upset. Fifteen minutes of exposure caused me to emotionally shut down. If you want to see a grown man sulk, all you have to do is make him watch twenty minutes of disco (or deny him nookie). The nookie denial is probably more certain to cause the sulking, because some men do like disco. However, we all hate being denied nookie; it makes us act like petulant three-year-olds.

For the love of God, make love, not disco.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Not so long ago, in a club right around the corner, disco balls outnumbered the underwear.
  • It is possible to dance to porn music.
  • The last place you want to be during a bad trip is inside of a disco.
  • John the Baptist is more powerful than PCP.
  • Disco is the art of having a grand mal seizure on your feet.
  • During the 1970's the difference between business formal and business casual was the size of the collar.
  • Hay fever and cocaine do not mix.
  • Finding the leak in your police department was a lot easier before caller ID.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 6 mins - Is that hair or a sea creature?
  • 16 mins - Tucker needs to hurry up or he will be late for the yacht race.
  • 28 mins - Blue velvet couch, red shag carpet, a patchwork mosaic on the wall, and purple wallpaper. It is either 1979 or I have died and gone to fashion Hell.
  • 31 mins - Everybody is wearing PPE just in case OSHA stages a surprise inspection.
  • 36 mins - Why, Godfather, why?
  • 55 mins - Sheila was his dog. I think.
  • 62 mins - I've seen hair bigger than that dog.
  • 73 mins - That was easy.
  • 77 mins - Only during the 1970's could a cowboy be considered "inconspicuous" in L.A.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note discogfather1.wav Dr. Mathis: "You don't understand, Mrs. Edwards. We're dealing with a drug that's beyond modern medicine, that's beyond all of us."
Mrs. Edwards: "But I believe. Yes, I believe, and that's what's important. Please, let us pray for my baby."
Green Music Note discogfather2.wav Noel: "We wanna whack the attack against angel dust."
Green Music Note discogfather3.wav Tucker: "There's Sally, Aunt Mary, and Betty - one of the nation's most notorious shoplifters."
Betty: "N***er, what the hell are you talking about?"
Tucker: "B***h, you know I know you."
Sweatmeat: "What's bugging you, man?"
Tucker: "Angel dust! That's what's bugging me. See if you players can ball that."
Sweatmeat: "Angel dust? That's kid's stuff. I'm an instrument of the oldest profession there is."
Green Music Note discogfather4.wav Kilroy: "All right, freeze! Anybody who move gets his afro blown off!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipdiscogfather1.mpg - 9.0m
Put your weight on it!

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