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THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE - Skull
Rated PG
Copyright 1987 Topps Chewing Gum.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 10 August 2007

The Characters:  

  • Dodger - His choices of attire are disturbing. Not since "Michael Jackson's Naughty Nighttime Theater" has a young boy dressed this way. Does he want to attract pedophiles? The wife has assured me that a girl his age would not find him appealing.
  • Cap'n Manzini - Anthony Newley! A well traveled magician who owns an antique shop. I spent the entire viewing in mortal fear that this guy was going to take off his pants and plant his bare butt square in front of the camera (I have some history with Anthony Newley).
  • Ali Gator - He wants to eat your toes; all of them.
  • Greaser Greg - Phil Fondacaro! He comes complete with a bad attitude, switchblade, slicked back hair, and black leather jacket.
  • Valerie Vomit - She does, eventually, regurgitate.
  • Windy Winston - Hoggle's gassy cousin who suffered a major stroke that left both sides of his face paralyzed.
  • Nat Nerd - Pimpled and clad in a urine-stained superhero outfit; he gives nerds a bad name.
  • Messy Tessie - Never shake hands with this girl.
  • Foul Phil - The result if some maniac were to give a baby garlic-flavored milk.
  • Tangerine - Mean girl who designs clothes and uses Dodger's crush on her to trick him.
  • Blythe - Okay, if you are going to insert a gorilla woman in your movie for kicks, please do not include a scene with her running quickly. Should such a scene be mandatory, provide her with a bra and do not make her wear a tiger-striped top.
  • Wally - Not quite tough enough for the gang. Maybe he should try out for a boy band.
  • Juice - Look at the tough gang leader in his minivan!

Buy It!

The Plot: 

While watching this movie I came to the realization that I would rather be washing the dishes than subjecting myself to a movie made by people who obviously should not have made a movie.

The opening scenes are a forewarning of what is to come. To start, we see the garbage pail in Manzini's cluttered shop and watch as the can begins to leak green goop (it looks like snot flavored cream of wheat). Everything goes dark. We are still able to follow the action via sound as the kids sneak out of their metal home and run amok inside the antique shop. The racket quickly brings Manzini to investigate. He finds that the little monsters have already retreated into the garbage pail. To prevent any further issuance from the can, he weighs down the top with a diving helmet.

Did you read that paragraph above? Remember that when the Garbage Pail Kids do get out and Manzini is unable to force them back into the pail.

Another scene intended to provide the viewer with background is when Blythe and Wally chase Dodger through the park. The young protagonist (egad, but I hate to call him that, as he is distinctly an antagonist from my perspective) runs smack into Juice. The two male gang members carry Dodger to a large mud puddle, steal his wallet, then dump him into the muck. All of this happens in broad daylight. Nobody notices the boy getting mugged or comes to help. Could the passers-by also hate Dodger? If so, why? None of them had been forced to watch this movie; it was being made at the time.

In keeping with the calamitous setup thus far, Dodger has a crush on Juice's girlfriend, Tangerine. She looks much older than him, as in Dodger being a high school freshman and Tangerine a senior. Not too many senior girls date freshman boys from what I remember about high school, though I recall the reverse being fairly common to the detriment of many fathers' blood pressure. Not that I am worried about Jenna, my daughter, dating a senior her first year in high school. Her potential suitor will be welcomed into the house - after I see how many dents I can add to the hood of his car using his head. Some have said that Jenna will need to pick young men with physical fortitude until she moves out of the house. I plan on teaching her self defense as well; the dangerous period for boyfriends might last longer than that.

Per the IMDb, the actor who plays Dodger is only a year younger than the actress playing Tangerine. I hope that boy received growth hormone boosters after this movie was over.

Juice and the rest of the gang rough up Dodger again after catching the little creep making a pass at Tangerine. A short chase takes place inside the antique shop and the garbage pail is knocked over. None of the humans notice, because the gang members are too intent on teaching Dodger a lesson. Blythe pries up a manhole cover with her bare hands. The group descends into the tunnel and Dodger is tossed under a sewer outlet. The freakish woman mutant then muscles the valve open (something that Juice and Wally were unable to do). Brackish fluid spills out onto the unconscious Dodger. He is saved from drowning in liquid filth by the Garbage Pail Kids.

The "Children," as Manzini calls them, are the story's star attraction. In an attempt to make them appear like they did on the trading cards, the title characters are played by midgets and dwarfs wearing heavy costumes. They look awful, like bobble heads gone horribly wrong. Not helping that perception is that the suits seriously limited the vision for those wearing them. There are several times when you can tell that the suit actor is doing their best, but is hopelessly hampered by latex (I swear, that phrase rings true every time).

Most damaging to the movie is the fact that the Garbage Pail Kids commit a variety of social offenses. These acts are things you would not want someone doing if trapped in an elevator with them, but they are not funny. The running gags are very unfunny. Clear urine often pours from Nat's leg, Tessie slimes whatever she is handling, Winston passes loud farts in nearly every scene, and Ali only wants to bite off and consume the toes of anyone unlucky enough to have them showing. None of the effects are up to snuff. If you are like me, you expect Winston's gas to buffet people in the back blast area, in addition to sending lightweight objects airborne. Ditto with Valerie's regurgitation affliction; she should be plastering the walls with a thick froth. Instead, we are treated to disgusting effects that barely pass muster. It is almost as if the special effects crew did not have their heart in it.

Judging by the credits, the special effects crew was used to stuffing flat pieces of gum into packs of baseball cards - not generating gallons of vomit to be emitted at high pressure.

Though they do not believe she is worth the effort, the Garbage Pail Kids help Dodger hook up with Tangerine. The girl earns a living by creating outfits and selling them at local dance clubs. (Do many women go to dance clubs to shop?) Among their many talents, the distasteful can dwellers have a knack for making hip clothing. Now Dodger has something that Tangerine wants; he is in heaven. The "Children" put up with it, making more and more outfits for their human pal. Eventually, they do get burned out and have a night on the town. Some of them destroy a movie theater, while Ali and Winston cause trouble in a motorcycle bar. When they return to the antique shop, it is back to work.

Anyone with dating experience knows that something is fishy. Tangerine is only playing Dodger so that the Garbage Pail Kids will provide her with enough fashionable clothing to become a successful designer. Once the garments are complete, Juice and the other gang members waylay the little sweat shop workers. Dodger is tossed inside a dumpster (and not a luck dragon in sight), while all of the Garbage Pail Kids are taken to the State Home for the Ugly.

Yes, the State Home for the Ugly, or SHFTU for short. Boy, that acronym is close to being rude. Anyway, people who do not fit into normal society are netted and then taken to the SHFTU. There they are confined to cages until they either:

A. Get less ugly.
or
B. Are euthanized.

Before you get your hopes up that this movie might be over, let me tell you something: no Garbage Pail Kids were harmed in the making of this film. There is an allusion that the missing "Children" were interred at the State Home for the Ugly and crushed to death, but our present lineup of reprehensible bobble heads is safe. More than safe, after Dodger bursts into the cycle bar and begs the patrons for help. Brave kid, that Dodger. He went to a motorcycle bar wearing a silver glitter bowtie around his bare neck.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Flatulence is an effective way of rousing an unconscious individual.
  • Fashion designers will not give you the shirt off of their back...unless you buy it.
  • Pepsi made at least one bad product placement choice.
  • Too much junk food will give you a hangover.
  • Snot is under-utilized as an adhesive.
  • Being a b***h is always in fashion.
  • Being Weird Al Yankovic is illegal in some jurisdictions.
  • The choices for capital punishment include the electric chair, lethal injection, hanging, firing squad, and trash compactor.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 6 mins - I think that he has fire hydrants confused with something else.
  • 11 mins - You know, there are dirty pots and pans soaking in the sink. I could go clean those.
  • 22 mins - Will most fourteen-year-old boys take a bath in front of an audience?
  • 25 mins - It got dark awfully fast; Daylight Saving Time must not be in effect.
  • 30 mins - Lesson #2 for the kids: grand theft auto.
  • 44 mins - Can we watch old "Three Stooges" episodes, instead of this junk?
  • 49 mins - Those pots and pans are mighty tempting.
  • 52 mins - Ladies and gentlemen, that was the funniest part of the whole movie.
  • 74 mins - "How about we put on our ape suits and spray them with the fire hose for a few minutes?"
  • 94 mins - Okay, time to scrub cheese off the skillet! Yay! (I am dead serious. I was thankful to do the dishes.)

Quotes: 

  • Manzini: "You took them out of the garbage pail. Say hello to trouble. Dodger, meet the Garbage Pail Kids!"
    Greaser Greg: "Hey, I'm Greaser Greg. Wanna rumble, kid?"
    Dodger: "No thanks."
  • Tangerine: "Tonight, I would like to show you a totally new concept in youthful fashion. They're a little flashy, a little trashy, but fun."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note gpk1.wav Manzini: "Did you get the blood of a toad and the eye of a newt?"
Dodger: "Nope. Pet shop's out of unicorns, too."
Manzini: "No wonder there's no magic in the world today. You can't get the ingredients."
Green Music Note gpk2.wav Foul Phil: (Cries.)
Winston: "What's the matter?"
Foul Phil: "My tummy hurts!"
Windy Winston: "What did ya eat?"
Foul Phil: "Everything!"
Windy Winston: "That'll do it alright."
Foul Phil: (More crying.)
Green Music Note gpk3.wav Manzini: "In the whole universe there is one place where you and the children are safe, whether you like it or not, and that is in the garbage pail. Now, until I can find a spell that will get you back in there, you are all in grave danger."
Ali Gator: "We can take care of ourselves."
Green Music Note gpk4.wav Tangerine and Dodger have a heart to heart.
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage
ImageImageImage
Image


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgpk1.mpg - 2.8m
The kids are playing poker.

Do yourself a favor and resist the urge to play the clip. Beating your head against a tree is more fun.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #1. Posted on August 10, 2007, 08:04:49 PM by Ash
Great review!   Thumbup

I like the bit you wrote about how beating your head against a tree is more fun than watching the video clip.
I watched the video clip.   Buggedout

I haven't seen this movie in years.  I was probably about 16 or 17 the last time I got to see it.
Funny thing, I went over to my sister's house the other day to bring a movie back to her.  When I got there, I looked at her movies to see if there was anything else I could borrow that I hadn't seen in awhile.
Lo and behold, the DVD at the very top of the rack was none other than a brand new copy of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie!

I asked her why she would buy that. 
She said because she likes it. 
I was dumfounded.

I didn't borrow it at the time but now I'm gonna have to.
Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #2. Posted on August 10, 2007, 08:21:52 PM by Torgo
I got this for a friend as a joke for his birthday when it came out on DVD.  I haven't heard from him much since.
Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #3. Posted on August 10, 2007, 08:55:04 PM by MoronBoy
Never seen it as a kid, because I couldn't get my mom to pick it up from the only rental store in town that had it. Thought maybe she was just being a prude, but realize now she just did it for my and my sister's own good.

Had to buy the DVD the first day it came out, and watched it twice to make sure it was as bad as I thought it was.

The part about the kids who were in the SHFTU that were crushed before they were rescued screamed bad last minute script change to me. Maybe there were plans for other GPK's to be in the movie, but the budget just didn't allow it, so they changed the script just a bit to work around it.
Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #4. Posted on August 10, 2007, 09:34:39 PM by Mr_Vindictive
Oh man this film is freakin' painful.  I caught it a few years back after not having seen it since I was a child.  There are no words to describe just how bad this film honestly is.  Andrew, you are a braver man than I to try and review this.
Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #5. Posted on August 10, 2007, 10:51:37 PM by BTM
52 mins - Ladies and gentlemen, that was the funniest part of the whole movie.

I have to ask, what part was this?

Also, as anyone could guess by my avatar, I was a big collector of GPKs when I was kid.  (Heck, bought several of the old series off eBay and I even buy the NEW series of cards that are now coming out when I was some extra money..)

Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #6. Posted on August 10, 2007, 11:08:25 PM by Jordan
When I was a wee one, I used to have this flick on a VHS tape that also contained "Harry and the Hendersons." I watched them both religiously until my niece stole it back (I borrowed it and enjoyed it for several years and kept it hidden in my room but damn it, she found the tape!!!). Once it hit DVD I picked it up immediately in order to relive a lost part of my childhood. Amazingly, I survived and walked away contented. I didn't think Garbage Pail Kids was all that bad. Is there something wrong with me?!?!?!  Question  Wink
Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #7. Posted on August 11, 2007, 05:44:19 AM by Andrew
52 mins - Ladies and gentlemen, that was the funniest part of the whole movie.

I have to ask, what part was this?

Manzini is trying to create a magical spell to force the Children back into their garbage pail and makes a reference to Mary Poppins.  That one line actually made me laugh.

Of course, after that it was back to the unending pain.
Re: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Reply #8. Posted on August 11, 2007, 07:51:48 AM by Mr. DS
Dear lord this movie sucked.  I recall around 5 years ago, my wife (then girlfriend) worked for a video store that had VHS copy of this flick.  That was when I watched it for the first time.  Being a fan of the collector cards in the 80s, I really couldn't see how or why this movie could have been made. I didn't see it when it first came out, my parents didn't want to shell out the money.  Watching it years later, I can see why. 

As said in the review, it's literally a one-hour and a half fart joke built around a vague plot line.  And of all things they could have built a vague plot line around, they decided to go with 80s fashion and the kid's expertise in it.  Made me wonder how sweatshops feel about this film.

If there is one thing that made the movie for me, it was watching Dodger get his @ss handed to him by the thugs.  I laughed pretty hard at the part where he was drenched in human waste.  The thugs simply toss him around like a redheaded stepchild and perhaps it's my sadistic nature but it was damn funny.  The kid is such a wuss and literally cries at the end when he finds out the fashion chick was using him.  WTF! 

Once again Andrew, I must thank you for inspiring me to go home and dig this one out.  Now let me inspire you.  The other day I rented a DVD of Garbage Pail Kids The Cartoon.  A lesser known gem of the 80s for awfulness.  Let me know if you search for it.   Buggedout
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