Thursday, June 23, 2011
I had a bit of a nostalgic moment today when I heard the title "My Stepmother is an Alien" the other day, only to realize I've never seen the film. I remembered seeing some movie about a kid whose stepmother is an evil monster, and after some searching, I found it.
Stepmonster. So how does a movie that I haven't seen since I was 5 stand up? We'll see!
Our movie starts us off with art supplies for some reason, and some dramatic music. During this we get a few surprises: Alan Thicke, John Astin, and Corey Feldman. In -my- bad childhood movie? It's more likely than you think. Well it turns out the art supplies draw an EC Comic knockoff that we zoom into, giving us some family vacation: With Alan Thicke as the dad!
Also the film introduces us to "tropopkins." They see a sign saying you can't hunt them, and the kid of the family just happens to have a comic detailing what a tropopkin is. What kind of a name is a tropopkin? Also his mom's got a weird sense of humor and suggests that the sign could mean only tropopkins can hunt. Stop saying tropopkin, movie. It sounds like some weird greek or slavic food. I want to eat a tropopkin. Maybe they're like popplers.
Almost instantly we hear the roar of a tropopkin. This film has no sense of pacing. I'm only like 4 minutes in. He doesn't see the delicious tropopkin, but he does find a giant chicken footprint, which matches the tropopkin footprint in his comic.
Just then a random sexy woman appears. Right off the bat she's extremely suspicious, and seems to be flirting with Alan Thicke, who knows her. She doesn't look like the food item I figured a tropopkin would be. The movie's already let us know that the stepmother is the monster just in its title, so we can assume the actual mother dies, and is replaced by random sexy suspicious woman. It's like naming Sixth Sense "The Kid Who Saw Dead People" or Friday the 13th Part 5 "Friday the 13th: Revenge of the Amublance Driver."
We also realize that Alan Thicke is a terrible dad. This doesn't surprise me, as someone that actually used to watch Growing Pains. He's a humorless, irritating, super-serious asshat there, and he seems to be playing the same generic grumpy 1950s dad here. I haven't seen Alan Thicke lately, outside of timeshare commercials. Maybe that's why.
The movie then decides that around 9 minutes in is the perfect time to kill someone, as we say goodbye to the mom. Also we see pages from the comic, which... for some reason details what's going on? Also we see the monster, and it looks... retarded. Ever melted one of those little green army men? It looks like a puddle of army men goo hardened together into a deformed, cheap mold of Satan from Toxic Avengers 3.
Well, all that was apparently a dream? Todd, our hero sadly, wakes up and is living with his grandparents after the incident, and apparently his mom's body was never found. We also get a scene of an old man staring at a bouncing teenager's breasts. Because, y'know.
Anyway, as one would expect, Alan Thicke has hooked up with suspicious sexy woman from earlier. I WONDER IF THE STEPMOTHER IN STEPMONSTER IS GOING TO BE A MONSTER? I'm still sad the tropopkin isn't some bite sized food. Maybe it's the "pop" in the name, but I stand by that I could totally see someone selling bite-sized tropopkins.
I'm kinda confused how the kid didn't know they were dating. Did Alan Thicke just abandon the kid for a long time or something? Alan, this is why one of your kids grew up to be the most annoying creationist ever. Even the kid's grandparents end up chewing Alan Thicke out. Also we find out that it's been six months. So I guess Alan's been dating Whatsherface for six months, and for that entire time Todd got left with his grandparents. "Hey son, your mom died, so I'm gonna leave you for six months."
We get a short little heartwarming scene between the kid and his grandpa, filled with random sports metaphors. It feels like Sisko from Deep Space Nine, how everything is like baseball, or how everything ties into baseball. Maybe a tropopkin is like some Cardassian delicacy you cover in yamok sauce.
There's some more random suspiciousness with the stepmother, as she's seen gnawing on a bone by Todd, who saw a tropopkin do the same thing in that magical comic book that details various things we've seen before. Also the stepmother has some tiny creature in a box she talks to, and feeds it a live fish. Alan comes in, notices a missing fish automatically, and blames his kid for it. Seriously Alan, are you gunning for a father of the year award?
Just in case you were tired of hating Alan and the stepmother, we cut to Todd being a peeping tom and watching his female neighbor strip down. This ties into the plot though, because he catches the stepmother eyeing a jogger at night. Did I mention I love the pacing in this movie? She flirts with some fat, bald, middleaged jogger who follows her, steps in a gooey dog mess leftover from a -pet dog she just ate-, doesn't find this suspicious at all, and continues following her. I repeat. Sexy woman hits on fat bald middleaged jogger who finds a half eaten dog with her shoe, and he doesn't find this at all suspicious.
Surprise surprise, headline the next morning states that his body was found, eaten by a "dog." Keep in mind, this is the next morning. That scene happend that night. How. What. Speedy fucking journalism there. That scene happend really late at night, and this is really early morning.
The parents decide to go out, giving us a chance to get an additional character when they hire a babysitter, played by the neighbor that Todd was peeping on earlier. As one would expect, we get the Cassandra Truth treatment. If you don't know what that means, it's that irritating cliche where someone spends most of a movie telling the truth in a hard to believe way and nobody believes them.
Her boyfriend comes in, and sounds suspiciously like a ninja turtle. Robot Chicken taught me Feldman was one of the turtles (REAGANOMICS!), so I have an easier time recognizing Feldman. I always get the Corey's confused. Corey also keeps saying little dude, and just generally sounds like a fucking ninja turtle. I can't take him seriously. He's even got a god damn headband, which I keep expecting to slide down to reveal eyeholes.
Anyway, the turtle turns out to be suspiciously smart. He goes on about how the stepmonster is waiting on the summer solstice to do her thing, he knows this because he also reads comic books. It turns out the summer solstice is the same day as the wedding. Thanks, Donatello.
Cut to the nex tnight. The stepmonster is following a young paperboy around, but this time Todd is there to watch her become Melted Army Man Satan. He watches her eat a little kid alive, tries to take photos, doesn't try to help the kid, and runs off. Our hero.
The movie won't stop hitting us over the head with its chekov's gun: The stepmother hates violin, and his dad repeatedly tells him to practise his violin. Over, and over, and over.
Anyway, the kid proves to be a moron. He gets the photos developed and shows them to his friend/babysitter without looking at them. They're all photos from when he was peeping on her. Dumbass.
Also it turns out the thing she keeps in her box is a giant bat thing that looks like it got ripped out of Gremlins. Come to think of it, she herself looks like a giant version of one of the Gremlins. Alan Thicke needs to stop feeding her after midnight. The kid goes after it with a bat, breaks a bunch of things, and as you'd expect gets in trouble with his dad over it.
He tells his dad that the thing is a harpy (it's a bat, not a harpy), and that harpys help tropopkins. His dad just gets angry, grounds him, and throws away his comics. As you'd expect. His dad goes off because plot, leaving Todd alone with the tropopkin. Due to this, Todd runs off to tell his grandfather all about tropopkins, but of course, his grandfather doesn't believe him. We then get a montage of the evil monster... forcing him to do chores. ...okie-doke, movie. Chores are scary!
This just serves to set up Todd making some big Home Alone style trap to catch the stepmonster in her monster form. Predictably, she turns back into a human the second Alan Thicke comes back.
Todd gets taken to see a psychiatrist, who works in the biggest skyscraper ever. Y'know, as psychiatrists do. He tries to tell the psychiatrist the truth, and she predictable ignores it all and assumes that he's just exaggerating things and that the two would get along if Todd gave her a chance. The stepmonster's then sent to go see the same psychiatrist, and predictable, she turns into a tropopkin and eats her. So many surprises in this movie.
Todd's grandpa takes him out to a comic shop run by a flamboyant, cleanfreak Spock-like guy, and they look for a comic on tropopkins so Todd can find out how to defeat them. Sadly, the comic is $500. So there's only one issue of one comic ever about Tropopkins?
Todd then goes to peep on her neighbor, but sees his stepmom going after her. He goes to warn her, sees her in her underwear, she freaks out as you'd expect, but then the monster bursts throug her door. Thankfully it freaks out when its covered by a blanket, it runs away. At least now someone believes him.
He hates a plan to sell his violin to buy the $500 comic, but his dad gets angry and threatens to throw it away. Upon finding out he sold the violin, he decides that the best thing to do would be to rip up a $500 comic into tiny shreds. Alan Thicke: Father of the Year and a complete genius. Well, the universe really fucking hates Todd, because it turns out that they find all but the piece of the comic that reveals its one weakness. Honestly, maybe he should wait for the monster to eat his dad before defeating the monster, then go live with his grandparents. It seems like a smart move, considering his dad is too dumb to live, and is a complete jerkass on top of all that.
We get a shot of the stepmother, in monster form for some reason, in her wedding dress, using a deep voice which Alan Thicke doesn't find suspicious at all. At the same time, Todd sets up another weird, zany Home Alone scheme involving floor wax and a camera hidden beneath a couch pillow. Zany!
It turns out today's wedding day, and the priest is... fucking Gomez Addams from the old Addams Family TV show, John Astin. But all is not well, as the stepmonster falls down the steps and... is completely fine. That was a dumb scheme, kid. Seriously dumb. You just waxed the floor and hoped she'd fall? John Astin does his best to steal the screen as best as he can, and I don't blame him. I wish Donatello did the same earlier in the movie. Just then, firemen come, being told there was some problem. More crappy schemes from this kid. Seriously, it's obvious where he got his intelligence from, he's just as retarded as his father. The wedding goes off without a hitch, and John Astin sadly leaves us. Why couldnt he and Donatello be the stars?
Thankfully, by coincidence, the kid manages to find the piece of the comic with the weakness: It turns out the weakness is Chekov's Violin from earlier. Now they just need to get the violin back. Also thankfully, we get more Donatello! Also apparently Alan Thicke doesn't believe in a honeymoon, as they never leave the house on their wedding day. The wedding happens -in the house-, the honeymoon is a romantic dinner -in the house-. Horrible person, horrible father, horrible husband: Alan Thicke is a triple threat.
But don't worry! Donatello's brought a bunch of amps, and is there to play music to defeat the beast. Sadly, Vanilla Ice is nowhere to be seen. I'm a sad reviewer. Also apparently Todd's grandfather now believes him, as he's there helping blare violin music to defeat the beast. Alan Thicke finally witnesses his wife transform. She doesn't kill him though, only knocks him out with a whine bottle before running outside and being incapacitated by the violin music.
But it's a trick! She gets back up, goes after Todd, and her "harpy" gremln-bat comes to destroy the cords that connect the amps, stopping the violin music. Just then Alan Thicke decides he has to make up for being a douchebag the entire film, comes out with a violin, and plays it at the beast. The grandfather's non-sequitor baseball reference earlier turns out to be useful, as the kid ends up killing the gargoyle-bat-gremlin-harpy with it. I'm hereby renaming Chekov's Gun to Sisko's Baseball.
Cue sappy ending wherein the kid and his dad makeup, go hiking in the area from the first film, and find the kid's mom a-okay. She was just stuck in a cave. We also get Alan Thicke pronouncing Aquaman as "Ackwaman". As a fan of the god awful 60s Aquaman toon, this made me smile. ACKWAMAN! And he says it repeatedly!
Altogether, the film's not that as as a kids film, only it's PG13 due to some gore and the neighbor chick being in her bra and panties in a few scenes. Still, a good kids film. The effects aren't bad for what it is, and the acting isn't that bad outside of Alan Thicke and the evil stepmother.