Bad movies are not a simple matter. There are about as abounding categories of abhorrent movies are there are for abundant ones: there are films that are insultingly brainless (Batman & Robin), accidentally funny (The Room), unintentionally, acutely unfunny (White Chicks), so bad they’re black (Transformers), and so on. But the best advantageous abhorrent movies are those we apperceive as So Bad They’re Acceptable — absorbing in their arduous incompetence, best braved in numbers, area the ham-fisted assuming and tin-eared chat become fodder for years of accidental quotes and central jokes. And in this spirit, Flavorwire brings you the latest chapter in our account So Bad It’s Acceptable feature: the anti-drug Blaxpoitation ballsy with cinema’s greatest title, Avenging Disco Godfather.
The time is the backward ‘70s. Hoo boy, is it anytime the backward ‘70s. The Blueberry Hill Disco is the abode to be (people are actually dancing to get in); all the macks and hustlers and their ladies accumulate at the bras-optional discotheque to boogey to the latest tunes and adore moves and rhymes of the “Disco Godfather,” Tucker Williams (Rudy Ray Moore). Sure, he’s a poor ballerina and a acceptable 20 pounds to beefy for his snug-fitting, cut-down-to-here jumpsuits, but he’s quick to jump into the DJ bend and recite balladry couplets (occasionally from a calligraphy that can be acutely apparent on the console) and advantageous his assemblage to “put your weight on it!”
Alas, there is agitation in paradise. DG’s nephew Bucky (Julius Carry, after of The Aftermost Dragon), is a able adolescent basketball star, but he’s absorbed on PCP — angel dust, or, as it is alleged by the DG, “aaaaaangel duuuust.” Bucky somehow tears himself abroad from the amaranthine aperture disco arena to get aerial in the parking lot, and goes asset crazy. His adherent rushes to acquaint Tucker, which leads to this abiding exchange:
When the am-ba-lance arrives, the lab-coated doctor central (all ambulances accept a doctor in them, right? Or was that aloof in Cannonball Run?) assures Tucker that Bucky will be okay, and invites him to the hospital, so he can acquaint him all about this angel dust business. So Tucker pays a appointment to either Bucky’s hospital or a arena from Reefer Madness; day players burlesque berserk as Tucker is told the adventure of a young, PCP-addicted mother who broiled her babyish alive, and added adorable tales. (The doc recites best of his chat from abaft sunglasses, so you can alone almost see that he’s account it off of cue cards.) The Disco Godfather is rousted into action; you see, afore he got into the disco-godfathering business, he was a cop, so he goes to appointment his old captain, and tells him he’s activity to be “investigating this angel-dust phenomenon.” The captain and his abhorrent toupee acquaint Tucker to do whatever he likes, as badge are wont to do with clandestine citizens investigating the biologic underworld. After Tucker leaves, we get this priceless scene:
Once the artifice is established, it’s aback to the club for added disco dancing. The aboriginal fifty account or so, with no exaggeration, is comprised of club scenes: bodies dancing, Tucker rapping, added dancing, bodies reacting, added dancing, bodies acclamation (usually out of accompany with the base soundtrack), and then, aloof aback you are maybe growing annoyed of all the disco dancing, they breach out the big guns—skate dancing.
A little of this being goes a continued way; one wonders what absolutely the cerebration was in the alteration allowance for these amaranthine ball scenes (beyond “We paid acceptable money for that location, we’re application every additional of footage we shot!”). Saturday Night Fever was a huge hit a few years earlier, yes, but what’s the fun of watching bodies in a disco for twenty account at a time? Did they anticipate admirers were activity to accompany in? Or were they cyberbanking on bodies battery out a few bucks to watch the affectionate of affair they could see on Soul Train for free?
The dancing thankfully disappears in the film’s additional half, which is acceptable news. The bad account is that it is replaced by montages of Tucker charwoman up the burghal (which allows the already pop-eyed Moore to appoint in alike added insane, bashful movie-style overacting) and breaking out his kung-fu for action scenes that are absurdly defective in credibility:
Moore’s clumsy, hilariously affected fights were by now allotment of his schtick; he’d starred in three low-budget releases (along with the hardly added acclaimed Monkey Hustle) afore Avenging Disco Godfather, arena his signature character, Dolemite, in two of them. Those films alloyed Blaxpoitation tropes with ample ball elements, so there was consistently at atomic a faculty that Moore was in on the joke, that we were at atomic partially bedlam with him. No such luck this time about — Disco Godfather’s acutely ardent anti-drug bulletin implies that we’re declared to booty this blend seriously.
Nowhere is that ambition — and its abortion — added axiomatic than in one of the few scenes from which Moore is absent: the “Attack the Wack” rally.
This is a arena that has it all. A big assemblage set piece, allegedly abounding by about a dozen people. A above appearance keeps adage “Wack the Attack” instead of “Attack the Wack.” A woman accomplish advanced to acquaint her “personal story,” recites a few curve of chat with the apathy of a aloof apprentice account aloud from a textbook, and doesn’t acquaint a claimed story. And then, apparently absent by the bawl off-camera badge siren, the above above appearance absolutely assault her band (“cases of, of crank attack”), and again break character, bedlam at her own mistake. And it all stays in. Golden! No charge for addition take!
And that’s the affectionate of berserk amateur filmmaking that renders Avenging Disco Godfather accompanying a assignment and a treat. (It was the aboriginal and aftermost screenwriting and administering acclaim for one “J. Robert Wagoner.”) Shots base into anniversary added awkwardly. Accidental curve are delivered anon to camera. Drug-induced fantasies are staged like low-budget abbey pageants. Entire sequences are woefully underlit, abrogation actors actually in the aphotic for continued stretches. (There is an art to lighting actors of color, and it is not on affectation here.) Audio accompany issues are frequent. Close-ups are problematic, with the camera generally absolutely too aing to the aesthetically unappealing Mr. Moore — which renders his two speeds of arena (over the top and way the fuck over the top) alike added cringe-worthy. But he does get affluence of affairs to strut his ambiguous stuff, and apperceive this: if you watch this one, you and your accompany will absorb the aing ages allurement “HOW? AND WHY?” and “WHERE IS BUCKY? AND WHAT HAS HE HAAAAD?” and agreeable “PUT YOUR WEIGHT ON IT,” applicable of nothing. Side note: addition counted 24 uses of the closing byword in the blur — so abounding that it got its own credit, admitting a misspelled one (“Put your weight on it: Aboriginal appearance by Rudy Ray Moore”).
By the time it was appear beneath its aboriginal appellation Disco Godfather in 1979, the disco chic was catastrophe — an adverse about-face of contest for a blur that was anachronous aural about four abnormal of its completion. Early VHS releases approved to downplay the disco angle, switching the appellation to Avenging Godfather, so the forty account of disco scenes charge accept appear as absolutely as shock to those rental customers. At some point in the ‘90s, both were accumulated to actualize the best-of-both-worlds appellation Avenging Disco Godfather; this was its moniker aback it was aboriginal brought to my attention, and that’s how I adopt to anticipate of it, acknowledge you actual much. But if you seek it out (and my, do I anytime achievement you will), they’re aback to calling it Disco Godfather. Alarm it whatever you want; I alarm it a abnormal masterpiece. PUT YOUR WEIGHT ON IT!
Special acknowledgment to adolescent bad cine aficionados Mac Welch, Brenda Welch, Amber Malott, and Meridith Jones.
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