Mike Patton is finally in the San Francisco Batcave for rehearsals. Corey Haim is back on the big screen in Crank: High Voltage. And Kohl's recently introduced their exclusive line of brand new Hang Ten merchandise. I feel like I'm living my junior year in high school all over again. Maybe I'm in a coma somewhere, about to wake up from a Dodgeball to the head. It was a brutal Phys. Ed., and these past seventeen years have all been a really long, boring dream. When I was a little kid, I loved Hang Ten clothing. It was the tiny feet, sewed in a hundred colors above the nipple on any given stripped polo shirt. I had a dozen of them. Hang Ten made a comeback in 1993, and I went crazy. Buying up every shirt I came across. It was my signature brand, and most of the shirts have survived to this day. But new is new. I was exciting to see what Kohl's had cooked up for this long dormant line. The Hang Ten name had recently been sold to Quicksilver. The trademark toes would remain the same. And on the Internet, these cotton pullovers looked pretty authentic. Imagine my disappointment when I pulled into this weird Mervyn's off shoot for an up-close look at their revived collection. It is straight up shit. The shirts are nearly threadbare, and the XXL are built for skinny hipsters the size of David Faustino (which makes since, considering he endorsed the brand on Married with Children). From a distance, they look like aged Hang Ten wearables, but up close and personal, its obvious that these inseams were missewn by some poor five-year-old bastard in a Malaysian sweatshop. These new incarnations of an old favorite are lame to say the least. They look like they'd shrivel in the dryer like a Shrinky Dink. After two washes, I bet they'd disappear into the ether. I'm especially disappointed in the jackets. As they are air thin and already worn past their expiration date. Both Quicksilver and Kohl's, working together, have completely blown it in bringing Hang Ten back to status. It's a little sad. The new Hang Ten collection? Boo!
The Night Before
Clothing remakes suck almost as bad as most refurbished movies do. If Hang Ten were a horror reimagining (as they like to call them nowadays), it would be The Fog. One movie they'll never remake is The Night Before. Unless you count Memento as a remake, which adheres to the same general narrative. So does Dude, Where's My Car?. And the upcoming Todd Phillips' summer comedy The Hangover. Not to mention, the film itself is a slight rebuff of Martin Scorsese's brilliant After Hours. It also steals willingly from John Landis' Into the Night. Made in 1988, The Night Before was the first time I ever saw Keanu Reeves. And it was love at first sight. Back then; he was still the dopey surfer dude with the floppy hairdo and the funky pigeon-toed walk. He was effortlessly hilarious as a nerdy high school senior that accidentally sells his put-upon prom date to a salacious Mexi-Cali pimp. Having been slipped a roofie, young Keanu wakes up in an abandoned alleyway, unable to remember the events leading up to this "bodaciously fucked" situation. The film finds him retracing his footsteps, thus thrusting him into one crazy adventure. It came as a precursor to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, playing in only a handful of theaters throughout the country. It made its way onto home video before distributors could cash in on Keanu's name, and was thus forced into the dustbin of history. Copies of the film have been hard to come by in recent years. It hardly gets played on TV. And it was only ever released in Europe on a second rate Region 2 encoded disc. This week, LionsGate comes to the rescue with their premiere "Lost Collection" of DVDs. Whoop-doo! And The Night Before is certainly the crowning jewel in this series of misplaced and forgotten relics. It's really the best of the bunch.
Morgan Stewart's Coming Home
For Two and a Half Men fans, this back catalog of forgotten cinematic gems also contains two long absent Jon Cryer favorites. Sorry, ladies, but the punk western Dudes is still on the MIA list. Instead, we get Morgan Stewart's Coming Home and Hiding Out, both of which opened at the dollar theater in my hometown within months of each other way back in 1987. I don't remember much about Morgan Stewart, except that I never wanted to rent it at the Video Circle near my house. It looked like Ick. Cryer was a bargain store version of Matthew Broderick, and the cover art ripped off Absolute Beginners. I didn't care about this fey dweeb on a Vespa. And the chick clinging to his back wasn't even 80s hot. The story follows a kid abandoned by his political family, only to be welcomed back into their arms during a rather intense election season. Of course, Cryer and his Vespa wreck havoc on the impending campaign. It's a Pauly Shore vehicle before its time, and I might watch it out of curiosity. Hiding Out is the better known film. It was released on DVD by Anchor Bay for a very short period in 2001. And it fetched a pretty penny on the secondary market up until this release was announced. On a side note, it was remade in 2005 as Underclassman, starring Nick Cannon. Cryer stars as a stockbroker forced into hiding after witnessing a murder. He poses as a 17-year-old high school student, and reenlists himself into senior economics. Yes, it is strikingly similar to this week's Zac Efron film 17 Again. Only Cryer utilized a more believable means of getting himself back into his alma mater. While I can't really speak for Morgan Stewart, Hiding Out gets a big Whoop-doo!
As for the rest of Lionsgate's "Lost Collection", I have to call Boo! The tagline of this series states: The Best Movies you totally forgot about. That's inaccurate. We didn't forget about them. None of us cared enough to give a shit. There wasn't an online petition begging for My Best Friend Is a Vampire. Those who saw it caught it on an episode of USA's Up All Night. And that was good enough for them. There's not an individual on this planet rushing to the Best Buy on Tuesday morning to scoop this ugly sucker up. Repossessed [P&S], which earned an Artisan DVD reprieve in 2003, ushered in the beginning of the end for spoof movies. It is responsible for the horrible, itchy rash left on our irritated skin by hack maestros Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (two guys hiding under the powerful magnetism of Uwe Boll). Slaughter High is a late night oddity that also suffered at the video store. Released in 1986, it wasn't able to compete with the better, bigger budget films being produced at that time for the horror genre. Again. No one was screaming for this. The last two films are Irreconcilable Differences, starring a ten year old Drew Barrymore just moments away from entering rehab for the very first time, and Homer and Eddie, which stars Whoopi Goldberg as the caretaker of a fully grown retarded man played by Jim Belushi. I know exactly what you are thinking. "I don't need to see either one of these films."
And you're right. You don't. Unless you're obsessed with Peter Bogdanovich, whose divorce from Polly Platt inspired Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer to write the Irreconcilable Differences screenplay. Sharon Stone fanatics also take note; her fresh, unglazed face makes an appearance or two as well. It's an intriguing time capsule of talent. If nothing else. But I haven't been on pins and needles, awaiting its waterfall to run fluid through my TV. I truly like the idea of this "Lost Collection". Its fun, but I have to wonder if it's going to be worthwhile in the long run. The first batch isn't very exciting. At least we have a fairly decent The Night Before to stare at until DVDs become completely obsolete in the very near future. Which begs the question: Why didn't Lionsgate just skip the medium and go straight to Blu-Ray? I'll never understand this lofty business.
Until next week: Don't buy Hang Ten! Lose the "Lost Collection"! Eat Food! Kill Grandma! Whoop-doo!