Midnites for Maniacs DiRTY LiTTLE MUNCHKiNS Trip Report

[adrotate banner=”1″]Hey-ho! In my continuing adventures to occasionally go to the movies, I wandered over to the historic Castro Theater for a triple bill under the Midnites for Maniacs series. Now, I have been going to this series off and on for a decade now, back when it was still at the 4Star Theater and was one movie every week. I keep up with the shows now that they are at Castro, and can stop by occasionally, though not as often as I would like. Work, life, those sorts of things ruin everyone’s day!

The Midnites for Maniacs series is curated by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, who used to be a projectionist at the 4Star and now teaches at the Academy of Arts and is a SFBay Guardian contributor

This triple bill was the DiRTY LiTTLE MUNCHKiNS marathon, and was composed of The Bad News Bears, Gummo, and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, making this one of the greatest triple features of all time. This was also my fourth time seeing The Garbage Pail Kids Movie at one of these Midnites for Maniacs events, which now makes it the film I’ve seen in the theaters the most.

This was the first time I had watched The Bad News Bears since I was a young kid of like 7. Ostensibly a film about a children’s baseball team, The Bad News Bears is a very adult film that is filled with commentary on America in the post-Vietnam post-Civil Rights era. The team is packed with a mixed assortment of rejects from other teams, combined together due to a lawsuit forcing the league to accept all players. It’s ethnically diverse and filled with stereotypes we all know and love – fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks. Tough kids, sissy kids, though no one gets chicken pox. Also a girl. The Bad News Bears casually drops filthy and racist language, and Walter Matthau is brilliant as the usually drunk coach who is in this for the paycheck at first, but then it becomes something more. The team begins to come together, becoming less of a joke and more of a threat to the established order.

This was the first time I had seen Gummo, from writer/director Harmony Korine. It doesn’t follow the traditional narrative form, instead is more of a loose collection of events and sketches that form a larger abstract story. It features a lot of real people who aren’t professional actors, and showcases a decaying underbelly of small town America, taking place in a town that was struck by a tornado years ago, which has only increased the pace of its withering away. Gummo features disturbing imagery, but is hauntingly beautiful in a weird way. It is not really a film I would recommend to most people, but if you have an appreciation of the obscure and the strange that has more going on then first appearances would suggest, you will have a feast.

And that brings us to The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. A film that deserves a giant review on this site and will hopefully get that soon (I did spring for the DVD after all!) The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is one of the greatest films of all times. It is visually unlike anything that has every existed, complete with the most ugly animatronic little person costumes and the most 80s fashion that was ever in the 1980s. Our hero Dodger can’t seem to not get beaten up by the local drug dealer gang leader, who is so big time he robs middle school kids for their lunch money. Dodger lusts after the girl Tangerine, who is dating the drug dealer and is not very nice. Dodger works at an antique shop where the owner is an eccentric world traveler, and there is a garbage pail that is knocked over, and the Garbage Pail Kids emerge to cause havoc in the city. But there is danger, because the city is carting everyone ugly way to State Home For The Ugly, where the ugly are then squashed into cubes. Luckily, the Garbage Pail Kids have the power of sewing.

Trust me, this all makes sense! And it’s awesome. And remember: You can be a Garbage Pail Kid!

Rah Rah Roni

My free Garbage Pail Kid for going to the show!

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