A Ned Beatty Performance More Harrowing Than “Deliverance”

Though I’ve already used this space to sing the praises of Zack Carlson & Bryan Connolly’s “Destroy All Movies : The Complete Guide To Punks On Film”, our extended Xmas break provided me with additional opportunities to get stuck into this impressive reference manual.¬† There’s amazing factoids and brutal critiques on almost every page (the turgid Arye Gross college radio star vehicle, “A Matter Of Degrees” is dismissed as “the emotional trials of a guy who looks like he’s been in school longer than Archie”) and best of all, many¬†introductions to cinematic sludge only the insane or truly obsessed would already know about.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K_xMNj7NEU[/youtube]

Case in point, 1998’s kiddie film. “The Purple People Eater”, described by Connolly as “the strangest E.T. rip-off of them all” (and this is coming from a man undoubtedly familiar with “Mac & Me”). “Is this the only film based on a novelty song?”¬† Well, that depends whether not you consider C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” a novelty song. But either way, it might be the worst film ever based on a novelty song. In addition to the cast mentioned in the above trailer, “The Purple People Eater” also features a pre-“Dougie Howser” / “Starship Troopers” Neil Patrick Harris, a pre-parental flipout Thora Birch, and inexplicably, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who might have the weirdest filmography of any professional athlete not named Todd Zeile.

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