Yeah, There’s Actually A Movie Called Solarbabies

And it’s not that bad actually. Solarbabies (1986) is a mix of Logan’s Run, Mad Max and Goonies with a made-up sport called Skateball in it. I had never heard about this flick until sometime last year when someone recommended it for ToyFare’s craziest fictional sports feature. Well, I found my way to checking the movie out finally and it was a lot of fun. But also annoying. I’ll explain.

The movie stars Michael from Lost Boys (Jason Patric), the mom from Still Standing (Jami Gertz who was also in Lost Boys), Dom DeLuise’s son (Peter), the older brother from Heroes (Adrian Pasdar) and the kid who played Ryan White in the TV movie (Lukas Haas) plus a few other kids as a group of kids who live in a post-apocalyptic, post-Eco War desert orphanage where they’ve taken to playing Skateball. Skateball’s a a combination of hockey (but with roller skates), lacrosse and roller derby with a goal in the middle of the rink. Like in Logan’s Run or The Island, the kids are told that there’s nothing out in the real world and that this is all there is. Of course, that doesn’t last after the youngest of the group, Lukas, finds a glowing ball called Bohdi (not Patrick Swayze’s character from Point Break, but wouldn’t that be awesome?). Anyway, after a spirited game of Skateball with Bodhi, Pasdar’s character swoops in, grabs him and heads off into the desert and soon enough the kids (the Solarbabies) head out to find him and make sure the eco cops don’t destroy him/it.

Alright, enough with the summary, there are a few things I want to specifically mention. First off, Lukas is super, SUPER annoying in this movie, like Edward Furlong in T2 annoying but times 100. He’s oddly effeminate and not just in the way that all little kids are. His wardrobe doesn’t help as he’s either wearing a pink helmet, off-the-shoulder sweatshirt (think Flashdance) or, at one point, a suit of old lady clothes made out of old tires. His voice and delivery are also grating. He goes from being a normal kid with a high pitched voice to this ultra annoying kid who sounds like he’s in LOVE with everything. He gets all wispy and it freaks me out. Wow, now I’ve resorted to picking on a 10 year old kid in 1986, that’s not quite fair.

What is fair is making fun of the douchey bully kid from the orphanage who somehow gets upgraded from regular orphan to eco cop at the exact same time as the Solarbabies escape. The funny thing is that he walks around like he’s big shit even before joining the eco pigs. Yeah, being the coolest kid in a desert orphanage where you get water rations is like being the strongest guy at computer camp, sure you’re bigger than everyone else but you’re still all locked in the same shitty life. After coming up with that analogy, he got to leave the orphanage, so what do I know?

One other complaint I have is the title of this movie. Solarbabies? Really? This is what you decided to call what looks like a slightly big budget flick? Bad choice folks. Heck, they don’t even play Skateball during the day, so it doesn’t really make sense. The general-or-whatever of the eco police comes to the guy who runs the orphanage and comments on it being soft name and all the warden has to say is that they don’t need to be intimidating because they always win. Yeah, and? I don’t even think the kids call themselves Solarbabies at any time.

Okay, aside from all that stuff, I would still recommend Solarbabies (maybe just call it Skateball or something, because those scenes are pretty rad). Kind of like The Island, you get a mix of other movies that all work together really well and tell a story you haven’t seen quite in this way. It’s not highly original, but it’s definitely fun. I especially like in their travels when they come to Tire Town a place where everything is made out of either discarded tires or cars. They play with that in the sets and props really well to excellent results. Plus, it’s always fun to watch actors when they were younger. I’ll be honest I didn’t recognize Pasdar at all and Gertz looked really familiar to me but I couldn’t nail her down and I recognized her more from Still Standing that Lost Boys.

One funny thing about the movie is that they skate everywhere in the desert wasteland. Have you ever tried skating on anything other than a rink or blacktop? It’s not easy. Luckily for them, there seem to be paths from one place to another that are smooth enough for skating 🙂

Getting Smarter

3:08:53 am

I was a big big fan of Get Smart as a kid. I assume I watched it on Nick at Night or some other daytime syndicated re-rerun channel. (I think Nickelodeon played The Monkees at some point, but the old memory is fuzzy.) Anyway, I was pretty excited about the Steve Carrel remake that came out earlier this summer because he seemed like a really good replacement for the inimitable Don Adams. Of course, Anne Hathaway doesn’t hold a candle to Barbara Feldon’s Agent 99 (sorry Anne, no hard feelings).

Well, I heard the movie wasn’t so good from a few sources, but the main one was the guys over at Totally Rad Show who I tend to agree with at least 51% of the time and especially when they say they don’t like a movie.

So, I was looked towards a Get Smart-less summer until I checked the Best Buy ad online yesterday and say that they had the first season on DVD for $20. Score! So, I made sure to head to the Palisades Mall today and picked up this Mel Brooks and Buck Henry-created show. If you don’t know who Buck is, I highly recommend checking out the first three seasons of Saturday Night Live on DVD (though you can skip the first few episodes). Anyway, I told three people about my plans to pick the set up. Rickey was for it. Emily said something like “couldn’t we just rent it.” And Dave of Indie Jones fame went so far as to say he’d actually stand in my way so I couldn’t by that. Well, I left him badly beaten in the Best Buy and am now enjoying the hell out of the first two episodes.

The first is in black and white, but all the classic gags are there. Shoe phone? Check. “Woudja believe?” The cone of silence. The Chief. And of course the dreamiest of all spies, Agent 99. As far as spoof work goes, Brooks, Henry and Co. do a killer job of skewering ‘6os spy movies and pop culture in general. Watching 99 show Max how to dance like the kids do, was both hilarious and pretty sexy for the day. I can’t wait to check out the rest of this season and all the others. Thanks to HBO for getting their stuff together and putting these bad boys out on the non-Time Life Books set (those things get pricey).