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The Apple/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< The Apple
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Recently I watched The Lego Movie during a flight to my hometown. Although the film had a really fast pacing to me, it looks amazing and astonishing. Now, why do I mention The Lego Movie here? Well, there's one thing that most people remember about that film. It's a song called Every Thing is Awesome. The song is not only catchy and easy to sing (I later found out that Mark Mothersbaugh wrote it so now I know why it sounds like an unreleased Devo song), but it's also the ONLY song that the government wants you to hear in the story. This reminded me of another movie called The Apple. It's a musical/sci-fi/dystopia film that later became a cult classic and, believe it or not, almost made Producer Menahem Golan commit suicide!

Released to cash-in on the success of popular music themed movies like Saturday Night Fever and Grease, The Apple is set in the dystopian future of 1994. In the United States the country is being controlled by something called Boogalow International Music or BIM. BIM controls everything from the record industries to law enforcement. BIM easily wins the Worldvision Song Festival, although one of their competitors, Alphie and his boyfriend Bibi (played by Catherine Mary Stewart), sing a really heart-touching song. After that, Bibi decides to sign a contract with BIM while Alphie refuses and tries to stop Bibi from signing. Sadly, Bibi is stuck in the illusion of being a pop star while Alphie tries every way to free Bibi from the tolitarian BIM.

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The plot itself seems like a disco infused, futuristic version of the classic story of Adam and Eve. There's even a musical number that shows Bibi being lured by the BIM staff to eat an apple in hell and at the end of the film (**SPOILER ALERT**) Alphie and Bibi become hippies and they and their hippie pals are saved from the rapture by God...who drives a flying car! I'm not kidding. It's all combined with catchy musical numbers that made people at the time think that "This film is stupid" and it became a disaster upon its theatrical release. But to me, it makes me laugh and I kinda enjoy it. In fact, I think some of the plot elements aren't that bad. For instance, there's a scene that shows the National BIM Hour, a daily activity that happens at 4 PM in which BIM orders everybody to stop working and then plays a song called "Hey Hey Hey (BIM's All the Way)". It's also the same song that BIM uses in the Worldvision Song Festival. During National BIM Hour everybody "happily" dances to the song. From factory workers to patients in the hospital to elderly people. In my opinion, the song and the scene is a 70's equivalent of The Lego Movie's Everything is Awesome song. It shows you how scary it is when a government dictates which song their citizens should hear and everybody has to be happy when they hear it. Also, this film has its own message besides the Christian religious one. It criticizes the luxurious and out-of-touch attitude of the Disco era. As you can see during BIM scenes, people are dressed in glamourous clothes and have a luxurious life, while Alphie and Bibi dress more simpler in the beginning and in the end. They wear plain jeans and shirts and play folk/pop music instead of Disco. It's kinda teaches us to live a simpler life.

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Another highlight in this film is of course the music. Although it's a disco movie through and through, the soundtrack has variety like you wouldn't believe. It has Disco numbers, a Paul McCartney-style pop song, a standard 70's musical duet, and MOR pop songs. Unfortunately (or not?), there are only two songs that most people remember from the film. The first one is "Hey Hey Hey (BIM's All the Way)" which I told you about before and the song "Speed" in which Bibi repeatedly says the word Speed. It's so campy and really catchy at the same time.

As you can see, these elements sound cheesy as hell. In fact, the whole movie is campy and hilarious by today's standards. But who cares? I totally enjoy watching it! I don't know which words would describe the look and the tone of it, but if the word "seventies-est" and "disco-est" exist, these are words that sum it up.

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NOTE: The soundtrack has never had a proper release on CD, so the only way you can find it is either file-sharing websites or second-hand vinyl stores. Also, Rifftrax (a.k.a. three alumni from MST3K) do a satirical commentary version of this film. It's totally awesome and hilarious. You guys should watch it, especially when the song "Speed" is sung.

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Nuttawut Permpithak is a Thai student who's spending his final year in university studying marketing. In his free time he watches exploitation films...or any films from the past, writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for the GCDb.
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