There are two kinds of movies (three if you count porn).
There are the movies that are discussed in film classes, are destined to one day be in regular rotation on Turner Classic Movies, and are rife with social commentary. Then there are the type of movies made for no other reason than to entertain the viewer.
One type of film requires the viewer to watch closely, pay attention, and think. The other type of film requires little more than a case of cheap beer and a few friends to talk shit with as the entertainment unfolds.
Jim Wynorski makes the second type of film, and he’s damn proud of it.
I, for one, am happy to have filmmakers like Wynorski out there continuing to produce the kinds of films that kept drive-in movie theaters in business until corporate-owned, super-cineplexes cut off their blood supply.
In our most recent episode of Acid Pop Cult, we discussed Wynorski at length with the director of Popatopolis, Clay Westervelt, a documentary about the top popper himself, and we had so much fun we wanted to keep the discussion going on our website. So here is my continuation of that discussion featuring my personal Top 5 Jim Wynorski films.
5. Stealth Fighter (1999) – This is on the list for one reason and one reason only – Ice “muthafuckin” T. Ice-T plays a sleazy military pilot who negotiates with some terrorist types and agrees to steal a stealth fighter and pilot it for them. This is one film where Ice-T’s wooden performance is to his advantage. His character is cold-hearted and calculating and his gangsta past certainly aids in his portrayal of the bad guy. In true Wynorski action/adventure fashion, there is humor, action, and explosions. I can almost guarantee this film won’t end up on any other Top-5 film lists anywhere, but I like it, so shoot me.
4. Big Bad Mama II (1987) – Wynorski employed Angie Dickenson, Robert Culp, and Danielle Brisebois, to be at the core of this Ma-Barker-style flick. Set in the 30s, Dickenson and her daughters seek revenge on a banker who has done them wrong. Ultimately, this one is one of those films that is at its heart a damnation of journalism and it’s tendency to promote irrational behavior and make crazy bastards superstars. Did I mention this also has Danielle Brisebois in it? You might remember her as Stephanie from All in the Family. She has also recorded some music since abandoning her acting career.
3. Piranhaconda (2011) – I tweeted about this film just a few days ago and received a response from someone declaring this film a piece of trash, but as they say, one man’s trash…. Piranhaconda is the epitome of the type of film that is made for no other reason than to just be entertaining. Let’s not forget the plot of this thing. It’s about a snaggle-toothed snake trying to protect its eggs from scantily clad women and an Alan Quarterman wannabe. This film is senseless, highly-unrealistic, full of low-budget effects, and as far as I’m concerned those points are its strengths. It’s just fun.
2. Chopping Mall (1987) – Cinemax, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… First you introduce me to Pacific Banana, Emanuelle, and the Happy Hooker, then you bring me the joys of Chopping Mall. Daleks be damned, the robots in this movie are the real exterminators, hands down.
1. Not of This Earth (1988) – What’s not to love about a film that features a human-looking alien who is looking for a blood supply to save his species? This was Traci Lords’ first film after being exposed as being an underaged porn star, and Wynroski used her well. He decked her out in a hot nurse outfit, and made it a point to put her in a tight-ass bikini as much as possible. He also managed to work in some hookers, a hot alien, and a blood sucking machine that sounds like that thing that sucks your slobber at the dentist’s office. The main alien guy in this film perpetually reminded me of the cover of Anthrax’s album, “Among the Living,” because of his shiny glow.
So that’s my list.