• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Stuff

TITLE: The Stuff

YEAR: 1985

GENRE: Horror and Comedy

Once upon a time in Chicago I attended a film festival where Larry Cohen, the great schlock moister director of the 1970’s and 80’s, was in attendance. For the uninitiated, Cohen was famous for making numerous low budget horror films including the It’s Alive and Maniac Cop franchises as well as God Told Me To. In order to celebrate Cohen’s appearance, promoter Rusty Nails picked Cohen’s monster film Q: The Winged Serpent to exhibit on the big screen in a beautifully restored Victorian-era theater to a standing room only group of rabid fans before Cohen’s question and answer session. This is a good selection, but in this reviewer’s opinion not the very best work of Cohen. In this case I would have selected The Stuff as this is Cohen’s best theatrical work as it is a creative horror movie with plenty of parodies on the advertising and marketing industry.

Americans are in love with The Stuff, a new all-natural dessert that is sweeping the country. The Stuff is too good to be true—no calories, all natural, creamy, and downright delicious—and is becoming a threat to the ice cream and cookie world to the point where it may bankrupt the confectioners industry. In order to combat this catastrophe, an ice cream manufacturer hires industrial spy David Rutherford (played by Michael Moriarty) to discover the secrets of The Stuff. AsRutherfordcompletes his investigation he discovers that The Stuff really is not some new dessert, but rather some type of alien organism that takes control of the body and mind of its consumers and makes them do whatever is necessary to protect its dark secrets. Assisted by pre-teen Jason (Scott Bloom) whose parents are possessed by the dessert, Nicole (Andrea Maccovicci) who wrote the ad campaign for The Stuff, competing dessert mogul “Chocolate Chip” Charlie W. Hobbs (Garrett Morris), and ultra-conservative military leader Colonel Malcolm Grommett Spears (Paul Sorvino), Rutherford must stop the distribution and source of The Stuff before the entire country is devoured under a wave of white, gooey tastiness.

The best aspect of The Stuff is its parody if the influence of big business on society and the mass marketing of a product that results in the country to go into a frenzy to consume the product. Like Dawn Of The Dead (1978), The Stuff does an excellent job lampooning mass consumerism especially in the grocery store scenes. To add to the advertising parody, legendary pitch woman Clara Peller from the “Where’s the beef?” advertisements for Wendy’s make s a quick appearance and satires herself in one of the best cameos in any horror film. The acting does have its hammy moments but is fairly believable; the best appearance is Sorvino as an over the top Rush Limbaugh in fatigues-type of person with great one-liners such as stating “and no more of your liberal ideas” after a cab driver asks him where he is headed. The storyline is creative and different for a horror film yet carries itself pretty effectively, and the special effects are messy with zombies bleeding white melted marshmallow-type blood and blob-like Stuff devouring humans and climbing up walls. The Stuff gives a tip of the hat to 1950’s horror films such as Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and The Blob, but most of all The Stuff is a fun and entertaining adventure that stands on its own as a unique offering.

The Stuff is one of those few films that had a first and last appearance for performers: this was the last film for Alexander Scourby, who was a famous voice talent from the early days of television including introducing numerous television film debuts; and Mira Sorvino made her film debut in The Stuff as an uncredited extra. All of Cohen’s films would not rank in the must-see category, but The Stuff is where fans should start researching his influential B-movie resume. The Stuff may not be the scariest movie from the 1980’s, but it is one of the most fun offerings from the drive-in and will be appreciated by scary movie fans with a sense of humor.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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