1986, Movies

America 3000 (1986, David Engelbach)

I just spent 15 minutes looking for a Canada 3000 ad with the appropriate jingle to led off this review. I couldn’t find it. Just know that, through the entirety of this bad ’80s post apocalyptic comedy, I was singing “Merica 3000” in my mind to the tune of that jingle.

I watched this because I like to watch bad ’80s sci fi and fantasy films. Little did I know, this one is a comedy, so I did not end up getting my fill. Now, it’s not a very good comedy, but some people seem to really like this film because, unlike virtually every other bad ’80s sci fi film, a lot of the cast seem to be aware that this is a bad movie, and the screenwriter certainly was.

But I still think this is a bad movie, because most of the jokes, few as they are, wouldn’t be considered good in normal comedy. I don’t see why this rather bad comedy gets a pass for its lack of actual good comedy because it happens to occur in a post apocalyptic wasteland.

The film is not good. The story is some kind of “battle of the sexes” that both feels like it’s meant to recapture what life is like between boys and girls before they go through puberty, and completely ignores the fundamental reason for the existence of the human race until its a mild joke at the very end of the film. Why would a nuclear explosion make men forget they want to have sex with women? Why would men revert to being boys who think girls are icky and bossy?

The film is set in Colorado but it doesn’t look much like any part of Colorado I’ve seen. I was thinking it looks a little bit more Mediterranean than that and it turns out that’s correct, the film was shot entirely in Israel. This eventually leads to one of the more bizarre moments in the movie where our hero learns how to use a laser rifle because said laser rifle conveniently has a manual attached to its barrel (as all firearms do) and that manual is partially in, um Hebrew. Of course he instantly learns how to fire the weapon because earlier in this very dumb movie he learned how to speak and read English by reading a children’s ABCs book (without speaking to anyone else, at least on camera).

The narration, which is basically constant, feels like it was written after the fact, to help flesh out what was not a very well-done script. It almost feels that the narrator could have changed the plot and nobody would have noticed. As long as it sort of fit the action on screen.

Another interesting tidbit is how unbelievably ’80s the score is. Not only does the score go heavily glam metal at times but it also echoes gamelan-influenced new wave, which is something.

The film is far from the worst movie I’ve ever seen. (Some) Effort was put in to elevate it above it’s usual fare: they invented some new words and meanings of words, which is far more effort than you would expect here. But the movie is not very funny, despite what a lot of people will tell you, and I was mostly just bored – it was rarely all time bad level bad so it was never entertaining as a bad movie, and it just wasn’t funny enough, or clever enough, to not be boring.


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