April 22, 2015

Flash Gordon (and MORE!)

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Another great week, and another great movie!

This week, the guys sat down to talk about 1980's Flash Gordon, starring Sam Jones, Max von Sydow, Topol, Melody Anderson, Timothy Dalton, Ornella Muti, Brian Blessed, and Peter Wyngarde.

Based on the film serials starring Buster Crabbe, which were in turn based on the radio serials, which were themselves based on the comic strips created by Alex Raymond, this film has a rich history that is almost as confusing as the one surrounding the various iterations of The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (But with fewer pieces of towel-related merchandise.)

After the Earth starts experiencing some pretty freakish weather, mad scientist Dr. Hanz Zarkov (Topol) decides that he must take off in his conveniently available rocket ship and confront the alien entity that is causing the problems. Finding himself short a copilot, due in large part to him waving his gun around and dramatically pointing at his lab assistant, he enlists (read: takes hostage) New York Jets quarterback Flash Gordon (Jones) and journalist Dale Arden (Anderson), who, also conveniently, just happen to crash their chartered plane into Zarkov's lab/elaborate pot greenhouse, as his new traveling companions. It is up to these three to save the Earth.

Only one of them needs to label his clothes, though.
The ship lands, again, conveniently on planet Mongo, which is ruled by the surprisingly accurately named Ming the Merciless (von Sydow) with the style and aplomb Earth's most vicious dictators only can only dream of achieving.

"Heyyyy, Macarena!"
Ming immediately decides to force Dale to marry him, execute Flash, and turn Zarkov into an agent by vacuuming his brain out. This is clearly a guy who gets stuff done.

Unfortunately, this is also a guy whose enemies are many and varied, including his own daughter, Aura (Muti), who bribes the executing doctor to make Flash only mostly dead so she can revive him and get a piece of that beefcake. She takes him to Arboria, a forest planet, where she convinces Prince Barin (Dalton) to hide Flash until she comes back to give both of them any number of the STDs that must be crawling all over her naughty bits. She's kinda outgoing with the guys, is what we're saying. Barin agrees, only to try killing Flash almost immediately after Aura leaves.

All sorts of things improbably happen, not the least of which is the appearance of the Hawkmen, whose leader, Vultan (Blessed), yells a lot and looks like Bluto from the Popeye cartoons.

"TWEET TWEET, GODDAMMIT!"
He turns out to be Flash's greatest ally in the battle to save Earth, although not until Flash is willing to fight Barin to the death on a floating pie plate covered in spikes. (SPOILER: Nobody dies in the fight, sadly.)

From there, Flash and his friends lead an attack against Ming, who, to his credit, tries to avoid the whole thing by offering Flash his own kingdom to rule over on Mongo.

"And tell me my toupee isn't noticeable..."
Jake is angry...really angry about the shoddy workmanship of the Lizard People. And rightly so. They are just plain awful. Really. He's so angry.

Larry is confused by who does what for Ming. There are all kinds of different officers and soldiers, but nothing is delineated. Therefore, he chooses to focus on the guards who look like Super Mario 2 characters and squeal like pigs.

Derek is angry at Larry and Jake because he believes this movie is completely and totally flawless, and he takes their complaints personally. It could get ugly.

Will Flash defeat Ming and become, as the theme song by Queen insists, "savior of the Universe"? (Or "saviour", for our friends in the UK?) Will Zarkov's obvious hatred of the Beatles and disturbing amount of cats he thinks about be revealed as the cause of his madness? Will Dale ever get her hair under control? And what the hell is the deal with Klytus?! (Wyngarde)

"MMMMPH! MMM MMMMPH!"
There's also lots of Star Wars news in The Lobby, a few movies Coming Soon, Larry's List, Hollywood Purgatory, and another edition One Thing!


BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

That's right! There was also this week's Game Show, hosted by Derek. The guys played Cards Against Humanity for the first time together, and it was hilarious! It was also almost two hours long, which would have pushed the length of the show to almost four hours. So we here at Ugly Couchcast Industries decided to cut it out of the main show and edit it down to a more serviceable hour or so, and release it into the wild on its own.

Give it a listen and see just how awesome this game is.


*****

If you dig what we did, you can find the game at CardsAgainstHumanity.com. You can even download a .pdf file of the game itself for free and print it out on your own, if you can't afford to buy the pre-made game! How cool is that?

(For the record, this is not any sort of endorsement deal thing with those guys. We bought the game ourselves and just wanted to tell you about it.)