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An Epitome About Cannon Films / A Brief Review of "Electric Boogaloo" (2015)

Ooof.  I've just been humbled hardcore by Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.


As you might expect from somebody who writes a movie-themed blog and runs a weekly installment called "The Hipster Holy Grail," I like to think of myself as a film nerd and schlock movie buff.  But despite my familiarity with the names "Golan" and "Globus," I did not actually know what Cannon Films was until only a couple of weeks ago when somebody first recommended this documentary.

Now, having seen it, my jaw has yet to come back up to my head.  There's just so much in the world that I don't know.

I feel like a classical music fan who could tell you the full biographies of Prokofiev, Bach, and Mendelssohn, but who somehow never heard of this Tchaikovsky guy.  How did I make it to my thirties without recognizing that there was a common thread through all the Cannon productions?  I've actually reviewed a few of them and never put it together.

In looking through the lineup of Cannon Films, it occurs to me that probably 70% of them are perfect fodder for the Holy Grail.  From what I can tell of those that I've seen, they're low budget, campy, often ridiculous and laughable, but packed to the gills with mindless glee and the right amount of enthusiasm.  They're pretty much the exact opposite of The Asylum even though their overall goals and methods are (were) the same.

It's mind-blowing.  I'm honestly feeling tingly right now.  Like I just opened up the greatest birthday present I've ever received.  Or like I've been on vacation for a week and somebody said, "By the way... you actually get another week for free.  Surprise!"

I'm tempted to delve into their entire filmography and make this a year of Cannon Films for the HHG, but I'm not sure that's a great idea.  For one, I kinda like to mix things up with the Holy Grail, and there's only so many times I can say, "This week I watched some trash.  It was great!" before I start getting bored.  For another, I suspect there's probably a hundred thousand other critics, bloggers, and podcasters with way more time, resources, and fans than me who are already doing something similar.  So I can't promise a year of Cannon, but I can sure as hell promise there'll be more of them in 2016.

At a minimum, I think I need to start paying a little more attention to production companies.  I'm going to start by going back and tagging the Cannon films I've discussed on my blogging in the past, but after that I'll have to tag any other repeat offenders.  Like Vista Street Entertainment.  (Actually, now that I think about it, I haven't complained about a Vista Street movie in a looooong time.  I should get back to them soon.)

Now, as for the documentary itself, which I've kinda glossed right over - it's fantastic.  I'm definitely the target audience, so there's no surprise here to say that I love it.  I think anybody else who's a fan of B Movies, film history, or corporate shenanigans will enjoy it as well.  It's the rare breed of documentary that gives you just the right amount of information without venturing into full-on Nerd territory.  You get all the high points of Cannon's history, you get a good overview of their style, stars, and quirks, and you come away with an appreciation of the subject matter without feeling like you've been condescended to or overloaded.  Those who are looking for something really specific may be disappointed, but if you're that kind of person, you're probably writing a book on Cannon right now, anyway.

I would also like to give a caveat to those who might be looking for something mild and "academic" - Electric Boogaloo does not shy away from raunchy, violent, and explicit clips from the movies it discusses.  Plan accordingly if you are thinking about watching it, say, on your lunch break at work, or at your girlfriend's house while her parents are in the background.  There's more nudity in this documentary than in some porn I've seen, which is probably the greatest compliment Cannon Films could ever receive.

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