The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
What’s it About: When a movie starts out stating that it’s a Topps Chewing Gum Production, you know you’re in for an excellent, quality experience.
The movie starts with the Garbage Pail Kids escape from a, well, garbage pail. They’re running around some kind of junk store that looks like Fred Sanford’s house, but you don’t actually see them yet, and the suspense is TERRIBLE!! But the owner, Cap’n Manzini, comes and puts them back in the pail, which seems really cruel and messed up.
Our human hero, Dodger, is played by Mackenzie Astin, who probably thought he was going to be a bigger star than he ever turned out to be. Dodger gets a shakedown from a gang of punks in the park, who must be the most fearsome gang in town if they’re after a 12-year-old kid for what little money he could possibly have. After they throw him in a puddle, he heads to Cap’n Manzini’s emporium of crap that nobody wants. Dodger refers the infamous garbage pail in the shop. He wants to check it out, because who wouldn’t want to check out a dirty garbage pail, but Cap’n Manzini tells him no, and provides the eyebrow-raising quote, “Have I ever forbidden you to touch any of the treasures in my shop? This is the one exception.” So apparently Dodger works for Cap’n Manzini, which can’t be legal in any way.
Seems that Cap’n Manzini is some kind of sorcerer, because he spouts an incantation to turn on the washing machine, which is obviously better than just pushing a button. The Cap’n refers to the garbage pail as Pandora’s Pail, meaning bad stuff will happen if it’s opened, but it’s never explained what or why.
The next day, Tangerine, who is the girlfriend of Juice, the head punk who tried to beat up Dodger earlier, comes by the shop, and Dodger tries to impress her by showing her buttons. Dodger is in love with Tangerine, even though she’s about 7 years older. But the punks come in the shop to beat Dodger up, as “a matter of principal,” because beating up a kid who doesn’t even have pubes yet is the way to prove yourself. Although, during this scene Dodger claims to be almost 15, but that’s impossible. But back to important business, during the scuffle, the pail gets knocked off the shelf and ooze comes out! The gang takes Dodger down into the sewer, where he is saved by mutated turtles that know martial arts! Wait, wrong movie. They knock Dodger to the ground and open up a sewage pipe over him, officially making them the toughest gang in the county. Of course, the Garbage Pail Kids come and save him, and boy, was it worth the wait to see them in full. These costumes are interesting. They do look a lot like they’re depicted on the cards (giant Cabbage Patch Kids who are gross) but their mouths barely move. The Cap’n comes back and can’t believe Dodger let them out, but doesn’t mind too much actually. He introduces Dodger to the Garbage Pail Kids:
- Valerie Vomit (self explanatory)
- Windy Winston (major farter)
- Foul Phil (a baby with horrible breath)
- Nat Nerd (a super nerd with awful acne)
- Ali Gator (some kind of crocodile?)
- Greaser Greg (Henry Winkler)
- Messy Tessie (snot issues)
The Kids explain that they have to hide from the “Normies” because of the way they look. But Dodger doesn’t think they’re that bad. In fact, he seems to have no opinion one way or another. This whole thing seems perfectly normal to him, which I guess is what happens to an orphan who works in an emporium of black magick.
That night, Dodger tags along with Tangerine as she sells a bag of godawful ‘80s clothes at a local club. Tangerine and all of these people actually dress worse than the Garbage Pail Kids. Unfortunately, Juice shows up and Dodger gets the bright idea to hide in Tangerine’s giant bag, which is also ugly.
Meanwhile, the Kids seem to be looking for other Garbage Pail Kids, such as Ultra Violet and Banana Anna, in garbage pails around town, but no dice. They give Dodger some advice on how to win over Tangerine, because obviously you’re going to get your love tips from creatures who live in filth. They tell him to dress to impress, so they give him a mini Michael Jackson outfit (I guess by magic? How else would they have it?) Thing is, even though it’s the most ridiculous jacket ever created by man or Garbage Pail Kid, it actually does impress Tangerine, and she wants Dodger to make a dozen of them to sell.
Dodger goes back and asks the Kids to make more of these jackets that are uglier than they are, but it’s not even explained how they made the first one. They say they only have one machine, but they didn’t show any machine or them using any machine. At this point, the movie does itself absolutely no favors by engaging in song, “We can do anything by working with each other!” It just makes a bad movie even more unbelievably terrible. During this song, they rob a non-union sweatshop to make these stupid clothes. So the plot of this movie is that the Garbage Pail Kids are expert fashion designers? What drug would possibly make the screenwriter think that was a good idea? Mushrooms covered in angel dust is my guess.
So the Kids get tired of all work and no play, and they don trench coats and sunglasses, the ultimate disguise, obtain a four-wheeler somehow, and go to the movies (which is showing The Three Stooges, because you need to go to a theater to see that). On the way back, Windy Winston and Ali Gator, who are separated from the rest of the group for some reason, stop by a biker bar, and Ali Gator goes inside and bites some biker’s toes. The bikers gang up on Ali, and Winston comes to his rescue, proving to the bikers that the Kids have guts, and leading to them being accepted by everyone at the bar, even though Ali is a dwarf-sized alligator-humanoid. The bikers are too high on angel dust to really take notice of this.
For COMPLETELY unknown reasons, Juice and his crew are on a roof across the street from Cap’n Manzini’s emporium, and see Greaser Greg when they come back from the movies. The Cap’n tells Ali Gator, who is apparently the leader somehow, to stay out of sight from now on. So they figure out how to send sewage through pipes to hot tubs, which has nothing to do with anything. Recapping this movie is starting to feel like they hooked up a sewage pipe to my brain.
The Kids are still worried about their friends, who they fear may be trapped in a horrible institution known as The State Home for the Ugly (yeah, I know, I feel the same way…) Apparently there are dogcatcher-like guys who go around capturing ugly people and locking them up. Why the hell not.
Dodger gives Tangerine the clothes to sell, which look like what Pee Wee Herman’s talking colostomy bag has nightmares about. The Kids make themselves known to Tangerine, and while she does appear to be grossed out, it doesn’t really faze her that she just met a bunch of monsters. Tangerine wants them to keep making clothes to feature in what would have to be the world’s worst fashion show. This is really the plot of this movie? Really?
The Garbage Pail Kids want to go to the fashion show (did I really just type that?) but Tangerine is a stone-cold witch and locks them in the basement. Of course, Dodger goes with her because he actually thinks he’s going to get laid, even though that would probably mean a serious jail sentence for Tangerine.
Meanwhile, Winston farts some more and the Cap’n keeps trying to figure out the right song (?) to get the Kids back in the pail. But Juice and the gang come in and kidnap the Kids, bringing them to The State Home for the Ugly! How they know about it is a total mystery. There are labels on the other cages at the State Home for the Ugly, such as Too Bald, Too Old, Too Weird, Too Hairy, Too Pale, Too Silly, Too Short, etc. Santa is in a cage that says Too Fat, and Abe Lincoln is in one marked Too Skinny. The Kids are Too Gross. I’m Too Amazed that I’m watching this.
Dodger finds out and breaks it off with Tangerine. Still dressed like the world’s youngest Chippendale, Dodger goes back to the biker bar from earlier to get their help, even though he would have absolutely no idea which bar that was. The Cap’n breaks the Kids out, then the bikers pull bars off the windows to get everyone out. I could be doing a lot of other things right now. Turns out other Garbage Pail Kids WERE at the State Home for the Ugly, but the Cap’n points out that they were killed right before they got there. Well that’s pretty morbid.
The Kids head to the fashion show to kick some ass. As you can expect, there’s farting, vomiting, the works. Dodger fights Juice, even though Juice is 10 years older than him. This scene is hysterical because Mackenzie Astin’s stunt double is clearly about 35 and twice his size.
Tangerine tries to make up with Dodger, but he tells her, “I don’t think you’re pretty anymore.” What a life lesson. I’d like to think I also learned a life lesson, but I’ll still continue watching horrible movies like this.
The movie ends with the Kids taking off, destination unknown. I can only speculate that they’ll be murdered by drunken hillbillies at some point.
Is it Actually Scary: It’s scary that it exists.
Gore Gross Level: HIGH. Vomit, snot, farts, pee, sewage, human flesh eating, you name it, it’s gross!
Dumbest Moments: Ha… ha… hahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Best Part: During one part, the punk girl in Juice’s gang is wearing pants that look exactly like Brutus the Barber Beefcake’s tights, which was almost too much ‘80s nostalgia for me to handle.
Nudity: This is basically a kid’s movie, so the closest thing you get is the boobs of the punk girl chasing Dodger at the beginning of the movie bouncing violently as she runs after him.
Overall: At first, you would think that this movie was made as a cash grab based on the surprise success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but this was actually made three years before TMNT. So how would anyone possibly think this was a good idea? It’s obvious that the filmmakers had no idea what to do here. Why would anyone think of a fashion show being anywhere in this movie? That’s just insane. But even without that, the whole movie is just spinning its wheels with the gross stuff. For example, they show Nat Nerd peeing his pants on five different occasions. It’s like they were wondering how many minutes had passed since Messie Tessie spread snot on anything, and if it had been more than 6, they would show some more snot. Not surprisingly, this was the last movie the director ever made.
This movie will leave you stunned. Even if you really want to like it just as a goof you’ll still think it’s one of the worst things you’ve ever seen. Eating out of the garbage is more enjoyable.
My Wife’s Observational Quotes:
- “Come on, really?”
- “Oh he’s the little kid from Facts of Life.”
- “Awful, awful, awful, awful.”