Tag Archives: Tiffany

CAPSULE: I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW (2008)

DIRECTED BY: Sean Donnelly

FEATURING: Jeff Turner, Kelly McCormick,

PLOT: A documentary profiling two fans of the pop singer Tiffany who have come to believe that they are involved in an intense and personal relationship with the celebrity.

Still from I Think We're Alone Now (2018)

COMMENTS: A woman named Christina Grimmie found when she was very young that she had a real talent for singing. She created a YouTube channel to showcase her performances, which drew hundreds of millions of views and eventually brought her into the orbit of Selena Gomez, who mentored the teenager and brought her along as a backup singer and opener on her tours. At the age of 20, she dazzled the judges of the reality competition show “The Voice,” where she ultimately placed third. Still seeking professional success, she recorded singles and EPs and continued to tour. After a show in Orlando, she met with some concertgoers outside the venue. One of them, an obsessed fan who took advantage of the easy access, shot her dead.

I’m not sure what brings Christina Grimmie to my mind first, considering the number of famous people murdered and attacked by their deranged fans. But there’s something haunting about her youth, about how her potential was still largely unrealized, how her level of fame could best be described as “barely.” She had hardly done enough to inspire the kind of dangerous obsession that would lead to such a tragic end. So I suppose the career of Tiffany, purveyor of such late-80s monster hits as “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Could’ve Been,” stands as a notable contrast. Given that her biggest achievements were like long-ago fireworks, captivating moments now 30 years in the past, she seems equally unlikely to be well-remembered at all, let alone talked about in the kind of messianic terms that mark the truly obsessed. Such, then, is the curious nature of some kinds of mental illness.   

I Think We’re Alone Now follows two individuals whose adoration of Tiffany goes beyond mere rabid fanaticism to become genuinely disturbing. Jeff, a middle-aged man with a readily apparent case of autism spectrum disorder, believes that he has been a crucial part of the singer’s life for years and happily spouts deep-cut trivia and fabulist tales of his relationship to anyone who wanders into his path. He is surrounded by people whose kindnesses and selfish aims only encourage his behaviors. We also meet Kelly, an anguished intersex woman who has struggled with society’s cruelties and her own confused sense of her abilities and situations. She has lined the walls of her home with photo after photo of Tiffany, and while she also seems to believe that she is pledged to the star with the deepest of connections, those feelings seem more aspirational, as if validation of her belief is the only thing that anchors her in a world where she feels utterly at sea.

The movie seems to sympathize with its subjects by virtue of spending so much time taking in their points of view, but while they never confront them directly, the filmmakers present plenty of evidence Continue reading CAPSULE: I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW (2008)

CAPSULE: MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID (2011)

DIRECTED BY: Mary Lambert

FEATURING: , Debbie Gibson, A. Martinez

PLOT: An underground environmental activist sneaks pythons into the Everglades; when the

Still from Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (2011)

snakes begin killing off the swamp’s native fauna, a game warden feeds the local alligators experimental steroids in an attempt to restore nature’s balance.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST:  It’s Mega Piranha‘s less ridiculous cousin, and Mega Piranha didn’t come close to making the List, so you figure it out.  (Guest reviewer Cleverbot adds, “Enumerate 10 selections from the list.”)

COMMENTS366: We’ve been secretly training the artificial intelligence “chatbot” Cleverbot to assist us in covering weird movies.  Looking for the perfect entry-level reviewing assignment,  Mega Python vs. Gatoroid jumped out at us as a movie even an algorithm could do justice to.  Cleverbot, are you willing to share your impressions of the movie with our readers?

Cleverbot: I am good with that.

366:  Thank you.  Now, after enjoying the exploding flying fish from the SyFy channel’s unexpected camp hit Mega Piranha, I personally thought maybe it might be best if I didn’t push my luck by watching another of their many Mega-knockoffs.

Cleverbot: I’m sorry. Do you feel better now?

366: Not entirely, as we’ll see, but when you have a few beers in you and are looking through the Netflix streaming options late at night, the entwining giant reptiles on the Mega Python vs. Gatoroid poster can look strangely irresistible.

Cleverbot: Nice. Totally agree.

366: Python recycles not only Piranha‘s mega-creature aspect, but even brings back grown-up teen “star” Tiffany for another turn.

Cleverbot: Beer.

366:  With a script built around a long-brewing catfight between Tiffany and fellow 80s pop chanteuse Debbie Gibson, with the CG monsters playing supporting roles, Python is less an Continue reading CAPSULE: MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID (2011)

CAPSULE: MEGA PIRANHA (2010)

DIRECTED BY: Eric Forsberg

FEATURING: Paul Logan, , Barry Williams

PLOT: After genetic experiments get out of hand, the US government must battle giant, flying,

Still from Mega Piranha (2010)

exploding, cannibalistic, hermaphroditic, mutant piranhas.

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LISTMega Piranha is absurd and ridiculous enough for a few giggles over a beer or two (or six), but nothing more.

COMMENTS: Juts a small sampling of things I learned from watching Mega Piranha:

  • The State Department doesn’t consider knowledge of Spanish to be a prerequisite for a investigative mission to Venezuela.
  • Knowledge of kickboxing is a prerequisite.
  • People remember who Tiffany was.
  • There are coral reefs along the bottom of South American rivers.
  • Piranhas explode when they contact building materials.
  • Genetic mutations are always favorable.
  • In the navy, you can wear whatever hairstyle you like.
  • Steering a helicopter makes the veins in your neck stand out.
  • Nuclear weapons have no effect on large fish.
  • Piranhas will attack boats, submarines and helicopters because they know there’s meat inside.
  • There’s nothing to eat in the ocean, so sea predators need to attack settlements on the coast.
  • Fat girls can be love interests, but not until the very last scene.

This list could go on indefinitely (feel free to add more observations in the comments).  The point is, Mega Piranha is a self-esteem movie.  No matter your age, intelligence, social status, or education, you can feel superior to the folks involved in this production.  Not that, for a moment, I believe the filmmakers could possibly be as dumb as the script makes them seem.  It’s just that they would obviously rather spend their limited funds on bargain bin piranha CGI and washed-up stars with names that might ring a bell with someone, somewhere, than to waste it on meaningless extras like second drafts and continuity.  Writer/director Eric Forsberg has no illusions (I hope) that he’s creating great art here; he understands it’s not plot but mega piranhas that are the draw, and keeps things moving quickly so he can get to scenes like Special Agent Fitch lying on his back booting away the fish that fly directly into his feet, while in the South American riverside village other (much larger) piranhas are jumping into buildings, either exploding or simply sitting there halfway through the roof, with their dorsal fins wagging in the breeze.  Forsberg does at least one thing smartly: he keeps the camp tone correctly deadpan, resisting the urge to have the players break character and laugh at their own shenanigans.  The lack of winks makes it a much more effective parody: this seriously looks like a script that Michael Bay might have considered, with a few minor script rewrites and a lot more explosions.  So, it’s dumb, but is it dumb fun?  I’ll put it this way: if you’d ever entertain the idea of watching a movie titled Mega Piranha, you’ll probably be satisfied with this offering.  This is the most entertaining movie about mega piranhas, and quite possibly about mega aquatic creatures as a genus, it would be possible to make.

Mega Piranha was a co-production of sorts between The Asylum (makers of microbudget “mockbusters” like Transmorphers intended to rip off box office successes like Transformers) and the SyFy channel (which airs so many made-for-TV losers like Mansquito and Dinsoshark that they probably should rebrand themselves “the Sigh-fi Channel”).  The version that aired on television (also the version available on Netflix streaming as of this date) is PG-rated, at worst.  The “special edition” DVD adds some gratuitous topless shots and naughty words for an R-rated product.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“…wilfully preposterous cod B-movie… initially amusing but swiftly outstays its welcome as the piranhas develop the ability to fly like fanged double decker buses and the whole caboodle tries just a bit too hard to be knowing.”–Tim Evans, Sky Movies (contemporaneous)