ala National Lampoon's Cattle Call
Three guys pretend to make a movie so they meet girls. It's like
video dating, except fraudulent to the point of illegality.
It's a Lampoon project. Rarely have National Lampoon products
required any review.
In the 1970s and 80s they represented edgy, hip, anti-establishment
humor, and you could be pretty sure that anything attached to the
National Lampoon brand was funny and that the quality was solid. The
magazine was funny and groundbreaking and smart. The live shows and
record albums were outrageously anti-establishment. The movies were
hits (Animal House, Vacation), and starred the hottest comic stars of
the time like Belushi. Back then, if the title included the words
National Lampoon, you could be pretty sure that the product was on the
cutting edge of comedy, and that knew that you were not getting ripped
off when you plunked down your greenbacks.
No review necessary.
Boy, was that a long time ago! Now the brand means just about the
exact opposite. You can be sure that it will be straight-to-video
stuff that is as low in quality as it is in brow. Sometimes the
Lampoonistas produce from scratch. Sometimes they just lend their name
to material which has already been created.
But still no review necessary.
Here's a quick review of their four highest-rated products at IMDB
and the four lowest-rated. Note the dates.
I'm not sure what happened to them when the New Year's ball fell to
usher in 1990, but it wasn't good. Since that time, Van Wilder has
been their only worthwhile product, and even that was a notch below
their best early efforts.
Cattle Call probably isn't going to end up with a score as low as
the four bottom ones in the chart above, but it is not significantly
above that level. This film is embarrassing, more sad than funny, and
the saddest and most embarrassing part about the experience is that
the legendary Jonathan Winters agreed to appear in it. At 80 years old
he still showed the same nutty energy and was good, as always,
although he seemed to be in a different movie. Of course that just
about sums up his career, doesn't it?
Funny thing about Jon. Although I am quite old, nearly 60, I can't
remember a time when Winters was hot. Even when I first became aware
of him, he was talked about as a guy who used to be bigger. "Gee,
remember when he used to be on Jack Parr and Omnibus?", older people
would ask me with a smile of recollection for things before my time.
Yes, Jon was Jack Paar's favorite guest, or so I have read, but Paar's
stint on Tonight happened before I really became aware of the show,
and in my day, Winters could never really break through. Johnny Carson
and others would speak of him in the reverential tones reserved for
saints, as one might speak today of Nelson Mandela. Everyone in the
biz loved and respected Winters, but when he'd get his own TV show, as
he would from time to time, it seemed to be cancelled after about ten
minutes, and I never even caught a single minute of any of them. I
know that Robin Williams idolized Jon and basically stole his act, but
Robin used that act to became a major star in movies, TV, and
stand-up, while Winters always remained a bit player that people in
the biz seemed to love far more than audiences did.
So it goes.
I wish all those people who love him so much would offer him better
jobs than Cattle Call, because I hate thinking that he needs a
paycheck so desperately that he would work in something like this.
Seeing him in this is like seeing Nelson Mandela wearing a paper hat
and working behind the counter at Arby's.
NUDITY (Film clips):
is the topless woman in bed on her back. The topless women in the next
scene are unidentified background strippers.
auditioning for the faux movie.
"A young couple's weekend getaway at a secluded mountain ranch
becomes an unfathomable nightmare when they discover the truth about
IMDb says that the quote above is both the tagline and the plot
summary for this film. And they are right!
Two victims are killed before the opening credits and have nothing
to do with the main plot other than to establish that somebody has
committed maniacal murders in the lodge. The rest of the plot is fully
summarized in the all-purpose tag line. To tell you the truth, I
didn't even realize that the first two victims were different people
until near the end of the film. I thought it was one of those scripts
where the story begins near the end, then flashes back to how the
characters got there, then eventually resumes from the point shown at
the onset. That still seemed to be the case about an hour into the
film, when the female lead was tied to the bed in precisely the same
manner as the topless woman shown in the opening scenes. Fortunately
for her character, she survived and kept her clothing on, so I was
then able to determine that she was not the same woman as shown in the
The Lodge is a micro-budget slasher/horror film which is basically
filmed in a single location, the titular lodge, with a very tiny cast.
Even including the two silent and anonymous victims in the gratuitous
teaser scene, there are only six people who appear on camera. Once the
opening teaser has concluded, the film literally consists of four
people in a rural lodge, so it seems like a stage play. Although the
cinematography and performances are competent, this B-level indie film
has, so far as I can see, not one idea which is original or
worthwhile, and only a few moments of real suspense on its way to an
ending which somehow manages to be simultaneously ridiculous and fully
The topless victim is Liz Jones, and
this clip represents 100% of
her screen time. This is the film's only nudity, which means that
there is shock-value nudity within 40 seconds of the opening bell,
then no more at all!