VIDEO: The Apple (1980)

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It’s the bizarre cult classic The Apple, a gay sci-fi biblical musical allegory directed by the future producer of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. It’s the far-flung year of 1994, where society is ruled by a fascist, totalitarian record label called BIM, and the only ones who can liberate humanity are two virginal folk singers from Canada.

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  • Muthsarah

    These production values are pretty good for low-budget filmmakers.  Did someone actually remaster this recently?  As a general rule, I hate the 1970s, but this does look shiny and fun; a major step up from the nauseating Xanadu.  Though, deus ex machina aside, the plot just sounds horrible – the “good guys” do nothing and let the villains control the story, then there’s a happy ending (fit for Monty Python or The Kids in the Hall), just because.

    Part of the thrill of these reviews is hearing for the first time that movies like this could actually exist, since I hadn’t even heard of half the movies you’ve reviewed here.  Is this another one you ran into on TV?  What would we have to do to find movies like this without being directly told about them?  Any way to distinguish the good trash from the bad?

    P.S. Eurovision joke = perfect

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      The DVD was from 2004 and they did a nice job cleaning it up. Golan/Globus were magicians as far as making quality looking films for medium budgets.

      Xanadu is a love it or hate it affair. I haven’t seen it in ages but I’d be curious to revisit. I remember enjoying it on a bad level.

      Yeah, the hero mopes the whole film and it isn’t until his girlfriend escapes that he “rescues” her. They never mention Mr Topps until he shows up at the end so it is totally a WTF moment.

      This one I believe I rented back in the 90s because I knew Catherine Mary Stewart was in it. I didn’t even know it was a musical.

      Its tough…I usually have a good barometer for weeding out the bad that I don’t like, although believe me, I’ve seen my fair share of terrible movies that I don’t like. Good grief, I saw House of the Dead in the theater. In the 90s I used to work next to a mom and pop video store. I knew a few of the people that worked there and a few nights a week I would go in and randomly rent movies. They would often pull some aside with the “this movie looks terrible, you have to see it!”…and I usually did. I also picked by cover back when movies had cool cover art. I was in my teens and a friend had a mother who works second shift so when she left for work, we would head over and watch bad movies all night. Thats where I saw a lot of these.

      hehehe, I liked that too :)

  • MephLord

    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is a real city, nice to know it still exists in the future of 1994.  I live 350 km north of the place, and everyone loves the city’s name.  It goes well with Medicine Hat, Alberta as a city name that isn’t easily forgotten. 

    As for the movie, it looks completely ridiculous.  It’s not something I could ever watch, since musicals aren’t my genre (except for Little Shop of Horrors).  Also, it would’ve been epic to have had the ghost bridge be a rainbow bridge instead, to imply that God is really Odin, and the bridge could’ve been Bifrost, and they are all going to Valhalla.

    • Muthsarah

      Hippies?  In Valhalla?  THAT movie absolutely needs to be made.

      • Sofie Liv

         Except it would be a really short movie… the Norse gods would find the Hippies to be wuzzies, then smash their skulls in with their hammers.. end movie.

        • MephLord

          Great idea for a claymation short movie!

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      I didn’t bother to look up Moose Jaw because the movie was so ridiculous I just figured they made it up. I’ve had a few people tell me it is real. Well, no worse than Whiskey Dick Mountain, Washington lol. Little Shop is grand. Possibly my favorite musical, definitely my wife’s favorite. Now that is an ending I can support!

      • The_Stig

        My hometown was originally called Big Lick.

  • Thomas Stockel

    I remember when Turner Classic Movies showed this film.  I think it is really stretching the definition of the word “classic”, myself.

    Anyway, a fun review as always, Cecil. :)

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Maybe they were going for cult classic?

      Thanks! :)

  • Sofie Liv

    This movie looks bloody amazing and I want to see it now..

    And it’s awesome stuff like this that makes me seriously wonder.. what happened to Rock Operas? Seriously, Rock Operas is like the coolest concept in excistence, and when it’s good.. well, it’s just awesome.
    So what the hell people? why aren’t any-body making rock operas no more? :( 

    • Muthsarah

      Rock musicals (the movies, not just concept albums) came out of the era when rock was big, lavish, creative, and new, when Bowie, The Beatles, and The Who went so much bigger in spectacle than any rock group had gone before, and when it still had that mark of rebellion and reality-bending, psychadelia, which helped to transitioned the music into a visual medium.  It hasn’t been that way for a long time.  It’s conceivable that someone could have made a rock musical around Van Halen, or the earlier Aerosmith, but never for Green Day or Limp Bizkit.  Sad to say, but music videos probably took their toll as well, as they allowed the band (‘s label) to present their songs in a visual way, but to safely build it around one song at a time without having to string a dozen of them together in a giant film.  They increased the value of hit singles versus hit albums.

      • Sofie Liv

         Yeah but still, guys like Andrew Lloyd webber whom just makes musicals.. you know.. Jesus Christ Superstart.. they could go the rock opera approach couldn’t they?

        I like vaudville and all of that, I even love what you call classical musicals.. I really do.. but I wont deny Rock operas are just cooler and an ridicoulesly cool concept. “Love never dies.” had one rock tune in it.. it was awesome for while it lasted, but come on.. there’s still people making musicals out there, you can do an opera based around rock instead of classical theme tunes, or just make a eletric guitar rift varitation of the classical music, it worked awesome wonders for “Transeberian orchestre.” when-ever they make sweet rockie versions of old Mozart tunes :3

        • Muthsarah

          Musicals follow trends, same as any other artistic style.  Gilbert and Sullivanesque light operas was based on grand opera, chamber music, and music hall tunes of the late 19th century, because that’s what was popular then.  Likewise, Rogers and Hart/Hammerstein-style Broadway musicals were based on either light operas or the kinds of swing-backed ballads popular in the 1940s and 1950s, rock operas were based on the kinds of music popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and now…well…we have pop musicals, either based on the older Broadway musicals, or sometimes the jukebox musicals of the 1950s and early 1960s.  The kind of music that made rock musicals isn’t popular enough anymore for there to be much of an audience; so we see only smaller rock musical productions for niche audiences.  Retro music lovers just don’t have the buying power of everyone else, and the people who once made all those great rock musicals are either gone or have burned out, like Webber.

          If they made new musicals, would you want them to base the music on what’s popular today, or go back a few decades and mine the old style some more?  They’re already doing the former, pop musicals, and they’ve already done the latter.  It’s not fresh anymore, it’s not popular anymore, and it ran out of steam long ago.  I’m happy to see people keep the style alive, but I think it’s hopeless to think that it’s ever going to be popular again.  It had its time, but rock’s dead now, or at least the big spectacular rock that these musicals were based on, still-growing and experimental.  I just don’t see the current batch of rock music inspiring works like these.  So you’re either going to see musicals based on what is and will later be popular, or you’ll have to be content with the rare, smaller rock musical that won’t ever go mainstream, and live in the past with the rest of us dinosaurs. :)

        • The_Stig

          I’m convinced Phantom would be amazing as a rock opera.

          • Sofie Liv

             Well, that’s the genius thing about Andrew Lloyd Webbers Phantom of the opera, a large part of it is secretly a rock opera merely disguised as a classical opera, it would only take a few modefications to the existing score to turn it into a full-blown rock opera…. why didn’t that happen in the movie?

          • Muthsarah

            The movie was pretty faithful as far as presenting the songs, it just mucked up the pacing with (new) unnecessary melodrama and had a Phantom who could barely sing.  There was no need to change the style of the music.  It took so damn long to get from the West End (1986) to theatres (2004), so the producers, Webber, everyone else were clearly very wary of its commercial prospects.  Changing the music would have been a further risk, and changing it to a style that hadn’t been popular in 20 years even moreso.

            PotO is genre-bending, but it’s still clearly a rock/pop musical; the only “classical” notes come from the subject matter, none of the songs really sound like grand opera.  Most of the songs are more pop than rock, actually.  Electric guitars would be too out-of-place given the setting, so Webber went with aria-like ballads accompanied by electric organs and synthesizers.  Because 80s.

          • Sofie Liv

             I know, I reviewed the movie on this very site -_-;

            But yeah, I think a big mistake of the movie was trying to “Clean it.” and make it feel more. “Realistic.” (dude, the characters keep singing their dialouge, all-ready there you fail in your attempt for a more grounded setting.)

            when in reality, they should just have camped the hell out of it. I would have loved that!

            The best musical movies are those which seems to life inside of their own reality, where the big and over-dramatic is natural and it all feels larger than life, especially in Phantom of the opera where the music is so damn big, it’s a damn shame the movie feels small.

            I call it a “Rock Opera.” because the thing is structured and build as a opera.
            But, the music itself is not Opera music, it’s some-thing else, as you said, a mixture between pop and rock, and I say, you could camp it up, make some modefications to the instrumentals and make it feel like a Nightwish album if you felt like it.. and in my book, that would have been awesome.

            But sadly, the actual movie chose to “play it safe.” why the hell you would do that when your source material all-ready have a fan-base fellowing and you are going to earn money no matter what.. why not just try some-thing new now you are at it? I don’t know..

            My best guess is that Joel Schumacher got down-rigth scare of camping any-thing up ever since he recieved all that flank for Batman and Robin -_-;

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Rock Opera don’t exist mostly because there are certain things that belong to a time period. Not saying it is impossible but we used to have Queen, The Who, and The Beatles, and now we have Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Rhianna.

  • I’m very much on board with the concept of this movie, making fun of how a corporation of any kind, be it music, be it fast food, be it a TV network etc. has so much influence over an easily led population, so much that it becomes part of a daily ritual like that part with the Dancing to BIM hour. I have something like that, but it’s usually during my half hour lunch break where I put on mp3 player and listen to whatever the hell I want!

    I also get what you said about pop music being slowly made into one sound, but even though a lot of pop music irks me, it’s not completely forumlaic. The likes of Gotye, Cee Lo Green and Adele help me to think that there are people that still want something of substance and good unassisted song-writing can gain wide-range exposure and help shake up the status quo even if just for a little while. Better than nothing, which is not how a lot of apathetic cynics see things unfortunatlely. It’s a ‘maybe so’ if we try but it’s a ‘definitely not’ if we don’t.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Its funny how relevant it is still to this day. While the styles and the music changed, the nonsense that goes on hasn’t. It all about image first, talent second. It used to be harder to disguise but now with autotuning working for liver performances, talent is the last thing they look for.

      There still is some talent in pop music but notice how 2 of the 3 you mentioned are from outside the US. We used to get a cycle of styles of music ever 7-8 years or so when something new would come along and would become the dominant sound. Now, we are stuck in this endless mess of the same thing over and over. Its like some crappy musical version of Groundhog Day.

  • Vladek Sheybal and Joss Ackland in a musical? I thought it didn’t get better than Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Paint your Wagon still baffles me.

      • MichaelANovelli

        Hey, Paint Your Wagon is awesome!

        It made me the man I am today!  :-)

  • James Elfers

    Unlike many of the movies you feature, this one HAS to be experienced to be believed. I’ve seen it several times and it just gets weirder with each viewing. The best parts are when Vladek Sheybal gives a press conference in several languages (as I’m sure the devil can)  and the hippie rapture at the end. Of course when this movie was made hippies were already anachronisms.  The song lyrics are bizarre to say the least. At one point our hunky hero is sining “I’m standing here with my back against the wall” while  literally standing with his back against the wall! 

     This is a perfect bad movie night party film.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Agreed. Seeing the songs in full along with all the lavish production that goes with them adds to the weirdness. The lyrics for some of the songs were quite clever and showed they put work into it. After spending the better part of last week working on this, I’m going to have the songs in my head for at least a month.

    • Good Shot Green

      Yes, that’s a good scene – he speaks (IIRC) English, German, Italian and French in one uncut take.

      Someday I’ll get my Mr. Boogalow costume for Halloween.

  • Good Shot Green

    I have to pick a couple of nits. 1)Post apocalyptic?  I don’t know where you get that, what with the futuristic! monorail and all.

    2) The deux ex machina transport is a Rolls, it looks like.

    Otherwise, I enjoyed this recap.  The songs are catchy, yes, although you could’ve elaborated on how utterly cheesy and banal the lyrics are, and how the entire production seems to have been fueled by piles of cocaine. SPEEEEEEED!

  • Earthbound_X

    Since Riffttax did a riff of this, I’ve now seen it.

    It’s a pretty fun movie, and I quite like a few of the songs, but man is it goofy, haha.
    Rifftrax does a great job making fun of it.

  • Martmeister

    Fun fact; Allan Love, who played Dandi, went on to open a seafood restaurant.
    It ended up on an episode of Kitchen Nightmares.