little shop of horrors (1986)
in a word, make that two words, fucking perfection. the world of movies is not complete unless there exists a singing, man-eating, plant from outerspace named audrey ii. director frank oz adapted his version of the off-broadway play, that was in turn an adaption of an old roger corman flick released in 1960. oz retains that goofy air of b-movies, and adds his own brand of camp for flavor. the result is delirious, rib-breaking hilarious, witha book and music that you not only can dance to, but also will sing, like a curse, forever.
which is what i do today. sing those songs in my awful scratch. they are catchy. and perfect for the story of a schmuck, seymour, played by rick moranis who toils in florist shop located in skid row. seymour got eyes for the resident beauty, audrey, played by ellen greene, and alas is nothing but a shadow to her. until one freak day, seymour discovers a really weird plant for sale on the street corner, takes it home and nurtures it. he names the plant audrey ii, in honor his secret love, where it grows and grows. seymour finds out audrey ii not only can talk, but sings for its supper. the plant promises, and delivers, all sorts of wishes, including the love of audrey, to seymour in exchange for human flesh.
and so on. moranis can't sing a note, but that is no matter, since he had adequate voice coaches and can fake it, a little. greene can sing, and i wonder what had happened to her, since i've seen her in nothing ever since. the rest of the cast is full of cameos by the likes of john candy, bill murray, and most memorable is the brilliant steve martin as audrey's sadistic, dentist, cum greaser boyfriend.
story: goofy. yet it is the songs that carry the film. steve martin's intro song is catchy and hilarious. it goes something like.
when i was younger i was a bad little kid
my momma noticed strange things that i did.
like shooting puppies with a bb gun.
i'd poison guppies, and when i was done,
i'd take a pussycat and bash in his head.
then my momma say
what did she say?
she said my boy's gonna find a way
to make his natural tendencies pay.
he'll be a dentist!
i don't know if that is quite right, since i quoted it from memory. but that is how catchy the songs are. they stick to the memory, like silly putty, or 3-day-old bubblegum.
needless to say seymour and audrey fight back, destroy the plant, and live happily ever after in oz's cracked vision of 1950s domestic bliss, a vison of america which means a house with astroturf for a lawn, furniture covered in plastic sheeting, tv dinners, and a power structure where father knows best. all satirized, and made even more poignant for the fact that the film was made and released in ronald reagan's america because the old gipper was indeed selling to the u.s. citizenry a land as a beacon shining on a hill, and domestic life frozen and lifted straight from a 1950s sitcom.
as homer simpson says, doh! for in the end, audrey ii lives on in little cuttings that mug for the camera as the scene of connubial bliss fades to black. a predictable ending, sure, but movie is carried not by the novelty of its plot, but by the energy of its performers, and the songs invented for them. this is one of my favorite films of all time. like michael keaton as beetlejuice
said about the exorcist
, i've seen this movie a hundred times and it just keeps getting funnier and funnier.