I brought the newly released DVD with me on my most recent trip home. My sister and i asked my mother if she wanted to watch The Pirate Movie with us. “The one with Johnny Depp?” “No, The Pirate Movie.” “The one with Kristy McNichol? Ohhhh….”, she replied, almost crestfallen. Well, who doesn’t prefer Johnny Depp to that dude from The Blue Lagoon? That’s totally beside the point!
Even though this was one of my favorite movies growing up, it had been at least a decade, decade and a half since I had seen it. I certainly was not prepared for how cringingly bad The Pirate Movie really is. After less than five minutes, I couldn’t stop myself from yelling at the TV, “This is so fucking gay!” Seriously – Richard Simmons would call these pirates a bunch of faggots. Even so, I kept on watching, relishing every bad joke, every homoerotic pirate moment. One by one, they fell asleep – my mother, my sister, my father – until only I was left. (Actually, I’m not sure if my dad was asleep or in a state of suspended animation – he has this weird ability to avoid any ‘offensive’ TV selections by pausing whatever he’s doing and falling into a slumber-state that can last seconds or hours, only to pop back into consciousness and pick up right where he left off when the credits roll. Thank god he quit smoking in the house.) I felt bad about making my very manly father sit through the gayness that is The Pirate Movie for about 5 minutes – that is until I recognized the movie he selected to watch after I went to bed. Expecting the usual Hitler Channel bullshit, I was very surprised to hear Bjork coming from the other room – he was watching Tank Girl. I can only assume that he was only watching it for the tanks?
Gayness be damned, this is still a kickass movie. Admittedly, I now mean that ironically, whereas I recall actually thinking this was a good movie back in the day. But what does a seven year old know about camp? Why don’t people dress up and perform this movie like Rocky Horror? I admit, Christopher Atkins isn’t much of a gay icon – but how about Kristy McNichol? Didn’t she come out of the closet?
Knowing that I was going to be writing a review of this movie as I was watching it, I tried to cast a critical eye, while keeping my memories in mind. A few things jumped out at me. First off – this is one of THE worst edited films I have ever seen. Seriously, the continuity fairy was nowhere to be found on this movie set. Second, I still can’t figure out if Christopher Atkins and Kristy McNichol did their own singing. I’m fairly sure that they aren’t doing their own singing – but then again, wouldn’t they have hired better talent if that was the case? And what was with the random underwater animation sequence? Dancing fish – what the fuck? Another nagging question – was I imagining the homoerotic subtext of the pirates? They seemed intentionally gay, but then again, I think ALL pirates are, by definition, gay. Finally – why the heck did they get married at the end? They didn’t even know each other! AND WHY DIDN’T ANY OF THESE THINGS BOTHER ME BEFORE? WAS I RETARDED?
And for those of you keeping score in the ongoing Ninja vs. Pirate discussion – these totally gay pirates totally kick some Ninja ass – see, I told you so! Advantage, Pirates…
Now that I own The Pirate Movie on DVD, my only wish is to own the soundtrack. You bet your ass I’d sing along to it in the car.