Starring... who the heck ELSE??!
Co-starring Richard E. Grant, Claire Rushbrook, Alan Cumming, Roger More... yes, that Roger Moore (!????!??!), George Wendt, Meat Loaf??? Oh, and Elton John is supposed to be in here somewhere...
Directed by some brave soul named Bob Spiers
Written by a woman desperate for a paycheck named Kim Fuller
Rated PG (For some vulgarity, brief nudity and language, nothing too, erm, spicy though)
HOOOOOO boy! What have I gotten myself into THIS time? Am I in over my head???
Dunno. All I know is that while finishing up that notoriously atrocious walkthrough for the equally atrocious recent version of House of Wax, I really needed to do this stunt again with something much, much lighter in terms of content. Yes, that flick was as stupid as all get out and deserved all the mocking anyone out there can lash at it, but it's not exactly the most cheery subject matter in the world, if you know what I mean. I mean, like I said at the beginning of that one, slasher flicks aren't my thing at all.
So as I approached the end of struggling through that chore -- and a chore it indeed was -- I figured that in order to properly scrub the dreariness of a slasher flick out of my skull, the best way to do it would be to doing a running commentary on something truly light, frothy and bubbly. Not to mention thoroughly ridiculous. And what better fits that description than something like Spice World? Hey, why not?
What's my personal "experience" regarding the Spice Girls? Actually, none at all. I wasn't listening to the Top Ten during the 90s, preferring instead underground styles of experimental music, classics, anything Beatles related, and various favourites still releasing wild new experiments that still made it into the charts regardless due to who they were (i.e. Madonna). Come to think of it, I ought to write a running commentary on Truth or Dare, which I've seen several times, while I'm at it.
Anyway, I had heard of them by around 1996 or so, but knew nothing about them apart from the fact that they were popular at the time. Then around 2004 I found two used cassettes of their first two albums, Spice and Spice World, at a local thrift store and decided to pick them up and give 'em a spin since they were only 50 cents each. To my surprise, they were genuinely entertaining. The albums were a lot of fun and I thought, "Sometime when I get the proper ideas I'm going to put lyrics to these." I haven't yet, but I will.
Anyway, that's pretty much all I know. Oh, and something about how each girl had a moniker. And, of course, that they had a movie.
I heard this movie was predictably trashed by critics but went on to become a hit nevertheless. Yeah, sounds about right. I certainly have nothing against the Spice Girls, whoever they are, so let's check this flick out and see how silly it is, shall we?
There's the famous Columbia Pictures logo, and I'm half expecting the Torch Chick to start dancing or something the way she did at the beginning of Thank God It's Friday! But no, she does no such thing, and the movie begins.
Hmm. A multicoloured bar gently appears across the black screen as a song I recognize from the tapes starts playing in the background. Soon the screen reads "A Spice Girls/Fragile Films Production". Hey, it's all psychedelic! Far out. And we first see "Mel B.", then "Emma", then "Mel C."... geez, so far this trippy opening is reminding me of the beginnings of James bond flicks, you know?... "Geri"... wow, she has a bit of an attitude, I guess, and her hair looks forty years old... and "Victoria". Hey, wait a sec, I thought they all had monikers? Oh well, guess I'll find that out soon enough.
And now we see the colours swirling prettily as the title grows past the camera lens, and we now see the girls performing said song, which also happens to be one I like a lot. All five are very attractive, lovely girls, although the one chick Geri serious needs to switch hair stylists. No, wait, I think I take it back... I just saw a shot of her behind the mike and her hair looked far more normal there. Anyway, they're performing this pretty song on stage before an adoring audience, and I'm thinking that this film is starting out much nicer than expected and nowhere near as over-the-top as I was expecting its opening to be.
Say what you will about the Spice Girls, their songs are a lot of fun. ;)
By the way, each one of them appears to be wearing a slightly different white outfit, I guess the style of each outfit is supposed to represent their different monikers or something, of which said monikers haven't been mentioned yet. You'll have to excuse my overall lack of knowledge regarding Spice Etiquette, but I never did learn those monikers like I'm sure the rest of the world did. The only one I tend to remember is "Ginger Spice", and that's because the Ginger Spice in question recorded a solo cover of Cameo's "Work Out" for the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack, which I happen to own. I'm assuming that Ginger Spice is the cute black chick due to her pretty complexion, though of course I could be wrong.
The credits are still rolling while the girls are still lip-synching to this song, and for a split second we see that they're also being monitored on cameras, so I guess it's also supposed to be a broadcast of some sort. And now we see there's a couple of dudes in the audience who are apparently part of the crew, one of them must be some kind of director... wait a sec, did that one guy just make the "cuckoo" sign with his ear while talking to the other guy as in "This movie is NUTS" or is he attempting to direct him on the sound. Yeah, I think he's trying to direct the sound. Yeah, the other one turns out to be wearing headphones, so that's exactly what they're doing.
The audience is all grooving to all of this, of course, and we see a flash of the screens the girls are on again. I like the fact that they have violinists in the background and everything. And now the audience is applauding even though the song technically isn't even over yet and has been cut short for the movie. See? I do know this material. ;) The wonders of Goodwill!
And now we see them backstage, and this guy behind them says, "Well done, girls, excellent performance." I don't think it's the same guy who was making motions in the audience, maybe it is, I don't know, but I suppose we'll eventually find out without rewinding.
"What are you talking about? You were't even watching, Clifford," remarks the one whom I'm still assuming is Ginger Spice.
"Yes, I was," he insists. Somehow his voice just lacks conviction as far as I'm concerned.
"Don't lie! No you weren't!" shoots back another.
Clifford goes on and on about how supposedly he was at full rapt attention, and the girls remark, "He just doesn't love us anymore," to which he of course responds, "Yes, I do!" with all the attitude of a small boy wrongfully accused of not liking the latest flavour of Pepsi.
This continues on for another couple of seconds or so until we abruply cut to extremely grainy footage of what looks like a Blair Witch style documentary. Is it Clifford? I think so, I'm a bit too confused right now to tell, especially since on this screen both shots of Clifford (if that was indeed him in the audience, which I'm assuming it was for now) were so far off that I just couldn't make out much facial detail. Anyway, this person... no, wait, I think he said his first name was Pierce, so he's not Clifford, and he is currently on screen apparently attempting to make some sort of documentary on the girls, he says he'll be spending five days with them.
Suddenly, the shot changes again, and... WHOA! Hey check it out who it is! It's Elton John! They quickly exchange greetings, and after the girls all leave Elt lets out a big heave as though the mere excitement of seeing them was just too breathless to endure all at once, lol.
Ok, now it's flashed back to the Blair Witch style doc footage as the Pierce guy adds, "Any second now the Spice Girls will be stampeding down this corridor in a frenzy of chaos and energy, which of course has become their..." uh no, actually he's wrong, they just march right past behind him in the most casual way like "whatever" without even looking at the doc people once. Pierce couldn't even get them to stop, let alone say one word to him: he's now frantically trying to arrange another shot since that one clearly didn't work.
So we see Clifford leading the girls downstairs and saying not to worry, there won't be any fans outside the door he's leading them to, and the moment he throws it open there is of course a huge crowd of screaming freaks and paparazzi. You know the deal, they pass by greeting everyone and we get to see lots of footage of the crowd enthusiastically greeting them back. The Spice Girls are making their way into a double decker bus decorated like the Union Jack, as of course it should be since they're a UK act and all, and I'm suddenly realizing that this movie is obviously meant to be a nod to both A Hard Day's Night and Magical Mystery Tour. Say what you will about the Spice Girls, they have excellent taste in who they choose to (attempt to, anyway) pay tribute to.
I'm also suddenly getting the feeling that this movie will also feature a number of cameos by top British talent that I may not recognize at all since (a) I've never been one to "go Hollywood" and know only a few names at all (even with my enthusiasm for British cinema and television... oh, the sheer irony of that previous "go Hollywood" remark! Kind of embarrassing), and (b) they'll probably be names mostly unfamilar to most American audiences anyway. At least that's what I've read recently somewhere. Oh well, my loss. I very much enjoy British humour, and I have the feeling I'll probably get to see lots of it here.
One thing I do want to note here, and I'm not saying this to be nasty or mean, I'm just stating it: even when I wasn't terribly familiar with the Spice Girls back during the 90s, the couple of times I saw photographs of them I thought their outfits were hilarious. I kept thinking, "who picked out these clothes, were they blind??" Not to mention the kooky hairstyles. Those shoes. Those horns. I mean the hairstyles sometimes twirled up to look like horns. I mean, what else could you call 'em? So just looking at these ladies tends to be enough to give me a giggle as it is. I'm sure that must have been their intention to at least some small degree somewhere along the way.
Hey, that's pretty cool. The inside of the bus is far, far larger than the outside and basically looks like a tripped out romp room. There goes the bus and... wait a sec, was that Meat Loaf driving??!
And the bus appears to be starting over a bridge, love the cinematography here. Yup, it's definitely going over a bridge. And inside, hey, that's pretty cool, it's all day-glo solid pastels and there's even a swing. Hey, even cooler: that blonde chick doesn't just have a swing, she's got an entire toy area and toy shelf! Now that's something I can relate to. Meanwhile, the one in orange is going slightly nuts trying to find something, her boots she says, and now I see another one of them has exercize equipment all over the place, I get it now, they each have their own section marked off to their own personal taste. Now I can see Big Ben off in the distance, and hey, the bus's got a big white/silver peace sign painted on the back of it! And we see more such exchanges inside the bus as it travels along through the ever-popular London area.
Soon we hear that there's "a press conference coming up: that means a lot of smiling at the cameras, and answering dumb questions. That is all." Well, that's one way of putting it.
The press conference is to announce that they'll be performing at the Abert Hall, from what I can make out. Oh, and in a closeup I just noticed that the blonde chick's wearing a necklace that reads BABY. Okay, so obviously she's definitely Baby Spice, that explains the toys. No comments regarding me and my earlier comments on how I could relate to her, please! Anyway, at least we now definitely have at least one moniker truly identified.
Meanwhile, we see some fat overweight gross guy in PJs and slippers watching all this on his telly. Oh, and there's some other guy at a laptop on what appears to be a balcony outside, or a porch, or something else of that sort.
The fat guy mutters something completely unintelligable, and after a moment the other guy comes in with something on paper and tries to show it to Fat Guy while saying something equally unintelligable, and Fat Guy interrupts, "Will you just shut up and watch this?" Charming.
He then adds, "These are the Spice Girls," in such a way that I want to ask him, "Ver-y good. Can you say your alphabet, too? I know you can."
Laptop guy likes the blonde one. "No no no," says Fat Guy. "Sporty." Uh, suddenly this movie has turned pretty gross. Those girls are WAY out of your age range, creep!
Laptop apparently agrees, and Fat Guy explains, "This is what our movie should be about." Oh, they're producers? Okay, that makes a little more sense, then. They start to have a discussion about how perfect the girls are for a movie, and never mind if they can't act, etc. Let's make a movie! Apparently they're going to try to pitch it that very afternoon.
After seeing that the bus is once again on its way, we flash over to that Clifford guy again, looking strained as he sits at what appears to be a Tron fanboy desk. Again, no comment regarding myself, please! ;) Anyway, Cliff must be their manager from what I can tell, even though the movie is being fuzzy on all specifics so far. He gets a call and goes, "Yes, Chief?" and starts having a converstion with someone obviously in charge of the whole Spice Girls phenom, I guess.
It turns out said "boss" is, ahem, Roger Moore (???) sitting at some fancy office laced with gold records somewhere while petting a kitty James Bond Villain style. So now all you Spice Girls haters know who to blame.
"Remember that now is a dangerous time," he, er, warns. At least, I think that's what he's supposed to be doing. "They've had a lot of success very quickly. So get ready for the backlash. When the speeding melon hits the ball, it's Christmas for the crows." Huh??!
Uh, excuse me, did I just hear what I think I just heard???
Moore's gone nuts. That's all I can say as he hangs up and switches to speakerphone style. Clifford asks if he should go after the paparazzi, and Moore remarks, "There's no need for any stirring." They go on about this, Clifford is obviously agitated I guess, and Moore actually says, "Remember, the drummer who is without sticks has no backbeat." DOUBLE huh??!
"Absolutely," agrees Clifford even though this exchange makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and I have the feeling this whole movie is going to be just as cuckoo. What am I saying, shouldn't that be a given?
After Clifford hangs up, the woman assisting him immediately asks, "What did he say?" and I immediately thought, "Something totally nonunderstandable."
Clifford actually then responds to her with, "I haven't a clue." Oh good. So I'm not the only one left in the dark here. Makes me feel so much better, dont'cha know. ;) "But I know that he's right," Clifford adds. Oh, never mind, lol. He then starts muttering to himself, "Drama. Drama." He's twitching his thumb weirdly for reasons unasked. And then makes some weird clacking noise before we see a shot of the bus still on its way. I don't know, you explain it to me!
So now the girls are rehearsing, or recording, or whatever it is. And way upstairs, Pierce is talking to his doc crew. "Now remember, the camera is the window to the soul," he instructs. The crew obediently repeats that phrase after him. Hw continues, "What I want to do, I want to take my audience on a 'Journey Through The Mind's Eye' of the Spice Girls." Sounds hazardous to everyone's collective health, be prepare for massive lawsuits, man. He then states something that for the life of me I can't make out, only that it has something to do with the "subconscious".
Meanwhile downstairs, the rehearsal gets stalled somehow, and then the girls rush over to greet a friend who just happened to drop by. Did I mention that there's multiple colours on the walls?
Oh, their friend is pregnant. I like the furniture they sit on, all day-glos and zebra stripes. While they're all visiting, the doc makers come up from behind to try and get it all on film, including the sound guy holding a microphone directly over the gaggle, but one of the girls gets annoyed and turns with, "Excuse me, would you mind NOT filming? PLEASE?" The sound guy goes, "Cut," dispiritedly and pulls his microphone back again. Obviously this whole doc thing isn't working out too well so far.
Upstairs Pierce tries to discuss what he wants to do doc-wise with Clifford, and Clifford basically says that's fine, whatever, as long as he doesn't get in anyone's way, you know the drill.
The girls continue visiting with their friend, who finally says hey, just wait until you guys start having kids, and suddenly the screen swirls into this fantasy imagining the Spice Girls as pregnant mothers, and at first I'm thinking, "What the heck, what's THIS scene in here for?" until it briefly starts playing their song "Mama" and I realize the whole scene was shoehorned in so they could have an excuse to put that track in the background.
Then it goes back to the real movie, and as Clifford stands there talking to them, we see that even the girls' microphones have individually hued pastel seats behind them. He says something about a gig on Saturday. "Alright, we're coming," is the annoyed answer. The visit is over, and we see the same room darkened as the girls perform another song. Of course! And it appears this movie may have been made up as it was filmed. I still say the redhead has aged hair, though. The doc crew upstairs is trying to rush and film them again.
The song continues, and I keep expecting the girls to look up and tell the doc crew to knock it off again, poor guys.
I'm just waiting for you girls to do it.
Any second now.
Come on, drop the other one...
Well, what do you know? They DIDN'T! And the crew FINALLY got some footage! YAY! :D
And we see a newspaper headline reading SPICE GIRLS SET TO CONQUER THE GLOBE.
The newspaper in question is The Daily Event, and we flash over to said paper's headquarters...
Okay, wait, hold up here, folks. Time out. I'm suddenly realizing that this film apparently isn't going to give us any sort of official moniker identification after all. So I'm pausing it, and I'm currently looking up a movie review as I type this in hopes of getting to the bottom of this little mystery before we go any further so I can at least properly identify all of them by Official Moniker Name (TM) as opposed to this "one of them says" stuff and do this properly.
Ah, here we go. According to James Berardinelli's own 2-star review of the movie (which said review annoys me by also trashing ABBA in the same breath, BTW), the girls are as follows:
Baby Spice (Emma Bunton)
Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell)
Scary (?????) Spice (er um, Melanie Brown)
Sporty (??!?!?!!??!!!!!!!!!) (Melanie Chisholm)
Posh (!) Spice (Victoria Adams)
Uhhhhhh, okeh. Yeah, sure, whatever! LOL.
So anyway, going back to the opening credits and pairing them up, that means the black chick is NOT Ginger Spice as I'd originally thought, she's... um, Scary Spice? And just what's so scary about her? Ugh, whatev. Where's a pen?
Anyway, she's Scary Spice; the blonde one, as we had already figured out, is Baby Spice (and BTW, I just noticed she bears a striking resemblance to Cyndi Lauper facewise in the opening credits; I always found Cyndi a cute chick, so that's a compliment BTW); the chick with dark brown hair and heavy black eye makeup ringed around her eyes and pierced left nostril is Sporty Spice (uh, yeah, whatever); the redhead with aged gray in her hair is Ginger Spice (ok, that sort of makes sense due to the red hair); and finally, the chick with ultrastraight brown hair is Posh Spice. And I've gotten it written down now to keep track. I was almost tempted to make up my own nicknames for them as I went along just for convenience's sake, but why bother when they already have perfectly good ones to begin with? So we're scrubbed of Spice Ignorance now and all set.
You know, it suddenly dawns on me that this overall concept is strikingly similar to that of the Village People. I once read ages ago in an old Rolling Stone Magazine review for VP's very first album (or was it "Cruisin' "? I forget) that despite their status as a "gay music act" only one or two of them was in fact gay, and that apparently it was the songwriter who brought them together who was really the gay one, so I had gotten the idea at the time that the whole costume/moniker bit was in fact some sort of personal fetish thing for the guy who's idea the group was in the first place. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, I dunno, don't really care either way. In any case, the whole "Spice Moniker" bit is pretty much the same thing. So that probably makes the Spice Girls pretty much like the Village People of the 90s. Right? Right??
Okay, back to the movie at hand. Uh oh, looks like that newspaper I mentioned earlier is just as sick of the girls as pretty much everybody else I knew back then! I won't go into the whole dumb conversation these guys at the paper are having, I'll just say that they are plotting to destroy the group with gossip/bad headlines/making-them-have-a-falling-out/whatever and make the Spice Girls history. Must have worked in the long run, they were disappearing only what, around three years later or something? And I didn't know that it could rain and thunderstorm in an office building, I didn't think the weather could be that wet in England.
Anyway, back to the bus, which is still on its little magical mystery tour. The girls are killing time by simply hanging out on the bus (Scary and Ginger are playing chess) and I still say that bus is pretty cool. I would have decorated it up more personally, myself. ;D Meanwhile, the film producers are making their pitch with Clifford. Look at the SIZE of those CELL PHONES! They're total BRICKS! Geez, suddenly makes my iPhone 4S feel all futuristic, lol. As if I didn't love it enough as it is! AN-Y-WAAAY, the idea they're pitching has something to do with the Spice Girls being five sisters, their parents has disappeared or some such, something seriously dramatic or some such. Clifford thinks it stinks. Fat Guy retaliates, "Of COURSE it stinks! But it's a START!" Uh, yeah.
They apparently try something else for a movie idea, and we flash back to the bus continuing on its merry way. And we get a flash of Baby Spice's toy area, which remains my favourite part of the bus, LOL! And after her name comes up on the radio, Baby Spice comments on the fact that she's always going to be known as Baby Spice, the sweet and innocent one, even when she's 30! Posh remarks, "You love it, REAL-ly Emma, and you play UP to it, ALLLL the time." "No, I don't!" Baby Spice comments as she takes her lolly out of her mouth. "Yes, you do, you're doing it now." "I'm NOT!" And we see Scary's having the EXACT SAME RESPONSE I AM RIGHT NOW, giggling at...
Okay okay OK-AY, people, I have GOT to PAUSE THIS THING FOR A SECOND! GEEZ, I'm LAUGHING so much at this ridiculous thing, I need to STOP a second!
Oh geez, I SWEAR, I just stood here and laughed for about at least ten straight minutes, this is just oh geez how do I BEGIN to describe this??? I mean, I shouldn't be allowed to REVIEW this stuff!
Okay, I think I can continue now, geez, this is RIDICULOUS! Anyway, now Sporty's going on about "You see, the thing about YOU, Em, is you've got this there CUTE little smile, so you can get away with ANYthing!" And we flash over to Baby Spice just standi
GADS THERE I GO AGAIN! I actually had to STAND UP and WALK AWAY FROM MY LAPTOP I'm laughing all over again! This is just... okay okay, I think I'm calm now. Anyway, we then see a fantasy segment of a game of Clue where Baby Spice is proclaimed innocent even though she's all aimed with enough ammo to take down Rambo with one shot. And I'm thinking that I have no idea how the heck I'm going to survive reviewing the remaining hour of this flick at this rate!
Okay, now the movie's flashed back to what it calls reality, and Posh is going on about how she's fed up with people thinking she's obsessed with clothes, and we find out in the process of this exchange that the bus has a fish tank in it as well, and that Scary has a huge brick of a phone of her own. GADS, cell phones used to be huge! And they were even HUGER back in the 80s!
Okay, so anyway, their bus apparently arrives at yet another destination, it's some kind of photo shoot, and so far this crazy movie isn't making the slightest bit of sense, nor do I expect it to. And at the photo shoot they al
OH GEEZ! Here I go again! Okay, I'm NEVER going to survive this thing, I keep laughing at it too much to type. Let's just make it easy on me at this point that I can't describe this whole photo shoot scene properly, you people will just have to experience it for yourselves. Come ON, if I can do it YOU can do it!
(About 35 minutes later after calming down with a snack in the kitchen)
Okay, people, after sitting here with MUCH pondering, I've decided that I've been CONQUERED by this movie. I can't do it, not an entire friggin' Running Commentary, for pete's sake, it's just not possible. Let's just say that this thing is just too nutty and crazy and is getting sillier and siller (not to mention faster and faster) by the minute. I quit! At least, the Running Commentary part of it, that is. Let me finish watching this thing normally and then finish this all off with a normal-sounding review part and we'll call it a day. Okay?
(one hour later)
Well, film's done, and here's my remaining thoughts.
Okay okay, people, I admit it. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I admit it. I ended up enjoying this movie a heck of a lot more than I thought I would. I have no idea why, it's just so dingy (as in "DING! DING!") and so stupid and so all-over-the-place, it's a pretty harmless movie I suppose, you could show this to kids with some minor editing (I'm speaking of a scene involving male backup dancers here when I say that), but anyway, I've seen MUCH, MUCH worse than this. It's actually nowhere NEAR the worst of the stinkpile of lousy movies out there, as far as I'm concerned. It's utterly horrible, but it does have entertainment value simply because it keeps giving me nonstop snickers, eyerolling, and a nonstop urge to hurl wisecracks at it!
Do I recommend it? If you're in the mood for something loopy. And hey, you gotta admit, the girls sure looked like they had a blast making this mess. Come on, Bad Movie Lovers everywhere, be brave, pop this one in. I dare you.