Weekend Pass (1984)

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Flack
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Weekend Pass (1984)

Post by Flack »

The entire plot of 1984's Weekend Pass is laid out within the first minute of the film. Four sailors from the Navy have just completed basic training and received their first weekend pass, with which they plan to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tits of L.A. before they must return to base by Monday morning. Each of the four soldiers has a specific plan (and girl) in mind, but none of their stories pan out the way they had intended.

Of all the strange things to talk about, starting with the film's pacing might seem to be an odd choice; then again, it's so bizarre and lumbering that it sticks out above all. At the 3:30 mark, our four soldiers climb into a Jeep and begin cruising L.A. For the next three minutes we are treated to a jump-cut montage tour of the city played over the film's title track, the most generic of 80s tunes. The next piece of dialog is close to the seven minute mark, when one of the guys mentions he knows a great place for food and women. That place turns out to be "The G-String Club," a local strip club. Over the next seven minutes viewers are treated to at least three different stripper performances (each with its own song) with even longer stretches of dialog desert. This drags on until one of the sailors says, "man, you don't want one of these girls, you want a girl from Venice Beach!"

And so goes the slow pacing. For the next six minutes the guys wander Venice Beach, where one develops a crush on a local Aerobics instructor. From there our boys go to the aerobics center where they spend another few minutes exercising. Each of these locations begins with a montage that makes me wonder if the cinematographer had ever seen L.A. before. Or Earth. Every location-establishing montage is just a series of shots of random things. Look! A sign! A car! Some people! Another sign! Ten signs!

Slowly and muddily, we learn the four soldiers' plans. Along with the sailor who wants to hook up with the aerobics instructor, one has been set up on a blind date with the commander's niece, one wants to hook up with an old girlfriend turned music executive, and one wants to perform stand-up at a local comedy club. In case things are moving too quickly for you, at the half hour mark the guys pile into a the jeep and take another tour of L.A., this time at night, and we get yet another montage of neon lights and signs. Like all the others, it's long and serves no purpose.

Along the way, the soldiers encounter multiple detours. The group decides the nerdy soldier deserves a prostitute and so they order one for the hotel -- an Asian massage therapist named "Chop Suzi" from "Kimono Our Place." The "racist is funny" vibe continues as the one black sailor takes his three comrades to "the black side of L.A." to experience "some real soul food," only to be accosted by a former rival gang. "I thought we were being attacked by Zulu!" one of the white soldiers cries.

Eventually, all the guys' plans fall apart. The music executive has slept her way to the top and is more interested in making business connections than giving our soldier the attention he deserves, and the solider who went to L.A. to find an old flame found her shacking up with someone else. The most painful thread is the stand-up comedian's, who spends 15 minutes in the comedy club. Just like the initial strip club, we're treated to bits from half a dozen different stand up comedians doing their best material. For example, one lady deadpans into the camera, "have you ever looked at a booger? I mean, really looked at a booger?" That's better than the sailor's big joke, which is "What do you get when you mix a spaceship from Mars with a condom? An unidentified flying contraceptive!" He tells this joke four times in the movie. The only upside to the excruciatingly long scene is the club's MC Joe Chicago, played by Phil Hartman.

I'd be remiss if I left out the film's exciting conclusion, yet another dance number. This big party takes place in a club where all the women dress as aerobic instructors. Literally, every woman in the club is wearing skin-tight leotards, headbands, and leg warmers. Like every other setting, it's a million years too long. This time it's the nerdy sailor who meets up with his blind date, a nerdette. The two of them take their nerd glasses off and opine "why do they call us nerds?" before making out.

By the end of the film all four of the sailors' original plans have fallen apart and new ones have formed. Fortunately you won't be burdened with caring because not even the sailors seem to care. At the end they high five one another and literally say, "we came together, now we go our separate ways!" Another one adds "this weekend pass has expired" before the film ends in a freeze-frame shot like an old sitcom.

I hope every copy of this film along with these four sailors were on that submarine that sunk last week. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Tdarcos
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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

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Studios can have reasons for making bad films, including:
* Lots of people on staff who are paid whether they are working on a film or not. So even if they're making a bad movie, at least something is produced, and if they can arrange to presell it to a streaming service they might even break even on it.
* Intentionally making a bad film and overselling profit participation in it in order to commit fraud. This was the plot of the movie and play The Producers where they create an intentionally bad play glorifying Hitler, only for it to be taken as a hilarious parody, becoming a runaway hit.
* Some countries like Germany had very favorable tax write-offs for film production. Uwe Boll made a lot of sub-par horror films because of the tax benefits he could sell to investors. As the investment produced a larger tax benefit than what was invested, investors didn't care whether or not it made money.
* Shady Hollywood Accounting. Sometimes films are advertised in groups, so there might be $5 million spent to advertise five films, or an average of $1 million each, right? Wrong, every one of the films is charged $5 million for advertising costs.
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AArdvark
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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

Post by AArdvark »

Could be the movie just sucks.....

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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

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AArdvark wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:26 pm Could be the movie just sucks.....
See the first point I made. Sometimes they'll make movies that aren't good because there's already a bunch of union craftspeople on (very high) salary, so they have to keep them busy, and if they don't have a (known) good script, they'll use what they have, good or bad. Sometimes it might be a good script, but fails in execution because the director messed up, the DP messed up, and/or the cast messed up. Put them together and the film isn't messed up, it's a fuckup like this one apparently is.
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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

Post by pinback »

So in your world, the one thing that ISN'T a reason for a bad movie is that they tried to make a good or successful movie but it was bad.
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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

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pinback wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:01 pm So in your world, the one thing that ISN'T a reason for a bad movie is that they tried to make a good or successful movie but it was bad.
No. In my opinion "quality breeds quality." If you have a well-written script, a good concept, competent actors, a good director, and an experienced editor, the product should be at least decent, and in many cases can be surperb. But, the more of these things that are inadequate, the more likely it will fail to work.

First comes the premise. What is the idea, or concept of the movie? If this isn't solid and believable the script and subsequent film probably will fail.

Next is the script, does it execute the concept and ideas? Is it believable, is the dialog plausible? Do the characters seem believable, can we relate to them? It does not matter how good everyone working on it is, you can't make a good film without a good script. It's like turd polishing; you may make a very shiny or even attractive looking turd (if that's possible), but it's still a turd, and you can't turn it into something better, no matter how much you polish it.

Actors have to do reasonable performances that get the audience to believe their character and the surrounding story.

Next comes directing, which has the cast go where they should and execute his or her vision of what the story should be, and sets up the shots. The Director of Photography can also be important here. They produce the actual footage or video files that is the raw material.

The editor who cuts the footage or edits the digital files turns a raw video into a polished, professional print ready to be shown to the audience.

These are the most critical roles and parts, and other people like lighting, sound, construction and other professionals contribute, but if the critical people fail, the picture will fail.
Last edited by Tdarcos on Sat May 01, 2021 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

Post by pinback »

In this thread, Paul explains that there has never been a bad movie that wasn't made bad intentionally.
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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

Post by AArdvark »

He forgot the foley mixer and the key grip, they play a vital role in making a good quality movie. Where would Gone With the Wind be without a good quality key grip?

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Re: Weekend Pass (1984)

Post by Flack »

The problem with Weekend Pass is that it's a poor man's American Graffiti. American Graffiti has (at least) five things going for it. First, it revolves around an experience most people have had (summer vacation after graduating high school). Second, it revolves around a feeling most of us have had (what am I going to do after high school?). Third, it sets up multiple characters with multiple arcs (one guy wants to move away for college, one guy doesn't, one guy wants to stick around and be the local hot rod champion, etc.). Fourth, it stared (among others) Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, Harrison Ford, Suzanne Somers, and Wolfman Jack. Fifth, it was written and directed by George Lucas who, despite some missteps, has a pretty good track record when it comes to writing and directing movies.

Plenty of movies before (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and after (Dazed and Confused, Superbad) successfully pulled off similar "coming of age" movies. Weekend Pass is not one of those movies. The story revolves around four guys who are exactly the same -- they're all Navy sailors who just completed boot camp and all have the same plan (get laid). If you've never been through boot camp, there's nothing to relate to here. Unlike George Lucas, who showed us the sights and sounds of the 1950s by having characters come to life within them, the "director" of Weekend Pass simply cobbled together long pointless montages of scenery that do nothing for the plot. And speaking of the plot, it's literally about four guys trying to hook up with strangers over a weekend before they're deployed. Is this who we're rooting for? Like, hooray, this sailor seduced a single mom before getting back in his Jeep and returning to base! High five, sailor dudes! Frankly the film could have used a bit more exposition, or just a scene where the guys explain what's going on, because half the scenes were so long that I forgot how the guys got there or why they were there. The last major scene in the film is a dance party that comes out of the blue. I can't help but wonder if there's a three hour cut of this film out there somewhere, and the editor said "screw it, let's cut out all the plotty parts and just leave the rest."
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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