Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ishtar (1987)

ISHTAR directed by Elaine May

Ranked 4.2/10 on IMDB

Warning: Spoilers!
--does anyone truly care?

Quick Synopsis:

Talon: Directed and written by Elaine May. A female directer! Which is pretty cool.

Joe: Elaine May is very cool.

Talon: Main stars include:

Dustin Hoffman as Chuck Clarke.

Warren Beatty as Lyle Rogers.

And Isabelle Adjani as Shirra Assel.

With a hefty budget of 51 million, we have two singer/songwriters, Chuck and Lyle, who've decided to become a duo like Simon and Garfunkel.

But there's a catch; they suck.

Joe: They're terrible, in the funniest way possible. The montage of them writing songs is genius.

Yes, I used the word genius on this blog. ISHTAR is considered one of the biggest turkeys and bombs of all time, and it is genius.

Here are some of Chuck and Lyle's best lyrics:

"I'm just looking for a stove to put my pies in."

"I can see her standing in the backyard of my mind she cracks her knuckles and the scab that's on her knee won't go away."

"She said come look there's a wardrobe of love in my eyes, take your time look around and see if there's something your size."

"Software, I'm looking for software, I gotta have software, for my machine."

Whoever wrote the lyric, "Telling the truth is a bitter herb" deserves a stack of grammys.

Talon: Chuck and Lyle's ladies have both dumped them, not because they're terrible, hopeless musicians, but because the women just don't understand there's no business like show business!

The duo lands a sleazy agent, and the only place they can sing their hearts out for money is in Morocco.

They fly to the imaginary country of Ishtar, and Chuck gets cornered at the airport by Shirra, Her life is in danger and she needs Chuck's passport to flee to USA.

What didn't work here was how Chuck thought a beautiful woman like Isabelle Adjani was a boy, even though she wore a turban.

When she flashes a boob to prove otherwise, Dustin Hoffman's reaction is priceless.

Joe: I thought it worked. Chuck and Lyle were so oblivious to everything, this fit in with the tone of the film. ISHTAR is a screwball comedy, and it wallows in absurdity. Yes, it's stupid, but it's also funny and charming.

Talon: Moving right along, Chuck and Lyle are unintentionally involved with overthrowing the Ishtar government because of the CIA agent Jim Harrison (played by Charles Grodin) and Shirra, and they wind up getting lost in a desert... because of CIA  agent Jim Harrison (played by Charles Grodin) and Shirra.

After a couple days, dehydrated and ready to die, they stumble across a secret gun selling operation and Chuck is mistaken for a translator. He rolls with it and the scene is funny.

Then they find out its the CIA selling guns, and after a rough escape with them almost blowing up a helicopter, the duo have their show business dream tour come true by blackmailing the CIA and having them pay for it.

The end.

First Impressions:

Talon: I liked it! ISHTAR wasn't blow-my-mind astonishing, but it shouldn't be credited as one of the worst movies ever made. This doesn't come close in awfulness to some of the shit I've seen.

Joe: I saw ISHTAR in the theater back in 1987. I liked it then. I like it now. The songs are laugh out loud funny, and all the actors commit fully and do a great job.

This is a three star movie. Unlike some of the other films we've watching, such as--

Talon: You don't wanna go down that road, man!

Don't do it!

No! Oh no! Not ZAAT. Please don't bring back the ZAAT!

Hugging myself and rocking back and forth under a hot shower is the only way to cope after seeing ZAAT.

ISHTAR, on the other hand, had laughs. Some romance and suspense. Good characters. A great soundtrack. And it was ongoing fun with an adorable ending.

Turns on intercom.

Action action! Read all about it! The haters are wrong! The haters are wrong!

The only thing wrong with this movie was the soundtrack was never released.

Joe: Agreed. I'd pay a hundred bucks for an official soundtrack. Though you can download some mp3 clips of songs here:

Talon: Here's some of the dialog my dad and I had while viewing. Try to imagine some of our phrases as catchy slogans:

"Finally! A movie that doesn't suck!"

(singing loudly) "Telling the truth can be dangerous business!"

"How did they mistake her for a boy?"
"It's a reverse TOOTSIE."

"Holy crap Dustin Hoffman is in this?"
"It's a reverse TOOTSIE."

"This is going on our blog?"
"I know. It's good."

"This movie shouldn't have been panned. Critics suck."

Best Worst Scene

Talon: When Chuck is trying to impersonate an arms dealer, and he ends up spitting complete gibberish.

Joe: The songwriting montage. "That a lawnmower can do all that... it's amazing."

Watch it? 

Talon: Yes, it'll give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Joe: Yes. Here is the first of many movies we're reviewing on this website that doesn't deserve the bad reputation it's received. You won't need any espressos to stay awake, but two beers will make it even funnier.

Share it? 

Talon: Of course. ISHTAR rocks socks!

Joe: Yes. This should be watched by crowds with Rocky Horror-type audience participation.

Re-watch it? 

Talon: Oh yeah. Now that I've learned the songs this movie is a definite re-watch.

Joe: Yes. I've seen this four times. I'll see it several more times before I kick off.

Talon: Did you see ISHTAR? Do you think ISHTAR is one of the worst movies of all time? Is telling the truth a dangerous business? Post in the comments!


Talon will now spout off five reasons you should watch the next movie we're blogging about, Bill Rebane's unbelievable THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION!

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