Posted by: Mad Ness Monster | 06/27/2009

“The Fantasticks!” (1995) review


Somewhere in that awkward time period in-between the breakup of New Kids on the Block and his solo album, Joey McIntyre made this movie. And while it got a reasonable amount of local press, the thing was left on the proverbial shelf for years and years. It seems that eventually somebody let it slip out at some point, as I caught it recently being played as a Midnight movie of sorts on a local access cable station.
Midnight isn’t late enough for this movie.

The play, “the Fantasticks”, is one of the longest-running musicals in (what obviously has to be) another, alternate universe where every living creature is completely insane. It makes absolutely no sense at all. The story is about a couple of kids who grew up out in the middle of nowhere, they are in love, and their dads *pretend* that they don’t like each other in some crazy scheme to get them married. There’s ALSO Gallo, the dark magician pirate guy, a Daring Rescue and Epic Battle, and a pack of roving circus freaks. There’s a scene where Gallo and the circus freaks hypnotize Joey and torture him in the (more) evil version of “It’s a Small World”. I wish I was kidding.
I couldn’t help but notice that during the entire movie, our dear Joey looks so bored. It’s almost as if… he *KNEW*. Somehow, while they were filming, Joe *KNEW* before anyone else in the entire movie did how impossible the end product would be. Having been warned through his remarkably accurate clairvoyance, he has obviously dealt with it by using the good ol’ trustworthy Irish-Bostonian folk remedies: please note that in key scenes, he appears to be either drunk, high, or both.
(DISCLAIMER: Before you get all offended, remember that *I* am Irish-Bostonian and that the joke is my idea.  Yup, I’m using the Slater Loophole.)
I should say something about the songs. Whosoever sings Gallo’s song about “Theatrical Abductions” at Karaoke Night or something shall henceforth be my Hero.

The Best Parts:
1 minute, 38 seconds in (opening credits) – “Owah boy ‘eez really sumpin’!!!”
4 minutes in – AAAAH!!! Her dad’s the devil shopkeeper dude from the fifth season of “Buffy”!!!
6 minutes in – JOEY!!!!!
6 minutes in – First Song!
8 minutes in – Oh, brother. Next, she’ll be singing with a sparrow on her finger.
10 minutes in – This scene brought to you by the Making You Aware Of the Title Significance Fairy.
11 minutes in – Second Song! This is another good choice for sing-along (see “Classic Quotes” below).
14 minutes in – Third Song! Okay, don’t ever mention a good play in your bad play.
18 minutes in – El Gallo the Dark Magician Pirate Guy!!!
21 minutes in – The “Theatrical Abductions” Song!
24 minutes in – Does she love life?
25 minutes in – *AHEM!!!* What’d I say about mentioning good plays in your bad play?
31 minutes in – Fifth Song!
37 minutes in – KICK HIS ASS, JOEY!!!
41 minutes in – Sixth Song! This one, I want you to skip down the street and sing it all day long.
44 minutes in – So, how high/drunk/high AND drunk do you think Joey is right here? (See “Classic Quotes”.)
46 minutes in – Seventh Song! Also, BOVINE HARASSMENT!!!
51 minutes in – Wow. Just like in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.
55 minutes in – Eighth Song! No, Joey! Don’t go in there!
Well, then don’t drink it!
(pause, pause)
Okay, that’s just humiliating.
1 hour, 2 minutes in – Ninth Song! This is the most totally insane part of the movie right here.
1 hour, 3 minutes in – Hooray for subtle symbolism.
1 hour, 4 minutes in – Wow. Just like in “Labyrinth”.
1 hour, 6 minutes in – Damn, poor Joey.
1 hour, 14 minutes in – Ooh, he really is a bastard.
1 hour, 15 minutes in – “Cold-hearted orb that rules the night / removes the colors from our sight…”
1 hour, 17 minutes in – Tenth Song!
1 hour, 19 minutes in – Awwwww!
1 hour, 23 minutes in – Oh… that’s it?

Classic Lines of Dialogue:
LOUISA: “Papa, I’ve got to take WING!”
HER DAD: “Well, be careful. It’s duck season.”

“That moon is ours! STOP, Moon! I command you not to wane! Wane not! WAX!!!” – Joey (I don’t know, I think the creepy “Me no likee sand! Me love you!” speech from “SWEP2” still wins.)

~*~ Poetry Corner ~*~
“Why did the kids pour jam on the cat? / Raspberry jam all over the cat? / Why would they ever do something like that? / They did it cause we said ‘NO!!!'” – Louisa’s Dad

Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Eyelids, and not the bridge of the nose as I had suspected, are the great unexplored erogenous zone.
* – Don’t throw hammers at people.
* – The Postal Service = Superheroes.
* – Pan-n-Scan f___ing sucks! (And I am officially DVD spoiled just for saying that.)
* – Parents: If you’ve ever set your children up for something, don’t ever let them find out. And for the love of God, don’t EVER tell them!!!
* – Again, if somebody offers you a drink that’s in a metal container, and it’s fizzing and smoking, DON’T DRINK IT!!!
* – Dark Magicians: It’s rude to use your powers to mess with your coworkers’ heads.

Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures?
Let’s all stare at the circus people!!! Psy-yi-yi... duck?
Good Soundtrack? Hell, no.
Hot Guys? Poor, poor Joey… And what’s with the unfortunate hair?
Pretty Scenery? No.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Not unless you like glitter.

Drinking Game Potential? Drink when Louisa hits that one high note. Drink when Gallo’s mustache randomly appears and vanishes. Drink when you feel sad for Joey.

Head Movie Potential? Obviously, yes.

Rating: Danny rating (2)
A United Artists Film released in 1995 by MGM Productions. Written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, based upon their own play. Directed by Michael Ritchie.
Joel Grey, Barnard Hughes, Jean Louisa Kelly, Jonathon Morris, Teller, the Congress of the World’s Strangest People and Attractions, and Joseph (“Should have known better”) Mulrey McIntyre.
Related Links
IMDB page
Unknown Movies review – Has a bit more information about the convoluted history of this film.



%d bloggers like this: