403. City Limits (1985)

Apocalypse, Captain Trips. “Like Morrissey Joel, your experiment this week comes from that shameful decade known as the 80s. Uh it’s a film called City Limits and it stars James Earl Jones at the low point in his career and Kim Cattrall at a high point. It also has Robby Benson and Rae Dawn Chong doing things they’re not happy with either.” Darth Vader? Foster Parent? Beam me up!!! “THIS IS CNN!!!” Ping Pong Balls, Mr. Meat and Potato Head, Popstar Tupperware, Comic Book Superheroes, More Superheroes, City Limits Trivia Game. “City Limits? Sounds like a clothing store for high school girls”, “Firfteen years from now Dick Clark will still look the same”, “Wow this film moves fast. A minute ago we’re in the credits now we’re 15 years in the future.” “Pre-pay after 10” or “Oh there’s no place like home for the Holocaust”?

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Superheroes.

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Kim Cattrall.

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Ping Pong Balls.

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Pantless Motorcycle Repair.

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Popstar Tupperware.

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“Now Back to City Limits” from Turkey Day 93.

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The umbrella bit is one of my favorites.

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The Orange Juice hijinks in Avalanche (1978) echoed of it decades after.

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Here it is.

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Kim Kim Kim Kim Kim Cattrall!!!

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This is CNN. Get off my land!

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Featuring Kim Catrall in a role even more shameful than what she did in Mannequin and James Earl Jones in a role that is just shameful. The one scene in this movie that sticks to the mind occurs near the beginning when the protagonist goes skinny-dipping with a young woman in a water tower. Now this isn’t the first movie screened that had au natural aquatic activities (that would be Untamed Youth). But since it was released in 1985, less care went into obscuring naughty bits. This led to Joel showing off his umbrella in the theater, with it conveniently blocking the sights. Though his aim is briefly off at one point, and we get a full moon from the above-mentioned woman. Not that I was going out of my way to look for that sort of thing. No, really.

It’s quite unfortunate that the rest of the movie isn’t as engaging as that one scene. Part of the problem is that the post-apocalyptic bikers come across as Designated Heroes who don’t do anything particularly worthy. Also, the “evil” corporation’s nominal purpose of restoring power and services in the derelict city where the movie is predominantly set doesn’t have all that fiendish a vibe. When they do commit overtly evil acts, they’re so over the top and out of left field as to give the impression that they were written in to make the bikers look good in comparison. As a result, it’s difficult to take seriously.

It’s a shame that the Brains hadn’t yet developed the “happy” ending dissection over the lengthy end credits common to more recent movies (exemplified by what they would later do with Soultaker and Wizards of the Lost Kingdom). If there’s any movie that deserved such treatment, it’s this one.

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Mannequin was a really neat movie! Crow says so and I will hear no argument.

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image

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I swear I’ve tried to watch this one like four different times. And I still don’t know what it’s actually about :joy:

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And now he’s primarily remembered for scaring The Major half to death. Ah, the vagaries of show business… :uk:

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A virus killed almost all the adults. The remaining kids scavenge from what’s left, but don’t have the knowledge or organization to keep society running. (Somehow, there’s plenty of gasoline and canned goods, even after more than a decade.) Our hero decides to leave his girlfriend and instead head into the city (the remains of LA) in hopes of joining up with a gang of kids with a good reputation. He was raised on a farm by James Earl Jones, one of the few surviving adults, but the lure of city life and the hope that this one gang of kids has a shot at a successful future is just too strong.

The city has two rival gangs with an uneasy truce. Our hero accidentally gets in a fight with the other gang and kills one of them, but manages to get adopted by the gang he wanted, and they find a way to get him off the hook if he wins a duel.

But a fascistic organization determined to remake the world has come into town and is secretly working with the rival gang. They say they want to restore civilization, and Kim Cattrall believes them. But what they really want is authoritarian control and they have no regard for life. They’ll kill anyone who gets in their way or who breaks their rules. They can restore electricity, and they have a working internet, but the price is too high. They want total control at any cost.

Our heroes rescue Kim Cattrall (who had discovered her employers were evil) and retreat to James Earl Jones’s farm, where they regroup, arm themselves, and return to fight back. They’re aided by the remains of the rival gang, who belatedly realized that there was an iron fist beneath the velvet glove. Both gangs had sworn off guns and killing, but the evil corporation had brought both into their lives. Our heroes had no choice but to fight back, and their rivals found that it was too abhorrent to keep up. They join forces, storm the base of operations, and kill the regional manager. He tells them the evil corporation will just send another like him, but for now they have their freedom and a chance to build their own society.

I think I’m forgetting a few things, but that’s the gist of it. I wish they’d explained more about the evil corporation, or what the gang of kids (with the knowledge and resources of James Earl Jones) would be able to accomplish. But there is something of a narrative thread that mostly holds together. Our hero finds the legendary gang, joins them, finds that they’re decent folk but that they lack purpose and hope, they drive out their would-be overlords, and now have a chance to work together to build something new.

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I absolutely love this one.

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If they could get Rae Dawn Chong for a Tribute night, that would be very interesting.

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