Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things You Can't Un-See: Creating Rem Lezar

While researching 80s videos for the YouTube contest, I came across a few that were labeled simply "Bad 80's Video", "Worse 80's video", & "Worstest 80's video".  These were gross understatements along the lines of "Troy Aikman is a less than great announcer".  I mean, he used the phrase "balloon like a kite" to describe an errant Eli Manning pass.  I don't have the team of lexicologists at my disposal it would require to glean meaning from that in less than 10 years.

These little gems were creepy, awkward, and full of someone's really twisted view of what the label "family entertainment" could be applied to.  But like a grizzled prospector seeing the glint of gold amidst the watery silt, I discovered a much richer vein of weirdness.

After the jump, find out why I'm pretty sure that Rem Lezar got older, started drinking and eventually became Charlie's Nightman:

 

 

Ultimately, the videos were too long to be included in a playlist that had to be 5 minutes or under.  And they were such genius, I wanted to make sure they got their time in the sun.  (Yes, the heat & light afforded by this blog can be compared to that given off by the heart of our solar system in a manner which is not at all hyperbolic).

The Plot

Here's a recap from IMDB.  I'm not going to say it's confusing, but let's say I dreamed about the concept "incoherency" and then successfully wished it into becoming human. This anthropomorphized concept would yawn, stretch, scratch its head and then punch me in my brain for wishing him into existence and making him read such a convoluted plot description.

Zack gets in trouble in class for daydreaming about a superhero named Rem Lezar, and sent to the principal. He storms out of the principal's office, believing him incapable of understanding him. Later in art class, Zack sculpts an image of Rem Lezar, whom Ashlee has also dreamed about, and has drawn. Ashlee is the first person to believe that Rem Lezar is more than imaginary, but she will not speak with him as long as he keeps up a sexist attitude. The two obtain a male mannequin (apparently, they stole it), and dress it like Rem Lezar, who comes to life in their arms. He can live but a single day unless Zack and Ashlee find the Quixotic Medallion to keep him permanently alive. The fear-mongering face, Vorock, tells them it is hidden at the height of imagination, and Zack concedes to Ashlee's idea that it might be in a building, but when the World Trade Center isn't it, Ashlee accepts going to the mountains, where they (apparently inadvertently) split up their search, each bringing a Rem Lezar.

There's a lot there. 

  • Gender politics
  • Adults not understanding children
  • 9/11 foreshadowing
  • Inappropriate relationships between a blue mulleted super hero and 2 small children (much more on that to come)
  • Mannequin 2: On the Move foreshadowing

I could go on.  This is all before I've shown you a single visual.  Which brings us to...

The Visuals

Many things can ruin a nice sunny day in the park.  Ants at your picnic.  Unforeseen thunderstorm.  Old gentleman with a gleam in their eye and nothing beneath their trench coats.

But those are small beer compared to the scene you about to be unable to unsee.

  • Steroid-enhanced doo-woppers who apparently keep a nerd as a mascot...
  • A possibly blind "rapper" who failed his "A Different World" audition, but did grow up to be Butchie on The Wire...
  • A historically bad bit of breakdancing...
  • And when you think it can't get any worse, what happens at 2:14 of the video happens.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "Day and Night".  Don't say you weren't warned when you wake up in the middle of the night screaming and punching yourself in the groin:

 

 

And this is the one that I almost used for the contest, but would have had to cut 2 or 3 others.  If not for all the visuals and sounds contained within, it would be calming and romantic :

 

 

The Whole Eleven Yards

Someone was nice enough to compile the entire Creating Rem Lezar masterpiece split into 6 clips.  Enjoy, and if you're still alive after viewing it, there's more analysis afterward.

There does seem like there are scenes missing and the cuts are pretty damn jumpy.  But I'm pretty sure that's how the movie was intended to be seen.

And yes, I watched the whole thing.

 

 

  • General musings
    • There are a lot of songs.  If "Once" was a musical for people who hate musicals, then this is a musical to for people who hate life.
    • It's essentially a love triangle between 2 small children and the aforementioned blue mulleted super hero whose only powers appear to be disabling Amber Alerts. 
    • Rem Lezar busts through the stereotypical portrayal of a pedophile.  He's really into both the boy and the girl.  He's not just a pedophile, he's a bisexual pedophile.
  • Part 1
    • "When I'm feeling lonely, can't hear a sound, what I see surrounding me is blackness all around..." - This chick is going to have one hell of a Goth period once she hits middle school.
    • Stop calling them "My little one..."  Please?
  • Part 2
    • Awesome jump cut from them talking to Ashley looking up the slide.
    • This has the quickest resolution to a Sam & Diane flirtation ever.  One second they hate each other and the next they're singing odes to their friendship. 
    • As soon as he comes to life, the first thing he does is take a nap with the kids.  I'm just saying.
  • Part 3
    • Vorock would not be out of place in Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
    • OK, so Rem Lezar adjudicating an epic argument about whether buildings or mountains are taller is, admittedly, weird.  But when that argument takes place with voiceover's and watercolor-style still pictures of them, the adjective "weird" seems wildly insufficient. 
    • I wish I could travel to NYC via the power of my dreams instead of NJT or Amtrak or even a Chinatown Bus.
  • Part 4
    • "Day and Night", the song that the park denizens spontaneously start singing sure does a good job of echoing the plot, such as it is.
    • Why is Vorock giving them clues to where the Quixotic Medallion is?  That seems somewhat counter-productive. 
    • Rem Lezar is a better listener and therapist than a hybrid of Frasier Crane and  Dolly Parton in "Straight Talk" would be.
    • Ashlee actually poses the philosophical question "Why are we here?"
    • Whoa, WTF?  Rem Lezar splits at the very end and neither kid notices?
  • Part 5
    • It would have been a lot easier for these kids to find each other if they had fricking noticed that there was suddenly 4 of them where there was once 3.
    • Does this count as a 3-way or a 4-way for RL?
    • And through the magic of watercolor still pictures, everyone is reunited and the world loses 1 of its 2 Rem Lezar's.
    • There seems to be a lot of contagious things around RL, and those kids keep catching them.
    • Wait... That cop sure looks familiar.
  • Part 6
    • Yeah, how and where did they get those medallions?
    • Zack's dad is a mailman?  That explains a lot.
    • I'm glad Ashlee and her mom understand, because I sure as hell don't.
    • Great, now I've got Day & Night stuck in my head again.

Miscellany

The creator of this masterpiece is Scott Zakarin, who's had a pretty interesting career since he stopped voicing and facing the evil Vorock.  He's been with us since the start of the Internet, creating the first online soap back in 95, "The Spot".  He then had his company bought out by AOL before venturing out on his own to produce Comic Book: The Movie and get involved in Kill Reality.

This interview with SZ could probably be its own post.  A few highlights

  • He thinks that interactive media can heal us post-9/11. 
  • He indirectly references CRL by saying that the first movie he made was an "original musical".  Original indeed. 
  • He begs the Weinsteins to let him do a movie version of "Pippin" since they somehow succeeded in acquiring the rights where he had repeatedly failed.
  • He thinks there should be affirmative action in the government and the entertainment industry, to balance things out for women
  • He compares South Park to Doonesbury. 
  • He thinks he could "knock the cover off the ball producing a Superman movie".

Other Creating Rem Lezar links:

5 comments:

hendge said...

Wow.

Is that a young Dave Coulier as Rem Lezar?

I'm shocked (SHOCKED!) that the writer/director of this went on to produce such things as "The Adventures Of Cinderella's Daughter" (if that's not a porno, it should be) and "Charlie Cobb's Flash Bash" (ummm ... ditto).

Cline said...

A younger, much more buff Coulier maybe. Before Canada instituted random drug tests.

Goose said...

I tapped out after the kid started singing after being sent to the principal. His teacher was hot though. He should have forgotten about Blue Rem and taken a run at her.

I'm fairly certain we're breaking some sort of law by having this on the site.

Cline said...

For someone who enjoys good-bad entertainment as much as you do Goose, that's kinda weak.

As for the legalities, I did look into this and because the video is hosted elsewhere, we're cool. I can't go within 100 feet of Coulier, but that's a different issue.

Goose said...

I'm not ready to call this entertainment. I am ready to call it a NAMBLA initiation video.