InsidePulse DVD Review – The Garbage Pail Kids Movie


Directed by
Rod Amateau


Mackenzie Astin …. Dodger
Anthony Newley …. Cap’n Mancini
Katie Barberi …. Tangerine
Ron MacLachlan …. Juice
J.P. Amateau …. Wally
Marjory Graue …. Blythe
Debbie Lee Carrington …. Valerie Vomit
Kevin Thompson …. Ali Gator
Phil Fondacaro …. Greaser Greg
Larry Green …. Nat Nerd
Arturo Gil …. Windy Winston
Susan Rossitto …. Messy Tessie
Bobby Bell …. Foul Phil
Chloe Amateau …. Foul Phil (voice)
Jim Cummings …. Greaser Greg (voice)
Teri Benaron …. Messy Tessie (voice)
John Cade …. Bartender

The Movie

Cabbage Patch Kids were one of the biggest crazes of the 1980’s. The little goofy looking dolls with yarn for hair really didn’t do with anything special other than actually have a document of adoption for the 5 year “parent” you were giving it to. Despite nothing about the dolls being very special, children flocked to shelves as parents had to fight other moms and dads for their children to have adoption rights to these ugly dolls. This craze was begging to be lampooned.

Enter the Garbage Pail Kids, a series of trading cards savagely parodying the dolls with the kids being horribly deformed instead of being sweet and cuddly. Oddly enough, Garbage Pail Kids became just as big a craze in its own way. The trading cards had an enormous following on school grounds as young boys would buy and trade them. So inevitably, as with every other craze with young boys, the Garbage Pail Kids were destined to have their own movie.

This epic masterpiece centers around a young, artful boy named Dodger (Mackenzie Astin of The Facts of Life Fame). Dodger is in the employ of a magician name Cap’n Mancini (Anthony Newley), a man claiming to have had classic adventures all over the world saving maidens and dining with sultans. Dodger’s life is pretty fulfilling working at Mancini’s antique store, aside from an unhealthy infatuation with a girl named Tangerine (Katie Barberi). What makes this fascination so unhealthy is Tangerine’s muscle headed, bully of a boyfriend, Juice (Ron MacLachlan). Juice is constantly badgering and beating up the young Dodger because, in essences, he a bully and that is what bully’s do.

Events begin rolling as Juice beats up Dodger and then trashes the antique store for having the audacity to speak to the fashionable Tangerine. To teach the child a lesson, Juice and his two cohorts Wally (J.P. Amateau) and the buxom Blythe (Marjory Graue) rampage through the store and throw their undeserving victim into a sewage drain. Unknowingly, the miscreants unleash a force that will end their reign of terror while creating its own, the Garbage Pail Kids.

The kids, Ali Gator (Kevin Thompson), Greaser Greg (Phil Fondacaro), Nat Nerd (Larry Green), Windy Winston (Arturo Gil), Messy Tessie (Susan Rossitto), and Foul Phil (Bobby Bell), are a rag tag bunch of mutants featuring different malformations. Ali Gator, the leader of the group is a three foot tall alligator that walks, talks, and has a penchant for eating toes. Nat Nerd is a youngster dressed in a superhero costume, but is covered in zits and urinates quite a bit. The others are all as equally misfits of society.

Set free from their cosmic prison of a trash can, the tykes decide to help Dodger in his pursuit of Tangerine and the defeat of his badly dressed oppressors. An opportunity arises when the young hero learns of his damsel’s love of fashion. Unbeknownst to Dodger, the Garbage Pail Kids all have an idiot savant like ability of making awful looking clothes that appealed to the youth of the time. Dodger, with the help of his new friends, agrees to help Tangerine to break into the world of fashion. Unfortunately, Juice and band of evildoers have other plans.

Juice gives up the location of the Garbage Pail Kids to the local authorities who take the vertically challenged outcasts to the State Home for the Ugly. The asylum is a treacherous place, which is basically a huge dog pound for adults. A man deemed too fat is caged (Santa Claus) there as well as a man deemed to silly (A clown). This is a nightmarish place for the GPK’s with their only hope for escape being Dodger, who is double-crossed by the temptress Tangerine and her beau. Dodger must somehow release Ali Gator and his bunch and somehow defeat Juice and his bullying friends to reach a happy ending.

Somewhere, somehow, an executive looked at a pack of Garbage Pail Kids and thought it would be a fantastic idea for a movie. What is that executive doing now I wonder? In its defense, this film is probably the best movie possible that could be made about The Garbage Pail Kids. Seeing the movie in 2005, it is admittedly not very good. The acting is poor and all of the characters that are not the GPK’s are either cliches or just terrible.

The jokes often fall flat as in a scene where Ali Gator and Windy Winston wander into “The Toughest Bar in the World.” Now it is unknown whether this bar has actually been elected to this distinction or if its title is self proclaimed. Needless to say the joke is an obvious one. Once inside the bar, the duo start to cause trouble for the patrons of the bar, which all appear to be bikers, but then end up winning the hostile crowd over after figuratively displaying their “guts”. The scene does indeed give a chuckle or two, but is done to much better effect in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

On the other hand, to the nine year old that watched this film even at the protest of his parents in 1988, this film was wonderful. The Garbage Pail Kids come to life in a way not thought possible in the mind of an adolescent audience member. Using prosthetics, the GPK’s look just as they do on the front of the trading cards. To the undemanding mind of a child just wanting a story involving The Garbage Pail Kids, this movie was a dream come true. On top of that a normal kid finds the Kids and they help him to try and win the love of an older girl. The film really makes you wonder if a fourth grader was actually consulted in the production of the film.

Score: 4.0/10

Score from the point of view of a 9-year old child in 1988: 9/10


The Video

The transfer here is just fine. This is a standard release of an 80’s film, and it looks about as good as it did upon its release. The film is presented in an Anamorphic Widescreen with 1.85:1 ratio.

Score: 7.0/10

The Audio
The DVD has a Dolby Digital Mono track that sounds fine. All of the farting and bad jokes come in pretty clearly.

Score: 7.0/10

SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical Trailer.

Theatrical Trailer – For those wanting to see the theatrical trailer for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, this is your day. It is shown here in all its glory. For those wanting commentaries and other features, keep holding out for a Special Edition that may never come.

Score: 1.0/10