I am of the Electric Boogaloo generation. I tell you this only as a point of information. I do not claim it as a source of pride. A lot of bad movies were made in the 80’s, and I saw most of them. I was too dazzled by karate kicks, horrible special effects, and explosions to pay attention to the studio that created these schlock-sasters. I just eagerly watched them with equal parts awe and regret.
As it turns out, these movies were produced by a company called Cannon Films, a independent production company co-founded by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, and to their credit, they built the model by which modern independent film works. They just didn’t make that many great films with their model. They made a few films that are considered good to even great. Barfly came from their studio, and Runaway Train is another one that critics loved. But these movies were accidents. Golan and Globus made one crap-tacular movie after another on a shoestring budget, and when the trades would pummel them in the media for making horrible films, they’d throw money at an art house director and give him free rein to make any movie he wanted. That resulted in a few accidental hits.
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is a documentary about the crazy and baffling antics of Golan and Grobus, and it is endlessly entertaining. For me it was just fun to see the collection of clips from movies I’m embarrassed to admit I watched as a kid, and to be completely frank, I watched them because they had nudity. I had very little parental supervision growing up.
By far the funniest part of the documentary is the section about Clyde the orangutan, made famous by the classic Clint Eastwood film Every Which Way But Loose. Golan had an idea for a movie that would be perfect for Clyde, so what does he do? He schedules a meeting with Clyde. Did I mention that Clyde is an orangutan? The meeting is as hilarious as one would expect. Clyde arrives with his trainer because he’s an ape that can’t drive or negotiate his own deals. It starts off as normal as a meeting can be with an orangutan. Golan addresses questions and comments to the trainer. But, as he excitedly starts to talk about the story idea, he turns to Clyde and talks to him as if the orangutan understands English or human speech. It’s so outrageous it’s funny.
I highly recommend Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. It’s educational, funny, and yes, it has nudity. I still have no parental supervision.