' ' Cinema Romantico: Definitely Not Cult Classics: UPDATED

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Definitely Not Cult Classics: UPDATED

The nine remaining readers of Cinema Romantico will recall that about a month and a half ago we attempted to determine some movies that are Definitely Not Cult Classics in an everything-is-accessible film environment where virtually any movie is considered a cult classic. And though we paused in the middle of this post to question some of our own selections ourselves, one we did not question was still questioned by Friend of the Blog Brad. He noted that the 1990 comedy/thriller [TIC, terminology is correct per Google] “Men at Work” about a pair of garbagemen (Emilio Estevez, who also wrote and directed, and Charlie Sheen) who unwittingly find themselves playing amateur detectives in a political cover-up was a cult classic. 

Wikipedia does not list it as such, which was our only source of (un)official confirmation, but a cursory Google search does find sites like Horror Geek Life deeming “Men at Work” as a “cult comedy,” though based on what, I couldn’t really tell. Maybe this Reddit thread? Maybe, as Friend of the Blog Brad noted, any movie with Keith David is sort of grandfathered into cult status. What put it over the top for the staff here at Cinema Romantico, however, forcing us to officially revise our Definitely Not Cult Classic guidebook was a year-old podcast episode. 

I have been winding my way through Rob Harvilla’s 60 Songs That Explains The 90s podcast, which has been upgraded to 90 songs while retaining the now-technically incorrect title (the kind of disregard for marketing cohesion that I totally respect), and I only just made it to episode 62 about Tag Team’s no introduction needed “Whoomp! (There It Is).” Harvilla includes a long but not in any way superfluous preamble about the controversial, to put it mildly, Miami rap outfit 2 Live Crew, touching upon how their track “Move Something” appeared in “Men at Work.” Indeed, the toxic waste dumping plot revolves around a cassette of an incriminating conversation that inadvertently gets switched with a cassette containing “Move Something” instead. “There are multiple scenes,” Harvilla notes, “of bumbling, aggrieved white dudes getting very confused and angry when 2 Live Crew starts playing.” 

This is very funny. And though “Men at Work”, as Odie Henderson notes in his review at the one-time blog of my former home Slant, is disappointingly afflicted by the era’s prevalent gay panic despite also holding something of an anti-police stance oddly within the space of the very same gay panic subplot, I applaud The Estevez Brothers for also subtly lambasting censorship the very same summer in which a Florida judge ruled 2 Live Crew’s 1989 album “As Nasty as They Wanna Be” to be legally obscene. (Eventually, this bozo ruling was overturned and, thankfully, Florida has gotten ahold of itself since then.) And if cult movies can be about breaking taboos and committing transgressions as much as having devoted followers form around them, then I would like to think “Men at Work” heartily qualifies as one.

1 comment:

Wretched Genius said...

Order has been restored.