Best of, Worst of… screw ‘em!
time to sink through the mire towards the stuff down there nestled
the surface. Past the big hits, cult classics, and respected
stuff where the filler lives. Maybe even a little closer to
bottom than the top. Treacherously close to the bombs, the stinkers,

and the abominations. Films that not only don’t get love but don’t
even deserve love.

So with that we bring you… Ten Mediocre Films We Can’t Help But

Note: Each of these films is
by a single editor. These are not committee decisions, not are
representative of one unified editorial focus. Each author

is on their own.

Day Nine – The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
Embraced by David Oliver

Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Rex Weiner (characters), James Cappe & David Arnott (story),
Daniel Waters and James Cappe & David Arnott (screenplay)

Starring: Andrew
“Dice” Clay, Wayne Newton, Lauren Holly, Priscilla Presley, Gilbert
Gottfried, Robert Englund, Morris Day, Maddie Corman, Kari Wuhrer, Ed

U.S. Box
$21,413,502 (Budget: Unknown)



possibly the most mediocre of all the titles on the list.  How
is it this movie even exists, anyway?  Director Renny Harlin already had a
movie for the summer of 1990, seemingly half the WGA got credit on it, the star was a footnote almost before the thing came out, and his character was essentially himself only even more overbearing.  The Adventures of Ford Fairlane is an anachronism to me.  It’s so obviously tripe yet so utterly easy to like and watch.  It’s kitschy Hollywood neo-noir wrapped up in a rock and roll and hip hop package.  It was Mike Hammer for the MTV generation and consequently is one of my guiltier film pleasures to this day.

So what does the film have going for it?  Well there’s Clay portraying the obnoxious yet fun private dick, who has everything and nothing going for him at the same time.  Fairlane is the hippest, most popular loser in Hollywood.  He gets all the chicks and gets into all the clubs.  Whenever there’s a case that requires a private detective with a rock and roll attitude, Ford is the guy people call.  And although he delivers time and again, he can’t seem to get ahead because his clients don’t pay him in money, they pay him in gifts: koala bears, watches, drum sticks, etc.   

So when the case of a lifetime lands in his lap, he soon finds himself running all over town looking for a girl named Zuzu Petals and getting involved with a sleazy record exec (Newton), a killer who comes back more times than Freddy Krueger (Englund), an asshole police detective (O’Neill), a punk kid and an assload of girls.  Along the way his car is blown up, his house is blown up, and he’s nearly killed about a half dozen times.  Fairlane is Sam Spade with flashier clothes, more attitude and a better coif.  He runs around an LA that looks like a sleazy Disneyland for the debauched and travels from one misadventure to the next trying to solve the case. 

In addition to Clay, there’s a laundry list of name actors portraying the variety of characters that Fairlane comes across: Wayne Newton, Priscilla Presley, Gilbert Gottfried, Morris Day, Robert Englund, Kari Wuhrer, Ed O’Neill, Lauren Holly and others.  Together, along with some surprisingly good vistas of the city at times, they paint a technicolor Tinseltown noir.  It’s Chinatown fifty years later with not quite as good a script (okay, a massively inferior, though not entirely uninteresting script), sans the great acting, directing and a much shorter attention span.  Other than that, the similarities are…okay, not that striking,…at all, but you get where I’m heading…sort of.  Jake Gittes could have made some time in this LA, I’m thinking; but we’re stuck with Fairlane.  Nevertheless, this is his LA, and he takes us on a crazy tour of it, with treachery, danger, drugs and groupies at every turn.

Ford Fairlane is campy look at the Hollywood underbelly via a unique and ultimately fun case as told by a rock star wannabe detective bad boy.  It has incendiary milkshakes, plenty of eye candy (including Lauren Holly and Kari Wuhrer in their primes), Wayne Newton and Ed O’Neill chewing scenery and for God’s sake, “Booty Time.” It’s mediocrity of the best kind and that’s why I embrace it.


this movie and get a clear copy of the Cradle of Love video

series on our message boards smartly, or really dumbly on the