As some of you know, my quote unquote “real job” (which probably didn’t need ‘quote’, ‘unquote’ and actual quotation marks to specify it as such) often sends me away from WrestleCrap HQ for extended periods. Such is the case this week, as I am over in Europe doing work in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In fact, as I peck away at my MacBook Pro, I am in Amsterdam right now, just scant minutes away from the goofball land of cannabis coffee shops and the red light district.
Admittedly, I am a pretty reserved dork who doesn’t generally frequent such places of ill repute, but still, if you ever wanted to know how much I love you, my fellow Crappers, I want you to consider this: I am sitting in the Schipohol Hilton, writing an induction aboutKnucklehead, instead of partaking in the chicanery right down the street.
WWE Studios: Making the Films Ed Wood Would Make If He Were Alive Today
A quick glance over at Rotten Tomatoes reveals Knucklehead via a poster with the Big Show waving at us in his underwear. Lovely. I also noticed that this movie has a whopping 10% (yes, TEN PERECENT) approval rating and features a review stating “If a WWE-produced film can’t get squared-circle action right, what can be expected of it?”
You know what’s really funny? When I first read that, I swear thought it said, “If WWE can’t get squared-circle action right, what can be expected of it?”
You gotta admit, both are pretty accurate.
Our story begins at the St. Thomas Orphanage production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
I know you think I am making this up.
How could you not be?
What’s the last movie you saw with a freakin’ ORPHANAGE?
I know mine – it was Santa with Muscles, and it was one of, if not the, worst movies I’ve ever seen. I sure hope this pile of crap is at least somewhat better than that pile of crap was.
So I can understand you think I am ribbing you. Therefore, I purposely made the screen grab of the signage proclaiming this event to the world.
If Big Show isn’t the Cowardly Lion in this epic production at the orphanage (orphanage, I say!), I am going to be mighty disappointed.
And disappointed I am, as Big Show is instead the Good Witch of the North, who flies around the stage as a giant motor that was set to lower him goes out of control.
Is there a law somewhere that says movies starring wrestlers need to have them wearing tu-tus?
I mean, we got that in both Mr. Nanny and The Tooth Fairy.
Who the hell thinks that is really a good idea?
Yeah, I don’t know either, dude.
(Although I bet you would rock in a tu-tu.)
Amidst all this hahalarity, we’re introduced to Henry, an ever so slightly pudgy kid who all the other orphans call fatty. He also constantly plays what appears to be an original Gameboy Advance that beeps and bloops like it’s a 1977 Mattel Football handheld.
Kid is stuck in an orphanage, so I’ll cut him some slack.
And besides, Mattel Football ruled.
Young Henry is comforted by Mary, who works for the orpanag…wait a minute.
Isn’t that Melora Hardin?!
This movie has JAN FREAKIN’ LEVINSON IN IT?
Are you kidding me?
You know what that means?
It can’t be bad.
IT JUST CAN’T.
Next up we meet Eddie Sullivan, a somewhat shady guy who I’m willing to bet the entire WrestleCrap fortune winds up having a heart of gold. Eddie works at his dad’s gym and trains fighters.
Not boxers, mind you. FIGHTERS, as in Mixed Martial Arts.
WWE doing an MMA movie just seems…weird.
We’re also introduced to Memphis Earl, a somewhat shady guy who also trains fighters.
I’m willing to also bet the entire WrestleCrap fortune this gentleman does NOT have wind up having a heart of gold.
Going to jump out on a limb here and saying that he’s probably the bad guy in this film.
Memphis Earl’s hired muscle would be Redrum, a jacked up black guy who proceeds to punch Eddie in the face because he owes Earl $50,000, money he is set to collect in seven days.
Maybe it’s just me, but if someone owed me $50K, I might do more than punch them in the grill.
Rounding out our list of primary characters is none other than Sister Francesca, who looks like Terri Hatcher dressing up as a nun for Halloween.
(And before anyone starts emailing me, I am aware it’s not Terri Hatcher. I said it LOOKS LIKE Terri Hatcher.)
Anyway, we learn that Sister Francesca thinks Walter (Big Show) is a dope, a dope that she regrets keeping in the orphanage for 35 years.
Yes, 35 years.
You see, Walter has never experienced life outside the orphanage.
Why this is is never explained.
And when I say “never explained”, I mean it’s not even HINTED at why he’s never left the orphanage.
What is hinted at is that Walter has a flatulence problem.
This hint is provided by loud fart sounds while Show makes grimacing faces.
You know, I’ve never done drugs before, but the combination of this movie and the availability of obtaining them legally 10 minutes away may change all that this very evening.
As you’ve probably already guessed, calamity strikes the orphanage, as Walter catches the kitchen on fire. He then attempts to put out said fire with oil.
Someone got paid to write this.
How is that possible?
Yeah, I don’t know either, dude.
(Nor do I know how I ever thought about canning you a few weeks back. The possibility of you randomly showing up again may be the only thing that gets me through this pile of garbage.)
Anyway, the orphanage is thusly set to be closed down by nerdy inspector guy (complete with Mr. Rogers style sweater), due to the fact that they didn’t pay their insurance last month.
Serves them right – an orphanage that would rather buy a motorized wench to swing a 450 pound guy around while they put on an elaborate stage production of Wizard of Oz instead of paying their insurance probably isn’t the best place for children to reside anyway.
Regardless, they have 10 days to raise $25,000 to rebuild the kitchen.
Anyone see where this may be going?
So Eddie goes to church and prays aloud. His prayer consists of him whining, and I quote, “God, it’s been a long time since I caught a break.”
Umm, you just got punched in the face by that giant guy and you don’t have a single nick or bruise on you.
I don’t want to speak for the Almighty here, but I personally would kinda think that would be considered “a break.”
Meanwhile elsewhere in the building, Walter is crying about what has happened, telling Sister Francesca how sorry he is, and lamenting that he is a “knucklehead.”
Do people really still use that word?
And can anyone sporting a T with an Atari joystick on it really be considered one?
Sister Francesca will have none of it, not even with Mary telling her what a good role model. Rather, Francesca rants and raves and tells Walter how all the kids in the orphanage will be “dragged out and put back into the system.”
Is this “system” somehow worse than what appears to be a pretty crappy orphanage?
So this sister of the cloth physically pokes and prods Walter until he falls backwards through a stained glass window and into…
…the chapel where Eddie is praying!
Wow, what were the odds of that?
And yes, as you guessed, Eddie needs money to pay off Earl, and the orphanage needs money to rebuild their kitchen, so what better way to solve the problem than to send Eddie and Mary on a road trip to New Orleans for a big MMA tournament that has a $100,000 grand prize?
Better yet, why not have him fight people for money as they go?
And off our erstwhile trio goes in the orphanage’s school bus.
Hope the kids don’t need to go anywhere that week!
As Mary drives the bus, Eddie teaches Walter the finer points of MMA. You laugh, but sources have told this reporter that Hoyce Gracie learned the rear naked choke in the back of a school bus.
Eddie also explains that in order for them to really start making money, they need to film everything and create “internet buzz.”
I remember the last wrestling movie wherein a plot point was internet buzz. That movie was Backyard Dogs and the only thing (and I do mean ONLY thing) preventing this movie from being as bad as that one is, of course, Jan Levinson.
Eddie’s plan beyond that is to fight their way across the country, and it starts TODAY at…
…a Jewish synagogue!
His opponent? “Sugar Ray” Rosenberg!
Somewhere, I hear Nanny Fran Drescher screaming “Oy vey.”
The bout reaches its exicing conclusion several minutes and one wedgie later, as Rosenberg punches himself out and Walter falls on top of him.
Oy vey indeed, Miss Fine.
Down the road to the next fight we go, but what’s this?
The bus is smoking?
Should we pull off the road and see what’s wrong?
No, silly, of course not. Instead, let’s drive through a corn field, hit a telephone pole (yes, in the middle of the corn field) and…
Gotta admit, I did NOT see that swerve ending coming.
Eh, maybe this movie wasn’t so bad after all. Melora Harding is easy on the eyes (yes, I said that – she’s no Christy Hemme) and Big Show was actually somewhat sympathetic as a ding dong doofus.
Of course, the biggest plus is that the movie was so short. I knew WWE Studios was cutting corners on their films, but I wasn’t expecting them to release something that clocked in at just over 30 minutes. Still, that’s actually a positive when you consider what could have happened had this film gone any longe…wait, what?
Now they’re just walking along the road?
After being right next to the bus for THIS explosion?
I mean, it’s not Return of the Jedi Han Solo running away from the shield generator blowing up half of Endor level bad, but it was a pretty damn big tower of flames, right?
Now without transportation, it’s up to Jan to shake her fanny to get the gang a ride.
As stated, I think Jan’s a honey, but that is without question the least appealing hump shake I’ve ever, ever seen.
She looks like one of those cheap animatronic Santas they sell for $10 at CVS every December.
Still, it gets them a ride to the next fight in a truck filled with pigs and Mexicans.
Please don’t yell at me for being a racist here.
I’m just reporting the facts.
Next fight is at some kid’s house, and due to a Three’s Company level mix up, it ends with Walter beating up the kid’s dad, who was just trying to put an end to fights taking place in his backyard.
I should note that throughout the rest of the movie, the other characters – including Sister Francesca – talk about how noble it was of Walter to pummel this innocent man.
Next we wind up in a trailer park and we meet Tina, Mary’s old strip club dancing partner, who promptly suggests they give Walter a MAKEOVER!
So she shaves his head and tattoos him!
I’ve never seen anyone TATTOOED on Extreme Makeover.
Anyay, now he looks just like The Big Show!
And get this – Tina suggests they can earn some money at the local carnival!
Gee, that sounds fun!
Sure enough, there’s the girls making funnel cakes!
Quick question: didn’t they only have seven days to save the orphanage and Eddie’s life?
That had to have been weeks ago at this point, right?
But hey, it’s not a carnival without a FIGHT, and we get one as Walter prepares to battle Bare Knuckle Dave.
Waitaminute…did I say BARE Knuckle Dave?
I meant BEAR Knuckle Dave!
After a couple of pretty bad edits (as we get footage a real bear intermixed with a dude in a bear costume that may have been reused from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians), Walter taps out the bear with a rear naked choke.
Again, I’m just reporting the facts here.
Their school bus gone, their Mexican pig semi gone, our trio now has to travel by chartering a bus.
But hey, before that, let’s stop at an all you can eat buffet!
Which leads to a delightful scene in which Walter’s diarrhea leads to the bus being evacuated!
The characters in the movie try to blame Walter for eating too much, but I think that Tina may have given him a Beggin’ Strip.
Seriously, look closer.
Can we zoom in on that?
Eh, just as well. This induction is already too damn long.
Our trio’s next form of transportation: a motorcycle with a sidepod. How did they get this, you ask?
By beating up some bikers and stealing it.
So he beats up defenseless people and steals their property.
By golly, Mary was right – Walter IS a good role model those kids!
They then go to a frat house (!!!) an Walter beats up more people.
This time, though, we learn that they were paying Walter to beat them up.
If you ever wanted to know why I never went Greek in college, there you go.
Finally, FINALLY…we get to New Orleans, for the big finale.
Before that, though, let’s have a love storyline as Eddie and Mary fall for each other, including a bar scene wherein Mary gets tanked…
…then strips (yes, in the middle of the bar)…
…and knocks out a woman named (with the Good Lord above as the witness and I am NOT making this up) “Jiggles.”
Now where was I?
Oh yeah…finally, FINALLY…we get to New Orleans, for the big finale, the “30th annual MMA Beatdown on the Bayou!”
Yep, these MMA contests have been happening in New Orleans since 1980.
It also appears, according to this film, that MMA exhibitions are much like wrestling events of old before Vince McMahon and the WWF showed up: they take place in small, somewhat dimly lit, smoke-filled arenas.
I really hope someone figures out how to get them out of those one day.
And so on one side of the bracket, Walter clears house. The other? Yep, Redrum.
None of the bouts last longer than one or two punches, which has me thinking if when they have the 31st Annual Beatdown at the Bayou they should just rename it the Glass Joe Invitational.
Prior to the finale, Mary hits the can and when she comes out she runs into Memphis Earl.
Yeah, just waiting for her, in the ladies room, as she came out of the john.
He explains to her that Eddie is just a con artist, doesn’t care about her, and is just out to steal everyone’s money.
She immediately believes him, and why wouldn’t she?
He was stalking her in the bathroom!
This storyline is dropped seconds (and I mean SECONDS) later, as we are shown a picture of Earl getting ready to throw Henry into the ocean.
The message is simple: Walter takes a dive or Henry takes a dive.
And just in case you couldn’t pick up on that, they flip the photo over.
Good thing. This movie was starting to get way too complex!
And so the fight starts, and as it does, Earl is shown in the crowd choking Henry.
Now I admit, I’ve never kidnapped anyone.
Having said that, I think if I did, I wouldn’t give someone a picture of me with the victim, a note stating what I’m going to do, then show up in public strangling him.
Isn’t that just common sense?
Not that any of this matters, as Walter just completely ignores this as well as the ransom note and taps Redrum out with a wacky rolling submission…
So everyone is happy.
Eddie has his money and his woman.
The nuns get their orphanage back.
And Walter finally leaves the orphanage, adopting Henry on his way out.
I guess that guys who have lived in the outside world for a week after never leaving an orphanage for 35 straight years have that right.
Well, that sure sucked. And it wasn’t even Big Show’s fault – he was actually pretty likable in the movie. But that script was all kinds of awful, and there was no prayer of this actually being any good.
And I still can’t believe Melora Hardin was in it. Wonder what she thought when she saw the final product?
Yeah, pretty much the same as me.