smiling soultaker


In a time and place much like our own, only it's the Eighties, a balding J.D. named Brad picks up a dreamy guy whose full name, I happen to have just noticed, is Zachary Taylor, the same as our twelfth president.
Zachary Taylor and Brad pick up goofy eunuch Tommy and head off to a summer festival in town. A real looker named Natalie (Vivian Schiller, who also wrote the screenplay) arrives separately and begins seeking out Zack. Zack does the same in return, despite the strenuous objections of trusted advisor Brad, who proclaims Natalie a rich bit*h and too good for Zack. When Natalie's stranded by her friend (who fulfills her female role by heading off with the first male who crosses her line of sight), Zack, Natalie, Brad, Tommy, and a goofy girl pile into Brad's car and that is when the movie really starts.

movie poster See, I haven't even mentioned yet that we've also seen Joe Estevez (brother of Martin Sheen) and Robert Z'Dar appear and disappear at odd intervals all this time. They're Angels of Death. They appear, point at our protagonists, and then Joe walks out in front of Brad's speeding car and causes an accident! Everybody's dead! Or are they? NO!

Oh, it gets complicated. Estevez tries to take their post-accident souls, and can't get Tommy's and Natalie's and Zack's; that's because they're not dead! Wow! Instead, they wander invisibly, trying to figure out what the hell is going on, pursued by Estevez, who's egged on by a clearly irritated Z'Dar, and it's all made more complex by Estevez believing he knew Natalie in a past life - or is that the point, we're not sure, maybe she really does just look like someone; and the exact physics of the whole scheme become murkier and murkier and Estevez tries everything but can't get the job done. He is a terrible Angel of Death.

He even tries becoming Natalie's mom - have I mentioned these guys are shape-shifters? - and that leads to some weird incestuous lesbian implications that I don't think the movie's makers really meant to get into, but they wrote themselves into it and it's kinda creepy.

Natalie and Zack end up okay, helped a little by new Angel of Death Brad. That's really all you need to know. Tommy doesn't make it. And I ask, along with you: who was Tommy again?

Prologue: Crow and Servo hold a wet t-shirt contest. They put some t-shirts in pans of water and can't see what the big deal is. At the end, after Mike says "we'll be right back," nothing happens for a bit. Hm.

Segment One: Upon returning, an a image of Martin Van Buren appears suddenly, followed by an image of Martin Van Buren mixed with that of a gesturing, muffled man, a fellow sharp-eyed viewers might recognize. When Gypsy turns unusually vulgar, all realize that something is wrong, and they appeal to Pearl. Pearl doesn't care, and only sends them the movie. The theater doors don't work at first.

Segment Two: Gypsy announces that a mysterious ship is keeping pace with the SOL and stalks off crabbily. Mike tries to take control, and fails. "Um - shields up!" (There are no shields.) He breaks the hexfield.

Segment Three: The SOL suddenly begins plummeting, out of control, death is certain. Mike appeals to Pearl, but havoc reigns in the castle as a hooded figure tries to take Bobo's soul. The Soultaker turns out to be TV's Frank, who is in fact dead and is working as an Angel of Death. He explains he was in Second Banana Heaven for a while, "but it was so political up there - Pat Buttram had it in for me right from the start!" Pearl and Frank have a great time catching up and insulting Brain Guy. The SOL's nosedive stops - they've been saved by a beam from the mysterious ship.

Joel Robinson appears Segment Four: Crow and Tom wonder about the mysterious ship, terrified. "Who are you!!!?" cries Crow; the doors open and Joel Robinson appears. Turns out Joel discovered that Dr. Forrester had rigged the ship to self-destruct after ten years, and he came to fix it. Everybody's happy and they all get reacquainted. Joel comments that Crow's voice sounds different, and ascribes it to a new bowling pin. He explains that after he crash-landed in Australia he worked for the band Man Or Astroman for a while, doing pyrotechnics; now he manages a Hot Fish Shop in Osseo. Mike appears and is very impressed with Joel's new job, but is depressed he can't take the overnight cook job, being stuck in space and all. Joel cheers him up.

Segment Five: Joel's about done. He explains a few problems he's found, including some gunk from when Mike tried to patch something with strips of bacon. They check in at the castle and discover Frank, who says that Joel's soul is on his list, so he's going to need that - "you know, when you get a minute." Joel leaves, proclaiming he can't take Mike and the 'Bots because the time he spent on the SOL "made a man outta me and maybe, just maybe, it'll make a man out of you too." Mike is grateful. In the castle, Frank needs a soul, and finally agrees to take Bobo's. Bobo and Frank play ring-toss with Bobo's soul.
Paul Chaplin

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