The Best Movie Critic + review

Favorite Movie Series: Bryan Connolly on The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters

Hey gang, Ben here. Today’s guest poster Bryan Connolly co-edited the hilarious, insane, totally badass Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. I really can’t hyperbolize enough about this absurd yet compelling 1100-entry strong punk cinema encyclopedia. This is the best coffee table book to come around in a long time. On top of that, Bryan and his co-writer Zack Carlson recently announced that their blue-collar vampire killer screenplay Destroywill begin production this year, directed by Michael Stephenson (Troll 2, Best Worst Movie) and produced by Jennifer Roth (Black Swan). Holy smokes! On a more personal note, when I was a freshman in high school, Bryan was the president of my school’s film club. This is the guy responsible for my first viewings of movies like Dead Alive, Apocalypse Now, Repo Man, and Forbidden Zone. Bryan’s a really nice dude, and deserves all the success that’s coming his way. Here's Bryan’s explanation of why The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters is his favorite movie. Enjoy!

A review by Bryan Connolly
The Lemon Grove Kids Meet The Monsters
1965
Dir: Ray Dennis Steckler and Ted Roter
Once the hand drawn opening credits end, the viewer is accosted with zany imagery of the highest caliber: Fast motion running and lots of loud cartoon sound effects, leaning heavily on the slide whistles. This is Steckler’s homage to the Dead End Kids/Bowery Boys/Eastside Kids films. It is so homemade and sincere that one can only be overtly charmed by the whole damn thing. It reminds me of the movies I made with my little brothers when I was 12, but Steckler shot this on film in his late twenties! Steckler, who plays the lovable dope Gopher, leads the cast, and the rest of the actors are basically dads in funny hats. The film is divided into three parts. The first is about a foot race. This story features an amazing fight under a bridge sequence. Here we see the above-mentioned dads partaking in sloppily choreographed wrasslin’ to classical music. There are some amazing tracking shots of goons training and the gang running through the suburbs. The greatest sequence though is when Gopher “takes a short cut” and runs into a Mummy chasing a lady. This scene has all the power of childhood Halloween memories. The second part is about a grasshopper man who arrives on a little spaceship. This story features many great gags: A fat guy named Skinny hiding in a tiny suitcase, a monster’s handgrabbing numerous kids and pulling them out of frame, and the classic guy-dragging-his-head-in-dirt-to-look-for-somebody bit. I love it! The third sequence unfortunately is a snoozer about a kidnapping and nary anything funny happens. Don’t watch this part. The first hour of this film is so much better than most modern comedies. I wish people still did slapstick. I wish comedy wasn’t just some unshaven Canadian and a bong. I wish comedy stopped relying on Star Wars references and farts. I wish comedy was funny again. Steckler got his friends together and for very little money made a good solid film all in the name of fun. You can too. Do it!

PREVIOUS ENTRIES IN THE FAVORITE MOVIE SERIES:
WAYNE'S WORLD by Crawford Philleo
DREAMS by Ryan Hall
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT and WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN by Keith Garcia
APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX by Tom Murphy
WHAT MAKES MOVIEGOING GREAT by Melissa Kaercher
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME by Andrew Kemp
GREMLINS by Ryan Thompson
THE MUPPET MOVIE by Ben Martin
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD by Harry Knowles
BRINGING UP BABY by Beth Link
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA by Justin Couch
FAVORITE MOVIE SERIES INTRO

adventure, best, book, cartoon, Cinema, comedy, favorite, LIFE, Movie, and more:

Favorite Movie Series: Bryan Connolly on The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters + review