Awfully Good: Tammy and the T-Rex (Video)
There are many terrible dinosaur movies with which to celebrate JURASSIC WORLD's release. CARNOSAUR, THEODORE REX, PREHYSTERIA, A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL just to name a few. But one film eclipses those in spectacular fashion…
Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)
Director: Stewart Raffill
Stars: Paul Walker, Denise Richards, Terry Kiser
Paul Walker is mauled by lions and resurrected as an animatronic dinosaur so he can be with his girlfriend Denise Richards.
FACT: This is a movie about late FAST AND FURIOUS star Paul Walker becoming a dinosaur.
FACT: It's from the director of MAC AND ME and MANNEQUIN 2: ON THE MOVE.
FACT: It's exactly as amazing as it sounds.
Khaleesi riding a dragon? Psssssh….
"What? No, that can't be right. I must be reading that wrong. Am I having a stroke?" These are all acceptable thoughts to have when encountering the idea of TAMMY AND THE T-REX for the first time. There's no sense in attempting to justify or rationalize why this movie exists or how it got made. Just accept the fact that somebody watched JURASSIC PARK and decided to find some way, whatever asinine, to capitalize on the popularity of the tyrannosaurus rex for a teenage demographic. And poor Paul Walker and Denise Richards got dragged along for the ride.
Tyrese's favorite shirt.
As you would assume, Paul Walker is only in the movie for the first part and fortunately/unfortunately he spends a good amount of his screentime in a midriff. His character Michael is wildly in love with the titular Tammy (Richards), who feels the same but is being terrorized by a psychotically protective high school bully named Billy. Billy doesn't like Michael hanging out with Tammy, which is perfectly characterized in a fight scene where the two teenage boys grab each other's crotches and squeeze their balls until they reach an impasse. (Or a "testicular standoff" as the police refer to it.) However, a little game of grabsack just isn't enough, so one night Billy attacks Michael and chases him in to a local animal park where apparently anyone can drive their car in to an active lion's den. Billy leaves Michael amongst the giant felines and the game of Paul Walker vs. Lion ends pretty much how you expect.
How do you ask a dinosaur out to lunch?
Now the dino fun begins! Awfully Good favorite Terry Kiser (WEEKEND AT BERNIES, MANNEQUIN 2) plays Dr. Wachenstein, a mad German scientist obsessed with achieving immortality by transferring human consciousness from a brain in to a machine. For some reason, instead of doing this with a humanoid robot, Dr. Wachenstein builds an enormous animatronic T-Rex as his first test subject. And when the doctor hears that the star of MEET THE DEEDLES is in a lion-induced coma, he walks in to the hospital, fakes Michael's death, and immediately takes his body away without anyone noticing or caring. Once they get the body back in the lab, it's goodbye Paul Walker, hello super fake dinosaur!
"Hey Spielberg, what's up with this Indominus Rex bullshit?"
This would be a good time to discuss the title character. The tyrannosaurus rex in TAMMY AND THE T-REX is clearly a man in a suit, but still fairly normal as far as cinematic dinosaurs go. It looks like a T-Rex except for one special trait—completely, utterly, ridiculously obvious human arms and hands. I don't know if the filmmakers just couldn't get the dino's front appendages right or were unable to figure out a way to articulate puppet extremities, but for whatever reason they just stuck some guy's arms in a dinosaur-colored long sleeve t-shirt and called it a day. And as if they had no shame, they make the T-Rex use his hands constantly in the most ridiculous ways. Examples include Dino Michael holding up a mirror and angrily discovering his Jurassic fate, stroking Denise Richard's face and hair lovingly, dusting off his sassy gay black friend's stylish jacket, or, in the film's most memorable moment, using a pay phone to make a call and checking the coin slot for loose change.
The JURASSIC WORLD romance subplot was a big hit in Japan.
Once Paul Walker becomes a dinosaur (<--there's a phrase I never thought I'd write), the movie goes pretty much where you expect. He gets murderous revenge on everyone responsible for his death, watches his own funeral (just picture a giant thunder lizard unsuccessfully hiding behind a tree in a cemetery), and of course reconnects with Denise Richards. If you're wondering how a mute teenager-turned-dinosaur could possibly explain his current predicament to his girlfriend, the answer is… a game of charades using his freaky human arms. (Please watch this in the Best Parts below.) Tammy quickly makes peace with the fact that she's dating an animatronic puppet and drives Dino Michael around in a pick up truck, digging up corpses and breaking in to the morgue in an attempt to find him a suitable body to zap his brain back into. This all sets the stage for a disappointingly lame final showdown where the police and German scientist all confront the dinosaur in an abandoned barn. Did I mention this is the same barn where it's heavily insinuated that Tammy and the T-Rex got intimate with each other?
WILD THINGS was worth the 65 million year wait.
TAMMY AND THE T-REX works as a complete oddity of the film world and remains entertaining in spite of a bizarre tone that's "goofy kids movie with inappropriate adult jokes." (Apparently somewhere there's an unrated cut with much needed gore and violence.) And if you suffer through this, the final scene involves Denise Richards doing a highly questionable striptease. So at least there's that.
Some of Denise Richards' worst acting and other winners.
The greatest dinosaur moments, including phone calls, murder and a game of charades. (BONUS: Paul Walker gets in a testicular standoff!)
A young Denise Richards dances around in lingerie.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Nuts are grabbed or kicked
- Paul Walker gets punched
- Denise Richards screams
- The dinosaur kills someone
- Someone passes out
- The cops are homophobic
Double shot if:
- Denise Richards' furniture falls apart
Can't get enough of TAMMY AND THE T-REX? Hey, neither could we, which is why both the written and video columns for this week's Awfully Good are all about this little gem a movie. So, now that you've soaked in Jason Adams' hilarious take on the film, let host Jesse Shade take you on his version of an Awfully Good prehistoric adventure!
|Extra Tidbit:||Pedro himself Efran Ramirez cameos as a pizza delivery boy... and looks exactly the same as he did 10 years later in NAPOLEON DYNAMITE.|