Awfully Good: Flash Gordon

Arguably the best part of the movie TED was all the FLASH GORDON stuff. In case you haven't seen FLASH, here's a refresher course.

Flash Gordon (1980)

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Sam Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow

The quarterback for the New York Jets is sent to the planet Mongo to save the universe from Ming the Merciless.

Defying odds befitting the film's title character, FLASH GORDON works. Miraculously, inexplicably, somehow it works—on all levels. The story is absurd, the acting is bad, the dialogue is corny, the effects are laughable; yet in resistance of the known laws of mathematics, everything combines together to become totally freaking awesome. I love FLASH GORDON.

From Jesus in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD to Space Guy With Orgasm Ring in FLASH GORDON.

Based on the pulp adventure comic strip of the same name, the film version amps up the tongue-in-cheekiness and turns Flash in to a camp classic—exactly the right way to pull off this kind of movie. It's epically cheesy but well-executed, with great production design, costumes and music. Even when they suck, everyone completely commits to the film and it shows. The final "Flight of the Hawkmen" sequence is so hokey and cheap from an effects standpoint, yet Brian Blessed's bellowing war cries ("DIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!) sell it 110%. And when the rocking score by Queen kicks in… stand back, my boner needs some room.

Still better than BIRDEMIC.

Sam Jones is a terrible actor but as Flash he's somehow endearing too. He may be a pompous ass that walks around daily wearing a shirt with his name on it, but Jones has this goofy, well-meaning quality about him, even if he can't act to save his life, much less Earth. The film's updated interpretation of Flash changes the character from a polo-playing Yale graduate to a lunkhead football player whose bravery outshines his brains. Sometimes he's so dumb the only way he can defeat Ming's fairly inept guards is by grabbing a football-shaped object and pretending he's running drills back on Earth. Other times, he's smart enough to instantly fly and operate all the alien ships and machinery better than their entire military. Eventually though, it's his courageous spirit and humanity that helps him unite the two warring factions of Tree People and Hawk Men to overthrow the evil Ming.

James Bond loves the ladies. All of them.

The rest of the cast is pitch perfect too. Melody Anderson and Ornella Muti affected the childhood of countless young boys as the two women vying for Flash's love and private parts, while Brian Blessed and Timothy Dalton made a memorable team as the constantly feuding, ridiculously dressed princes. But the real all-star here is Max Von Sydow, whose casting as Ming the Merciless was either a stroke of genius or the result of someone having an actual stroke. I'm not sure exactly how one approaches the man who starred in Ingmar Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL and asks him if he wants to play a flamboyant alien emperor who's as evil as he is Asian, but thank God someone did. Von Sydow wears the eye shadow and eyebrows with gusto, relishing every ridiculous line and wholly embracing the insanity of the character. Ming is so awesome in this movie you almost want him to win out over Gordon.

Another satisfied fan of TREMORS.

If you've never seen FLASH GORDON you should. It's unapologetically fun and campy… plus you get plenty of random sexual undertones! This might be the horniest PG-rated movie ever made. As soon as our heroes arrive, Ming immediately puts Dale under his rape spell. A young boy gets initiated in to manhood by Timothy Dalton, who makes him stick his hand in to a hole until it gets bitten by a phallic scorpion. And then there's the Princess, who's easily the most lustful woman in the entire galaxy. She has a pet sex midget named Fellini. She sleeps with everyone she meets, then brings Flash back from the dead so she can sleep with him. Hell, she even owns something called a Pleasure Moon. (Please don't tell me what that really is, because the real explanation can't possibly be as good as the one in my head.)

I want to go to there.

Best wedding vows ever.

Flash plays football with Ming's minions, Dale gets seduced by the One Ring, the awesomeness of the Hawkmen attack and more!

No nudity, but Ornella Muti's Princess Aura will still put you through puberty!

Worth leaving Mila Kunis over? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • A guy gets run over by a plane and nobody cares
  • The black guy dies immediately
  • Something sexual happens
  • Water leaks from someone's eyes
  • Brian Blessed hits somebody on the head
  • Brian Blessed yells "Dive!"
Double shot if:
  • Freddie Mercury sings "Flash! Ahhh-ahhh!"

Thanks to Danny and Tyler for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: Melody Anderson left Hollywood in the mid-90s and now works as a psychotherapist in Los Angeles.
Source: JoBlo.com



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