Thursday, January 13, 2011

Battle Beyond the Stars

God bless my mother. She took me to see this when I was just a wee lad of nine. She sat through it without so much as an ill word. It's a testament to her strength, and her willingness to put up with no amount of shit from her youngest son, that she sat there next to me the entire 100 minutes and even patted me softly on the head later when I gushed about how good it was.

That became our de rigueur mode of interaction over the subsequent years. I'd do something stupid (usually far worse than choosing a crappy movie) and she’d be at my side, no matter what. Raising kids ain't easy especially when one of them is a queer little boy with a taste for truancy, vandalism and petty theft.

That I grew into anything other than a reprobate is nothing short of a miracle, especially in that environment.

Nowadays I get in trouble a lot less, and usually only burden my mother when I need a shoulder to cry on. Or need to borrow money. She never fails to comfort me, though lately, it's not very easy to get any cash out of her. She's got her retirement to think about, I guess.

This movie is just about what you'd expect in a Roger Corman produced sci-fi rip off of The Magnificent Seven. Shad (Richard Thomas) is a naïve young flyboy who is sent to the far reaches of the galaxy when his home world is attacked by Sador, a real baddie played by John Saxon.

Shad-boy assembles a ragtag band of mercenaries made up of George Peppard, Robert Vaughn, Sybil Danning in big hair and little else, a space lizard, and a couple midgets. So, you know the home world is safe.

There's a lot of really bad sexual innuendo, a lot of real bad special effects, and a lot of scenery chewing from John Saxon. There an old man with a robot body, an effect achieved by placing an actor inside a cardboard box with lights attached to it. There's a space ship with knockers.

Now, all of this went over my head as a child. My mother, no doubt, got it all. That she never complained shows you what a great woman she is. I suppose I should call her and apologize for all the crap I put her through in my youth, starting with this film.

Directed by Jimmy Murakami • PG • 1980 • 104 minutes

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