Part three in our continuing Misfit Artists saga, which examines documentaries about unique artists working outside of the mainstream.
Electric Boogaloo is not about break dancing. It’s a documentary about Cannon Films, the bad boys of 1980s and 1990s cinema. Led by a pair of brash Israelis who wanted to disrupt the Hollywood studio system, Cannon unleashed a torrent of cheap, edgy and often outrageous films. Some of them were even good.
The documentary examines the story of Cannon’s brief but volatile existence through interviews with former staffers, Hollywood big-shots, actors and critics. There’s also lots of footage from the films themselves, many of which have been (rightly or wrongly) swept into the dustbin of history. Taken all together, it tells the story of cavalier film making outside the mainstream in all its hideous beauty.
Three reasons to watch:
- The real-life characters: Cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who headed Cannon Films during its height, are the real stars of the film. With Golan the dreamer and Globus the moneyman, the pair of were basically the twin Trumps of movies, hawking gaudy yet cut-rate products with self-delusional fanfare while occasionally stumbling into success. Their big dreams and tumultuous but loyal relationship make them endearing in a curious way.
- The recommendations: Viewers of this website should be on the prowl for hot tips on odd and obscure movies to sink their teeth into, and this documentary has an embarrassment of riches. From bizarre debacles like The Apple, to forgotten classics like Lifeforce, to cheesy stalwarts like Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (the namesake of the doc), this is a treasure-trove of fresh ideas to fill any movie lover’s queue to bursting.
- The dirt: In addition to introducing you to a bunch of movies, the film also dishes on the behind-the-scenes dealings and drama that made those films a reality. So if you’ve ever wondered why Sylvester Stallone was in a movie about arm wrestling or what they were thinking with all of those Death Wish sequels, you can get the stories that no one bothered to tell before.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you that:
- It’s for cinephiles: People who don’t care much about the history of schlock will probably not be as interested in the subject matter as the rest of us. Given that most of the films come from the 1980s and early 1990s, it also helps to have nostalgia for the films in question and the period of cinema in general. For selections outside of the movie theater, try some of my previous Misfit Artists.