Queen, "Flash's Theme"

>> Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh, hell. You know, why the hell not?

We went with Queen the other day. I could follow it up with something righteous from Queen's A-list--"Rhapsody," for instance, or "Fat Bottomed Girls"--but there's something so joyously, gorgeously cheesy about the Flash Gordon soundtrack; like the movie itself; this is the cinematic equivalent of a grilled cheese sammich, and I don't mean a good grilled cheese, something hoity-toity with smoked gouda and tomatoes on one of your fancy-shmancy breads, no, I mean one of your grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheese food product, your Velveeta® on white bread grilled cheese sandwich, your soul food grilled cheese that shreds five years off the end of your life but gives you back five years from the front. Something that melts in your mouth and clogs in your arteries.

With canned tomato soup. Campbell's®, are you kidding me? What else would we be talking about? Campbell's® condensed, none of that fresh, "from scratch" crap, not even one of those elite organic brands with delicious chunks of tomato floating around in the soup. Something not wholly dissimilar to ketchup, but we will wash it down with milk.

Flash Gordon was a terrible movie, of course. It's hard to tell how much of that was on purpose--some of it was absolutely on purpose--and how much of it was accidental (I'm guessing more of that was accidental than anyone will ever know). Screenplay by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., who was the guy most responsible for the Adam West Batman being what it was, but before you think that seals the deal for knowing camp (and there's a lot of knowing camp in Flash Gordon, admittedly), Flash was a Dino De Laurentiis joint, Dino being a guy with a sort of... let's try "interesting"... an interesting reputation, to put it diplomatically, in terms of the way so many of his films seemed to, eh, conveniently lose money (he did produce a few hits, though some of those might have been accidents causing some grief).

Regardless, it's hard not to have some awful fun with Flash. Tempered with a tiny amount of resentment that Alex Raymond's iconic comic strip sort of gets pissed on a little in the process--I really wanted someone to do a straight-up big budget version until John Carter's flopping took the taste out of my mouth. (Still haven't seen JC, but the whole disaster of it makes me think maybe some pulps ought to stay in the pulps.) It's always good for some laughs, anyway, down to the cheesetacularness of the soundtrack, which is so knowingly over-the-top I'm not sure it's ever managed to come down anywhere.

I don't have the DVD; I might need to get it, and an equally yellow box of synthesized orange gold and a loaf of Wonder® bread. Yes. Yes I might.


vince Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 3:26:00 PM EDT  

I disagree about Flash Gordon. It's a wonderfully campy movie that's full of humor, silliness, and over-the-top characters that are in keeping (in my opinion) with the spirit of the original comics.

It's junk food, certainly, and like any junk food will clog your veins and lead to a stroke or heart attack if you consume it regularly, but it's delicious and addictive in the way that the best junk food is.

And see John Carter. If you like the original books (I do, especially the first two) then I think you'll find the movie does the books justice.

It failed at the box office (in my opinion, and that of many others) because it was so poorly promoted.

Dr. Phil (Physics) Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 10:08:00 PM EDT  

Without Queen, Flash Gordon is just a mess. With Queen it's great fun. And those lyrics! Yay!

Ditto on Vince's comment on John Carter.

Dr. Phil

Eric Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:23:00 AM EDT  

To be clear, Flash is absolutely a guilty pleasure of mine. And, yeah, it's hard to imagine it being half as much screwball fun without Queen's soundtrack.

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