Monday, June 4, 2012
Nothing but Trouble
In actuality, what audiences got from Nothing but Trouble, the sole directorial effort of Aykroyd who also wrote the script, was a $40-million spoof of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre crossed with the in-your-face weirdness of Beetlejuice that most people found repellent. The plot reads like a setup for any number of drive-in exploitation features from the 1970s: a group of rich, normal New Yorkers run afoul of a demented family in the middle of nowhere. In this case, the middle of nowhere is Valkenvania, a burned-out coal field and industrial wasteland. For running a stop sign, New Yorkers Chase and Moore wind up at the twisted courthouse of Judge Alvin Valkenheiser (Aykroyd) a decrepit 106-year-old Justice of the Peace who has bizarre and lethal methods of delivering punishment to traffic violators and anyone else who falls into his clutches.
I should note the back of the DVD case says Aykroyd and Candy have "two tasty roles each." Okay, Aykroyd plays a disgusting old man with a nose that looks like the tip of a penis (no joke, that's what it is) and a giant grease-covered baby in a diaper. Candy fares a little better; one of his parts is a reasonably presentable cop (mutant families always have one normal-looking member to lure the unwary), but the other is the cop's mute sister Eldona who tries to marry Chase. Chase and Moore, frankly, look embarrassed. It makes for a fun drinking game to take a shot every time Chase says something that could be interpreted as a knock against Aykroyd for getting him in the movie: "What is this shit?" and "Is this a joke?" are two examples that come to mind.
To be honest, Nothing but Trouble was a movie I grew watching fairly regularly. I loved all the dark and twisted stuff that happened and kind of relished that most people found the movie disgusting and impossible to watch. Looking at it again, I must admit it's not very good. I still hold some nostalgic affection for it, and there are a few lines I think are funny ("Chris, you have a BMW. Act like it!), but overall, it should serve as a warning to studio executives about giving untold millions of dollars and complete control to an untested filmmaker.