Wednesday, April 20, 2011


My friends at NoBulljive suggested that I check Solarbabies out because it is really "...something."  That might not sound like a glowing recommendation to you, but I watch a lot of movies that are, at best,, I thought I'd give this one a shot.

Wow.  Bad idea.  Kids, don't do as Donnie Don't does.
Catch a rerun instead of this movie, please.
In a post-apocalyptic future, what do you think the world will be like?  If you answered "a desert wasteland that is surprisingly roller skate friendly," then you hit the nail on the head.  Unfortunately, you hit it with your face.  Yes, the future is a dire time period and it is in need of some heroes.  I know what you're thinking..."We don't need another hero, we don't need to know the way home.  All we want is life beyond Thunderdome."  Well, what if I told you that in this desert-y future, orphans are kept in medium security prison-like facilities?  And the primary way for these orphans to rebel is to sneak out late at night and play each other in a game that is apparently a cross between lacrosse and roller skating?  And furthermore, what if I told you that a sentient, super-powered orb shows up and helps the kids escape their prison and topple the evil regime?  You would probably say that sounds like a terrible, terrible movie.  And you would be right.

Solarbabies (taken from the main characters' rollercrosse team name) is not exactly an acting tour de force.  Sure, it boasts Jason Patric in his first movie, but it also shows off some early work from Jami Gertz, Peter DeLouise, James LeGros, Lukas Haas and the apparently time-proof Adrian Pasdar.
What makes his hair even better is the fact that he plays a roller skating falconer.
There are some veterans in the cast to try and add legitimacy to this movie, but Richard Jordan isn't the sort of actor you want to headline your movie.  Unless, of course, your movie is about post-apocalyptic roller skating teens who befriend a glowing orb named Bohdai.  Charles Durning, on the other hand, is a much better actor, but his part is minuscule (and surprisingly sweaty).  Despite all that, the acting isn't too awful.  It is, by no stretch of the imagination, good.  It isn't as bad as the film premise might suggest, though.  They act poorly, but it is obvious that they have all memorized their lines and can deliver their ridiculous dialogue with a straight face.  I find it interesting that this movie was directed by Alan Johnson, who is most famous for providing choreography for Mel Brooks' movies; it's interesting because the man clearly was familiar with stupid comedy, but opted to make this film stupidly serious.
An actual publicity shot for Solarbabies, which wisely chooses to have nothing to do with the movie.
I don't want to waste my time analyzing this movie, but here's a list of things that I laughed at in the film:
  • Their roller skates have lights to help with skating in the dark.
  • When given the task of disabling a camera that will, at any moment, report that the Solarbabies are escaping their prison, one of them chooses to try and break the camera by hitting a rock at it, baseball-style.  That has to be a fairly unlikely path toward success.
  • Roller.  Skating.  Falconer.
  • There is apparently still hair dye after the apocalypse.
  • Roller skating is apparently very easy on dirt roads.
  • The police cars look like Darth Vader helmets on wheels.
  • Five good guys get captured by two bounty hunters, even after the hunters admit that they won't use lethal force.
  • Dogs have flashlights on their help track roller skates with flashlights on them, maybe?
  • Smokey Robinson provides the song for the credits, and it includes the name "Bodhai" frequently in the lyrics.
Leave it to a DeLouise to be happy about a bad movie.
Take one part Rollerball, two parts Mad Max, and thirty-six parts of suck, and you will get Solarbabies.  Now, you might be thinking that Solarbabies can't be as bad as the cabbage role at the Terra-Phelevo Penn, or the oatmeal at the Cook County slammer, but (in the immortal words of Matt "Guitar" Murphy) "they're all pretty bad."
That's half a star for Adrian Pasdar's hair, half a star for never relenting with the roller skate gimmick, and half a star for a post-apocalyptic rollercrosse team that instinctively knows the best team colors are found on the American flag, dammit!
You better think before you watch Solarbabies with Aretha.


  1. Were you constantly reminded of Trumpy and Pod People when watching Bohdai and the kid, or was it just me?

  2. Oh, man...I wish I had thought of would have made the movie so much more amusing.

    "Bohdai, you can do stupid things!"