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American Way, The

American Way, The (1986) Movie Poster
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  •  UK / USA  •    •  92m  •    •  Directed by: Maurice Phillips.  •  Starring: Dennis Hopper, Michael J. Pollard, Eugene Lipinski, James Aubrey, Al Matthews, Bill Armstrong, Michael Ho, Scott Hoxby, Nigel Pegram, Mark Caven, Craig Pinder, Jeff Harding, Linda Lou Allen.  •  Music by: Brian Bennett, Simon Webb.
        A group of Vietnam vets disturbs television programs from a B-29 airplane. They want to sabotage Mrs Westinghouse's political campaign who is running for the Senate in support of US military involvement in South America. Mrs Westinghouse orders some nuclear missiles to be launched against the saboteurs, but they manage to avoid the impact and even succeed in exposing a big secret of hers.


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Image from: American Way, The (1986)
Image from: American Way, The (1986)
Image from: American Way, The (1986)
Image from: American Way, The (1986)
Image from: American Way, The (1986)
Image from: American Way, The (1986)
During the past six months or so, I have intentionally sat and watched hordes of terrible movies, in search of the most entertainingly godawful ones I can. I've probably been through about 50 or so. Riding the Bus With My Sister? Seen it. Shatner? Tons. Rock 'N Roll Nightmare? Hell yes. Haim? Feldman? Ferrigno? Medieval Harvey Keitel? All this and more. Perhaps that is the only reason I managed to endure all the way through Riders of the Storm. I've become inured to a certain amount of bad movie pain. But not this much. I'm only human. This is, no hyperbole, one of the absolute dumbest movies I've seen in twenty-six years of movie watching.

My brain has been so thoroughly assaulted by stupidity over the last hour and a half that it can't even collate exactly what happened. A million things are all going on at once, and not a damn one of them makes sense. There's a plane, see? An old bomber flying across the U.S., and on it are seven, sometimes eight men, all but one of which have apparently not touched the ground in fifteen years. They're outlaws with no support system. At all, near as I can tell. Perhaps their plane is powered by wishes and daydreams, because they certainly have no way of getting fuel. They fly around the country using the sparse equipment on board to basically create a television program, S&M TV, and then interrupt legitimate broadcasts with their pirate signal. The things they broadcast are not professional or smart or funny or pertinent or, really, interesting in any way, and after fifteen years of it they have a nation of fans. Naturally. Did I mention one of the guys has a jet pack and that another one of them performs in-flight engine repairs without a safety harness? There's a third whose only job on board appears to be to do tai chi and sweat. You'll never once see the pilot out of his seat. Well, he's only been flying for fifteen years; another two or three and he'll take a nap. They have no way of getting a steady stream of food, but don't worry: the jetpacker (oh God) sometimes brings candy bars and whatnot stuffed in his jacket. This movie thinks you are dumb, dumb, dumb.

Our heroes are trying to discredit Mrs. Westinghouse, a female presidential candidate. They're disgruntled Vietnam veterans and she's looking to beef up the military and, they're guessing, go to war again. She's utterly without charisma, couldn't deliver a rousing speech if her life depended on it, doesn't come off as intelligent, and looks kind of like someone's homely grandma. Clearly, she must be stopped at any cost. Furthermore, she's labeled at one point as "mysterious," and the only way the character makes even a little sense is if she basically popped up out of nowhere recently--had no past *at all*--and somehow quickly became some party's primary candidate. I'll refrain from giving away what even the back of the VHS box can't help but give away, but Westinghouse's big secret is just another fragrant turd of stupid the movie lays down. It'll be obvious from the word go anyway.

Whenever I thought I could give up for a bit and mentally move past one lump of potent idiocy like a speed bump just so I could follow the movie, along came two more. At one point I literally sat staring slack-jawed at the screen for probably ten minutes because I just couldn't deal with it. The movie tries to take swipes at religion, politics, country music, the military, aerobics workout videos, etc., etc., but it's all so amateurish and painfully unfunny that it seems about on the level of a really bad public access show with a mysteriously large budget. It plays about like an eleven year old wrote a script and, through a series of farcical errors, it got produced and turned into a real movie with real money behind it.

It's got plenty of garish 80s style behind it--the fact that the director worked on music videos came as no surprise, nor did the fact that this was his first movie--but its substance is practically nil. The movie has no idea that's the case, however. It seems at times to believe that it's a satire, but it's way too dim to be capable of meeting any satirical ambitions. On a second viewing it might be laughable, but there's so much to deal with that the first time around was just a painful exercise in masochism. I'm not sure I'd even recommend it as an entertainingly bad movie. Useful as a trial of sorts, a challenge for you and your friends to get through, perhaps.

Review by Steve from the Internet Movie Database.