Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Howard the Duck


Michael Cimino made The Deer Hunter, with most of the new generation of Holly wood stars. Awards showered down on him. Then he made Heaven’s Gate. He hasn’t been heard from since.

Steven Spielberg made Jaws, revolutionizing the action movie genre, then he made Close Encounters of the Third Kind, revolutionizing the science fiction movie genre. Then he made 1941. Fortunately, he was able to bounce back with Raiders of the Lost Ark.

George Lucas made Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and invented the modern space opera movie. Then he basically retired from directing, and produced Howard the Duck. He survived, but the careers of Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins almost didn’t, and the writers and directors, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, vanished afterward.

Howard was a legendary bomb, financially and critically, and for some reason I never got around to seeing it. I mean, I always try to see the epically bad big movies. So a few days ago I found a copy at Goodwill, and laid out the $2.99. How bad could it be? Well, sometimes I just can’t quite put my finger on why a movie doesn’t work for me. Particularly comedies. We all have different senses of humor. But I had no trouble figuring out why this one didn’t work.

It’s not funny.

I mean, it’s really not funny. We are currently 3/4ths of the way through it, and I only got that far because I was stunned, gobsmacked, stonkered, banjaxed at how consistently not funny it was. Not a single joke worked. Not a single character was at all interesting … wait a sec, I take it back. Jeffrey Jones as the Dark Lord of the Universe appealed to me for a while, because it looked like he might destroy everything in sight and bring this waddler to a close. No such luck. It just keeps quacking along, laying egg after egg after rotten joke egg, until it stops. I’ve seldom been so relieved.