1981 / Director Allan Arkush
In the late 70s comedian Andy Kaufman wanted to make a feature film about his alter ego Tony Clifton. No studio had confidence in the idea, however, Universal promised to make that film on the provisor that Kaufman star in Heartbeeps. It was a script that had floating around and with Star Wars being a global phenomenon at the time, Universal assumed that kids would lap up a story about two robots on an adventure (ala C-3PO & R2-D2). If Heartbeeps were to be a success Kaufman would be given the green light for his Tony Clifton movie. And so Heartbeeps was made and is now notorious for being one of the worst movies ever made. It was a monumental flop and Kaufman publicly apologised and pledged to refund every ticket sold. Alongside Bernadette Peters he plays a robot stuck in a warehouse with views to a serene mountain landscape. They break out and embark on an adventure to collect samples of the outside world. I watched the movie with its reputation in mind and thus keeping my expectations minimal. Wow, it sure is crap! Poor Andy... he's practically playing his Latka character from Taxi (a character he hated but the world loved) and his lines feel so forced that you wonder if he was actually at gun-point to deliver them. Biologically speaking faces contains nutrients, i.e. goodness and so to dissect this turd of a movie I will mention some of it's pros... there is a charm to it. It's aimed at children and has a lot of cute moments. The character make up and FX are well done thanks to the legendary Stan Winston and its shot well. Preceding Short Circuit I can't help but think perhaps this influenced Johnny 5's adventures to some extent. There are certainly similarities... but Short Circuit got it right. And so if you're looking for one of those really really bad movies for nostalgic and/or cult cinema reasons then Heartbeeps will guarantee discussion (possibly instead of watching). I prefer to call it "Heartbreaking" because with it's sinking went Kaufman's ambitions and passion for the Tony Clifton movie.