Goonies never say “die”. Or “crap”. Or “dang”: Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure

Oh my God, you guys. I never in a million years expected to be saying this, but you need to see this Harold Cronk film.

Christopher Lloyd is in exactly one scene, and it's a flashback

Christopher Lloyd is in exactly one scene, and it’s a flashback

You might know Harold Cronk for the gobsmackingly awful God’s Not Dead series. Turns out that he makes other kinds of movies as well (The only religious element to the film is that one of the leads crosses herself at two points. And even that seems like an awfully Catholic thing for the God’s Not Dead guy.). I’d kinda love to talk about this movie at length, but I’m still processing.

The long and short of it is: this movie is incredible.

Incredible doesn’t actually mean “good”. This movie is not good. But it is bad in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Let me give you a brief explanation of this movie:

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure (“The Adventures of” was added at the suggestion of Wal-Mart, who believed it would help sales if it were filed closer to the front alphabetically) is a family-friendly adventure movie about a couple of tweens who are sent on a quest to recover the three elements which power an ancient Egyptian alchemy machine and protect them from a group of Confederate revivalists who want to use it to fund the conquest of the modern United States by the Confederacy. In Michigan. And also this has something to do with bulldozing the hero’s hometown. Featuring cameos by Christopher Lloyd and Ernie Hudson.

You heard me. It’s basically Indiana Jones crossed with The Goonies crossed with National Treasure. Versus the Confederacy.

Also, no one’s allowed to say anything even close to a “naughty” word. So the tough, streetwise girl from the Big City uses “crackin'” as an expletive, and the redneck Fratelli Brothers stand-ins torture a black man without ever once giving any hint that race has anything to do with it. And despite the occasional pretense of someone being in actual danger, the worst violence we see is two old men boxing and a bit of shin-kicking (In scenes where a kick to the happysacks would really be more appropriate). And the Coast Guard drives in at the end to round up the bad guys.

If this doesn’t sound amazing to you, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Like I said, this is a bad movie. I mean, terrible. But that’s the weird thing. The dialogue is terrible. The acting is terrible. The cinematography is terrible, full of shots from weird angles with bad lighting and way too many close-ups. The whole thing looks like it was shot on a smartphone camera.

But, and I realize this is hard to explain, that’s all that’s wrong with the movie. The movie is perfectly fine on a conceptual level. The plot is mostly solid (There’s one or two weak spots, but nothing even on the level of, “Why the hell don’t they get the Eagles to take them to Mount Doom?”) with all its reveals well set-up ahead of time. The pacing is excellent. The story is just the right amount of outlandish fantasy for the sort of traditional Kid-Adventure movie I grew up on. The jokes fall flat, but the structural humor mostly works. There’s only one CGI effect, and, it’s not even that bad.

It’s like everything went just right with this movie’s creation up until the moment they actually started production. I’ve never seen anything like that. Most movies that are trainwrecks in practice are also flawed straight down to the concept, or have any semblance of coherence stripped away by eleventh-hour rewrites and desperate editing.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie go wrong in this way before: you could to a scene-for-scene remake of this movie and end up with a masterpiece. Or at least, the kind of movie a middle-aged man reminisces fondly about thirty years later.

So you know what, watch this space some time in 2046 to see what Dylan thinks of it.

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