A movie review by ElRon
The “bad news Jews” trash your childhood.
Anyone who watched cable television or went to the movies in the 1980’s has undoubtedly seen or heard of the titles Cannon Films produced. “Electric Boogaloo” is a documentary about the control of the movie company by two Israeli cousins, Menahem Golan and Yorum Globus. The duo went on to oversee the production of a number of exploitation films throughout the 1980’s and gained a reputation for being shrewd, vulgar, and unpleasant.
One of their earliest productions was “The Last American Virgin” (1982) directed by Israeli born director Boaz Davidson. This was a remake of his earlier film “Lemon Popsicle” which became the highest grossing film in Israel. The film follows teenagers as they have sex with prostitutes, obsess over genitalia, and behave like rooting animals. The film culminates in a scene where the girl our nebbish protagonist is secretly in love with gets an abortion after she is impregnated by an athletic blond haired boy. The documentary discusses how this type of film may have went over well with “foreign audiences” but was found to be off putting to Americans.
The duo also takes credit for popularizing the breakdancing fad that was seemingly ubiquitous in inner cities and eventually suburbs. With “Breakin’” (1984) and “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” (1984) the idea of spreading “urban” culture to uncool white kids was realized only to be matched by the “wigger” phenomenon in the 90’s.
Action films were also a mainstay of the company; with movies such as “Death Wish III,” (1985) and “Invasion USA” (1985) the duo are credited with prolonging the careers of Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson. They found themselves in financial trouble after investing in the Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling movie “Over the Top” (1987) and Dolph Lungren vehicle “Masters of the Universe” (1987), which produced very little at the box office. This led to them eventually leaving the company in the 1990’s.
The documentary interviews directors, actors, distributors and others who worked with the two men. There seems to be a general contempt for the duo who valued volume of product over quality. Actresses, in particular, recall horror stories of being forced to act in scenes with un-agreed upon nudity and sexual situations. They eventually picked up the moniker “the bad news Jews” from those that shared this unpleasant experience. Violence, cheap nudity and sex, and even retarded jingoism were the order of the day for these films. I can’t help but be somewhat nostalgic and a little queasy after watching this. Israelis can make the worst babysitters.
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