I Saw A Film!

Oh the 80s! Puffy hair, drum machine sound tracks, paranormal nonsense, shoulder-pads, Cyndi Lauper, OH Hey! There she is! Pushing her NYC accent to the limits and doing a Ramtha channeling routine with the spirit of someone named Louise.

Bring on baby Jeff Goldblum who can grab stuff and get all kinds of accurate information about people who touched said item. This kind of belief in paranormal abilities has been around for generations, but had reached a kind of peak in the late 80s. It’s hard to remember that Bill Murray’s “science” in Ghostbusters was an ExtraSensory Perception researcher. It’s when Nostradamus was king and people bought up piles of crystals for healing powers. Penn and Teller were on a mission to debunk the stuff along with their hero James Randi! Magicians were often called on to debunk crazy beliefs because they are in the business of fooling people, and they quickly see how people are aptly fooled. Granted Vibes and Ghostbusters are just fun comedies and while the fashion of the era is emblazoned on them, no one was trying to sell you a pyramid or a witching stick.

Cyndi and Jeff along with Columbo head off to Peru (signified by too much pan-piping) to investigate some Indiana Jones like mysteries around a lost temple. Meanwhile they’re being stalked and shot at by a bevy of bad guys headed up by Googy Gress (as an evil psychic) and a rival treasure hunter Julian Sands, who was in a lot of stuff back in the 80s and I haven’t noticed in some years (though he is still active). There’s actually a little part for Steve Buscemi too (that NYC firefighter turned actor), in fact there are altogether too many people in this film toting guns.

There are lots of cornball sequences of violence where people at gunpoint manage to get the upperhand and don’t bother debilitating the antagonists so they can return and cause more trouble. In other words it’s not very thoughtful stuff. It’s mostly got the frenetic logic of a Peter Sellers collective mishap in which you might get go carts stacked on top of a volcanic eruption on top of a circus of chimpanzees dressed as cops (don’t go looking for that one, I just invented it!). In the end, they find the “temple” undergo something inexplicable, people die and or vanish, special effects are used as the primary story-telling agent and the romance between Lauper and Goldblum just feels childish?

In many ways this feels like a Bollywood production, and even almost has some musical dance sequences as Lauper does do a bit of singing, and as in most of these types of films, there’s an important dance sequence as our heroes try to pick up hotties at a bar (very weirdly out of character), and end up with killers instead and have to make a quick exit. Sexually it’s a non-starter. There was no sex in the 80s. I promise. I was there. No sex.

Vibes is pretty random stuff, and was probably being sold on the power of the popularity of the pop singer and Goldblum. I have no memory of this film whatsoever, so it wasn’t doing much in terms of displacing Eddie Murphy as king of action comedy.

But you can see it for free on Prime and it’s got Peter Falk, and that’s always nice.

2 thoughts on “Vibes (1988)

  1. It’s a silly, sweet and kooky playtime, and especially with hindsight a cute ride. It only lacks a couple of good jungle peril scenes for Lauper that Goldblum could have heroed. 🙂


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