Moonwalkers

I've actually met people who don't believe that we really landed on the moon; it was a hoax, somehow, and the pictures supposedly beamed from space were instead staged on an obscure set somewhere and secretly piped in by the government, participating in a vast conspiracy to convince everyone in the world that we were technologically more advanced than we really were.
“Moonwalkers” cashes in on that mindless premise, but does so in a kind of bizarre stoner spoof that freely throws around sex, drugs, rock n'roll, and enough gutter language, nudity, violence, and general scatology to offend almost anyone. Which is exactly its seedy charm.
Ron Perlman is great at self-parody. Here, he plays Kidman, a CIA agent in 1969 with a really impossible assignment: take this suitcase full of cash, and go recruit Stanley Kubrick to film a moon landing sequence that will be so convincing people will believe it actually happened. But Kidman, on the exterior a tough guy, has problems of his own: he apparently has PTSD from his Vietnam tours, and suffers from frequent nightmares and violent impulses: basically, at any given moment, he's more than happy to beat up on somebody, a pathology which is cleverly utilized in his clandestine life as an undercover operative.
So Kidman travels to England to see Kubrick's agent, but in a comical mistaken identity scenario, he finds Jonny (Rupert Grint) instead: a down-on-his-luck talent scout who's been trying to promote a very bad rock band by borrowing money he didn't have from people he shouldn't have, and now the mobsters are after him. And his drug-addled roommate and wannabe actor Leon (Robert Sheehan) isn't helping any. So Jonny happily takes Kidman's money, thinking he's paid off the gangsters, but Kidman comes after him and demands to know who has his money so he can take it back. Though Jonny assures him that's a very bad idea, Kidman does, in fact, retrieve his money, but still insists that Jonny arrange the moonwalker filming. Jonny has only one idea left: an avante-garde Director who looks like a misplaced King Herod from a “Jesus Christ Superstar” parody, running some kind of hippie commune in his studio that somehow rouses to action long enough to actually make a facsimile of a moonwalk.
Is it all sarcastic silliness? Of course. And how convenient that the gangsters and the CIA operatives have a go at each other and essentially eliminate everyone with guns, so our anti-hero Jonny and his suddenly-liberated Kidman friend can now take the money and run. Yes, it's all hype, caricature, over-the-top looney and riotously offensive, but it's not boring. It's a stoner farce worthy of the name.

Questions for Discussion:
  1. Do you know anyone who thinks we didn't really land astronauts on the moon?
  2. Have you ever borrowed money and wish you hadn't?
  3. Have you ever indulged in a substance illegally? Overindulged? What were the consequences?

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association