Sunday, April 26, 2009


I haven’t seen Howard the Duck since I was a kid, and even then I really don’t remember much. After all, I was six years old when it hit theaters, and maybe seven when I caught it on video. Ever since then all people can say about the movie is that it is horrible, or the worst movie ever made. I say that is a bit harsh. While I’m probably not the best person to say which films are the worst ever, since I tend to like schlocky B-grade films, I don't think the throng of fans who have built Howard's cult status could be so wrong.

This film does have its moments of complete ridiculousity (yeah, I just typed that) but it is such a fun time I don't know how anyone could not enjoy themselves. Little people in a duck suit, Jeffrey Jones slowly turning into a demon, Playduck magazine, a very green Tim Robbins, 80s fashion and music, duck sex (almost), lovely young Lea Thompson in her underwear - what's not to like?

It is amazing how ratings have changed though. This flick is rated PG but there is a very interesting scene at the beginning when Howard is being beamed to Earth where his chair bursts through some walls and he passes through the middle of a young she-duck's bath. She is singing in the tub, wearing a shower cap while her feathered duck boobs are showing. Not the Barbie kind that are just mounds, these duck breasts (Ha!) have pink nipples. Everyone knows ducks don't have nipples, seeing as they are not mammals, but it would not have the same effect without them. All of the cartoon ducks in those great adult cartoons, think Fritz the Cat, have nipples, so why not in this movie?

Most of the rest of the film could probably be shown on TV now except for that, and maybe a few bad words, but it is just weird how the ratings system has changed. I have a decent sized collection of radio spots for films in the 70s and 80s, mostly horror and exploitation, where they talk about unimaginable horrors and blood soaked this and that while the trailer ends with "rated PG." Granted a lot of these preceded the PG-13 rating, which came into play in 1984, but Howard the Duck was after it and now that would probably be given a PG-13. I'm sure the MPAA would give the filmmakers a note back saying, "a few bad words, cigar smoking and female duck nipples." The smoking thing is the newest trend in ratings bullshit. Now if anyone onscreen is smoking a cigarette it automatically bumps up the rating. Next time your watching a trailer and on the green band screen where it shows the rating look and see if it lists smoking. A lot of them do now. If you want to check out more lame actions by the MPAA check out the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated. Highly recommended.


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