J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1: Get a Good Whiff of Jersey Public Schools

There is a new class at Tromaville High School, but they still have no class. Before the Veronica Mars team raised over one million Kickstarter dollars for their high school reunion, Team Troma sequelized or rebooted or re-whatevered Nuke ‘Em High for about twelve cents. Having split their triumphant homecoming into two volumes mostly as a gimmick, Troma lets Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 (trailer here) ooze into theaters today.

As all cultured viewers surely remember, the nuclear power plant next to Tromaville High had a little mishap in the 1980’s, leading to a mutant uprising.  The plant is now safely closed, but an organic food processing facility has been built directly over it. Naturally, they churn out some pretty disgusting foodstuffs, primarily for the school market.  Taco Tuesday will turn ugly when the radioactive guac turns the glee club into the next generation of the rampaging mutant “Cretin Gang.”

Chrissy, a pseudonymous student blogger, always knew there was something wrong with Tromorganic and the high school lunch program, but nobody seems particularly interested in her evidence.  She also gets a little distracted quarrelling and secretly lusting after Lauren, the poor little rich girl who just enrolled in Tromaville.  It is massively ironic that there are more leeringly exploitative lesbian sex scenes in Blue is the Warmest Color, because Nuke ‘Em is really trying its best.

Right, so what can you say about Vol. 1, except that it is a Troma movie? The gore is ridiculously over the top and the humor is in aggressively poor taste.  Yet, in its defense, Nuke ‘Em Parte Une seems to have less of a mean streak than earlier Troma grind-ups.  Believe it or not, Asta Paredes and Catherine Corcoran are sort of decent as Chrissy and Lauren, all things considered.  In contrast, Lloyd Kaufman, Mr. Troma himself, is outrageously shticky as Lee Harvey Herzkauf, the corporate villain behind Tromorganic.  Still, it is a subtler more nuanced performance than Meryl Streep’s work in August: Osage County, so if the Academy nominates her they might as well nominate him while they’re at it.

Those who are inclined to be offended by anything at all have no business at a Troma screening.  There is a bit involving Kevin the Wonder Duck that might just scar you for life. On the other hand, if that kind of thing amuses you, here’s a bunch more.  This is indeed a film that is impervious to criticism. How should we rate it? D+ for dumbass (plus)?  It is impossible to recommend, but I’d sort of like to see part two when it comes out.  If you still cannot figure out if it is your cup of tea, you’re on your own Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 opens today (1/10) in New York at the Village East.

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