THE OBJECTIVE: Watch the 52 worst live action Disney movies, one every week, in 2015.
MEET THE DEEDLES (1998)
Meet the Deedles was never released on DVD. You’ll never pick up a copy in your local library. And if you’re lucky enough to still have a local video rental shop, it’s unlikely that they have an old copy of it on VHS. No, the only way you’re going to see Meet the Deedles is if you deliberately seek it out on either iTunes or YouTube. So, what lurks within this shadowy corner of ’90s Disney? Let’s crack open stuntman Steve Boyum’s directorial debut and take a look…
So, who are these Deedles? Well, apparently they are a couple of twin brothers (Paul Walker and Steve Van Wormer) who love nothing more than cutting class and parasailing around Hawaii on their rich dad’s dime. It’s their 18th birthday and, in their own words, they’re “fully legal and living regal!”
Ska playing in background.
But wait! The School Police are after them for skipping school!
The School Police have a jet ski for just such occasions, apparently.
Expelled for their rampant truancy, our Bill and Ted-esque heroes must face their angry father. In order to prepare them to take over “the entire Deedles empire,” whatever that may be, Mr. Deedle (Eric Braeden) decides to send them to Camp Broken Spirit in Wyoming to be trained in the ways of manliness and maturity by an old buddy of his from ‘Nam. Upon arriving, however, they discover that their father’s friend (M.C. Gainey) has lost his camp in a vague lawsuit. “I don’t need a camp for what I’ve got planned for you two,” he says, as he drives the Deedles deep into the wilderness. Fortunately they crash and fall down a mountain, destroying a campsite on the way.
Deedle Fast, Deedle Furious.
Left for dead by their dad’s creepy war buddy, the two dress themselves in clothes from the campsite they destroyed and try to skateboard their way back to civilization.
They’re just that rad.
Their antics cause several car accidents, including one that unleashes a bunch of Bavarian circus animals.
Most of the animals show up later as the catalyst for really shitty jokes.
Eventually they crash their skateboards at the entrance to Yellowstone and are immediately mistaken for a couple of rodent-killing experts because of their stolen clothes. They are promptly tasked with solving the park’s rampant prairie dog infestation in time for Old Faithful’s billionth birthday celebration.
Wait, no, terrifying.
But what is causing this infestation? It’s Dennis Hopper!
“If the prairie dogs go under 50 miles an hour, the park will explode.”
Turns out he’s an evil ex-park ranger who is trying to harness the digging power of prairie dogs to undermine Old Faithful and redirect its flow to an adjoining piece of land where it will serve as the main attraction in a geyser-themed amusement park. In order to get the prairie dogs to dig in the right places, he uses a specially made “kibble injector” to insert the scent of food into areas of dirt he wants the rodents to excavate.
I am making none of this bullshit up.
The Deedles, however, have figured none of this out and are having stupid troubles of their own. The Paul Walker Deedle is in love with one of the other rangers (A.J. Langer). His amorous attempts are foiled, however, by her creepily protective stepdad (John Ashton), who happens to run the park. This romantic situation takes a turn for the bizarre when she asks Walker to teach her how to forage for food. After attempting to trick her by substituting gummy worms for the real deal, she calls his bluff and they both end up scarfing down a fistful of actual nightcrawlers. They then slurp one up together, Lady and the Tramp style.
But there are still prairie dogs to deal with, so Van Wormer Deedle hacks into a CIA database and steals a formula for a secret diarrhea-inducing chemical weapon that was intended for use against Cuba (Operation Gastro Castro—a plot to topple the dictator’s regime by making him repeatedly shit himself in public). The Deedles figure that if they can make the prairie dogs (or p-dogs, as they call them) soil their tunnels with soupy feces, then the pests will leave and never return. The plan backfires, however, when one of Dennis Hopper’s minions, who happens to be in the tunnel, sharts so furiously that the gas canister (tied to the Deedles’ pet p-dog) is propelled out of the hole directly into a group of tourists. Also some birds.
Class out the ass.
Realizing that the Deedles are starting to dig too deep, Dennis Hopper orders his minions to kill them. Our protagonists soon find themselves in a Jeep with cut brake lines. No worries, though, the Deedles can handle any extreme situation with ease. Even when it involves flying off a cliff!
They land without a scratch, and inexplicably FLY BACK OVER THE RAVINE.
What’s that? The head ranger is drowning in a river? The Deedles are on it!
It looks alright in stills, but trust me, this CG is terrible.
Things are looking pretty good for our protagonists. They’ve found all the p-dog holes by tying one marmot to a bunch of tubes of mentholated heating rub and zooming in on it with a thermal satellite. But just as they are about to seal the tunnels off, Dennis Hopper blows up Old Faithful.
There she blows… up.
Meanwhile the rangers that the Deedles have been impersonating have shown up (they had been trapped in a tree by one of those circus animals from earlier). The combination of the Deedles’ deception and the destruction of a beloved landmark is enough to get our heroes kicked out of Yellowstone. But they come parasailing back just in time to confront Hopper in his underground lair.
Complete with a mock up of a Dennis Hopper-based amusement park.
The Deedles somehow prevent Hopper from stealing Old Faithful’s water power, take out his minions, and ride Old Faithful back to the surface just in time for its billionth b-day celebration. They sit happily on top of the geyser’s stream, somehow impervious to the 200° heat.
Hahaha. Scalding to death.
The force of the explosion opened up a second geyser on the site of Dennis Hopper’s planned theme park. So, having foiled the villain’s plan to exploit geothermal activity to create a tourist attraction, our heroes proceed to exploit geothermal activity to create a tourist attraction. Welcome to Deedlestone.
I just don’t know anymore.
Finally, Mr. Deedle is proud of his sons. They have proven themselves to be true men by pioneering a financial success. All is well. Paul Walker Deedle makes out with that ranger he ate a worm with as both of their fathers watch and wink.
The Goddamn End.
There is nothing left in this world but madness.
. . .
WHY DON’T PEOPLE LIKE IT?:
Please see the Story section above.
- Meet the Deedles was written by Jim Herzfeld, better known for Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers. I guess he just really likes introducing people.
MOST REGRETTABLE MOMENT:
In addition to everything detailed above, there’s an implication that a nurse fondled the Deedles’ barely legal genitalia while they were unconscious, a lynching joke, a comment suggesting that one of the Deedles is perturbed by the thought that Yogi Bear and Boo Boo might be gay, and the late Paul Walker is in at least four retroactively regrettable car crashes. Take your pick.
I was expecting Meet the Deedles to be bad, but I didn’t anticipate anything of this magnitude. Every plot point is baffling on multiple levels, the dialogue is bizarre, and everything is dripping with ska. It’s like one big fever dream transposed onto celluloid. As detailed as my description of it has been, there are still numerous plot points, gags, and scenes that I wasn’t able to cover. This is a richly bad film. It goes without saying that I cannot recommend Meet the Deedles, but it’s the kind of trainwreck that it’s hard to look away from. If you care to see for yourself, it’s available for sale and rent on iTunes and YouTube.
My Favorite Martian (1999)