"Habitat" (1997)

by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

What a wonderful treat it was to watch this movie.

As you know, I love bad movies and this one is truly bad. Not brain-dead bad like Last Days of Disco or 200 Cigarettes, but fun bad, so bad you can't believe they were serious, like Plan 9 From Outer Space.

I loved every minute of this thing, and I couldn't take my eyes off it. The acting can't be believed, the art direction and f/x are atrocious, the plot makes no sense, every character is a cliche, there is no continuity, they made up their own science when they needed it for the plot, the music sucks, and the dialogue is about as bad as any movie ever written. Even the credits are bad, because they are bright green against a bright orange desert landscape.

In other words, this movie is great!

It's the future, after the ecological disaster, and people can't go out into the sun. Balthazar "I'm Not Charlie Sheen" Getty is the star, and he plays a kid who is having some trouble fitting into his new community.

He has some problems at home with his parents, too. His mom is a hippie space cadet with a Ph.D. in microbiology, and his father is a house. I'm not making this up. His dad is a genius scientist who has determined a way to accelerate evolution a billion years, and now exists as disembodied atoms. He has become one with nature, and has joined with the atoms in the house to create a living habitat for his family, safe from the ecological disaster outside. You think the kids made fun of you because your dad had an accent? Imagine what they'd say if your dad was a suburban 3/2 without one single good walk-in closet.

Balty is a mutant, which seems like it should be expected from the offspring of an eternally stoned woman and a split level ranch house. Because of his unique genes, he alone among all the people of earth can go outside in the sunlight. Perhaps he inherited his dad's aluminum siding.

He's also a potato. We know this because Laura Harris says to him "remember when our science teacher told us that the Irish potato famine could have been avoided if there was just one external strain of potato that could have been introduced to strengthen the native crop. Well, the human race is the same way, and you're that potato, aren't you?"

Back to Balty's troubles in the community. The local phys ed teacher is a bully and a fundamentalist Christian fanatic who finds it difficult to relate to a kid whose mom is a half-naked stoned hippie and whose dad has shingles and a porch. So he and the local youth bullies kick the crap out of Balty and tie him out in the sun to die, unaware of his mutant powers. When Balty simply returns with a nice tan, the phys ed teacher then assumes he is some kind of satanic avatar.

Oh, yeah, the girlfriend of the head local bully falls in love with Balty and, by the way, the phys ed teacher is her dad. Small world.

Finally Balty defeats the bullies, aided by his once-pacifist friend who bops the head bully with a log. Balty's dad defeats and kills a bunch of people who are trying to destroy him, including the coach. Dad then figures out a way to give the magical sun-immune powers to the girlfriend and she decides that she and Balty will "wander the earth" together. She doesn't seem too upset about her own dad's death. Then Balty's dad figures out a way to turn Balty's mom into pure energy, and together they float off into the ionosphere. Balty and his girl look up to the heavens and wave, and the girlfriend says "bye". This really cracked me up more than anything else in the movie. "Bye, disembodied atoms, I'm really gonna miss you, even though we've never actually met, and you don't actually have any ears to hear me or eyes to see my wave."

Great, great movie. I don't know if any of you like to toke it up once in a while, and I certainly would not advise you to engage in any illegal activities. But if you do like an occasional doobie, I strongly suggest you rent this before firing up your next one. You can't go wrong, except you might die from giggling.


  • Alice Krige (the mom)
  • Laura Harris (the girlfriend)
  • Lynne Adams (minor character)

IMDB summary: 5.4 out of 10. It is obvious from the user comments that some IMDb viewers awarded this movie a 10 because they consider it the greatest comedy ever made. Of the 61 voters, 11 awarded it 10/10.

DVD info from Amazon.

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