Tapeheads (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Robbins Recipe - the grade-b version of The Blues Brothers meets Broadway Danny Rose.

What a disappointment. Great concept, great performers. On paper, I loved it. Then I watched it.

Tim Robbins and John Cusack are two out-of-work security guards. Cusack fancies himself as a suave promoter and thinks Robbins is a genius with video tape, so why shouldn't they make rock videos? Our boys eventually find two aging Motown singers, The Swanky Modes, and decide to mastermind their comeback.


Cusack isn't very funny in this movie, but he really looks funny with the slicked down hair and the pencil-thin moustache, like Gilbert Roland in a 1950's second feature about an aspiring third rate gigolo making a living as a tango instructor. I don't know if there is such as movie as that, but there should be.

It has some good moments, like a zero budget video they make for a Scandinavian Synth band, and a completely straight Bobcat Goldthwaite as one of those TV infomercial cash flow gurus. In terms of the actual videos they made, some of the concepts were funny, but the comic timing was absent. If it gives you any indication, director Fishman didn't work for six years after this film, and his next work was "Car 54, Where Are You"

(Fishman is currently working on another rock concept film, My Dinner With Jimi)

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic, 1.85, enhanced for 16x9

  • also includes an actual CD with the big show stopper from "The Swanky Modes"

Sorry to say the movie doesn't work. The comedy is slapstick schtick, the rock video parodies are generally too long and too unfunny, and the "great" final number with Junior Walker and Sam Moore isn't that great at all.

This film has a small cult following (check out the comments at IMDb, so some people love it, but I think you should go out and rent the Blues Brothers or Spinal Tap instead.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: less than two stars. Ebert 1.5/4, Maltin 2/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.2
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. WARNING: Barely watchable to me, despite the facts that I love rock, I love comedies, I like Cusack and Robbins.

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