Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “The Brat Pack” with a minor in “Tiger Blood”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult hijacks a garbage truck and uses it to prank Charlie Sheen after watching Men at Work!
Carl and James are a pair of unruly garbage men who dream of owning a surf shop, but when they uncover a dead body in one of their bins the pair are immediately embroiled in an illegal toxic dumping operation! It seems there’s a lot more than trash stinking up their city. Can the two sanitation experts clean up their acts and their town without becoming scrapped themselves? It’s just another day on the job for these Men at Work.
Raise us to Supercult DEFCON 2 cuz we have a doozie for you this week. Released in 1990, Men at Work is an American black comedy written, directed, and starring Emillio Estevez and co-starring Emillio’s brother, Charlie Sheen.
Not satisfied with just being a charming and rather funny middle-weight actor, Estevez decided to test his skills behind the camera. Just a year after the release of the Breakfast Club, for which he is best known, Estevez wrote, directed, and starred in Wisdom in 1986. By this time Emillio was being cited at the unofficial president of the Brat Pack, a collection of highly successful young actors who starred together in many culturally influential films in the mid 80s including the Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire. and the Outsiders. Featuring the talents of Keith David as Luis Fedders, a crazed Vietnam Vet who advises the heroes, and Leslie Hope as Susan Wilkins, a woman seemingly at the heart of the mystery, Men at Work was Estevez’ second time directing, third time writing, and could be considered an early attempt by Estevez to branch out from his Brat Pack roots and define himself as an artist…also Charlie Sheen was there.
Here’s some random Trivia:
- Reportedly Charlie Sheen pulled a prank on Emilio Estevez by saying that he had punched a paparazzo in a restaurant on the night before filming. Sheen took it further by having an on-set police officer who was working security arrest him for assault while he was filming a scene. Estevez was stunned until Sheen returned laughing.
- The scene in which Louis terrorizes the cops uses music from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
- The Japanese garbage collectors’ union demanded that the film be banned from video shelves as it disparaged trash collectors, portraying them in a poor light.
Men at Work promised viewers a down-to-earth thriller with a high-quality comedy coating supervised by two of the industries best pranksters. Unfortunately, instead of a humorous look at the life of the working class, audiences got a second-rate stoner comedy akin to modern day Seth Rogen films. Estevez and Sheen seem to have plundered their childhoods to fuel some of the childish visual gags, but just like most of our own childhoods, many of the jokes would’ve been better off forgotten or vigorously repressed. That combined with the pacing of an inebriated sloth, makes this 90-minute film feel at times like it’s running backwards, away from a coherent conclusion!
Men at Work was not well revived by critics. Matt Brunson of Creative Loafing says that, “Estevez tries hard (as usual, Sheen just shows up), but the laughs simply aren’t there,” while the more forgiving Vincent Canby of the New York Times writes, “The movie’s desire to please is tireless, also engaging. Mr. Estevez’s screenplay is not entirely coherent, but it has a number of comically crackpot lines.”
With a 5.9 on IMDB and a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, Men at Work is the kind of movie that you have to work to enjoy…or maybe just the opposite. Maybe you don’t have to work at all, you just have to take a deep breath, relax, stop caring about the numbers, and simply watch Emillio Estevez act his heart out and Charlie Sheen stare confusedly around as if he isn’t sure what he’s supposed to be doing at that moment.
Get ready for an hour and a half of the brothers Sheen just dicking around!
The Supercult Show is proud to present, Men at Work!