Sunday , April 21 2024
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With 300 Channels, There’s Always Something On

Do you know why I love having 300 channels? No? Okay, I’ll tell you…

It’s because it makes executives scramble to fill hours and hours of programming. I haven’t bothered to sit down and actually discover how many hours of programming air on a daily basis, but if you assume 300 channels of programming, airing 24 hours a day, that would be a whopping 7,200 hours. Of course, plenty of these hours are infomercials, and some of it is probably just random test patterns, and some of it is pure one-of-a-kind, one-time-only genius. And, some of it, a good deal of it, are movies. With umpteen HBO, Starz, and Showtime channels, movies are shown over and over and over again. And, even with the truly ludicrous number of times movies can be shown in a given day or week, there are still holes to fill. That’s why I love having 300 channels. It means the movie Nothing But Trouble will air nearly a dozen times over the course of a week. 

In case that went by too quickly, I’ll restate: Nothing But Trouble will air nearly a dozen times over the course of a single week. Looking for something fun to do around Halloween time? It airs at 10:25am on HBO Comedy on the 31st. And it is definitely, definitely, a perfect Halloween film for those of you who like the spirit but don’t want to be scared.

The more erudite critics out there will instantly dismiss Nothing But Trouble as schlock, pure drivel put out by a studio trying to turn a fast buck with a bunch of stars who signed for a quick payday. They’ll hold their noses and snicker at the notion that it could be anything more than a no-trick pony and sheer vanity trip for director, star, and writer Dan Aykroyd. There may have been a time when some critics would have stated Demi Moore was slumming when she took the role. Those same critics, in light of where her career has been the past decade, would quickly disavow that initial take. The less erudite, but more traditional critics out there would call the entire film nonsense and try and come up with some cute title for their review, something along the lines of Nothing But Awful, Nothing But Terrible, Nothing Near Funny, or some other “clever” thing. 

And you know what? They’d all be wrong. The film may never quite live up to its promise, but it’s a funny movie. Between Bobo and L’il Debbull, Eldona and Judge Valkenheiser, Fausto and Renalda, and Digital Underground and Mr. Bonestripper, there’s some funny stuff here. I don’t wish to give away any major plot points, because everyone should take 90 minutes out of their busy schedule to see this movie for themselves, but, in short, what happens is as follows.

In order to impress a girl, Chris Thorne (Chevy Chase) agrees to drive the girl in question, Diane Lightson (Demi Moore), to Atlantic City. Two crazy, rich Brazilians tag along (the hysterical Taylor Negron and Bertila Damas). On a whim, they take a scenic detour, get pulled over by the police (John Candy), and brought to court for their traffic violation. The Judge (Dan Aykroyd) and his family turn out to be “eccentric” and hold over the four people for trial the next day. Realizing just how much trouble they're in, they try to escape. It’s the specifics of it all where the funny is, and I don’t want to ruin any of it.

The movie was a massive flop, IMDb estimates it took in almost 8.5 million dollars at the box office and had a budget of $40 million — not quite the numbers one would hope for with such a star-driven vehicle. And sadly, if there weren’t 300 channels on the dial, it’s the exact kind of movie that would be relegated to the dustbin of filmic history. 

Thank God we live in a digital world and have more entertainment opportunities than we could possibly ever hope to utilize. Nothing But Trouble lives on in unedited form and I can’t wait to see what gets brought back to the fore once we have 800 channels to choose from.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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