Midnight Madness

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Midnight Madness

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For a decade or so, the enterprising folks at Disney have slapped just about anything they've ever done into a puffy box and placed the word "masterpiece" above the title. Even such studio-wrecking atrocities as Black Cauldron have received the masterpiece treatment. There is some stuff, however, that even Disney deems too vile to pretend is anything other than cinematic tripe. Case in point: Midnight Madness, a hilariously dated campfest that Disney helped produce in 1980. Apparently designed to cash in on that year's now-forgotten scavenger-hunt craze, the film tells the story of a bespectacled, game-loving genius (Alan Solomon) who arranges a massive all-night scavenger hunt that attracts such '80s-college-movie staples as the straight arrow (David Naughton), the fat slob (Stephen Furst), the geek (Eddie Deezen), and a slew of dim-witted jocks, obese sorority girls, and a very young Michael J. Fox as the world's least threatening juvenile delinquent. A science-fiction parable disguised as a brain-dead comedy, Midnight Madness takes place in an alternate universe in which a guy can wear a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase "Game Master" without being viciously beaten, miniature golf courses, breweries, and arcades stay open until the wee hours of the morning, and rational people say things like, "Wow! A strategy board!" Midnight Madness' comedic tone can accurately be described as a sort of cross between Eight Is Enough and early-period Troma, a blend best epitomized by a scene involving conflicting interpretations of the phrase, "between a large pair of melons." And, in case you're wondering, yes, at one point fat snobs do get thrown in the pool. What is not to love?

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