Code Yellow: Howard the Duck

Caught somewhere between howlingly bad cinema and soul-destroying time waster lies Howard the Duck.  In 1986, the year of my birth, George Lucas produced a movie based on a Marvel Comics character.  Did he choose Spider-Man?  The Hulk?  Fucking Daredevil?  No, he chose a fowl-mouthed (sigh) bird-man with the super ability to smoke cigars.  The rest is bad movie history.

Plot: An anthropomorphic duck is sucked from his home world and placed on Earth, where he befriends a wannabe rocker (Lea Thompson) and an idiot scientist (Tim Robbins).  Then another portal is opened by a scientist (Jeffrey Jones) and Howard has to help close it.  Or something.  All I really remember is the 20 minutes Howard spends on a flying machine with Tim Robbins.

Why It’s Bad: It’s nearly two hours long and features very little plot.  The duck effects are mostly a dwarf in a cheesy costume.  The implied sexual interest between Lea Thompson and the duck is…undignified.  The entire segment with Howard and Robbins on a flying contraption is so egregiously dull, so stiflingly stupid and so unimportant to the film that it genuinely feels like it lasts 45 minutes.  The sequence is so bad, it drops this flick from Level 2 Orange status to Code Yellow.  Oh, and the acting, particularly Robbins, is atrocious.

Why It’s Good: Lea Thompson is super hot.  I suppose there may be one or two laughs in the script.  The case could be made that the villain at the end is good, but I’m not making that case.

Why It’s Awesomely Bad: Duck boobs.  The closing rock number, featuring Howard on lead guitar, is somewhere between the stupid and the sublime, which is exactly what a bad movie should be.


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