Thursday, October 06, 2005

Speaking of Fabio...

I mentioned Fabio in the last post. While trying to find a picture of him to insert, I came across this hilarious summary of Fabio's video A TIME FOR ROMANCE. I have actually seen this video. I gave it to my sister one Christmas as a gag, and we watched it that night. Talk about funny (unintentionally so, I'm sure). Anyway, even if you've not seen the video, this guy's discussion of it is good for many laughs.

Ken Begg's Video Cheese site:

A Time for Romance
Plot: A 33 minute cheapo video ("approximately 40 minutes," my ass) portraying various historical adventures starring Fabio (!!), every woman’s perfect man.

Boy, if you ever see this tape resting in the dollar bin of your local video store, grab it. I don’t think it’ll be making its way to DVD any time soon. Or ever.

We cut from a chintzy computer generated title credit to the man himself. The big haired goofus is attired in a sports jacket, sans shirt. Because, you see, it’s so sexy. He inarticulately thanks us for joining him and then we get going. After a soulful montage, mostly consisting of slow glides over a typewriter, we cut to an attractive woman tossing and turning in her bed. She rises and begins searching through the crumpled sheets of paper surrounding the typewriter. Then she grabs a pad of paper and, digging further, finds a picture of Fabio. In this he’s attired in a sports jacket, sans shirt. Because, you see, it’s so sexy. It certainly spotlights his incredible cleavage, anyway. Maybe, the woman mutters, she should make this fellow the hero of her new romance novel.

Her main problem, other than the fact that she has photos of Fabio in her house, is that she’s unsure of what time period to use. This is a big decision, after all. As can be seen from the covers of these books, they are all exactly the same. Only the names of the characters and the historical settings are different. (Did you ever see that one featuring the big bare-chested guy with long hair? And he’s crushing the loins of a beautiful woman against his own, while her upper body leans back with a facial expression indicating a swoon of ecstasy? Yeah, that one.) "My editor expects something today," she notes helpfully to herself. Normally, I’d laugh at the idea that anyone could write an entire book by pulling an all-nighter. However, we are talking a romance novel here, so all she really needs to do is plug in the appropriate proper nouns. I mean, writing these things must basically amount to filling in a very long Mad Lib, as far as I can tell.

First up, in a burst of fecund originality, she envisions Fabio as a Viking. "I open with him," she thinks – ah, voiceovers, the bad screenwriters' greatest friend – "heading towards a particular castle." Those are the kind of details that mark a great author, by the way. A hack might have had the Viking heading towards a castle in general. Not here, though. No, this is a ‘particular’ castle, and on "the English Coast," to boot. Our Hero, meanwhile, is shot is silhouette, so that our first good look at him will be all the more laughable. Er, I meant dreamy.

"He might decide to go ashore alone," she ponders. What, and leave that whole other guy that was traveling with him back in the boat? This is a doughty warrior indeed, my friends! Odder, though, is his reason for doing this. It’s not for purposes of stealth, say, but because he wishes "to avoid unnecessary bloodshed." Boy, this lady really has vast insight into the whole Viking culture. Who else would have pegged a plot on their little-mentioned squeamishness regarding violence.

Our intrepid, battle scarred hero (well, not ‘battle scarred,’ literally, that’d mess up his pretty visage) comes across a young Englishman. This fellow is waving about his sword and dreaming of martial glory, calling out exaggerated insults to his imaginary foes. Laughing with disdain, Viking Fabio leaps out, cutting off the impudent toad’s head with one mighty stroke of his sword. He then smears his face with his enemy’s blood and mounts the head on a stick as a warning to all. Oh, no, wait, he mercifully teaches the lad a lesson and will then let him go. Yep, he’s a Viking, alright. This goes on at some tedious length, especially for a program lasting just a tad over half an hour. I am now pretty glad that they fell so short of the advertised forty minutes.

Finally, Viking Fabio grows weary of all this (I hear ya, buddy!!) and makes to end it once and for all. Supposedly. Although I can’t help noticing that the ‘death stroke’ lands about two feet away from his opponent. In any case, the lad’s life is supposedly spared when the Obligatory Beauteous Lady runs into frame – where the heck was she supposed to be? – to beg for her young brother’s life. Viking Fabio orders her to kneel before him, giving us a rather cheesy glance at her own impressive cleavage. (Ye Olde Silicone, no doubt.) This sight I found rather strange, given what you would presume to be the video’s target audience.

She prays, thinking she’s about to die. Hearing her, he asks her brother if they are Christians. (English gentry? Gee, I wonder.) Anyway, the twist ending is that he sends the lad off for a priest. That’s right, he steals her away rather than killing her. Moreover, Viking Fabio will see them wed first, in respect to her religious beliefs. (!!!)

"Forget that one," our authoress exclaims as we return to her. (Maybe she’s a better writer than I thought.) Then she laboriously puts her gray matter back to work on the matter. "You know," she mutters, "my editor has a real thing for pirates." Wow. A romance novel about a pirate. There’s a brainstorm. So the stage is set, as "a pirate ship…employed by Queen Elizabeth…is chasing a Spanish Galleon." Astoundingly, this is more or less historically accurate. Well, OK, the privateers alluded to here tended to be British, so the Fabio thing is slightly off. Still, though. Anyway, the average fan of bad movies is undoubtedly envisioning the copious use of stock footage to bring this all to life. In fact, they use an even cheaper technique. Everything is just described verbally. Hell, it makes you wonder why they bothered using film.

Anyway, a storm hits and the pirate ship is damaged (we're told). The Galleon fares even worse, and sinks near an island in the Caribbean (we're told). "The Captain," she continues, "would probably set up camp on the beach." Why, yes, because that way you wouldn’t have to show a ship at all! How convenient. Furthermore (gee, who’d thought), most of the crew has been ordered to stay aboard said unseen vessel. Upping the Hubba-Hubba factor for…uh…someone, presumably, the Fabulous One is here shown topless, shamelessly flashing his giant hooters at the audience.

Fabio, who lacks the scarring that one might associate with life as a pirate captain, is set up in a tent on said beach. Meanwhile, most of the production budget is blown in procuring four or five, uh, well you can’t really call them actors, but…you know, guys, to play some of his subordinates. These fellows are a hoot, attired in hilariously bogus wigs, sporting the white even teeth that are requisite in bad historical epics, and making the obligatory "Arrr!" noises. One, of course, has an eye patch. This guy, as you might anticipate, is the worst ham of the lot. Inevitably, he refers to Fabio as the "The C’pn."

Anyway, one of them spots something off camera, and soon an unconscious woman is being brought before Pirate Captain Fabio. Who, yes, is now wearing a puffy white shirt with the plunging neckline, the traditional garb of those in his line of work. Seeing the woman slung over one fellow’s shoulder, he asks, "What’s that?" Now, I know that pirate captains didn’t require a college degree or anything, but Yeesh. Anyway, and I was waiting for this to be said, but the woman was found "washed up on shore." This, of course, is explained rather than shown, and furthermore the woman’s dress is dry. "What is that stench," Captain Pirate Fabio asks. "Ah, the tides washed her through some animal droppin’s," comes the answer. Huh?

The woman comes awake and is tormented, sorta, by the lusty pirates chaps. Proving rather fastidious for a pirate, Captain Fabio orders her washed -- gee, I didn’t see that coming -- "with plenty of soap." (!!!) Uh oh. That’s sure to cause dissention in the crew, who at this point in the voyage are probably down to half rations of soap as it is. That’s not the only thing, either. Proving as sexually progressive as, say, oh, a Viking, Captain Fabio promises that the woman will remain undefiled by his men. Then Fabio, who gives off a definite vibe of disinterest towards the female gender during all of this (hmmm), tells her that she better start treating him with respect. And if she doesn’t? "[Y]ou will go without dinner until your manners improve." Yep, he’s a pirate, alright. Edward Teach used to do the same thing.

About an hour passes. To indicate this, we next see Pirate Captain Fabio wearing another puffy shirt, this one in patterned pastels and adorned with big rhinestones, er, I mean, diamonds. Because pirates pretty regularly changed their attire, I guess. I mean, when we first saw him, just a bit earlier this same evening, he was shirtless. Then he donned the white shirt. And then he changed into this one. Still, no matter what the shirt, it remains faithfully unbuttoned, the better to showcase Fabio’s Pamela Anderson-sized breasts to advantage. Not my advantage, particularly, but somebody’s.

Pirate Captain Fabio returns to his tent to find the freshly washed woman there, now dressed in a white slip (?). She complains about the inappropriate nature of this attire, and he agrees. Lifting a trunk lying in his tent, he notes "There must be something in here a woman can use." (Hmmm.) Sure enough, he finds one dress, which magically fits her perfectly. (Actually, she hasn’t put it on yet. I’m just assuming.) However, the Puritanically Proper Pirate makes her say "please" before he hands it over. I mean, he actually asks her, "What do you say?" (!!) You can only wonder what he does when one of the crew misuses their salad fork.

Dinner is brought in, nicely arranged on plates. Again, though, Pirate Captain Fabio insists on a "thank you" before the woman will be allowed to eat. She refuses. This is all supposed to portray, I would guess, his masterful breaking of this strong yet haughty woman’s spirit. But Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, they ain’t. Instead, it’s like watching two petulant children playing You’re Not the Boss of Me. (This is especially true if we assume that one of the children can barely speak English.) Anyway, if the goal is to create a palpable sense of sexual tension, well, back to the drawing board. Ditto on the scene’s supposed humor factor.

After dinner the two begin to play chess. (First they rip off Tom Jones, then The Thomas Crown Affair.) To my horror, they use Pachelbel's Canon to accompany this scene, bringing to mind Alex’s experience with Beethoven in A Clockwork Orange. Of course, in his case the problem was that he couldn’t close his eyes. My problem is quite the opposite, as I’m severely tested to keep them open. This all goes on for a while, and in slow motion, to boot. Anyway, it’s well known that few woman can resist the Joys of Chess, and it’s here that she begins to fall for the big lug. The game completed (in more ways than one – get it?), Fabio leans in for a kiss. However, the woman (not yet named, to my knowledge) demands that he say ‘please’ first. How droll. Ye Olde Turnaround. Needless to say, the one kiss ignites their passion and a grand make out session begins. This sight, meanwhile, ignited my grand passion to hurriedly press the fast forward button on my VCR remote.

Cut back to Our Authoress. Smiling over her work, she happily notes that "That is a really good possibility." If she means in terms of creating the first literary ipecac, then she might well be correct. However, she then pauses. "I’d love to write something contemporary," she muses, "with a real twist at the end." I thought she had to have this done by morning? And who is she talking to? Talk about a lazy scripting technique. Anyway, she ponders the current interest in the supernatural. (This actually is true. There’s a whole sub-genre now of vampire romance novels.) We are again horrified by the awareness that yet another vignette approaches. Still, the fact that we learn it represents the Authoress’ "secret fantasy" at least indicates that it’s the last one. And none too soon, might I add.

This tale is shot in sepia tones, and stars the Authoress as its female protagonist. This makes sense, since it’s her ‘secret fantasy.’ Also, it’s one less *ahem* actress they have to hire. Apparently she has a different idea of what ‘contemporary’ means, though, for her dress and his white tuxedo coat mark this more as occurring in the 1940s than the present day. Which is the point, I guess, that it resembles a 1940s cinema romance. A really, really bad one, but still. Entering, she notes that she can’t believe that she’s with him. For this is Count Fabio, you see, "one of the handsomest, wealthiest, most sought after men in the world." (This must be that supernatural angle she mentioned earlier.)

Wisely, they let her do all the yakking, while Count Fabio mostly keeps his inarticulate trap shut. Unwisely, there’s a lot of yakking for her to do. The plaintive revelation that she’s a "plain, ordinary, grade school teacher" alone made me burst out laughing. (By the way, was the phrase "grade school teacher" used back in the ‘40s? I can’t recall ever hearing it in a film from that period.) She tells him that she’ll always cherish their time together, but that tomorrow she must return to her world, where she belongs. Of course, he then tells her that she’s wrong, that he really does love her, etc. This goes on as an abject lesson of how dreadfully long five or six minutes can last. During his speech, triumphant horns sound to mark key clichés. "Just listen to your heart," he tells her. (Cue horn.) "I couldn’t live my life without you." (Cue horn.) This device calls to mind the 1966 Chamber of Horrors, although they were a bit more truthful in calling their musical cues the "Horror Horn."

She continues to blather about how it can never be, etc. Finally, to prove his love, he proposes. Cue tearful slo-mo close-up shots and the obligatory swell of romantic music. (Usually I’d use the term ‘lush’ to describe the romantic music, but that’d be a bit much here.) Anyway, the Authoress rouses from her daydream (which is more than I can say), a smile on her face (ditto). Looking up, she notices an almost comically massive red rose sitting nearby. Turning around, she finds Fabio, still duded up in his Count outfit. Apparently this is like that scene in An American Werewolf in London where David Naughton seemingly wakes from one nightmare only to find himself in another.

Count Fabio undoes his ponytail, letting his luxurious mane fall freely. Our Heroine has problems dealing with her literal dream lover appearing in her living room. (Considering that he’s Fabio, I’d imagine that much of her problem stems from embarrassment. This is probably the kind of thing that destroyed the Krell.) She tries to wake herself back up, but to no account. Count Fabio, also confused, puts forward the theory that the ‘Dreammaker’ has decided to make her dreams come true. This is all played, I think, for comedy, but that’s a theory at best. Oh, and in case you missed it, this is the contemporary supernatural storyline she alluded to before. The woman whose dream phantom lover comes to life. Again, I’m going back to that Krell thing.
Anyway, she wakes up again. Talk about a glutton for punishment. Now, if that was the supernatural element, the whole ‘Dreammaker’ thing, then what about the also mentioned twist ending? Well, the exhausted woman decides to go back to bed. Where we find that her lover/husband/whatever is…get ready for it…Fabio. Wow. She was fantasizing about her own man. Gee whizzo. Yeah, that’s a corker of an ending, all right.

  • Viking Fabio, in fog.
  • Viking Fabio, in dramatic silhouette.
  • Viking Fabio, dramatically jumping from a log two feet to the ground.
  • Viking Fabio, blessed by Odin with vast quantities of shampoo and conditioner for his lengthy tresses.
  • Dammit, if Fabio’s going to speak I need subtitles! Subtitles!
  • Man, they sure made mighty swords of tin back in those days.
  • Wow, Viking Fabio can Offscreen-Teleport!
  • I don’t know, I’d have thought that the son of an English Lord would have been better trained in swordplay by the time he hit twenty.
  • Pirate Captain Fabio, blessed by, uhm, Neptune with vast quantities of shampoo and conditioner for his lengthy tresses.
  • At one point Eye Patch Guy lifts his patch to Pirate Captain Fabio. I think this might have been meant as a gag showing that he still in fact has his eye. This is just a guess, though, because the lighting and camera placement are so poor that you can’t see his face!
  • Man, you can really cook an elegant chicken over a campfire.

    -by Ken Begg


Anonymous said...

OMG :0

Rinda Elliott said...


Oh man. This has got to be the best video for laughing.

Let's add it to our planned movie night and we'll have wine first. Tee hee

Kelli McBride said...

Definitely: Fabio and Barbara Cartland movies. We could also add Bolero with Bo Derek. The Spanish bull fighter is definitely worth watching.

Michele said...

Oh what a RIOT!
I had a hard time reading through this....very difficult between groaning, twitching, cringing, head shaking and body shaking with guffaws of laughter.
Did you know that Fabio doesn't do roller coasters very well?
Guess, he may make a virile and hearty Viking and Pirate and come out unscathed however, pit him against a rollar coaster and he loses blood. Don't remember if he broke his nose, but if not, it was close.....poor guy!

Dana Pollard said...

You honey, are funny! I loved your commentary!

I too am not um, big on Fabio, but give me John DeSalvo anyday!