Tapeheads Cover It must be quite easy to make a movie. All you have to do is scribble down an idea, get a couple shmucks together to capture this idea on film, capture it on film, before cutting and splicing this as one, and then selling it to the public. And do you know what? I know of a film that could illustrate this procedure just perfectly. This one Directed by Bill Fishman; and Starring John Cusack and Tim Robbins. It was made in 1988 and lasts for 95 minutes.

Tapeheads : The Film - The Music

Although their respective parents do not think that this is the case, the best thing to ever happen to security guards, Ivan Alexeev and Josh Tager (John Cusack and Tim Robbins), is to get sacked from their jobs.

OK, so why is that then, huh? Well, to become a video company off course! Ivan has the business acumen, and Josh had the technical savvy, and together they setup ‘Ace Video’ production company to sell-sell-sell.

However, for them to be able to instigate this creative endeavor, they have to do quite a lot of work you know. First off, they acquire a loft apartment downtown, and share it will an artist lady called Belinda (Katy Boyer). Plus in addition to this, they also go around peddling their wares, administering to record a plethora of small productions for: a waffle restaurant, a clairvoyant, a Swedish rock-band, a man whose about to die, and at a very stylish function too.

Though, by chance, at this very stylish function, two scenarios suddenly enter Ivan and Josh’s lives, in a rather strange way.

Now the first thing that happens to them, even though they don’t know it yet, is that they come into the possession of a denigrating video tape belonging to the host of this function, Senator Norman Mart (Clu Gulager), whom is running to be the next president of America. And the second thing to happen to them, is that they make the acquaintance of media agent, Samantha Gregory (Mary Crosby), whom eventually hires them to record a music video for the English Rock Band that she manages.

But still, do you know what is even stranger than all that? Over time, these two scenarios play out with both positive and negative connotations for Ivan and Josh.

Positively – only good things come from recording this video for the English Rock band. Their reputation grows. Their popularity soars. And their love life becomes more fruitful.

Negatively, though – the denigrating video in their possession gets into the hands of Samantha, who uses it to blackmail the Senator, which inadvertently causes a lot of trouble for all involved.


Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires begins when Ivan and Josh try to set up a Satellite link-up for their musical idols, the Diamond Brothers. As music is played - politicians are dismayed - the FBI is obeyed - and overall everything is okeyed.

Kind of.

The first thing that slaps you right across the face when you watch 'Tapeheads', is how young both John Cusack and Tim Robbins look in this movie. OK, now that this isn't necessarily a bad thing all in all, it is just a statement of fact when you sit down and watch this flick. Still, in a strange way, its kind of fun to watch them in there more youthful state. Because it just goes to show that with age comes experience – which I am sure they used after this film was made, to help them choose better film roles for themselves from then on in, ha!

The Cast of Tapeheads

Ohh! Did that sound too catty to you? Hmm? Yeah, I thought so as well. Because what I have just said does imply that this film is a bit naff. Though I suppose on some level it is naff, huh? Just not completely naff, partly naff.

You see, to be completely honest about it, this film is what I would call a good bad film. With one-half a great comedy, and the other half a silly story.

Well, what this film does – comedy wise – is to take the simple premise of a couple of 'wise guys' recording numerous 'video infomercials', subverts it, satirizes it, and then let it loose willy-nilly throughout this film.

Now four of my personal favorites out of the bunch were:

  • The waffle commercial: This was just bombastically silly, and managed to satirize the eighties rap music video in a new and very overt fashion.
  • The ‘video will’ made for the man who is about to die: In someway, this small segment felt like a skit in a sketch show, and had that pythonesque vibe about it that I just love.
  • The presidential video about the Senator who is running for office: Well, come on, what is not funny about a man talking in double entendres and then sticking cigarettes into the mouths of children? 
  • The Swedish Rock video: Now tonally this felt rather different to some of the other ‘adverts’ in this film. Although it did share the same spirit of anarchy that the others managed to posses – and it was silly too.

Here, check this out:

However, as for the story on the other hand – as I said before – it does let down ‘Tapeheads’ quite a lot. Listen now, I am not trying to say that this film is crap, because it is not crap. I just found that structurally this film is all over the place. In many ways, it reminds me of the latter installments of the 'Police Academy' series of films, because it has a great cast of characters, and a great pretext too. But it just does not know what to do with them!

For example, the film start’s off in normal eighties fashion – with two hapless heroes being sacked from their normal jobs, before starting on a new venture of their own devising. Next, comes the basic foundation of the film – like the base of operation, the dynamics amongst the cast, and what the film is going to be about. And finally, all sort of things come into play – and you are not really sure what strands of the film are relevant, and what strands of the film are just cast away extrapolations.

Sexy Girl in Tapeheads

Still, all in all 'Tapeheads' is a good / bad film, and is suited for people who like a laugh, like John Cusack, like Tim Robbins, as well as like films such as 'Police Academy 5', 'Dumb and Dumber', or 'Silver Streak'.

Oh! By the way, before I piss off to parts unknown, I almost forgot to mention how great John and Tim were in this film, because they did work together very well.

Bugger! I’m getting as silly as this film now, D’OH!