‘Nothing But Trouble’ — Different Than We Remember
One of these people is Dan Aykroyd. 1992 was a weird time, guys. I’m glad we all got out okay.
When I was a kid, there were several years in which I thought I had imagined this movie. This is partially because the first dozen or so times that I caught glimpses of it were when home from school, sick on the couch, wearing my official sick-pants. My sick-pants, if you wondered, were white B.U.M. Equipment sweatpants with neon writing down the side. I’ll be signing autographs at the conclusion of this article.
While home sick, I’d sleepily flip on UPN and catch a glimpse of some horrifying scene right in the middle of this movie. For several years, this happened almost every time I was sick, probably because someone in the UPN daytime scheduling department thought they were hilarious…and they were. Without the internet to consult, for years ‘Nothing But Trouble’ was a fever-dream, until I saw it on the shelf at my neighborhood video store, Royal Video in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. That was when I couldn’t pretend anymore. My mom never let me rent it, because it looked too scary.
Years later though, I found a $3 copy in a DVD bin at Walmart in Lake George at 3am (you’re better off not asking), and brought it home to watch.
A businessman finds he and his friends the prisoners of a sadistic judge and his equally odd family in the backwoods of a bizarre mansion.
That kinda makes it sound like a John Grisham/Steven King crossover, yeah? That’s because that synopsis has nothing to do with what goes on in this movie.
Here are my proposed edits to the IMDB page, with some supporting videos. We’ll start with the trailer:
In this 1992 star-studded “Horror Comedy,” Chevy Chase plays Chris Thorne, a character study best described as “what-an-8-year-old-thinks-of-when-they-think-about-lawyers.” He’s joined early in the film by Demi Moore, who as far as I can tell is playing herself, though her character is credited as “Diane Lightston.” The two are embarking on a trip to Las Vegas together, for work:
They are unexpectedly joined by Taylor Negron’s character Fausto Squiriniszu, the “Brazillionaire” client of Thorne, who decides to invite himself along on the trip, and that’s fine for some reason. The 90s were so friendly! Here’s Fausto and his sister, Renalda. ATTENTION: IN CASE YOU CAN’T TELL FROM THIS CLIP, THEY ARE NOT FROM AROUND HERE:
A scenic detour takes them off the NJ Turnpike (and who could blame them? Aykroyd is a master of empathy) lands them in the village of ‘Valkenvania.’ New Jersey is very close to Pennsylvania and Transylvania is creepy, in case you’re not good at picking up on subtlety. After running through a stop sign they are pursued by Dennis (John Candy), and arrested.
They’re brought back to the courthouse/nightmare carnival to be tried by 106-year-old judge Alvin ‘J.P.’ Valkenheiser (Akyroyd) whose face has mostly fallen off and been replaced by thinly-sliced cold cuts and has an affinity for grey hot dogs:
As you’d expect, our lawyer messes it up for everyone by being a smart-ass, and the 106-year-old judge opens the trap door in the nightmare courthouse, and drops the four of them into a holding cell, which is full of squeaky dog toys, for some reason that is never explained. They got off easier than the drunk drivers after them though; those goofs were sentenced to death via “Mr. Bonestripper,” a roller coaster directly attached to the courthouse via a moving walkway, which plays sick metal riffs as it smashes you to bits and then spits out your clean bones:
Even though they’re prisoners, the four are invited to dine with the bizarre family for some reason, and that family includes John Candy in drag as J.P.’s obese, mute and horny granddaughter, Eldona. During dinner, we learn the reason for the judge’s twisted behavior is bitterness over a “coal deal gone wrong.” You know, because Pennsylvania? In case you forgot. Here’s dinner:
By the way, Dan Aykroyd also plays J.P.’s nephew “Bobo,” a gigantic, sweaty baby who lives in the courthouse’s junkyard/foundry (??) with his brother, “Lil’ Debbull”and “isn’t allowed in the house.”
Wait also, did I mention that 2Pac is in this movie?
I’m not going to tell you what happens in the end, because there’s a good chance you haven’t seen it yet since I invented it with my fever-brain and it only materialized in reality a few years ago. Bottom line: Please run to your local Walmart ASAP — I’m sure they still have plenty of copies.
Tell me what I should re-watch next!