The latest Junkfood Cinema comes with a confession.
It’s true, I’ll admit it. A young, overzealous film nerd named Brian studying at a small Indiana college wrote and (partially) shot a movie that, in concept and story structure, largely plagiarized the forgotten 1986 teen actioner Never Too Young to Die. It’s not an easy confession to make, as stealing content is the cardinal sin any writer can commit. If internet incarnate could administer its own justice, such violators would be hanged from the hashtags in droves.
I wrote a horrendously terrible movie called The Campus Job, in which I, at age 20, also played a mob boss. Hold on to your film cans, because it gets worse from there. The plot, applying that term with reckless relativity, revolved around a financially strapped college kid who finds out his late father was not a dry cleaner as had been reported, but rather a hitman for the mafia. In order to make ends meet, the young hero decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and, with no real training other than his apparently inherent inherited proficiency for murder, takes out bad guys willy and also nilly. He is aided by his roommate, a wacky engineering student who loves to make gadgets, especially specialty audio recording equipment. If you’re familiar with the aforementioned lost John Stamos vehicle, you know that The Campus Job is basically one hermaphroditic rock icon antagonist away from being Never Too Young to Die.
Mea culpa, internet. I throw myself on the mercy of the court. I have only one mitigating factor to present in the hope of staying my execution: in college, I had never seen (or even heard of) Never Too Young to Die. It turns out that this 80s teen spy flick is so spectacularly bizarre that it casts powerful ripples into the time space continuum that can actually incept the minds of fledgling megageeks before they’ve even seen it!
Never Too Young to Die is a movie that exists as an outlier in a subgenre that itself should not be, making it among the most pitch black sheep of cinema. It was supposed to be its star’s grand escape from a career of being shackled to television ‐ Stamos turning down a cushy gig on General Hospital to make the movie ‐ instead its failure prompted him one year later to accept the role of Uncle Jesse on Full House.
It is also everything that appeals to me about b-cinema. Never Too Young to Die may be attempting to be James Bond Jr., going so far as to feature an appearance by disposable Bond George Lazenby, but it simultaneously brashly beholden to no one. Barbarians, hermaphrodites, token goofball best buds, musical numbers, and gymnastic montages all find awkward, but captivating purchase in this 96min runtime. It is the kind of movie I didn’t know I was looking for when I was in college, but one that, clearly, my subconscious was already screaming at me that I wanted to see.
Would you like to know more about Never Too Young to Die? Listen to this week’s Junkfood Cinema!
As a special treat, anyone who backs JFC on Patreon will have access to a weekly bonus episode covering an additional movie from the summer of 1986! Have a couple bucks to throw in the hat, we’ll reward you!
On This Week’s Show:
- Sundown [0:00–3:27]
- Vampin’ [3:28–1:06:18]
- Last Call [1:06:19–1:09:11]
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