When I came home for Christmas break in 1981, my brother told me, "Go see Time Bandits! If you like Monty Python, you'll love it. Believe me!" I liked Monty Python, and besides, he was right about Meatballs (1979) and Popeye (1980), so I went.
It was awful.
Neglected, misunderstood kid who reads a lot, and likes nude men. So far, standard gay-vague. All he needs is a boyfriend.
Enter the Time Bandits -- six dwarfs who used to work for the Supreme Being. They have stolen a map that shows the location of holes in space-time, which they are using to steal fabulous treasures from Napoleon, Robin Hood, and so on. They kidnap Kevin and bring him along.
We're supposed to like the dwarfs, but they're manipulative, greedy, self-serving, reprehensible. With no buddy-bonds. I kept trying to find special pairs among them, but they acted as a solid mass of reprehensible egoism.
Jai's Tarzan. But the moment someone starts to care for him, the dwarfs arrive and spirit him away.
Wait -- what happened to the opening, where Kevin was carefully established as gay-vague? Nothing comes of it.
But at least ancient Greece was sunlit. Every other time period is drab, washed-out, depressing.
Not even any beefcake to liven things up. Agamemnon never takes off his shirt. Michael Palin is tied up in his underwear, briefly.
Finally -- after many, many people are cheerfully killed, the Surpreme Being catches the dwarfs, chastises them, and sends Kevin back to modern-day Britain. Is he better, wiser for the adventure? Has he recognized his true self? Does he at least click his ruby slippers together and say "There's no place like home?"
No. Not at all. His parents explode, his house burns down, and he's left homeless and orphaned on the street, much worse than before. Roll the end credits.
Roll a shot of me and my date blinking as we leave the theater, silent until one of us says "We could have seen Taps. . .or Ghost Story...or Piranha 2."
Cue to us going back to my house and chasing my brother around the room.