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A story of consumerism and what's really in our yogurt.

  • Mar 15, 2012
*** out of ****

Larry Cohen's "The Stuff" concerns the discovery of a mysterious bubbling goo that some man located in the arctic or somewhere like that happens upon and samples; only to become instantaneously entrapped by how drop-dead delicious it is. From then on, we learn that the glop has been harvested and is now being sold as a yogurt-like product called The Stuff. It's very popular amongst the people of America; and so it is frequently bought at the supermarket, and the demand is high. However, it's still a mystery to most people how it came to be in the little bubbling hole that the one man had found it within in the first place. It seems to be a very edible substance, but it's addictive in an otherworldly sense; not to mention it has some strange effects on the body, which are often lasting. Oh, and I think it's important to also mention that on occasion, the thick, liquid-like substance is allowed movement; accumulating into either a big pile or a big wave of white muck.

Most people aren't aware of the fact that what they're eating can move on its own. They never quite see it, although there are two people who know of the sticky substance's true nature. One is a saboteur named David (Michael Moriarty); although he likes to be called "Mo" (because every time he's given something, he wants "more", so he says). The other is a young boy named Jason (Scott Bloom), who does everything in his power to stop the consumption of this new-found gooey good, even if that includes an attempt to destroy every last bucket of the substance in the local grocery store. His parents are oblivious and don't take his claims into serious consideration; instead getting addicted on the titular "stuff"; thus meaning that Jason is pretty much on his own, until he crosses paths with David.

When the two do meet and greet; things get genuinely exciting. David was already investigating the strange appearance of this food product, although it wasn't until he came across Jason that his findings began to pile up. Together, they try to warn the world of the power that the stuff has on those who obsessively partake in devouring it; as it turns out, if you eat too much, it becomes a part of you, and has the ability to control the brain. So yes, that means that there will be evil "stuff" zombies walking the streets; and if the making of the stuff isn't stopped, the apocalypse might just be inevitable. But you probably know what's going to really happen in the end anyways. Let's just say that it's crazy, insane, silly, and at one point, the army comes in to lend a helping hand. It also helps that a retired soldier is played by Paul Sorvino, an experienced bad-ass.

There is a lot of fun to be derived from a viewing of "The Stuff". It's a true B-movie, and while it may not be one of the absolute greats, it packs a lot of punch for a film of such low standard. It has a really interesting concept, and I was glad that Cohen made use of it by taking dead aim at satire and social commentary. Whether he is successful at hitting his target is up to the viewer to decide, although I personally think it's a funny and relevant critique of American consumerism. Just think of it: if this were to really happen - in real life - then we'd all be screwed. There's no doubt about that. As humans - American or not - we love to spend money and buy stuff that's new and hip, and in this case, hazardous.

I've always appreciated Cohen's frequently cheesy scripts and the hammy performances that occupy them. There is some ridiculously, almost intentionally bad acting here; although I cannot say the same for the effects that do good to outweigh those absurd performances. The gore effects are silly and over-the-top, but as far as the actual "stuff" goes, hey; it could look worse. This is a simple film of simple pleasures; surely a good time for those who know what they like going in. I don't imagine it's a huge cult hit - or that it's got the biggest audience - but I enjoyed the thematic elements, the satire, and the gags of both the visual and contextual variety. Perhaps one of the funniest elements of the film is an African American character named Chocolate Chip Charlie. Just goes to show that B-movie/exploitation filmmakers are gleefully ignorant, racist bastards when all is said and done; but who said I can't love 'em anyways? Horror and B-movie fans rejoice; for "The Stuff" is certain to eat you right up, and vice versa.

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March 16, 2012
this movie is awesome!
More The Stuff reviews
review by . June 15, 2011
It's fat-free, creamy and addictively delicious, and with the aid of aggressive marketing, it's quickly edging ice cream out of supermarkets. When executives of the floundering ice cream industry hire an industrial saboteur (Michael Moriarty) to uncover the origins of The Stuff and put an end to its production, nobody involved has a clue of just how insidious this tasty white goo really is. Accompanied by the disgruntled designer of the goop's advertising campaign (Andrea Marcovicci), …
review by . August 30, 2009
The Stuff is a very interesting film from low budget film maker Larry Cohen. A funny parody on American consumerism and the greed of business. The movie is about two men who discover a strange kind of goo that's resembles and taste a bit like yogurt but is calorie and sugar free. Except it has a few problems such as a strong craving for more "stuff" and a very nasty side effect. One of the few films to feature Michael Moriarity (a Larry Cohen favorite) in a lead role as a corporate spy …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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