The Wiz

The Wiz:  One of the most unintentionally terrifying movies ever made.

Probably one of the stupidest decisions in this site's history was to ask others what would be a good pick for the latest addition to Shitty Cinema. Out of a list of horribly rated films from the last 30 years that included Masters of the Universe and Weekend at Bernie's II, the Wiz sat on the corner of the page like a tick on the underside of a dog just waiting to be picked...and it was. I scowled when I hit play thinking of all the fun I could have had laughing at a Bernie's animated corpse portrayed by a man with what could only be described as cerebral palsy. The movie is 2 hours and 14 minutes and I sat through all of it. I was assaulted by the never-ending onslaught of musical numbers that were almost back-to-back. I hate musicals.


Meet Dorothy who is totally not Diana Ross and totally not too old for this role.

The Wiz is essentially The Wizard of Oz set in Harlem with a mostly all black cast. Dorothy, played by The Supremes' lead singer Diana Ross, is terrified of the world, opting to tackle life being an introvert. Since the Internet and World of Warcraft aren't invented yet, she spends her days unhappy and singing sad songs into cakes while her family is not under the tyrannical rule of social anxiety. Her dog Toto runs off into a blizzard and forces Dorothy out after him. She is then transported to the magical graffitied land of Harlem...I mean Oz...Oz. After she gets through an unending assault of dance and musical numbers, she sets off with her companions comprising of a tin man, a cowardly lion, and Michael Jackson to find “The Wiz” who may have the power to give them their wishes. Dorothy eventually unlocks the power of friendship and self-esteem to make her way home.


Motown Records actually acquired the rights to this Broadway play and it would prove to be their undoing. This movie proved such a financial flop that Hollywood didn't want to take any more chances trying to market all black film projects until much later when Spike Lee and the Hughes Brothers came along. Joel Schumacher, who is better known for Sparkle and shitting on the Batman franchise with Batman and Robin, penned the movie. He did direct Falling Down so I'll cut him some slack. What’s even more hilarious is that Diana Ross muscled her way into the role of Dorothy cutting a much younger Stephanie Mills from the role. They even rewrote Dorothy's character to be a teacher instead of a schoolgirl. It's like she cut in the line to take a shit on black cinema. Bravo, Diana. In spite of all of this, the sets, costumes, and production are fucking amazing to the point where they are terrifying. If you just look at the Tin Man, that makeup artist and costume designer deserve awards for making it look amazing and freaking me the fuck out. Kudos. Michael Jackson also dances in the movie if that's your thing.   


The Wiz is not anywhere near a bad movie if you like musicals, or two hour music videos. Before one fucking line of dialog is uttered clearly, it opens with a fucking song from the lady that played the maid in Billy Madison. “I'll give you a snack pack.” You are fucking assaulted with dance numbers and songs. Still, it is a different enough film to be noticed and the work they put into the sets and costumes really shows. Yeah, it's fucking weird and utterly terrifying at moments, but manages to have it's own charm. Michael Jackson is actually pretty good in the film and not even Diana's weird ass faces can fuck his scenes up. I think this movie just had the problem of Hollywood not knowing what the fuck to do with it. If you like musicals and Michael Jackson, it's worth a watch. No? Fuck it. Let's watch Masters of the Universe.