The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

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The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rod Amateau
Produced by Rod Amateau
Written by Rod Amateau
Melinda Palmer
Based on Garbage Pail Kids 
by John Pound (uncredited)
Starring Mackenzie Astin
Anthony Newley
Katie Barberi
Music by Michael Lloyd
Cinematography Harvey Genkins
Edited by Leon Carrere
M. Edward Salier
Distributed by Atlantic Releasing Corporation
Release dates
  • August 22, 1987 (1987-08-22)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1 million (Adjusted by inflation: $2,075,864)[1]
Box office $1,576,615 (Adjusted by inflation: $3,272,838)[2]

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is a 1987 American live action film adaptation of the then-popular series of children's trading cards produced, directed, and co-written by Rod Amateau. It is the last film to be directed by Amateau.

The cards were a parody of the popular Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and each card featured a character that typically had a gross habit, abnormality, or suffered a terrible fate. The film depicted many of the Garbage Pail Kids (played by dwarf actors in costumes) interacting with society and befriending a regular boy.

The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews and is widely considered as one of the worst films ever made today.


A garbage can spaceship is seen flying near Earth. The same garbage can is then shown inside an antique shop owned by Captain Manzini. A boy named Dodger is being assaulted by four bullies in a park. Juice, the leader, steals Dodger's money and drops him in a puddle. Dodger goes to Manzini's antique shop where he works. Manzini takes Dodger's clothes and cleans them while warning him to stay away from the garbage can. Later, Dodger sees Tangerine, Juice's girlfriend, who seems to be the most compassionate one towards Dodger, and tries to persuade her to buy something. Dodger is attracted to Tangerine and covertly smells her hair while she is distracted. The other bullies enter the shop and attempt to rough up Dodger again, but he manages to outwit them. However, amidst the tussle, the garbage can is knocked over. The bullies then bring Dodger into a sewer, handcuff him to a rail, and open a sewage pipe on him. Dodger is saved by little mysterious people named the Garbage Pail Kids.

Manzini returns and is upset that the Garbage Pail Kids have been released from their can, but introduces Dodger to each of them: Greaser Greg is a leather jacket-clad greaser with a violent attitude; Messy Tessie is a girl with a constantly runny nose; Windy Winston is an insane boy who wears a Hawaiian shirt and often farts violently; Valerie Vomit is a girl who throws up on command; Foul Phil is a whining hungry baby with halitosis who constantly asks characters if they are his "mommy" or "daddy"; Nat Nerd is an obese acne-riddled boy who poorly dresses up like a superhero and wets his pants frequently; and Ali Gator, the group's natural leader, is an anthropomorphic half person/half alligator who has an appetite for human toes. Manzini explains that the kids are forbidden from going in public, because they'll be attacked by the "normies" (normal people), and that he can't get the kids to go back into the garbage can without magic.

The next day, Dodger goes with Tangerine to a night club where she sells clothes she designed herself. Dodger behaves awkwardly when Tangerine removes her shirt to sell it. Dodger then hides when Juice shows up. Meanwhile, the Kids then steal a Pepsi truck, flatten Juice's car with it, and then have a camp fire in an alley with stolen food. The next morning, the Garbage Pail Kids recover from hangovers and give Dodger a jacket they sewed. The jacket impresses Tangerine who asks Dodger to get more clothes so she can sell them. The Kids get bored and decide to wear disguises to go out in public. First they go to a theater playing Three Stooges shorts and behave obnoxiously. Ali and Windy go to a bar where they start a fight with bikers, who are soon won over by the Kids' heroics, in which they celebrate with beers. The Kids make more clothes for Dodger after stealing a sewing machine and singing a song about working together. Tangerine sells the clothes and begins to prepare for a fashion show based on them. She meets the Kids and is repulsed by them, but realizes she can take advantage of their designs.

The night of the fashion show, Tangerine locks the Kids in the basement of the antique shop so that they don't escape, and soon, they are captured by Juice and his gang who bring them to the State Home for the Ugly, a prison where people too ugly for society are brought and executed. People there include the "too fat" Santa Claus, the "too bald" Gandhi, and the "too skinny" Abraham Lincoln. Manzini and Dodger help them escape and head to the fashion show. The Garbage Pail Kids trash the fashion show and rip the clothes off the models, while Dodger gets in a fight with Juice. Later that night, Tangerine apologizes to Dodger and asks to be his friend, but Dodger doesn't accept her apology for her greed. Captain tries to sing the Garbage Pail Kids' song backwards to coax them back into the garbage can, but the Kids sneak out and ride stolen ATVs away to cause more havoc.


The Garbage Pail Kids


The film's depiction of the Garbage Pail Kids in poorly-styled costumes received universal criticism

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was widely panned by film critics. Juan Carlos Coto, writing for the News/Sun-Sentinel called the movie, "one of the worst ever made".[3]

The film holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, receiving no positive reviews from the site's critics.[4] Critics disliked the film's gross humor, acting, puppetry, inappropriate moments, the portrayal of the Garbage Pail Kids, and plot.

Caryn James of The New York Times called the film "too repulsive for children or adults of any age".[5]

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie grossed $1,576,615.[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards[6] Worst Picture Nominated
Golden Raspberry Award Worst New Star The Garbage Pail Kids Nominated
Worst Original Song Michael Lloyd ("You Can Be a Garbage Pail Kid") Nominated
Worst Visual Effects Nominated

In popular culture[edit]

Comedian Doug Walker mocked the film on his Internet comedy series The Nostalgia Critic.[7] Walker considered the film his most hated of all the films he mocked on the show, branding it as the worst movie he'd ever seen, deeming it "the Holocaust of cinema" and "worse than Manos: The Hands of Fate."[8]


In 2012, it was reported that Michael Eisner's Tornante Company had plans to finance and produce the development of a feature film based on Garbage Pail Kids.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jason Gross (2011-11-14). "The rise and fall of the Garbage Pail Kids". 
  2. ^ a b "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie Review". Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  3. ^ "Trashy `Garbage Pail Kids` Has No Value". Sun-Sentinel. 1987-09-05. Retrieved 29 Sep 2010. 
  4. ^ The Garbage Pail Kids Movie at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ "'Movie Review - The Garbage Pail Kids Movie'". New York Times. 1987-08-28. Retrieved 6 Jun 2010. 
  6. ^ "1987 10th Hastings Bad Cinema Society Stinkers Awards". Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Garbage Pail Kids". Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  8. ^ "Worst NC Reviewed Movies EVER!". Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company Behind Feature Adaptation Of ‘Garbage Pail Kids’". Retrieved 2013-12-19. 

External links[edit]