The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

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The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRod Amateau
Produced byRod Amateau
Written byRod Amateau
Melinda Palmer
Based onGarbage Pail Kids
by John Pound (uncredited)
Music byMichael Lloyd
CinematographyHarvey Genkins
Edited byLeon Carrere
M. Edward Salier
Distributed byAtlantic Releasing Corporation
Release date
  • August 21, 1987 (1987-08-21)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million
Box office$1.6 million[1]

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is a 1987 American live action film adaptation of the then-popular children's trading cards series of the same name 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, an abnormality, or suffered a terrible fate. The film depicted seven of the Garbage Pail Kids (played by dwarf actors in animatronic costumes) interacting with society and befriending a regular boy.

The film was universally panned and is widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made. It was a box office bomb, earning only $1.6 million on a $1 million budget.


A garbage can spaceship is seen flying near Earth. The same garbage can is then shown inside an antique shop owned by Captain Manzini (although it is never shown how or when the can got into the shop, let alone the garbage can's origin). A boy named Dodger is being assaulted by four older teenage 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 member of the group towards Dodger, and he tries to persuade her to buy something from the shop. 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, during the tussle, the garbage can is knocked over and a green ooze spills out. The bullies then bring Dodger into a sewer, handcuff him to a rail, and open a pipe, pouring sewage onto him. Dodger is then 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 he 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 (on his card, he was depicted as a nervous musician); 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 dresses up like a superhero and wets his pants frequently; and Ali Gator, the group's leader, is an anthropomorphic half-person/half-alligator who has an appetite for human toes. Manzini explains that the kids are forbidden from going out 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 nightclub where she sells clothes she designed. Dodger behaves awkwardly when Tangerine removes her shirt to sell it. Dodger then hides when Juice shows up. Meanwhile, the Kids steal a Pepsi truck, flatten Juice's car with it, and then have a campfire in an alley with stolen food. The next morning, the Garbage Pail Kids recover from food-induced hangovers and give Dodger a jacket they sewed. The jacket impresses Tangerine, and she asks Dodger to get more clothes so she can sell them. The Kids make more clothes for Dodger after stealing a sewing machine and singing an annoying song about working together, but then get bored and decide to wear disguises and go out in public. They go to a theater playing Three Stooges shorts and behave obnoxiously. Ali and Winston go to a bar where they start a fight (which was caused by Ali eating someone's toes) with bikers, who are soon won over by the Kids' heroics, after which they celebrate with beers. Meanwhile, 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 that 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, the "too skinny" Abraham Lincoln, the "too wrinkly" old man, and the "too silly" clown. 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 into a fight with Juice. Juice and his gang are later arrested and it is implied that they may now finally be locked away in prison for a good while. Later that night, Tangerine apologizes to Dodger and asks to be his friend, but Dodger doesn't accept her apology due to her greed. Captain Manzini 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.


  • Anthony Newley as Captain Manzini
  • Mackenzie Astin as Dodger
  • Katie Barberi as Tangerine
  • Ron MacLachlan as Juice
  • J.P. Amateau (the director's son) as Wally
  • Marjory Graue as Blythe
  • John Herman Shaner as Police officer
  • Patty Lloyd as Foster mother
  • John Cade as Bartender

The Garbage Pail Kids[edit]

  • Phil Fondacaro as Greaser Greg
  • Debbie Lee Carrington as Valerie Vomit
  • Kevin Thompson as Ali Gator
  • Robert Bell as Foul Phil
    • Chloe Amateau, the director's daughter, as Foul Phil's voice
  • Larry Green as Nat Nerd
  • Arturo Gil as Windy Winston
  • Sue Rossitto as Messy Tessie
    • Teri Benaron as Messy Tessie's voice


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

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was universally panned by film critics and audiences alike. Juan Carlos Coto, writing for the News/Sun-Sentinel called the movie, "one of the worst ever made".[2]

The film holds a 0% rating and an average score of 1.9/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, receiving no positive reviews from the site's critics.[3] Critics disliked the film's rude humor, acting, puppetry, inappropriate moments, the creepy appearance of the Garbage Pail Kids, and nonsensical plot.

Caryn James of The New York Times called the film "too repulsive for children or adults of any age".[4]

The film was also a box office bomb grossing $1,576,615.[1]

Jim Cummings, who voiced two of the Garbage Pail Kids, Greaser Greg and Nat Nerd, admitted that he regrets taking part in the movie.[5]

Internet comedian Doug Walker, better known by his stage-name of the Nostalgia Critic, has stated that the film is the worst movie he has ever seen in his entire life.[6][7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards[8] Worst Picture Won
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]

In the Family Guy episode "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag" (season 8, episode 4), Mayor Adam West happily acquires a copy of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie from a video store closeout sale.[9]

Cancelled reboot[edit]

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.[10] On July 18, 2013, it was reported that the film was cancelled due to negative reception.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie Review". Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  2. ^ "Trashy `Garbage Pail Kids` Has No Value". Sun-Sentinel. 1987-09-05. Retrieved 29 Sep 2010.
  3. ^ The Garbage Pail Kids Movie at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ "'Movie Review - The Garbage Pail Kids Movie'". The New York Times. 1987-08-28. Retrieved 6 Jun 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Garbage Pail Kids - Nostalgia Critic". Channel Awesome. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  7. ^ "The Worst Movies the Nostalgia Critic Reviewed". Channel Awesome. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "family guy garbage pail kids". YouTube. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  10. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Michael Eisner's Tornante Company Behind Feature Adaptation Of 'Garbage Pail Kids'". Retrieved 2013-12-19.

External links[edit]