Howard the Duck
November 11th, 2008
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. A long time ago, a young filmmaker named George Lucas helped create a parallel dimension in a galaxy far, far away. It's a strange world with bizarre aliens and unbelievable creatures. A world that the sci-fi community will never, ever forge-- okay, the punch line is Howard the Duck.
(Title card and footage of Howard the Duck)
NC (voiceover): For all the strange things that George Lucas has done, whether it be bad (poster of Star Wars: The Clone Wars), unnecessary (poster of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) or...just downright racist (picture of Jar-Jar Binks), nothing compares to the weird cinematic bomb that he actually made the strange choice of producing: Howard the Duck.
NC: And if you think Jar Jar Binks was bad...he still is. But this is a creation that equally matches that theatrical travesty. So what gave George Lucas the idea to attach his name to such a goofy movie?
(Shots of the Howard the Duck comic)
NC (voiceover): Well, maybe the comic book had something to do with it. That's right, this was actually based on a Marvel comic book by the same name. It was about a duck who came from a parallel dimension where everybody's a duck, but somehow got zapped into our reality, they have a ton of strange adventures.
NC: (dripping with sarcasm) Yeah, sounds like a blockbuster to me, too! (normal) Let's take a look.
NC: (voiceover) So we see Howard in his parallel world, where he lives in an apartment of in-jokes. He sits around, drinking beer, smoking cigars, and reading the latest edition of Playduck.
NC: You know, a kid's movie!
NC (voiceover): (referring to Howard) Look at this thing. It looks like Donald Duck's missing nephew, Drunky.
Howard: (voiced by Chip Zien) Thanks.
NC (voiceover): So, yeah, he lives in probably the stupidest of parallel dimensions where every single person is a duck. It's like a bad episode of Twilight Zone that accidentally began with the twist ending.
(Phil Blumburtt, played by Tim Robbins, laughs)
NC (voiceover): All right, so Howard's sitting there watching TV, when suddenly...
(Howard's room starts shaking)
Howard: Oh, no, it's a quake!
NC: Don't you mean a "quack"?
NC (voiceover): His chair starts to shake and rumble as he's propelled backwards through his apartment building, flying through dozens and dozens of walls until we see--
(A female duck is seen taking a bath. She is topless, meaning there is a clear view of her duck breasts, which the camera zooms in on with a scare chord)
NC (voiceover): Oh, my God.
NC: It can't be. That cannot be real. That cannot - be real!
(The same scene plays again)
NC: (disgusted) Is there a point in reviewing the rest of the movie?! I mean, you know I'm not gonna be able to top that. I don't care if he runs into Jar Jar Binks, the Care Bears, and Fonzie from Happy Days. There is no way in hell that I am going to beat--
(Still shot of the infamous scene, only this time the title "DuckTits" is across the screen, in the same font as DuckTales)
NC: (to the DuckTales theme) DuckTits, whoo-oo!
NC: I mean, what is the point? You're making a kids film, starring a cute little ducky, and you start out with duck tits? Are you mad? What creepy pervert thought that up?!
(Quick flash of a pic of George Lucas)
NC: I mean, the movie is rated PG, right? This is considered PG material?
(Picture of a naked woman, with her breasts and crotch area censored with black bars)
NC (voiceover): Are you seriously telling me that showing female breasts is wrong... (Still shot of the topless duck) but showing Daisy [Duck]'s knockers isn't gonna cause any psychological damage?
NC: I think the people who rated this movie had psychological damage! I mean... EWW!!!
NC (voiceover): So, yeah, after you try to repress that memory, Howard continues to fly out of his apartment. Actually, into space. Suddenly this guy's voice takes over and tries to tell us why.
Narrator: The cosmos. Countless worlds upon worlds. In these galaxies, every possible reality exists. What is, what was, and what will be start here with the words "In the beginning there was..."
(The title screen comes up)
Narrator (echoes): HOWARD THE DUCK!
NC: Wow. All the coolness in the narrator's voice seemed to be magically sucked out just by the mentioning of the title. That's usually a good sign.
NC (voiceover): So Howard somehow crosses dimensions and ends up in the terrifying land of the human world. But not just the human world--the human world of the '80s! AAH! He comes across this woman who's being attacked and he decides to help her out.
(Howard leaps from the shadows and does some completely unimpressive martial arts posing)
Howard: No one laughs at a master of Quack Fu!
NC: All right, the obvious joke should've been Tai Quack Do, but we'll let it slide.
Howard: Every duck's got his limit./No more Mr. Nice Duck./This is obviously no place for an intelligent duck.
NC: (beat) Yeah, um, just to check, how many more "puns" are the going to be where you simply insert the word "duck" into common everyday phrases?
Text: (over Howard's face) 1,358 more.
NC: Okay, I'm just gonna have this on standby. (places a bottle of Jack Daniels next to himself on the table) I hope you don't mind.
NC (voiceover): So after being bailed out by a duck--boy, that's gotta be embarrassing--we learn that the young woman's name is Beverly. And as you can imagine, they both have some interesting questions for each other.
Howard: Where am I?
Beverly Switzler (played by Lea Thompson): Cleveland [Ohio].
Howard: Cleve-land? Uh-huh. That's a perfect, weird name for this planet.
Beverly: Planet? No, no, that's a city. The planet's called Earth...I think.
NC: "Earth, I THINK?" (pause) Yeah, um, just to check, this idiotic waif isn't gonna play any major part in this movie by any chance, is she--?
Text: (over Beverly) Love Interest.
NC: Okay, bottoms up. (pours himself a shot of JD)
NC (voiceover): So Beverly is about to leave poor Howard behind, but the awkward '80s love music suggests she should do something else.
(As the awkward ballad plays, Beverly looks back at Howard in guilt)
NC: Go to him, Beverly! Go to him!
NC (voiceover): It can't be any worse than that time you let that singing giraffe sleep on your couch.
Howard: You consider that progress?
NC (voiceover): So being a sucker for a hard duck case, Beverly decides to take Howard in and let him spend the night.
Howard: (sarcastically) Nice place. You pay to live here?
Beverly: It's cheap. The manager of my band found it for me.
Howard: I suggest you find a new manager.
Beverly: Hey, I'd love to, but we got this damn contract with the sleazoid. He won't even give us the money he owes us.
NC: YOU KNOW YOU'RE TALKING TO A DUCK, RIGHT?!
NC (voiceover): So Howard eventually falls asleep as Beverly partakes in a RATHER uncomfortable sequence.
(Beverly pets Howard's head)
NC (voiceover): (as Beverly) Hmm. Mrs. Duck. I guess I kinda like it.
Beverly: What am I gonna do with you?
NC: Well, roasted or extra crispy comes to mind.
(Howard gives a muffled, sarcastic laugh)
NC (voiceover): So they go to a scientist [Phil Blumburtt], played by Tim Robbins, to see if he can figure out where Howard came from and how he got here.
Phil: Nice ducky. Me, Phil. You, Howard.
(He repeats it, this time talking like Donald Duck. NC is now chugging JD straight from the bottle)
NC (voiceover): So, he obviously doesn't help much, which means Howard is still stuck in the surreal world where he'll never seem to fit in.
(Some kids and a teacher come running up to Howard as the kids start touching Howard)
Teacher: This is a wonderful exhibit!
Howard: I'm a freak; an outcast!
NC: (mimicking kids) Aw, look at the ducky. Look at the ducky!
Howard: Beat it! Raaaar!
(The kids and teacher run screaming)
NC: (mimicking again) AH! I thought he was cute at first, but then he waved his fingers and became terrifying!
NC (voiceover): He also tells Beverly to go away as he just wants to be left alone.
Beverly: That's the way you want it? Then so long, ducky! Hmph!
Howard: Don't shed any tears over me, toots!
Beverly: You can wallow in your own self-pity!
NC: Ha-ha-ha-ha. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Ducks are...from some parallel dimension where apparently they have duck tits. And no shame.
NC (voiceover): If you can believe it, Howard actually gets a job cleaning up at a local romantic spa. Because nothing says romance like a feathered alien cleaning up your love juice.
Howard: That's really disgusting.
NC (voiceover): Look at this. He gets thrown in the hot tub and the couple just keeps making out.
NC: (mocking the man) What was that? Oh, it was just some small, fully clothed, anthropomorphic life form swimming in our hot tub. Oh, well. (leans down to kiss again)
NC (voiceover): Despite the job, Howard seems to still not be fitting in, as crowds of people constantly seem to remind him.
Bus passenger: That's a duck!
Bus passenger 2: What is that thing?!
Bus passenger: That's a duck, man!
NC: (pointing at the screen) Dat's a duck! (he looks down and points at his tie) Dat's a tie! (he looks to the side and points downward) Dat's a desk! (looks in front of him, holds up the movie and points at it) Dat's a dupid, dupid movie!
NC (voiceover): So Howard returns to Beverly, who happens to have a band called Cherry Bomb. Well, I understand the "bomb part", but the "cherry" section throws me off. There, he comes across Beverly's manager and tries to persuade him to let her out of the band's contract.
Howard: Is this gonna be easy? Or is this gonna be trouble?
NC: Whoa, I think this duck means business.
NC (voiceover): They pick him up and throw him across the bar, thinking they got rid of the little quacker. But then...
(Howard stands up again, while "Name of the Game" by The Crystal Method is inserted into the scene. He gets on the bar counter and heads toward the manager and his goons)
NC: Bring it, motherducker!
(Howard beats up the three men, culminating in him stabbing a knife through a goon's earring loop)
NC: (as manager) Help! I'm getting my ass kicked by poultry!
NC (voiceover): So after that embarrassing display, the manager decides to give the women back their money and let them out of the contract. So Howard meets up with Beverly backstage where--
Phil: I'm sorry I missed the show. I was--
NC (voiceover): Oh, no, not this guy again.
Phil: Howard! (he gibbers in his Donald Duck voice. NC mouths "What the fuck?", and the scene replays)
NC: Did the movie just run out of dialogue? I mean, that wasn't a sentence; that was a sound effect! That's like the script was written by Gerald McBoingBoing!
NC: STOP IT! I don't know what that is!
NC (voiceover): What the hell is he doing there anyway?
Beverly: Well, he and Ronnetta sorta got back together.
NC: WAIT! He's dating one of the singers?!
Ronnetta: I don't know who's more desperate for dates: you or me.
NC: (mimicking her) I guess I have a soft spot for unattractive, unromantic, unpopular and all around unlikable people.
Phil: No sex now, I'm working.
NC (voiceover): So even though they got out of the contract, the band is still stuck without a manager.
Beverly: Maybe you should be our manager. (realizes something) Wait a second...
Beverly: I think you'd be a great manager.
NC: (waving his arms) No!
Beverly: Maybe you're just the kind of bizarro influence we need!
NC: Oh, yeah! With him as their manager, the band will finally be taken seriously!
NC (voiceover): But unfortunately, that's not all they talk about.
Beverly: I just can't seem to find the right man.
Howard: Maybe it's not a man you should be lookin' for.
(NC silently pulls the JD bottle back to himself)
Beverly: You think I might find happiness in the animal kingdom, ducky?
Howard: Like they say doll, love's strange. We could always...give it a try.
(NC puts his gun on the table and cocks it. Beverly and Howard make googly eyes, and NC pulls out a large knife and puts it on his wrist. In silhouette, Beverly is on top of Howard, beginning to kiss him, when she yelps. The camera reveals Phil and two other men looking over the curtain at them)
Phil: Oh, I'm sorry, the door was open.
NC: (putting the knife down) Oh, thank God!
NC (voiceover): Those three angels of mercy happen to be scientists, who think they know what brought Howard here. Apparently, they were working on some sort of dimensional jumper...thingy, that pointed into Howard's universe and brought him to our world. So the easy solution is just to send him back through the same process. So the scientists decide to drive him to the machine and send him back.
Howard: (to Beverly) Right now, you're the one and only thing that's making it very hard--
(NC looks shocked)
Howard: --for me to leave.
NC (voiceover): So the gang gets to the machine with no problems or dilemmas along the way and it looks like Howard is finally going home.
NC: Well, that wasn't so bad. I mean, it certainly wasn't a good movie, but I could definitely say that I've seen worse-- (The machine sparks violently) What was that?
Scientist: It exploded again! It was terrible! We have no right to tamper with the universe!
NC: Does this mean the duck's not going home?
Second scientist: We lost control again and there was another explosion.
Third scientist: We brought Howard down the first time, but what if we brought something else this time?
NC: Something that could possibly make this film go on even longer?
Howard: Yeah, sure.
(NC wails and cries in agony, banging his head on the table)
NC (voiceover): So, yeah, the movie keeps on going as apparently one of the scientists is taken over by an alien life form from another parallel dimension.
Alien: I'm not Jenning anymore. The transformation is complete. I am now...someone else.
NC: My God, he's transformed into Cobra Commander!
Alien: Soon the dark overlord will engulf the Earth.
Cobra Commander: Excellent! They haven't spotted us!
Alien: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Cobra Commander: COBRA! ATTAAAACK!
NC (voiceover): So the characters I guess just sit and talk for a bit while the scientist continues to reenact scenes from The Exorcist.
Alien: I am now one of the dark overlords of the universe.
NC: And your mother sucks cocks in hell! BLAAAAAH!
NC (voiceover): On top of that, he can also use his mental powers to do horrible, menacing things. Like assassinate table condiments!
(Mustard and ketchup bottles blow up)
Alien: My powers are growing.
NC: Next, I will destroy the Tabasco sauce! BLAAAAH!
NC (voiceover): To make things worse, Howard gets into yet ANOTHER fight when all the truckers at the diner start to insult him.
Howard: This one's for you, cracker! Another hungry customer!
NC (voiceover): (mocking a trucker) Well, he threw a pie at the other guys. Surely he's not gonna throw a pie at-- (Howard throws a pie at the biker) DOOOH! (normal) They keep fighting until they finally grab him and put him in his place.
NC: So what are they gonna do? Beat him up and toss him around a bit or--
NC (voiceover): --tie him down and try to decapitate him?!
NC: Dude, when did truckers become homicidal maniacs?
NC (voiceover): But the belching Skeletor gets up and saves Howard so that he can get the key to the dimensional machine back.
Trucker: Sounds like a bunch of bull putty!
(The alien fires energy at him, with "Hadouken!" dubbed over it)
NC (voiceover): The odd thing is that even after people leave, he keeps blowing shit up! I guess he just has a real hate for food condiments and kitchen utensils. (mimicking the alien) That dinner flatware must die! (normal) So the scientist kidnaps Beverly and decides to take her away.
NC: Because...because...why are you kidnapping her anyway?
(The alien simply looks out from behind a corner and groans)
NC: Yeah, that's what I thought.
NC (voiceover): While on the way there, the alien inside needs to recharge his energy. He does it by taking out a cigarette lighter and doing this:
(His mouth opens, as a hideous, long tongue-like appendage comes out and plugs into the car's lighter socket)
NC: I got nothing to say. I think this scene speaks for itself.
NC (voiceover): Meanwhile, Howard meets up with Tim Robbins as they just so happen to find a plane, figure out how to fly it, and use it to save Beverly.
NC: I can't believe a movie about a nerdy Tim Robbins and an alcoholic talking duck could be so implausible!
Howard: Feel's like a bad trip.
NC (voiceover): Meanwhile, the alien makes it back to the laboratory, after getting rid of some pesky cops.
(The alien shocks a cop, who flies back into his car which promptly explodes, setting off a chain reaction of a bunch of nearby cars)
Alien: Smog inspection. (laughs sinisterly)
NC: (mimicking the alien) (sinister laugh) I never knew my mother.
NC (voiceover): He ties down Beverly, hoping to transfer another alien into her body as Robbins and Howard come in to save the day. Beverly gives them some helpful advice.
Beverly: He's in a bad mood!
NC: I really hope she dies.
NC (voiceover): So after the scientist transforms into Albert Einstein's heroin addict cousin, Howard rushes at him with a laser gun and blows everything up. Of course, they go through the scene where they think he's dead but he wakes up and everything seems to be okay.
NC: So THIS has gotta be the end of the movie, right?
(The alien busts through the floor in a new, monstrous form)
NC: No? You still wanna make it a little stupider? Okay!
NC (voiceover): Why don't we have the alien mutate into something Ray Harryhausen would throw up, and have Howard run at it with the laser gun again. (gasp) But there's more Harryhausen vomit coming through the portal! What do we do?
Phil: The machine, Howard! You gotta destroy it! Blast it!
Beverly: No, Howard, don't!
Beverly: You'll never get home.
NC: Yes, let the monsters slowly kill us and eat us alive, knowing that at least the machine will be okay to take you back ho--WHY ARE YOU STILL LETTING HER TALK?! DESTROY THE DAMN THING!
(Howard does that)
NC (voiceover): And then we get the scene where we think Howard is dead. Gee, it's almost as good AS THE FIRST TIME YA DID IT!
Howard: (mimicking an alien) I am not Howard...anymore!
(Phil and Beverly back away fearfully)
NC: Oh, good, he's possessed. Does that mean we can kill him?
NC (voiceover): Oh, it was just a joke. (Sarcastically) Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, hilarious. (normal) So everybody returns home, I guess Howard is their new manager--I'm hoping he only speaks via telephone--and at the end, he even has his own guitar solo!
(Howard plays a guitar solo in Beverly's band)
NC (voiceover): Oh, yeah, you will believe a duck can rock.
NC: I also believe that a duck can BLOW! THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT GEORGE LUCAS HAS EVER MADE SINCE...anything not Star Wars or Indiana Jones related.
NC (voiceover): AND EVEN THAT HE'S SLOWLY TRYING TO DESTROY! Apart from being silly, stupid, and surprisingly boring, this film is just plain mean spirited. Everything is shot in the dark, someone is always trying to kill him or hurt him; it's just a thoroughly unpleasant movie.
NC: But, hey, look on the bright side. It could be worse. No, no, it can't. Actually, this is the worst. If you have a chance to pass up this duck suck, I suggest you drop it like the rotten egg that this stink bug was born out of. Just remember kids, quack...is whack. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
NC: (The DuckTales theme comes on again) DuckTits, whoo-oo!