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The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

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"I... got... nothing. I have absolutely nothing. I mean, what the hell am I supposed to say? Garbage Pail Kids. Does the title even sound like it's going to attempt to be a good movie? (beat) I feel raped, I feel honest to god, raped by this movie, it is that bad! There is no talent, no effort, nothing salvageable! Nothing salvageable about this movie at all!"
Nostalgia Critic

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Out of the garbage pail and into your nightmares. No, really, it's a live-action heap of real garbage!
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Rod Amateau
Produced By: Rod Amateau
Written By: Rod Amateau
Melinda Palmer
Based On: Garbage Pail Kids by John Pound
Starring: Anthony Newley
Mackenzie Astin
Katie Barberi
Cinematography: Harvey Genkins
Distributed By: Atlantic Entertainment Group
Release Date: August 21, 1987
Runtime: 97 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $1 million
Box Office: $1.6 million
Sequel: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie 2 (cancelled)

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is a 1987 American live-action film adaptation of the then-popular series of children's trading cards. It was produced, directed, and co-written by Rod Amateau and is the last film to be directed by Amateau before his retirement and subsequent death in 2003.

For those who don't know, 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.


A garbage can spacecraft is seen flying near Earth. The same garbage can is then shown inside an antique shop owned by Captain Manzini. A 12-years old boy named Dodger is chased by a man and a woman in their 20's in a park. Their leader shows up in front of Dodger and calls him, a "creep", who threatens him to give the money to him. Dodger tells him that he doesn't have any money while the leader's henchwoman said that if he has money he ain't got nothing. So, Juice tells Dodger that he is running of time while continuing calling him a "creep". Dodger pleaded him not to, but Juice calls him "a little baby" who is "gonna cry". So, Juice sends his henchman named Wally to hold Dodger (who wants him to let him go) upside down and their leader steal his money as two women of the gang watched. drops him in a puddle. One of them, Tangerine (the leader's girlfriend) says that the leader's name is Juice and he is hers. So, Juice tells Wally to drop Dodger to the puddle as Wally kicks him along with henchwoman, Blythe laughing and humiliating him as the two cronies leave with Juice holding Tangerine's arm. Dodger stands up, being sad and leaves, too being covered in mud. So, 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. Juice and his two cronies enter the shop and attempt to rough up Dodger again for touching Tangerine again and calls him a "creep", again. Tangerine pleads that Dodger has enough and wants Juice to not beat him up and forget it. Much to that, Juice tells that the "little creep", Dodger needs to be taught a lesson because it's his matter of principles. In response, Tangerine tells him, that he always care about making people, "bleed". Dodger manages to outwit them. However, amidst the tussle, the garbage can is knocked over. Juice points to Wally to then bring Dodger outside of the store. So, Tangerine tells Juice what to do with him. He said that he wants that "Scuzbug", Dodger to "a little journey". But Tangerine pleads him to stop and leave Dodger so that they'll have "fun". As Juice responds, he ignores him and send Dodger into a sewer, to a rail, and open a sewage pipe on him. Juice leaves the sewer and says to Dodger to "see him later" and calls him a "creep", the third time. As Dodger lies down, he was 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 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 nightclub 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 campfire 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 The 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. Unable to escape, the Kids instead cry. In response, the security guards of the home tell another one if they should cut them up. However, the other guard said that the Kids will be "gone". The guard questioned where. He reveals that the Kids will be killed much to the Kids in horror.

At the fashion show, Dodger shows up to Tangerine, but realizes Juice and his gang arrived. Juice smerks. Dodger asked Tangerine where the kids are. But said that they are in the State Home for the Ugly. Enraged, Dodger was about to punch Juice, but is taken by Juice's cronies. So, Juice tells his cronies to take him outside. Juice confronts Tangerine and tells her that this is for coming after Dodger and leaves. Juice's cronies grabbed Dodger and toss him in the Garbage bin to keep him out of trouble, but he was able to open the bin and go to the unconscious Manzini, who tells him that the Kids are captured and as Dodger goes to the "Toughest Bar in the World" to warn the bikers that the Kids are in trouble and need help. They respond and go to the state home. They were able to rescue the Kids as Captain Manzini tells Dodger and the Kids that they need to go back to the stop. But Greaser Greg refuses and wanted to go to the fashion show to "squeeze em some juice". Dodger pleads Manzini that they are tired of being losers. When he already responded, Manzini may think of Juice being "dangerous", perhaps he might be better off as a jerk. As they go to Tangerine's Fashion Show, the Kids wreak havoc in the fashion show while Dodger attacks Juice (as revenge for what he did to Tangerine) with the Kids. But, Manzini stops him as Dodger cries and said that Juice is not worth for beating him up.

While Dodger and Manzini go back to the Antique shop with the Kids, Tangerine arrives in her car as Dodger looks at her in confusion. So, she tells him that the fashion show was a "big success" and thought Dodger was a "hit" (because of his fashion designs). Dodger distrusts Tangerine and thinks she's not pretty anymore (because of her greed and the way she double-crossed him for Juice and his gang by capturing the Garbage Pail Kids to the State Home for the Ugly) and goes inside the shop, much to Tangerine's saddening.

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. As that, Manzini tells Dodger explicitly that it would've been safer to lock them (The Garbage Pail Kids) away from the rest of the world.

Why It Won't Get Out Of The Garbage Pail And Into Your Heart

  1. To get the cat out of the trash, the Garbage Pail Kids themselves are by nature intended to be grotesque to look at, but them being portrayed by short adults wearing rubber masks and suits in a live-action film pushes the grotesque factor into horrifying, and even vomit-inducing levels.
    1. The masks of the Garbage Pail Kids' faces are horribly-made, with really bad-looking styles and mouths that sometimes never move. The worst offenders are Ali Gator and Valerie Vomit, since Ali has his mouth open in the wide screens and Valerie has her eyes malfunctioning most of the time. Again, the kids are supposed to be gross looking, but this is going a bit too far!
  2. This film is largely infamous by being mean spirited for all the mistreatment that the human protagonist, Dodger gets at the hands of his bullies to satisfy their sick amusement to his undeserving, making it more than a generic "bully-revenge" story, which is also an insult to the Garbage Pail Kids card series.
    1. Despite the title, the Garbage Pail Kids aren't so much as main characters as they are more of the supportive characters of the film. The film focuses more on Dodger, Manzini, Tangerine and the bullies, Juice, Blythe, and Wally.
  3. An unoriginal yet predictable story that is much garbage just like the title said, but it's about the Kids looking for their friends, while Dodger is in love with an older woman and dealing with bullies.
  4. No real villains, the most we could get is the bullies (Juice, Blythe and Wally), Tangerine, and the security officers of the State Home For The Ugly.
  5. The human characters are treated like bland American stereotypes in the 80s, but they are dubbed "Normies" by the Garbage Pail Kids.
    1. Dodger is a very generic and pointless bullied protagonist, who always is a Butt-Monkey all the time. We then see him get bullied by Juice every single scene.
      • His portrayal is what you expect from a main human character, where is shown to be a harmless punching bag who thinks being like this is not worth it, and cries about it. That's why he will never grow up.
    2. Juice is a rip off of Biff Tannen from Back To The Future and is the worst character in this movie and the most insufferable, whom as a loan shark has no reason to torment Dodger when he is actually a 12-year-old kid except for the fun of it by calling him a "creep". Not helping the fact that Juice is just a one-dimensional villain who thinks Dodger is smittening his girlfriend, Tangerine. He is especially mean-spirited and selfish who shows no respect to his girlfriend, Tangerine, but does things like stealing Dodger's money, throwing him down to the brown puddle, trying to lure him from smittening Tangerine by putting him inside the sewers, using her to lure the Garbage Pail Kids by taking them to the State Home for the Ugly, and uses his cronies to take him into the garbage bin.
      • He keeps talking about the occasions about principles from getting money and keeping him out of trouble.
    3. Tangerine went from a crush to Dodger and then later double crosses him to work with Juice, in order to find the Garbage Pail Kids and take them to the State Home for the Ugly.
  6. There is a completely pointless romantic and rather creepy subplot between Dodger and Tangerine.
  7. It has a pointless The Three Stooges cameo in an 80's theater without Columbia Picture's permission to use those footages.
  8. False Advertising: The poster's tagline says "Out of the Garbage Pail and into your heart", when it totally doesn't have a heart or charm at all. The poster's visual art implies Dodger is gonna encounter the Kids outside, nope he encounters them inside Manzini's shop.
  9. Its content is highly inappropriate for a PG film. The movie relies on mostly grotesque humor, based on sex, gross-out, violence and adult content in general. Examples are the idea of a place called "The State Home for the Ugly" where those people deemed as ugly are kept locked in a big farm-like cage and later executed, Nat Nerd wetting his pants four times, Windy Winston farting five times and a bar called "The Toughest Bar in the World", which is, get this, "tough".
    • As for "The Toughest Bar in the World", it mostly works more as a slogan than a name for a bar.
  10. Terrible editing. At one point when Tangerine takes Dodger a drive in her convertible, it was daytime. By the time she answers his question: "So what do we do when we get here?" it was already nighttime.
  11. This movie is loaded with pointless scenes of the Garbage Pail Kids causing trouble around town, which serve no purpose other than being filler.
    1. The kids themselves are awkwardly characterized, often making immoral things and suddenly changing to good behavior (though in equally strange ways).
  12. Most of the voice acting for the Garbage Pail Kids is badly done (which wasted the voice talents of Jim Cummings who voiced Winnie the Pooh from the Disney franchise of the same name), and the acting for the humans is very poor and downright bland.
  13. The first half of the story has no plot lines, while the second half has too many plot lines revolving around Dodger and Manzini searching for the remaining Garbage Pail Kids while Dodger is helping Tangerine with selling the clothes.
  14. Horrible, inconsistent soundtrack that mostly consists of '80s tracks and annoying pop songs sang by the Garbage Pail Kids. Cheesy synth and electronic drum presets (like the infamous Yamaha DX7 "E. PIANO 1" patch) are also overused.
  15. To put salt to the wound, the Garbage Pail Kids do not find their other friends around and seem to have been in a garbage truck.
  16. In the end of the movie, Dodger and the Garbage Pail Kids act very out of character where they try to go to Tangerine's fashion show for revenge against Juice and his schemes against them. After that, Dodger doesn't get Tangerine back with him, not because she used him for labor and let Juice get rid of the Garbage Pail Kids to the State Home For The Ugly, it's just that he doesn't find her pretty anymore and distrusts her from making Dodger, a "hit" for his fashion designs, and her fashion show being a "big success".
    • It literally retcons itself at the end, where Captain Manzini states explicitly that it would've been safer to lock them (The Garbage Pail Kids) away from the rest of the world (direct quote).
  17. The names of the characters are very ridiculous, I mean...what person could name someone like Juice, Tangerine or Dodger? Sure, they could just be nicknames, but still, what could possibly justify calling someone Tangerine...?!
    • Speaking for the names of the buildings (State Home for the Ugly, and the Toughest Bar in the World), they sound even ridiculous and very cheap.
  18. Unnecessary product placement, with the Garbage Pail Kids driving a Pepsi truck and running over a car with it.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Dodger, Manzini, the bikers from the "Toughest Bar In The World" bar and the kids do rescue all the prisoners from The State Home for the Ugly.
  2. Captain Manzini is the only likeable character in the film since he cares much about Dodger and The Garbage Pail Kids.


The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was universally panned by critics and audiences alike. The film currently holds a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 1.9 out of 10, but lacks a consensus. Metacritic gave the film a 1 out of 100, making it one of the lowest rated films on the site. Caryn James of The New York Times stated in her review "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is enough to make you believe in strict and faraway boarding schools." Felix Vasquez, Jr. of Cinema Crazed described it as "a terrible, terrible movie, but one that oddly warrants at least one viewing for the masochistic and morbidly curious". It is often considered one of the worst movies of all time.

Box Office

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie grossed $661,512 domestically on its opening weekend and made a total gross of $1.6 million against its $1 million budget making it a box office bomb.

Awards and nominations

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards, one for Worst Original Song (but lost to Beverly Hills Cop III), Worst Visual Effects (but lost to Jaws: The Revenge), and Worst New Star (but lost to David Mendenhall in Over the Top). The film was also nominated for Worst Picture at the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards and a Stinkers Bad Movie Awards for Worst Picture, but lost to Spaceballs.


  • The main reason for the huge amount of adult content in the movie is because this was originally meant to be a horror film about the Garbage Pail Kids being born from broken dolls when a radioactive sludge finds its way into a bunch of garbage cans filled with said broken dolls, turning them into serial killers. For some unexplained reason they decided to turn the movie into a family film, while still leaving the script unaltered regarding the presence of highly inappropriate content for kids.
  • The movie is Doug Walker's #1 most hated movie. He considers it to be the #1 worst film he's reviewed as The Nostalgia Critic due to the poorly written story, unexplained scenes, poor characters, way too much padding and how highly inappropriate and painful this film is.
  • Mackenzi Astin and Katie Barberi were actually dating in real life, but they broke up in the middle of the film's production.
  • Due to the extreme lack of success, plans for a sequel was cancelled, while a proposed CGI animated reboot (announced in March 12, 2012) was developed by the Tornante Company is also cancelled as well in July 18, 2013.
  • In an interview years later, Mackenzie Astin (Dodger) and Arturo Gil (Windy Winston) both criticized the film (though Gil said he thought the film was laughable).
  • has pointed out that the film was so grotesque and inappropriate that it was pulled from theaters.
  • Captain Manzini shares his name with the main villain of the TV series My Mother The Car which the film's director, Rod Amateau also produced and occasionally directed; an oddly fitting link considering that series was regarded as one of the worst TV shows of all time and this is seen as one of the worst films of all time.
  • The Voice actor Jim Cummings (who voiced Greaser Greg and Nat Nerd), according to TV tropes, has regretted how the final product of the film turned out and has protested against its impending release in theatres.


External links