The Dark Backward (1991)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Satire  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Synopsis by Josh Ralske

Writer/director Adam Rifkin's The Dark Backward is set in a dark, grimy, garbage-strewn urban netherworld, where a company named "Blump's" apparently owns everything. Marty Malt (Judd Nelson of The Breakfast Club) is an unhappy garbageman who moonlights as an atrociously unfunny standup comic. His best friend and fellow trash collector, Gus (Bill Paxton), is the only one who laughs at his jokes, and his sincerity is questionable. The obnoxiously exuberant Gus plays an accordion, which he always carries with him. Marty is seeing Rosarita (Lara Flynn Boyle), a waitress, but she doesn't seem too interested in him, either. One day, Gus convinces a talent agent, Jackie Chrome (Las Vegas circuit staple Wayne Newton), to check out Marty's act. Jackie isn't impressed. Marty's luck seems to take a turn for the worse when a large lump starts growing on his back. He goes to a quack doctor (James Caan), who calls him a wimp and puts a Band-Aid on the lump. The lump continues to grow, eventually becoming a full-sized arm. While Gus uses Marty's newfound freakishness to impress his obese girlfriends, a horrified Rosarita breaks up with Marty, and he gets fired from the club where he does his act. Marty is despondent until Gus brings him to see Jackie, who, it turns out, has always dreamed of finding a real three-armed comic. Re-christened "Desi the Three-Armed Wonder Comic," and with Gus now providing musical accompaniment, Marty gets a fresh start on his career. The Dark Backward received devastating reviews upon its initial release, but has since developed a minor cult following. The film also stars Rob Lowe and King Moody, who was the original Ronald McDonald.



body-parts, career, comedian, deformity, disfigurement, performer, rags-to-riches, weapons