Space Truckers (1996)

Week of June 29, 2005

Shortly after wrapping production on this sci-fi sludge carnival about gravity-free beer-swilling long-haul truckers in the sky, Stephen Dorff made a little-watched indie called Entropy, the only half-decent movie of his career. Upon Entropy's slightly warmer-than-tepid critical reception, Dorff -- upon whom it is rumored Tim Conway loosely based the midget lead character in his slapstick golf video series -- proceeded to hit every tent at Fashion Week in big mirror shades and little leather pants, wooing dumbshit supermodels via the line, "Do you know what 'entropy' means, baby? It means a one-way ticket to planet Dorfenschlonger."

Since that time, Dorff's career has been treading in a sea of straight-to-video diarrhea, threatening to turn him into Richard Grieco. Few movie boxes signal "low budget train wreck with marginally talented name actor" like the seal of Dorff, which is why Space Truckers should have caused the all-too-frequent VCR shutdown in Creve Coeur. The fact that it didn't instantly makes it one of the best science-fiction films of all time, a knowing, surprisingly engaging bit of pop trash that sends a dreadful genre (sci-fi) up to the point of no return.

Space Truckers is so sublime that it overcomes (benefits from?) George Wendt; visible stunt wires; lines from Dorff like, "No, that's my dick"; and a mutant space commander whose robo-erection operates on a lawn-mower pulley with an "an electric wang pulse."

The glue of Space Truckers is the great lush Dennis Hopper, made all the greater by the fact that he has tricked the American public into thinking he's a master thespian. Fact is, Hopper's made a lot more Space Truckers in his career than Easy Riders, Hoosierses and Blue Velvets. But when you're saddled with a case-a-day Natural Light and vodka habit, you've got to keep the paychecks coming in -- even if it means stepping onto the soundstage with Stephen Dorff.

Each week the author treks to the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library, where a staff member blindfolds him and escorts him to the movie shelves. After selecting a film at random, Seely checks it out and reviews it.

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