You wouldn’t believe just how international Last Movie Outpost is. Sure, you hear our transatlantic musings in the Livestream, but we are wider than the US and the UK. When you look at our data, we are surprisingly big in Nigeria. Vietnam too. So “xin chào” and “sannu” to our international readers. From New Zealand, through Singapore, India and across the Middle East, from Tripoli down to Cape Town, over Europe, all the way out to Hawaii, including the four people who regularly view our humble website in Vanuatu, we hope you enjoy our community.
It’s a big, wide world out there and lots of that world has its own cinema. To bring you some of this international flavor, we have a contribution from among you, our community of beloved Outposters, the last sane people on the planet. We love a contribution and if you have something to share with us about the world of movies, streaming and entertainment then please give us a shout at [email protected].
Leopardo has sent us a missive from The Netherlands. Let’s ask Nigel Powers about the Dutch.
OK… Moving on… Here’s Leopardo and apparently he’s come to give us the benefit of some culture.
Flodder AKA Welfare Party
Hi! My name is Leopardo, and today I want to bring you guys some culture. As we all know, Hollywood is, and has always been, producing generic, overbudgeted agenda-based fare aimed at the lowest common denominator which is about 90% of the US population.
Have movies made you uncultured swine, or do uncultured swine just make crap movies? There is a way to find out, and, as it is for most of the world’s problems, the solution is in Europe.
Europe has culture. Always had it. It’s everywhere. You’d know this if you’d ever set foot outside your own country. Or if you’d watch more of our movies! So, here is my solution to get some culture in you guys. I will be reviewing a movie from my own neck of the woods, the Netherlands.
Hopefully, this review will get you interested, you will run to the nearest thrift shop to get a region free DVD player and start importing second-hand discs. You know you need this.
The movie I will review is Flodder, also known as Welfare Party (English language release) or Eine Familie Zum Knutschen (Germany). It is a 1986 comedy directed by Dick Maas.
The tagline on the poster reads “A Family Movie” and the Dutch really do think it is fine for family movie night.
I selected this movie because it is not completely unknown outside the Netherlands. Do not say “Holland” or we’ll be here all day. It is competently made and it was extremely successful over here. The story is straight-forward, maybe even a bit derivative at times. For people who don’t like to read subtitles, don’t worry, they won’t have any big words in them. It’s about uncultured people ending up in an upper-class neighbourhood, so kind of what we’re doing here now!
The Main Characters
Ma Flodder (Nelly Frijda) – matriarch. Has five children, all by different fathers. She smokes cigars, eats dogfood and distils her own liquor.
Johnny Flodder (Huub Stapel)– oldest son and father figure to most of the rest. Petty criminal. Womaniser. Drives around in an old pink convertible. He is the main focus of the plot.
Kees Flodder (René van ‘t Hof) – second son. Pervert. Follows Johnny around, and gets in trouble when he is by himself. Has sex with his oldest sister regularly because nobody in the 80’s realised incest isn’t funny.
Kees Flodder (Tatjana Simic) – oldest daughter. All children are named after their fathers, resulting in two of them being called Kees. The director/writer has a thing for re-using character names, there are other Kees’ in the movie. She’s eye candy, mostly, but has some great scenes like the famous “But neighbour, what are you doing now?” bit. It’ll make sense when you watch it.
Henkie Flodder (Horace Cohen) – third son. Possibly redeemable.
Toet Flodder (Nani Lehnausen) – second daughter and youngest child. Vicious and nasty to those who deserve it, very protective of her (possibly) grandpa.
Grandpa (Jan-Willem Hees) – old guy in a wheelchair who is possibly related to the rest. Passion for trains.
Sjakie (Lou Landré) – social worker. Getting the family in the villa was his idea. He wants to make some kind of point of helping this poor family, but he doesn’t realise he’s just introducing a gang of criminals to a wealthy neighbourhood.
Have you seen The Beverly Hillbillies? Well, then you know the basic plot. An uncultured family, Flodder family, is relocated to an upper-class villa in the unnamed city’s richest neighbourhood, called Zonnedael. This happens because the city found out that they were living on polluted land. The movie doesn’t really make it clear why this is the city’s fault or responsibility, or why it’s confined to one lot in a densely populated city center, but it is, so it happens.
Hilarity ensues. The movie wisely gets the thin plot out of the way as fast as possible and focuses mostly on the characters for the rest of the time. Most characters get some kind of subplot, all of which are short, focus on the comedy and even have a little bit of character development from time to time.
Most on the jokes focus on how the antisocial family behaves in their new neighbourhood. They’re clearly unfit for polite society, but then so is polite society. Their rich neighbours wouldn’t have had to put up with the Flodders living there if they had taken an interest in the city’s affairs. Now that they’re there, the neighbourhood will use every last dirty trick in the book to be rid of them. But the Flodders have tricks of their own.
In the end, it almost feels like the social worker’s experiment has actually succeeded. The family gains some level of acceptance, and there even seems to be some common ground between the Flodders and the residents of upper-class Zonnedael in a “if you can’t beat them, join them” kind of way.
I said almost. I won’t spoil anything but the fate of one of the nastier characters is well deserved and there’s some pretty effective use of low-budget 80’s special effects on display in the finale too.
The Production Design
For such a generic movie, a lot of thought went into stuff like set design and props, seemingly to make sure you can’t really pinpoint where this is set. The cars don’t have Dutch license plates, the city-scenes in the pre-credits and opening credits sequence are obviously not shot anywhere in the Netherlands (it was Brussels), and the Zonnedael neighbourhood is patterned after American suburban areas.
We don’t have flag mailboxes for instance. Seems like unnecessary trouble to go through, but it does give the movie a somewhat unique look. Of course someone has to pay for all that, so it has really blatant product placement by car manufacturer Citroën.
And, well… they want to present the BX model as a really desirable sports car. It looks fine, but my family had one, it crapped out at least twice leaving us stranded by the road. So no.
It almost feels redundant to warn you about nudity in Dutch movies, but it’s there on several occasions. Don’t complain, that’s the culture I was talking about. There’s a lot of culture in our movies, and some full-frontal culture in this one. So be warned.
When I was young and the movie came out on VHS and DVD, it was rated AL for Accessible to all ages. It’s currently rated 6. I don’t own the Dutch Blu-ray because the Dutch Blu-ray is just barely more than the DVD master slapped onto a Blu-ray disc. It’s even 25fps. Even the director disowns it.
I got the German Blu-ray disc which has it’s own problems, especially if you want to watch the German dub. The Dutch version is really good. This edition is rated 16, so that shows you the different attitudes in our countries.
In 1992, there was a very successful sequel called Flodder in Amerika (or Flodder Takes Manhattan) that was critically much less well-received.
It’s kind of a paint by numbers retread of the first one in many places, except that it is set in New York. There was much less effort put in and it shows. For example, Johnny styled his own hair into the blonde duck-bill of the first movie, in part two it’s a wig.
The budget was higher but it’s basically spent on a free holiday for the cast and a big special-effect for the finale. And on Jon Polito, who has quite a bit of screen time and seems to be having fun despite the horrible depiction of New York culture. They didn’t just pay him for his name in the credits, he’s not even on the poster, yet it’s an actual main part. The raunchy, dark humour was traded in for general silliness and the movie suffers for it.
Then there was the spin-off TV show. It ran for a few seasons longer than it should have, only three of the main cast return, and it’s basically just a silly sitcom based on the same premise.
This show got it’s own spin-off movie, which canonically doesn’t fit as a sequel to the first movies but also doesn’t fit in the TV show’s continuity. It’s a mess, worth it only for hardcore fans and completists.
Flodder is entertaining, professionally made and not nearly as dated as you’d expect after all this time. The comedy is raunchy, crude, and somewhat dark at times and not for the prude or oversensitive. It’d be an R in the US for sure. It also shows real heart and has a don’t-judge-by-it’s-cover vibe to it, without being preachy.