summary from http://www.seanbaby.com/stupid/straightup.htm
In 1983, there was only one problem plaguing grade schoolers more than ninja attacks: the seductive horrors of drug and alcohol abuse. Commercials about frying eggs did nothing to fight against the Columbian drug runners who thanks to their cocaine snorting 10-year-old customers, had unlimited funds covered in tiny chocolate fingerprints. Our government had two choices: putting together a squad of reformed-criminal combat specialists, giving them a robot, and sending them on a suicide mission on deadly ground with prejudice, or unleashing their new anti-drug weapon: the all-star community service video. An educational video with TV stars so exciting that the heroin needles planted firmly into our children's fragile minds would never stand a chance.
Straight Up starts off with heartthrob Chad Allen skateboarding in a parking garage. He runs into the "cool gang" led by Kevin. And they are bad to the max. The entire gang is this: Kevin, the kind of horror a chipmunk might spawn if a midget fucked it, a whiny Asian girl, an adorable nine-year-old black boy, and a fat kid in Bermuda shorts. Someone should have told Kevin that his badass street gang looks like it should be singing "We Are the World" in some kind of Wussiest Kids Ever feelings workshop. These little bastards are one latino hermaphrodite in a wheelchair away from you checking all the items off your multicultural scavenger hunt list. They seriously look like the bridge of a Star Trek spaceship that's flown through a retard nebula.
When Chad arrives, Kevin's hardcore gang is busy consolidating their drugs and alcohol. Between the four of them, they have a fifth of scotch, two beers, a pack of cigarettes, and at least half a pound of weed. This sends a clear message to viewers: immediately go make friends with ragtag pre-teen gangs from educational films. Chad awkwardly greets them, saying "What, are you guys doing drugs?", and they start making fun of him because he doesn't want any beer. Then they, like every group of drug users will do, try desperately to give their drugs away for free. You might remember that these naggy junkies were a common theme in all anti-drug education of the time. It would have saved a lot of film if someone told educators that teaching children how to avoid getting expensive drugs for free is like teaching children how to escape from unicorns with a bag of magical shrieking peanuts. I can't remember ever saying, "Fine, mister, I'll have some of your free heroin if you just get off my back."
The peer pressure is extra ridiculous in Straight Up because it's clearly a group of math geeks trying to shame tall, hunky Chad Allen into performing tricks. That's right, I might march in I-Love-Vagina parades, but I'm a fair enough man to acknowledge when someone is hunky. Kids that look like Chad Allen don't spend puberty scrambling to win the favor of obnoxious fat kids in their retarded pork-scented shorts. When Chad Allen was making up his mind on how many beers he should take to fifth grade Earth Science, he reached that decision while a 15 year old gave him a lap dance on his Big Wheel.
A little something for the ladies: Chad Allen dancing. And a little something for the gays: he's doing it inside the magical Fate Elevator next to a man dressed like a Lucky Charms marshmallow.
Just as Chad is about to cave in to their taunts and have a beer, a voice echoes through the parking garage, "WHY DON'T YOU TAKE THE FATE ELEVATOR?" Suddenly he's in a mystical elevator with Lou Gossett Jr. who is performing a song about elevators in a tie-dyed overcoat, dancing and pawing at Chad Allen. The song is criminal in its suckitude, and after he's done destroying centuries of musical theory, he gives Chad a rainbow headband that he claims is the key to all drug and alcohol knowledge. Let's go over it again: a mysterious stranger who stole his outfit from Whoopi Goldberg's closet pulls a little boy into an elevator with him, caresses him while he performs a short musical, and gives him a magic rainbow headband. There couldn't be a gayer way for you to teach Chad Allen about drugs if you were two tiny magicians on his shoulder giving each other oil massages.
Once the elevator ride is over, Lou Gossett Jr. throws Chad Allen into the terrifying Dungeon of Ignorance and locks him inside. Viewers might notice that the Dungeon of Ignorance is an eleven foot set of a few stupid ladders and stairs that don't really lead anywhere, but it managed to confuse Chad. The first thing he does is climb up some stairs to the top of a little ramp and take a ladder back down to where he started. He wanders in tight circles like that until the audience is convinced they've somehow died and gone to a movie theatre in hell. Finally, a hobo named Booze emerges from the shadows to grab at Chad and convince him to take a drink. This is where the film starts to get educational because when they argue, Chad's headband lights up and moans out facts about alcohol. With its help, he learns "ALCOHOL IS A DRUG." He lets the strange man touch him for a few more minutes and eventually decides to slowly walk away on a thin wooden plank. And I swear I'm not making this part up, he fucking comes at Chad Allen with a chainsaw. What's really crazy is that even during a chainsaw attack, the headband doesn't shut up about alcohol. I'm sure some very educated experts were consulted while making this film, but when there's a hobo trying to hit you with a chainsaw, I say your hat has more important things to worry about than the dangers of prolonged alcohol abuse.
Say no to drugs! Warning: saying no to drugs may cause hobos to chew your body in half with power tools.
Despite any trace of survival instinct, Chad manages to get away from Booze. He finds himself in a misty room where he meets Miss Pot, a woman who looks like she got beaten and left for dead by Sid and Marty Krofft's costume designers. She offers a joint to Chad, which his headband advises against by groaning out, "MARIJUANA... IS A DRUG." Lou Gossett Jr. forgot to mention this in his elevator, but Chad Allen isn't wearing the smartest headband ever. Most of its vast narcotics knowledge would make an Amish person say duh. Pot isn't any nicer than Booze, and she throws Chad against a wall and strangles him with a prop spider web until he impotently shouts, "I don't wanna get hooked on pot!" Pot then does what any woman dressed like marijuana would do: freak out, steal the nearest magic headband, and shove Chad Allen into a snake pit. Yes, I said snake pit.
Straight Up repeats: If a person or persons offer you drugs and you say no, that person or persons is about to try to kill you.
While Chad is pulling himself out of the snake pit, Booze shows up and engages Miss Pot in a deadly game of headband-snatching while they perform a duet called "Gimme that Headband!" It goes like this: "Gimme that headband! ... GIMME that HEADBAND! ... gimme that headband!" I guess if I had to describe what it sounds like, it's the musical equivalent of a swarm of screaming bees flying into your skull and laying eggs in your inner ear. A snake bite death would have been a welcome release for Chad Allen at this point of the video. Plus, now that I've had 19 years to think about it, I still don't know why two junkies would write a song about how much they want an educational anti-drug headband, especially when all it would do is scold them constantly. "YOU ARE MARIJUANA. YOU ARE A DRUG. YOU LODGE YOURSELF IN THE FATTY TISSUES OF THE BRAIN. DO NOT DO YOU. IF WE HEADBANDS HAD FEET, ONE OF MINE WOULD BE DEEPLY IMBEDDED IN YOUR GROIN."
Back to the video: Chad recovers his headband and frantically runs for the exit from the two homicidal maniacs while his forehead calmly informs him that "ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA ARE GATEWAY DRUGS." When he gets to the exit of the dungeon, he finds that it's blocked by a woman named Cocaine and a man who looks like Frankenstein's Bride. He doesn't give his name, but judging by his looks, he's either Huffing Gasoline or Ramming Your Retarded Head Into Hard Things.
Chad tells the drug people that even though they've spent most of the day trying to murder him, he's still not convinced he should take their advice on becoming a drug addict. This epiphany causes them to all go into convulsions and Chad is transported back to the real world with Lou Gossett Jr.. Mr. Gossett decides that after a few near-death experiences and eight minutes of remedial headband education, Chad is ready to go out and educate others about drug abuse. Chad happily accepts, seeing no problem in taking advice from the strange man who just locked him in a snake-infested labyrinth with four murderous junkies. He rushes off to the cool gang to share his new knowledge of drugs with kids that hate him. And if you've been paying attention, that knowledge pretty much begins and ends with "Marijuana and alcohol... are drugs."
Drugs and alcohol: intergalactic starfighters or something.
He finds the four cool kids in the same parking garage, who after finishing off a half a pound of weed and a fifth of scotch, are only barely too torn up to ride their skateboards well. That's it. I'll tell you right now, if I washed a bag of pot down with a bottle of scotch, I couldn't even identify a skateboard if you put it next to a pile of fish. So you can say what you want about how lame and carefully multi-cultural they are; these damn geeks know how to party. Chad gives them a stern I-told-you-so speech and explains the dangers of drugs in a way everyone can understand: spaceships. You see, we're all like spaceships, and drugs and alcohol are you know, like, enemy spaceships. Chad goes ten minutes too far into the metaphor, describing how our spaceship's fuel pump is like our circulatory system, and our ship's air ducts are like the body's respiratory system. I can't tell you how it ends because I don't know. If at this point you're strong enough to still hear the movie through the sound of your own screams, then thanks for reading this video review, Bruce Willis.
Above: The cool gang, dancing in the middle of a video store next to a blaring jam box and a stack of beer cans and pot. No one could begin to guess what kind of world the writers of Straight Up grew up in, but we need them put in charge of video store policies as soon as possible.
The gang eventually gets as tired of Chad's brain-melting spaceship speech as the viewers are, and they stagger drunkenly out of the parking garage. Kevin mistakes himself for Lex Luthor somewhere around here and dramatically turns around to tell Chad Allen, "You think you know it all. I'll get you next time!" It sounds totally sinister and foreboding until you remember that his nefarious master plan is to make Chad Allen have a sip of beer.
The video tortures us for another hour with the cool kids' rainbow gang of united colors giving Chad a second, third, and fourth chance to be cool and have a beer. Chad gives in to their whining a couple times, and both times he is transported back to Lou Gossett's magic shaft. And both times that happens, he's super happy to see Lou Gossett, totally forgetting that after each happy elevator song, he's going to be thrown into a world of dislogic where a group of costumed mental patients try to kill him. By the way, it may be important to you to know that when Chad Allen dances along to the elevator song, I have a theory that he is replaced by a miniature epileptic stunt-dancer wearing a jockstrap that somehow feeds on human crotch.
Chad Allen and his increasing arsenal of fashion accessories.
Chad's arsenal against the maniacs is upgraded with each trip to the dark drug world. After the headband, he receives a pair of huge magic sunglasses that can see through the illusion of alcohol advertisements. Then he gets a magic medallion that enhances his drug-refusing willpower. The medallion is extra important for Chad because his willpower is a mess. This is a kid who will lock himself in an enclosed space with any clearly insane person that asks, and would willingly sandblast his genitals if a fat kid told him it was cool to try. All of these amazing artifacts might help him achieve drug free enlightenment, but with each trip to the elevator, he looks a little bit more like a lunatic street pimp.
Absoludicrous Rating: 5/5
Above and Below: Holy fucking shit, for the love of fuck; fuck. That is gay.
The adventures in the world beyond Lou Gossett Jr.'s elevator never get less dangerous, and Chad Allen never gets less stupid. Booze, Pot, and Cocaine mug him four more times, shoot at him with lasers, glue him to the floor and roll a barbell at his ankles, and trick him into walking between two crushing walls. His sense of self-preservation reaches an all time low when Booze runs up to him disguised as a clown and lures him into a gay bar. And when I say gay bar, I mean bread-making, Julie Andrews pleasure cruise gay.
This bar makes Lou Gossett's rainbow nightshirt and elevator prancing look like a lumberjack competition. This is a bar with raised pedestals where sweaty men do slow, sexy exercises. And when you whip your head in the opposite direction from that, you'll see a cowboy in a pink scarf, wearing chaps and everything, walk in and hop onto a pommel horse to make sassy faces and do hammer curls. Seriously, teachers, I don't care if your students are humping each other in the ass while they're learning from this video, Straight Up is too gay for children.
As shown by Straight Up's graph (above), "Drugs + Your Body = Happy!" Also, (below) rock and roll!
The main lesson of the movie was that there was nothing more dangerous or homoerotic than saying no to drugs, so it's likely that most copies of Straight Up were destroyed. You might get lucky and find it at Good Will or a video store too lazy to throw their community service tapes away, and when I say "lucky," I of course mean "taking your soul to the limits of terrifying darkness."
props to seanbaby for the summary and me for spending 5 years tracking down another copy.