Also an excellent 1986 Aussie film by Nadia Tass about an autistic who builds gadgets. He takes in a bank robber as a lodger, and they evolve the idea of a brilliantly silly robbery using ashtrays that fire guns and a hilarious car that splits in half. Soundtrack by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, clips from which have been used on countless TV ads.

An innocuously titled ditty by The Arrogant Worms. The tune is upbeat and cheery, and the lyrics are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Billy solves his problems by calling up his Mom;
Heather solves her problems with drugs and alcohol;
Daniel solves his problems with a doctor and the law;
But Malcolm's got his own way and it's better than them all:

Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw;
Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw;
Malcolm solves his problems with a chainsaw;
And he never has the same problem twice!

Whether it's a bill or a cheque arriving late,
Rancid marble cheese or a steak that's second rate,
Awful TV programs or a broken Elvis plate,
Or his fiancee who dumps him because he's gaining weight,


...And he goes:


...problem solved."

Malcolm (1986 movie) is by far some of director Nadia Tass' best work: the story of an autistic, reclusive tram enthusiast named Malcolm (Colin Friels) who, upon being fired from his job, takes in Frank (John Hargreaves) and Judith (Lindy Davies) as boarders. Frank slowly draws Malcolm into a life of crime, and Malcolm's genius with gadgets brings in an element of fun, as well as bringing in the cash for the trio.

"It's a getaway car, Frank." Malcolm's skills with electronics would be unparalleled in the realTM world. Arguably the most famous gadgets in the film are that of the getaway car - one that splits in half down the middle, and allows both driver and passenger to drive each half like a motorbike - and the ashtray-bins that open up to reveal... a clown's head. (Like the ones you see in sideshows where you put the pingpong balls in their mouths and stuff. You don't know those clowns? Jeez. Go to a sideshow already.)

"Can I keep me tram?" Ironically, Malcolm's fascination with trams is what starts the ball rolling: at work with trams (it is unclear to me what position he holds at the tram depot) he has built himself a working, one-man tram, which he takes for a joyride around the quieter streets of Melbourne in the early hours of the morning, before returning and being fired. However, despite this setback, he maintains his fascination, at one point boring his audience to tears with descriptions of different models of tram.

"Hands up you arseholes." Frank and Judith's arrival into Malcolm's house slowly draws Malcolm into a life of robbing banks. However, Malcolm is not very good at it, and, despite getting away with it, also loses the money on one occasion. Upon seeing this, Frank decides to help Malcolm get away with the money (this time) and Judith comes along for the ride.

"You're turning him onto a bloody crim!" It must be said that initially both Frank and Judith were reluctant to join in on Malcolm's schemes, Judith more so than Frank. However, upon seeing (most notably) the getaway car, Frank is impressed and decides to help Malcolm with the final scheme, which succeeds quite nicely.

This film is full of fun. That is the least that can be said about this heart-warming comedy about three Melburnians - and, as expected, has had praise heaped upon it, shown by the 8 AFI awards it earned. It even scored some positive comments upon its DVD re-release in 2001. Without a doubt, Malcolm is one of Australia's iconic films of the 20th century. 8.5/10

P.S. David Parker (writer) and Nadia Tass collaborated again on the 1990 film "The Big Steal"...

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