Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Movies Worthy of Criticism

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well, I’ve already kind of recapped you on what I did this weekend. Not much has really changed. A little rain… and I’m under the weather today. My mom’s going to be here in just over a week… and my Aunt Pat will be with her too… so that’ll be fun (with wine). The NBA Finals have started. The Heat won Game one... but I’m pulling for the Mavericks (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heaaaart of Texas, but it should be a great matchup. Other than that, I guess I should just tell you about some movies that I saw this past week…

First up was “Faster” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton… and some of my favorite character actors like Carla Gugino (“Righteous Kill”), Tom Berenger (“The Substitute” & “Major League”), Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter” & “Quarantine”) & Adewale (“Oz” & “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”). Anyway, enough about my nerddom, the story is pretty simple… a convicted bank robber getaway driver (The Rock) serves a ten year prison stint… and immediately once he’s out, goes after the people who set him up & killed his brother. That is all. No emotion, no fear, just direction & force. My kind of guy’s movie. One by one he knocks the guys off, and a pair of detectives (Thornton & Gugino) are determined to find him, and there’s also a contract put out on him, so there’s an assassin after him. Will he get vengeance before they close in on him? We shall see. I actually really enjoyed this movie despite some major plot & story flaws… but hey, that’s not why you watch a movie with “Fast” in the title. Am I right, “Fast & Furious” fans? Or “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” fans? I’d say give it a shot if you’re into action movies.

Next was a movie that… I really had no intention of ever seeing since I first heard of it. It’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina & Monica Bellucci… and directed by Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure”) so despite it being loosely based on the magical dancing broomstick scene in “Fantasia”, it had a lot going for it. Since the times of Merlin, there’s been a sorcerer named Balthazar (Cage) who has been searching for the last Merlinian (Baruchel) and then stumbles upon him in New York City. Well, they accidentally release an evil sorcerer (Molina) who’s determined to free an evil female equivalent of Merlin & bring about another dark ages or something. Throw in a cheesy love story… some special effects… and you have a Disney flick. It wasn’t great, wasn’t horrible, about two hours long, had funny moments, typically Disney flick. Eh…

Next up was a children’s classic from my day… but I had never seen before. That’s right, I’ve seen all of the Muppets movies growing up, then “Labyrinth” a few years ago, even “Pan’s Labyrinth” which has nothing to do with Jim Henson (and I know that… now), but I had never seen “The Dark Crystal” before. Well, I missed out on some pretty cool puppetry, but I turned out okay. The story is your typical Prophecy foretells of a child who will grow up & bring about the end of an evil reign… and during his journey, he finds love… and it’s a kid’s flick… but I really liked it. Would love to watch it with the niece & nephew. I like puppets. Deal with it.

The next day was “Easy Rider” starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper & Jack Nicholson. It’s the story of two biker buddies (Fonda & Hopper) who make some money off a coke deal (first two minutes of the movie) and then decide to drive across the country on their way to Mardi Gras down in New Orleans. Along the way, they stop and meet people and have adventures… and pick up a lawyer (Nicholson) who gets them out of a jam and wants to go to Mardi Gras with them. Now, this was made in 1969, before the time of music videos, which is kind of the feel that half of this movie had. A few of the greatest rocking tunes of the 60’s, set with southern Utah & the American Southwest in the background, and just going on a journey. Brought back memories of helping Filly move down to New Orleans on our two-day epic adventure in a moving van. Also, it was cool to see how New Orleans was in the late 60’s. Seeing a few streets and how they’ve changed over the last 40 years… and also seeing why they don’t allow independent film crews to film at the cemeteries anymore. Oh yes, the famous acid trip scene in St Louis Cemetery #1. I don’t know, how do you feel about it Peter Fonda? “We blew it…” What? What do you mean, man? “We blew it.” Well, okay then. Anyway, it’s an American classic… but yeah, definitely a movie of its time.

Next up was a movie that had a LOT going for it. The reteaming of Edward Norton & Robert DeNiro for the first time since “The Score” PLUS… my baby mama Milla Jovovich. Yes, it’s last year’s independent film “Stone” from director John Curran (“The Painted Veil”). A convicted arsonist named Stone (Norton) is trying to convince his parole officer (DeNiro) that he’s ready for the free world, but the PO is not convinced. So Stone decides to see if the seductive powers of his wife (Jovovich) might change his mind. It’s not a black comedy or anything, just a twisted tale. Well, it works… sort of… but Stone has a change of life philosophy while in jail after witnessing a shanking… and sh*t gets deep. I don’t want to give it away or anything. I just want to say that by far the best part of this movie (besides some nudity of Milla) is Edward Norton’s portrayal of a foul-mouthed gang banger with cornrows. It’s very good, he’s a magnificent actor… but every once in a while I was like “That’s Smoochy!” Also, there’s a cameo by Enver Gjokaj (“Dollhouse”) as a young Robert DeNiro. Anyway, if you like independent movies, this one’s okay. Twisted, but okay.

Speaking of twisted, I saw what many consider the original psycho thriller. No… not Psycho. But a British film from that same year called “Peeping Tom” that I found on Netflix. The story is of a man who is obsessed (and I mean… OB-SESS-ED) with video photography… and so he has a job as an assistant with a movie company… and a nighttime hobby of killing women… but the way that he does it might surprise you. In walks this sweet redhead with a heart of gold who lives downstairs, and he starts to have feelings for her… which always spells trouble. I REALLY liked this movie. It was creepy (well, as creepy as movies from that era get), very psychosomatic in the way that the antagonist was portrayed, and there was even a brief cameo & dance number by Moira Shearer from “The Red Shoes” but about 12 years later. If you like the original Psycho, then I highly recommend that you check out this flick.

The next one up was a little thing I found on Netflix called “The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made” which, as you might have guessed, counted down the 50 worst movies ever made according to… well, I guess the film makers. I thought things were pretty bad when ten movies into the countdown, I had seen 5 of them. “Howard the Duck? Ah man… I liked that stupid movie as a kid.” It truly was a horrible movie… but hey, I was a kid… and I didn’t get most of the PG-13 stuff going on at the time. It was actually a pretty good list… obviously full of the movies from the 50’s & 60’s that were really bad horror flicks… or when “The Three Stooges Go Into Orbit” were WELL past their prime. There were also three entries from director Ed Wood (“Glen or Glenda?”, “Bride of the Monster” & “Plan 9 from Outer Space”) all of which I’ve seen… and yeah, they’re pretty bad. That’s why God invented drinking games though. I highly recommend watching this flick if you enjoy a good laugh… and see how many of them that you have seen. My total? Sigh… I’m proud to say… that I’ve seen about a dozen… and I’m sorry to say… I’m actually really intrigued to see a few of them, simply because they’re horrible. Is that wrong? I didn’t think so. That’s why I watched “Eegah!” with the help of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 after hearing about it on this show & finding it on Netflix. YAY!!! Thinking about this though… brought me not one, not two, but THREE Movie List ideas.

My 5 Worst Movies

Now, there are some horrible movies out there… but there’s a big difference to me between horrible movies… and campy movies. Some movies are there just to be horrible for horrible sake. Think “Dude, Where’s My Car?” or all those God awful “(blank) Movie” movies (except the Scary Movie ones are pretty good). They’re not meant to win Oscars or even really tell a story, just laugh. Also, you kind of half to take into account the technology & budgets of the time. Those movies in the 50’s with guys in gorilla outfits or aliens in diver suits, they didn’t have CGI or financial backers for the most part, so they worked with what they had (and sometimes stole the rest). With that in mind, these are the five movies that I thought of… that were just… just horrible in every way… and really had no reason to be so horrible.

Uwe Boll in general – He’s this generation’s Ed Wood. You could really pick any of his movies (most of which based on video games) and the only one that I could even stomach was the one with Jason Statham & Ron Perlman “In the Name of the King: A Dragon Siege Tale” and that was even pretty bad. My favorite bad one though… was “Bloodrayne.” Simply God awful. It’s about a vampire (superhot Kristanna Loken from “Terminator 3”) in… I think Romania around the turn of the century… and she escapes the carnival where she’s a main attraction to kill the king of vampires (Sir Ben Kingsley) because he raped her mother… and along the way there’s Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Madsen, Udo Kier, Meat Loaf, even The Billy Zane. I mean… it had the cast… but the most memorable scene… was of course, the Love Scene. Basically… it’s in a dungeon… so right of the bat, super hot… and she’s naked (good) and he’s not (eh, awkward) and I remember her just kind of on the bars and… seriously, this was the HIGHLIGHT of the movie. The rest was just bad. Really bad. But I’m told by trusted friends… that it’s not his worst. I have no ambition to see “Alone in the Dark” “Postal” or even “Bloodrayne 2.”

Batman & Robin (1997) – When millions called for director Joel Schumacher to be tarred & feathered for making this cinematic abomination, I don’t even think his mama would’ve came to his defense. I understand that sequels may not be an essential part of a list like this, as they generally suck, but I disagree. In fact, sequels have the established credit and fan base of its predecessors to build the story upon. There’s really not a whole lot of reason that if you’re going to make a sequel, it shouldn’t be better. This was the 4th installment of the modern Batman era… but really, this was just it’s own little thing that should’ve never been. George Clooney as Batman? I like George… especially after “From Dusk Til Dawn” but just not Batman. Chris O’Donnell as Robin? Okay, you’ve gotta bring Robin into the mix, he was in “Scent of a Woman”, okay. Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl? You’re already bringing in Robin, no need for Batgirl, less a “Clueless” one. Arnie as Mr Freeze? It could work… as long as he doesn’t talk or glow in the dark. Oh really? That’s how it’s going to be? Just a bunch of HORRIBLE one-liners and he’s basically tin & neon? Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy? Eh… push. Bane is in this one? Oh… but he’s cast as a fat wrestler and doesn’t really do anything except looking like Poison Ivy’s gimp. At least there’s not a gang of pasty white, ice skating goons or a pointless supermodel love interest. Oh wait. Okay, this was kind of screwed from the beginning… but it got worst once you had to watch it… and you HAD to watch it, because it was Batman. Thank God that Christopher Nolan came in and saved the franchise. He should be knighted for it, Queen. That’s right, I’m talking to you. He should be… dark knighted. Oh, was that super lame? Then why didn’t Mr Freeze say it?

Highlander 2: The Quickening (1989) – Yes, another sequel… but in the absolute loosest terms. So… you’ve all seen the first Highlander, right? Duncan McLeod, born in the 13th century Scottish Highlands, set in 1980’s New York, he’s an immortal swordfighter, Sean Connery was his mentor, killed back in the 13th century by big ugly dude that sounds like Ja Rule on 3 packs a day, Queen song, there was a TV series in the 90’s, “There can only be one!” Yeah, pretty good action flick, right? Well, the sequel a few years later… basically set in the future… and the ozone layer is gone, so the scientists said “Let’s just shoot stuff into the sky to block out the sun!” Great idea! Oh by the way, all the immortal swordfighters are really aliens, and they don’t die, they just teleport back to their home planet or something… so Sean Connery’s not dead… and it was really just a completely different BAD movie that didn’t make any sense. So a few years later, they made Highlander III and just kind of never spoke of this movie ever again. I remember as a kid being a HUGE fan of Highlander… and then even as an 8 year old kid, I was like “I thought this was Highlander 2? It’s got the same guy (Christopher Lambert) but… what the f**k is this about aliens?” Yeah, I had to wash my mouth out with liquid soap because of this movie. I hope you’re happy, Hollywood.

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) – What’s worse than an already bad movie? A sequel to a bad movie. The first “Speed” was… a guilty pleasure kind of movie… like anything with Keanu really. It made Sandra Bullock a star. This movie though, showed how she can be the kind of actress to win an Academy Award & a Razzie the same year. So yeah, instead of a bus, it’s set on a cruise ship. Instead of Keanu, it’s Jason Patric, a real actor. Instead of Dennis Hopper as the bad guy, it’s creepiness incarnate Willem Dafoe. It should be a fairly good movie, right? Then why does it suck soooooo bad? Well, it does. That’s all I have to say about that.

Event Horizon (1997) – I watched this movie during my week or so of recuperation from a pretty bad car accident when I was 16. They’re in space, on a big fancy ship with a new technology power core, that apparently creates wormholes so that they can instantly transport through time & space… and apparently dimensions. Sh*t gets weird, bodies start getting torn apart & exploding, they unlock this Hell dimension or something, I just personally did not care for this movie at all. It actually reminded me a lot of “Galaxy of Terror” which is kind of the same story… just obviously more campy (there’s a worm alien that f**ks a naked astronaut chick) where this was supposed to be deathly serious at all times. My list, my picks.

Pearl Harbor – Yes, I know it’s number 6 on this list of 5… but it just had to be said. Overall, just a horrible movie. Michael Bay needs to watch out. He may become a big budget Uwe Boll if the second Transformers is any indication on how the third installment’s going to be. Anyway, my point is… Pearl Harbor sucks… and I miss you. Also, you may be surprised that “Angel Heart” by far the most popular movie when it comes to “Flush It” on my blog is not on this list… but it’s because it at least has a redeeming quality of New Orleans, naked voodoo Lisa Bonet dancing with a chicken & the ridiculous moniker Louie Cypher… and the fact that I’ve watched it with Filly & we enjoyed mocking it. I'd also like to take this time to say "Twilight" is in this category. Every single thing about it. The books, the movie adaptations, the obsessive teenage fans, the horrible messages behind the story, f**k it all to Hell. There, I said it. Anyway, there are lots of bad movies… but again, my list, my picks… which leads me to my next Movie List.

My 5 Bad Movies I Love

I can’t help it. I like really bad movies sometimes. It’s why they keep making them. If nobody watched them & they didn’t make money, then they would stop. Period. We make drinking games with friends, watch them with our families to mock, or just enjoy the carnal sinful pleasures that they provide. So here are five movies that I love… but most people REALLY hate… or are just horrible movies.

Starship Troopers (1996) – I think it’s really director Paul Verhoeven in general with such classics as “RoboCop”, “Total Recall”, “Basic Instinct” & the oft-mentioned “Showgirls” but I just really enjoy them… and this movie in particular… even though it’s pretty damn horrible from a movie critic perspective. Giant bugs have mastered space travel, adapted natural interstellar plasma weaponry, and are now about to take over Earth and the entire Milky Way. Our only chance… is to send a bunch of people to the moons that they call home… arm them with rubber pads, pea shooters & an 8th grade education… and give ‘em Hell. It’s okay though… because NPH is with military intelligence, Denise Richards is flying the ship, & Michael Ironsides is leading the ground attack. We’ll be fine. Seriously though… Dina Meyers… giggidy!!! Love this movie… and will quote it whenever I’m feeling blue.

Pootie Tang (1998) – I think I’m the only person in the world that likes this movie. Chris Rock doesn’t associate himself with it anymore… kind of like Bill Cosby did with “Leonard Part 6” but I still like it. Maybe Tech N9ne liked it… because I heard him refer to it in a song… but I like this movie about a ghetto superhero (Lance Crouther) with his own language & style. Unfortunately he falls victim to The Man (Robert Vaughn) and is no longer a hero to the ghetto kids… but what an epic journey turning his life around. Okay, it’s a pretty bad movie… but I like it… and again, will quote it whenever I’m feeling blue. Sah da tay!

Norbit (2007) – Speaking of black comedians who make mistakes, Eddie Murphy has made some real crap this past decade aside from voicing Donkey in those Shrek movies. However… I don’t see what the big problem with Norbit was & why everybody thought it was among the worst movies ever made. Yeah… it was kind of an infantile fairy tale story… with three evil stepbrothers… and Eddie playing a bunch of parts… and an abusive wife story… but seriously, it wasn’t that bad. I’ve seen MUCH worse. I enjoyed watching it with the Wingmans a few years back… and we still quote it. “How YOU doin’?” Or whenever says something like… black cats are bad luck, “That’s awfully racist” in Norbit voice. Mr. Murphy, don’t believe what they all say, Norbit was a good movie. It’s all that other crap like I-Spy, Pluto Nash, Imagine That, Dave, etc that really trumped your legacy. You’ll still always be Axel Foley in my eyes!

Crank (2006) – Yes, just an unnecessary movie full of Jason Statham being a bad ass, drugs, sex, vulgar language, adult themes, poison, irrational medical science, Dwight Yoakem is a doctor, Chinese triads, basically the story is all in the preview. A guy gets shot up with something… and needs to get the antidote quickly… and if he doesn’t have adrenaline running through his heart at all times, it’ll shut down, fade to black, the end. And as ridiculous as this movie was… the sequel was even more so. “What? A sequel to this movie?” You betcha! The guys that directed this moved on to “Jonah Hex” and are currently setting their sights on the “Ghost Rider” sequel… and did I mention vampires will be in it? Yeah… prepare your shelf for a Razzie, Nevaldine & Taylor. Still enjoyed the Crank movies for what they were.

Batman: The Movie (1966) – Yes, the original movie from the 60’s TV series starring Adam West as Batman and the Rogues Gallery of Villains like the Joker (Cesar Romero), the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and Catwoman (Lee Meriweather this time). From the first use of Bat Shark Repellant to being saved by crash landing at a Styrofoam convention to being heartbroken when he finds out that Miss Kitka is really just the Catwoman in disguise… or rather, not in disguise… this movie is pretty horrible, even by 60’s standards… yet I still enjoy it with all my heart. I blame Adam West. That’s why he still has a job as the mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. He just has incredible charisma… and is willing to say anything for a buck. “Hey baby, want a little Adam West penis?” Anyway… now for the guilty part of the entry…

5 Horrible Movies I Haven’t Seen (but kinda want to just to see how horrible they really are)

I’ve already seen “Eegah!” this week… and it’s basically just “Encino Man” without Pauly Shore & Sean Astin to help the caveman out. Perhaps it was just before its time. The old 50’s & 60’s bad movies, I’ve already seen the bad ones that I want to… but there are some from this past decade that I’m a little curious about.

Battlefield Earth – There’s no way it could be THAT bad, right? Sure John Travolta is a dreadlock alien overlord… but I watched him as an obese mother in “Hairspray” and it wasn’t that bad. Sure, it’s based on the first half of the Scientologist bible… but wasn’t “The Ten Commandments” based on a similar piece of literature? I hear it’s horrible… and I kinda want to see it… but I’ve yet to really buckle down & do it. My hesitation... is that it won Worst Film of the Decade with the Razzies... and it's been a bad decade for movies. That's about as bold a statement as you can make.

The Love Guru – All I remember about the preview for this movie is “What is it you c*nt face?” “Excuse me?” “What is it you c*nt face?” and basically at that point, I knew it was going to be pretty bad… but is it really as horrible as everybody says it is? It’s a comedy, right? It’s supposed to be stupid for stupid’s sake. Then again, Mike Myers has kind of been in the same boat as Eddie Murphy the past decade. Shrek has saved him too.

Freddie Got Fingered – What exactly were you expecting from Tom Green? Have you never seen the MTV show? Did you not see the preview on TV? Did you read the synopsis? Did you perhaps miss the title of the f**king movie? It’s gonna be bad. The only question you have ask… is exactly HOW bad it is going to be. Survey says… EPICLY BAD!!! Perhaps we shall see…

The Room – I was glancing over a few of these worst movie ever lists… and this one kept coming up. Apparently it’s an independent film about relationships… and has a writer / director / lead actor thing going… but apparently he doesn’t wear any hat well, less all of them. I hate to see people’s dreams crushed by reality… but hey, we’ve all had them done… and I might as well watch it if it’s out there.

Repo! The Genetic Opera – I read the synopsis and… isn’t it basically what the movie “Repo Men” was? Did this movie inspire “Repo Men”? Did they just screw it up… with casting Paris Hilton, Paul Sorvino, etc that somebody went “Wait, the plot is sound… but if we just change it up so it’s a real movie… and get the Matrix guys to direct it… recast it… then it should be okay, right?” It’s just one of those throwbacks to when the posters were made before the movies were written. “REPO! The Genetic Opera!!!” Wow, I kind of want to see that! What’s it about? “We’ll get back to you… this fall.” Then again… that’s exactly how Friday the 13th started? Look it up!

Anyway, I’m a movie nerd. I’ve never denied it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been a little under the weather since my journey Monday. I blame work… but hey, I’ll get over it. Have a great night everybody!!!

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