Skip to main content

On Behalf of Bad Films…

Not too long ago, Toto asked for people to confess their guilty pleasures, which films they love to watch despite the fact that they are truly awful. This got me to thinking, and now I confess:

I am a lover of bad cinema.

I don’t mean the obvious disasters, like Plan 9 From Outer Space. No, I love the film gone wrong, that one that started with the best of intentions and went astray.

That’s the only way to explain why I think a wreck like Wanted is good. And if that’s not sufficient proof, consider that I can’t get enough of Hitman. The plot (choke, how did I even write that word in this context?) is laughable, the acting significantly short of sublime, and the writing...oh dear oh my. Yet I can’t get enough. Watched it again just the other night. All the while, I’m thinking how no one seems to notice these bald killers with bar codes tattooed on the back of their heads, and how in the hell do they conceal all those weapons under those snazzy coats (dual pistols, silencers, reloads, swords...two swords!) and...and...and I just don’t care.

There’s the truly bad, like Howard the Duck. I was a fan of comic book, at least the original color version, and I should be pissed off at how my duck was abused by this film. Thomas Dolby’s music makes teeth ache, and not in that pleasant way that some truly awesome punk can do; John Barry is squandered. ILM went to a lot of trouble to make special effects that are generally lacking in the “special” department and are minimally effective. They substituted various sites around the San Francisco Bay Area for, of all places, Cleveland, Ohio. What, I wasn’t supposed to recognize downtown Oakland?!?

And yet...

My love for well done bad movies explains why I can’t get enough of Underworld and Underworld Evolution (still waiting for the DVD of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; complete with Rhona Mitra, who all alone justifies my loving Doomsday). At first I thought it was just Kate Beckinsale in latex, and while that might be enough, turns out there’s more. There has to be more because Jake Speedman is enough to undo all the good will Beckinsale earns; he sucks that hard.

There’s something deliriously marvelous about both films. I credit writer-director Les Wiseman, who insisted on practical (on the set) effects as much as possible. The result is that those enormous werewolves are actually on the set, fighting those vampires. Watch the behind the scenes footage; they actually get to walk around and growl! Tis a thing of joy, it is.

Like Timur Bekmambetov with Wanted, and maybe even Xavier Gens (though reports are that he was “fired” and film finished by someone else) with Hitman, the film exudes a sense that Wiseman was just having one hell of a good time. Maybe that’s it, the common thread making each of these films more enjoyable than their “quality” would lead you to expect.

Francois Truffaut once said:

I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between.

And that’s it. For each of these films, I get a sense that the key people in charge, especially the directors, just love to make films. Even Hitman, which is another half-baked screen adaptation of a successful video game, just feels like everyone knows the entire thing is ludicrous, but, hey, let’s enjoy and look, we’re making cinema! w00t!

Now, I can’t take all bad cinema. I’m not a complete masochist. For instance, I survived one viewing of Battlefield Earth. Wow. I’ve tried to re-visit it, to see if it can join my little pantheon of marvelously horrible films, but alas, no. I get a few minutes into it and I just have to give up, at least when I’m sober. It’s a well known fact, however, that tequila makes almost anything palatable. I shall have to do further research.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Not the Hero We Deserve, But the Hero We Need

The Dark Knight is the best film I’ve seen in years. Not just the best “superhero” film, but the best film of any type. It’s not perfect, not quite a masterpiece, but it’s flaws are, to me, tiny and overwhelmed by the time the film ends. While relatively bloodless, it is consistently brutal, not just in what it depicts but in the themes that drive it. TDK is a film for adults, please leave the kids at home.Let’s deal with those “flaws” first, the largest being the character Rachel Dawes. In Batman Begins, I blamed Katie Holmes. Her acting was weak, to say the least, which is regrettable in that who she is and what she says and does are important to the film. Critics agreed and either for that or other reasons, Katie was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is a better actress. Yet here she’s weak, real weak. Maybe it’s the character, not the actress, which is frustrating because Rachel is a pivotal character. The film, at almost two and a half hours, might be a shade long. Having said t…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I went and saw The Last Jedi shortly after it came out and at first I didn't really feel like writing a thing about it. Why? Because the film just left me apathetic; I just didn't care. But I've been seeing arguments and counter-arguments fly back and forth, especially the aggregate professional critic (very high) versus the aggregate viewer (pretty low) scores. So, what the heck, here's my two cents' worth. And because I want to work myself up to a proper, full venting, there will be spoilers a-plenty.

We join the action shortly after the events of The Force Awakens. The Resistance (with no clear idea of what they're actually resisting) is fleeing from the relentless pursuit of The First Order (with no clear idea of what their order actually is). Death is closing in on our less-than-plucky heroes. Much running ensues.

And that's it, the entire plot in a nutshell. Yes, Rey (Daisy Ridley) goes off to receive training from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). But it…

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

With its release on home video, we come to the unsurprising and yet still bitter disappointment that is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Unsurprising, because of a lousy director. Disappointing, because it should have been great. To explain further will involve light spoilers; I will avoid larger giveaways. In a galaxy far, far away, the Empire continues to consolidate its power after the fall of the Republic (see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith). Toward that end, they are assembling a giant battle station, the Death Star. The Rebel Alliance plots a way of finding out what’s going on and perhaps, in the process, save their collective butts. Rebellious galivanting ensues. All of the elements necessary to craft a good story are here, yet none of them work. The blame lies almost exclusively at the feet of director Gareth Edwards. This is his third film (after Monsters and Godzilla) and his failings as a director stand out in each. The major problems with each film involve the peopl…