Friday, June 1, 2012

Movie List 2012: May

I really didn't watch all that many movies during May. A lot of shows were doing their season finales so I tended to just watch TV for my visual story fix. Makes these lists all the easier though, I must admit.

I recently asked my friends on Facebook to share with me their favorite bad movies. We all have them don't we? Those movies that we know are terrible, but heaven help us, we love anyways. Whether because they make us laugh through their failures, intrigue us with their lack of convention, endear us with their nostalgia, or maybe just ensnare us with a perfect storm of our favorite things. Everyone loves some movie that they know is terrible.

Well, I've taken it upon myself to watch all these ugly rocks in the rough. But don't you fear. I'll be sure to properly warn you as to which films are the known baddies.

* = rewatched
[BAD] = someone's favorite bad movie 



Easy A

A high school student throws reputation into the wind and let's unpopular kids tell their friends they had sex with her so they won't get picked on anymore. However, things end up getting out of control.

Genre: Teen Comedy

Right off the bat I'm going to tell you that this isn't a good movie. However, it is just good enough that I watched the whole thing. To make things easy for myself I'm just going to list all my problems with it:

1. She didn't realize that telling everyone she was sleeping with tons of people might have some downsides. Especially when rumors are flying around that she's doing it for money. Did I mention that she's supposed to be a bright girl?

2. The whole thing takes the form of webcast where the main character is explaining what lead to everything getting out of control. It's a really dumb plot device that seems like a trick designed to allow them an easy way to do scene transitions.

3. She's portrayed as an altruistic character, doing these things to help others, but really she's a mercenary character because she's making them pay her.
4. Which brings us to another point: she demands to be paid in gift cards. GIFT CARDS! For what possible reason would you want to be paid in gift cards? Gift cards expire. Pay pal transfer, check, bank transfer, money order, gold, jewels, or I dunno, freakin' CASH!? Anything besides gift cards!
5. My newest pet peeve is over-the-top depictions of religion. Of course there has to be some Jesus-loving girl at her school who's out to get her. Because Jesus was all about shaming, gossiping about, and otherwise bullying people, right?

But really the worst thing about this movie is that there are a number of really clever jokes that were pretty funny. If the plot and character could have lived up to the quality of the quips then it would've been a lot of fun.

It wasn't a bad movie, it was just kind of shrug.



A team of highly trained specialists steal people's secrets by using a machine that allows them to go inside of dreams. But things get tricky when they're offered a more complicated job. One that doesn't involve taking an idea, but leaving one.

Genre: Sci-Fi Action Mind-fuck

When this was at theaters I ended up seeing it 3 times. Now a year or so later I'm here to say that the thing still holds up. There are just so many things to love about this movie.

For one thing there's the acting. I mean look at this cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, and more! Plus they're all at the top of their game.

For another thing there's the effects. Not only are the effects really interesting to look at, but a lot of times the director used real effects when he could. He actually had a rotating set built that could spin in order to shoot one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. He flooded a set for another scene. I love when real effects are used when possible and CGI saved for the really crazy stuff.

And if all that wasn't enough there's the plot. My absolute favorite thing about this movie is the fact that you have to pay attention to understand it. I worked at a theater where this was showing and I'll tell you we had a number of walkouts. The trailers showed it off as kind of a The Matrix ripoff, but that really isn't what it is at all. Inception isn't a roller-coaster movie that carries you along with it. It's a treadmill movie and if you aren't keeping pace with it it's going to throw you off. I just love that they weren't afraid to make such a cerebral movie, considering how brain-dead most action movies are these days.

[BAD] 63. [BAD] 

Dirty Love

After a bad break-up a woman tries to find some rebound sex.

Genre: Bad Movie

This bad movie came from my friend Lee. He definitely wasn't kidding about it being a bad movie. It is completely terrible. What makes it worse is that the main character is also the writer, which means that she wrote in scenes where disgusting and degrading things happen to herself. Plus there are awful stereotypes everywhere! Whether it's bimbo blondes, Woody Allen clone film producers, the ghetto best friend, pretty much every single person in this movie is an awful stereotype.

But what really makes me hate this movie is that after Lee explained his theory about it to me, I can no longer just accept it as a completely awful movie, and have to admit I understand why it belongs in the Bad Movie category. Lee's theory is basically this: if you view this from a feminist perspective, it can be argued that this movie takes all these terribly and often sexist stereotypes and hyperbolically exaggerates them to such a point that it points out how truly ridiculous those stereotypes are. That it is essentially a parody of this type of movie as whole.

And God love that man, because I can't get around that theory. I highly, HIGHLY doubt that Jenny McCarthy was clever enough to come up with something like that. And yet when viewed in that way, I have to admit that it does effectively point out how terrible and ridiculous these stereotypes are. I mean sure, it lacks any sort of subtlety, taste, or quality, but it does get the job done.

So yeah, I kind of hate Lee for not allowing me to just blatantly write this movie off as the worst thing ever.


Dark Shadows

After being spurned by the man she loved, a witch kills the man's lover and curses him to become a vampire. Then in a final act of spite she traps him in a coffin. 200 years later the coffin is unearthed and the vampire is freed. He sets off to meet his descendants and return honor to his family name. But that could be harder than it seems when he finds out that the witch is still alive and kicking.

Genre: Tim Burton Horror(ish) Comedy

You know what? I haven't liked a Tim Burton movie in a long time. My theory is that he's gotten to a point of fame and success whereat people have stopped offering up constructive criticism. Because of which all his movies recently are just these bizarre stories filled with quirky visuals. I mean here's a movie that takes a number of promising ideas and then never uses ANY of them. Once again I feel the need to list all of my problems with this movie:

1. Barnabas (the vampire) is portrayed as a hero, but in fact he is a horrible person. He uses one of his servants purely for her body and doesn't love her at all. You know what? I'm with the witch on this one buddy, that's a real asshole move on your part, especially when she's crazy for you. Oh, but he's a good guy because he won't lie to her and say that he loves her when he doesn't? What? Refusing to lie about being a dick doesn't make you any less of a dick. And did I happen to mention the fact that Barnabas is a mass murderer? He kills a ton of people, but it's okay! It's okay because he feels bad about it. What? No! That's not how that works. Who cares if you feel bad about it? You're a freaking mass murderer! If you really don't want to kill people here's an idea: stop doing it! Go back in your stupid box for another 200 years or something. I mean the witch kills a few people too, but at least she has no illusions that she's doing the right thing. At least she has some sort of motive behind her killing. I mean at the very least she's doing it for revenge and not just because of she felt the urge to.
2. There are all sorts of plot elements that are never used. Oh, the family has these kids. Are we going to see Barnabas and the kids bond and help each other? No? We're going to basically skip over any scene showing them together and just say that the kids love him now? Yeah...I guess that's one way to do it. Or how about the doctor lady? There's this plot bit about this doctor who does some tests on Barnabas. However, instead of fully exploring that angle they just mention it for a while and then get rid of her. And how about Barnabas' love interest? Are we given even the slightest glimmer as to WHY she's interested in him? No. Just like the kids it happens because they say it happens. Well done, writers. Well done.
3. Is the love interest supposed to be the reincarnation of Barnabas' murdered lover? And if that is her then why can she see that woman's ghost? And if she can see ghosts why can't she see the ghost this one kid keeps talking about?

And that's only a few of the plot holes in this thing! I have all sorts of ones that I can't get into because it'll ruin the "surprise" for you. But suffice it to say that there's a reveal about the teenage daughter that is the world's dumbest thing. It makes no sense, wasn't hinted at all, and creates all sorts of weird questions.



Agent J has to go back in time after an alien terrorist erases Agent K in the past.

Genre: Quirky Sci-Fi Comedy

Upfront I should say that I really do love the MIB franchise. I loved that original movie and I loved the cartoon show.

But this movie is not MIB. It's not as bad as MIIB, but it's not good. They refuse to tell a new story with this world. They just insist on rehashing the same ideas. Oh there's a powerful alien who J and K have to defeat to save the planet from being destroyed. Again? Really? Let's see, what else could you do? Well for one thing you could have the villain be a group of aliens instead of just one. A whole species could be invading. That could be interesting. You could take the characters off planet. They could be ambassadors from Earth and get into some sticky situations while there.

But my biggest problem with it are the plot holes. This movie punches so many plot holes in the original movie it is just sad. I can't really get into it without ruining things for you, but suffice it to say that it is ridiculous. The original MIB is a fantastic film and it saddens me that things keep getting created that lower its story.

But I did enjoy the movie? It is pretty fun. Think of it this way:

Is this a fun movie? Yes, it is.

Will you have a good time watching it? Sure, it's got great humor and all that great MIB quirkiness we all love.

Does it degrade the franchise by creating a million plot holes? Oh yeah...most definitely.

Is it better than MIB? Not by a long shot.

Is it better than MIIB? Tons better.

[BAD] 66. [BAD]


A wannabe gangster and a lesbian mercenary kidnap a mentally handicapped guy.

Genre: Bad Movie

My friend Ryan M. is responsible for this one. He described it this way: “Ben Affleck as a small-time mafia douchebag and Jennifer Lopez as the least-convincing lesbian you've ever seen.

I've heard a lot about how awful this movie is, but you know I'm not sure. Honestly nothing much happens in this movie. Actually, it is shocking how little happens in this movie. It is about 2 hours long and you could easily condense this thing down to 30 minutes without sacrificing anything.

So I don't really know what to say about it. It certainly isn't a good movie, but I don't think there's really enough there to say it's bad. I can understand why Ryan would say it's one of his favorite Bad Movies. And it's because of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, just like he said. Their performances are so outrageously strange that it's a little bit train-wreck fascinating. I can't even properly describe it to you. They were never the greatest actors to begin with and then you give them these ridiculous roles and they try so hard to play them straight. It results in the acting equivalent of those fish you find at the bottom of the ocean that are really nasty and yet so weird looking that you find them oddly interesting.