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The Problem with Best of 2012

Every year at this time, many web sites start to put out their Best of 2012 lists.  I had planned on being one of those web sites until I ran into a bit of a problem.

It turns out that even with DVD viewings, I have only seen four movies this year that I would put on a Best of list.  At least, only four movies that actually came out this past year.  Granted, I could put The Hobbit on that list, which would just make five, but I have not seen it yet (shockingly enough).  Thus, for me to complete the list I would have to put on a movie that was not quite up to snuff.

And, apparently, I have seen a ton of them.  In truth, I could probably put together a top 25 list of the crappy movies that I’ve seen.  Okay, maybe not a top 25, but I can easily fill a Worst five than I can a Best five.  I think that comes from my love of bad movies.  At least, those bad movies that are so bad they are good.

Take, for example, Iron Sky.  For those who don’t know this movie, it is an adventure that works off the premise that the Nazis fled Germany in 1945 and set up a base on the moon.  It is pure hokey nonsense, but it is fun pure hokey nonsense.  I have to admit that I did have fun watching it, but I would in no way consider it one of the best movies of 2012.  It could be one of the guilty pleasures of 2012, but not one of the best.

Which, naturally, shows the inherent problem of any best of list.  All lists are subjective.  If you thought that John Carter, Wrath of the Titans, Piranha 3DD were three of the best movies of the year, that’s your opinion (wrong as it is).  If you just follow what Michael Medved or Roger Ebert list as their best, then you run the risk of people called a poser.

As for me, I think I’m going to hold off on the best of list for films until I feel comfortable with the list I write up.  I will be working on Worst of 2012 lists for movies, along with a few television and comic lists.  Stay tuned for them.

Quote of the Day – May 28, 2012

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can tell her that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she’d understand that.

Private Ryan (played by Matt Damon)

Saving Private Ryan

Movie Day

Bad Movies

There are bad movies, and there are really bad movies, movies so bad that they actually physically hurt to watch them.  Unfortunately, like a bad car accident, sometimes you just have to see how bad they really are.

Case in point, last weekend I watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  I had sort of seen it before, but in that case, it had been Elvira-ized.  I had seen and heard so much about how bad this movie was, from tv shows, books, web sites.  Yet, for some strange reason, I had to see for myself exactly how bad it was in its original, unmocked form.

It was bad.  It was really bad.  It was unbelievably bad.  It was obvious that the filmmakers were trying to make a parody of bad giant monster movies (not the Godzilla ones, the [insert animal] grows big and rampages ones), but just failed at every turn.  The jokes were horrible and the acting hideous.  Yet, I had to watch it all the way through, like some sort of horrible self-torture that I needed to endure.  It is easy to see why it became a cult classic because there is just so much to mock in the movie.  Even more shocking is that it spawned sequels.  That’s right, someone thought it would be a good idea to actually make a sequel of this movie… and cast George Clooney in it.

Having watched this movie… intentionally… made me realize that I have seen a lot of bad movies in my life, many of which I actually chose to watch.  Tank Girl, seen it, in theatres.  I’ve even seen a movie with an Alan Smithee movie a theatre (Hellraiser: Bloodline) to be exact.  I’ve even seen Spacehunter: Adventures of the Forbidden Zone, Jaws 3 and Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn in theatres… in 3D no less (sorry for the link fest).

Personally, I think everyone should watch a bad movie every now and then.  And by that I mean intentionally, not in “This is going to be so cool…. wait a minute, this stinks!” way either.  Watching bad movies is a  good thing.  Communally, it can provide a great source of entertainment when you watch a movie and everyone in the room gives it their MST3K best.  At the very least, a bad movie will make you better appreciate the good ones that much more.

Now if you will excuse me, I hear the original version of Piranha calling my name.

Guilty 10 in the Last 10

Following the same guidelines set in my previous post Worst 10 in the Last 10, here are the 10 movies in the last 10 years that I like in spite of themselves (and other people).

I’m still working on the Best 10 list.

The Guilty 10…

1) Daredevil (2003) – There is just something about this movie that just clicked for me. Maybe it was Colin Farrell as Bullseye, or the really cool explanation (and effects) of how Daredevil’s radar sense worked, I don’t know, but I usually end up watching this movie whenever it’s on. Check out the Director’s cut, it actually added a lot to the movie.

2) Punisher (2004) – Granted, Rebecca Romijn is way too good-looking to be Joan (who was a bit mousey in the original story), but Thomas Jane is spot on as Frank Castle. Even better, we do see him wear the Punisher’s iconic skull in this movie, unlike the Dolph Lundgren version.

3) National Treasure (2004) – This one I saw on DVD because my dad wanted to see it. I have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised by this neat little adventure movie.

4) Snakes on a Plane (2006) – In another decade, this movie would have been late night theatre fare much, much like Rocky Horror Picture Show, with all the audience interaction of Rocky Horror. Still, it’s just a fun movie to watch, especially on commercial cable (“I am tired of these monkey fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane!“).

5) Silent Hill (2006) – I loved the creepy video games. And this movie managed to capture the same creepiness.

6) Slither (2006) – I love old horror movies, the Universal monster movies, Them, Hammer horror. Slither manages to play into the who B-movie/alien invasion movie while keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing.

7) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) – This movie captures the feel of the old serials.

8 ) Hellboy (2004) – a decent job bringing Mike Mignola’s comic icon to the big screen. Ron Perlman is perfect as Hellboy.

9) Blade: Trinity (2004) – The last of the Blade movies, but it is Ryan Reynolds that shines as vampire-hunting wiseass Hannibal King.

10) DOA: Dead or Alive(2006) – This is the epitome of the guilty pleasure. It’s not well acted in general, and the story is, well, it’s based off a video game where the principle premise is that scantily clad women fight each other. Regardless, I still have fun watching it, sort of like the fun you have when you watch an old kung fu movie.

The Worst 10 in the Past 10 – Revised

I originally did this roughly two years ago. In that time, I felt it was necessary to revisit the list, seeing what may have dropped off, and what may have been added.

The criteria for the list is simple. First (and obviously), the movie had to have been released in the last ten years (2001 to 2011). Secondly, I had to have seen it, or at least enough of it to know it’s garbage. Finally, it had to have seen theatrical release (thus eliminating a number of direct to DVD and Sci-Fi Channel movies).

I do hope to make a Best 10 in the Last 10 list, but this one is a lot easier to compile.

The List (in no particular order)

1) Piranha 2010 – Not much should be expected of a movie that is based off a Roger Corman movie.  Corman’s films are not exactly known for being… what’s the world… good.  But, at least Corman gave you a cast of characters that you could kind of care about.  With the exception of Elisabeth Shue’s Sheriff Forester, that just aren’t any character that you feel sorry for when they get eaten by the titular creatures.  In truth, this movie seems to exist only to show off the naked bodies of one-dimensional (ironic phrase, considering this movie was released in 3D) characters Danni and Crystal, but special gore effects used to show the carnage of the piranha.

2) Star Wars Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones 2002 – Episode 1 was a disappointment in that I thought it could have been a lot better than it was. Episode 2 killed the magic of Star Wars for me. Where the characters were flat and uninteresting in Episode 1, the were just total jerks in Episode 2. It is sad when you have a talented cast like Episode 2 had (and Hayden Christensen), and the best acting is from a computer generated muppet. I stopped watching Star Wars movies altogether because of this one.

3) Aeon Flux 2005 – Beyond the occasional appearance on MTV’s Liquid Television, I never really got into Aeon Flux. When I watched this movie, I found it incomprehensible. Somehow, I have a feeling watching the original series would do anything to clear up the confusion.

4) Ultraviolet 2006 – It is really saying something when half way through watching a movie, you decide to do something a bit more interesting, like house cleaning. This movie just did not make me care about it at all.

5) Alone in the Dark 2005 – Seriously. Did casting really think we would believe that Tara Reid was a scientist?

6) House of the Dead 2003 – The second Uwe Boll movie on the list (Boll directed Alone in the Dark), House of the Dead was based off the arcade shooter. The movie is horribly clichéd, badly acted, and just downright bad.

7) Bloodrayne 2005 – The third Uwe Boll film on the list, and probably the one that cemented his reputation as the Ed Wood Jr. of the 21st century, though that’s really kind of an insult to Ed Wood Jr. Even more shocking is that Ben Kinglsey, the man who played Gandhi (and won an oscar for that role) was in this… movie.

8 ) Matrix Reloaded 2003

9) Matrix Revolutions 2003 – I put these two movies together not because they are both Matrix movies, but because personally, I think the two of them, edited down and merged into one, could have been a great movie. Instead, what we got were two movies with scenes that were way too long (some almost painfully long), and action sequences that were added to say, “Hey, look what we can do!”

10) Underworld: Evolution 2006– I had high hopes for this movie. I loved the first one. Sadly, I was disappointed in this one. The story seemed to go nowhere, the characters seemed to do nothing, and the love scene between Selene and Michael seemed to be there so that the director could say, “Oh yeah, that’s who I get to sleep with every night.” From what I heard, the third movie in the series is supposed to be vastly better. From what I’ve seen of this one, I don’t think it could be worse.

The Guilty 10 from the Last 10

Following the same guidelines set in my previous post Worst 10 in the Last 10, here are the 10 movies in the last 10 years that I like in spite of themselves (and other people).

I’m still working on the Best 10 list.

The Guilty 10…

1) Daredevil (2003) – There is just something about this movie that just clicked for me. Maybe it was Colin Farrell as Bullseye, or the really cool explanation (and effects) of how Daredevil’s radar sense worked, I don’t know, but I usually end up watching this movie whenever it’s on. Check out the Director’s cut, it actually added a lot to the movie.

2) Punisher (2004) – Granted, Rebecca Romijn is way too good-looking to be Joan (who was a bit mousey in the original story), but Thomas Jane is spot on as Frank Castle. Even better, we do see him wear the Punisher’s iconic skull in this movie, unlike the Dolph Lundgren version.

3) National Treasure (2004) – This one I saw on DVD because my dad wanted to see it. I have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised by this neat little adventure movie.

4) Snakes on a Plane (2006) – In another decade, this movie would have been late night theatre fare much, much like Rocky Horror Picture Show, with all the audience interaction of Rocky Horror. Still, it’s just a fun movie to watch, especially on commercial cable (“I am tired of these monkey fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane!“).

5) Silent Hill (2006) – I loved the creepy video games. And this movie managed to capture the same creepiness.

6) Slither (2006) – I love old horror movies, the Universal monster movies, Them, Hammer horror. Slither manages to play into the who B-movie/alien invasion movie while keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing.

7) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) – This movie captures the feel of the old serials.

8 ) Hellboy (2004) – a decent job bringing Mike Mignola’s comic icon to the big screen. Ron Perlman is perfect as Hellboy.

9) Blade: Trinity (2004) – The last of the Blade movies, but it is Ryan Reynolds that shines as vampire-hunting wiseass Hannibal King.

10) DOA: Dead or Alive(2006) – This is the epitome of the guilty pleasure. It’s not well acted in general, and the story is, well, it’s based off a video game where the principle premise is that scantily clad women fight each other. Regardless, I still have fun watching it, sort of like the fun you have when you watch an old kung fu movie.

Everything Old…

Since Hollywood is so keen on remaking old tv series and classic films, I figured it would be a good idea to give them some new ideas what to cover. After all, there are tons of old shows and movies that were so bad that a cinematic overhaul would only improve the source material. Want proof? The Island, due out later this year, is, more or less, a remake of Parts: The Clonus Horror. Never heard of it? Consider yourself lucky, because it is that bad. Not even Mystery Science Theater 3000 can make this piece of… ahem… celluloid watchable.

So, without wasting any further time, here are a number of old crappy ideas that Hollywood could recycle.

1) My Mother The Car – Reimagined so that Mother is reincarnated at a Ferrari, and constantly acts up whenever her son tries to use her to pick up women.

2) The Navy vs The Night Monsters – Take one Antarctic research mission, sprinkle in strange acid-squirting trees, and add in the modern touches of Navy SEALs and a CGI aerial battle between Navy Pilots and giant night dwelling monster trees (not in the original movie, but hey, what the Hell). Top it all off with some former Playboy playmate to reprise the role once played by Mamie Van Doren.

3) Misfits of Science – A series ripe for a serious cinematic interpretation. Wipe out the campy feel of the original, and somehow convince Courteney Cox to make a cameo to tie it to the original series, and there you go. The script writes itself… and if it doesn’t, reuse one of theirs.

4) Seven Brides For Seven Brothers – Not really a bad movie, but still ripe for “reinterpretation.” Instead of a cute story about a young bride trying to turn her husband’s six brothers from gruff mountain men to marrying material, we have the intense story of two planets… and lasers, yeah, must have lasers.

5) Destroy All Monsters– The 30 man battle royal of Godzilla movies, only this time, we use the monsters that Hollywood has given us of late. That’s right, it’s Freddy vs Jason vs Michael vs Leatherface vs Horace “The Shocker” Pinker vs Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lector vs Pinhead “the Hellraiser” vs an army of Romero zombies.

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