Rupert Pupkin Speaks: "Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Robert Ham ""

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Robert Ham

Robert Ham usually writes about music and musicians for both online and print publications, but sometimes gets to write about movies as well. You can find his work in The Daily, Village Voice, Alternative Press, Spinner, Willamette Week, The Oregonian, and Network Awesome. Follow the man on Twitter at @bob_ham. Also, he lives in Portland. But please don't hold that against him or ask his opinion of Portlandia

I didn't used to be as picky of a filmgoer as I am now. You can blame the $10+ ticket prices or the access that I now have to hundreds of stone cold classic works of cinema, but I just don't imbibe the movies like I used to. But those days are dear to me, just as the movies on this list are in their own weird way dear to me. Without putting these eight films on repeat growing up, and getting to know the ins and outs of the storylines, camera moves, acting decisions, etc., I wouldn't know true greatness when I finally saw it. While I can now pick apart the terrible decisions the people involved in these movies made and cringe a bit at the time I spent watching them over and over again instead of, oh, I don't know, attempting to have social life for something, I can still appreciate a bit of mindless entertainment when I come across it. And they don't get much more mindless than these turkeys.

 Made In Heaven (1987, dir. by Alan Rudolph)
This is one of the films that defies all logic as I wonder why I subject myself to it. Is it Debra Winger in drag? The small snippet of an R.E.M. song played out of the cab of Neil Young's truck? The sight of Timothy Hutton in a fringed jacket at the end of the film? Maybe the appearance of Ric Ocasek? A young, vibrant Kelly McGillis, sashaying through it all without a care in the world? Maybe it's all of those things combined? Or it could be that despite all the Criterion DVDs in my library, the cold fact is that I have no taste? I'll leave that for future scholars to decide.

Xanadu (1980, dir. Robert Greenwald)
What better way to try and cash in on both the roller disco craze and the success of Olivia Newton-John than combine them into one supernatural comic-musical extravaganza? And, hey, why not toss Gene Kelly into the mix as well? Until my dying day, I will aver that the soundtrack for this film - provided in large part by the great '70s bombastic pop act Electric Light Orchestra - is one of the great records of this era. The film...not so much.

Making The Grade (1984, dir. Dorian Walker)
Our taped off of cable TV Betamax cassette of this film was in constant rotation around our house. And why not? It had a catty and assured lead performance by Judd Nelson, class warfare (sort of), and it showed what Andrew "Dice" Clay could do (not much besides working a Zippo with aplomb).

Bachelor Party (1984, dir. Neal Israel)
A lingering question from my childhood: how the hell did my parents let an impressionable nine-year-old boy watch this movie more than once yet kick me out of the room after the first five minutes of Something Wild? Tom Hanks aside, this was a film that boasted drug use, scantily clad women, and Nick The Dick.

One Crazy Summer (1986, dir. Savage Steve Holland)
My family and I fell in love with John Cusack thanks to The Sure Thing and that most quotable of films Better Off Dead. But what I was thinking getting myself all wrapped up in this hunk of junk is beyond me. I think it scratched my itch for films about underdogs giving rich snobs their comeuppance. At least that's what I tell myself when I see it on a video store shelf.

Strange Brew (1983, dir. Rick Moranis & Dave Thomas)
This is the movie that I think might get some people's dander up. But seriously, if you haven't seen this in a long time, go check it out again. Or you can borrow my DVD of it. It's an absolute mess. But a hilarious mess at that with, again, a hundred quotable lines. Still looking for an answer to how they roped Max Von Sydow into this one.

The Secret of my Succe$s (1987, dir. Herbert Ross)
I'm starting to detect a theme with this list. An absolute train wreck of physical comedy, love story, weird pseudo-incest, and the great John Pankow. The thread JUST BARELY keeping this all together is Mr. Charming himself, Michael J. Fox. To this day, I can't bring myself to watch Bright Lights, Big City because I won't dare mess with the squeaky clean image I have of him in my brain.

Fletch (1985, Michael Ritchie)
Another potentially controversial choice. But let's be serious film nerds for a minute here. Are you willing to overlook the weird pacing of this film and awkward interludes like Chevy Chase in an Afro wig playing for the Lakers? (Not to mention the excoriation of the great pulpy detective character from Gregory McDonald's books.) Well, I sure was and still am. Love your body, Larry.

Rhinestone (1984, dir. Bob Clark)
Yep...I have a special place in my heart for this absolutely, exquisitely fucked up fish out of water/underdog story. If you haven't subjected yourself to wonder that is the song "Drinkenstein"...wait, what's the complete opposite of saying you're missing out on something? Dodging a bullet?

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

The best list yet! I LOVE Strange Brew and Fletch! LOVE LOVE LOVE. It's been a while since I've seen One Crazy Summer, maybe I'll check it out again.

I saw Xanadu in the theater and wasn't impressed, but it's been on a few of these lists now. As has Rhinestone.