Rupert Pupkin Speaks: "Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Jeff! ""

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Jeff!

Jeff goes by @alonelikemacauly on twitter. He knows a thing or two about "bad" films. Follow him.

I live under the motto there are no bad movies.  It's one of the reasons that if I see a trailer and think it's terrible...I'll still see the movie.  Because in some corner of its frames genius is happening.  WIth that view point said, I don't consider the movies below "bad".  I consider them movies that haven't been given a fair shake.  Consider this their fair shake.

1. THE PHANTOM MENACE 1999 (George Lucas)
I'm going big and bold with my first choice.  Every possible argument for and against this movie has been said.  I don't care. I love the political machinations.  I love the regal feel of the whole thing.  I love that it isn't dirty and lived in like the originals.  I love Naboo.  I love that George Lucas was naive enough to add something like midichlorians or wizard and ani and think fans would go for it.  I love that he had the ego to toss in a 20 minute pod race sequence in it.  I love almost everything about this movie.  Why? The dude went for it in this movie.  No second guessing.  This is what he wanted and he got it.  Yes, it's different.  Yes, the acting and writing are stiff.  Yes, there's a lot of talking and nothing else. But you know what? There's vision on display here.  And speaking of...I feel like this has been one of the most quietly influential movies of the past 10 years or so when it comes to design work.

2. ICE PRINCESS 2005 (Tim Fywell)
This movie doesn't re-write the narrative book when it comes to teen films.  But you know what it does?  It wears its heart on its sleeve in such an unironic, non jaded way that I love it.  What's it about?  A math wiz who uses math formulas to crack the code of ice skating to become good at it.  I know.  AWESOME.  But beyond that it has a really affecting mother/daughter relationship between Joan Cusack and Michelle Trachtenberg.  If you can get beyond the shame of watching a movie called ICE PRINCESS (i saw it alone at a theater AND bought it from the store day one) I think you'll like it.

3. LIFEGUARD 1976 (Daniel Petrie)
Sam Elliot plays 30 something Rick.  A dude who enjoys just being a lifeguard for California beaches. He's good at it and it brings him peace. But when he runs into an old high school girlfriend...he starts to question his place in life and if he's making a difference.  This movie, though dated, has stuck with me ever since I watched it.  There's an honesty to Rick and to the questions he asks.  His questioning of what life holds for him and what it means to truly be happy is something almost everyone wrestles with.  It also has great performances by Kathleen Quinlan and Anne Archer.

4. MY BOYFRIEND'S BACK 1993 (Bob Balaban)
This movie died and died fast when it hit theaters.  Basically, you have a guy who loves the most popular girl in school, he dies, he comes back as zombie...she falls in love with him.  In a way it is like TEEN WOLF, but with a Zombie.  What else do you need to know?

5. THE KILLING KIND 1973 (Curtis Harrington)
Terry is a  guy who's just gotten out of prison for some pretty messed up crap.  He moves in with his mother who runs a boarding house.  Which is where the movie kicks into gear. Terry is messed up.  His mother is worse.  This is one of those movies that works not only because of its premise...but because it is so low budget.  It gives it the kind of grime you can't wash off once watching.

6. FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC 1987 (Jeffrey Bloom)
Where as KILLING KIND has a messed up Mother/Son relationship...this has a messed up EVERYONE relationship.  This movie has amazing tone that sticks with you.  And though much of what was filmed was cut out due to "going too far"'s those missing gaps that give this movie it's uncomfortable vomit factor.  Watching it, you know you're looking at people who are doing some weird stuff behind closed doors, but because most of it is left to your imagination it burrows in your brain and flourishes like mold.  (side note.  Wes Craven was originally attached to this, but was fired because his draft was deemed "too horrific and disgusting.")

7. SUMMER CAMP NIGHTMARE 1987 (Bert L. Dragin)
Essentially LORD OF THE FLIES at summer camp.   I'm a big fan of youth gone wild/youth doing terrible things...and this is a good example of it.  Besides, how can you not love a movie where the tagline is, " Dear Mom, The camp director is dead. The counselors are locked up. And the kids are out of control. Having a wonderful time. Love, Marvin".

8. BIG SHOTS 1987 (Robert Mandel)
There was a time where kids movies weren't so PC.  Where the movies were allowed to be dangerous.  Where kids were allowed to swear.  This time was the 80's.  BIG SHOTS features kids who steal a car, go to Chicago, and have a rad time involving dead bodies, gangs, and con artists.  And incase you need more convincing...Joe Esterhaz wrote this.
Buy BIG SHOTS on DVD from Warner Archive!

9. SCREAM 4 2011 (Wes Craven)
The most problematic movie on my list.  Plagued by reshoots, editing and a premise that simply tries too hard...SCREAM 4 is a movie I am fascinated with .  The core concept is someone is killing kids in the same fashion of the original SCREAM.  With that conceit, the movie goes on to "remake" SCREAM.  But as they basically say in film...remakes are watered down, have too many characters that are paper thin, and actors who are bland.  Which are all the arguments used against the film.  So was that by design? Are all these characters thin on purpose?  Same with the script?  Did they set out to cleverly make a bad movie?  Or is this just a built in fail safe because somewhere in the production they knew it was bad and added the above lines during one of its reshoots?  Who knows.  And for this reason it fascinates me.
10. ANGUS 1995 (Patrick Read Johnson)
I unequivically love this movie.  I watched it twice in the same day when I first saw it.  It just missed the teen movie come back of the latter half of the 90's.  This is not a bad movie in any way, shape or form.  But it is a movie that had a terrible trailer, troubled studio relationship and got dumped.  It's also a movie that is maybe one of two teen films I'd hold up against the classic teen films.  It's got so much heart and the writing of the overweight lead is honest.  The speech he gives at the end dance, his dance to mazzy star, and his scenes with George C. Scott are things that are CONSTANTLY playing in my head.  If you haven't seen this movie and have any affinity for teen movies...I can't beg you enough to check this out.  Maybe you won't love it as much as me...but it's a movie that does not in any way deserve the fate that fell upon it. 


Ed South said...

Proud to say I'm one of the few...very few...who saw My Boyfriend's Back in the theater!

Robert M. Lindsey said...

This is a pretty interesting list! At least they aren't all horror and sci-fi movies.

The Ice Princess sounds like something my wife likes to watch so we'll check it out. She's kinda gotten on a princess kick lately, probably due to us having 4 boys. She needs some kind of girly thing to retain her sanity.

I've noticed a lot of these guest posts start by defending or denying "bad" movies. It's interesting that I just read American Movie Critics edited by Phillip Lopate, and 3 critics specifically defend bad movies: Pauline Kael, Manny Farber, and J. Hoberman I think.

btsjunkie said...

This list rules.

Anonymous said...

Angus!! God DAMN I love that movie. Criminally underrated.

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