Rupert Pupkin Speaks: "Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: J Hurtado ""

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: J Hurtado

J Hurtado is a Dallas based film writer who spends equal amounts of time scribbling about high and low brow art. You can find him at or on twitter (@zombeaner)

Trying to argue about what constitutes a bad movie is a losing battle. For some people technical incompetence is enough, for others it takes a wretched script, then you have those people who can't stand melodrama, musicals, stilted acting, over-stylization, comedies, dramas, or any other genre you could possibly think of. No matter what film you name, some guy or girl out there hates it. Somebody hates Citizen Kane, somebody hates Vertigo, some jack-off out there even hates The Godfather. To them, those are bad movies.

I suppose that the films I've chosen to include in my list Bad Movies I Love mostly come from the “stupid idea” category. Sometimes merely the description of a film can be enough to make someone hate it. Not usually because it's offensive, but more often because they believe it insults their intelligence, and there is nothing morons are more protective about than their intelligence. Every movie on my list is a miracle of modern financing. The mere fact that this film was pitched to men with money to spend and they decided that this was a good idea baffles me. However, I'm thankful that they did, because these are the Bad Movies I Love.

Joe Dirt (2001)
I have no great love for David Spade. For my money, outside of the work he did in film with Chris Farley, the man doesn't appear to have a funny bone in his body, which makes this selection all the more bizarre. A film featuring Spade as a moronic hillbilly janitor with a mullet wig grafted to his skull in search of his long lost parents should be like kryptonite to me, but I love the damned thing. Every stupid idea in the goddamned movie works. When Joe Dirt straps a septic tank to his back, believing it to be a nuclear warhead, and ends up covered in decades old runny shit should have made me turn the movie off, but I laughed like an idiot. When Dirt has to scrape a dog's testicles from a frozen patio with a spatula, I could have walked away, but I laughed like an idiot. It just goes on and on, laying one retarded scatological sight gag on top of another, and I eat it up every time. Viva Joe Dirt!

 Disco Dancer (1982)
My specialty at Twitch is Indian film, which is an area that many brave men fear to take on. The vast quantity of films coming out of the country every year makes it difficult to find an entry point, but few have the across the board appeal of 1982's Disco Dancer. Action star Mithun Chakraborty is Jimmy, an up and coming disco dancer who finds himself in a feud with another performer with organized crime connections. While most films would let them go at it and just engage in fisticuffs, Disco Dancer allows them to dance it out, with one chasing the other across India, stealing gigs and doing drugs in a bizarre tale of rival disco syndicates. This three hour epic of Indian disco chic remains among the most popular cult films in India, and with good reason. Made a good five years after the disco boom in the US, Disco Dancer's fashion is AMAZING, it's songs are incredible and blatantly ripped from American dance classics, and it's action fantastic. The fact that the climax involves our hero overcoming a severe case of trauma induced guitar phobia only cements the deal. This is a movie made for us. Disco Dancer is the real deal.

 Gandhi to Hitler (2011)
This is the other Indian film on my list. This 2011 release made it onto my end of the year top ten list last year, but not because it was any good. Gandhi to Hitler is so stupendously, stupefyingly awful that it's impossible to looks away. Everything about the film is terrible. The acting, the writing, the music, the concepts, the execution; it's all mind bogglingly awful. The film was so remarkably inept that it took me over 3500 words to describe it in my review. At the risk of seeming like a shill, I will post a link to my review, because I think I exhausted all of my words for the film there and there's no way I could ever say it that well again.

 Soul Plane (2004)
Ever since I was a wee lad, I've had a soft spot for Black comedy. I don't know why, I think it's because I wanted so desperately to feel like a part of some niche that this was the best thing I could find at 14. Fast forward to my 20's, when the immortal Soul Plane was released to theaters to a hail of poor reviews and empty theater seats. I cannot explain why I love this film, but I do. All those years of watching BET's Comic View finally paid off when I was able to recognize every actor in the film and I knew their acts by heart. The headlining star was the diminutive Kevin Hart, though it is really all of the bit players that make this film what it is. The cast is a who's who of Black comedy. Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Godfrey, Brian Hooks, D.L. Hughley, Academy Award winner Mo'Nique, Loni Love, Sommore, and more make appearances in this ridiculous piece of shit. For some reason I can't help smiling as the pimped out plane works its hydraulics while it taxis down the runway. Even Tom Arnold can't ruin this for me, Soul Plane is the shit.

 Angelfist (1993)
Cirio Santiago is no slouch when it comes to Z-grade action. Santiago made TNT Jackson in 1974, and then remade it himself in 1981 as Firecracker, only to outdo himself a third time with the gem that is Angel Fist in 1993. There is one reason and one reason only for Angelfist making it onto my list: naked fighting. In 1993 I was 14 and I wore this fuckin' VHS out rewinding and fast-forwarding to the naked fight scene in the apartment in which Cat Sassoon fights off some rowdies while bare ass naked. I remember it vividly because her boobs were so fake, and her implants so obvious that they never moved once even as she jumped, kicked, and rolled all over the room. It was downright disturbing and warped my sense of what the actual female body looked like for a while, but at the same time, I was strangely aroused. Thank you Cirio Santiago and Cat Sassoon, for ushering me into manhood, I will never forget you.

 The Hills Have Thighs (2010)
I know that our dear Pupkin is a big fan of Jim Wynorski, as are we all. I could name any one of a dozen Wynorski films for this list, Chopping Mall, Deathstalker II, Not of this Earth, Busty Cops, my choices are endless. However, I decided to go with a more contemporary selection, The Hills Have Thighs. This Julie K Smith vehicle is actually somewhat engaging, in spite of itself. It is insane and ridiculous and thoroughly stupid, but I sat through the whole thing, and I can't say that about many films of Wynorski's in the last decade or so.

Dolemite (1975)
Saving the best for last, D'Urville Martin's legendary adaptation of the work of Rudy Ray Moore is an incredibly poorly made film that survives on the sheer force of Moore's characterization of his comedic superhero creation. Dolemite features inept kung fu, boom mics in shots, hilariously awful live readings, and some of the worst synced musical performance footage I've ever seen, and yet it is compelling and highly rewatchable. I've seen Dolemite at least two dozen times, probably more than any other film, and it never gets old. Moore's ultimate paean to African American power and wish fulfillment is the film that all other blaxploitation films strive to be. Sure, most of them are more technically competent, but none have the soul of Dolemite. Right on, right on!


KC said...

I love Disco Dancer! You can't blame the guy for his guitar phobia. I couldn't believe that scene when I saw it. it's exactly why I keep watching Indian movies; You never know what's going to happen, but it'll probably involve someone's mama. I also adore his girlfriend's terrible dancing. She really owns it. And the bizarre audience with that dancing kid, and Jimmy's goofy sidewinder moves. Oh my God, I need to watch this again now!

dylan said...

Joe Dirt! I was convinced I was alone. Thank you for bravely coming forward.

J Hurtado said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Joe Dirt is a masterpiece, and Disco Dancer has to be seen to be believed.