Rupert Pupkin Speaks: "Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Monika Bartyzel ""

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: Monika Bartyzel

Monika Bartyzel is a film writer whose work has appeared on sites including Cinematical, The Atlantic, and The Hooded Utilitarian. She currently spends much of her time at, mainly penning entries for her femme-centric column, Girls on Film.
(She can be found and followed on twitter @MBartyzel).


CYBORG (1989)
JCVD was my preferred asskicker in the ‘80s. He was a tough guy always against the odds, which made for a fun balance of prowess and angst, best encapsulated in CYBORG. The film toed this weird line between low-budget goofiness and eerie fear. His memories of his family wrapped in barbed wire and dying in a well, mixed with what the one little girl grew up to be, were always chilling … but before you could take it all too seriously, there were plagues, strange flirty sidekicks, and really wonderful bad acting.

This is the ultimate surf movie, even if most people haven’t seen it. Beach surfers battle some guys from the Valley for surfing supremacy. Reef is the baddie trying to rid his beach of Vals, but it’s all complicated by his artist sister Allie, who hates surfing and quickly falls for the Valley’s ace surfer and resident brain, Nick. Just to confuse the Romeo and Juliet plotline, Allie and Reef’s do-gooder cousin arrives (Keith Coogan), ready for the army but fascinated by the beach culture and a fierce female surfer named Gitch (half-girl, half-bitch).

 GREASE 2 (1982)
I had terrible taste as a kid, which was perfectly encapsulated by my preference for GREASE 2 over the original. Most of the cast was hideous, and the sequel held none of the original’s clever wordplay, yet it was irresistible because of Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer. But it was mostly Caulfield’s Michael Carrington, learning to bike as his paramour yearned for a “Cool Rider.”

Much of the rest of these picks look like Oscar winners in comparison to this Troma flick. I saw it late one night on USA, and while it was pretty crappy, I just loved the audacity of one moment. A poor, nerdy kid is getting wishes from a beer-swilling leprechaun when he finds himself itty bitty on a bike seat. His crush gets on the bike, and his mini self ends up crawling into her underwear. The genius: He’s seen climbing a big white sheet with giant black barbs sticking out, as she sits in class and tries to contain her growing excitement. It’s utterly juvenile, which was perfect for a teen watching late-night TV in the ‘90s.

No, this is not the Paul Newman film. Eight years earlier, Eric Roberts teamed up for a romance with Rosanna Arquette. It’s a really strange, almost nonsensical romance between a tough and rugged stagehand and an off-kilter, depressive woman. She’s been unhinged since she got pregnant by her ex (the jerk from FOOTLOOSE), told him about it on Halloween dressed in balloons with a birthday cake hat, was rejected, and flew into a rage, stabbing him with a fork at a Chinese restaurant. Roberts, believe it or not, is the calming influence and good guy.

DEATH RACE 2000 (1975)
I love how this film is so much bigger than its pulp roots. Before you even know about Frankenstein and Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, you’ve joked about killing pesky pedestrians for points. Roger Corman’s flick invokes real everyday aggravation in a totally ridiculous world. It’s still baffling that the remakers extricated all of the magic of the original when they crafted DEATH RACE, but maybe that’s for the best. Nothing can compete with Stallone and Carradine.

Felt Tomatoes + John Astin + George Clooney with a Mullet. Everything else is irrelevant.


Robert M. Lindsey said...

I'm surprised we haven't seen more of Death Race 2000 in these lists.

Anonymous said...

You SHOULDN'T see DEATH RACE 2000 on these lists - it's a Good Movie! Yeah, it was made cheaply and has a lot of schlocky moments, but it's a fast, funny and exciting picture. The story goes that it was intended as a sort of knockoff of ROLLERBALL. Well, this is certainly a case where the knockoff is far more entertaining than the original. I didn't bother with re-tread/re-make. It sounds like they went the straight action route with it. I guess they missed the whole satire aspect that made the original so great.