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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Some Good Bad Movies and Some Bad Good Ones

There are movies that most definitely deserve to be listed among the all-time worst. Movies like Battlefield Earth (starring John Travolta as himself), The Conqueror (John Wayne as Genghis Khan? Are you serious?!), Zardoz (A revolver-toting Sean Connery wearing a Speedo and hip waders? Someone claw my eyes out NOW!!!), or that steaming pile of you-know-what, Highlander 2 (perhaps the dumbest sequel ever conceived).

Now, I realize that when it comes to movies, "good" and "bad" are entirely subjective terms. Everyone's tastes are different. For example, some movies I really like - Chariots of Fire, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, and Joe Versus the Volcano, to name a few - have been put forth by others as examples of terrible films. Conversely, there are plenty of popular favorites that I can't stand.

With that in mind, I would like to share with you a couple of lists. One is a list of "bad" movies - films that either flopped at the box office or were violently panned by critics - that really weren't as bad as everyone thought. The other is a list of "good" movies - films that were either box office hits or were enthusiastically praised by critics - that I just hated. (Note: I haven't included movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space. That's a classic example of a movie that's so bad it's good, I don't care who you are.)

Five "bad" movies that are actually pretty good

5. Aeon Flux
I know. This movie doesn't exactly showcase Charlize Theron's ability as an actress, but I've always been a sucker for sci-fi flicks about futuristic totalitarian societies masquerading as utopian paradises. And while it certainly doesn't rank up there with Terry Gilliam's masterpiece, Brazil, it does have its moments. Definitely not quite as bad as the critics made it out to be.

4. Ishtar
Many people will tell you that this is one of the worst films ever made. But that's only if you view the result after taking into consideration the all-star cast and huge Hollywood budget. As reviewer Rochelle O'Gorman put it, "If Abbott and Costello had made this flick, it might have worked."

3. Armageddon
Dazzling special effects made this film watchable, but a talented, eclectic cast made it enjoyable. If you have no problem suspending disbelief for a couple of hours, you might like this one.

2. Independence Day
This is one of those gratuitously patriotic, flag-waving films. In a time when most Americans seem all too willing to give up their freedoms to a corrupt government bureaucracy, Independence Day made me feel good to know that we can count on everyone to pull together if we're ever invaded by reptilian hordes from outer space.

1. Rocky V
Okay, okay. Rocky Balboa is getting old. But's Rocky Balboa, one of the most beloved cinematic sports heroes of all-time! And I'm not ashamed to say that I'll be going to see Rocky VI when it comes out.

Five "good" movies that I absolutely hated

5. Unforgiven
While I can appreciate Clint Eastwood's accidental study on the subject of total depravity, I like old-fashioned westerns - you know, good guys vs. bad guys. When you couldn't care less about what happens to the main characters in a movie, there's something wrong.

4. Titanic
Sorry, ladies. I realize this is your favorite movie of all-time, but I thought it was poorly written, sappy, and self-indulgent. In a word: garbage. I sat through it once; that was more than enough.

3. Pulp Fiction
Despite having a stylish flare, Quentin Tarantino is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated directors in Hollywood history. This movie was especially bad. Even if you overlook the fact that virtually every scene contains elements that were lifted directly from other films, it's still hard to get past the gratuitous violence. If there was a point to it, other than making sure the film lived up to its title, I missed it.

2. The English Patient
Seinfeld's Elaine said it best: "It's too looooong! Quit telling your stupid story about the stupid desert and just die already! DIE!!"

1. The Crying Game
I have a confession to make: I have not seen this movie in its entirety. Dawn and I walked out halfway through it. Not only was this one of the most unbearable films I've ever seen, it is THE reason I now never go to a movie without first knowing something about it. And the big "surprise" everyone was talking about? Give me a break. Any blind idiot could tell that chick was a dude.

Do you have similar lists? Are there movies some of your friends like that have made you question whether or not you should remain associated with such undiscerning freaks? Perhaps there are movies that you are too embarrassed to admit having seen. Feel free to share your thoughts. Let me assure you that what happens on this blog stays on this blog. Honest!


Reel Fanatic said...

On the list of supposedly good movies that I just can't stand, I'd have "Forrest Gump" on the top with a gold star next to it ... I've never heard anyone say "Sound of Music" or "Chariots of Fire" weren't good movies, and you'd certainly never hear that from me

Lee Shelton said...

Those I know who dislike Chariots of Fire have said it was boring. In my humble opinion, it's one of the best movies ever made. It's deep, thought-provoking, and the dialog is well-written, witty, and intelligent. It's an example of masterful story-telling. And it's got plenty of Gilbert and Sullivan music!

I have found The Sound of Music is either disliked by people who hate musicals in general, or people who think they have great taste in musicals. Sure, it's kind of campy, but aren't all musicals to some extent?

Jennifer said...

No way!!! As I was reading this whole post, I was like "I so know what I'm putting in the comments!" It appears Reel beat me to the punch.

Forrest Gump - among nearly everyone's "top ten" list of favorite movies. I can't stand the jolly thing! That movie would find a very secure place as number one on my list of "Good movies that are actually really really crappy."

As far as Sound of Music - it's an absolute classic. As is Fiddler on the Roof - that one seems to be the movie of my small group, ha-ha. :)

Chris Wilde said...

I think Forrest Gump probably had a lot of appeal to baby boomers, since it's kind of an episode of "This is Your Life" through the 60s 70s and 80s. It takes all the various boomer obsessions through those decades, and replays them through the eyes of an innocent.

Sort of like how I see my life explained when I watch "The Truman Show".

Lee Shelton said...

I know what you mean. I keep looking up for fear of being pummeled by a falling studio light.

Anonymous said...

Some other underrated classics:

- Remo Williams; The Adventure Begins

- Last Starfighter

- Better Off Dead

- The Abyss

- The Hudsucker Proxy

- The Wrong Guy


- Be Cool

- Shaolin Soccer

- Iron Monkey

- The Wraith

- A Mighty Wind

- Death to Smoochy

Anonymous said...

No wait. Death to Smoochy was hilarious at SOME points, but I just remembered like 2 horrible parts in that. DON'T see it! DOH!

Frank Martens said...

"but I've always been a sucker for sci-fi flicks about futuristic totalitarian societies masquerading as utopian paradises."

Have you seen Equilibrium?

I thought it was pretty good, and it isn't very well known.

Lee Shelton said...

I really liked Equilibrium. My only complaint had to do with the completely unrealistic climax of the final fight scene. I don't care how sharp a blade is, it just can't do that!

Another great flick is Primer. The guy wrote, directed, and starred in it, even composed the music. It was filmed on a shoestring budget, but it is perhaps the most believable "time travel" movie I've ever seen.

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