I have awful taste in movies. Like really, really awful taste. That isn’t to say that I don’t like and recognize when movies are good. I’ll gladly watch The Departed or Silver Linings Playbook on a lazy afternoon. But I’ll totally push Scorcese and David O. Russell aside to watch Bad Boys II. Still there are movies I still hate to admit liking. These are those movies. Now keep in mind these aren’t necessarily movies that I love or own but they are movies that I have enjoyed more than I should have.
Okay I totally own most of these movies.
SPOILER WARNING- I will have some spoilers here and there in this article. So if you don’t want decade old movies ruined for you be warned.
6- Sucker Punch
For years I have played with the idea of writing a screenplay. A stupid story involving giant monsters, robots, sword fights and all sorts of crazy stuff. Essentially a movie that would play on all the dumb stuff I dug when I was 14 years old. Then comes Zack Snyder with Sucker Punch. While not the same plot it accomplishes everything I would want and more. Is the plot needlessly convoluted? A bit. Is it overly long? Probably. But we get a giant samurai with a gatling gun, a dragon, killer robots and steampunk World War I zombies. STEAMPUNK WORLD WAR I ZOMBIES! This much amazing and Zack Snyder’s typical stunning visuals can surpass things like plot and character development with ease.
5- The One
For over 3 decades Jet Li amazed audiences with some of the best martial arts movies of all time. Whether the movies were in a traditional martial arts style (Fearless, Fist of Legend) or movies set in modern times (Black Mask, High Risk) he continues to amaze to this day. Then came his Western releases.
Okay that was a bit harsh. In all honesty his US releases are, for the most part, fine. While there is some fun stuff I can’t say there is anything really special. That is to say there is nothing special outside of The One. Jet Li’s first foray into science fiction is just a cavalcade of early 2000’s insanity. First and foremost Jason Statham with hair. Not early Guy Ritchie hair but as much as his receding hairline could muster. It is as weird as it sounds. Next there is the fact that every action scene, no matter how small, is accompanied by nu-metal music. There will be a scene of an explosion going off that is less than a minute but by god they’ll fit in Distrubed’s Down with the Sickness in there. There is also Jet Li proving what we all already knew deep down, only Jet Li can kick Jet Li’s ass. While I wouldn’t say it is Li’s best fight him and his obvious stand in make it pretty fun. The kung fu movie purist in me sees the flaws. It can see how Jet Li’s action isn’t given proper respect. It can see how awful the writing is. But deep down inside I know this insane movie with awful musical taste.
If I could distill the insanity into a single scene it would be the ending. After good has prevailed and evil Jet Li is banished to the Hades Dimension we end with Jet Li beating the crap out of everybody atop a pyramid while Papa Roach’s Last Resort takes us out. It truly is a sight to behold.
When I was a kid (around early grade school) I loved the game Doom. I don’t know exactly why we got the game or how it was installed. All I know is that despite not being much of a horror kid I loved to waste away weekends playing Doom. After not playing it for a while we fast forward to 2005 and the movie was released. I was hyped. An action packed movie starring The Rock fighting the forces of Hell? What isn’t there to like?
Yeah that isn’t what we got. Instead we got an alien knockoff with more black than a Riddick movie, people who are turned into monsters because they are dicks (not hyperbole) and The Rock has a random heel turn two-thirds of the way through. Critics and Doom purists alike hated it. The thing is I don’t think this was meant to be a Doom movie. At least not based on the first game. It’s supposed to be the third game which I think it pulls off okay. It gets in the major weapons, the general aesthetic (in that everything is too dark) and there is some above average creature design. I also dig how much it grabs onto the clichés of the genre. Instead of just having a scummy character they make him as scummy as they can. Or how about Karl Urban as our angst ridden hero? He has a big “what if I’m evil?” moment despite the fact that he has done nothing to even indicate this would be an issue. Is the movie bad? Yeah. But by god I found it delightfully bad.
3- Josie and the Pussycats
The early 2000’s was a weird time in pop culture. Boy bands were big again but their corporate fakeness wasn’t hidden in the least. Metal was big but mainly if it added rap into it. DMX could be the lead in a movie and nobody would bat an eye. A satire on pop culture would be easier than ever and what better place to do it than a movie based on an Archie comic. Wait what?
Yes movie starring Rachel Leigh Cook, Tara Reid (not ironically) and Carson Daly cameo was a satire on teen culture. Even more surprising is that it was actually pretty good at it. Okay this isn’t exactly Dr. Strangelove but it is better than the more recent attempts at parody. While it can fall into the pitfalls of other teen movies of the time the comedy holds up surprisingly well for being over a decade old; particularly from the Backstreet Boys stand in DuJour. Sure it was a flop at the box office and with critics but over a decade later the movie’s wit can be just as sharp as it was when it first came out.
2- Love Actually
This being a place that mostly reviews action and horror movies it should be no surprise that I dislike most romantic comedies. I think that the majority that come out are terribly generic and recycle the same plots. I especially dislike the recent movies Garry Marshall has done where he packs every single cliche he can into a single movie. So why do I like Love Actually?
In all honesty I’m not sure. I think it has to do with the fact that it so earnestly jumps follows the cliché. It never feels hollow compared to something like New Year’s Eve. They tell their various stories of love without a wink to the camera or knowing it is full of stunt casting. The movie just tells these sugary sweet tales and wants the audience to know that love is a’okay. Add in a charming cast and you have one of the lamest and most endearing romantic comedies of the past decade.
1- Spider-Man 3
Alright I’ll give you a second to insult me. No it’s cool, I can wait.
Better? Alrighty. Here’s my reasoning, I don’t see think it’s any worse than Raimi’s other Spidey movies. As far as corniness it is roughly the same as the first two. If you go back and rewatch them they are pretty cheesy. I know it was post-9/11 but the whole “New York loves Spidey! He’s one of us!” scenes are cringe worthy. Or how about the dialogue (particularly the first movie)? It is so corny that the actors mock it on the DVD commentary. I also didn’t mind the lack of Venom. I wasn’t a huge fan of the character so I wasn’t all that disappointed. I got the look of him, saw them fight and moved on.
With that out-of-the-way what do I like? I enjoy emo Peter. It’s silly and stupid but Tobey McGuire is obviously having fun with it. He’s such an over-the-top douche that I can’t help but enjoy it. Sandman is probably the best villain of the series as well. Raimi was able to not only make a compelling (when focused on) villain but also some of the best use of powers throughout the trilogy. Speaking of which Sandman provides some of the best action scenes of the series. The fights between Spidey and Sandman top any of the other movies (including Amazing Spider-man). This movie may have its flaws (and no doubt it does) but I think that there is enough good here to make it an enjoyable movie as a whole.
I can’t forgive this though.