Movies Not Even Shane Could Finish Watching

2013 television movie blockbuster

Plot: Sharknado.

This was such a bad movie phenomenon that I felt that I had a responsibility to watch it. And I don't want to mislead you with the title of this post up there. Technically, I did finish this movie. I got all the way to the credits. I got really bored about one-third in and started throwing a tiny football around the living room or finding other ways to stay busy. It's not that this movie isn't bad because it is. And it's not even that it's lacking entertainment value because the battle between the completely ludicrous concept and the terrible execution over which is worse is sometimes amusing. But a little of this goes a long way, and after a while, it all feels redundant.

1975 sex comedy

Plot: A series of sex jokes.

This is the kind of thing that people thought was funny in the mid-70's. Now, you need Hugh Jackman with testicles hanging from his chin if you're going to get a laugh. There's plenty of nudity, but most of the jokes don't work at all. I may have only watched this because the title is a complete sentence with punctuation. I had to stop watching it because I just didn't feel any laughs coming any time soon. That, or I couldn't get past the shot from the first scene where the characters all make a face at the camera after the punchline.

2012 children's movie

Plot: I don't know. I didn't make it to one.

Nope, I didn't even make it to a balloon. It's entirely possible that this movie gets better after an opening on-stage musical number that called for audience participation. I can't imagine seeing this in a theater and not taking my own life. A barrage of colors in the scene following the musical number forced me into the bathroom to vomit. I assume there was a balloon later in the movie. Also, I assume that Oogust 29 is a day that should live in infamy.

2012 comedy

Plot: Nazis who have escaped to the dark side of the moon have plans to bring on the Fourth Reich.

There's a sometimes Bad Movie Club member who won't stop talking about this. It's an intentional comedy, however, and those don't really work for us. I thought I'd check it out to shut him up about it, but I couldn't finish it after two attempts. This was really boring, and I don't have the time for boring bad movies.


2012 Nicolas Cage movie

Rating: 11/20

Plot: After an attempt to steal ten million dollars from a bank vault goes wrong, an anti-heroic thief is sent to jail. Eight years later, he tries to reunite with his daughter by buying her an ugly blue teddy bear. When that daughter is kidnapped by the thief's old partner, he's given twelve hours to get the money. Meanwhile, the FBI is watching his every move.

This is not the best or original of movies by a long shot, but it's kind of a fun ride if you're willing to shut the old noggin off completely and just roll with it. I wouldn't have watched it without the presence of Nic Cage, and although this is one of his straight roles where he runs around as a semi-awkward action hero, he's still got a couple of Nicolas Cage moments. One is where he threatens somebody in that way that only he can--"You touch her and I'll take you down to the levy and kick your fucking ass." See, that line is just going to sound stupid coming out of anybody else's mouth. There's one of those patented twitchy demonstrative finger-points as he's talking to his daughter on the phone, even better since he's saying "happy face pancakes" as he does it. And there's a neat scene where he goes a little overboard when telling somebody that he didn't listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival. This movie can be divided into three chunks, each one more preposterous than the other. In the first, you get a glimpse at the thief at work, and although it's fairly well done, it's nothing we haven't seen before. Then, you have a big middle chunk where Cage is searching New Orleans (during Mardis Gras, seemingly only in that setting so that we can see some colorful floats or so the bad guy can seem like even more of a bad guy by making a nasty Hurricane Katrina reference) for his daughter, showing us his inner-Neeson. And then, Cage is off on another heist, this one which seems improbable even for a movie like this given the amount of time he's given to accomplish it. But the fight scene between Cage and Josh Lucas--one of the many actors in this who ham it up enough to convince some people that this is a comedy--tops it all. There are characters on fire, near-drownings, stabbings, and gunfire with two men who suddenly become superhuman. Lucas and Cage aren't the only characters who overact a bit. Danny Huston does his best Popeye Doyle and has a great rambling monologue. Seriously, look at this sucker: "You're a thief, a crook, and a scumbag, but you're also a very clever tree frog. So you concoct this Kinsey-is-alive-and-has-snatched-my-kid fantasy so that A) you can show you don't have the money, otherwise, why wouldn't you pay the ransom, or B, send us running all over town searching for your daughter and her abductor to afford you the time to dig up the dough and jump onto a cigarette boat and zip down to the Bahamas where you can sip rum for the rest of your days and listen to classic rock played by bands with muscular guitars and dead drummers." Even Nicolas Cage seems exasperated as he's listening to that! Perhaps best of all is an Aussie passenger Lucas picks up who couldn't stop talking about his penis. Score redundancy brings this down more than you'd think something like that can bring something like this down, but there is a terrific Wilhelm Scream if you're into that sort of thing.

Shane Watches a Bad Movies on Facebook with Friends: Message from Space and Badlanders

1978 Japanese sci-fi

Rating: 10/20 (Fred: 18/20, Libby: 14/20; Ozzy: 10/20; Steve, with 9 1/2 fingers: could not finish; Carrie: could not start or finish; Josh: 12/20; Buster: made it about 3 1/2 minutes)

Plot: The dirty people on some planet are oppressed by some shiny people and send out eight space testicles in an attempt to find warriors to help them.

Fun big Japanese Star-Warsploitation with a bunch of colorful characters including a sharply-dressed Vic Morrow and the always formidable Sonny Chiba. And a dude who plays the main metal-faced bad guy's mother, naturally in drag. Bunches of lasers, some cool spaceships including the bulky galleon on the poster up there, a cute little robot, swashbuckling, glowing space testicles (maybe walnuts), great costumes, a totally incomprehensible plot-line, bitchin' mustaches. This movie really has it all. And look at all these posters:

I'd recommend this colorful, very-Japanese sci-fi flick as a bad movie or even as an entertaining enough space opera. Part of the fun might be watching these characters interact when you know some of them aren't speaking the same language to each other. And part of the fun is, well, spaceships. And tiny robots.

1992 science fiction movie

Rating: 3/20 (Fred: 4/20; Josh: 5/20; Libby: fell asleep)

Plot: A guy gets himself arrested and thrown on a prison planet that would have been the titular prison planet if I'd gone with the alternate title Prison Planet in order to find the elderly king of his home planet for reasons, after we finally meet the senile old geezer, are never really explained all that well.

The main character refers to his "plan" a few times, but this whole thing seems made up as it goes. The protagonist and the virgin he befriends get themselves in and out of trouble so much that it's impossible to believe the guy has a plan at all. This movie could have easily been made in the 1940s. The only special effect involves a couple brief appearances by what looks to be a flying toaster, but director Armand Gazarian, a guy was proud enough of this to put his name in the credits and work his name into the script as well, must have been embarrassed by the effect and didn't keep it on the screen for long. There are no other special effects unless this Mad Max wasteland the characters are chewing up is all computer generated so beautifully that it fooled my eyes. This looks like it could have been filmed in a space of around 200 square yards. There are some interesting characters. We were all disappointed that the gal he works with on the prison planet is never shown naked, probably because we're a bunch of perverts in the Bad Movie Club. The main baddie was a guy with crazy eyes and a Fu Mancho mustache, one of those villains who has no problems killing off his own guys but can't seem to pull the trigger when it comes to his real enemies. The hero is dull, but I liked a squirmy little hustler who inexplicably wore a suit on Prison Planet (what a name--not quite as original as the home planet for the good guy--Anakin. Oh, wait. Is that original?) and sounded a little like Joe Pesci if you close you eyes and have a head injury of some kind. But the elderly king played by Jack Willcox in his only film appearance is the best, the kind of performance where you're not sure if the guy is even aware that he is in a movie. It's like somebody involved with the production just brought their grandfather along to the filming, and somebody decided to use him. This builds languidly, isn't afraid of being called preposterous, and has an ending that made all three of us who remained awake say, "That's it?" Weird bad movie.

The Unbelievable Truth

1989 Hal Hartley movie

Rating: 15/20

Plot: A mass murderer, a mechanic, a priest? Nobody seems to know who Josh really is after he returns to the town where he killed a girl and his father. He gets a job as a mechanic and strikes up a friendship with the owner's daughter.

My brother gave this to me to watch about six years ago in his continued efforts to see the light on this guy's films. And you know, I might be starting to get it. There's a lack of style to Hartley's work that nearly becomes a style. Like David Lynch, Hartley's dialogue feels stilted, and the characters have the kinds of conversations that they can only have in movies that aren't written very well. Their interactions are askew, their relationships really difficult to understand. And isn't it odd that there only seems to be about seven people in this little world that Hal Hartley has created? It's almost like the characters feel forced to interact with each other because there's nobody else around. I guess Hartley doesn't believe in using extras. The acting doesn't help make this any more natural. From top to bottom of the cast, it's what most people would call bad, led by Chris Cooke who plays the girl's dad Vic who delivers an odd, nearly Torgo Award worthy performance. And his birthday party sure looked like a riproaringly good time. The guy who plays Audrey's ex-boyfriend--Gary Sauer as Emmet--also gives the type of performance that shows he's really got no business being in a movie. He spends most of the movie awkwardly shoving people, and it gets funnier every single time. He's also probably too old to be cast in that role anyway, and I love how he's wearing, in one of a few things that seem like continuity errors but might not be, the same exact outfit on a day that has to be several days later. I also liked the asshole photographer who has a great simple line: "Good God, my fucking vase!"  The late Adrienne Shelly's performance is inconsistent, but there's something really attractive about the whole thing. There's also an off-rhythm to this movie that reminds me a little of Jarmusch, something that gives it a quality that is simultaneously gritty and dreamy. I wonder how much of this first movie Hartley would change if he had to do it all over again. Would he leave the shot of one of his seven characters taking a manly bite out of a piece of toast? Would he have the characters change their clothing more often? Would he get rid of that amateurish allusion to The Misanthrope? Would he cut the pair of scenes where the mechanic who isn't Vic or Josh randomly plays the guitar? Woudl he still have those dopey title cards--Meanwhile, After a While, But? What about the scene where two characters sit in a restaurant and repeat the same lines of dialogue four times for no reason unless "being artsy-fartsy" is a reason? Despite numerous problems, this is a sneakily funny movie and definitely the type of movie where the sum is greater than its parts. Interestingly, I actually kind of wanted to watch this again just to see if any of this connected a little better than it seemed.

Muppets in Space

1999 Muppet sci-fi

Rating: 13/20 (Abbey: 10/20; Buster: no rating)

Plot: Gonzo is convinced that aliens are communicating to him via his alphabets cereal and ends up being Gonzo-napped by Jeffrey Tambor and a bear wearing a suit. Some of the other Muppets have to save him.

I like Gonzo, but I don't know if I would have asked for an entire movie to revolve around him. I'm just not sure Gonzo should be in the foreground as much as he is here. The Muppets work best when they're all together, I think. And when they're singing about rainbows. The most magical part of this movie is an opening montage where they're all getting up in the morning and getting ready for breakfast. The entire cast is up to something, and the attention to detail with the design of their house is a lot of fun. Once the plot gets going, most of the usual suspects aren't around (thankfully, if we're talking about Scooter but unfortunate if you're a fan of the Electric Mayhem) all that much. It makes the whole thing feel more like Follow That Bird than a Muppets movie. You get a lot more Rizzo the Rat and Pepe the Prawn though. And there's a ton of Clifford for reasons I don't totally understand. Beaker and Doc Bunsen are around a bit, but the majority of the action involves Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Animal. There's still some off-the-wall humor, but this feels more like somebody's attempt to reach a new generation of fans rather than make fans of the original series or movies happy. In fact, it was hard for me to even care all that much for the duration. As with all Muppet movies, there are more than a few celebrity cameos, but when they're Rob Schneider, Kathy Griffin, David Arquette, and Andie MacDowell, it's hard to get all that excited. The latter, I'll admit, was almost smokin', however, and there's an Andie MacDowell/Miss Piggy catfight if you're in to that sort of thing, you pervert. Lots of funk in the soundtrack helped this feel like the 70's, but a few 90's references are going to be missed by kids watching this today. I did enjoy the beginning sequence with a good-looking Noah's ark and F. Murray Abraham as Noah.

Shane Watches a Bad Movie with Friends on Facebook: ThanksKilling

2009 horror-comedy

Rating: 2/20 (Josh: -20, Fred: 6/20, Libby: -5/20; Ratboy: ?/20 [Ratboy claimed to like this but was inebriated.])

Plot: Killer turkey.

This is the kind of movie that could ruin friendships. I have a much higher tolerance than most for bad movies, but this is the kind that I can barely tolerate. What makes it especially bad--and in a very non-entertaining way--is that it's supposed to be funny. Unfortunately, it fails at that, too, and no, I'm not forgetting the three "jokes" about Jonbenet Ramsey. So it fails as a horror movie, and it fails as a comedy. That's what we call a double fail. There's a sequel to this called ThanksKilling 3. Yep, the makers of this can't even count correctly. I'm not wasting any more of my time on this movie.


2004 comedy

Rating: 7/20 (Abbey: 14/20; Buster: no response)

Plot: Jon Arbuckle, the owner of the titular feline, gets a dog in order to impress Jennifer Love Hewitt. Garfield isn't happy about it.

The animation in this is really pretty good, but that doesn't make this whole thing any less creepy or any more entertaining. This has numerous problems. First, Garfield is a completely unlikable character. In the comic strip, he's a lazy, sarcastic surly glutton. Here, he's all these things but also a little mean. Bill Murray is probably the perfect voice for Garfield, but either he's uninspired or the writing is uninspiring or a combination of the two. Second, this is a comedy made for children, but it's not funny at all. And I should know because I have the mind of a child. It's definitely not funny for adults. I mean, it's not like the comic strip is an uproariously hilarious piece of genius that interrupts breakfasts all over America or anything, so I don't know why I expected something funnier. Or something that wouldn't bore me so much that I felt like force-feeding myself lasagna until I barfed just so I could say I did something with my Saturday. A lot of times, movie people try to stretch a half an hour sitcom into a full-length movie and it just doesn't work. This is trying to stretch a comic strip into a full-length movie, and the results are predictable. Speaking of predictability: Third, this is writing that takes absolutely no chances. You'll know exactly where this is going the entire time, and there's something almost painful about feeling a step or two ahead of the movie you're watching. With the failed humor and plot predictability, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this was written by the same people who brought us those talking chipmunk movies. May there be a special place in hell for them. I will not be seeing the sequel.

Shane Watches a Bad Movie on Facebook with Friends: Shriek of the Mutilated

1974 horror movie

Rating: 3/20 (Fred: 7/20; Libby: fell asleep; Ozzy: no rating; Josh: no rating; Alesha: did not watch the movie at all)

Plot: A college professor takes four students on a field trip to investigate and hopefully study a Yeti.

This is one of those special bad movies where you question the sanity of the people involved. It's got a creepy vibe but not the intended creepy vibe since this doesn't work as a horror movie. It's not a scary movie at all. It's like when you watch Manos: The Hands of Fate for the first time and assume that all kinds of horrible things went wrong during the filming and that it all ends in violence somehow. It's a very entertaining bad movie, saved from being one of the worst movies of all time because it's got an intriguing twisty plot. Not to give anything away, but it's almost like they decided midway through the filming that the guy in a Yeti suit looked a little too much like a guy in a Yeti suit and decided to work it into the story somehow. There are long stretches of movie where nothing seems to be going on, but just when you're on the verge of losing interest, they throw something so strange or so completely inept and completely impossible to ignore at you, usually with an ill-fitting classical music score or terrible heartbeat sound effects. Like the guy who calls somebody "Sonny Boy" at a gas station. Or Laughing Crow, the mute Indian who makes the best faces ever. Or a conversation about knocking on the wall. Or the big mute Indian. Or a scene with a double murder that doesn't really fit into the movie at all. Or a really awkward party sequence. Or the mute Indian. Ivan Agar plays Laughing Crow, and I could not stop laughing every time he was on the screen. And that Yeti! The first time you see the beast in action, it's shown through blizzard cam and impossible to see. I felt cheated. However, there were plenty of chances to see the really tiny Yeti running around wreaking havoc, and it's as hilarious as you'd expect from a movie with a poster like the one above. Really quite the special movie, one where they don't get much of anything right.

One question never answered: Why does this movie start with a scene of somebody being decapitated? It didn't fit in with anything at all. Why am I asking questions like this about this movie?

My co-worker Alesha tried to crash our party but was chased away when one of us used the word uvula.

Spring Breakers

2012 girls-gone-wild-gone-wild movie

Rating: 16/20

Plot: The titular quartet ventures to Florida for some shenanigans. They meet the Wizard of Oz who introduces them to some more violent adventures. 

I don't know if I should like this movie or not. I haven't really liked any other Harmony Korine movie and never expected to. I feel a little dirty for liking this as much as I did. My wife says it's only because of the young girls, scantily-clad Disney princesses and a variety of whorish extras. But I'll tell you what it is. Sometimes, you watch a movie and think that it perfectly matches what the creators had in mind when the idea first popped into their minds. And when the vision is as risky as the one in Korine's noggin, you really have to take notice. 

In a way, this is the movie I was trying to make my senior year of high school for a mass media class. Korine is poking fun at blind conformity, gyrating sheep, wildly-grinning and toothy zombies. My target, juvenile as I care to admit, were people making "not" jokes. Korine is barely more sophisticated than that, but the lack of sophistication in the way he turns the mirror toward society seems to be part of the joke. The first fifty minutes or so of the movie is beyond stupid, like an avant-garde girls-gone-wild-type video or like MTV invited Gaspar Noe to direct their spring break coverage for a week. Noe's cinematographer for the painfully dreamy Enter the Void is used here which helps explain why Spring Breakers is painfully dreamy. And almost painfully stupid. You're really thumped over the head with the idea that these kids are going a little overboard in their efforts to be kids, and you almost start--if you haven't started already--to hate humanity. You lose interest, even think about turning the movie off and watching something with a little less crunchy techno music in it, and honestly, it may have only been the pervert inside me who decided to keep this thing going. But then James Franco (an unrecognizable James Franco) shows up, and things turn magical. Franco just explodes on the screen as this completely unrealistic character, more parody than person, and he straddles the line between absolutely hilarious and genuinely frightening as well as you'll ever see anybody do it. The redundant stupidity of a "Look at my shit!" scene is thirty-five minutes (seemingly) of comedy bliss where Franco waxes stupidic about having shorts in every color and Scarface on repeat. "Constant, y'all!" It's hilarious! He also gets a poignant musical number where he sits at a piano and plays a Brittney Spears' song. The final third of this movie, always threatening to capsize beneath a wave of its own idiocy, is horrific comedy mayhem, the sort that would annoy people who were rubbed the wrong way by Stone's dicking around in Natural Born Killers. Definitely throw this in the pile with the other movies that are not for everybody, and there's a chance that I wouldn't even like it nearly as well if I saw it for a second time. If I do, it'll be because of Franco. Not the tits.