Thursday, 19 November 2009

Box Office Blunders (or possibly a title less clichéd)

I love movies as much as the next guy, possibly even more depending on who the next guy is, and I assume you do too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. The problem with movies though, as I’m sure you are all aware, is that for every Citizen Kane there is a Howard the Duck, and for every Godfather Part II there is a… Godfather Part III. That might be a little harsh, part III was still pretty good. The point I’m failing to make is that quite a lot of movies are shit and without our fervent protests (or snide articles) writers and directors will continue to expose us to whatever ridiculous ideas pop into their heads without giving our enjoyment a second thought. So, it’s time to show Hollywood that we will no longer fall victim to its folly, and because I have no intention of ever holding a placard, or even physically voicing my opinion on the matter, I have composed a list of the top five movies we could have done without. Take that, Hollywood, you massive bastard.


showgirls (1995)

There’s a real knack to giving the T-1000 head.

There’s something a bit seedy about Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls. Despite the obvious that is. For those who never saw the film – and for what it’s worth you should count yourselves lucky – you may be forgiven for thinking it’s the story of a stripper with a heart of gold who is trying to make her way in the world by putting her assets (tits, to me and you) to good use. The truth however, is that the only reason anyone ever went to see this vaguely titillating disaster, and probably the only reason it was made, was to see Jesse from Saved by the Bell (Elizabeth Berkley) get her kit off. That’s right, the opinionated feminist from Bayside High, disrobed and boner-happy. Who says life has no irony? It’s really a testament to human curiosity that anybody went to see this at all, but just like a brutal car crash, it’s almost impossible not to have a quick glance…and then touch yourself.

Predictably, when the ‘oh that’s what they look like’ moment came and went, people started to focus on the plot, and then, one by one, began to filter out of the cinema. When looked at this way, Showgirls is essentially the Hollywood version of Dustin Diamond’s homemade sex tape. Although rumour has it the characterisation in ‘Screeched’ was spot on. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see that sex face. Screeeeeeeeeeeeech!


Battlefield Earth (2000)

“Can you believe I was in Grease?! I was in a musical and this is still more embarrassing.”

It’s hard to know exactly what made Battlefield Earth ever seem like a good idea. Based on one of many science-fiction novels written by Scientology founder and nutcase extraordinaire, L. Ron Hubbard, Battlefield Earth is a story of the world as a wasteland, where humans face extinction and John Travolta is allowed dreadlocks (oddly on both head and chin). The film is a rarity in so much that there are very few films as bad as this in existence. Unfortunately it’s not even so bad it’s good, it’s so bad it’s almost unwatchable. If you manage to sit through the 118 minutes of sci-fi tosh without you brains dribbling from your ears then you may count yourself lucky. Oddly, those who enjoyed the film (I think there were about three people at last count) had previously experience a loss of brain tissue after reading the 800 page epic which inspired this insipid mess – this is the only explanation for anyone, anywhere finding this tolerable. On top of just being an incredibly bad idea, the film looks terrible, is plagued with laughable dialogue and riddled with continuity errors, not to mention, Barry fucking Pepper. Other than that they pretty much nailed it.


twisted (2004)

Ashley Judd’s hair does its best Bruce Lee impression

A testament to Hollywood’s torrid love affair with the cliché, Twisted is about as predictable and unintelligent an effort at a psychological thriller as you are likely to find. The film centres on a charmless and instantly forgettable, pan-faced, Ashley Judd, who plays detective Jessica Shepard; a hard drinking, hard-talking, overly promiscuous bore, who has about as much depth as a Petri-dish. All the familiar boxes are ticked from the word go as we are reluctantly dragged through the streets of San Francisco in search of a serial killer, who really would have saved everyone a lot of time by offing Judd from the outset and allowing us all to go home, or read a book, or trim our toenails, or pull out our eyelashes one by one, all of which would have been substantially more enjoyable than watching this filmic miscarriage. Samuel L Jackson phones in a performance as Judd’s mentor and surrogate father (due to the fact that her real father isn’t around because, wait for it, he was a serial killer. That’s conflict folks.) and Andy Garcia plays her partner/stock arsetard in a leather jacket. The main focus of the narrative seems to be that Judd keeps getting drunk and sleeping with strangers, only to find them dead the next morning when she starts her shift. Far be it from me to suggest she should have just stopped slutting about, but it would have saved me and at least a dozen others an hour and a half of our time. And yes, I did just use ‘slutting’ as a verb.


batman and robin (1997)

Insert joke about the death of Chris O’Donnell’s career here

Holy crappy movie, Batman! Joel Schumacher’s 1997 addition to the Batman franchise almost buried it single-handedly, and after watching 125 minutes of campy dialogue, brightly coloured, acid-trip sets and the most two-dimensional performance from a governor of California since, well, probably his last public address, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would have cared. George Clooney once stated that he would personally give a refund to anyone who saw the movie and stopped him in the street, but in all honesty £6 wouldn’t nearly be enough to compensate for Chris O’Donnell, batsuits with rubber nipples, Arnold’s Mr Freeze, an unbearable tsunami of puns from start to finish, set design that wouldn’t be fit for a Saturday morning kid’s program…I could literally go on all day with this. On the bright side, Alicia Silverstone wore a school uniform for a good portion of the flick, so if you’re a bit creepy and have a penchant for underage girls but don’t want to go to jail ever so much, there’s your silver lining. Thank god for Christopher Nolan.


sharks in Venice (2008)

The patented Baldwin sex face…Alec does it better.

Oh to be Stephen Baldwin. What can you do to step out of the shadow of your more famous, more attractive and more well-known siblings? The smart man would bide his time and wait for that perfect script that would rocket them to stardom. Stephen however, had other ideas, specifically Sharks in Venice. There’s nothing I can tell you about how bad this film is that the title doesn’t, but heck, I’ll give it a go. Sharks’ is essentially a mishmash of about four different terrible movies, held together with the glue of a god-awful script and a cast that understandably seem to be wishing they were anywhere else, filming anything else and maybe in some cases even being someone else (Alec, presumably). The plot of the film involves Baldwin’s character David Franks searching for his lost father, who was in turn searching for treasure in Venice. Somewhere along the way the mafia gets involved and kidnaps love interest Vanessa Johansson, which for some reason people care about. Oh, and did I mention that there are Sharks…in the canals of Venice? Essentially, the word clusterfuck doesn’t even begin to describe this plot. I understand that my summation may seem a bit incoherent, but I watched the thing and this is literally as close as I will ever come to explaining it. Apparently plans for a sequel entitled ‘Crocodiles in Bluewater Shopping Centre’ were scrapped after director Danny Lerner sobered up.