Monday, January 12, 2009

The Worst Movies I watched from Netflix in 2008

Per my ying and yang of Netflix reviews … I wanted to conclude with some thoughts on some horrible movies I sat through this year. It actually was not that bad for my Netflix picks. Maybe I've just gotten a little more savvy about what I should be watching. I'm only including eight films instead of the traditional ten. I could have included The O in Ohio, which wasn't so much bad as not funny and disappointing. And the She-Beast, which was an awful movie, but partly because the print was so bad I could barely see it.

Doing these lists can be dangerous. People get so emotional about their movies. If I recommend a movie to someone and they don't like it, the worst that might happen is they'll not trust my advice again. But if I tell you I hated your favorite movie an argument might ensue. I am pretty confident that these films are no one's favorite movies…

The Neptune Factor: Take one part Poseidon Adventure, one part Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and mix with large helpings of the early 70's craze for aquariums and you have The Neptune Factor. This movie is so dull that it's almost a zen-like experience. The seafaring threesome (Ernest Borgnine , Yvette Mimieux , and Ben Gazzara take a diving bell down to where no man has gone before. That is unless you are not counting that plastic diver at the bottom of your fish tank. The plot follows our stars as they try to save some fellow marine biologists who fell into a crack in the sea floor during an earthquake. There they find giant fish of the same variety that you can find at any Pet Smart. Best scene: Borgnine being attacked by lion roaring Angel Fish. I swear the cast was looking at their watches waiting for the movie to end.

Doomsday: Occasionally I like a good futuristic Apocalypse story. I loved the 28 Days Later films and I'm not against the occasional violent, zombie blood bath.. But this film was one gigantic headache. Filled with screaming heavy metal music, it's nearly non-stop like someone just left a CD playing in the editing room; horrible violent mutilations and death scenes, and poor, poor Malcolm McDowell who should have done a sequel to Caligula instead of having any connection with this overblown, faux video game of a movie. Worst scene a bloody execution while Fine Young Cannibals song She Drives Me Crazy is played in the back ground. The director is supposed to be some new wunderkind. Egads learn how to put your camera on a tripod Mr. Marshall.

Days of Darkness: As I said, I love a good zombie movie; but when a zombie movie goes bad… they go terribly bad. The plot is standard: A group of people are trapped in a military base in the desert while zombies wander around trying to get in through the barbed wire fence. But they aren't really zombies they are dead people with aliens in them; Follow the zombie rules people! That wouldn't be bad; but the real purpose of the movie seemed to be just an excuse for the actors all run amok with improv'd dramatic scenes about their lives. It's the Pasadena 'Lil Theatre on the Mall's Players' big chance to read that monologue that they've been saving up for ten years. The repentant porn star with the virgin daughter, the sickly Christian preacher, the gay guy who watched his partner devourer their adopted Chinese daughter… Argh… Even the zombies looked bored.

Macbeth (2006): This year I made an effort to watch at a filmed version of a Shakespeare play every few weeks. One of my favorites was Roman Polanski's Macbeth. Just brilliant! This version takes the classic story of Macbeth and his lady and envisions it as a two hour Mazda commercial. It's not really bad, just insanely disconnected as the extraordinarily attractive actors spout the Bard's dialogue. Out, out damn spot.

New York, New York: I've been wanting to see this film for decades. Martin Scorsese, Liza Minnelli, great 40's big band songs. How could it fail? Oh man… I felt like I was being dragged through a field of broken glass by the end of the second hour of its three hour running time. Very colorful broken glass mind you, but it is painfully uninteresting and irritating. Liza actually fairs the best and it could have been really something if Scorsese had actually written a script in advance. According to the documentary I watched on it; he decided that he wanted a movie that would look like a 40's musical, everything else would be modern and 70s. Such as not having a script. And when actors don't have scripts they resort to yelling and screaming at each other. Even Liza was told not to sing like herself, but to develop a high reedy voice that would be in keeping with the 40's big band singer style. Unfortunately she just sounds out of tune. Note: There is an amazing last number called Happy Endings that steals the show. And Note again: It was cut when it first was released. Also the closing number is pretty spectacular. But you have to wait three hours for it to happen. At the same time I rented NYNY I also got a Showtime's Master of Horrors episode that I watched the next night. It was about how George Washington was really a cannibal. It was awful, disgusting, sophomoric. But after it was over I thought, well it was better than New York, New York.

What the #$*! Do We Know!?: I've been interested in this new found theory about "vibrating"and willing success into your life. It's recently found a new blast of fame with "The Secret". This movie take that theory and adds quantum psychics and then tries to explain it's theory by having poor Marlee Matlin get drunk at a wedding. All the while these new-age BS "scientists" give some mumbo-jumbo theory about how if you visualize that you have a car it will appear in your life. I was offended, confused and overall completely bored by the whole thing. To top it off that 80's channeler Rhamtha had something to do with the making of the movie. I shouldn't even put this movie in this list because technically I just watched half of it; the rest I skimmed through at 2x the speed. If anyone tries to talk you into watching this movie be very suspect.

The Sunshine Boys (Peter Falk/Woody Allen): The Sunshine Boys with George Burns and Walter Matthau is one of my favorite films. Matthau makes the word "Enter…" one of the funniest moments in movie history. So I was interested in seeing how it would be with the great Peter Falk playing the Matthau role and the always interesting Allen in the George Burns role. Add in Sarah Jessica Parker as their agent niece and I thought it couldn't be that bad. I had no idea it would be this complete train wreck. As someone wrote on about this pairing, "Falk and Allen are supposed to be a 50's comedy team, but they act like they are in two different movies. "Indeed one is left asking how if these two ever shared a coffee and a chat together, never mind a TV career" To top it off, they are supposed to have had this great career but you never see a second of their act. Absolutely one of the most needless remakes in history, that is until the release of Casablanca starring Madonna.

Charlie Chan: Curse of the Dragon Queen: Remember when there was this resurgence of Art Deco in the 70's. Everyone wanted to go back to the 30's. By the time this movie came out that fad had already died away. But I guess the director wanted to make sure that they nailed that coffin down tight. An amazingly spectacular 70's cast of has-beens: Peter Ustinov, Lee Grant, Roddy McDowall, Angie Dickinson, and a very young Michelle Pfeiffer. I had this year watched a slew of Charlie Chan movies; it was a passable series with some good mysteries. Except for the accent and the white suit there is very little connection with the original character, and the real mystery is how did this ever get released on DVD. The screenwriter David Axelrod's credits include The Dean Martin Roasts and it shows. Every joke is painfully overplayed. Poor Angie Dickinson who plays the Dragon Queen seems to be just passing through the film on her way to some costume party. Ustinov puts Asian American relations back a couple decades and Roddy McDowell plays the role in a wheelchair in order to make sure that there isn't a single group that isn't offended. The great character actress Rachel Roberts committed suicide shortly after the completion of this movie. I think Chan should solve That crime. Click Here for the trailer

I had to watch this movie in ten minute bits, I was determined to make it through. I think I might need an intervention.

I watch this abysmal dreck so you don't have to…


Frankie said...

I've only seen one on your list. What the Bleep Do We Know. My cousin thought it was the best movie ever and talked about it ad nauseum for weeks. Finally, I rented it at our store.

OMG...I'm kind of in to new-agey type stuff if it's not too far out there. This? This? I don't think I lasted a half hour through this movie. It was awful.

Have you seen the Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo Dicaprio? I thought it was just -- weird.

Linda said...

The Burns/Matthau Sunshine Boys is one of my favs, too, and I was going to rent the Falk/Allen version, but never got around to it. Glad I didn't . I did see NY/NY some time ago and barely made it through the whole thing. Actually, I think I slept through 20 minutes of it in the middle. A 3-hour movie has to be REALLY good and this one wasn't. But, I must say I am laughing at your analysis of What the______. I remember that new age channeler and used to get a good laugh out of his followers. You are so right. "The Secret" is the same old, same old with no less than Oprah hawking it. Can someone say 'Far out'.

Aaron said...

Undersea disasters always come down to Ernest Borgnine, don't they? Maybe he should just stay away from the water.

I'd heard that Rachel Roberts was suffering from cancer and that's why she commited suicide. I think my favorite moment of hers was the judo fight with Burgess Meredith in "Foul Play," followed by "Murder On the Orient Express." The scene where she's reading to Wendy Hiller was a standout for me--RR's body language was so brilliant.

Mike Lynch said...

Aaron, you comment about Borgnine and maritime disasters had me LOLing. Thanks.

Johnny, I'd love to see this feature every month. It was so fun to read. And thanks for suffering so we don't have to.

Graeme said...

Well John, I watched "The Neptune Factor" with you... I had almost completely blocked it out until reading this, and now all I see are those fake giant fish and the bored actors. ;) said...

I may be the only person in the world who enjoyed NY/NY during its opening run and on DVD. Oh well, that's what makes horseraces. I also find it ironic/amusing that the Happy Endings sequence was cut out just as a lot of Liza's mother's songs were cut out of A Star is Born.