In related news; there are maybe a dozen so called ‘supermodels’ on the planet at any one time. Women so flawless, so aesthetically pleasing (and perpetually hungry) that they somehow qualify for inclusion in one of the more elite groups in the world.
Everyone else – some 6,999,999,988 of us – have issues, some are minor, some are Sarah Jessica Parker. Mmm-hmmm I sure did girlfriend!
In the world of cinema things aren’t much different. Each year there are thousands of films of varying quality released globally, almost all with issues and flaws. In fact this website has reviewed well over 1,000 movies in the past four years, only 6 have been worthy of the coveted 10 / 10 score, otherwise known as being as close to perfect as exists in the film’s particular genre.
For the record the ‘perfect 10s’:
(I would also most certainly have Die Hard in there if I could summon the courage to review it.)
So let’s say 7 films in the last three decades have represented perfection – at least to me – with another dozen or so damn near at 9.5.
My point is that regardless of where you draw the line between Perfection and The Rest the fact is that well over 99% will fall well below the pinnacle of the medium of cinema.
With human beings, flaws and blemishes shouldn’t be excoriated or picked on necessarily, to an extent we should ignore a spot here or there and celebrate everything else that is otherwise good about the individual. Likewise every film has a scene, a line or a moment that might have looked good on the script, but in retrospect might have been better off on the cutting room floor. Sometimes we have to roll with what we have because it wasn’t obvious at the time or no-one could come up with something better.
But today I am going all ‘Red Carpet Watchdog’ on a few films, channelling my inner petty scumbag and pointing my bony talentless finger directly at some of the more egregious examples of misjudgment and folly to ever occur on film.
These are the moments that were so misguided, so painful, so very insulting to the audience that it would be simply rude not to point them out.
I hate that I allowed myself to get all caught up in the testosterone-fuelled oily adventures of a bunch of Greek bodybuilders and over-actors. But I did. 300 is so very over the top in all respects that you can’t help but admire its commitment to homo-erotic relationships.
But you have to draw the line somewhere. For me this was when a giant bedazzled rhinoceros appears to attack the solid unbreakable line of Spartan flesh, which to that point had repelled countless thousands of arrows and invading Persians.
Now to this point the film had already had a full-on sex scene, a deformed hunchback wannabe soldier and the most beautiful genocidal megalomaniac in (fake) history in Xerxes. So a big rhinestone-rhino shouldn’t have been such a big deal. But when said rhino is accompanied by a huge slab of electric guitar soft-cock rock and is filmed in the slowest of slo-mo, sometimes repressing the logic reflex grows harder than usual.
I also laughed my arse off at the sight of the horse leaping from the crumbling deck of a ship to attack the enemy in the sequel…
An entire sub-plot about an old white guy’s inability to see members of another race as anything other than their colour, followed by his attempts to ingratiate himself at a large family gathering by talking in broad and offensive stereotypes?
If an entire line of ‘jokes’ revolve around something horribly distasteful, and we’re supposed to laugh and not shift awkwardly in our seats, someone missed the mark badly. And not one of the jokes was even mildly amusing.
But that Will Ferrell eh? Not at all over-rated or unfunny…
The Christopher Nolan reboot trilogy ensured that the 80s and 90s Batman films would forever be known as the lesser and more regrettable attempts at kickstarting a franchise – even though some of them were well received at the time.
The least of these lesser efforts has to be Batman & Robin, and while responsibility for the title can be shared around between director Joel Schumacher, an awful script and a pair of bat-nipples, that combo alone isn’t enough to land such a film on this list. That takes something extra. It would take a larger than life personality making a monumental misjudgment of Waterworldian proportions.
Enter Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze. With his every sentence laced with dire puns all referencing either cold weather or storms, Mr Freeze’s every line is memorable for all the wrong reasons. The film rightfully went down as one of the worst big budget films in history.
For this indecency to humanity Arnie was paid 25M and given top billing.
A film entitled Booty Call practically demands that you enter with the lowest expectations. But even the most easily pleased must have difficulty in stomaching a scene where Vivica A. Fox (her other middle name is ‘Not’ and it goes before the A) insists that Jamie Foxx talk dirty to her in an array of celebrity impersonations.
You wish they went back to the lazy sex comedy that had the two male leads running all over the city looking for condoms and pointing fun at stereotypes. Kind of.
I knew in advance that this would hurt me, but the supposedly hilarious scene where the bride to be’s lifelong friend and pal of the moment attempt to one-up each other at the engagement announcement damaged me in ways you can’t imagine.
Every time one of them relinquished the mike after an oh so heartfelt speech I prayed that the other would let it – and my churning stomach – be.
Alas they kept returning for more.
The whole ‘shitting all over the shop’ thing felt only mostly disgusting and unfunny after that experience.
I know The Simpsons already covered this, but seriously how are we expected to believe that Max Cady held onto the chassis of a fast moving car for God knows how long with only a belt and his (obviously vice-like) tattooed forearms?
Have you ever tried to fit under a car, even a stationary one, since you were a kid? Even tried to reach under even to grab a tennis ball?
No wonder it took Nick Nolte and his family 27 goes to kill Cady after that effort.
Stallone likes his hooks, but for every ‘cauterising the wound’ moment of coolness from Rambo 3, there are equally silly moments that bring balance to the universe, including the afore-mentioned ‘go with the flow’, Paulie’s stupid robot girlfriend from Rocky 5 and the whole ‘I must save Brigette Nielson’ thing from Cobra.
The accusation here is also from Cobra. And the ‘axe gang ritual’ can’t even claim awkward international booty calls as an excuse. A bunch of denim wearing douches playing at being tough guys by standing in a sweaty factory and clinking axes together in unison while sunlight beams shine through open windows might have sounded cool in the script, but…
… actually who am I kidding? That would’ve sounded just as ridiculous in the script.
They did it anyway.
Nicolas Cage deserves his own list of over-acting moments, but I think that has already been done – and besides, he adds to it with every new straight to DVD film.
However I can’t ignore the moment that was supposed to represent the last straw for Cameron Poe, his hairy long-faced character that is trapped aboard a prison transport plane chock full of low lives and scuzzballs.
Poe has had just about enough of toeing the line in this prisoner ruled plane thanks very much, and he clearly enunciates as much when a dangerous man crosses that line… by picking up a stuffed toy. Summoning as much conviction as he can muster, Poe calmly orders the man to “Put the bunny back in the box”. The penalty for ignoring this order? Death.
Put the bunny back in the box indeed.
John Carpenter had already lost the plot by the time the sequel to one of his decent 80s films arrived, we just didn’t know it yet.
Consider this the full stop. The credibility bereft sequence only starts with Snake Plissken playing a game of H.O.R.S.E. on a basketball court for his life while thousands look on enraptured as he makes unlikely shot after unlikely shot (amazing considering his lack of depth perception). But there’s more of the less; five minutes (which felt like weeks) later he is being passed by Peter Fonda surfing on lava.
And I’ll leave out the bit where Pam Grier plays the least credible female impersonator in history. Wait. She’s a woman? Really?
Save us please.
It’s not much of a stretch to think that a guy who felt it reasonable to have his two macho male leads refer to each other as Mickey Mouse and Dumbo managed to come up with another affectation awkward enough that it might make Lady GaGa blush – though you wouldn’t see it under the face paint and fake… personality. Add to this the fact that two of Hollywood’s serial over-actors in John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are headlining and you have a recipe for stupidity.
Look, I can see with a title like Face / Off and a premise revolving around two polar opposites who literally trade faces, that the symbolism of having a shared family tradition of running your fingers down someone’s face is apt. I really do. But ‘sounds OK’ and reality are two different things entirely.
Imagine for a second that every time you said ‘See ya Pop’ and headed for the door, that instead of a pat on the head or a kiss on the cheek, Dad instead (gently) raked his fingers down your face in a gesture of fondness. And if that isn’t creepy and inappropriate enough…
…Then imagine that it was John Travolta’s ‘massaging hand’.
Before Sly Stallone’s character Frank ends up in prison for a low level offence (that we are supposed to forgive), he and his girlfriend were undeniably guilty of perpetrating one of the most heinous crimes against common decency on film. Apparently their entire relationship is represented by a hand gesture that means ‘go with the flow’… or something.
In any case it is so ‘deep and meaningful’ to them – and so very cheesy to those of us in the real world – that every time they shared their stupidity for all the world to see I felt Frank should have had a year tacked on to his sentence.
I know that we shouldn’t expect much from the guy who thought to make a movie about arm wrestling truck drivers, but I can’t be expected to ‘go with the flow’ with something this stupid.
An 80s horror comedy that still holds up today. A couple of tweaks to the soundtrack and the slang – and Keifer Sutherland’s hair – and you could almost fool a rookie into thinking it was made last year by Ti West indulging his ‘retro flava’ (which is nu-speak for ‘boring’).
Except, that is, for one moment. In a scene that is supposed to represent the increasing intensity of the situation facing the two brothers who have just moved into a vampire-infested neighbourhood (wondered why prices were so low). The ‘action’ keeps cutting back to a shirtless and well toned saxophone player. To his credit the oily saxophone guy plays the scene straight and actually looks like he thinks he is being cool. I’m not sure if he watched his moment in the spotlight again today that he would be as understanding of his own performance.
All of us have moments from the past that we cringe at the very thought of. Shirtless, oily sax-guy’s just happened to be immortalised in a film remembered fondly by a generation.
A slightly obscure French made action film that is serviceable and unremarkable in all other respects, The Nest is worthy of inclusion for a scene early in the film that will make your toes curl.
A group of bad guys are traveling to a job. The driver whistles for maybe a second. His passenger gives him the ‘cut that out’ look. Undeterred the driver whistles again. Another look, another pause. (At this point I cringed and thought ‘don’t you do fucking it!’)
When the driver recommences his whistle the passenger accompanies him. Within a few seconds the guys in the back are joining in – with one joyfully beatboxing along – as if determined to make such a list as this one.
Short embarrassing moment over, the 5 or so passengers head off to what eventually turns into a bloody shoot-em-up, chuckling to themselves as if this spontaneous nonsense happens every day.
Count me among the majority as one who would think plummeting to Earth after an emergency ejection as an event to be thought of in a negative light. But I would like to think that even with possible death staring me in the face I would have a little more composure than Jessica Biel’s flight lieutenant in Stealth – who I might add is an experienced and well trained fighter pilot… *SCOFF* who wasn’t at all cast because she agreed to an ‘R&R’ scene where she rocks a skimpy blue bikini for no reason… *COUGH – BULLSHIT!*
Look it’s bad enough to have Jessica Biel as a fighter pilot (but then again Denise Richards was not only a starship captain but a nuclear scientist!). However her three minute descent accompanied by non-stop hysterical running commentary for the entire support team on base to hear is cringeworthy for all the wrong reasons.
Thanks to the miracle of the internet I managed to track down a copy of the script – the miracle being that a film as awful as Stealth actually had a script – so that we can bask in the horrifically cheesy few minutes together. (Remember to read this in your most annoying shrill voice.)
“Talon going down… I’m punching out… I’ve ejected… I’m under the plane…
Oh, Christ, here it comes… There’s burning debris everywhere… It’s all over the sky…
It’s gonna catch me… It’s gonna burn up my chute… I’ve gotta pop closer to Earth…
I gotta… I gotta reset… Gotta stay ahead of this… Stay ahead…
Terminal velocity attained… Terminal velocity attained…
Here we go… There’s burning debris… It’s raining all around me… It got my chute.
I’m hit! I’m hit!… My chute is on fire… It is on fire… Oh, God. I am coming in fast…
I’m coming in way too fast… Oh, God…”
Oh god indeed. Three plus minutes. Zero excuses.
You mean aside from the bit where the hero’s name is West and he’s a bit Wild-Wild? You mean even apart from the giant robot-spider as the primary threat to humanity?
Surely you mean the two entirely separate occasions where a man dressed up as a ‘man dressed as a woman’ in the interest of furthering comedy?
What about the slur battle where a black man and a disabled person took turns to degrade each other, using only the most inappropriate targets?
Let’s just consider this an entry for the entire two hours of the film.
(and for that matter the sequel)
Just… all of it really.
(This segment brought to you by ‘INANITY’ Energy drink. All of the intensity with none of the common sense. Overpay for some today!)
You could come up with justifications or reasons for all of the films above – if you tried hard enough or are the forgiving type. But the fact is that even the smallest budget Hollywood movie is workshopped and test-audienced to death these days.
At the risk of being controversial we have no room for cheese nowadays. Phew, so glad I got that off my chest.
But as long as filmmakers are taking chances (or in Will Ferrell’s case ‘not taking chances’) there will be awkward moments that miss the intended mark. Put enough of them in a line and you’ve got yourself the next Transformers film. Which reminds me, isn’t it that time again…
Until Transformers 5.