Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach Girls and The Monster: Terrible Movies #150

"Teenagers" (thirtysomethings) with dubbed voices shimmy, Twist, and Frug until one is "killed" (slightly choked) by a "monster" (a guy in a conehead guppy mask covered in phony seaweed) while swingin' "rock-n-roll" (rock-n-roll) plays. Then someone thinks a footprint found on the beach could be from a fish (really). Extended surfing, walking, and Frugging interludes combined with puppetry, singalongs, and rear-projection driving sequences stretch a ten page screenplay into a full-length feature. It's a Beach Blanket Bummer (with a monster). I watched it at Youtube, and you can watch it below, but don't.

The Flight That Disappeared: Terrible Movies #149

People talk and smoke aboard an airplane made out of pegboard and TV trays when it magically begins to climb in altitude, and strangely enough, this seems to coincide with the sound of a theremin on the soundtrack. Other than smoking, talking, drinking coffee, sweating, and pacing, not much else seems to happen. Boring and science-phobic. I watched this Cold War mess on Netflix, and you shouldn't.

Sorry, no trailer. Enjoy this instead:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Phantom Express: Terrible Movies #148

Plot: Miniature trains derail occasionally, and everyone talks about it. Avoid unless you enjoy choppy prints, strange Scandinavian accents, corny pinochle jokes; or hearing the words nincompoop, dickens, or whippersnapper while a sorrowful violin plays. Contains utterances of the phrase "You're darn tootin'!" and very few Phantom Expresses of any variety. I watched it on Youtube, and you can watch it below but there must be something else you can be doing.

Track Of The Moonbeast: Terrible Movies #147

The film opens with what appears to be footage of a flaming s'more danging from a string hovering in space. Then a shirtless dude and a chick in short-shorts awkwardly meet-nice and it makes you want to die a little. Do we have a clip? Great!

It hurts to watch but you somehow can't look away. Yikes. Anyway, everyone eats stew outdoors while watching TV and discussing lizards. You don't need to see that. Some time later, Shirtless Dude and Ms. Short-shorts say they've climbed a 10,000 foot mountain in the dark. It's very doubtful they did this. Suddenly, Shirtless Dude is struck in the forehead by a hunk of "lunar" meteorite, which conveniently causes him to collapse on top of Ms. Short-shorts. Then Shirtless Dude says, "I've got all kinds of antiseptic in my medicine cabinet at my place", they go back to his place, and he shows her his giant lizard. You know, this sounds a lot dirtier than it really is. He has a giant lizard in a cage at his house. Really. I'm not sure why.

For some reason, a band plays a mellow country-rock song called "California Lady" that doesn't really forward the plot and sums up what made the early 70's so insufferable, there's some confusing pajama-related editing, and someone flubs their lines. Do we have a clip? We do? Awesome!

I'm so glad you got to see that because it's just awful and you probably wouldn't have believed me. Anyway, a drunk bowler is killed but you only hear him scream, a woman in a muumuu suffers a heart attack and you only get to see the sad downward drifting of the camera as she clutches her heart in a nondescript fashion, and there's an unconvincing monster attack in a tent. There's shoddy camerawork, poorly lit night scenes, suspenseful tuba, an incomprehensible script, and suspect science. There's unconvincing man-fainting, unconvincing archery, unconvincing mountain climbing, an unconvincing groan-inducing kiss lacking any semblance of chemistry, an unconvincing motorcycle crash, an unconvincing station wagon scene, a LOL-inducing transformation scene with inexplicable fade-out, and a completely convincing store called "Coins and Guns" owned by a Colonel Sanders lookalike.

Here's a brief list of some of the dialogue you'll hear:
"Moonrock? Oh WOW!"
"This is the normal situation, just to give you an idea."
"He became a demon-lizard-monster."
"There's been a definite growth."
"Everything is authentic Indian."
"If I have to die, I want to die looking like a man."
"One Indian mystery...solved."

You'll have to see it to believe it.

Summing up, everything about this movie is completely dreadful. In fact, if you love stuff that sucks, you may end up marrying this movie and buying a house in the suburbs in a really good school district and years later celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary. I watched it on DVD, but you can watch it at Youtube. Here's the link, but you'll have to sign up and tell them you're old enough to watch it. Why? I'm not sure considering there's very little blood, no foul language, no nudity, and very few moonbeasts.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Season Of The Witch: Terrible Movies #146

14th Century sword-wielding Nicolas Cage somehow drags an accused plague-causing witch in a cage with wheels over a very unlikely bridge to a distant city for her trial. Here's the breakdown: unconvincing CGI, unconvincing green-screen effects, unconvincing hair-piece, nondescript transient accents, corny dialogue and nonsensical contradictions. I spent much of the movie watching Cage's drifting hairline, LOL-ing at howl-inducing dialogue like, "They didn't know the darkness that almost was", and marveling at the idea of a former Crusader inventing the concept of sterilization 500 years before Tichenor's use of antiseptics in 1861. I mean seriously, Wikipedia is right there, on the Internet, for anyone to use, and it's free. How about doing 30 whole seconds of research? I'm a dumbass and I was able to look that up. Hold on a moment, let me Google that for you:

So, yeah. It has an intriguing opening sequence that doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the movie and some grody purpura due to disseminated intravascular coagulation-inspired makeup work (oh look at that, more information from Wikipedia). There's also more werewolves, demons and zombies than actual witches, I guess. It's hard to tell. If you figure that out, let me know, because I'm not watching this movie again. I pay-per-viewed this mess, and I'm not sure why. Here's a trailer, which pretty much gives the entire movie away so maybe you should just watch something else:

In fact, here's a grainy video of Donovan singing "Season Of The Witch", and although it's only 3 minutes long it's somehow better than this movie.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Joy Of Easy Listening: A Good One #95

A very forgiving BBC documentary about the maligned musical style that flourished in the early 60's. Features surprising interviews with some of the artists, several of whom seem quite affable and hip. Well, except for Richard Carpenter, who comes off as an incredible grump and a huge square, which surprisingly enough isn't that surprising. Seriously, who says poppycock? I watched it first at Boing Boing, then continued it at Youtube, and you can watch it below.

Green Lantern 3D: A Good One #94

Maybe I'm feeling generous. Maybe I'm suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from watching that Transformers movie. Maybe my standards have fallen so low I can no longer tell what is good and what is bad. Maybe it was the 3D. Maybe I'm just a comic book geek. I was pleasantly surprised by Green Lantern. However, I had absolutely no hope this movie would be any damn good. Did you see the trailers? Man, were they bad. And my experience in the past with 3D movies has left something to be desired. The Mask? Comin' At Ya? Friday The 13th Part 3? Not good movies. So, the effects were pretty cool, and the origin story was cool; but the film's resolution was rushed, the villains were lackluster, and it falls apart at the end. Overall, a barely passing grade. If you decide to go, spend the few extra bucks and watch it in 3D. Here's a trailer:

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen: Terrible Movies #146

Disclaimer: I have not seen the first Transformer film.

Plot: Things change into other things. Sometimes completely different things explode. This happens for 147 minutes.

Hundreds of millions of dollars made Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen a beautiful thing to watch. You can see a car-robot-thing climb some relatively recognizable world landmark and, with appropriately triumphant music and several lucrative product placements, see that car-robot-thing destroy that recognizable world landmark with just the right amount of lens-flare because it was conveniently shot during The Magic Hour in some distant locale and fiddled with in post-production using the latest CGI technology. Sadly, like a mink toilet lid cover or a solid gold douchebag, this film is simultaneously gaudy, opulent, confusing, garish, shiny, useless, offensive, and dumb. Run, run, run from this film like you're Shia LeBeouf on the Giza Plateau. I recorded it during one of those free pay channel cable weekends, and I may never get over it.

Here's a trailer, but considering this movie made over $400 million, you've probably already seen it and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dark Star: Terrible Movies #145

Highly improbable space things happen to hippies who destroy unstable planets. Here's what you'll see: excessive beard growth, rubber chickens, x-ray spex, someone being tickled by a beach ball with feet, an 8-track labeled "My Diary", pixelated pin-ups, space suits made out of muffin tins, a lengthy and pointless elevator shaft sequence and an existential argument with a "smart bomb". 83 laugh-free minutes. I watched it on DVD, and I regret it. Here's a trailer:

A Place Of One's Own: Terrible Movies #143

A miscast James Mason wearing WTF facial hair moves his wife and her scenery-chewing companion into a house left abandoned for 40 years and odd stuff supposedly happens between overly mannered and stuffy garden parties but what happens isn't that odd and doesn't happen very often. What could have been a very good "old dark house" ghost story would have benefited from at least one old dark house and one ghost. Not bad if you like boring period love stories where someone meets someone else and swoons at first sight and everyone stands around in tuxedos and talks and talks and talks, but haven't you seen enough of those? I watched it on Netflix Instant Streaming. Here's a trailer:

Oh my. That wasn't the trailer at all. That seems to be the fish-slapping dance from Monty Python. My mistake.

Well, there doesn't seem to be a trailer, so just watch that instead. Sorry for the confusion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brazil: A Good One #93

Terry Gilliam's influential and prescient masterpiece that predicts the advent of video surveillance, body scanners, screensavers, phone trees, plastic surgery, ridiculous hats, bureaucracy, steampunk, national IDs, terrorism, motivational propaganda posters, cyber-stalking, dystopian societies, the concept of the internet being a series of tubes, and the absurdity of modern life. Excellent. I recorded it from one of the pay cable channels. I don't remember which one. Here's a trailer:

*Disclaimer: This film may not have foreseen all of the above.

Killers From Space: Terrible Movies #142

Peter Graves crashes his model plane dangling from a string, and then he sees huge ping-pong ball eyeballs superimposed in front of his venetian blinds in the night. Not much else happens. This film could be terrifying for those afraid of people standing in front of complicated machinery holding clipboards, men in leotards attempting to keep ping-pong ball eyeballs in place over their eyes, excessive plot-related pipe smoking, people chasing Peter Graves through industrial areas, Peter Graves standing in front of rear-projections of giant grasshoppers, and Peter Graves without a shirt. I watched it at Youtube, and you can watch it below.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Knowing: Terrible Movies #141

Warning: Contains spoilers.

I wanted to like this movie. I didn't. And I wanted to be generous. I can't.

The problem with modern movies is through the use of computers and state-of-the-art cameras and hundreds of millions of dollars, terrible movies can look pretty fantastic. Through dozens of screenwriters and focus groups and test screenings, all the warts and blemishes can be buffed away in a terrible movie, leaving you with a lovely finished product that at first seems to make some semblance of sense. It's not quite like it was in the old days. There are no cardboard sets or visible booms. Computers dermabrade all the imperfections away, and in a world where computers make anything possible in film, modern film-makers feel they have an obligation to show us everything that is possible whether we need to see it or not.

"Knowing" has an intriguing premise, where a young girl scribbles cryptic numbers on a sheet of paper and places it in a time capsule. 50 years later, Nicolas Cage realizes that the numbers signify terrible events that happened in the past, and of course, some that could happen in the future. It's beautifully shot and has some eerie moments. I was fooled for about 30 minutes into believing this movie wasn't awful. I started watching it kind of late in the evening, and I found a pretty good stopping point, and started it over the next day.

It wasn't until the credits started rolling on that second viewing that I started to become very angry. I suddenly realized I was cheated. This is a retelling of the mythological story of Cassandra. Sadly, this ersatz modern Cassandra is a creation of the cynical times we live in. She's an ironic, elitist and detached Cassandra. Aliens (angels?) give a message to one person who goes insane, OD's and dies. The message was buried in the frickin' ground for 50 years. Plus the message is of a cataclysm so immense that there's no escape, even if the message was heard and understood, mankind wouldn't have the capabilities to save the planet. So why give a warning at all? Plus, if the alien/angels are going to follow the families around all the time, and even drive them to the point of departure from the soon-to-be-destroyed planet, why give coordinates, rendering a large chunk of plot moot? And these alien/angels with several gigantic ships are the most elitist kind of "too-little-too-late" saviors. Sorry Earth; we alien/angels are so technologically advanced we only need about 12 of you and a handful of rabbits to rebuild the planet's ecosystem. You all are just going to have to deal with your planet being reduced to charcoal. Oops, we should've brought the minivan 'cause there's just not enough room for ya'll and all these rabbits.

Excpet the aliens never say anything and probably worked for scale.

So, we have Nicolas Cage portraying an absent-minded professor who only teaches one not-very-sciency class who's emotional range varies from blank and lethargic (whenever interacting with his son), to unintentionally and comically bipolar (yanking a dry-erase board off one wall only to lean it against another), to screeching histrionics (asking a convenience store clerk during a riot if he's seen any screaming women). Several other ORLY? moments like that happen, for instance when Cage asks the elderly teacher in the early stages of dementia who offers him tea a few times if she remembers any specifics about stuff she likely wouldn't have been privy to, or when he conveniently stops at the one really, really important car accident while everything's going to hell in a handbasket. This film could be extremely frustrating to people who dislike ham-fisted Biblical allusions or brief moments of suspect science. Features lots of very unnecessary CGI effects of plane crash victims on fire, the entirety of the Earth being destroyed, and commuters being crushed into a paste by subway trains, which comes off as hollow, vapid, and showy. Again, just because the technology exists to allows us to see commuter paste doesn't mean we need to see it, not that the idea isn't sometimes appealing.

I watched this movie on the Movie Channel during one of those free weekend things. Here's a trailer, which is well-edited, brief, and leaves some things to the imagination, which the film-makers should have taken as a hint that sometimes less is more.

Super 8: A Good One #91

It's true. I went out to the theater and saw a movie crowds of people might want to watch.

I survived.

Originally wrapped in secrecy, Super 8 is a exceedingly well-crafted boy's adventure tale by J.J. Abrams in the vein of the exceedingly well-crafted boy's adventure tales by Steven Spielberg of the 70's and 80's, and while Spielberg 'merely' produces here, his influence is all over this picture. From the characterization, the slowly building tension, the clever distractions, the effective pacing, the sense of wonder in the actors' faces, the graceful ballet-like tracking shots, the attention to detail, the accurate sense of time and place, and the charming lack of cynicism; you'll see multiple homages to Spielberg's films. Excellent.
Here's the trailer:

Inglourious Basterds: A Good One #92

Nope. Didn't see this one when it was in theaters either. Look, give me a break. I watch bad movies on my television (or computer) and complain about them. It's what I do. This is a good one, and I don't think I can really shed any new light on it. It has all the hallmarks of a Tarantino film. Epic length, excessive and florid dialogue, grisly violence, and, ever so briefly, some chick's going to have a bare foot. It's not as though this movie needs anyone else reviewing it. In fact, there are over 1200 reviews at IMDB. I'm sure someone brought up the same points I did. So there you go. I recorded it on some cable pay channel during one of their free weekends when they play the same 14 movies and there still wasn't anything else worthwhile to watch. You already know all about this movie, and it was nominated for a bunch of awards, including winning a well deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Christoph Waltz. Here's a trailer, but I don't know why I'm including it because everyone's seen this film but me.

Future By Design: A Good One #90

An average documentary about futurist Jacque Fresco, a self-taught engineer and inventor. Featuring many of his designs, which vary from the outrageous to the completely believable, in which he has created a green and sustainable future for our planet. Sadly, few of his ideas will come to fruition, I fear. I watched it on Netflix Instant Streaming. Here's a trailer:

Friday, June 10, 2011


I submitted my blog to the Large Association Of Movie Blogs. I think I screwed my application up because I didn't include a screenshot. Oops. Here's a link if you would like to join.


If you're ever in the Chicago area, you should definitely check out a little store in Berwyn, Illinois called Horrorbles. Filled to the brim with horror memorabilia, DVDs, models, vintage posters, and t-shirts, plus they have a mini-theater in their torture chamber-themed basement where they screen horror films. A fantastic store.

Evil Brain From Outer Space: Terrible Movies #140

One man in a leotard awkwardly battles another man in a leotard in an attempt to save the world from a disease spreading nuclear alien brain, I think. I can't be 100% sure on the plot. Pulsating brains, a team of Batmans, backwards effects, and some sort of Kabuki-villain are some of the awful things featured in this film. Highly recommended if you like stuff that sucks. I watched it on the Alpha Video DVD, and you can watch it below.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Joneses: A Good One #89

A well-shot and acted, but ultimately predictable drama about class, conformity and materialism. Playing beautiful and charming shills among the nouveau-riche and the easily-led living in Gated Community USA, Demi Moore and David Duchovny get the job done. I watched it on Netflix Instant Streaming.

They Saved Hitler's Brain: Terrible Movies #139

You've all heard about this one, right? No? Well, filming began in the early 1960's, and you can tell by the quality film stock, average art direction, and crew-cuts. 20 minutes of additional footage was shot by UCLA film students 8 years later with a different cast, a Volkswagon Beetle and poor film stock and then it was all Scotch-taped together into a huge confusing mess. There are multiple continuity errors, wooden acting, late 1960's mustaches, haphazard editing, and an impenetrable script. The Twist is performed for some reason, sometimes the cast talks in hep-cat lingo, doors don't want to close, and foley crickets don't always get the clue that the action has moved indoors. I would try to explain the plot, but I can't. Let's just say they should have named this film They Saved Hitler's Head And Shoulders In A Large Container And Then Drove It Around In The Backseat Of A 1960's Sedan I Guess, but no one would want to go see that. To add insult to injury, this movie is boring. BORING! I watched it at Google Video, and you can watch it below, but you probably shouldn't.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Passageway: A Good One #88

The Passageway is a medical drama where a family makes some tough end-of-life decisions. While grim, this film avoids the maudlin through an effective script and good pacing. Comedic and sci-fi elements help lighten the mood. It also has some impressive special effects considering the budget. Here's a trailer:

The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made: Terrible Movies #138

A crappy documentary about the crappiest movies ever made, but you have to take any bad movie list that neglects to include Manos: The Hands Of Fate with a grain of salt. Filled with inane commentary, bargain basement graphics, and very little footage of the bad films in question. However, it gave me some great recommendations. I watched it on Netflix Instant Streaming.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Special When Lit: A Pinball Documentary: A Good One #87

An above-average, if somewhat obsessed, documentary about pinball. Makes you want to drop some quarters and play a few games, but contain yourself and try not to buy 40 or 50 pinball machines. That's taking it a little too far. I watched it at Hulu, and you can watch it below.