Friday, April 25, 2008

Craptaculous Film Adventures

Movies You Aren’t “Supposed” to Like

Now some people like only those movies which everyone else hesitates to cop to liking. I’m not really talking to you here. I can be a bit of a film snob at times, but I’m a film snob with a weakness for kitsch and kickass CGI. It’s terrible, I know. I’m going to tell you about this forbidden love and then I’ll go wash my mind out with soap.

You know what I’m talking about if you’re a midlevel film buff. You can quote The Godfather. You loved The City of Lost Children. You’ve had a conversation about Meryl Streep in Out of Africa that segued into an animated argument about Charlie Kaufman. You have passionate opinions about Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner being remade in the 21st century as a comedy. Not exactly a film scholar, but reasonably knowledgeable about film... just enough that you know which movies you are not supposed to love. Or even admit to having watched. Especially not more than once.

Now some films that aren’t so classy or brilliant totally escape this category. Like films that you grew attached to during your formative years (Grease, Fame) and Cult classics (Rocky Horror, Monty Python and the Holy Grail). A lot of films escape the stigma on sheer cool factor or having a respected director attached who makes the film more acceptable on the whole (Although some directors come into or out of style over time in an odd fashion. Case in point: when Army of Darkness was released, I was crazy for loving it - but NOW it’s cool to have a long standing love of Sam Rami. Whatever.). So, not those films.

I’m talking about the kitschy cheesefests and the unlikely shoot-em-ups that you rightfully ask aloud, “How did this film even get made?” And yet, you love it. You might be one of only a few dozen people who know it’s kind of awful but love it anyway (there are always the people who just don’t know it’s awful), but for whatever reason - it works for you, it makes you laugh, it allows you to check your brain at the door, something about it makes you happy. We need those movies. I respect and understand it when a friend tells me, “Ok. Don’t laugh, but you know what movie I love?”

And naturally I have my own list of the movies. But you know what movie I’ve been thinking about lately that I LOVE and know without question is B-A-D?

Who’s That Girl. That’s right. Madonna doing her best Betty Boop impersonation at the height of her Marilyn meets Sid Viscious phase. Refusing to act her way out of a paper bag. Back when she was still sporting those thick, dark eyebrows which I actually loved on her. In an impossibly illogical modern fairy tale about a sucessful executive with a huge stick up his butt abondoning his stuffy life and future wife for a cleptomaniac convict with a penchant for black lace. It’s SUPPOSED to be an update of Bringing Up Baby which we won’t even go into because that’s such an insult to Hepburn and Grant. But I love it anyway.

Griffin Dunne makes completely absurd choices that no man in his position would ever make, but he’s adorable and confused and you’re all like, “Well, OBVIOUSLY she has addled his brain with the oozing sex and all.” They pick up a Pategonian Felis (Puma or Mountain Lion... and not a correct scientific name from what I can glean on the interweb) which Madonna erroniously refers to as a tiger thruought the film. She names it Murray (great name) and it naturally becomes her pet pussycat and does whatever she says just because. She drags Dunne into a bad part of town to buy illegal guns and does the whole cutesy newsboy-capped-head popping out of a dumpster shot. Dunne’s bride to be has a hilarious subplot going on in which she is diddling everyone in NYC, with a particular penchant for taxi drivers who turn up all over saying, “I had her in my cab.” and then laughing in an uber creepy way. Madonna sports the most godawful fake Brooklyn accent ever captured on film. They spend 90% of the film being chased by thugs all over New York. The dialog is completely silly but my sister and I used to quote it to each other in tones of hysterical glee.

It’s awful. So awful, it’s kind of awesome.

Other craptastical films I love: Earth Girls are Easy (yes, I said it. I’m not taking it back), SING, The Craft, Cutting Class, Time Trackers (MASSIVE crush on Alex Hyde-White as Edgar of Mansfield), The Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea, Bloodsport, The Phantom (really mostly just for the fact that Billy Zane wears a purple bodysuit), Shock Treatment and (of course) Desperately Seeking Susan...

Well, those are the titles I can think of off the top of my head. There. I've confessed. May the person who has not loved a thoroughly atrocious film at some point in his or her life hurl the first stone.

Yeah. That's what I thought.


  1. You know I have my own list...and I still know the words to "I'm a Blonde!"(yeah yeah yeah!) From EGaE...

    I love Desperately Seeking Susan, Mannequin, Bandits(BBT, Cate Blanchet and Bruce willis) under Siege, Exotica, and The 13th Warrior.

    and my favorite movie ever is Out of Sight, which not everyone likes but everyone should ;)

  2. hahaha "refusing to act her way out of a paper bag" Yes!!

    I adore The Craft.

    I want to think of more craptacular movies I love! Does something like GI Jane count? Because that is one of my favorite movies of all time. Yeah, you heard me! Of all time!! There may be better movies - but do I feel like watching those, oh, once or twice a month? NO!!

  3. I love "Who's That Girl?" Hahaha! So sublimely ridiculous.

    And I really miss her caterpillar eyebrow.

  4. That's "eyebrows" if I remember correctly.


  5. Even if I don't like Who's That Girl I can say I'm glad I saw it because it made your synopsis of it that much more enjoyable.

    I definitely liked The Craft and plan on doing something at some point pondering just what in the hell happened to Fairuza Balk, one of the best young actresses of the eighties and nineties. After I saw her in Gas, Food, Lodging I went on a mission to see everything she had done I was so impressed.

    But I digress. Assuming this comment section will never be used against me in a court of law I admit to loving two very poorly done sci-fi movies from the early eighties. Not poorly done like Plan Nine from Outer Space or Queen of Outer Space both of which I love but they're so bad everyone loves them. These are ones that are hopelessly mediocre so most people are bored to tears by them. But not me. So anyway, as my face turns red, I admit to a great love for ... Raise the Titanic and The Final Countdown.

    Man I'm pathetic.

  6. I think it's important to embrace our most embarassing beloved films. It's humbling and reminds us that while we may generally be better than lots of other people, even we are not without flaws. Glorious, silly, geeky flaws. That's important. :)

    Sheila - I LOVE G.I. Jane! One of my favorites, too. Generally scorned by critics if I remember correctly, so it may count. But then, it's Ridley Scott who has something of a following... so I'm not sure. But either way - awesome stuff.

  7. "Drive Me Crazy." Yes, part of it is that I like to stare at Adrian Grenier's luscious mouth, but really--the whole story's improbable. Melissa Joan Hart as an overachieving high school senior hanging out with a bunch of supposed friends who are all backstabbers, one of which often speaks in a newspaper headline style.

  8. Young Doctors In Love. So stupid you have to laugh.

  9. Awesome. I love that everyone has one of these. And I've never seen Young Doctors in Love AND I get a kick out of Sean Young so I'm going to have to dig up a copy of that one!