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Archive for the ‘William Shatner’ Category

laodedweapon1There was a time in my 46 year life that the name National Lampoon meant hilarious comedy. I was first introduced to the name as a small lad while watching National Lampoon’s Animal House.   Boy that was a great movie for an 8 year old.   So many breasts so little, little time, but, I digress.  The National Lampoon name gave us such classics as the above mentioned Animal House, Vacation, and Christmas Vacation.  Now that seems like a 100 years ago because over the last 20+ years the name is associated with garbage.  I saw the beginning of the demise of the name in a large movie theater in 1993 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I remember it because in a movie theater that could seat 250 people there was myself, and two other people, in the entire theater.  The name of that movie was National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1.

The movie is a parody of the first two Lethal Weapon movies as well as a host of other successful films of the late 80’s early 90’s.  Detectives Colt, played by Emilio Estevez (Bobby,) and Luger, played by Samuel L. Jackson (Iron Man 2,) are looking for the killer of Luger’s former partner York, played briefly by Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act,) and how its connected with the distribution of Cocaine by selling Wilderness Girl Cookies.

Thanks to wonderful comedic spoof movies such as Airplane and, more importantly, The Naked Gun franchise, in the 80’s, spoof movies became a part of the comedic movie landscape.  Unfortunately almost all of them suck.  But that didn’t keep people from making them.  The problem is that the spoof movies all suffered from the same thing in that they largely ignored the story and instead used a constant barrage of one time gags that weren’t even related to the film’s story but had more to do with pop culture of the time.  The reason why Airplane, The Naked Gun, Hot Shots, and two of the Scary Movies, are funny is that the story is the driving force of the comedy and the gags that are written into it are overblown examples of the movies they are spoofing.

The problem for Loaded Weapon 1 is that most of the films gags are all based on other movies of the era and even though they are blown out of proportion that don’t add to the humor of the film.  The gags that were spoofing the movies Silence of the Lambs and Basic Instinct didn’t really work.  Although I will say that the interrogation scene that was from Basic Instinct was somewhat humorous because of the “gratuitous beaver shot” in which they movie showed a stuff beaver was somewhat cleaver.  Nowhere near as cleaver as the “Nice Beaver” gag in The Naked Gun, but it did cause me to giggle when I saw the film, which is few and far between.  The writing is the weak link in the film.  Too many of the pop culture references, while they may look good on paper, just don’t work.  Besides the above mentioned movie references there is a scene where the Colt and Luger are in a hotel looking for their informant and they move up the stairs where they see gunfire.  When they get to the second floor they see a motorcycle policeman with his cycle, shooting at someone.  This isn’t any ordinary motorcycle cop but Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello from the 70’s and 80’s TV show C.H.i.P.S. (unfortunately being remade into a movie coming out this year for some reason.)  While I would assume many of us would get the joke by this time it is 10 years after the TV show was canceled and nowhere near funny enough.

The actors were a mix bag of both funny and unfunny.  While I am a fan of both Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson, neither of them really seemed to have any comedic timing in the film but then again it could be because they didn’t have anything funny to say.  It was almost as if they were both the straight men and the rest of the cast got to have all the fun.  Since a certain amount of over acting needs to take place, the main villain of the film, General Mortars, played by William Shatner (Star Trek,)is perfectly cast because no man overacts like Shatner and has a great time doing it.  General Mortars henchman Mr. Jigsaw, played by Tim Curry (Clue,) is also enjoyable in the film.  I will admit that the one actress I wanted to see in this film is a horrible actress but a gorgeous super model…of the 1980’s.  Her name is Kathy Ireland and she is very hot…for the 1980’s.  She is horrible in the film but wonderful to look at.

kireland

If you want to watch the film, you watch for the Shatner over acting, the fun work of Tim Curry and the plethora of cameo’s from many comedians of the day (and one gorgeous actress named Denise Richards who is in a very short scene with Dennis Leary.)  This movie is a portent of all of the bad spoof movies to come in the late 1990’s and 2000’s and also the beginning of the end of the name of National Lampoon being synonymous with comedy.  It did make a brief showing in Van Wilder, but thankfully now has been put to bed.  Lastly I will say that I forgot how bad this movie was and was thinking about buying it online because as I am getting older I am having a serious nostalgia bug as well as today a real bug because the idiot M.I.T. at work got me sick.  Fortunately I only rented it because something told me this was not worth buying.  I was right in that it is not worth buying but it is also not worth renting, ever.

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So this month in honor of the long awaited sequel to the 1997 film Independence Day, aptly named Independence Day: Resurgence , and because Benn’s lovely wife Heather demanded it, we are doing our top five Disaster movies. Benn because he won last month’s challenge and because he is a tool is making me list the top five worst disaster films while he gets to talk about the best ones.  So instead of giving you a list of what I consider the best disaster films which would be topped with what I consider to be the best, The Towering Inferno,  which you can read my review here, I am forced to tell you which ones absolutely suck.  All because I made him review the Twilight Saga which I still say he secretly liked.

Since Benn set the rules for the disaster films I shall share with you what they are and most of them are self-explanatory.

  1. A massive loss of life – pretty obvious but the body count can be small if it involves the entirety of whatever group is involved. Think of the movie A Perfect Storm.
  2. By Natural, unnatural and/or supernatural means – again straight forward allowing for alien invasion, viral outbreak, crazy animals etc.
  3. Disaster has to be within the timeline of the movie – The movie needs to show the disaster happening at some point for it to be included. It can’t be a post apocalyptical world so good movies such as Mad Max and horrible movies like Waterworld and The Postman are left out.
  4. No Zombies – Benn decided and I agreed that this genre of disaster/apocalypse is so popular right now that it deserves its own category so we left it out of the list.

I set some limits inside of Benn’s limits to what films I will include in this list because in all honesty if I wanted list a true list of worst disaster movies I would just go look at whatever disaster movies that have been released in the last 4 years on the Sci-Fi channel and make it from that.  So no movies that started on the Sci-Fi network.  Sorry, but not Sharknado on the list.  I also decided that these movies had to have been made after 1970 because the technology in general was too restrictive to make good special effects.  I mean the 1955 film Tarantula is hilariously funny and bad but I can’t include it on the list.  I start with the 1970’s because I would argue two of the best disaster films, the aforementioned The Towering Inferno, and the original The Poseidon Adventure, were both made in 1974, and 1972, respectively.  So with those restrictions in place, here are the top five worst disaster films.

If you want to see Benn’s list of his favorite disaster movies because Heather says so, click here.

 

kingdomspiders.jpgNo. 5 – Kingdom of the Spider (1977)

Now it is generally known to my friends that I do have a fear of spiders.  Not a horrible one where if I see a spider across the wall from where I am I won’t freak out and run out of the room.  I won’t be happy If I have one crawling on me but in general I am ok.  What I don’t like is watching them on film at all in any kind of horror story.  So you know a movie has to be ridiculously bad if I am not scared by a film that has spiders in it, a lot of them.  The 1970’s gave us some wonderful disaster films but it also gave us some horrible ones as well.  This film is bad for many reasons.  If this film was made in the 1950’s I would argue that this film would be a little bit more likeable because the general lack of science knowledge was still evident.  But by the 1970’s science was becoming a larger part of our life as well as the science of other animals.  So the ridiculousness of what these spiders could do, like draining whole human bodies of blood inside of what seemed like minutes was just bad.  This is one example of the many things that spiders wouldn’t do.  Even if the spiders were, as this story had it, infected with so much pesticide they began to have toxic bites.  It’s just not scary and very absurd.  Speaking of absurd, my favorite Star Trek captain is the star of the movie.  That’s right William Shatner himself is in this film and it fits because a bad movie needs an actor known for overacting.  Shatner’s non-death death scene was just completely awesome and an excellent example of overacting.  The jest of the movie is that several farm animals have been found dead and several colonies of tarantulas have been growing and becoming more aggressive.  Before the ranchers and small towns people can do anything about it the spiders attack and overwhelm the town and trap or heroes in a small motel.

Now the reason why I feel this is equally as disaster film as it is horror film is that it does affect a small town but there are lots of people and we see lots of deaths, the disaster is natural and the final scene implies that this could be come nationwide very soon.  This again shows how ridiculous this movie is.

TitanicNo. 4 – Titanic (1997)

I hate this film so much I almost gave myself alcohol poisoning in 1998 during the Academy Awards Show.  Benn and I and two other roommates decided to do a shot every time the word Titanic was said.  Then Billy Crystal comes out and sings a song that has Titanic in it like 11 times.  The theater director in the show we were working on or acting in who knew what we were doing was so worried about us he called 20 minutes into the show to make sure we aren’t actually doing what we said we were going to do.  Long story for another day.

This movie is really hard for me to put on the list because I love the last hour and a half of the movie once the ship hits the iceberg and we watch all the events around the sinking.  The part that I hate with an absolute passion is the stupid f’ing love story written into the event.  I couldn’t give two sh*ts about what happens to Jack and Rose and I swear if I ever met two people named Jack and Rose who are married I would think about slapping them.  Every part of their story in this film dragged the film down.

Even some of the disaster scenes were hokey.  I loved it towards the end of the film where we see passengers who were at the stern of the boat start to slide forward as the bow goes underwater.  To steal a line from those great guys at ScreenJunkies.com it’s the greatest game of human Plinko in the world.  Oh and I will forever laugh at the scene where the guy falls off the back of the Titanic and hits the propeller and flips in, just hilarious.  That being said most of the special effects were pretty amazing.  But the love story is so distracting that it causes me to hate this film with a passion which is why you see it on the list but only at number 4.

 

2012No. 3 and No. 2 – 2012 (2009) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

I can feel the hatred coming from Heather…warms my heart.  As much as I like Roland Emmerich other films, his disaster movies are long on special effects short on story, writing, acting, likeability, quality of film.  I will say that the special effects are pretty good for the most part.  But the story and the writing for me is so comical that I sit there in disbelief thinking, who wrote this.  Why does every male hero figure has to be divorced from his wife because he works to hard and a borderline bad father in a Roland Emmerich disaster movie?  One has Dennis Quaid a workaholic father who is always gone on some science expedition and therefor misses most of his teenage son growing up and John Cusack is a chauffeur driver because the one book he spent all of his time writing that he ignored his family for sold like a grand total of five copies.   Then there is the oldest son of the hero figure that is pissed at his father both for the same reason, they are never around and often too judgmental when they are around.  2012 has the extra bonus of having a child with an embarrassing need to sleep with pullup because she still wets the bed when she sleeps instead of, I don’t know, being normal.  Cliché, cliché and cliché.

dayaftertomorrowYes, the special effects are awesome but why do we have the heroes always avoiding death at the last minute. In Day After Jake Gyllenhaal’s character manages to get his friends, and the hot chick Emmy Rossum in to a library that is just high enough to avoid being completely swallowed up by the flood and fast enough to miss the flooding waters and the taxi cab blasted through the front window of the library and in 2012 John Cusack is driving just awesome enough, including INSIDE A COLLAPSING BUILDING, to get around the catastrophic earthquake to get to an airfield to help fly a plane out of the danger area JUST before the ground falls apart during the Earthquake.  So many near misses I am beginning to think nobody important dies…oh wait nobody important in these movies die!  Also, why does New Delhi India the starting point for both movies AND have some kind of unrealistic weather event going on?  In Day After its snowing in New Delhi and in 2012 it’s a heavy monsoon.  I get that the weather change is a portent of bad things to come but why New Delhi…both times?

Plus both movies show that someone in the Presidential administration is completely oblivious and borderline nefarious when it comes to caring about the lives of others. In The Day After the Vice President of US is constantly ignoring and refuting the scientific data that Dennis Quad is giving him and in 2012 the Chief of Staff to the President is basically running the show once the President sacrifices himself and the Chief is constantly making decisions that kill hundreds of people and doesn’t seem to care about it.  Plus we have the extra bonus of the political conversation of Global Warming in The Day After Tomorrow except now of course its Climate change.  Oh and the whole scene of thousands of Americans illegally crossing the border into Mexico, the delicious irony of it all.  Of course if they actually did that they all could be convicted and sent to jail for 2 to 5 years as opposed to what happens when you come to America illegally where you get free housing, healthcare, education all paid for by someone else because eventually the Democrats will need your vote.

If you want to know why I dislike The Day After Tomorrow more than 2012 its because of the scene in the library when Jake Gyllenhaal’s characters girlfriend, played by Emmy Rossum, is sick for some unknown reason and the librarian comes in with a possible answer. To set this up, earlier in the movie the kids went to this room and started grabbing books to burn to keep warm and alive when the big freeze happens and the librarian freaks out and takes no part.  So then the scene with the sick girl happens and the librarian walks in holding a book she responds to the question of how she knows by saying, “Because books can be good for something other than burning.” F*ck you lady!  If they all freeze to death no one gets to read ever again.  Plus this is the next ice age, those books are going to be under ice for the next 1000 years, they are nothing now.  What an arrogant insufferable pain in the ass, which fits because that describes these movies.

happeningNo. 1 – The Happening (2008)

I have seen this movie once and swore I would never see it again. This was where M. Night Shyamalan lost me as a fan of his movies.  How does someone write and direct the Sixth Sense and then come up with this comically bad movie.  I spent the entire time giggling at how many awesome ways people were committing suicide in the film.  I was just smiling away as the construction workers were sailing of the building and hitting the ground with a thud, the animal trainer getting mauled by the lions and the guy lying down in front of the lawn mower and on and on. Why was this happening?  What was the cause of this mass destruction across the world?  Was it alien machine?  Was it a virus that caused people to go crazy?  No.  It was Mother Nature pissed at how humans were treating the world so she released something into the air that made all of us humans commit suicide so she could start over.  A nearly two hour movie to tell us to take care of the environment?  Damn you M. Night Shyamalan, damn you to hell.

Honorable mentions –

My list is in no particular order and because I have only seen some of these once or 30 plus years ago I won’t have a lot to say, I just know that I disliked what I saw.

Left Behind (2014)

This movie is new to the list because I just saw it for the first time 5 days ago and you can read the review of the film here. It seems odd to not have this in my top five because with the exception of the Kingdom of the Spider film, all the other movies had way better special effects.  The problem with this film is that I knew going into it that it would be a horrible film.  Honestly I consider this film to barely above the level of a Sci-Fi film only because Nicholas Cage is probably at the end of the line of being an name actor.  With the slate of movies that he has coming out in the next year or so it looks like he will soon be a regular on those style of movies.  So because of that this movie isn’t in my top five, but because he still is a name he is in my honorable mention list.

Earthquake (1974)

My problem with this movie is I felt the special effects were poor. It seemed like all it did was stack a bunch of physical setting appropriate debris stacked above the camera and told all of the actors to start yelling and screaming and running around, drop the debris around them and shake the camera and boom there is your Earthquake special effects.  I am surprised that Charlton Heston starred in this film and I am even more surprised that this movie beat out The Towering Inferno for the Academy Award for Best Sound.  Hell, I can’t believe this was nominated for any awards.  After the Earthquake the story had two more major dangers, the looters and the National Guard assigned to deal with them and the damn that eventually breaks and floods parts of the city.  I felt no real connection to any of the actors in the film other than hoping that the actors survived because I like who they were in other films or TV shows.  There was an attempt at making some friction between Heston’s character Graff who it appears is going to leave his wife a crazy lady Remy played by Ava Gardner for a younger less crazy but much poorer hot chick named Denise, played by Genevieve Bujold.  After seeing Remy on screen for 30 seconds I started scream “Run Dude” at Charlton Heston.   Everything about this movie pales in comparison to The Towering Inferno and there actually are scenes that you can compare each other too on how it looked at the tension involved.  In Towering Inferno there is a scene that has a stairwell out and Paul Newman hast to use what’s left of a hand rail to get himself down, a himself and a little girl down, and then a boy gets to go down on his own and then a woman.  In Earthquake there is a building that Heston’s character works in that partially collapses and takes out a stairwell that is adjoining to an outside wall so if you fall you plummet to your death.  Lorne Green’s character gets some rope and they tie people to a chair and lower people down to Heston.  The background itself looks bad compared to Inferno and therefore there is no tension in the scene.  It is one of the many reasons why I love Inferno and hate Earthquake.

The Swarm (1978)

If the early 70’s gave us great classic disaster films then the late 70’s gave us some classically bad disaster films. Just to name a few we had Airport 79, Meteor, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (Which almost made this list,) but by far the worst of them for me was unfortunately and Irwin Allen film called The Swarm.  I vaguely remember in the early 70’s of a general concern that there was a real possibility of Africanized Bees coming up to the US.  There were news reports of how the bees were making their way from Brazil of the decades after they were introduced in the country.  But to try and turn it into a disaster/horror movie is just a horrible idea and you can see it being horrible for over two hours.  Everything that Irwin Allen was credited for doing in terms of special effects in both Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure were almost undone by this film.  The script was also horrible as well.  It had scenes were people who survived being stung were hallucinating that they were seeing giant bees all around them.    The only reason why this movie didn’t make my top five instead of Kingdom of Spiders is because there were 5 actors in this film who had won a total of seven Academy Awards two of them being Michael Caine and Henry Fonda.  I am going to link a Youtube.com video that shows highlights of how bad this film truly is.

 

Volcano (1997)

I did a review for this film which you can find here, but it makes me sad that Tommy Lee Jones was in this big pile of hot crap. The absurdity of the plot and the acting, with the exception of Jones and Don Cheadle, make this movie beyond painful.  One of the climatic scenes in the movie had all the fire fighters fighting a lava flow down Wilshire Blvd and the pool it up because the water someone manages to harden it enough to do so, and all of the firefighters start cheering and patting themselves on the back and cheering success completely forgetting the fact that 20 minutes earlier we see a part of the movie where the neighboring streets have lots of lava flow down them and nothing in its way and nobody cares.  But the good thing is that the movie doesn’t care either because we never see it again.  That’s one of many scenes that have you staring going WTF?  Just to list a few more, there is the explosion of the volcano out of the tar pits that forces the glass in the building across the street to shatter on every story and shower the people below with glass yet all come away un cut and un injured, or the scene that shows the little rat dog barking at the lava from about six inches away from the lava, or the constant political overtones of Rodney King and race relations throughout the entire f’ing film.  What makes it worse is that another disaster movie involving a volcano, Dante’s Peak, is 1000 times better plus its based on factual information as opposed to this one, which is about as factual as the story in any of your basic porn movies.  It’s Just bad all around.

Into The Storm (2014)

This one kind of hurts because the movie itself is crap but it has two actors that I am hoping have long movie careers.   The first is Sarah Wayne Callies who is Rick Grimes’s wife Lori in the AMC TV show The Walking Dead and the other is Richard Armitage who Is Thorin in the Lord of The Rings Hobbit Trilogy.  But they are only two of the three bright spots in another wise dull film that is a dumber, cheaper version of the 1990’s awesome tornado movie Twister.  The special effects are just a step above Sci-Fi Movie quality and the script and direction are right in that wheel house.  It’s another found footage movie, sort of, where there are multiple people filming different events in a town in Oklahoma when a many, many tornados strike seemingly all at once.    There were too many inconsistencies where, for example, a camera man would be 20 feet away from a tornado and bed fine until he falls to his knees for no reason and then gets sucked up however earlier there is a scene where both our hero and heroine were in danger of being sucked up by a twister over half a block away from where they were.  There are many scenes like this that make the movie comical and for the icing on the cake there are really no likeable characters in the film.  Even the two named actors aren’t able to do anything to make them likeable.  Now Sarah’s character nowhere near dislikeable as her character Lori from the Walking Dead but I would love to cheer her on at least once.  The only other bright spot is again an actor, or in this case actress, who is Alycia Debnam-Carey, who is currently in Fear the Walking Dead.  She is probably the most likeable character in the movie, which isn’t that hard to get that distinction to be honest.

 

 

 

 

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