28. November 2004 · Comments Off on If It Were Any More Of a Dog, It Would Shed: The Joy of Very Bad Movies · Categories: General, Media Matters Not

We have to face the fact that most movies— since the inception of the art form—are agreeable mediocrities, neither very good nor outstandingly bad. Such movies are the backbone of the television schedule, an agreeable way of passing an hour or two, and evaporate from the memory almost as soon as the titles roll, as consumable as Kleenex. I certainly watched enough of them as a broadcast technician, since the AFRTS television package accommodated as many of them as do the bargain bin at K-Mart.

While there might very well be a rough-cut gem among them, the chances are rather closer to %100 that a journeyman director, mediocre actors, a hackneyed script and low budget will produce a mediocre or even dreadful movie. G-I-G-O (Garbage in, garbage out) applied to human endeavors long before the invention of computer programming. This is what conventional wisdom expects, and most times conventional wisdom is not disappointed.

I only consider movies for my personal hall of badness if I have actually been suckered into paying money and sitting in the theater for them, and I’ve been able to avoid doing this since seeing the Kristy McNichol vehicle “The Pirate Movie” sometime around 1984 or so. Life is too short, first-run tickets at the multiplex are closing in on $10, and you will never, ever get those two hours or so back of your life. In the case of something as stupendously awful as “Battlefield Earth” the critical brickbats flung at the screen were several times more amusing than the movie itself, not that anyone was really expecting all that much from L. Ron Hubbard’s oeuvre.

A horrendously bad movie resulting from the confluence of a much-respected top director, riveting source materiel, talented actors and a lot of money…. Ah, that is a cinematic pratfall to be relished. It is puzzlement, a train wreck, the stuff of prolonged analysis, of knowledgeable discourse on exactly how this degree of suckage was achieved at such cost, and who is at fault. It appears that Oliver Stone is the unhappy auteur of the moment, with “Alexander the Great”. Even those few good reviews for it are somewhat restrained in their enthusiasm, and the rest of them are poisonously amusing. A friend of mine reported guffaws and snickers in the audience during the death scenes— surely not a good sign for Mr. Stone’s directorial pretensions. It all rather reminds me of Michael Cimino’s mega-flop “Heaven’s Gate”, which got worse and worse with every dollar and edit spent.

So, pass the popcorn and enjoy— and let us know in the comments about this, and other horrendously awful movies you have ever seen. Be vicious… and be amusing.

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