Cleopatra Jones (1973) – This genre (let’s go ahead and say it, blaxploitation) doesn’t get enough credit. Maybe it’s the name “blaxploitation” setting expectations low, maybe it’s latent racism in Hollywood, maybe nobody appreciates the early ’70s like I do. I would suggest a remake might be in order, but it’s hard to imagine anyone capturing the unironic campy excitement with any fidelity, and the lead would probably go to Beyoncé, and I think we’ve all seen enough of Beyoncé for a while.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) – Aubrey Plaza is the new Thora Birch, who was just a poor-man’s Christina Ricci. It’s no Wristcutters, but at least it’s no Ghost World. I really thought this kind of thing ended in the ’90s. Maybe it’s not fair to just so casually categorize this alongside other such works, but if filmmakers didn’t want me to put their films into pigeon holes, maybe they shouldn’t put so many damn birds on it.
The Parent Trap (1961) – It’s hard to pick a protagonist out of this movie. Everyone appears to be a horrible, horrible person in need of being eaten by mountain lions.
Nine (2009) – I haven’t seen 8½, so I can’t speak directly to how this does as an adaptation of that, but I have seen some Fellini, and as a tribute to Fellini, this is crap. The visuals, for the most part, work. I can find no fault in the casting. The story and the script are unobjectionable. But making it a musical is the biggest failure. Fellini is sumptuous, carnal, and decadent, so it’s easy to think that would make for a lavish stage musical, but when a non-diagetic musical number is introduced, it pulls away from the almost tactile realism of being in the room with Penélope Cruz’s boobs. In La dolce vita, the closest thing there is to a musical number is at a party, where music plays in the background while a sexy woman wiggles around the room in her dress.
Although Federico Fellini’s films are an escape, they are a very different kind of escape from reality than is allowed with a musical.
Requiem for a Dream (2000) – I think I might need a drug problem to watch this. I’m at least happy I can’t see my refrigerator from here.
Chest-mounted camera might be one of the worst ways to film. Excuse me, I need to go puke for about an hour.
WarGames (1983) – Oh, Matthew Broderick and your little baby face. And Ally Sheedy with your little career. And the computers! Oh! Good heavens, 1983 is adorable.
Note to the filmmakers: No one in the Northwest pronounces “Oregon” like that, and maybe the climate was drastically different thirty years ago, but all the water around here is too goddamn cold to expect every local child to know how to swim.
Quintet (1979) – If I were a movie producer in the late ’70s, and Robert Altman came to me and said, “I want to make a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie set in the final ice age, where packs of
adorable doggies vicious wild dogs feed on the corpses of the dead. We have Paul Newman.” I would have said, “Go home, Robert Altman, you are drunk.”
One begins to understand why this was bundled with MASH and two other Altman movies nobody has ever heard of.
Blazing Saddles (1974) – Mel Brooks isn’t perfect, but he’s still one of the best comic directors out there, and this movie is riddled with some brilliant meta-humor.
The Dark Crystal (1982) – I once thought there could be no Jim Henson production that I wouldn’t find charming, and although I’m not generally a fan of 1980s fantasy, it’s not as a whole a bad genre. Well congratulations, The Dark Crystal, on being a steaming turd, proving that Jim Henson really could do anything, even if he really shouldn’t.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) – Jack Valenti is the worst, and his ghost will haunt American entertainment for generations to come. I hated that guy before I even saw this, but now I just have specific reasons for hating him. Rot in hell, Valenti; your eternal punishment shall be looking at pubic hair and hearing graphic discussion of aberrant sexual practices.