Hi, everyone! Guest Blogger and Contributor, Todd, from the great “Forgotten Films” movie page drops by Vic’s Movie Den and hands off a fantastic list of his favorite “Guilty Pleasure” movies. Thank you, Todd, for answering my call to arms and contributing a great post for my readers to appreciate!
Here is the link to Todd’s entertaining and informative page – A page that takes “A look at the movies forgotten by time” – http://forgottenfilmcast.wordpress.com/ drop in and drop in often!
I think pretty much every so-called “Cinephile” has to have their guilty pleasures. I mean it’s one thing to appreciate an amazingly good movie, but another to be able to enjoy a film that you know is just not good…but you love it anyway. Here are just a few of those movies that I will always love, despite their many failings.
This is the ultimate guilty pleasure for me. I love Richard Donner’s “Superman!” I still consider it one of the best superhero movies ever. It’s a very believable comic book tale. But “Supergirl” is something wonderfully ridiculous. Helen Slater, in her first role is spunky and strong…not to mention gorgeous. She gives her performance all she’s got and shines way beyond all the film veterans chewing up the scenery around her. Faye Dunaway, Peter O’Toole, Mia Farrow, Peter Cooke…these folks all know better. Still, the end result is silly fun!
David Lynch was offered the job of directing “Return of the Jedi.” He turned it down to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel instead. The end result makes me awfully glad we didn’t get to see Lynch’s take on Jabba the Hutt. There are some very interesting aspects of the film, notably the sets and costume designs, but much of it is nightmare inducing.
I mean, when I read the novel Dune (and by “read” I mean listened to the audio book in my car), I thought the Baron Harkonnen was one of the most vile villains ever created…Lynch managed to make him worse. And don’t get me started on the creepily phallic sandworms. Can you believe they made toys of those things back in 84? The film creeps me out in every possible way…and for some reason I can’t resist it when I catch it on TV.
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / Across the Universe
The idea of creating a movie musical by stringing together Beatles tunes is a strange concept to start with. The fact that it’s been done twice is just mind blowing. Sgt Peppers casts Peter Frampton & The Bee Gees in the lead roles and surprise, they can’t act. Add to that tons of cameos that would make a Muppet movie jealous. George Burns, Donald Pleasence, Earth Wind & Fire, Alice Cooper, Steve Martin, Aerosmith…just to name a few. It’s one of those films that just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. But it’s so much fun watching it struggle. On the positive side, though, I do really like Aerosmith’s version of “Come Together” and Alice Cooper’s wacko version of “Because.”
Apparently, that film wasn’t enough to scare others away from the concept. Julie Taymor, famous for directing the Broadway production of The Lion King, decided it was worth another try and the result was “Across the Universe.” Though it is much more polished than its predecessor, it is just as mind boggling. We get strawberries nailed to walls, a King Kong sized Uncle Sam, bouncing blue meanies, sexy nurse style Salma Hayek, and Bono on a stoner bus. Not to mention the fact that I think the version of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” that Eddie Izzard performs in this film plays in a endless loop on the 10th level of hell. But still, I admire the film for its interesting visuals and wonderfully misguided creativity.
I have a love/hate relationship with Robert Altman. He can be great! Both “M*A*S*H” and “Nashville” are among the best films of the 70’s in my mind. But he’s also directed some garbage. “Pret-a-Porter,” don’t get me started on that one! And then there’s the bizarre middle ground, where standing proud is “Popeye.” First, whoever decided that Altman should direct a kids movie must’ve been smokin’ something powerful. Come to think of it, whoever decided Harry Nilsson should write songs for a kids movie must’ve been smokin’ the same stuff. Let’s just say the producers of this were smokin’ some nasty stuff.
But, gotta give them some credit…the casting is brilliant. Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall were born to play Popeye and Olive Oyl. The set, which survives to this day as a major tourist attraction on the island of Malta, is gorgeous! The decision to make the film a merging of the EC Segar version of Popeye from the comics and the Fleischer Studios animated version is inspired. There’s just a bit lacking in the execution, and Altman’s trademark of having the actors mumble and talk over each other doesn’t help. But, blow me down, I can’t resist this movie.
If there is one thing that can distract me from movies, it’s baseball. So, of course, I love baseball movies. Ron Shelton, who has directed several sports themed films, brought this biopic of Ty Cobb to the screen in 1994. It tells the story of writer Al Stump (Robert Wuhl) as he spends time with Cobb (Tommy Lee Jones) to ghost write an autobiography.
It’s based on Stump’s book of the same name, the authenticity of which has been brought into question in recent years. The story is intriguing, even if you’re not a baseball person and Tommy Lee Jones is good, even though he looks about as much like the Georgia Peach as my big toe does.
But the film suffers, largely due to Robert Wuhl’s presence in the lead role. Shelton has some kind of crush on the guy as he has casts him in many of his films, but Wuhl just sort of annoys me. I can take him in small doses, like in “Batman,” but he’s the lead here. He’s just not a good match for the material. However, I enjoy the film for its decidedly un-candy-coated look at a man who may have been the greatest baseball player ever, but one of the worst human beings.
Kung Pow! Enter the Fist
I have a very deep love an appreciation for Kung Fu films. So does Steve Oedekerk, so he decided to re-edit and insert himself into the 1976 film “Tiger and Crane Fist.” Every scene in the film is re-dubbed, even the new footage that was shot in English. So in all his scenes, Oedekerk is speaking complete mumbo jumbo so the lip movements don’t match. This makes watching the “what they actually said” alternate audio track on the DVD a must.
Almost every new voice in the film is also performed by Oedekerk. The jokes are dumb, some wear out their welcome, and Oedekerk’s bizarre fascination with cow udders (he also directed “Barnyard”) is on prominent display. Yet, I laugh like I’m watching it for the first time every time I see it. I recommend it to friends often, but with the caveat “your wife will hate it.”