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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Definitive Fantastically Terrible Films: 30-21

Scene from "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2"
courtesy of
As we continue wading through the slop that is this list of films, I can't help but stop to think there are people who actually like these films, and not in an ironic way. There is a collection of audience members who walked out of all of these films saying "that was every bit as good as I thought it would be and more; I would watch that again right now because of the brilliant filmmaking." Well, maybe not exactly that, but some semblance of it. Anyway, here's #30 through #21.

#30. Crossroads (2002)

It was bound to happen - we just didn't know when. When Britney Spears took the world by storm in the late 90's/early 00's, it was just a matter of time before somebody decided she could be at the forefront of a movie. Starring alongside Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning, Spears and her girlfriends embark on a cross country trip in what is supposed to be a "finding yourself and growing up" movie. What results is a self-indulgent pile of garbage that fails miserably at proving Spears has any talent outside of singing. Well, dancing. Well, standing on stage and dressing provocatively. Well...

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's got a pretty decent supporting cast, including Justin Long and Dan Aykroyd. And it's always nice to see musical artists fall on their faces while they try to act.

Memorable Quote: (closing lines) This time, we didn't make any wishes for the future. We said goodbye to our past. Now, none of us has any idea where life's gonna take us, 'cause what we have is now. And right now, we have each other. 

#29. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

I doubt this movie was ever meant to be "Oscar bait," but it still deserves to be mentioned. Puppeteer Stephen Chiodo directed this film that needs no explanation beyond the title. Clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town. There you go. There is something to be said about a film where the heroes rescue people with an ice cream truck, though. Chidodo went on to be the chief puppeteer in good films, like Elf and Team America: World Police.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's clowns from outer space. And comedian Christopher Titus is in it.

Memorable QuoteWe were up at "the top of the world" and we saw this shooting star and we decided to go look for it. But instead of finding the shooting star we saw this... this circus tent. And that's when we went inside, and that is when we saw those people in those... those pink, cotton candy cocoons. Dave, it was not a circus tent. It was something else. 

#28. The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)

Before Hollywood decided to have any sense of political correctness (or just common sense), they had no problems making films that did nothing but play off major stereotypes. Enter 1938's The Terror of Tiny Town, which is essentially a pretty standard Western, but with an all little person cast. An evil gunslinger enters peaceful Tiny Town, forcing the townspeople to organize and fight back. For its sheer ignorance alone it should be included here, whether it's a "good" movie or not. An announcement at the beginning of the film refers to it as a "novelty picture with an all midget cast."

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Don't make me say it...

Memorable QuoteI'm the villain. I'm the toughest hombre that ever lived, and I ain't afraid o' the biggest one o' you. I'm the Terror of Tiny Town, and that's the star part. 

#27. Anaconda (1997)

What do you get when you take a rapper, an Oscar winner, and a musician turned actress and throw them into a swamp with a giant man-eating snake? You get this gem of a film. The actual premise centers on a National Geographic crew taken hostage and forced to search for the world's largest, deadliest snake, so it's more believable, I guess. Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, and Jon Voight headline this mess of a movie. The acting is putrid, the effects are ridiculous, and it's only rated PG-13, so it doesn't even have the violence to make up for its lack of execution. 

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's nice to see Ice Cube not doing family comedies. Owen Wilson, Eric Stoltz, and Danny Trejo pop up in here, too, so that's fun.

Memorable QuoteThey strike, wrap around you. Hold you tighter than your true love. And you get the privilege, of hearing your bones break before the power of embrace causes your veins to explode. 

#26. Over the Top (1987)

I would do anything for my kids (this upcoming Friday I'll have 2 - so I'm jumping the gun a bit with the pluralization). Even if it means taking on the absolutely brutal "sport" of arm wrestling. In Over the Top, Sylvester Stallone plays a trucker whose wife dies, motivating him to reconnect with a son he left behind years ago. His son wants nothing to do with him until he enters the Las Vegas National Arm Wrestling competition. Growing up, I can't think of a thing that would make me have less respect for my father than this. Then again, he was a much better thumb wrestler than arm wrestler.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Stalllone is a terrible actor - there's no argument there. And any film that dramatizes a sport that barely qualifies as such is enough for a few laughs.

Memorable QuoteI drive trucks, break arms, and arm wrestle. It's what I love to do, it's what I do best. 

#25. Masters of the Universe (1987)

He-Man was a big deal for kids my age. Not so much to me, but I remember him being pretty popular. In 1987, director Gary Goddard turned the children's toy and cartoon into a live action movie starring Dolph Lundgren (Ivan Drago from Rocky IV) as the titular hero. After Skeletor seizes Castle Grayskull, upstart warriors and inhabitants that scatter the world of Eternia begin to rise up, searching for a cosmic key that can open a portal to any location and time. As Skeletor awaits for the alignment of the moon and the "great eye" to open, he must also prepare for a mythical battle. Imagine if Lord of the Rings was dumbed down, poorly acted, and horribly costumed.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Sekeltor is played by Frank Langhella, Oscar nominee for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. Plus, in a weird pre-"Friends" connection, both Courtney Cox and Christina Pickles (who played her mother on the show) are here in pretty major roles.

Memorable QuoteOf what consequence are you now? These people, this world, they are nothing - the universe is power, pure unstoppable power - and I am that force, I am that power. 

#24. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)

In the 70's and early 80's, horror films began to lose subtlety. Kids would go to camp and anytime they wanted to have sex or mess around, there was the killer, there to punish them. It was always sex. Well, none were more obscenely literal than this one that is actually about a bed that eats people. Written and directed by George Barry (who did nothing else), the film focuses on a bed possessed by a demon and passed from person to person. Apparently, the demon was a tree. Then it became a breeze. Then it became a human when he fell in love with a woman. When he makes love to this woman, she dies and his eyes bleed onto the bed, possessing it. Oh, and the bed can manipulate your dreams. 

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's about a bed that eats people. I'll say it again. A bed that eats people.

Memorable QuoteListen...if you ever get important enough that someone wants to kill you, you'll worry.

#23. Alone in the Dark (2005)

This list could probably be made up of nothing but Uwe Boll films if I really wanted to, but I kept it light. Based on a video game of the same name, Alone in the Dark stars Christian Slater as a paranormal detective who is drawn to Shadow Island in the pursuit of a mysterious case involving the recent death of a friend. The only person who can help him is a young anthropologist with a photographic memory named Aline who just happens to be his ex-girlfriend. As they search, the demons inhabiting this world slowly begin to creep into his mind and risk his sanity.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Aline is played by Tara Reid. Tara Reid is playing a brilliant anthropologist. Tara Reid.

Memorable QuoteYou travel light. - I carry enough baggage for the both of us. 

#22. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)

If you took Mr. and Mrs. Smith (starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), removed the sexual tension and the back story of "Jolie stealing Brad from Jenn," and had no semblance of directorial skill, you'd get Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, a story of two assassins who are mortal enemies asked to unite together to fight a common enemy. Lucy Liu had done action films before, but was always as a supporting character (Shanghai Noon) or part of a larger ensemble (Charlie's Angels). And that's not even suggesting any of those films were good ones.  Antonio Banderas was still working to re-establish himself as a legitimate actor, a few years after he embodied Zorro. What resulted was a mess. An absolute mess of stupid action and terrible interplay between the two.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: I don't know...I guess some of the action is fun. The guy who played Toad in X-Men is in it, too.

Memorable QuoteThere are no innocent people in this world Sever, you know that. Only killers and victims. 

#21. License to Drive (1998)

They were the biggest child stars in the world. They even had the same first name. Was there a better decision that could have been made other than putting Corey Feldman and Corey Haim in the same film? How about making it about a teenager's night out on the town with his parents' car, although he failed his driver's test? Greg Beeman's feature film directorial debut (he would later direct mostly TV episodes of "Lost," "JAG," "Smallville," etc.) starred these two young actors in what amounted to nothing but a Ferris Bueller knock off that wanted to self-congratulate Feldman and Haim simultaneously.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: A young Heather Graham as Haim's love interest and James Avery (Uncle Phil from "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") the DMV examiner. It's also nice to see Haim before he took a nose dive, resulting in his premature death.

Memorable QuoteLes, that license in your wallet, that's not an ordinary piece of paper, that is a driver's license, and its not only a driver's license, it's an automobile license, and it's not only an automobile license, it's a license to live, a license to be free, a license to go wherever, whenever and with whomever you choose. 

Think it can't get worse? Oh, it a wonderful way. #20 through #11 coming soon.

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