Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Guilty Pleasures

Everyone has them.  That movie or possibly a TV show that you just know is flawed (or even down-right bad) but for some reason we love them so...or at least like enough to enjoy watching.  Or maybe you just blush when you admit out loud that you like a certain movie.  Seeing as if so many people are listing their guilty pleasures, I thought I'd join in on the fad:

10) The Dark Crystal

I saw this one in the theater and even then the muppets seemed a little fake at times, especially the main Gelfling characters Jen and Kira.  But we didn't care, we appreciated the imagination, from Brian Froud especially.  One can easily see the flaws of the film, not just the muppets but the dialog at times, too.  It remains a special film in many people's hearts, including my own.  It also remains a unique film, having an all-muppet cast.  Gotta appreciate the vision of Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

 9) Neverending Story

A cult flick that's on a lot of people's favs list for fantasy.  It's very strange and where there were many directors/producers/film companies would go sci/fi, it was neat to see some fantasy.

Bastian could be  little annoying, even IF he were the same generation.  He seemed to know it all, or at least think he did. 

I can also appreciate the film for going WAY out there and the fact that they had to come up with something original, but come on...a flying dog and you call it a dragon?  I think an actual DRAGON would have been cooler.

 8) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

This is the favorite of many. One can excuse the poor special effects for it was 1971. But who really makes the show of course is Gene Wilder's performance. I always thought that Roald Dahl hated children and this movie (although it doesn't go 100% off of the book) and Wilder expresses that anger towards the annoyances children sometimes show.

Of COURSE I have to mention Julie Dawn Cole's performance as Veruca Salt. You love to hate her.

 7) Dune

This movie is weird, even for fans of the Frank Herbert books.  Coming out in 1984, the special effects suffer for the fact that it's not made by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.  When you have both Star Trek and Star Wars to be compared to, you have to put your own stamp on science fiction in film and I can see that's where David Lynch was going.

But it's still WEIRD and at times very gross.  Even people who like science fiction didn't quite "get it" at times.  Even I didn't get all the internal thoughts.  I know why they're there, but they can get annoying.  Not to mention the fact that the movie is almost beginning to end SERIOUS.

BUT in its defense, it has Patrick Stewart which is awesome.

 6) Transformers:  The Movie

Being a die-hard Transformers fan back in the day of COURSE this is going to be on my list of movies that I like.  However, back then my brother and I (another die-hard fan) saw the flaws even when were children. 

It pissed us off to no end that they killed off Optimus Prime, an event that truly was the "Old Yeller" of our generation.  Both him and plenty others.  One thing hat the film makers admitted to is the fact they didn't expect the fans to actually LIKE characters.  They thought that we just wanted new toys.  Not true.

Part of me still likes many elements of this film.  The animation unlike anything else in American motion picture history.  It takes Transformers to a new level, despite it being obnoxious at times.  Even back then my brother and I were upset that more of our favorite transformers were not used.  Yes, new is cool and all but hey we LIKED the guys in the show and would have liked to have seen more of them.

 5) Total Recall

What makes this a guilty pleasure is the fact that it's so freaking over-the-top.  It starts off as a great film and you're really not too sure where it's going to go or what's happening.  People are trying to kill "Ah-nold" and you don't know why.  Doesn't matter, he just kills them first.

Just when you think that Paul Verhoeven is making a futuristic mystery he goes into his shoot-em-up, everyone-will-die mode.  The third act of the movie is just a splatterfest...but DANG is it fun to watch.

I might add also add that when this movie is on basic cable, naturally the language is edited.  But I find it ironic that all the blood splatters are still there.  Hmmmm...

So let me get this straight basic cable channels:  Blood splatters, gunshots and watching people DIE is okay, but naughty language is bad?

 4) Clash of the Titans

I saw this movie in the theater, one of the first.  At times it's over-acted and it's a by-the-numbers adventure story where the helpless princess is saved by the dashing hero.  This is what I find aggravating, but it's still enjoyable for the mythical, mortal-conquers-impossible-odds kind of deal.  If this wasn't based on mythology, I wouldn't like it.  The remake was weak in the story department, would have been better had they just gone off of the original story.

Besides the adventure, Burgess Meredeth is cool as the wise, Obi Wan-like mentor.  Lawrence Olivier and Maggie Smith are also brilliant as Gods.  It would have been cooler if we saw more of the Gods in the newer version (which are in deleted scenes).  Like the Gods play games, we're the chess pieces and they have rules to play by.  None of them are "good" or "evil"...but they're all dicks.

 3) Legend

Tom Cruise got some crap for this movie but you have to look at this way:  Your ONLY hit is Risky Business and the director of Alien and Blade Runner comes up to you and wants you to be in his next movie.  You say YES.

The look of the film is brilliant but what do you expect from Ridley Scott?  Would be cool if he were able to do something else like this.

The movie can be very strange and much like Dune, it wasn't exactly understood even by fans of fantasy.  The dwarfs can be a tad annoying and the acting over-the-top but it has some good action.  Another thing that everyone found weird was the Gump, just some kid running around basically in his underwear made it seem...strange.

But the greatest element was Tim Curry as Darkness.  It looked like that he had a great time playing the role even though he spent what had to be countless hours in the make-up chair.  The look of the villain is awesome and rivals that of guys like Darth Vader and to this day many still love it.

 2) Sin City

I heard one reviewer call this "Film Noir on steroids" and it lives up to it.  It's a great use of green screen technology to make the film resemble its source material.  Had it not come from the graphic novel, I don't think a lot of people would have understood it.  Zach Snyder's 300 owes this movie.  Had it not been for Sin City, 300 would have not have been made.

But many people criticize it for it being way over the top and the internal monologues got annoying.  I can see where they're coming from and this movie is open to a lot of parody.  But you gotta love the dialog at times, the special effects and the use of classic cars.

In Sin City, sometimes it's tough to see who the good guys are and sometimes they pay the ultimate price for their heroism.

 1) Flash Gordon

If Sin City was film noir on steroids, this is camp on steroids.  The special effects aren't great, but remember please what I said about Dune.  Movies based on comics were very rare in this time and many of us didn't know who Flash Gordon was, only that he was some kind of hero and it was sci/fi.

What makes this movie work are all the people involved.  The actors take it seriously enough but still have a good time and act as if they're playing a game of some sort.  Amazing how the performances are just a TAD over-the-top...but not to much that you're rolling your eyes.  And it isn't just the hero, not just he villain, but all the actors.

Oh, and do I have to mention that sound track?  I mean, COME ON!

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