You Got It All Wrong
Originally Posted in 2008
Featured Writers: Nick Nunziata, Devin Faraci, Russ Fischer, Jeremy Smith, Andre Dellamorte, Justin Waddell, Alex Riviello
You and I and all those people out there with a vocal love of film have ruined it for everyone, pimping movies up, falling in love with mediocre films and championing them to near-legendary status. We’ve embraced turkeys, legitimized borderline movies, and elevated modest films in our favorite franchises above and beyond realistic standards. We’ve even embraced the films everyone likes, somehow adding a credibility to them that transcends the mainstream. Sacred cows, little flicks, and everything in between. It’s time we took a look inward and came clean with 25 movies we think need to be taken down a peg or two.
These are our four categories for this list:
These guys have had it too easy. Far too easy. Don’t believe the insane hype.
Good flicks that have gotten too damn big for their britches.
Asshole, you love this film for all the wrong reasons.
WHAT THE FUCK
Something went horribly wrong here and it’s carried over the the fans, who are blinded by shizer.
Day One – Silence of the Lambs
Choice Pullquote: “That said, the directing is somewhat pedestrian and though the performances range from good to great but it’s not one of the proudest years in Oscar sweeps and watching the film now really showcases a somewhat bland product.” – Nick Nunziata
Day Two – Battle Royale
Choice Pullquote: “There’s little actual satire or commentary here, leaving just the horror of the situation. But that horror — two hours of attractive Japanese kids killing each other — induces sleep like a bottle of Tylenol PM dissolved in Kool-Aid.” – Russ Fischer
Day Three – Clerks
Choice Pullquote: “Seriously, the woman playing the coroner – who reads exclusively from her clipboard and rat-a-tats her way through the dialog like she’s Jack Webb – is one of the worst performances ever put to film this side of Torgo.” – Andre Dellamorte
Day Four – Scarface
Choice Pullquote: “Scarface wasn’t just a full-blown phenomenon in the inner city; it was a ruthless, rags-to-riches fable with a dubious moral (“Don’t get high on your own supply”). A film in which a Cuban exile fucks and kills his way to the top of the Miami cocaine trade only to get torn apart in a hail of bullets after inhaling enough blow to give Keith Richards mild heart palpitations. Oy.” – Jeremy Smith
Day Five – Fight Club
Choice Pullquote: “It’s a film that grabs the audience and takes them through the first 95% of the story with masterful ease, getting us to identify with some people doing some pretty terrible things. More than identify – we want to be doing those things too. But it’s the last 5% of the movie, the last few minutes, where it all comes together to mean something different… and most people seem to just miss it.” – Devin Faraci
Day Six – Punch-Drunk Love
Choice Pullquote: “Everyone went nuts for this one when it came out, and I had friends going to film school who looked at it as a perfect film, something to strive for in their own work. Critics wondered if this was a start of a new era for Sandler. Roger Ebert compared him to Dennis Hopper, and another even compared him to Chaplin in City Lights… I shit you not.” – Alex Riviello
Day Seven – The Goonies
Choice Pullquote: “A group of outcast kids go on a treasure hunt… VERY LOUDLY! Mutant retards, pockmarked scalawags, and the ancient gasbag vaginaface of Anne Ramsey stand in their way. Cyndi Lauper sings about it. What am I forgetting? Oh, and go fuck yourself.” – Nick Nunziata
Day Eight – American Beauty
Choice Pullquote: “Those regrets that drove Lester mad may be white-hot at forty-two, but they’re faded memories once the equipment stops working; and the direct appeal to the audience undercuts the rough sentiment of not being able to feel ‘anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.’” – Jeremy Smith
Day Nine – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Choice Pullquote: “Any movie can be fun when you’re dressing up in stupid outfits and throwing shit at the screen. Any single one. Let’s start up a new phenomenon around say, Pink Flamingos. People can dress up in diapers and chomp on turds at the appropriate time. Instant fun!” – Alex Riviello
Day Ten – Schindler’s List
Choice Pullquote: “Since a lot of the commenters don’t seem to read English, let me say this now: Schindler’s List is a really, really good film. It may even be a great film. But it’s also flawed. Hence, overrated, because it’s considered a masterpiece. But let me back up a little bit.” – Andre Dellamorte
Day Eleven – Unbreakable
Choice Pullquote: “Determined to give the movie a fair shake, I saw it again a week later. The reaction remained the same: this movie sucks. And yet there soon grew a cult of people who loved the movie, who even thought it might be M. Night Shyamalan’s finest work.” – Devin Faraci
Day Twelve – Highlander
Choice Pullquote: “Add a ponytailed Sean Connery who was in the beginning phase of a career renaissance and the ingredients are there for something wonderful. Then four things happen to screw the whole thing.” – Nick Nunziata
Day Thirteen – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Choice Pullquote: “Ferris Bueller is a sociopath.” – Andre Dellamorte
Day Fourteen – A Clockwork Orange
Choice Pullquote: “Even when I was most susceptible to its antisocial charms (i.e. a sophomore in high school), it struck me as a crock of shit.” – Jeremy Smith
Day Fifteen – Donnie Darko
Choice Pullquote: “If the sci-fi aspects held more water I might be willing to consider the movie as just one piece of a larger media puzzle. But given the opportunity to make a final cut, Kelly proved that he really did want a standalone movie, and not a very good one, at that.” – Russ Fischer
Day Sixteen – The Fog
Choice Pullquote: “Horror fans have notoriously hazy memories. Any old film that showed even a second of promise is looked back on fondly, and the word classic is thrown around on too many films that don’t deserve it. By all regards, The Fog should’ve worked… John Carpenter did know better back then.” – Alex Riviello
Day Seventeen – Terminator 2
Choice Pullquote: “T2 also blows its wad before it bogs down in the steel mill for a protracted replay of the first film’s finale; once you’ve seen a helicopter fly under an overpass, that liquid metal bullshit looks kinda old hat.” – Jeremy Smith
Day Eighteen – Cabin Fever
Choice Pullquote: “Guiseppe Andrews is amusing and there’s some sexy skin, but this feels like a bunch of ideas thrown at the wall built on little moments seemingly culled from Eli Roth’s adolescence of horror fandom. There’s no denying the guy’s skill and intent, but this film is case in point about a genre’s fandom being sold a bill of goods.” – Nick Nunziata
Day Nineteen – Friday
Choice Pullquote: “It’s a simple rule, really: if it’s not funny when the high wears off, it wasn’t funny in the first place.” – Jeremy Smith
Day Twenty – Star Trek: First Contact
Choice Pullquote: “First Contact is the second highest grossing Star Trek movie, coming in behind The Voyage Home. It keeps popping up on fan’s lists of best Trek films, and its spot as the eighth movie is used to further the theory that the even numbered Trek films are the best ones. All of this despite it being a big honking piece of ass.” – Devin Faraci
Day Twenty-One – Hulk
Choice Pullquote: “The failings of Ang Lee’s Hulk is likely why it’s the best superhero film ever made. What director Lee and scripter James Schamus did was – it seems to me – watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie a shit-load of times, and used the model of suppressed familial discontent tinged with the sexual as a starting off point for a story about a dude who gets big and turns green.” – Andre Dellamorte
Day Twenty-Two – Dark City
Choice Pullquote: “This performance, which I can’t even qualify as ‘shaky’, points to the rest of the film, which is a mishmash of elements that purports to be science fiction and wants to meld a dystopian atmosphere with an inquest into the nature of conscience and humanity, but you’ll get more knowledge out of a cheap carnival fortune teller.” – Russ Fischer
Day Twenty-Three – The Big Lebowski
Choice Pullquote: “As a true believer in the power of nonsensical narratives stuffed with ceaseless non-sequitur and bizarro characters, I couldn’t be much more ensconced in the highly specialized target demographic for The Big Lebowski (except that I stopped smoking pot because it got in the way of my alcoholism). So why am I done with the movie after two viewings?” – Jeremy Smith
Day Twenty-Four – Almost Famous
Choice Pullquote: “Writing about the dead is easy, though. They don’t sue, and likely the problem with Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical Almost Famous is that Crowe knew he couldn’t hew too close to the horrible shit he must have witnessed or he might piss off some seriously awesome and powerful living legends, or (the worse alternative) he let his happiest times being the most luckiest plus-one cloud his judgment, and not reflect the words that reverberate through the film: ‘Be honest, and unmerciful.’ – Andre Dellamorte
Day Twenty-Five – ?
You tell us! One of the Infamous Unfinished Lists (though 24 out of 25 ain’t too shabby), we have this last spot wide open. Hit the boards or the comments and tell us what film you would have put in this spot and why.
Nick Remembers: I could see how folks might have considered this list a big slice of baiting but it’s more of a nice opportunity to encourage discussion and shine a light on better alternatives. Now that we’re doing a Sacred Cow list, it’s great to peel back a little of the mystique on some Cows that might deserve tipping.