Welcome to the next CHUD List.

We’ve
tackled our essentials list and the continued revelation of our Kills
List from 2003, and now that we’ve begun the beguine, we must continue.
Behold:

The CHUD.com Top 50 Disappointments.

A
quick word on the criteria. We could very easily have spent this whole
article discussing sequels and prequels and adaptations of television
shows and called it a day. Instead, we tried to go a different route.
Also, from a master list of over 100, the involved parties (Devin,
Jeremy, Micah, Russ, and myself) all killed off a choice for each one
we claimed. As a result, we’ll run a big list at the end of this of the
‘ones that got away’. So, here is day one of many where we chronicle
the 50 Biggest Disappointments. Two a day, every week day for five
weeks. In no particular order:

 #40 – Art School Confidential (2006. dir. Terry Zwigoff)

Based on a four-page strip that ran in Eightball
over a decade ago, this second collaboration between cartoonist/screenwriter Dan Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff should
have been a slam dunk. Zwigoff had
proven his sensitivity and odd comic timing three times in a row (Crumb, Ghost World, Bad Santa)
and Clowes had come out the other side of the dying specialty comics
scene with an unexpected career as a screenwriter, seemingly with his
own sardonic wit intact.

I never expected such a hateful wreck from their union. There’s
something more terrible than when a pair of proven creators fall on
their face: when they do so with a project that seeks to refute any
possibility of beauty or humanity.

This isn’t simply an acidic stab at artistic pretentiousness but a
denial of honesty and expression. The one sincere character is a
murderer, and the lone artist demonstrably working for the sake of
expression is not only bad* and burdened with terrible taste (he paints
pop art while rocking ‘Stacy’s Mom’) but duplicitous. The ‘hero’ is a
limp dishrag we’re never meant to sympathize with but who also can’t
project enough personality for anyone to consider in any light,
positive or negative. His romantic interest is one rimjob shy of being
a burnt out art whore who, after seemingly acknowledging some form of
beauty, goes right back to her sell-out lifestyle.

Think I’m being venomous? I’m a goddamned Care Bear compared to Art School Confidential.

Like most of our disappointments, this one has its positive points,
most of which are broad barbs fired off in the film’s first act.
There’s no larger, easier target than a bunch of self-conscious art
students, but bitter as most of the jokes are, they’re also accurate and occasionally very funny. And, as Devin pointed out in his review,
until the movie completely goes to hell in the last act, there’s a
chance that it’s going to have something useful to say.

In the past, I’ve admired both Zwigoff and Clowes for being able to
channel their misanthropy into something that championed minor
victories instead of denying them entirely. If so determined to reverse
that trend, they could have saved a lot of effort by scrapping this
film and using the budget to hand out cyanide laced razor blades at art
schools instead.

*This is not a crime, obviously, and if not for other elements of the character I’d be 100% OK with him. - Russ

Travesty Scale (1-10): 6 out of 10

http://chud.com/nextraimages/lifeforce_ver2.jpg#39 – Lifeforce (1985. dir. Tobe Hooper)

In the blink of an eye, the terror begins.

Such a cool tagline, so much promise for a feature adaptation of The Space Vampires, such a huge opportunity for Steve Railsback to rocket himself up into the middle of the C-List. But alas, it was not meant to be.

Tobe Hooper was fresh off sorta directing the monster hit Poltergeist and had already established himself as a TRUE master of horror when this big budget (25 million for ol’ Golan and Globus) came up and truly set itself up to be the next major genre effort. It had so many ingredients. Alien mastermind Dan O’Bannon. Hooper. A very capable source novel. A Henry Mancini score [apparently one which Hitchcock turned down for Frenzy]. A very naked Mathilda May. That tagline.

Lifeforce is at best a failure, good pretty much only for a few kills and the plentiful full-frontal nudity scattered throughout. Many a horror fiend in my age group got repeat value from Lifeforce, but not because of terror beginning in the blink of an eye. If they were wise, they’d have repackaged this thing with the tagline ‘In the blink of an eye, you fire a load onto the Betamax, rinse and repeat’.

What I’m saying is that there’s more pubic hair in this film than in all the Poltergeist flicks and I consider Tom Skerritt’s ‘stache in III to be a pubic one. Everything else about this one falls flat. It’s leaden in its pacing and delivery. The sensual allure of the shapely space vampire (unshaven, if you were wondering) is a powerful force, one I suppose we can attribute to Halley’s Comet since according to this flick it’s the source of vampire energy, but still fairly boring. I think they meant Frehley’s Comet because have you seen Anton Fig up close? Madness ensues, London becomes a haven for the undead and Steve Railsback tries to end the madness by driving a lead stake 2 inches under the heart of the scourge. Yeah, the old folklore was off by a few inches and elements. Such is life….force.

Patrick Stewart shows up with hair. There’s John Dykstra effects, but the bottom line is that this could have been a true sci-fi/horror gateway film and instead is at best a dumb, boring mess and at worst the reason so many of my generation’s men have hairy palms and male pattern blindness. - Nick

Travesty Scale (1-10): 5 out of 10

Previously Disappointing:
The Ladykillers
Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Ultraviolet

New York, New York
Billy Bathgate

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Willow

Superman Returns
Blade: Trinity


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