The Crew’s lists based on this month’s topic…….
FIVE WORST MOVIES BY YOUR FAVORITE DIRECTORS
Chainsaw Cheerleader’s List
5.) Tim Burton
Achievements: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks!, Corpse Bride
Offence: Planet of the Apes
Charges: *an unimaginative and poor remake starring Mark Wahlberg*the ending*poor acting*plot holes*lack of attention to detail*
The difficulty with having a dark sense of humor and enjoying films that are clearly terrible is that many directors I have come to like are simply all around awful. It is due to this fact that Tim Burton takes number five on this list. While appearing by default, Burton may not be at the top of my favorites list but he rightfully belongs there. With movies such as Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice under his belt, one has come to expect certain types of films from him. Regardless of the subject, Burton re-imagines what happens around it and does so within the genre of Fantasy. For many directors its difficult to step out of one genre and try another. This may be the reason why the remake of Planet of the Apes failed, miserably. Planet of the Apes is a Science Fiction film, not fantasy. Fantasy allows the normally obscure to seem perfectly normal. Science fiction is shaped by rules.
The issue with Planet of the Apes is that the original has a select fan base and does not appeal to a large number of fans, regardless of their movie tastes, like films such as Star Wars and Star Trek. That coupled with having Mark Wahlberg as the main character creates a difficult picture to sell. Another downfall of the film is that Burton’s re-imaging lacks the feel of the Burton touch. Had the viewer not known who the director was, they would have never guessed it was Burton. This generic feeling film is a blemish on a solid career.
4.) Wes Craven
Achievements: The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Swamp Thing, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The People Under the Stairs
Offense: Vampire in Brooklyn
Charges: *I don’t even know where to begin*
Wes Craven appears on this list due to the fact that many of his films helped shape my taste toward horror movies. While his ability to tell a story has diminished over the years, he still tries to capture what once made him famous in the horror community. His recent films, such as Scream, fail in comparison to his earlier work, like A Nightmare on Elm Street but it shows that he is still trying (this cannot be said of some horror movie directors). Even though Craven is not as good as he used to be and I most likely won’t watch anything he releases in the future, I will continue to follow him to see if by chance he does make something worth wild. Craven may have lost his magic touch but unlike some directors he is the least of the horror movie genres problems.
Craven is mainly known for his work with A Nightmare on Elm Street. It may be because of this that Vampire in Brooklyn was such a surprise. Vampire in Brooklyn has several things working against it but there are three major issues with it. First, it is the poor man’s Blacula. Second, it is never funny enough to truly be a comedy and it is never scary enough to be a horror movie. Third, Eddie Murphy is the villain but he is sexualized and appears hero like. He comes to New York to kidnap a dhampir (daughter of a human female and male vampire) and drinks the blood of innocent people along the way. This begs the question as why the audience should cheer for the main character? A second question it raises is how the hell did Craven go from Freddy Krueger to a vampire with a jheri curl?
Achievements: Patton, The Godfather series, Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders, Dracula
3.) Francis Ford Coppola
Charges: *allowing Fran Drescher to act*bad science*to positive portrayal on how child treat each other*sentimental comedy*comedic talents of Robin Williams and Bill Cosby seemed restrained*poor character development*never really explores the emotions of the characters*
and then this.
Need I say more?
2.) Steven Spielberg
Achievements: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Indiana Jones series, Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, Saving Private Ryan
Offence: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Charges: *allowing Shia LaBeouf to act*surviving a nuclear blast due to hiding in a refrigerator (aka bad science)*Mutt swinging from vine to vine like Tarzan*aliens*Indy doesn’t know who Marion is at first*over use of old age jokes*poor opening sequence*
There are very few directors that every movie goer knows by name, regardless of their devotion to film and there are even less who have touched generations of that audience. Steven Spielberg is one of the few directors that has affected us all since childhood and into adulthood. His influence is not only felt by his audience but by other directors as well. Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Guillermo del Toro have all been quoted as saying that Spielberg has influenced them. Even Alfred Hitchcock praised Spielberg when he was young. These are just merely several reasons why his audience feels not only disappointed but somewhat betrayed when he takes beloved stories and pimps them for their final dollar.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull felt like an insult. It assumed that since Indiana Jones is a loved character those who cherished the previous films will flock to the theater to see it and that this will be their chance to sink their claws into the younger movie goer. People saw this film just because it was Indiana Jones and it’s difficult not to blame them when the first three films were so great. Unfortunately, Spielberg and whoever gave him the go ahead to make this film knew that.
1.) George Romero
Achievements: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow
Offence: Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead , Survival of the Dead
Charges: *fucking everything*
Romero has become what is wrong with horror movies. He simply remains important due to past achievements while half-assing new films. It’s like he has given up and merely clings to the zombie genre to make money. I blame myself and the majority of fans of the zombie genre. I will see a Romero film because it is Romero, because it is the man who brought us Night of the Living Dead. It is like an abusive relationship. I keep coming back, hoping his next film will be like his early zombie films but I know better. I know he’s just going to punch us all in the face with crap like Land of the Dead.
I give up on the man. I have wasted too much time on his bullshit. I am no longer going to condone crap like Survival of the Dead. From here on out, I will no longer watch his bullshit.
5) Christopher Nolan/The Prestige – I was pretty tempted to put Batman Begins here for it’s pretty awful third act, but ultimately I still mainly like it. The Prestige’s third act though? It’s a deal breaker. It’s a shame because up until the ending I was feeling as if The Prestige was going to be in the running for one of my favorite films ever. The movie is engaging and fascinating. It’s the sort of film that totally sucks you in and keeps you glued to the screen. It was nearly perfect….until that shitty ending. What starts as original and unpredictable, turns into an episode of Scooby Doo as everything is spelled out and over explained. Beyond that, the ending is unimaginative and obvious, which seemed impossible with what came before it. It’s such a letdown that it ruins the rest of the film, turning what should have been a classic into a simplistic, disappointing bore.
4) Wes Anderson/The Darjeerling Limited – I understand that Wes Anderson’s films have connective themes of familial dysfunction, misfits blazing their own paths and usually a longing for parental acceptance. They’re themes that works extremely well. Usually. The Darjeerling Limited is the exception. Darjeerling feels like a shoddy retread of scenes done better in his other films. Thanks to the loss of Owen Wilson as co-writer, who it seems brought most of the heart to Anderson’s past films, it also feels emotionally disconnected. Worst of all, it’s extremely slick and self-indulgent, helping fuel notions that Anderson’s works are cold and pretentious. The cast seems uninterested in the proceedings and the whole affair just comes across as an unfocused mess. I’m hoping this is a misstep and not a sign of things to come with Wilson out of the script writing process. The Darjeerling Limited is a sad parody of what Anderson has always done so well.
3) Martin Scorsese/Shutter Island – I don’t know why Scorsese made this film. It baffles me as to what the attraction was. Scorsese usually doesn’t get involved with projects this boring and unoriginal, but here it is. I’d love to say that the awful, cliché “twist” ending that you see coming a mile away is what kills the film, but it’s not. There isn’t a thing in Shutter Island that’s interesting. You’ve seen this story before. Hundreds of times. The mystery is cheesy and predictable. The drama is strictly of the “melo” variety that you’d find on the average episode of Cold Case. The acting is all around uninspired. Every twist and turn is an eye rolling joke. I don’t know if Scorsese was looking for a paycheck film or was just drunk when he read Lehane’s worst book, but he should be ashamed to have his name on this. Usually when there’s a thriller this bad, Ashely Judd is staring in it.
2) The Coen Brothers/Intolerable Cruelty – For the amount of films on their resume, The Coens have a surprisingly small amount of missteps. In fact, even though some films are a little more flawed than others, there is only one of their films that I absolutely don’t like. That film is the unbelievably bad Intolerable Cruelty. It’s almost seems like a lie that they made this. Gone are all of the Coen trademarks as the film isn’t clever, the dialogue is flat and the comedy is non-existent. George Clooney lacks any charm and Catherine Zeta Jones is in full shrew mode, and even though that’s the idea, she’s not grating in a way that serves the film. The things that the Coens thought were quirky and usually work for them, are just flat-out dumb here. I’m not sure what they were thinking but hopefully they never think about it again.
1) Georg Romero/Land of the Dead – When it was announced that Romero was finally going to revisit the world of zombies that he not just made famous, but invented, every horror fan on Earth was filled with excitement. That excitement died when the piece of shit Land of the Dead was finally released. It was becoming obvious that Romero, like many other horror auteurs from his generation, were starting to lose their touch as they grew older. Romero has obviously not only lost his touch, he’s woefully out of touch. Where Romero was always a master of creating films that had loftier ambitions and were able to hide deeper meanings inside his films, Land of the Dead was a sad shadow of what he used to do. Where in the past Romero was able to incorporate his social commentary seamlessly into his films, Land of the Dead was a film where he seemingly tried to shoe horn a zombie film into his ham-fisted political ramblings and nothing fits at all. Where he used to be able to gets his ideas across subtly, he is now absolutely beating you over the head with his painfully obvious metaphors and aggressively shoving his message down your throat . Every few minutes Romero is spelling his views out to you is ways that are insulting to your intelligence and are mostly stupid. Hey look, zombies cross the river to get into out walled off society just like immigrants! Hey look, zombies are distracted by fireworks as we pillage their lands for our benefit! And things get even dumber than that. Zombies evolve and they evolve in ways that just don’t seem natural or logical. Character motivation is even less logical. Am I really suppose to believe that a man who lives in a world destroyed by a zombie apocalypse, who saw his entire family murdered and eaten by zombies, would somehow come to sympathise with them and refuse to kill them as they slaughter innocent people that were supposedly his friends because he feels these mindless monsters are really just like us? Fuck you Romero. Stick your we deserve it self loathing up your ass, especially when your lame metaphors don’t fit by even the most ridiculous stretch of logic. Better yet, don’t insult my intelligence by making everything so fucking obvious. Land of the Dead comes across as a lecture from an out of touch asshole who’s incredibly smug about how clever he is and smarter than the rest of us. Sadly, he artistically bankrupt and about as smart as a teenage stoner that’s politically informed by a blogger that kinda, sorta watched Ashton Kutcher on MTV talking about this time he watched Keith Olberman and really felt what that dude was talking about. Complex political discussions require complex thinking and if you want to incorporate it in art successfully, it require complex ideas. George Romero’s work has all the complexity of a Family Circus comic strip at this point. It’s a shame, but it’s the truth.
Dub Cee’s List
5. Chris Columbus, I Love You, Beth Cooper — Chris Columbus always seems to get the mood and the pacing in his films right. However, not even he could help I Love You, Beth Cooper from being a dull and boring movie.
3. Robert Rodriquez, Shorts — Never heard of it? Yea, there is a reason. Trying to follow up on Spy Kids he came out with this Kids flick…he really shouldn’t have.
2. Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds — What can I say, I just did not enjoy this movie much at all. Just disappointed.
1. Guillermo Del Toro, Mimic — It was tough to find a weak movie in this man’s resume. Mimic is a solid horror film. But if I had to pick one, that would be it. Del Toro is my hero.
Tigris Rose’s List
5. Mel Brooks’ Life Stinks (1991)
This is one of a few movies Brooks directed I don’t really like. Its about a rich businessman who bets a rival that he can live on the streets of L.A. with no money. It has moments in the movie that is a little funny. But the movie was done… about 8 years before it was called “Trading Places.”
4. Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World Jurassic Park (1997)
Not even close to being as good as the first. Thank god it was better than the third. But it was still bad. Maybe because it was it could match up to the box office smash of the original, but still the fact they brought Goldblum back, jesus.
3. Tim Burton’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
There is no greater WTF movie of Burton’s flexography that Pee-Wee’s silver screen début. I hate Pee-Wee as a kid, the TV show was terrible. And the fact that Burton made a movie… its like WTF. Even the constant recasting of actors over the years can’t compare to the 90 minutes of torture of this movie.
2. Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005)
Its not that this is a terrible movie of his that I have seen. But of the ones that I’ve seen its my least favorite. Maybe its because I am partial to the original. You know before color. But I like Peter Jackson, and I had to make a choice.
1. Kevin Smith: Anything without Jay and Silent Bob just sucks. I can’t get into any of his other movies like Jersery Girl, Chasing Amy, or Zack and Miri Make a Porno. I haven’t seen Cop Out yet, but I have heard it only has moments. But I do like Kevin Smith, I love Dogma, and Clerks, Mallrats. But alas it has the stoners in it.
5) Quentin Tarantino directs … Death Proof
The thing about Death Proof isn’t that I hated it, but Tarantino is one of my favorite directors (cliche, yeah), and this is his worst outing that I’ve watched. Like A Space Odyssey, this movie has a lot of fans who’ll fight to the death for it … and honestly, if it was on it’s own it might not have been so bad. It got paired with Planet Terror though which was just lightyears beyond Death Proof. Feel free to disagree, but this was no Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill.
4) Steven Spielberg directs … Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull
Poor Spielberg. The often saner half of the Lucas/Spielberg duo … but I don’t know what happened here. Yeah, I actually kind of feel bad for this one because it’s so well known and such an epic ‘What the hell…?’ to a great franchise. Spoilers: Aliens. If they had been the Xenomorphs, I would have hailed this as one of the greatest crossovers / double-franchise sabotages ever. It wasn’t. Also, The Beef was in this as his son and if I ever see a time where Shia takes over from Ford, I’ll shoot myself.
3) George Lucas directs … Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Speaking of George Lucas — the alpha and omega of nerdom — when people heard there would be more Star Wars there were widespread cheers. It was a good time to be a geek. That is … until we saw what happened. It was so far removed from A New Hope in terms of sheer quality and ingenious and instead … they character assassinate Darth Vader. Anakin was annoying as fuck and Lucas still owes a lot of people for the Jar Jar fiasco. The rest of the movies were terrible too, but a guilty pleasure … but Jar Jar? Fuck and you.
2) Sam Raimi directs … Spider-Man 3
I don’t blame Sam Raimi for this one, but he did direct it. Most people know the story. Sam Raimi absolutely hated the character of Venom and wanted to focus on classic villains, like Sandman. The producers, knowing what a money maker Venom was, forced the issue and insisted on his inclusion. We all know the result. Spider-Man goes emo and dances like a retard, the emotional shifts in the movie’s tone are ALL over the place, and Venom is played by fucking Topher Grace. None of the villains got a good amount of screen time and the plot was just terrible. Was Raimi sabotaging the movie? I don’t know, but it’s sure hard to believe that such a talented director didn’t intentionally churn out this piece of garbage.
1) Stanley Kubrick directs … 2001: A Space Odyssey
Let the hate mail pour in. Kubrick is a fantastic technical director and in this instance he wanted to show it off. Is there some deep philosophical issues at hand here? Is this high art? Yeah, probably, but along the way he forgot to keep me entertained. I felt like I was watching him masturbate to how great he could be on a technical level. The movie took about an hour for any story worth viewing to be shown and even then most of the dialogue was so wooden that HAL had to be the best part of the whole thing. By the end, I didn’t care what the film was saying. I was just pissed that I watched it. That this is 2001: A Space Odyssey, supposedly such a wonderful film. Kubrick is great. This movie? Pure masturbation.
Super Carnita’s List
5 – Steven Spielberg – War of the Worlds
Crap. I don’t no why I expected this to be good. With Spielberg I expect impressive visuals and great storytelling. With this, I’m not sure I got either of those. It was forgettable and at times…silly. The end was beyond dumb. Not the way the aliens were defeated…but the way Tom Cruise and his family were reunited. Just stupid.
4 – Martin Scorsese – The Age of Innocence
The honest truth is this movie is probably good. I could care less, I was bored to tears by it. Being a Scorsese fan…and having a huge crush on Winona Ryder…I decided to see this in the theater. Big mistake. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep.
3 – Clint Eastwood – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Another horrible decision on my part. John Cusack, Kevin Spacey…yeah sure I’ll see that in the theaters. Ugh. I’m not even sure what was going on here…all I know is that I lost interest almost immediately…and I’ve never gone back.
2 – The Coen Brothers – Burn After Reading
At the risk of having an unpopular opinion…I didn’t like a single thing about this movie. I thought everyone involved was terrible. It seemed it was all a big inside joke. The actors seemed to be going out of their way to amuse each other….and maybe they did. Just leave me out of it next time.
1 – Robert Rodriguez – Machete
I don’t know what I expected from this movie. I’m sure it was exactly what it was intended to be. It had a great cast…the trailer was great…but…I don’t know. It just didn’t work for me. I found it to be boring.
The Coen Brothers are great filmmakers and while technically Joel is the Director, their films are collaborative efforts. The film that hooked me in was The Hudsucker Proxy, which still remains one of my all-time favorite movies, but when you look through the body of work, it’s literally a list of modern day classics. Blood Simple, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou, No Country For Old Men, the list goes on and on. There’s something to be said for the fact that while there are common elements to their films, each one has it’s own distinct feel. Their is a level of craftsmanship and polish to their work that you can’t help but appreciate. Their one stumble, in my opinion, was The Ladykillers. I just didn’t like it. The characters were unlikeable, I didn’t really care about the story and for my money, it missed that Coen Brothers signature stamp. I’d like to say it was because they were adapting the work of others with this one, but they’ve proven adept at that, with films like No Country and True Grit. Luckily, The Ladykillers came and went and didn’t derail their careers at all.
A Tarantino film is an event for me. It’s an Opening Night Fucking EVENT. You posse up with your crew, you go have an amazing meal and then you settle in with your popcorn and just bask. I’m one of the few people I know who actually saw Reservoir Dogs in the theatre and ever since, I’ve never missed an opening night, with ONE notable exception, which also just happens to be the film I thought he stumbled on. My bitch of an ex made me miss Grindhouse, something that still pains me to this day and that I still hold a major grudge against her for. Now while Death Proof is hardly a poor film (Hell, it’s better than 95% of the shit that came out that year), it’s a little over-indulgent. Tarantino can fall in love with his own dialogue sometimes and while it sometimes works with the film (see: Inglorious Basterds), in Death Proof it felt like padding. The over-exposition in every scene felt like he was trying to stretch what was essentially a two and a half act film into three. Tarantino is my comfort food. If I’m ever in a bad mood, there’s nothing like Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown or Kill Bill to snap me out of it.
He doesn’t have a big body of work, but I love almost everything he’s done. Requiem For A Dream was the movie that introduced me. Yeah, you heard me. Believe it or not, it wasn’t Pi. Anyway, Requiem is a great, dark, depressing, make-you-wanna-slit-your-wrist type film and any director that can actually make a Jennifer Connelly sex scene disturbing and not arousing has some talent. There’s artistry and craftsmanship in all of his films, but no matter the scale, he never loses the intimacy between the characters and the viewer. These people get under your skin and stay there and he’s able to draw Oscar calibre performances out of his actors. His stumble is The Fountain and I feel sorry for him on it. Forget the fact that the flick is a convoluted mess and Jackman was horribly miscast. The movie was his passion project and everything went wrong getting it to the screen, which should have been the clue he needed. Brad Pitt was attached for years and finally gave up, leading to the hasty casting of Jackman. Financing fell through a couple of times. Budget overruns, costly rewrites, it’s an all too common tale. It’s not really a surprise to me that he opted for the simplicity of The Wrestler after the soul-crushing experience of The Fountain. I do respect him for seeing it through though and learning from the experience to make two serious awards contenders in a row. The Wrestler and this year’s Black Swan were two incredible films that solidify his spot on my list.
Fight Club is pretty much the bible for every male my age. It never gets old, you can watch it 20 times and see something different every time and while Fincher hasn’t topped it yet, he’s made some interesting films in the meantime. He’s not always working off of the greatest screenplays, but he always makes watchable films that hold your attention, with one exception. His stumble, in my opinion, was Zodiac. I questioned the wisdom of making that movie anyway. It’s an interesting story, but there’s no real ending. The Zodiac Killer was never caught in real life. He literally got away with it, so unless you want to make up some bullshit, your movie really goes nowhere and that’s exactly where the film went. Nowhere. For three fucking hours. There were great scenes and solid performances from the actors involved, but I drifted off too much because the movie just never went anywhere. Nowadays, The Social Network is garnering Fincher some recognition and while it’s not his best film, it is going to open the doors that will allow him to make that Fight Club topper we’ve been waiting a decade for. Right after he does a couple adaptation cash grabs that is. His next couple films are The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and 20000 Leagues Under The Sea. Hopefully those two don’t make him flame out.
He’s legendary. His resume is impeccable and his influence and style has been aped and ripped off by many others. While you can herald the gangster films like Good Fellas, Casino and The Departed as his signature works, people forget The Last Temptation Of Christ, The King Of Comedy and Cape Fear. The guy can really do everything. Hell, he even did Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video. MJ had to hire Scorcese to make him look gangsta! Some would point to the most recent Shutter Island as his stumble and while it had some flaws, it wasn’t nearly as bad as people made it out to be. In my mind it was the film he did with Nicholas Cage as an EMT called Bringing Out The Dead. I can’t even put my finger on what was wrong with the movie, other than the fact that I just didn’t like it. I forgot it almost as quickly as I saw it and that’s something that just never happens with a Scorcese flick. His films are ones that stick with you and that’s why he’s on my list. Now, just one request Marty. Please cast someone other than Leonardo DiCaprio in your next flick. I like Leo as much as the next guy, but take a flick off already.