Cinema Psycho

"You know what? You have a losing personality." – Manhattan

January Blues; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Avoid the Bombs

Posted by CinemaPsycho on January 18, 2005

I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s a silly tradition, as it presumes that a person can completely change their temperament and personality just because the date changes. No one ever sticks to them, certainly not me. But I have made one resolution that I plan to follow through on.

I resolve to see fewer bad movies this year.

Not that I see that many bad movies in theaters as it is. I try to avoid the ones that look like obvious stinkers. Since no one’s paying me to review movies, I can pick and choose like everyone else. Sometimes morbid curiosity will get me to see something with a troubled production history, like last year’s Exorcist: The Beginning, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life (and yes, that’s saying something). I wanted to see what they came up with after all that nonsense the studio pulled, reshooting the entire film with a different director, etc. I wish I had been able to restrain myself after viewing that abomination, but sometimes you just have to know what the deal is. (For the record, I’d still like to see Paul Schrader’s original cut, but I hope I’m never forced to sit through any of Harlin’s monstrosity ever again.)

Then there are times when a filmmaker I really respect and admire comes up with a flop. It happens to the best of them. Even when the advance buzz is so deadly that even the director’s mother wouldn’t pay to see these movies, I still have to see it for myself. “It can’t be that bad if so-and-so made it”, I always say to myself. “Maybe they’re all wrong, and I’ll be the only one who gets it.” This is how I find myself sitting through films like Alexander and Spanglish. Some of the worst films I’ve ever seen were made by really talented people. In this category of “interesting failures”, I just have to grin and bear it. Or more accurately, shift in my seat uncomfortably, check my watch every few minutes and wish I were somewhere else. But not go? Forget about it.

However, there are plenty of films out there that are nothing but a waste of time. I’ve only recently come to see it that way, strangely enough. I used to feel the need to catch up with EVERYTHING, even if only on video or cable. Naturally, I wound up sitting through a lot of crap over the years. Once in a while something surprises you – I skipped Along Came Polly in theaters based mainly on those awful trailers, but I saw it on HBO recently and thought it wasn’t half bad. But if I never see White Chicks, Bringing Down the House or Marci X, I think I can live with that.

As I’ve grown older and wiser, I now realize that there are some movies that are, in fact, completely skippable. Whereas I once felt a twinge of guilt over passing up the Charlie’s Angels and Tomb Raider sequels, I’m now completely guilt-free. If I didn’t like the original, I don’t need to see if the sequels improved anything. I guess that’s progress.

January is traditionally a month where studios unload their worst junk, the garbage that they couldn’t sell to the unsuspecting public any other time of year. If a major studio is releasing something in January, I’m immediately suspicious of it, even if it’s a movie that I’d go see in a heartbeat any other time of year. It’s like they’re trying to sell defective merchandise – it looks like it works, but SOMETHING must be wrong with it, right?

But, as we all know, bad movies are released all year round. And every year, there are plenty of bad movies that I have no intention of seeing in a theater. So, rather than give you the traditional Worst List of last year (since I rarely see 10 films in theaters that I hate enough to put on such a list, and if I do, it’s a REALLY bad year), or a list of all the movies I’m looking forward to in 2005 (as such a list would take forever to write and read – let’s just say I’m looking forward to a LOT of movies this year), I thought it might be beneficial to make a list of all the movies I intend to completely skip. These are the absolute dregs, the bottom of the barrel, the worst of the waste. This is my tribute to the hackwork of the upcoming year, and hopefully I’ll never have to mention any of these lame-ass excuses for cinema ever again. So here we go:

Alone in the Dark – you’re kidding, right? I never saw House of the Dead, but if this is even half as bad as I’ve heard that one is, you’d have to put a gun to my head to make me pay to see this one. I like Slater and Dorff as actors, and Tara Reid doesn’t totally repulse me. But this is strictly B-movie, straight-to-video stuff. I happen to like that stuff, at 2:30 in the morning on cable. Not at my local cineplex.

The Wedding Date – a romantic comedy with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney. Yeah, I’m already ready to pass. Another movie where an impossibly attractive woman just can’t get a date. When did romantic comedies become modern science fiction?

Hitch – dear God, if I see this trailer one more freaking time! I have literally seen this trailer before every film I’ve seen in the last three months. It’s more contrived romantic-comedy crap with Will Smith playing a “date doctor”. I’d be more impressed if he were a script doctor. (Rim shot!)

Son of the Mask – unnecessary sequel minus Jim Carrey, plus an animated baby equals potential disaster. We saw how well the Carrey-less sequel worked for New Line with Dumb and Dumber – like a lead balloon. I know some people who know nothing about movies, and even they were making fun of this one. New Line, you’re in serious trouble.

Man of the House – a Texas Ranger has to protect a house full of cheerleaders. Not a bad idea, for a softcore porn flick for Cinemax. For a PG-13 comedy, no. Did Tommy Lee Jones just want to hang out with young girls? Why else would anybody make a movie like this? Wasn’t this the title of a bad Chevy Chase movie already?

The Pacifier – a Navy SEAL has to protect a suburban middle-class family. Vin Diesel tries to do the Kindergarden Cop thing. From the acclaimed director of Bringing Down the House and The Wedding Planner. Not for me, thanks.

The Honeymooners – a classic sitcom reimagined as an urban comedy with Cedric the Entertainer (we’ll be the judge of that, thanks) as Ralph. I’ve got a better idea – how about Margaret Cho in a remake of I Love Lucy? Verne Troyer in The Jeffersons? How about not? Eric Stoltz is in this, which I find kind of sad.

Miss Congeniality 2 – time for a career makeover, Sandra. Make some indie films or something. Please. I’m begging you.

Guess Who – unnecessary remake plus Ashton Kutcher plus Bernie Mac plus horribly unfunny trailer equals me seeing something else that weekend. You know, I actually like Kutcher on That ‘70’s Show. That doesn’t mean I have to see lousy movies like this.

Beauty Shop – nope, not even the presence of my mega-crush Alicia Silverstone will get me to sit through this movie. And I actually saw Scooby-Doo 2 because she was in it. I know, it’s scary. But I’ve learned my lesson. Sorry babe, can’t do it.

Rebound – Martin Lawrence is…never mind, you lost me already.

King’s Ransom – Anthony Anderson, the unfunniest man on the planet, gets a starring vehicle. Tim Meadows must be pissed.

XXX: State of the Union – unnecessary sequel minus Vin Diesel plus Ice Cube equals me wishing Arnold would leave politics and go back to action films. The trailer actually doesn’t look that bad, but I’m sorry, rappers do not make good action stars. Except Will Smith, and he was closer to Debbie Gibson than Ice-T anyway.

Monster-in-Law – Jane Fonda came back to acting to play the heavy in a Jennifer Lopez vehicle? Sometimes you have to know when to stay away.

Mindhunters – I was curious about this long-delayed Renny Harlin thriller, until I suffered through Exorcist: The Beginning. Now I don’t care if this ever comes out, and I’m not convinced it ever will. Just send it to DVD already.

House of Wax – I really like the original Vincent Price flick, but Paris Hilton’s in this, so I’m boycotting it on principle. It’s bad enough we have to see her face everywhere, I’m certainly not going to pay for the privilege. Seriously, can we just stop enabling this untalented, unaccomplished, unexceptional media whore? She’s going to be remembered for only one performance, and it wasn’t even particularly good. Get off the phone, woman!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – just based on the title alone. I mean, come on. Seriously.

Herbie: Fully Loaded – I actually have fond memories of watching the old Herbie movies as a kid. I’d like to keep them intact. Does the title refer to Lindsay Lohan?

The Dukes of Hazzard – come on, does anyone actually think this is going to be GOOD? You’ve got to be kidding. The presence of not one but TWO reality-TV “personalities” plus the source material suggests otherwise. Yeah, it’s going to be huge, but NASCAR is huge, too. That doesn’t mean I have to watch it.

Deuce Bigalow 2 – to satisfy all those unanswered questions from the first movie.

The Perfect Man – Hillary Duff sets up Mom Heather Locklear, who just can’t find the right guy. Heather Locklear! Apparently the perfect man is someone who will take her to lame movies like this. I guess I’m crossed off the list. Maybe she was having a hard time finding someone wouldn’t hit on her daughter.

Roll Bounce – Sniff Eat. Smell Blue. Taste Work. Avoid This.

That about covers it for now. I’m sure there will be plenty more to add to the list as the year goes on. The sad part is, I might end up actually seeing a few of these despite my better judgment. I really, really hope not. Talk to you soon!

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