It’s certainly been a while, but with the holidays over and being a bit healthier I hope to post to this blog more often.  I know I may have mentioned it before, but my friends and I have a monthly bad movie night.  It started as a regular thing a few years ago with the double feature of The Manitou and The Room, but we’d watched many terrible movies over the years before this.  Over the years we’ve gotten a lot better at planning out what we watch as opposed to just combing a couple of random terrible movies.  It’s one thing to just watch a few flicks if you’re bored, but if you’re entertaining others you want to make sure they’re, y’know, entertained.

The best example of this is the last movie night we did where we watched three movies in the order I present them here:  Suburban Commando, Doom, and Mr Nanny.  The theme of the night was Bad Wrestler Movies which was pretty easy to come up with since there aren’t many good wrestler movies.  We normally have two movies that tie together (thematically, actor, director, etc) and a third that may or may not tie in that’s a “special attraction”.  It’s taken a while to get this formula down, but I think it works.  Very rarely do we ever get three flicks that are duds.  I think my next post will be on the night in question with brief reviews of the “gems” we watched.

Franchise Annihilation

Posted: 11/02/2014 in Sequels
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Mortal_kombat_annihilation

In 1995 mainstream movie audiences were exposed to Paul W.S. Anderson for the first time with the film adaptation of the hit video game franchise, Mortal Kombat.  While I could talk at length about the mediocrity that is Paul Weak Sauce Anderson, this post is not about him or the movie that holds up worse than you remember.  It is about one of the worst sequels of all time, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

First of all, when your sequel can’t even entice Christopher Lambert to reprise a role you know you’re in trouble.  In fact only two actors from the original Mortal Kombat reprise their roles from the original:  Robin Shou as Liu Kang and Talisa Soto as Kitana.   Replacing Lambert as the non-Mjolnir wielding god of thunder Raiden is James Remar.  That could be a step up or down depending upon how much you like the Highlander franchise.  The villain of the piece, Shao Khan, is played by Brian Thompson who is probably best known as the no neck alien bounty hunter from the X-Files.

Annihilation picks up where the original ended, albeit with half the characters recast, and has the legions of Outworld invading our world.  Why they want to take over Earth is never really made clear.  What is also never made clear is where the hell the budget went on this movie.  While the first one is not without its charms the second one is just the worst.  The first one rehashed the plot of Enter the Dragon and added a lot of mysticism, effects, and a kickin’ techno soundtrack. I saw a guy cosplay Cyrax at Wizard World Chicago back in ’99 and that looked better than anything in Mortal Kombat: Annihlation.

Cyrax_MKA

Cyrax – Non-convention version

The second one included just about every character from the video games, had really shitty special effects, and the soundtrack was turned up to 11.  Basically the whole experience is awful.  Just how awful this movie is can be seen in a microcosm by showing the Scorpion and Sub-Zero fight the audience was denied in the first movie.

I understand that special effects can become dated over time, but this was bad even for 1997.  The action sequences have no energy and the pace of the movie is GO GO GO even though it’s a slog.  Characters are introduced at a breakneck pace and are never really fleshed out.  Not that something like that is expected in an adaptation of a video game, but it’s nice to be pleasantly surprised sometimes.  I’d go over the plot, but it’s really just a series of horrible fight sequences that don’t really flow together and have a terrible soundtrack.  Most good martial arts films make it a point that fight scenes are about the characters.  They’re fighting for a reason and they have their own style in which they fight.  It adds to the story.  In this movie you have Liu Kang being shown a new technique by a Native American by the name of Nightwolf.  He shows Liu Kang how to unleash his Animality, in which he turns into a dragon, in order to win the day.  This isn’t so much a fighting style as it is a terribly rendered special effect.  It adds nothing to the character nor does it offer any insight into the character other than he can turn into a dragon.

The Mortal Kombat video game franchise recovered from this atrocity and is in the process of making Mortal Kombat X to be released in 2015.  The film franchise never recovered and after several near restarts, including the web short, Rebirth, nothing further has come of this series.  It’s probably for the best since I could never recommend this movie as even something fun to watch with friends.  It’s a little over 90 minutes, but feels like 90 years.

Collision_Course

A while back my friends and I checked out Collision Course starring Jay Leno and Pat Morita.  I do not recommend that you do so because it’s garbage and not even fun garbage.  It plays out like Rush Hour but without the fun Jackie Chan stunts.  Leno is about as annoying as Chris Tucker though.  However, there is a great moment toward the end of the movie that I present here because it’s awesome.  Nowhere in the movie did Pat Morita’s character exhibit any sort of fighting ability whatsoever.

Everything before and after this scene is a waste of your time.  If this movie is even remotely anywhere on your “to watch” list I hope I’ve saved you some time.

The_Room

I’ve seen The Room five times and I’m sure I’ll see it plenty more times.  When I saw it for the first time, I was aware of the cult that had sprung up around it.  If I remember correctly, it was shortly after it aired on Adult Swim on April Fool’s Day in 2009.  My friend, Chris, sent me an article on the AV Club about the movie and said that we needed to watch it.  Upon reading the article and watching a few of the clips I agreed.  I should stress that while I knew of the film’s reputation it did not adequately prepare me for what I was about to see.

What transpired was roughly an hour and a half of non-sequirturs, scenes that had no flow, and dialogue that sounded like it was written by an alien.  The group of friends I watched the movie with were roaring with laughter at each new scene.  After my first viewing I knew I needed to share this unique experience with other people in my life.

For those of you who may not know, The Room is a movie written by, directed by, and starring Tommy Wiseau.  The movie is about a man named Johnny who apparently is great at his job, a great friend, and a great lover. So totally not a Mary-Sue character at all.  The only problem with how great Johnny is, is that his evil fiancée, Lisa, wants nothing to do with him and ends up getting with his best friend.  What I’m saying now is 100% more coherent than the actual movie.  If you can get through the first twenty minutes without having an aneurysm or getting severely nauseous, you’re in for a treat.

Each scene almost plays like a sketch as the scenes don’t really lead into each other and characters are almost breathlessly and inexplicably enter and exit without any regards to logic.  There are only two things that have any callback or payoff in the movie.  One is a red dress Johnny gives to Lisa at the beginning of the movie that may or may not get dry humped and the other is a tape recorder that Johnny uses to record Lisa’s conversations.  The tape recorder is only brought back after he already finds out that Lisa is schtupping his best friend, Mark.  Otherwise most plot threads are dropped faster than Fox drops Joss Whedon shows.  A great example of this is a conversation between Lisa and her mother where the mother says that she has breast cancer.  If you think this comes up again at any point in the movie you’d be wrong.  I could go on at length about how quotable the movie is and how random it is.  There’s a scene where everyone is dressed up in their tuxedos for Johnny’s upcoming wedding and they play football in an alley for some reason.  Denny, who’s Johnny’s sort of adopted son, has a run in with a drug dealer and Mark and Johnny haul him off to jail because they’re vigilantes apparently.  This movie also has the best worst green screen usage of all time.  Trust me, check this one out for yourself to see how bonkers it is.

I’ve never encountered a film that is so terribly made yet completely watchable.  Every subsequent time that I’ve watched the movie I’ve exposed someone new to it.  It’s a lot of fun to watch the insanity on the screen and to watch the new viewer take it in.  No one that I’ve shown it to has been upset about what they had just witnessed.  Well, except the most recent time.  I don’t recommend viewing this on blu-ray.  I’ve seen more of Tommy than was ever intended and I’ll just leave it at that.  It’s hard to dislike the movie because it’s so earnest.  Tommy is really trying to tell his story, whatever that may really be, and it shows.  The fact that he’s gotten in on the joke is a bit of a bummer.  If you really dig The Room I would also suggest reading, The Disaster Artist, written by Greg Sestero (the actor who played Mark) and Tom Bissell.  It’s a great look behind the scenes of how this movie came to be.  I highly recommend seeing this movie with some of your friends and as I said earlier, if you can make it past the first twenty minutes you’re in for a good time.

An Introduction

Posted: 10/20/2014 in Uncategorized
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Hello, my name is Joe and I’ll be your guide through this little slice of B-movie hell. To give you a little background about myself, my Grandpa is probably the one to blame for my love of B-movies. He was a big fan of horror, kung-fu, kaiju, and otherwise trashy cinema and that interest found its way to me. I’ve found in recent years as a movie watcher that I’m gravitating toward the failures, flops, and fiasco’s committed to film. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy “good” movies as well, but let’s face it, there’s something fun about watching a movie that’s a little off. It’s even more fun with friends. No movie will be off limits because one week may be a look at a recent failure and the next may be an oddity that has been forgotten by time. My only hope is that you also take the time to enjoy some of the misfit films I discuss.