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David Poland

By David Poland

I See Bad Movies

Someone suggested this, kinda, in another thread…
But it really does seem like we are now in the moment where a thread about bad movies is an absolute theraputic neccessity for the first time this summer.
Yes, word is that Get Smart is good, even if it really isn’t anything like the TV show. But there is a lot of crap sliding our way… and one masterpiece.
Here’s a thread for the ugly feelings… let it out… it will feel good… promise…

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64 Responses to “I See Bad Movies”

  1. mutinyco says:

    I hereby nominate EW’s list of the best of the past 25 years to bad category…

  2. “Yes, word is that Get Smart is good”
    Wait, who’s saying this? I’ve read nothing but negative.
    Also: I hate Terrence Howard, it’s official. I know I probably shouldn’t be using the IMDb’s “people news” to be making decisions like that, but damn… that guy is fucked up if it’s true that he makes women perform “love tasks” and dates up to 12 women at a time.

  3. Rothchild says:

    Wall-E, Hellboy 2 (apparently much, much, much better than the first one), and The Dark Knight are going to fix this summer. We’d need a dozen great movies to make me forget about The Happening.

  4. I must admit, I’m going to be skeptical of people who say “Hellboy 2 is better than the original” since it’s coming right after Pan’s Labyrinth and that people may just be seeing something through rose-coloured glasses that just isn’t there.

  5. Rothchild says:

    I loved Hellboy, even if there was no story and the pacing was off. But the script for Hellboy 2 really shocked me. It was fantastic. It was like they upped the character stuff from the original and then took out the Nazis and cliches and re-inserted the fantasy world from Pan’s Labyrinth. I don’t know if it will make any money, but people are going to be really surprised.

  6. Crow T Robot says:

    So I just saw the biggest fucker of movie I’ve ever seen.
    It’s called “4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days” and I almost had to switch it off midway. It’s the toughest movie about the toughest subject of our lifetime. It argues that abortion is a moral horror matched only by the moral horror of it being illegal. And it pulls off the contradiction brilliantly.
    It even ends up making the audacious case that women could get knocked up… WHILE having illegal abortions!
    And the end. The last shot. The director gets all grand giugnol in a dinner scene. Going for broke in the way only genius can do. It’s a knockout. One for the ages.
    But man is it a fucker.

  7. scooterzz says:

    first of all, i’m with kam in that i’ve seen nothing but luke-warm to cold reviews for ‘get smart’…..that, and i’ve seen it myself and thought it to be pretty bad by any standard…..
    secondly– rothchild, i can’t wait to read your thoughts on ‘wall-e’ after you’ve seen it…. i’m not going to go out of my way to temper your enthusiasm or let go any ‘spoilers’ but as i typed a couple of days ago, i’ve seen it and think it’s going to be a big pixar speedbump…..
    the best thing about ‘wall-e’ is ‘presto’ (the pixar short that screens before it)…….

  8. Rothchild says:

    Really? Because I know several people that have seen it and they all call it a masterpiece.

  9. Noah says:

    It is indeed a masterpiece, Rothchild but I get exactly what Crow is saying. It was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had in a movie theater this year and I hope to never, EVER see it again. It’s shattering.

  10. Jerry Colvin says:

    Ebert gave Get Smart 3 1/2 stars.
    I agree that 4 Months, 3 Days, 2 Weeks is pretty great but… wow, that came out months ago (even here in the Midwest).

  11. leahnz says:

    beauty’s in the eye of the beholder and all that

  12. leahnz says:

    uh, that comment was supposed to come after rothchild’s, makes no sense now. must remember to use refresh button

  13. sloanish says:

    Has anybody REALLY heard something about Dark Knight besides “they screened it once for the suits, it was incredible, very dark.”? I really hope it saves my summer (though it is WAY too early to be thinking that way).

  14. IOIOIOI says:

    The Summer does not need saving. It always get a bit sloppy in June, then Pixar comes and saves the day. This how it works. Even if you are hating on the tiny WALL-E.

  15. movieman says:

    I’m still waiting for Scooter to tell us why “Wall-E” was such a disappointment. Say it ain’t so, Scoot!
    Has anyone else seen “Kit Kittredge”? Yikes, what a snoozer! Are Abigail Breslin’s parents forcing her to do every damn movie she gets offered? That poor kid is in serious danger of overexposure…if she isn’t already.
    And who’s bright idea was it to drag Julia Ormond out of retirement? After her somnambulant performances in “Kit” and last summer’s execrable “I Know Who Killed Me,” I think it’s time for Ormond to return into the Witless Protection Program. There’s a reason she never became a star–despite myriad opportunities–in the 90s:
    she just doesn’t have “it.”

  16. Amblinman says:

    I wonder if all the hype and marketing on The Dark Knight is going to create a backlash before it’s even released? They seem to be releasing new footage and posters and clips and behind-the-scenes daily. Nolan has such a unique take on the genre, and the film has a very specific universe that I hope we aren’t being desensitized to with all the material that’s out there.
    You knew The Love Guru was garbage from the first trailer. Myers is skipping on down the Billy Crystal road of a comedian who doesn’t understand that his jokes aren’t funny anymore.

  17. pchu says:

    Yeah, this summer is pretty disappointing so far.
    I am going to check Get Smart out, and I don’t have high expectation for it, so maybe it could surprise me.
    BTW, 4 months 3 weeks and 2 Days is definitely an excellent film, though you wouldn’t feel good after watching it.

  18. repeatfather says:

    “Also: I hate Terrence Howard, it’s official. I know I probably shouldn’t be using the IMDb’s “people news” to be making decisions like that, but damn… that guy is fucked up if it’s true that he makes women perform “love tasks” and dates up to 12 women at a time.”
    Are you sure you’re not just the tiniest bit jealous?? If I could pull that off, I certainly would!
    As much as it pains me to say it I think Indy 4 has to be thrown into the midden of summer waste. There were a few bright moments for me – Shia and Indy treasure hunting together, the greaser fight in the diner, and (I might be alone in this) the atomic bomb scene – but they were far outweighted by the shocking number of scenes that were painfully boring or just lacking in any creativity and inspiration.

  19. oldman says:

    Until reading the LA Times this morning; I did not realize that this was a Jessica Alba vrs. Anne Hathaway weekend. I must have missed the memo. Well… somebody’s pr people are working.
    Speaking of work; is the SAG strike really going to Happen???

  20. T. Holly says:

    The narrative: “Smart” is good. The embargo was lifted and early news
    lowered expectations by comparing it to the tv show.,0,7283628.story
    Then almost feminist critic Hoberman
    said it was safe for consumption.,get-smart-a-pleasant-surprise,471367,20.html
    I came here hoping SATC whipped Wilmington would weigh in.

  21. Telemachos says:

    I think Scooter’s gonna be the extreme minority opinion on WALL-E. At its worst, I don’t think you could consider it to be less than an mid- to upper-level Pixar movie.

  22. Alan Cerny says:

    I’ve already gone beyond hyperbole on WALL*E this week. I think it’s Pixar’s best film. Can’t stop thinking about it almost a week later. I guess I’m something of a Pixar apologist (if there is such a thing) and WALL*E kicked my ass.

  23. JPK says:

    This summer I hate…
    …The Happening. Outrun the wind? Train conductors lose contact with “everyone” when only a tiny sliver of the world is being impacted? Scary Abby Bradford? WTF?
    …Mutt “Tarzan” Williams. A little part of me died in the theater. Right then. Just fucking died.
    …Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I’m tired of reading defenses of this film. Stop. Just stop. You’re embarrasing yourself. It was bad. It was Richard Chamberlin as Allan Quartermain, Chuck Norris in Firewalker, Jake Speed bad.
    …that John Adams wasn’t released on Blu-ray. Fuck you, HBO.
    …that David Cross, Angelina Jolie, and Seth Rogan were in Kung Fu Panda instead of Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, and Andy Lau. At least they got Jackie Chan right.

  24. T. Holly says:

    Timberlake vs. Dwayne Johnson, now we’re talking. Don’t you think if Lindsey Lohan hadn’t broken her career, she’d have made a perfect Agent 99? The strike is so on, ADR is pulled up.

  25. hcat says:

    Saw 4 months on Tuesday, devastatingly good. Reinforces my disdain for current american actresses, can you name any american under forty that could have delivered such a strong performance. It is like Julliane Moore and Angela Bassett were the last real women to break through in movies. Everyone since are just tall girls.
    And for all the problems with crystal skull, at least we were spared the obvious line “His name is Henry, we named the dog Mutt.”

  26. Wilmington: “One way to make Get Smart look good, however, is to see LOVE GURU before it.”

  27. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Name-checking = Bad Movie. Oscar-whoring = Bad Movie.

  28. repeatfather says:

    “I wonder if all the hype and marketing on The Dark Knight is going to create a backlash before it’s even released?”
    That’s a good question; I know now that I’m as hyped as I’ve ever been for the Dark Knight after I saw that Two-Face clip. Maybe that’s in part related to the profusion of crappy movies this summer.
    I’m wondering if anyone else agrees with me on this: I never really felt like Christian Bale was THAT much of a revelation as Batman. He brought a tougher, toned down approach to the character, which was a bit of fresh air.
    But overall I thought he got outshined big time by Gary Oldman, Michael Cain, Tom Wilkinson and a slightly over the top Liam Neeson. All those guys were just killer in their roles.

  29. T. Holly says:

    It’s up! Love your photography Ray. David has a good eye too, but you’re a pro.

  30. Hopscotch says:

    Anyone see Mike Myers on the Daily Show last night? Not the most uncomfortable interview I’ve ever seen, but it’s up there. Myers has just fallen off the wagon, almost every interview I’ve seen on him has been uncomfortable or just bad.
    I still want to see Foot Fist Way, then of course Wall-e.
    I’m halting all beliefs of The Dark Knight is the next masterpiece. We’re putting it up to high on the stick everyone, if we build this thing up to be the second coming, we’ll probably get disappointed.

  31. Aris P says:

    A.O. Scott:

  32. Hopscotch says:

    I just read that A.O. Scott review. Amazing.

  33. Direwolf says:

    I saw 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days a few months ago. Very good film but leaves you absolutely depressed. I sort of called the last shot as I was watching it but the last scene really does seal the film.
    Heading to Mongol tonight. Can;t wait. Just finished reading the second in Conn Iggulden’s series on Ghengis. Both books worth the read especially number 1.
    If you want to see something weird lay the daily grosses of Cars and Kung Fu Panda side by side. Almost identical everyday so far. And whoever suggest JEt Li and others for casting in Panda has a good idea. I liked the film, especially the second half. It took too long to set up. But I thought the side characters, the fab five or whatever they were called were flat especially the Jolie Tiger.

  34. The Big Perm says:

    Chucky = retard.
    Alan Cerny, I really hate the word like “apologist.” That’s an awful internet term that seems designed to stifle conversation. Someone likes Indiana Jones 4? Apologist! You couldn’t have possibly enjoyed it on its own merits at all. Even though I think a lot of “normal” people liked it quite fine. The theater I saw it in enjoyed it, as did the people I saw it with. I didn’t care for it.
    Plus, if there’s ever been a movie company that has an amazing track record, it’s Pixar. They got nothing to be apologetic for.
    For me, The Dark Knight is the movie to see. I love Batman. I even liked Batman Forever, although Batman and Robin really pushed me.

  35. Triple Option says:

    “Reinforces my disdain for current american actresses, can you name any american under forty that could have delivered such a strong performance. It is like Julliane Moore and Angela Bassett were the last real women to break through in movies. Everyone since are just tall girls.”
    Did not see the 4 Months film but I completely concur on the actress tip. Those exact two!
    Had a slight convo w/someone at an Oscar party who felt the influx of foreign actors was part of some anti-American backlash that (leftist) Hollywood has bought into supporting. W/out getting into politics/conspiracy or how I made a beeline to the bathroom the door conveniently opened up, I will say I have felt a desire to see imported product w/Marion Cotillard, Rose Bryne and Maggie Cheung, who herself is over 40 and slowing her output, as opposed to any young or emerging Hollywood talent.
    Wasn’t there a time when studios used to poach the indie world for talent? I’m not talking about paying dues for dues sake but I just haven’t been excited any new American talent in some time. Maybe it’s come w/age and losing that sense of awe over performances. Maybe I’m not seeing the right films. I just don’t have the anticipation I once did.

  36. Aris P says:

    To all you Dark Knight geeks — wait till you see Batman: Gotham Knight. You won’t be disappointed.

  37. tjfar67 says:

    I saw 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days about 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days ago….
    and it was about as funny as The Love Guru.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    “Name-checking = Bad Movie. Oscar-whoring = Bad Movie.”
    I get so tired of this crap. Yes, it’s true sometimes. “Sometimes” means “Not all the time” and certainly not enough of the time to form an ironclad rule. And these kind of ironclad, no-deviation rules are poison to anybody with a brain.

  39. There’s a big ole expose (read:hit piece) on Mike Myers in the new EW, isn’t there?? Someone was reading me choice outtakes from it over the weekend…one unnamed source said they think he has aspergers he’s so out of touch with human kind.

  40. jeffmcm says:

    Oh yeah, and as much as I love Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li, neither of them have much business doing voices in an English-language animated film.

  41. Sevenmack says:

    Morgenstern on Get Smart: “Rather than the laugh a minute promised by old comedies, “Get Smart” generates approximately one laugh per hour, and I can’t remember either one.”
    As for “The Guru”: “Compared to “The Love Guru,” “Get Smart” is “Citizen Kane.””
    Berardinelli was a little kinder to “Get Smart”, but he wrote that “The Guru” is “as unmemorable as the title character.”
    Looks like another weekend of watching DVDs of “Control”, “The Illusionist” and all the other movies I haven’t yet seen. Thank God.

  42. jeffmcm says:

    Of course, Entertainment Weekly is owned by the same company putting out Get Smart this weekend, so they may not be entirely objective…

  43. hcat says:

    I will be watching the second half of Under the Same Moon this evening. For a movie that was a decent arthouse hit, the first hour was quite bad. Searchlight had a great run last year but this year’s slate looks less promising (and does anyone know when we will see the long finished Margaret?)
    Started it late last night because I ended up catching Four Brothers on cable. Never really liked Wahlberg before (I seem to be the only one unimpressed by his Departed role) but he was great in this. Wasn’t up to Walter Hill level filmmaking but it was at least an attempt at that hard ass type genre film you rarely see anymore.

  44. Chucky in Jersey says:

    If Pixar has nothing to apologize for why did Disney resort to name-checking “Nemo” in the Wall-E trailer?
    It’s easier to start a war or rip off the public when you can churn out propaganda over and over again. Ask Tim Russert.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    Because Finding Nemo is their highest-grossing movie.
    Tim Russert died last week, your comment is therefore impossible and irrational.

  46. T. Holly says:

    Is there such a thing as a Comedy B Movie?

  47. scooterzz says:

    so…in an effort to feel the love, i’ve now seen ‘wall-e’ for the second time….i’m willing to say the first half (on earth) is as good as anything pixar has done….the second half (not on earth), however, still falls flat (really flat)……..
    i guess i might have seemed a bit harsh in my original post………

  48. The Big Perm says:

    Chucky in Jersey: “From the Creators of Autism!”

  49. CinemaPhreek says:

    Well, someone has to be comment #50, even if no one will read it…
    So, word comes out that Roger “Boy am I lost without Siskel” Ebert likes GET SMART and an admitted Ebert acolyte then claims that word is good. Against all the evidence that that word was bad.

  50. T. Holly says:

    The Kettles are cool. Cinema, you’re not paying attention. Regular people are having a gas, the critics even admit it doesn’t cause cancer, kind of depends on how hot it is outside and what else you have going on, or how expensive it is or what your date likes. I’m actually interested in American Girl and Brick Lane.

  51. THX5334 says:

    I don’t know how legit this one is – if at all, so if Drew or Devin or somebody in the know wants to chime in (without spoilers if possible)
    Regarding The Dark Knight:
    I heard that the Joker was to survive the film until Heath Ledger passed. And now that he has passed away, the Joker character is NOT to survive the film..
    If this is even remotely true, no disrespect to Ledger who I wish was still here, but that character is bigger than any actor in regards to that franchise and if the story originally deemed to keep him alive, than they should and recast when appropriate.
    The Joker is the Yin to Batman’s Yang. I always felt it was a mistake of the Burton era film that they killed him off in the first.
    If you want to give stories to other villains fine, but develop the story so the Joker is in maximum security at Arkham, or everyone thinks he’s dead but really he becomes the big bad puppet master until the final confrontation of the story…
    He is not just a regular arch villain to a superhero.
    They were smart to keep Magneto alive in the first X-Man, and if they’re smart they’ll do the same here.
    Killing the Joker off because of Ledger died is like ending Dumbledore as a character because Richard Harris died after the second Harry Potter…
    With all due respect to Ledger,
    Am I alone on this?

  52. Wrecktum says:

    WALL-E is a must see, but many, many, many people will feel exactly the same way scooterzz does.

  53. Martin S says:

    THX – I think the decision was made during script re-writes. Goyer’s initial storyarc, IIRC, had Joker in the next two, with Dent “becoming” Two-Face at the end of Dark Knight so he was the balance between Joker/Batman. But, I believe that was scrapped when Nolan and his brother took over the rewrites as later references changed to Joker in a past tense way before Heath passed. Nolan has said Goyer was involved, but it seems like he stepped out early for directing gigs. I’m more interested in if they scrapped the Ra’s/Lazarus Pit idea which involved Talia as Wayne’s interest. IMO, it would be a mistake to microscope Batman’s world to just Gotham once again.

  54. Kim Voynar says:

    Milkman, I didn’t think Kit Kittredge was THAT bad — or at least, I thought it would have been much, much worse without Breslin, and it wasn’t as bad as Nim’s Island. My four kids enjoyed Kit very much.
    But what the hell was up with Joan Cusack? She annoyed the hell out of me; it felt like she was trying to channel early Carol Burnett and failing miserably. I didn’t have a problem with Ormond, particulary, except that she looked way, way older than her husband, who’s played by Chris O’Donnell. And I mean more than just the five years that separate the actors’ ages — she looked almost old enough to be his mom.
    For a truly wretched kids film, now, hunt out a little gem called The Diamond Dog Caper. Saw that at AFI Dallas because I had my daughter with me and she wanted to see it. And wow, was it bad. Makes Kit Kittredge look Oscar-worthy by comparison.
    As for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days — I’m still not crazy about the premise of the film, because I think the girl needing the abortion is a spineless, freakishly dependent idiot who no one would go to such lengths for, but as far as the artistry of the film goes, it’s absolutely brilliant filmmaking. And I agree — the closing shot is one of the best in recent memory.

  55. THX5334 says:

    that is a stupid, stupid move to kill off the Joker for one film. No matter how good the movie is, that is a poor poor decision.
    Anyone who reads Batman knows his final confrontation with the Joker is like the ultimate test for him. He is the ultimate foe. The real test of death for this warrior to put in Campbellian terms.
    To put it in the second film in a three film story arc is kinda like neutering the character a little, so to speak. Of course, you can’t judge until the entire piece is finished, re the third film, but Im a little worried now.

  56. Tofu says:

    The word that the Joker dies and that scenes have been cut with Health in them are total bunk.
    Get ready to hang onto your asses, ass holders.

  57. Tofu says:

    The word that the Joker dies and that scenes have been cut with Health in them are total bunk.
    Get ready to hold onto your asses, ass holders.

  58. Martin S says:

    Tofu – I never they’d whacked him, again, but it feels like he’s been paired down for the third. I get the feeling the third is going to be a riff on Morrison/McKean’s Arkham Asylum.

  59. Tofu says:

    Yes, at least the characterizations will most certainly be from Arkham Asylum. Not for certain about the plot as such.
    Nolan once let slip that his proposed trilogy was laid out as Intimidation, Escalation, and then Duality. So more Two-Face on the way, no question. Jokers role in the third was to be smaller, but now who knows if he will pop-up at all.

  60. LexG says:

    Love Guru question (after having seen it….)
    It seems an obvious question that Myers should have cracked early on, but I don’t think he did. Whatever you think of him now, it’s hard to believe that a comedian who created such singular creations as Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and Wayne Campbell could not see the inherent problems with Guru Pitka.
    Was Myers just blinded by his affection for Chopra, so he went wishy-washy on his guru character?
    I never really got if we’re supposed to be laughing with him or at him. Sometimes he’s a clueless buffoon, sometimes he has Sandleresque rage issues, he seems to be a ladies man but is also a virgin… and most glaringly, sometimes he’s a trademark-and-appearance obsessed huckster/charlatan, yet we’re clearly supposed to take his self-improvement bromides absolutely seriously.
    Just a strange push-and-pull with that character… even the Cat in the Hat was at least consistent in his obnoxiousness.

  61. christian says:

    THE LOVE GURU was Myers chance to pull off a Peter Sellers type role and invest it with humor and character, but Myers seems hell-bent on taking the low-brow road everytime. I think the guy’s a genius, and I had hopes he would evolve like a Woody Allen or Sellers. But the insistence to put bland and incongruous pop cultural elements together (Alba, Timberlake, Hargity, etc) amid the endless scat gags I don’t understand. And the plot to have a guru help save a hockey team is something out of a 70’s Disney film like GUS — but with the donkeys fucking.

  62. I feel sorry for Mariska Hargitay. It’s not her fault Mike Meyers is an idiot.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt