MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Starship Troopers Without The Subtext?

Breznican gets on the buzz box about GI Joe in USA Today…
But word around the studio is that the movie is so incredibly bad that it may be a comic delight, worthy of multiple viewings from those who hate it the most. Really. The kind of film that will end up as a Midnight Movie and have friends doing shots everything some catch phrase is uttered or a machine does something only possible via CG magic.
And really, wouldn’t it be fun to have a movie that bad to enjoy? An unintentional Eight Legged Freaks? Lake Placid with Betty White and Oliver Platt playing it straight. Rachel Nichols icing Sienna Miller’s figurative PG nipples and then jumping into that pool, smashing herself into the water, over and over, until Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cobra rises.
Let’s HOPE it’s that bad. Really, Can’t take another Mummy 3… I just can’t.

47 Responses to “Starship Troopers Without The Subtext?”

  1. LexG says:

    Rachel Nichols = #1 FIRECROTCH.
    That nipple shit sounds hot. YEP YEP.

  2. Wrecktum says:

    Agreed. Rachel Nichols major bonerage.
    Poland, isn’t this the type of entertainment “journalism” that you normally (and rightfully) tear a new asshole? It’s innuendo, speculation and fanboy wankery without a bit of real reporting.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    On the subject of ‘so bad they’re good’ movies I kind of feel like we already had one this year with Knowing. But even that one didn’t top last year’s crapsterpiece, The Happening, which I still want to buy at Amoeba when it drops to $8.
    I barely remember Eight Legged Freaks. I recall a lot of missed opportunities and uncertain tone.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, and one thing interesting about The Mummy 3 is that it demonstrated a very clear difference between Rob Cohen-brand awfulness and Stephen Sommers-brand terribility. Maybe it’s just personal taste, but the Cohen version seemed so much more bland and impersonal and factory-produced than even the weakest Sommers movie (which would be Van Helsing).

  5. Wrecktum says:

    At least Sommers exhibits a bit of wit and visual flair in his hacky movies. Cohen is so serious and by-the-numbers.

  6. David Poland says:

    Well, Wreck… does it appear that I am pretending to break news or suggesting that this is an authoritative piece on what the movie is?
    Or does it seem that I have spoken to some people who have seen the movie multiple times, see the very conservative USA Today dealing with the leakage, and am wondering aloud if this could be a more interesting future for the film?
    When I object to terrible journalism about rumors, it is because the journalism presents as an authoritative position when it is not. In fact, almost every time you read me shredding anything, it is on the basis of hypocrisy and not the good or bad of the fact itself.
    If the NYT wrote a story that said, “LA is buzzing about whether Universal is in trouble… but we have been hearing this for months lately and for year after year through a half dozen owners,” it would be gossipy, but it would not piss me off because it would have been clear about the facts vs the chatter. What enrages me is when gossip gets spun into what seems factual by the way it is written, the failure to research, and/or the misuse of the facts to mislead about the details.
    Does this make any sense to you?

  7. Eric says:

    The first Mummy was kind of fun and the second was terrible. I was willing to give G.I. Joe a chance until Jeff reminded me that Sommers also directed Van Helsing, which I can say without hyperbole is among the worst movies I have ever paid money to see.
    But holy crap does Sienna Miller look hot, so it still might happen.
    P.S. I give David a lot of crap about what he chooses to write about but this post seems lighthearted and fine.

  8. Wrecktum says:

    So what you’re saying is, even though an article is nothing but rumors, speculation and gossip, if you’re hearing the same thing as the writer of the article, then it’s OK.

  9. Wrecktum says:

    If, of course, you were talking to your best bud at Uni and he said “I saw G.I. Joe today and it’s a lot of fun and kids will love it” you’d naturally excoriate Breznican piece and call him Nikkiesque. I assume.

  10. Martin S says:

    Here’s the deal with Sienna Miller – she stinks. She maybe hot to some, but she can act only in comparison to Cindy Crawford or Kathy Ireland. She’s the poster girl for Agency Hardsell and has no business toplining any studio film.
    They would have been better with Crazee Michelle Rodriguez as The Baroness because then at least you could believe this chick would get in a drag race down a metro street while trying to shoot someone.
    I don’t like hoping for bombs, but Sommers deserves it for what The Mummy, Van Helsing and the nightmare Flash Gordon show. Just like Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Sommers Shouldn’t Play With Established Properties.

  11. LYT says:

    “wouldn’t it be fun to have a movie that bad to enjoy? ”
    Shall I take it, David, that you have never seen THE ROOM?
    (admittedly no CG in it, but some outright terrible greenscreening)
    If we’re talking this year, though, both ORPHAN and STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI are frequently hilarious.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    Don’t forget Dangerous Men.

  13. CaptainZahn says:

    I thought Miller was pretty good in Interview. Not amazing, but it was still a better performance than anything Scarlett Johansson has ever done.

  14. LexG says:

    Sienna Miller is so hot her vag probably reduces men’s tongues to ASH.
    FACTORY GIRL was good, and she WAS *AWESOME* in it. Plus I went through like half a closet of towels watching it. YEP YEP.

  15. SJRubinstein says:

    I was going to say – Miller has given some pretty solid performances. Hell, if I was in NYC, I’d be all about seeing her in Marber’s “Miss Julie” re-do.
    That said, my favorite Sommers is “Deep Rising,” the most quotable of all studio, big budget B-movies (“Can you just ‘get’ asthma?!”) and then had that amazing final shot of, basically, Monster Island.
    I will be there for “G.I. Joe” opening day. If it’s a campy trash fest, I’ll be there again the following week. If it’s just fun like the trailers promise, I’ll look forward to the sequel. It’s kind of win-win as long as it’s not boring.

  16. Triple Option says:

    I don’t know if Balls of Fire falls in the Eight Legged Freaks category but man, it’d be GREAT if two of those could be released each year. Well made cheese, I don’t know what you’d call them??? A good intentionally bad film. I remember seeing Sean Young in a couple of good ones. There were parts of Grindhouse that gone “full retard” might’ve achieved that status. The problem w/most of the astonishingly bad films is that they simply drain you trying to watch them.
    I wonder if Fox Atomic had tried to go w/a B-movie style instead of parody gags would they’ve had any more success? There’s generally a certain amount of wit to those films and general respect of the genre being lampooned for them to work. Also, the audience kinda has to be in on the gag, which may be the hardest element of the equation.
    This is kind of a half side step but are they any community message boards or rec points on Netflix? One thing about going to video stores, even big chains, was getting recommendations. Could any traction come from a dvd title that’s in high rotation in video rental? I wonder if a sequel to good, bad film released straight to dvd couldn’t see a decent spring or early fall opening against the normal trudge being offered considering the rep already built on the name a year or so prior?

  17. David Poland says:

    Wreck –
    The odd thing is, your defense seems like an insider’s defense, but at the same time you seem to want to provoke me to take a factual flame thrower to this situation instead of taking a lighthearted position.
    To your Insider: Please. You know exactly what you have here and getting angry at me isn’t going to fix the problem. If this was “nothing but rumors, speculation and gossip,” I wouldn’t have printed it. And unlike many, it has nothing to do with how I personally feel about it… since I feel nothing about it… haven’t seen the movie… don’t much care, except for how a failure could cost jobs that will be lost first by people who haven’t earned the blame.
    Frankly, I am interested in seeing this “so bad its good” idea of this movie more than I would ever be interested in seeing GI Joe unless I had some idea that it was groundbreakingly smart.
    To your Outsider: I’m not going to tear this movie down further for your amusement. It’s a rough situation and it looks like it’s going to get worse. You’ll get your blood soon enough, though I would prefer not.

  18. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li is pretty much the ‘high water mark’ to which bad movies will be judged this year. Completely and utterly entertaining in the worst way, but I have a weird feeling that Chris Klein was doing some kind of brilliant satire (I felt the same way about Raul Julia in the first Street Fighter). Or at least he was thinking “Gee, I’ve wanted to play a bad ass movie cop like this since I was 8, I’m just gonna go for it!”

  19. jasonbruen says:

    Joe sure has the geeks all pumped up, even claiming it was more pure fun that both Transformers. The second one is no contest, but better than the first? That statement raises flags… DP only confirms this.
    I just don’t get Aintitcool’s taste.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think any studio has successfully implemented a strategy of ‘laughability and awfulness’ to promote a high-profile movie that I can remember. Isn’t that exactly what everybody blamed the failures of Snakes on a Plane and Grindhouse on? The studio only tried that for Showgirls well after the initial ‘sexy cool’ original marketing strategy had failed.

  21. David Poland says:

    The great irony of Snakes on a Plane was that they committed suicide – based on expectations… the film still did more than the original budget anticipated it would make – by not showing the film.
    It got a good review in the NY Times and a lot of other places they thought would try to kill them. The movie, which was stupid, was actually more fun than the studio realized. So when opening weekend came, much of the expanded base of interest stayed away because of the hiding of the film.
    On the other hand, many good openings have come out of playing “hide the movie,” the biggest one being the standard-bearer, The Day After Tomorrow. But the tracking was bigger than the critics.
    And that may become the case with GI Joe.
    What they don’t want it Speed Racer.
    But again, the big mistake WB made on Speed was trying to go 4-quadrant. It could have been a family hit. And this one can be a family hit, whether it is the best or worst film of all time.
    Showgirls had a very different problem. Every man wanted to see it and none wanted to tell their girlfriends/wives. It was so close to Cinemax late night – and that was apparent from the materials – that people were embarrassed to buy a ticket… which is why it is still a huge DVD hit.

  22. The Big Perm says:

    Maybe I’m the only one, but I’d prefer Cohen to Sommers, mostly because at least Cohen seems to use real stunts and stages action and generally plays things sort of seriously, which I prefer to horrible cartoony CG and lots of campy jokes. Sommers writes and directs like a retarded eight year old that just got into the sugar jar.
    Question, based on what Eric said and I know I’ve heard this said before many times on message boards…but does anyone actually pay ten bucks and spend two hours seeing a terrible looking movie because an actress looks hot in it? I never believe anyone does, but am I wrong?

  23. LexG says:

    Check out Big Perm with an actual awesome (correct) opinion about something:
    Cohen is a solid pulp filmmaker; Yes, Mummy 3 was pretty weak/sluggish/whatever, but F&F were fun, slick old-school B-movies with legit stunts and enough grounding in (a stylized) reality to work; Sommers’ stuff all plays like it was directed by Harry Knowles on a Spree and Skittles bender channeling Forry Ackerman or something.
    Also, it’s been noted before here, by movieman at least, Cohen’s backstory is a lot more interesting than people give credit for, and he’s been making movies for 30 years; It’s like some selective amnesia or the force of his own midlife crisis aesthetic, but people forget he directed some fairly terrestrial and solid-enough stuff for two decades before “The Skulls” gave him some weird artistic rebirth as a 22-year-old street racer guy.

  24. IOIOIOI says:

    Bad buzz? On a GI JOE movie? Does that even matter? It’s GI JOE. It looks fun enough, the story is not that completely hookie, and Sommers did DEEP RISING! HE EARNS SOME CREDIT FOR THAT DAMN IT!

  25. Second that on Snakes on a Plane. You could write a book about how New Line screwed that up. They basically advertised “this movie is terrible, but in a fun way… now give us your $10 per ticket plus refreshments and babysitter money!” “No thanks.” said 95% of normal moviegoers who don’t relish knowingly watching terrible films in theaters just to laugh at them. And of course, the thing ended up with 69% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m sure Roger Ebert would have loved it. Had they just sold it as a campy, fun horror picture that simply delivers the goods in high style (and had they just screened the darn thing), they might have actually made $50 million on the picture.

  26. Lota says:

    Well let’s see how bad it is…before it’s “incredibly bad” which is kind of a preternatural death knell cast upon it unfairly.
    as Pretty as Sienna Miller is, she hardly can be considered a draw and would have had the same career most likely as Denise van Outen if she hadn’t been associated with Jude Law (a more famous boyfreind than Denise’s, Jay Kay, whose hat Lex seems to want). Any good roles Sienna gets are a 100% credit to her agent.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    Nah, I’m sure it’s all a matter of personal tastes, but with only a pair of exceptions I’ll take every Sommers movie over every Cohen movie. The exceptions are that I’ll concede that Cohen’s best movie (Fast and the Furious) is better than Sommers’s worst (Van Helsing). As far as I’m concerned, Cohen’s ‘seriousness’ plays as pretentiousness and some kind of superiority to the material.
    Also, the things that Cohen thinks are cool (bright colors, cars, Vin Diesel or Paul Walker) aren’t things that I think are cool. I prefer me some period settings and Kevin J. O’Connor.

  28. Lota says:

    Actually I am excited to see Christopher Eccleston and Jonathan Pryce, two very talented dudes.
    seems like just silly leaning-toward bimbo-esque chicks in the cast, no evil women with brains.

  29. SJRubinstein says:

    Re: Scott Mendelson
    You are absolutely right about “Street Fighter: the Legend of Chun Li.” Probably the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year. Chris Klein = “The Room.”

  30. LexG says:

    I’ll join the chorus:
    Seeing Chris Klein channeling “Night of the Creeps”-era Tom Atkins in “Chun-Li” was both surprising and delightful. As is K.K.’s incredibly chaste come-on dance to another female character.
    Not so surprising, however, was that Neil McDonough playing the exact same character as always.

  31. The Big Perm says:

    I’d say Cohen’s best movie was Dragon. But I don’t think Fast and the Furious is pretentious at all…it’s not shot like an art film. It’s still all about fun, but it’s not aimed at six year old lobotomy patients.
    Sommers must really get to me because he made me hate on a period set monster movie, and I’m about the easiest lay for that shit there is. I can’t wait for The Wolf Man.

  32. Wrecktum says:

    Neil McDonough is a character actor who’s cast specifically to play the same type as always. That’s what character actors are asked to do: archtypes.

  33. Big Perm, I’ve long theorized that’s one of the main advantages that male heartthrobs have over female heartthrobs. Girls will pay to see a somewhat appealing movie purely because the lead is cute. Guys won’t do that.

  34. LexG says:

    Mendelson: I do.
    I also acknowledge I’m a total exception.

  35. Joe Straat says:

    Chris Klein’s “performance” didn’t quite work for me on the same way it did for others. It hit me like some kind of non-surgical lobotomy. It was like he was channeling the worst of Nicolas Cage with the worst of Keanu Reeves and combining them. It was more numbing than anything else. I can see why people would be absolutely amused by it and I don’t hold it against anyone, but it didn’t hit me in the same humorous way the outrageously bad performance by Tommy Wiseau in The Room did or the infamously hilarious performances do.
    As for GI Joe, well, I will watch the movie and see what happens. The thing with Sommers is I had way more fun with The Mummy than I realize I should. Absolutely stupid, yes, but loaded with character. What went wrong is Sommers transition to The Mummy Returns and Van Helsing. They have the same problems: The plot is absolutely overstuffed with things that are supposed to enhance the “drama” but end up doing precisely the opposite. They pulled the reincarnation bullshit in both TMR and VH and it helped neither (Really, the Van Helsing and Dracula relationship is just confusing and adds nothing to do with anything but adding to an already unnecessarily convoluted plot). There’s the kid in TMR and Kate’s wolfman brother who are supposed to make the conflict PERSONAL that don’t work at all. Oh, and the plots. All sorts of overblown with 15 unnecessarily rules and countdowns.. If it was a big, dumb movie about Van Helsing fighting/allying himself with Frankenstein’s monster/Dracula/Wolfman, it’d be fine. I was a huge Castlevania fan back in the day (Unfortunately, the Castlevania movie doesn’t seem to be on any path that will lead to making up for Van Helsing), and I enjoyed the first 15-20 minutes of it when it was Van Helsing chasing badly-CG’d Robbie Coltrane. Then it became too wrapped up in making everything as huge and PERSONAL as possible and I just got bored. Hopefully, the plot of GI Joe doesn’t revolve around Duke and Cobra Commander being BROTHERS and the entire world conflict being on Duke fearing he has failed to raise his younger brother correctly and the ENTIRE WORLD CONFLICT IS A RESULT OF HIM FAILING TO RAISE HIS BROTHER RIGHT. OH THE DRAMA!!!!!!!!

  36. christian says:

    There are some cool things in THE MUMMY: Jerry Goldsmith’s lovely, rousing score; the pulp, elegiac moment with aviator Bernard Fox (Dr. Bombay); and the scene with Fraser slicing a horde of mummies in one nicely choreographed take. Most of the film is way too arch, but it plays like a hi-tech Universal 30’s adventure film.

  37. IOIOIOI says:

    Joe, that would be Transformers, and I do not believe they are brothers. Friends, sure. Sister issues. Indeed.

  38. Geoff says:

    LexG, you make a good point about Rob Cohen. People forget that he was John Badham’s producing partner for many years – the fact that he has produced and/or directed films like Saturday Night Fever, Thank God It’s Friday, and Fast & the Furious shows that he knows how to pull off the “time capsule” movie.
    What I don’t get is how he eclipsed John Badham – I know, he’s thought of as a joke nowadays, but the guy directed Saturday Night Fever and Wargames. Within that five year period, his mainstream entertainment output was almost in the same ballpark as Spielberg at that time (Jaws until Raiders) and that’s really saying something.
    Wargames really holds up – probably the best techno thriller ever, even better than The Matrix.
    What IS John Badham doing, nowadays? Last I saw, he had directed some episodes of Heroes, but how has he stayed away from directing feature films so long?

  39. Geoff says:

    LexG, you make a good point about Rob Cohen. People forget that he was John Badham’s producing partner for many years – the fact that he has produced and/or directed films like Saturday Night Fever, Thank God It’s Friday, and Fast & the Furious shows that he knows how to pull off the “time capsule” movie.
    What I don’t get is how he eclipsed John Badham – I know, he’s thought of as a joke nowadays, but the guy directed Saturday Night Fever and Wargames. Within that five year period, his mainstream entertainment output was almost in the same ballpark as Spielberg at that time (Jaws until Raiders) and that’s really saying something.
    Wargames really holds up – probably the best techno thriller ever, even better than The Matrix.
    What IS John Badham doing, nowadays? Last I saw, he had directed some episodes of Heroes, but how has he stayed away from directing feature films so long?

  40. SJRubinstein says:

    Wow – Badham even directed “Bingo Long’s Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings,” which I actually quite like. Just going over his IMDB listings, it seems that he’s been working pretty much non-stop in episodic television for the past half-decade and did a slew of TV-movies before that. I saw “The Jack Bull” and liked it quite a bit, but really haven’t seen a lot of the other post-“Nick of Time” stuff.
    But wow, I remember when “American Flyers” seemed to be a cable staple. Probably have seen five minutes of that thing in a hundred different contexts, but never seen the whole flick in one sitting.

  41. christian says:

    BLUE THUNDER bee-atches!

  42. Discman says:

    Scott, Rubinstein: Seriously? I saw “Street Fighter” and found it unbearably dull, not at all enjoyable in the way that certain bad movies can be enjoyed.
    It may be that I’ve lost my sense of humor. I shut down pretty early when a film is clearly a dog, and count down the minutes until I can leave and try to write something resembling a review. I *wish* I could make the reviews more entertaining that the films themselves, but I’m usually dragged down to the level of the crap I have to sit through.

  43. don lewis (was PetalumaFilms) says:

    All the film geek PR…errr….critic sites are shocked at how fun GI Joe really was after they saw it last night. Still looks terrible. I won’t even drink a GI Joe slurpee from 7-11 I’m so turned off by the film.

  44. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Where y’all been? “G.I. Joe” as Razzies classic has been kickin’ around the Net the past 2 weeks. Pullquote of the year in the 2nd paragraph.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    It’s been kicking around for several months.

  46. SJRubinstein says:

    Re: Discman
    See, the secret of enjoying “Street Fighter” is…
    A: Have zero interest
    B: Have your friends subsequently e-mail you crazy clips of Chris Klein when you didn’t even know he was in the movie
    C: Go get really, really trashed with your friends
    D: See the film
    Most fun I’ve had in a theater this year. And that includes a Mommy & Me screening of “Public Enemies” where about thirty babies started screaming at the top of their lungs when the tommy guns started a’clackin’.

  47. Geoff says:

    American Flyers is awesome! There are few actors more convincing at playing athletes than Kevin Costner – he was fun to watch.
    And how can you discount Stakeout? One of the better ’80’s buddy comedies. Badham was very good in his prime.
    But wow…those ’90’s movies – Nick of Time, Bird on a Wire, Point of No Return, and Drop Zone – the guy was able to get good casts and just did nothing with. Real streak of crap. Still, would be cool to see him direct another action film and use the modern techniques – I can easily see him having Martin Campbell’s acumen.

The Hot Blog

movieman on: BYOBlog

Stella's Boy on: BYOBlog

movieman on: BYOBlog

Hcat on: BYOBlog

movieman on: BYOBlog

leahnz on: BYOBlog

movieman on: BYOBlog

movieman on: BYOBlog

leahnz on: BYOBlog

Stella's Boy on: BYOB - RIP The Goldfinch

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima