Miami Connection

So, before we get started on this post, I have to apologise. I thought this would be a good thing to do throughout 2014, but I got swamped with personal things that meant I didn’t keep it up, and was trying to do too much in one go. I’m going to do better, and I’m going to do at least one move a month, including some special ones occasionally that aren’t on the list. Technically, I’m already running late, as I should have posted this by the end of January, but hey, I’m trying here.

"Seriously guys, I'm only 19!"

Y.K. Kim (centre in black) writer, director, Tae Kwon Do black belt, all round maniac.

So the movie we’re kicking 2015 off with is Miami Connection.And boy is it a doozy.

The eagle-eyed of you will notice that this isn’t a film on the list. However, it is renown world-wide as a generally crap film, but thoroughly entertaining at the same time. Luckily, there is a local cinema called The Electric and regularly they do screenings of weird films as part of their Trash Film nights, and their Shock and Gore events. I managed to get tickets to go with one of my friends and spend the evening the David Baldwin and Luke Jerromes (@Jerromes), the Trash Film Nights host, riffing over the top, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style.

So just to set the scene, when I’ve sat down to watch this film, I’ve already had two beers, have another beer in hand, and a nice piece of cake, going to listening two guys talk over the top of a movie and crack wise, and I’m on a comfy leather sofa. It’s kind of a setup that is doing its damnedest to make me enjoy it. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Dragon Sound - They are pure earworm.

Dragon Sound – all killer, no filler

This film embodies excellent crap films. It has a ludicrous ill-though out plot, no-one can bloody act, it makes no sense, and somehow, after all is said and done, it is such good fun. The basic premise is this – 5 guys, all orphans, all Tae Kwon Do black belts, are in college, and in a band called “Dragon Sound” (Never mind the fact that Y.K. Kim, the writer and director is his 30s at this point, and looks it) along with the amazing Jane. So they recently got a job at a new nightclub. However, the previous band are, like, super-pissed at them for taking their jobs, and so want to fight them. The bassist, Jack, is also dating Jane, and her brother, is, like super-pissed at Jack ’cause he’s dating his sister. Jane’s brother is also a drug dealer, who has connections with a motorcycle ninja gang. Seriously, I can’t make this kind of thing up, it’s that ridiculous.

The film is just Dragon Sound dealing with all of these different gangs who are quite unjustifiably annoyed with Dragon Sound, and some filler in the middle. Really, I don’t want to go into too much, because it ruins some of the surprises and unintentional jokes, but the film delivers. There is random nonsensical violence, terrible acting, poor editing, terrible dialogue, members of the public in shot, scenes where the sound is so out of balance that David and Luke just talked over the top of it, and so on and so on. The film makes no sense, and because of this, it makes it worth watching. All I can really say is despite it’s numerous and obvious flaws, the film is great fun and well worth a watch. Having said that, I was in a room with 70 similar minded people who were also laughing, so that might have had an impact on my enjoyment, as well as the beer.

Overall, I’d give this a solid 8/10. Definitely worth a watch, and an enjoyable crap film.

If you wan to find out more about the film, check out Drafthouse Films, and you can see the awesome trailer, buy the film, and even download two tracks, which I have been listening to on repeat while writing this, annoying the crap out of my wife.

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

Quickly, before we get into the review, I’d like to apologise to anyone who is viewing this. Apparently, I am terrible at keeping to a schedule, even one of two weeks for a film. I will endeavour to keep this up, as I do enjoy watching crap films, but finding the time to write it all up is what is taking me the time. Anyhoo, onto the review.

Well, here we are again, reviewing another treasure of a film, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, written and starring Adam Sandler. Now, I do like some Adam Sandler comedies (Happy Gilmore, 50 First Dates), but generally, I don’t like him. Why? Because he is the classic american comic who goes for slapstick and gross-out humour over nuance, subtlety, and a good script. So, once again, I’m going in with a bias, but at least I’m honest.

So, what’s it all about? Well, Zohan is a nice fella with a lovely beard, and he works for the Israeli Anti Terrorist team or some such nonsense. Why does he work for them? Well, because he seems to hold some kind of superpower which makes him immune to pain, an amazing fighter and spectacular lover. However, he doesn’t want to be a killing machine, his true passion in life is to be a hair dresser and (as he puts) it, make people silky smooth. What this means I don’t know, but never mind. So he fakes his own death, runs to the states and tries to get a job as a hairdresser in an Israeli and Palestinian community. Hijinks ensue, he falls in love, saves the day from a developer flattening the community, and happily ever after. The End. Whoops, I forgot to put a “spoiler” alert here. OR DID I?!?!

Its produced by Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Gilmore, and also starts his friends and from the film Grown Ups – Paul James, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider, but missing. As such, the film suffers from what I am now trademarking as the “Grown Ups effect”™. The more of the 5 core members of Grown Ups (Sandler, James, Rock, Schneider and Spade) in the film, the more likely it is to be this type of American comedy film. I’m not saying that these type of comedies are bad, but they don’t appeal to me, and I don’t find them funny. As this film had 4 out of 5, the Grown Ups Effect™ is quite high here.

So what did I think of the film?  Well, it  seems like a pretty standard oddball comedy until you realise that it seems to be just “riffing” off the stereotypes of middle eastern people in a really unfunny way. It isn’t comedy going “haha, that was a joke, isn’t this funny”, its comedy just showing you something that doesn’t make sense. For example, why is Zohan impervious to pain, such a good fighter and so flexible (in a few scenes he bring his feet up to his face with next to no body movement)? There is no explanation for it, and I just can’t buy it. This isn’t bad per-se, and I’m sure there are plenty of films that don’t explain things like this, but usually it is more subtle things, not something that is fairly important, and is referenced heavily in the film! There is one section where Zohan and his love interest Dalia are in the part. Zohan says something to her in an accent, and she doesn’t understand what he is saying, WHEN SHE IS SPEAKING WITH THE SAME ACCENT. It isn’t funny, its just absurd.
Another problem with this film is the whole “white washing” of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I am not informed enough to properly comment on the situation, and really need to read information on both sides to fully comment,. Adam Sandler has no such qualms, and wades in with his opinion like a bull in a china shop – Hey you guys, you’re basically the same, why can’t you just get along? Erm…. because of complex political and ideological reasons that can’t really be dealt with in a two hour film.
So after all of that, what is the verdict? Well, while it wasn’t my kind of comedy, it wasn’t the worst film in the world. Adam Sandler’s acting was poor, and it just played on stereotypes,, but I’ve still seen a lot worse. Overall, I’d give it a 5/10. Some people might find it funnier than I, but it just wasn’t for me.
I’d like to thank my great, dear friend Maggie Fennell for this film. She chose this for the list as it was, and I quote “weird combination of boring, annoying and disturbing all at once.” I think that is a pretty good summation of it.

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker

Well, before I get started, I have to apologise for the lateness of this post. My current aim is to do a post every two weeks and this is only number two and I’m already behind. I’m sure though that at this stage though no-one gives a monkeys, as this is really just for me, and my friends that might view it. So for them though, I apologise.

*Now back to our scheduled programming*

So, the movie that I chose to watch this time was Moonwalker. This was chosen by my future sister-in-laws fiancé, Iain, as his worst film, so I have him to thank for this choice.

I must admit, I have avoided this film for some time, mainly because I am not a fan of Michael Jackson. Now, before I am hounded through the streets by the masses carrying pitchforks and torches shouting “HEATHEN!”, I don’t dislike MJ, I do like a few songs here and there, but it just isn’t my cup of tea.

So what is the plot for the film? Well, frankly, there isn’t one, and this may be the main reason why a lot of people either love it or hate it. I was invited to watch the film with my great, dear friend Elena, and quite frankly, she loves it. I know a lot more people who just can’t stand it though. I think it may be because this isn’t what most people expect when they think of a “movie”. People expect to be told a story, but Moonwalker is just the music videos for the songs off his 1987 album Bad, with some filler in between and I think even fans of Moonwalker would say that is fairly accurate. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine, but I think there is some confusion about what Moonwalker is, and what it’s trying to be. The blurb on the DVD case and on IMDB both state it is an “Anthology Movie”, but it isn’t really an anthology in the strict sense. An anthology movie is normally a collection of shorts with a connecting theme. But really, what we are shown is a 93 minute advert for Michael Jackson and his album “Bad”. According to IMDB, the film was released in cinema in Europe, so it would seem that Warner Brothers saw it as a film, and released it as such, before they changed their minds and then released it straight to video in the US.

So, all this issue about what Moonwalker is and isn’t aside, does the film actually make sense, and are the videos any good? Well, I would have to say yes and no. The live performances of Man in the Mirror at the start and Come Together at the end are good, shot fairly standardly, and kind of bookend the bits in the middle. The problem starts when we get to the middle, which I will refer to from now on as THE MADNESS.

The Madness begins with a performance of “Bad”, but this time with kids instead of Michael and his backup dancers. This is kind of funny if you have seen the actual version of the “Bad” music video, and I have to admit, was enjoying and was amused. I was not so amused by what followed. The film cuts to the end of the song, with the kids leaving the sound stage they were recording on, and BAM! Michael and his entourage all turn into adults. We are then briefly introduced to a tour going through the sound stage, with a clay animation kid and his granny. It’s all a bit weird, but when they see Michael Jackson, they suddenly go crazy, and look like they’re possessed with their eyes pulled back, faces contorted with evil smiles, and they chase after him, flattening his entourage. Now all the while this is happening, Michael is running away and he keeps smiling, even though they seem to be baying for his blood, weird fans that they are.

I think I somehow then lost the plot as there is then the music video for “Speed Demon”, Michael Jackson is a clay animation rabbit on a motorbike, still being chased, it ends somehow, I’m still a little fuzzy on the details. Either way, it phases into the video for “Leave Me Alone” which is odd, but just another music video. It’s at the end of this though we end up at the heart of The Madness, the extended video for Smooth Criminal.

From what I’ve read, the plot to the Smooth Criminal part was written by Michael Jackson, and while he can write a good song, he cannot write a story. There is a fairly detailed summary on the wikipedia page here, but it doesn’t really explain how batshit fucking crazy the whole thing is! I mean, he is surrounded by soldiers, and before he is gunned down by them, he has a flashback to the weirdest discovery of a drugs ring, then somehow he is able to avoid a whole squad of machine gun toting soldiers, runs away from them in a scene reminiscent of a WW2 flick with all the shadows and corridors, and then just when the soldiers have him trapped, he turns into a car. HE TURNS INTO A FUCKING CAR!!!!!! I just don’t get it. Not one bit. Not buying it. No. Wrong. Try again. Then its the Smooth Criminal video itself, with a weird sexy orgy scene in the middle which left me cold, and then he runs away and turns into a giant blood ROBOT. And when he looks like he’s defeated them all, he turns into a SPACESHIP. What the hell was Michael on when he wrote this, and how the fuck did he get away spending Warner Brothers money on this?!? I just don’t get it. Not one bit.

So what are we left with? A collection of music videos with little connecting them, released in the cinema as a film. As such, I can only review it as an anthology film, and even then, it really isn’t that. This is a hard one to review because it was marketed as a film, but just really isn’t one. So my mark? 2 out of 10. If you like Michael Jackson, you will probably really like this, but to the average person with a passing interest, it is self indulgent, the plot is completely incoherent, and at the end of the day it is just his music videos.

On a side note, after watching Moonwalker, I then watched Michael Jackson’s Ghosts. I think it can be best summed up as follows: The Madness 2: Electric Boogaloo. Just don’t do it. It is far too long for what it is in the end.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

So, the very first film to examine/study/review is Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and let’s just say, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this one. Released in cinemas in 2009, I have memories of watching the trailer and making a mental note to avoid this film. In all honesty, I am not a fan of Kevin James’s acting and comedy style, having watched a few episodes of The King of Queens, a sitcom about a UPS delivery man, so I was going in with some bias. So much so, that as I selected this film on Netflix to watch, I groaned. I really wasn’t looking forward to this. That being said, lets take a look at it.

So, the plot goes like this – An overweight, hypoglycemic guy with a mustache, our eponymous hero Paul Blart, played by Kevin James, is unable to pass the fitness test for the New Jersey Police, and so settles for a job as a Mall Cop. His wife has divorced him, as she only married him for a green card, and he is unhappy with his lot in life. A new kiosk has opened in the mall, and he is attracted to the lady who runs it. However, there is an attempt to rob the mall by a gang of hoodlums, they take love interest hostage, and as the only person left in the mall, Paul Blart has to save the day. Long story short, he rescues the hostages, captures the crooks, and gets his love interest, Big whoop. And if anyone is shouting “SPOILERS” at this second, if you weren’t able to deduce that Paul Blart was going to save the day, then congratulations, you are the naive movie go-er every film studio dreams of!

Overall, its not the worst outline for a film ever. The problem is though that everything is so ham-fisted, its all been done before (and better), and the humour is so base. I mean, I enjoy a good dick and fart joke as much as the next man, hell, I enjoy Jackass, but the problem is, the “jokes” leave you feeling cold. During the opening scene where Paul Blart is doing the New Jersey Police Fitness Test, he gets sweat stains on his man boobs, and then passes out inches from the finish line due to his hypoglycemia, starts to snore, and everyone just stands around as if nothing happened.

If someone collapsed on the street, at least some people would go over and help. Not in Paul’s case! People are just stepping over him so they can finish. There is mean to be some slapstick/schadenfreude element, but its just a fat man falling down. Its not inherently funny, it just comes across as mean. The film just glosses over this medical issue with a glib smile, and moves onto the next joke. The problem is, that the next joke is actually just the same joke, over and over. I just can’t find a man repeatedly passing out due to his medical condition and over-exertion very amusing. Even in a comedy film it just seems cruel. Again, I reiterate I like watching Jackass, but whereas Johnny Knoxville and the gang choose to do stupid painful stunts for our amusement, this just belittles the ill.

Another example is where he is called to a lingerie department to break up a fight between two women, one overweight and one rather skinny. I’m no expert, but I don’t think these two women would be really fighting over the same piece of lingerie, but by all means correct me if I’m wrong. Anyhoo, Paul Blart calls the overweight lady fat, and a fight ensues. The real problem here is that you are so apathetic about this character Paul, that you are actually rooting for the woman to kick his arse. Maybe then he’ll seek professional help to get over his medical conditions and his wife leaving him. Probably not though, it is a film after all.

The other problem with this film is that jokes are telegraphed from a mile away. I can appreciate a good build up, but when something it screaming for you to pay attention on screen, it isn’t a build up anymore. An example of this is with the introduction of Amy. The very instance you meet Paul Blart’s love interest Amy, played by Jayma Mays (who is also the love interest in Glee, who is also the love interest in How I Met Your Mother, and I can now only assume is now typecast as the love interest in all TV shows and movies), you can tell she is wearing a wig. You then see her a few minutes later wearing a different wig. Why? So she can do a slo-mo hair flick when taking of the wig to an 80s power ballad, which seems to be the only music they use in the bloody film.

The film at times feels more like a hyperactive child trying to get your attention, going “Here, here! You should be laughing at this bit!” throughout, such as during the uncomfortable scene of Paul Blart and his fat friend having a nacho eating competition, or during the uncomfortable scene with Adhir Kalyan being a creepy teenage sex pest, or whenever Paul Blart is on a segway (which is a large portion of the film), or when he is playing Rock Band in an arcade. The list can just go on.

The characters are so flat, that you never really connect with them. The bad guy is so bland, its hard to hate him. Ultimately, the only reason I didn’t root for him was the fact he hired such inept henchmen, and he himself was just as inept. Plus what is with the “hoodlums” who are robbing the store being on skateboards, and BMXs, and free running? Time is on their side, they could just walk the mall and rob everything, they don’t need vehicles. It just seems like it is trying to crowbar something interesting in for the kids to look at and identify.

The last few things are really just annoyances more than anything, things that you see a lot of people getting wrong. Why does Paul Blart have a CRT monitor at home? I haven’t seen a CRT monitor in an office, library or computer shop for about the last 8 years. Is he just clinging onto this thing for dear life, or is more likely that the props team felt that people are still unable to identify a flatscreen monitor as part of a computer. Another gripe with this film is that it tries to tell you your emotions through music throughout, and it isn’t subtle. One minute it is silence, and then something happens and its CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC/80s POWER BALLAD. And those are the only two options.

Okay, so from all of this I think you can gather that I don’t like this film. But then, it is meant to be a family-friendly comedy, so I’m not its target audience, so no wonder I don’t like it. However, it feels just like every other “family friendly” comedy, a vanity project. Like Kevin James needed to write something that his kids could watch. The plot seemed tired, and a rehash of better films, but in a comedy style. There was clearly a lot of money thrown at this project as it looked nice, but that is to be expected when your friend Adam Sandler provides the money to produce the film. The actors didn’t do too badly either considering what they were given to work with.

So the final result: 4.5/10 Felt churned out, and could have done better.

But wait, there is some more good news, it seems that Paul Blart 2 is currently in production! Maybe this time Kevin James will write actually write something good. Oh, and I have to thank my good friend Dave Wells for this choice. Were it not for him, I might have been able to continue on in blissful ignorance of this film, so yeah, thanks a bunch.

Welcome!

Congratulations! You have stumbled upon…. well…… this really. I’ll explain.

My name is Chris, and I like watching crap films. Everything from Hollywood stinkers like Gigli, to cheap straight-to-video films like Felon. To some, these are unbearable, and in some cases, they are for me too, but there are usually one or two redeemable moments which make them worthwhile watching.

So I decided to find out, what makes a really crap film? Is it the script? The direction? The acting? A combination of everything? How much of it is based on personal bias? I decided that the best way to work this out was to watch the worst films friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances would “recommend”, and also watch films chosen by reviewers and movie publications (Total Film, Empire etc) and collate them into a list. So every fortnight until I either lose the will to live, have a breakdown, or get sick of this masochistic endeavour, I will watch a film from the list and review it, and see if there are common features on them all.

However, there are some rules I have to follow:

  • One person, one crap film.
  • The film chosen has to be the all time worst film they have watched, not someone else has, or they’ve heard is the worst film.
  • A particular cut or version of the film to be watched can be chosen (if known), and I will endeavour to obtain a copy and watch it. If I cannot find a copy, or a cut isn’t specified, I will watch the version easiest to obtain.
  • I can only choose the #1 from Worst Films lists. If they are not numbered, a film will be chosen at random. If the film is already on the list, then I will choose at random.
  • All reasonable attempts will be made to get hold of a copy of each film, unless costs are prohibitive.
  • If it’s a remake, I must watch the original film after to prevent bias.
  • If the film is a sequel, I must watch all the other films first. These will get single sentence reviews.

I hope you will enjoy.