Again, and just like Douglas Walker did in his videos, I am doing a follow up to my previous post so I guess it’s time to talk about those movies that everybody else hates but that I actually like and enjoy (Just as a note before going on, I like all the movies he mentioned in his list, so I think that invalidates the title). Now, none of these movies I consider them my favorite nor great or amazing, I just enjoy them more than the rest of the demographic seems to. But again this is all just opinion and mine is not more important than anybody else’s, so don’t freak out if I start calling a masterpiece what you consider a piece of crap. Besides, none of these movies are in my Top 30 and for most of them I have a clear soft spot, so don’t take this too seriously, alright?
10. Top secret.
The Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams might pass in history as some of the best comedy directors and writers of all time. Movies like Airplane! or The Naked Gun trilogy will prove this, and they are responsible of the legacy Leslie Nielsen left behind when he passed away. But the funny thing is how few people seem to remember “Top Secret”, which is nothing but the very first movie Val Kilmer ever did! That should give it some sort of position, right? Well, this is more the type of movie people forget rather than hate, but why should it be forgotten? It has really good comedic moments and it balances the plot with the silliness pretty well. People accused it of being slow, of having too much dialogue and not enough funnies. Hell, even the directors themselves say in the Audio Commentary if they can skip the rest of the movie with the fast-forward option! I think this helps, it allows you to build up before the joke happens, making it funnier. And for a movie that is basically a parody of every World War 2 spy movie ever made, this helps a great deal. Slow pace, yes, but fantastic punch lines!
9. Kingdom of Heaven (The Director’s cut).
Now, Ridley Scott. What can I say about him? I really like his work, I love his movies. Black Hawk Down, Alien, Thelma and Louise, White Squall…I could go on. I love his movies a lot, but lately it’s like he has lost either his mojo, his mind, or both. American Gangster was just fairly okay. Body of Lies was a massive bore. Robin Hood was just…a tremendous meh on your face. But before doing all of them he did an awesome epic story of Orlando Bloom playing the stereotypical hero who goes from blacksmith to black knight in the bat of an eye. Note that I am talking about the Director’s cut of this film, which makes the movie so long it actually needs two DVD’s to be seen (and let me tell you, it’s the best DVD experience you can have in your house, especially with a big TV). It’s not the story telling though what I really liked about this film (despite it being a bit predictable is really good), but the acting is what takes the cake in the quality Olympics. You wouldn’t expect Orlando Bloom to be such a good actor; Liam Neeson is, as always, a badass master that leaves a deep imprint for just 25 minutes of screen time; Edward Norton is magnificent; David Thewlis is great; even Jeremy Irons manages to channel more Scar than Simon from Die Hard 3 in his performance (including the scar on his left eye, Scott is such a Lion King fan boy); Brendan Gleeson is a gut-wrenching son a whore (and he relish in every second of it, so good he is); Eva Green is both gorgeous looking and heart breaking; and I could go on and on about the actors. The visuals are astonishing, relying very little in digital effects and showing the visceral combat scenes and the brutal sword fights. When I first watched this movie I was surprised so very few people liked it. I thought it was great, and then they began to rip it off like there was no tomorrow. They nagged on the acting, they said it was unrealistic, and that the accuracy of the events was wrong from beginning to end. To which I will reply citing Mr. Scott himself:
“Not historically accurate? How do they know? They weren’t there”.
8. Mystery Men.
I mentioned this one on my Top 10 Guilty Pleasures, and all that I said there is still valid here. I really understand why people hated it. I know some of the actors are not really keen on the critic’s perspectives. Jeannine Garofalo (just to say one) can be a nuisance with some of her characters, as she is always type-casted as the strong female with very deep feminist beliefs. But here she is not that much of a character and having the spirit of her father pestering her all the time motivates her to be that strong and feminist character (and in a personal note her tomboyish looks appeal me a lot). The action scenes…I can’t really defend them because they are really, really silly and sometimes can get over the top. But I think that was the purpose. This is a super hero movie, it knows it is a comic book movie and it has fun with it, pushing the over the top with even more over the top, then pointing at itself and making a fart noise. That’s funny. The plot is totally ridiculous, but who says that’s a bad thing? The plot is there to ease the dialogue and the one liners, to throw these assholes into stupid situations and making you laugh about them. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever watched, and despite all of its flaws I still find it funnier than some modern day comedies.
I have to admit that every bit of positive sentiment I have towards this movie comes from pure nostalgia. I remember watching this film in the theatre when I was 13 years old and having a lot of fun with it. The dialogue was funny. The action scenes were awesome. The characters were great. It was a great film. Sadly, it didn’t age that well. The dialogues are actually kind of forced, many times they are there just to shoe-horn a dick joke or a poop joke. The characters are not that well rounded as I remembered, and many of them you just want to punch them in the face (aside from Michael Clark Duncan, Peter Stormare and, of course, Ben Affleck). Speaking of which, Ben Affleck’s character can be one of the most likeable characters I’ve seen in a movie (in my opinion). I like the character of AJ Frost so much I have been naming every RPG character I play as AJ since 1998, that’s how much I like his character, and his acting is pretty good too (better than Willis’). But as for the things that did age well, the action scenes. My God, they are still kickass. For starters, the camera doesn’t shake and doesn’t tremble all the fucking time like in other newer Michael Bay movies. The camera is steady, firmly glued to the ground, or moves smoothly showing you how cool the explosions look like. There’s a physicality in the effects as well, the CGI blends pretty well with the rocks falling and the debris blowing up dirt on your face. It still is a really fun, really entertaining ride. Perfect? Of course not. None of the movies in this list are. But still a lot of fun to sit through.
6. El Gran Marciano.
This is the Spanish movie of the list not only nobody likes but nobody seems to remember anymore. You remember the show Big Brother? Of course you do, everybody fucking does, and it’s probably the worst show in the surface of the Earth. But I, like many other people, watched the first edition of Big Brother, and I really liked it. I liked it from the point of view of a social experiment. I really liked to see these people’s personalities colliding and clashing. As a sociological experiment, it was really good. So, they decided to make a movie out of it…with a twist! What is that twist? Easy: We are going to throw the biggest prank ever on every single participant of the first Big Brother edition and leave them in ridicule. What prank could it be? Aliens. We will convince them that an alien spaceship has crashed next to the hotel where they are staying, and that they are going to make contact with an alien race. How did it work? Ooooh boy! Oh my God, how well did it work. They all believed it. All of them. The entire movie is the most satisfying prank you’ve ever witnessed. Seeing these people, who were lifted by the audience to the level of celebrities, reduced to a pile of screaming, hysterical, angry, scared and mumbling pieces of human reject is so satisfying it should be considered illegal to watch this film. It gives us something we are lacking these days: A legitimate reason to laugh at famous people in movie format. The best part of it all? Nobody got harmed. Only psychologically scarred and humiliated for life. Sometimes I like my country…a lot.
5. Event Horizon.
Paul W.S. Anderson is a great film maker, but a terrible writer. This has been true for well past a decade now, and it will still be true. No doubt the Resident Evil movies were getting worse and worse: He was writing them, not directing them! However, his first big hit movie has become one of those movies fans and nerds all over the internet refer to, yet nobody dares to say it’s a good film. They say things like: “Man, Dead Space is awesome!” “Yeah, it’s like Event Horizon! Remember that movie?” “Yeah, it was…well…Oh hey look! A Necromorph!”. I take people don’t usually defend Event Horizon because after that movie Paul Anderson did the Resident Evil films and basically destroyed the lore of both the Alien and Predator universes with Alien VS Predator, so it’s common practice that any other previous work of his, whether good or bad, would be automatically shunned. I think it’s unfair, because Event Horizon can be one of the freakiest, bloodiest and most shocking horror rides you will take in a while. Throwing gore where it’s needed, pacing itself really well, and relying on the always hilarious hammy acting of Sam Neill, Event Horizon is a fantastic Science Fiction movie to boot anytime you feel lonely in your house and it’s raining outside. If you have watched this film, don’t be afraid and say what you think of it, whether you like it or not; and if you haven’t watch it, then give it a chance. You won’t regret it.
4. I, Robot.
I have never seen anybody, any-fucking-body talking about this movie without just focusing on the stupid Converse shoes. Yes, Will Smith wears Converse shoes in this film, they are in two separate scenes, they are there to make fun of, and they end up covered in car oil and refuse. You know there’s more to it than that? How about the robots that become sentient and start attacking Will Smith and the entire city of Chicago, tearing buildings, cars and people to shreds? How about that awesome action scene where Smith is inside a building that’s getting demolished by a destruction robot while he is trying to save a cat? How about the car chase scene in the highway with robots flying all over the place? Those were awesome scenes! Plus, the movie wileds a very interesting message about the conscience of the machines. I don’t know about you but I always found it intriguing if machines will ever develop an intelligence for themselves. Will machines ever dream? What are those clusters of information that get lost in the Hard-Drives and that we just clean and delete? I really loved the morals of this film, I really liked the murder mystery, the entire friendship-fight between Will Smith and the robot Sonny, the jokes and all the punch-lines delivered with so much snark you think Spoony will get envy at some point. I watched this movie in the theatre and then on DVD, and I enjoyed it a lot. It only hit me with some of the odd moments when I went online and dug through all the crap about the Converse shoes. The music is actually not that memorable, sometimes the camera can get twisty, and not all the characters are as good and rounded as Smith’s, but those nagging issues aside it’s a really good science fiction movie, that got tore apart by other people because of a 15 seconds product placement. Sometimes humans shame me.
3. Titan AE.
Don Bluth during the 90’s became a punch line to define what poor animation was, due to the weak scripts and the over the top animation of some of the characters. I still consider Rock ‘a Doodle the worst movie he has ever made, with sloppy animation and really nonsensical storytelling. He took so many bad hits during this decade that he stumbled upon the 00’s with just this idea in his mind, and it was quite a daring one. So daring he actually endangered the existence of the 20th Century FOX animation department (it had to be thanks to Blue Sky studios and Ice Age that this could be averted), and the responsible of this is none other but Titan AE. I will say this right away, the casting for this movie blows. All the actors do a really good job at voicing the characters, but tell me if you would be interested in watching a movie starring Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, John Leguizamo, Jeanine Garofalo and Nathan Lane. Seriously, those are not big A-List actors (with the exception of Matt Damon), how will the casting drag any attention from the viewers? It was even more puzzling because when they first announced this movie I thought “Wow, a Science fiction movie that’s not Star Wars, this ought to be interesting”. When I saw it was animated I thought “What!? Oh boy, this is going to suck harder than a vacuum cleaner”. But when I watched it in the theatre I have to admit, it positively surprised me. What I liked about it? I really liked the universe and the way they made it all look. I liked how well developed and constructed the characters were. I liked the soundtrack, which was basically al rock and little instrumental, that was new. I liked the visual aspect, blending pretty well the CGI spaceships and backgrounds with 2D animated characters. I really liked the evil aliens, though totally unmotivated they were scary and menacing, and fun to be afraid of. What I didn’t like was how feeble the story was at times, with a human character betraying the main characters. That one came out of nowhere. I didn’t like the humor, though little there is it’s not functional. I also didn’t like the length. This movie goes on too short, it should have been longer. But yeah, it surprised me how bad this movie bombed in the box office, and how many asses it got ripped by everybody on the internet, on the newspapers, and even on TV. The only publication that said anything good about this movie was a Spanish movie magazine that said something along the lines of: “…it combines really well the style of western animation with the thrill of Japanese anime”. I think I agree with that opinion.
2. Artificial Intelligence.
Steven Spielberg, where are you? I bet many, many fans of the most epic beard in Hollywood are wondering the same sentence right now. Not that I want to date my article beyond what I will say right now, but this was written before the release of Tintin and The secret of the unicorn, so don’t expect me to make references to that film. Spielberg had a difficult entrance in the 00’s, and I don’t think it’s all his fault. The next movie he did after Saving Private Ryan (his last Oscar win) was this one, Artificial Intelligence. A movie that Stanley Kubrick was directing and writing based on the short story by Brian Aldiss “Supertoys last all Summer long”. After Kubrick died, Spielberg took over the project, Directing and Writing it with Haley Joel Osment in the role of the main character, a robot boy. The story is basically Pinocchio meets The Terminator, and Spielberg did a really good job directing. It was too bad he also made a really good job adapting most of Kubrick’s quirks and mannerisms to his own style. This movie blurs the line between Steven Spielberg in the 90’s and Spielberg in the 00’s, as it’s an odd blend of both. I think that’s why people didn’t quite warm up to it and critics tore it apart. I think it is true, this movie does have some elements we could have past without that serve pretty much no purpose to the story. Sometimes the acting of Joel Osment, while good and heart breaking, ranges from the stoic and overly serious to the spastic and unintentionally funny. But really, if you take those away, it’s the story of a kid who wants his mom to love him. Robot or not, all kids want that. I really felt engaged with this movie, not that it touched my heart strings but it plucked them nice enough to make me tear up a couple of times. So yeah, I do agree with the bad parts, I agree with everything people hate and don’t like, but as for the parts that are good…I really don’t know where to start: The scene where David confronts all his copies. He steps in this room and it’s filled with the empty husks of all the boy robots, and they all look exactly like him. It’s a traumatic, shocking and really scary moment, it’s about the loss of identity, the “Who I really am?” moment of the movie, and it’s all silent. Only the John Williams score, chilly, eerie, is the only company we have through this corridor of robotic clones. It was very powerful. So yeah, I agree with the bad things, the bad parts are bad. But the good parts make up for it well enough that you should forgive the movie for them.
1. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
I wish I could hear the freak out screams. Yes guys, I do like this movie a lot. I usually hear how out of the Second Trilogy the best one of them is Revenge of the Sith, and I think this is only because it’s rated PG-13. I think Revenge of the Sith is the worst of them! The special effects are not really there, the acting is even worse than ever, so over the top that it gets ridiculous and unfunny, and the story craps everything we knew about the universe in general (not to talk about the terrible character disparity). But with Attack of the clones is actually the opposite. I think I should list the things I really hated about this movie first, so I can move on quickly onto the parts that I liked. I really didn’t like the dialogues between Padme and Anakin. George Lucas is not good at writing love relationships, he is so bad at it that the best romance scene in all of the Star Wars universe was written by Irvin Keshner (you know, the guy who saved Star Wars with Empire Strikes Back). I also didn’t like the little use they make of the Jango Fett character, who could’ve been a lot more involved in the story and he basically does nothing of importance. The music, I love John Williams but this might be one of his most forgettable scores to date. I can’t hum or remember any of the strings for this film no matter how hard I try. That’s for the stuff I didn’t like. As for what didn’t bother me, I never considered Hayden Christensen a bad actor. I didn’t hate his acting nor his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker, if anything he is dealing with a script that jumps too frequently between the naive side of Darth Vader and his blood thirsty murdering asshole side, so for what is worth, he is not doing a bad job. But for the things that I liked of this film, there’s a lot. I really liked how the movie is self aware. It knows it’s a silly, Science fiction movie based on those Flash Gordon serials of the 50’s, and it has a lot of fun with that. The dialogue is cheesy, but it’s not rubbed on your face and it’s full of memorable quotes, like when they enter in a bar (already funny) and Obi Wan says to Anakin:
- Obi Wan: Why do I get the feeling you are going to be the death of me?
Or when they are trapped in the arena in Geonosis:
- Obi Wan: I was beginning to wonder if you'd got my message.
- Anakin: I retransmitted it to Coruscant, just as you'd requested, Master. Then we decided to come and rescue you.
- Obi Wan: Good job.
That is really funny, that is genuine funny dialogue. I really liked the direction the new trilogy was going, at least dialogue wise. This movie shows it’s not afraid of making fun of and having a good time with what it is: A Science Fiction film with its cheesy dialogues and its over the top action scenes wrapped with a myriad of good CGI. More stuff that I liked, the fight between Yoda and Count Dooku. That scene was hilarious, it was awesome to see Yoda kick some ass, throw the cane to one side and grab the lightsaber, only to grab his cane again when he’s done. Funny! Intentionally funny. More stuff, Samuel L. Jackson as Master Jedi Badass. If you laugh at his purple lightsaber he will shove it up your ass! The planet of Kamino, a really gorgeous looking water planet that looks great. Padme’s character, who can be an action girl too grabbing a laser gun and killing the bad guys, cool! The final fight between the robots, the clones and the Jedi which can be out of an Arthur C. Clarke novel, that was awesome. I understand why people don’t like this movie and even I will admit it: It moves really slow. The love story drags it quite a lot and the biggest part of the plot is not developed at all, leaving that work on the fumbling hands of the sloppy sequel. But for this film, I consider it the best of the Second Trilogy for being closer to the original genre’s spirit. It’s a cheesy, corny Science Fiction serial, and it should be enjoyed as such. Trying to throw serious implications or logic in it will result in failure.
So those are my Top 10 Movies that I love but everybody else seems to hate. If you want to prove me wrong then come out of the closet and say you love these movies too. I bet there must be a community online somewhere that secretly loves Top Secret. To all the ones who read until the very end, thanks a lot, and goodnight!