Apologies for being so long to update, but in the past month or so real life has been intervening in a big way. Real life is still throwing its weight around, but in the meantime I thought I’d throw out one of those lists the denizens of the Internet love so much.
A list like this is kind of meaningless, since in the days of the Internet you can find a following – even if it is just an ironic following – for almost any movie. But I’m always interested in how “taste” works, and the reasons why I myself go against the conventional wisdom on certain works. These movies definitely aren’t without fans and I don’t think any of them will be that controversial (certainly not as much as if I came out in favor of, say, Rob Zombie’s Halloween remakes), but they are movies that, at one time or another, I felt like I had to apologize just for liking.
The Cable Guy
I should start with The Cable Guy because it is, paradoxically, everyone’s favorite movie that no one else likes. Maybe it would have been received at least a little bit better if it came out after Jim Carrey’s typecasting success faded a little, maybe not. It does have its flaws: there are hints throughout the movie that at some point in the production process the film was defanged to a large degree, Matthew Broderick really is the Steve Guttenberg of the ’90s, and it wants to be a black comedy along the lines of War of the Roses but never quite gets there (partially because the infamous “Carreyisms” are still there). For all that, the whole premise is a fantastic take on the whole Fatal Attraction genre, and has clever ideas like Carrey having an army of loyal cable customers at his disposal to enact his jealous revenge on Broderick or the trial with the former child stars. I wouldn’t quite call it a lost classic, but it is one of the more original and clever comedies to have come out of Hollywood in recent decades.
While for most of the films on this list I can understand why they’re not darlings with the critics or audiences, I honestly don’t know why this one gets forgotten at best or blamed for almost killing a franchise at worst. The premise – setting a Predator loose in a violent urban environment – is a natural and logical progression, it builds on the Predators’ culture without taking away the mystery of the monsters, and, hey, it’s got Danny Glover and Garey Busey. Okay, it’s also got a Jamaican drug lord/voodoo priest named “King Willie”, which really is a stereotype trifecta, but, to be honest…I kind of like this movie better than the original. Forgive me for my heresy!
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
I’m behind the curve on this one, since Halloween III in recent years has gotten a reputation for being an unfairly unappreciated film just because it didn’t have Michael Myers in it, but I swear I had this opinion before the Internet told me it was okay to have it. This movie’s just hardcore in a way few horror films dare to be; not only is the plot about a cult-run corporation that’s selling boobytrapped Halloween masks to children that will subject them to a horrific death, but the bad guys win. Also Daniel O’Herlihy as Conal Cochran is one of the great villains of horror history, just for his “villainous motive” speech. This is probably the only movie out of this list that I’d say I love. At the least, I wish I could visit the world where this movie was a success and the original idea of turning the Halloween series into an anthology series was carried through. The existence of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers alone proves that in this case we are not in the best of all possible worlds.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
A Disney film that wasn’t a romantic musical based on folklore or literature? That’s awesome, but, well, that’s probably why nobody liked it. I shouldn’t say “nobody,” but this movie doesn’t even really seem to have much of a cult following, which is a shame, because the film’s designs are based on the style of Mike “Hellboy” Mignola (oh, and it has Jim Varney’s last performance). Now I concede that the story especially in the second half was weak and it would have been a much stronger movie if the Powers That Be at Disney had the guts to go all the way in trying to go a new direction and made a more adult action adventure film, but the writers put in some fantastic worldbuilding (a quality that’s sadly lacking in so many similar films) and the animation was the perfect compliment to that.
Nothing But Trouble
I swear I have never seen anyone defend this movie, nor have I seen it get anything but one-star reviews. Also I sort of grew up with this movie (I have no idea why, but the local FOX affiliate showed it all the time on weekends) and I am always nostalgic for the comedic stars of the late ’80s/early ’90s like John Candy and Dan Aykroyd, so I’m definitely biased in this movie’s favor. Honestly, though, you cannot imagine a movie like this getting made today. Hell, even in the less uptight and more risk-taking Hollywood of the past, it seems like a fluke that this got made, and it probably wouldn’t have if Dan Aykroyd wasn’t behind it. It’s just so over-the-top and bizarre yet so full of the big names of the day (not just Aykroyd and Candy but also Chevy Chase and Demi Moore) I can’t help but appreciate it. Come on, yuppies being a man-eating roller coaster deathtrap, Dan Aykroyd as an ancient judge who rules like a tyrant over a decaying town, an ending with Chevy Chase basically turning into a Loony Tunes character…what’s not to love? If you did watch it and were not impressed at all, just try to think of it as a really clever remake of Two Thousand Maniacs!