15 pieces of cinematic trash… that I love
1. The Black Hole
How could I start my list with anything besides The Black Hole? This was Disney’s response to the rampant popularity of Star Wars. That’s right, Disney looked at Star Wars, and this was what they came up with to cash in on the sci-fi craze. Truly it boggles the imagination. Notable only for some amazing production designs and for being the first live action Disney film rated PG. I saw this movie at the perfect age: 4. I couldn’t judge it based on any reasonable criteria back then. To me all that mattered was cute flying robots with cartoon eyes, outer space, space ships, and evil robots with double barreled laser blasters. It’s interesting to look back on The Black Hole now, because it’s a concept not entirely without merit. It’s basically a haunted house/zombie movie in space. In the hands of a competent writer and director it could probably make a genuinely creepy movie. Not Paul “Weak Sauce” Anderson though. (For those not in the know, Weak Sauce made Event Horizon which is very heavily influenced by The Black Hole)
“Holy Shit!” you say. “Geoff doesn’t like Tron? What about his tattoos?” I can understand your confusion, but it’s okay. Tron was ahead of it’s time in a lot of ways, but writing wasn’t one of them. I love Tron, but it’s not really what you could call a good movie. It’s a great concept and it’s got a lot of visual style, but the story is pretty sparse. It was worse when it came out because people were considerably less computer savvy than they are now. Back in the day when Tron hit the scene most of the computer talk went whizzing over people’s heads. Tron makes considerably more sense and is far more relevant (believe it or not) today than it was when it was made. All that said, Tron is not a good movie. But I LOVE it.
3. Guyver II: Dark Hero
Most of you have probably never heard of this movie, let alone seen it. The Guyver was a Manga and then Anime from Japan about alien bio-boosting armour that inhabited the body of some high school kid named Sho. It wasn’t very good really, pretty typical stuff. It’s sole purpose is to look wicked and have a lot of fights with outrageous monsters. In that respect, The Guyver was a mega-smashing success (That’s a little in-joke for anyone who actually knows anything about Guyver). The live action movie… not as successful. The sequel though, awww yeah. Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, populated by lack lustre actors and a plot barely worthy of the word. the Sequel succeeds where the original fails because it drops any pretense of “humour” (the real downfall of the first movie) and plays it deadly serious. And that seriousness makes this movie 10 million times funnier than its predecessor. The monsters are awesome, the Guyver suit has never ever looked as cool as it does here. The fights are loads of fun and we get to see a young David Hayter (writer of X-Men, X-Men 2, Watchmen, and voice actor behind Solid Snake from the metal gear series) showing off his “acting” chops. He’s the least offensive actor in the film and honestly, if they make a Metal Gear movie, they need to cast David as Snake. There’s just no way around it. Guyver II is a gory good time.
4. Flash Gordon
FLAAAASH! AHHHHHHHH ahhhhhhhhhh! This is a gloriously bad movie based on the old Flash Gordon serieals of the 1940s. In fact, we have this movie to thank for Star Wars. You see, back in the day George Lucas was trying to acquire the rights to Flash Gordon, but Universal wasn’t giving them up to a young, mostly unknown like Lucas. So Lucas went off and made his own Space Opera, and Dino De Laurentiis brought us this. It’s campy beyond the wildest dreams of the people behind the 60s Batman series. The special effects are ridiculous. The acting atrocious. Everything about this movie should make it unwatchable, but it’s not. This movie is big laughs and good times. Watch it with friends. Sobriety a possible detriment. And also it was scored by QUEEN. Flash Gordon, a space ROCK opera, scored by QUEEN. Wrap your heads around that :p
David Lynch… What. The. Fuck. Seriously. I saw this movie when I was pretty young, and something about the epic scale of it always captured me. As an adaptation, it’s pretty poor. It’s production designs run the gamut from genius to abominable. The acting is outstanding, the casting decisions are not. The score is funky, and by Toto. What the shit. There’s enough of the trade mark Lynch bizarreness in this movie to get me hooked. It resembles Dune well enough that I can forgive it, though this might be because I didn’t read Dune until long after I had become a fan of the movie. It’s terrible, and I love it.
6. Ghostbusters II
I can hear the cries now. I’m sorry, but Ghostbusters II is trash. It’s a pale imitator of the original with very little of the heart or joy that made the first movie one of the biggest comedies of all time, and one of the most popular movies of all time. I still love GBII, but I love it because I’m a ghosthead. I love it because I can see the glimmers of genius that never became fully realized. Watching Ghostbusters II is like panning for gold. You go through a lot muck to get to the nuggets. The villain is weak and non threatening, the scheme makes no sense (So, Viggo inhabits an infant body now, how will the world survive? oh wait, infants can’t do anything and are effing fragile, I think Viggo’s “reign” is gonna be very short lived) and most of the jokes are recycled. I expected a lot more originality from Ghostbusters II. It saddens me that the animated series The Real Ghostbusters did a much better job of carrying on the spirit of the first film than GBII did. Now the new Ghostbusters game? That is a great ghostbusters story. Everything GBII should have been but wasn’t. Still, GBII has some great moments, and I love it in spite of its over all shittyness.
7. The Last Starfighter
Oh man I love The Last Starfighter. It has my most beloved spaceship of all time, and it’s all about a kid who becomes the last hope for the universe because he’s good at a video game. The dream of pre-pubescent boys everywhere. There’s a lot of heart in this movie. It’s cheesy, it’s contrived, some of the acting is pretty terrible and there are more plot holes than there are characters. But I don’t care. This movie speaks directly to the kid inside of me and whispers in his ear all about the amazing adventures that await him out in the universe if he’ll just stick with those video games!
This was Ridley Scott’s attempt to make a motion picture fairy tale. It succeeds and fails on various levels. It’s a truly lavish production and a totally gorgeous movie to look at. The story is very classic fairy tale, though I recommend the directors cut over the theatrical, as the plot is considerably more coherent. Unfortunately, this movie is never firing on all cylinders. It’s hard to say where things aren’t quite clicking. Tom Cruise certainly doesn’t help matters. He’s largely inoffensive in the role of Jack, but he doesn’t distinguish himself either, there’s no life to the character. There are also too many moments of self awareness in the film, especially on the part of the Vlixx and his evil minions, it pulls you out of the film. I love this movie, but I think what I love most about it is the potential. It makes me dream of better movies that haven’t been made. I look at Legend and I think to myself “A little tweaking and this could have made a truly kick ass Legend of Zelda movie”.
9. Logan’s Run
Filmed in a mall. And includes the line “Let’s take our clothes off first, before they freeze on us.” Oh man, like sci-fi films in the 70s needed an excuse for nudity! This one is paper thin and highly hilarious. There really are no redeeming qualities to this movie, it’s garbage from start to finish, but it’s so goofy and somber and ridiculous that I can’t help but love it. RENEW!
Sean Connery in a red diaper and a pony tail. Tons of 70s boob. Ridiculous pretentious psuedo-intellectual sci-fi concepts. A totally insulting twist at the end regarding the nature of Zardoz. This movie is beyond trash. It’s a masterpiece of terrible. I can pop it in anytime and giggle myself silly. I love it. The trailer for this one alone is a work of unparalleled genius. Seriously, go look it up.
11. Enemy Mine
Fuck You Jared. This is Louis Gossett Jr’s finest performance, followed closely by Iron Eagle. This movie is an odd duck. The score is horrendously bad and totally undercuts all of the emotional drama of the piece. The sets range from cool and convincing to bargain basement stage play. The acting is fairly decent, and Louis works the alien makeup with some amazing results. Some of the special effects are quite good, but most of them are an insult to the eyes. Still, I dig the story and I love the character dynamic between Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr.
12. Iron Eagle
While we’re on the subject of Louis Gossett Jr! Iron Eagle came out the same year as Top Gun and is equal parts Top Gun and The Goonies, with a dash of Rebel without a cause, just for flavouring. As if that wasn’t enough, it also has “Superstar Newcomer Jason Gedrick”. His career took off after this movie. Get it? Took off? That’s a joke son! Everything about this movie is hokey and cheesy and ludicrous. It ends up being ten million times more enjoyable and entertaining than Top Gun because of it. And the aerial combat is sweet.
13. They Live
John Carpenter. Wow, what a mixed bag his career has been eh? He’s made some of my all time favourites, and he’s made some stinkers so bad that one can hardly believe they came from the same man. They Live is hard to quantify. It was clearly written for Kurt Russel who starred in a number of Carpenter flicks. For whatever reason he was unavailable though, so they replaced him with Rowdy Roddy Piper. It’s unreal. This movie also has my most favourite piece of dialogue ever “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” Genius. Also, you’ll want to do yourself a favour and check out THE fight scene. You’ll know the one when you see it, it’s the most thoroughly ridiculous fight scene ever committed to film.
14. Young Sherlock Holmes
It’s exactly what it sounds like. The adventures of school aged Sherlock and Watson. It’s kind of like The Goonies, except set in Victorian England. It’s Notable for being one of the first films to ever feature computer generated special effects, but for little else. Why is it that the child actors of the 80s were so much better than those of the 90s or of this decade? Seriously? The story of this film is pretty ridiculous but it’s good fun, and I do love me some Sherlock Holmes sumthin fierce. It’s no Jeremy Brett, but it’ll do.
15. Monster Squad
You know who to call when you have ghosts. But who do you call when you have Monsters? That was the tag line for this film. Honest. They didn’t even try to hide the fact that they were clearly riding Ghostbusters coat tails. And that’s fine, because this is a pretty original movie which shows a lot of love for the classic Universal monster movies. The creature from the Black Lagoon particularly has never looked this good before or since. This is yet another 80s movie about child adventurers, they were a growth industry at the time. I love Monster Squad. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a childhood sleepover fueled by monster movies and sugary cereal.