Friday, December 31, 2010

The Obligatory Lazy End Of Year Lists

Another year has gone by and its time for some more end-of-the-year filler-- I mean, a retrospective of what’s gone past. Yeah. That’s it.

Soooo, with that in mind (and the fact that updates were interrupted at a few points in time this year) here’s the 10 Best Surprises of the Year (because I‘m too lazy to dig up 20 this time). Like last year, it excludes all the stuff that I’ve watched multiple times in the past, like the Star Wars Trilogy and Ghostbusters. So, keep in mind, this is all stuff that I saw for the first time for this project this year and covered in reviews.

10) Legend of Drunken Master
Jackie Chan and booze. It’s a recipe for comedy. Definitely light on content, its heavy on slapstick and fight scenes and is a perfect kung fu ADVENTURE!

9) Flash Gordon
Thoroughly insane, campy as all hell and so British it shits the queen (pun not entirely intended), it manages to be an epic example of “so-bad-its-awesome.”

8) Stripes
Incredibly subversive yet warm and fuzzy at the same time. That’s impressive.

7) Lethal Weapon
Great characters, great chemistry between the leads, great action and some pretty despicable villains gives you a really well-made buddy cop actioner. And its a Christmas movie.

6) Road House
It ranks up there with the guiltiest of pleasures. A story about the two-fisted adventures of a philosophical bouncer is about as dumb as it sounds, but its also way more awesome than it has any right to be.

Top 5
5) Reservoir Dogs
Simple and made on the cheap, Tarantino’s debut is witty, disturbing and gritty as hell and totally worth watching. Liked it more than Pulp Fiction.

4) Layer Cake
Its like Snatch., only not astronomically overrated.

3) Black Dynamite
Oh yes. Oh. Hell. Yes. And its getting an animated series on [Adult Swim]

2) Murder, My Sweet
Quite possibly my new favorite film noir movie because of the engrossing characters, killer dialogue, and some clever hallucinatory effects. Nothing but love for this.

1) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Take 1 part Robert Downey Jr., 1 part Val Kilmer, 2 parts Shane Black, add film noir to taste and you get one of the funniest movies ever made.

And now once again, its time for the Bottom Ten Biggest Disappointments of the year, because who doesn’t want to end the year on a list of downers?

Honorable Mention since I haven’t officially reviewed it yet.
Troll 2
One of the true claimants to “Worst Movie Ever Made,” it rightly deserves its place in the pantheon of schlock. However, actually watching it creates a kind of narcotic effect where your mind gets numbed to the pain and all you can do is laugh at the madness on the screen lest you go insane yourself. Come to think of it, that’s probably how Elder Gods make movies.

10) Horrors of Spider Island
Terrible. Truly awful in that wonderfully bad sort of way. Watched this and riffed on it before I was even aware that MST3K had done the same already.

9) Robot Monster
Same reason as above. It’s dreadfully bad and ineptly made, but still manages to have a grim, bleak and weirdly absurdist quality movie. And there’s a gorilla costume with a diving helmet. And a bubble machine.

8) The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy
Badly made (and consisting mostly of flashbacks to the previous movies in the trilogy), the Aztec Mummy Popoca is oddly likable and the villainous The Bat is a gleefully hammy mad scientist. Terrible but oddly fun, and what’s more: A boxed set of the Aztec Mummy Trilogy exists, I have it, and I am waaayyy more enthused than I should be about it.

7) Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines
While Arnold is still fun to watch as the future-sent kill robot and the effects are overall very impressive, this movie in an egregiously unnecessary sequel and considering its subject matter (the activation of SkyNet and the triggering of Judgment Day) completely fails to deliver any kind of dread at the inevitable devastation of the human race. Judgment Day happened, and I wasn’t invested in it.

6) Beowulf & Grendel
Beautiful landscape cinematography and some good performances are not enough to elevate the ponderously boring script that manages to completely misunderstand the reason why the Beowulf story is so popular in the first place. Hint: Its because Beowulf is supposed to be awesome and great at killing monsters, not a navel-gazing existentialist wondering if he’s wrong for wanting to kill a monster.

5) The Brothers Grimm
Talk about wasted potential. What could’ve been a great way to reconstruct the horrific elements of classic fairy tales falls flat due to some face-palmingly bad script/story decisions and sketchy CGI. I didn’t expect it to be great, but I definitely hoped more of Gilliam’s crazy-man genius would shine through.

4) Zardoz
While not the worst movie ever made, it is certainly one of the most incomprehensible science fiction films ever. The core of the story is simple enough, but so much drug-fueled insanity is tacked on that it completely buries whatever it is that the filmmakers were trying to say. Stuff like this should be used by D.A.R.E. to keep kids in line. “Don’t do drugs kids, or else someday you might make Zardoz”

3) Jungle Goddess
Now this one’s just an offensive and bland product of its time. I’m not really one to judge the past for being the past, but a bad movie that’s both blindly racist AND boring has no redeeming features.

2) Robot Holocaust
So bad I keep forgetting that I sat through this piece of dreck. That’s how much my mind wants to erase this from my memory. It’s a bad Star Wars AND Conan rip off.

1) Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
No movie since Napoleon Dynamite has filled me with such seething vitriol as this waste of time. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck. This. Movie.

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