Movies So Awful You Can’t Disengage

There’s a fine line between “artistic expression” and just plain drivel. A line whose first and only dependable guardian is Sir Self-Censorship.

But for some “artists” (usually of the self-proclaimed species), this trusty knight and retainer is mysteriously absent. Perhaps felled by the bloated, gorged and out of control Werewolves of Ego…

Cinematography is no stranger to such examples. It has plenty of movies that make us think it would have been better and more productive for everyone if the makers would have just went out for a beer and procrastinated instead on that particular evening of their conception. Movies so awful you can’t disengage, as paradoxically as that is.

How to describe them?

You know that feeling when it’s like you just stepped into a different dimension with your shoe-laces untied on mismatched shoes and a winter cap pulled over your eyes so you can barely see the bizarre discard-the-laws-of-physics things happening around?

Of course you don’t. But you might if you try to figure out the rationale behind these following gems hunted and discovered by Rotten Tomatoes’ regular contributor Michael Adam as research for his book “Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies”.

1. Showgirls – 1995

Showgirls, one of the movies so awful you can't disengage.

When you try to make a movie about the dramatic lives of Las Vegas strippers and casino workers, you’d better get your cohesion on. A little intensity and a dash of careful psychological study wouldn’t hurt either. Not to mention other elements like researching the local “culture” and behavior, pacing etc.

Which is what doesn’t happen in this attempt by writer Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven of “Basic Instinct” fame. The dialogue tries to be “incisive” and “raw” but fails, the love scene between Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan fails to arouse. In short, the whole construction fails like a conglomeration of badly placed Tetris parts.

2. The Giant Spider Invasion – 1975

Among the movies so awful you can't disengage is The Giant Spider Invasion.

Mix up not-the-brightest-tool-in-the-shed rednecks, summarily dressed redneckettes, off-world genocidal spiders initially small and looking suspiciously like your average tarantulas until you get introduced to the giant hulking unstoppable monster version and what do you get? Well, “The Giant Spider Invasion”. Oh, and the giant spider is actually a VolksWagen car in a spider suit with the people inside twitching the “legs” to make it look realistic.

3. Howling II – Your Sister Is A Werewolf – 1985

Movies so awful you can't disengage, featuring Howling 2: Your Sister Is A Werewolf.

Supposedly a sequel of the 1981 original by Joe Dante, this masterpiece is what happens when an erotic horror attempt goes off its arguably tiny wheels to begin with and smashes into the dense forests of Ridiculous Land to turn into a blazing, eye-catching mess.

It stars Christoper Lee as an occult investigator matched against the werewolf Queen Stirba (Sybil Danning) and her servants. The acting (or lack of) by co-stars Annie McEnroe and Reb Brown is cringe-worthy, the make-up effects are so good they make you think of candy and there’s a theme song by Babel as enticing as a dripping water faucet. And more.

4. The Black Gestapo – 1975

Here's one of the movies so awful you can't disengage: The Black Gestapo (1975).

Wait… what? Safe to say certain producers need a historical dictionary or some-such, preferably applied with sufficient force to the side of the head. “Ge – sta – pooooh. Sink in yet? …. That’s right. … No, you can’t make the Gestapo officers black. It would be like making Malcom X a White Supremacist. Glad I could help. Run along and procrastinate now. It’s better for everybody”.

What other negative things can one say more about this movie that aren’t blatantly obvious by the title? Well, since you ask, the pacing and production ain’t quite peachy either. And it features the line “The new master race” in relation to the Black Gestapo. Aaaand a Hitleresque vibe when Kojah (the protagonist) holds a speech from a platform and says “The white community will feel our power!”.

5. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats – 1977

Movies so awful you can't disengage? Try Death Bed: The Bed That Eats

This one was so odd that even its release is out of the ordinary patterns. Although finished in 1977, it was released 3 decades later illegally, in the UK, because someone had managed to pirate a copy and make a video release DESPITE the fact that filmmaker George Barry hadn’t succeeded in acquiring any distribution. As these things tend to go, the movie naturally got a cult following, prompting an official release in 2003. A happy ending for the 6 years(!) of effort put in by the filmmaker (Barry started working on it in 1971). As for the theme of the movie, the title is eloquent: a bed digests various characters.

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

The Weird Stuff that Actors Do in Almost Every Movie

It is easy to think that actors are paid to, you know, act. This would in theory mean that they appear to be completely different people every time you see them.

Yet, some of the world’s most famous actors have little habits, traits or customs that appear to crop up in just about all of their movies.

Sean Bean Dies a Lot

The Weird Stuff that Actors Do in Almost Every Movie

The Evidence: Patriot Games, Goldeneye, Equilibrium, Lord of the Rings, The Island, Black Death

There´s a lot to like about the idea of becoming Sean Bean. As well as having a surname that makes you sound like a common ingredient in Mexican food there is also the vague but tantalizing possibility that you are a relative of the Mr Bean. However, it seems clear that the single best thing about life as Sean would be that you only ever need to read part of the script for any movie or TV show. You would turn up to the audition with a long, flowing leather jacket or historical garb and just ask, “So, what page do I die on?” Bingo, you get the part and you don’t even need to read the whole flipping script.

Tom Cruise Runs a Lot

The Weird Stuff that Actors Do in Almost Every Movie

The Evidence: Jerry Maguire, Mission Impossible, Collateral, Vanilla Sky, The Firm

It must be tiring being Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. As well as jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa, it seems that he is also contractually obliged to run in every single movie he appears in, even when it is completely and utterly inappropriate to do so.  Some of his running scenes also just seem to go on forever. Check out the exhausting and bizarrely compelling way he just keeps on running and running and freaking running through Dubai and Shanghai in the Mission Impossible films. I needed a lie down and several liters of those crappy sports drinks after watching those running sequences.

Johnny Depp Wears a Ridiculous Amount of Headgear

The Weird Stuff that Actors Do in Almost Every Movie

The Evidence: Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Public Enemies

Could I politely enquire as to how often you have seen the top of Johnny Depp’s head? You might initially think that you have seen his delightful crown on a regular basis but I can assure you that you have bloody well not. Unless you are his hairdresser or, and this is the crucial point, his hideously overworked hat-maker. You see, Master Depp has a penchant for wearing headgear in all possible situation and places, no matter how silly it may appear. Creepy character from ye olden times? Stick a hat on it. Camp pirate? Cover that crown. Anything else ever? Call that hat maker and let your headgear fantasies come true.

Brad Pitt Eats Totally Everything

The Weird Stuff that Actors Do in Almost Every Movie

The Evidence: Ocean’s Eleven, Meet Joe Black, Mr and Mr Smith, Moneyball, Johnny Suede

Maybe you have already heard a rumor about Brad eating in all of his movies but couldn’t quite bring yourself to believe it. After all, eating is gross and Brad is like so un-gross it actually hurts. Well, I hate to shatter your illusions but if you check out the list of things he has eaten on screen you will find burgers, sandwiches, potato chips, bagels, carrots, and every single foodstuff ever invented by man. No one knows why he does this, although I have a theory that stands up to scrutiny. I reckon that sneaky old Pitt is too busy looking good to waste time consuming edible goods in his own time. Instead, he demands that his character spends all day stuffing his pretty face. In this way, he fills his tank at work and can go home to just relax and steam his face in unicorn crap or whatever he does to stay so handsome.

Jack Nicholson Shows You His Teeth

The Weird Stuff that Actors Do in Almost Every Movie

The Evidence: The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Batman, Seriously, do I need to go on…?

Did you know that Jack Nicholson has teeth? If you have ever seen at least 20 seconds of one of his movies then yes you do. From maniacal grins to cheeky smirks and charming smiles, Jack has cornered the market in onscreen dental displays so much that he is surrounded by a team of “smile reflection protection agents” who hand out free sunglasses to passersby. Probably.

Top 5 Best Oscar Moments of 2014

This Sunday’s Oscars were a momentous occasion, that gave us a chance to see Hollywood’s most cherished hotties take the stage, accept their prizes, and have tons of fun. While we didn’t expect 12 Years a Slave to walk away with best picture, or Gravity to be awarded 7 Oscar prizes, we can only say that the year was full of great surprises and funny moments. As with every Oscar celebration, there were wonderful moments, and some not so wonderful ones (for example, when great actors, like Leonardo Di Caprio, didn’t receive an Oscar prize). Let’s take a look at the best Oscar moments that shocked, delighted or downright amazed the audience. Here are the ten highs of Sunday’s marathon-length ceremony:

1. Awesome Acceptance Speeches

Matthew’s performance in “The Dallas Buyer’s Club” was exceptional, so it should not come as a surprise that he managed to snatch the Oscar from Leonardo Di Caprio. But it was his speech that managed to touch our hearts, especially since it ended with his trademark “all right” x 3 line. He also gave elaborate shot-outs to God and his deceased father. Next on our awesome acceptance speeches list was Jared Leto who has an incredible relationship with his mother, and brother. He gave a great speech in which he thanked his number one lady for everything that she did for them. Definitely one of the best Oscar moments!

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“In 1971, Bossier City, Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special. That girl is my mother and she’s here tonight. And I just want to say, I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream.” (Jared Leto – Acceptance Speech)

2. Ellen DeGeneres and the Infamous Celebrity Selfie

Ellen DeGeneres was the host of this year’s Oscars and she did a great job! She started the night off with an edgy monologue that relaxed the stars while also preparing them for a breath-taking show. But the highlight of the night was undoubtedly the A-List selfie that she took with them, and later posted on her Twitter (it actually became the most retweeted Tweet of all time). Every intervention she made was worthy of our best Oscar moments list!

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Among other moments we would also like to remember her scarring Leonardo diCaprio and Sandra Bullock, and ordering pizza for everyone in the audience (which Lupita paid for with a lipbalm). In her opening speech she also talked about the pretties person in the room (Jared Leto) and the Oscar’s being a lot like the hunger games: only one person wins, and last year’s winner was Jennifer Lawrence.

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3. Belle of the Ball

There were some memorable appearances on the red carpet, but Lupita Nyong was definitely the crown jewel of the night. She was wearing a gorgeous fairytale pale blue gown, made for her by Prada, and a sophisticated tiara. It is nights like these that teach women how to dress better, and Kerry Washington, and Olivia Wilde managed to put off beautiful outfits even if they had some baby bumps to hide.

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4. The Musical Performances

At some point during the show I was wondering if I wasn’t watching the Grammy’s by mistake, because there were so many musical moments that had the audience jumping for joy. First we had the rock heavyweights, U2, who performed “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Then came Pharrell Williams who danced with Lupita, Amy Adams and Meryl Streep during the song Happy, and Pink who performed Somewhere over the Rainbow, in commemoration of 75 years since The Wizard of Oz was released. Last but certainly not least, Karen O, an indie darling, performed “Her” and “The Moon Song”, while Idina Menzel also performed “Let it Go” from “Frozen” animation.

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5. 12 Years a Slave Comes Through

Although Steve McQueen did not win the Best Director award, his intense drama “12 Years a Slave” was nominated, and chosen for the Best Picture award. Lupita Nyong’o also won the best supporting actress prize for her role, and Solomon Northup actually said that “You charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you for putting me in the position. It has been the joy of my life.”

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“I dedicate this to everyone who has endured slavery and to those who continue to endure slavery.”

What a way to close the night, right? Did you enjoy this year’s Oscars, and if so, what was your favorite moment? Please share your thoughts with us.

The Cost of Being Batman [Infographic]

I don’t care how old you are, what gender you belong to, where you come from or what flavour of ice cream is your favourite (chocolate, obvs): at one point or another, you’ve dreamed about being Batman. All those cool gadgets, the Batmobile, the costume, an elderly butler waiting on you hand and foot – you’d have it all as Gotham’s caped crusader! Well, except parents. They kinda died in front of your eyes when you were 8 years old, which led to long-lasting psychological problems, which is probably why you dress up as a giant bat at night and go about beating the crap out of people. But hey, look, a utility belt!

However, after reading this new infographic from MoneySupermarket.com, which painstakingly picks apart the true cost of being Batman, your dreams may be shattered in an instant (yay!). It seems that any real-life Batman adventures would in fact consist of popping on a balaclava, stapling a beach towel to your shoulders, driving around town in a rusty rental and thwacking troublemaking teens over the head with a baseball bat (maybe that’s why they call you Batman). All I can say is this: that Bruce Wayne, he’s lucky he’s a multi-billionaire. [Read more…]

The Top 10 PG/PG-13 Horror Movies

There’s been an earth-shattering debate (read: crybaby whining) going on at the IMDb board for Ridley Scott’s upcoming sci-fi horror feature “Prometheus.” Apparently, the film is under threat of being slapped with a PG-13 rating, which, as many horrified posters have anxiously pointed out, is “OMG, the same rating as Twilight, so gay.” This, in spite of the fact that the film serves as something of a prequel to the “Alien” franchise, each entry of which has been granted with a much harsher R rating, mostly for gore, bloody violence and frequent scenes of chest-bursting.

As of this moment, the MPAA (that’s the Motion Picture Association of America) is yet to officially announce the film’s American rating, but many are dead certain that film studio 20th Century Fox are gunning for a PG-13 rating purely for financial gain. Those complaining claim that the level of raw, pants-crapping intensity captured in the previous “Alien” films simply cannot be recreated in a supposedly watered-down, hacked-to-bits PG-13 cut. As sort of a counter-argument, I thought I’d take a look at the ten best examples to come out of the horror genre brandished with either a PG-13 rating or an even lighter PG rating, along with how spooky they managed to be, even though their rating clearly meant “Twilight” levels of gayness, and what they would be like had they been granted an R rating. [Read more…]