Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sunday "Bad" Movies - Year One Top 10 Favourite Movies

The five year anniversary of the Sunday “Bad” Movies is quickly approaching at the beginning of December.  It has been five years since I started this blog series as a way to write out my thoughts about the bad movies that I continuously watch.  By the time that anniversary comes around, I will have seen over 300 movies for these posts.  That’s a lot of time that I’ve put into these.  I’m about to put even more into them with this five-part miniseries.

You might be thinking to yourself “This isn’t Sunday!  What’s with this post?”  As part of the lead up to the fifth anniversary, I decided that instead of writing a bonus post for the anniversary (I’m sure I’ll still have something for you that day), I would take a look back at my ten favourite movies from each of the five years.  These aren’t the ten worst movies.  They aren’t the ten best movies.  They’re not the ones that I think best represent the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  These are my favourite ten movies from every year.  The movies I liked the most.

Seeing as this is the first post, this will be about the first year of the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  I’ll be covering the movies I covered from the first week (Starcrash) up until week 52 (Evil Bong).  There were 59 movies in total, and this post will only be discussing ten of them.  I’ll talk about why I like the movies.  I’ll talk about who suggested them, if they were suggested.  If they weren’t suggested, I’ll go over how they ended up included.  There will be a good one-sided discussion for each of the ten movies.  We’ll begin at the bottom of the list and move up to the top movie.
10. The Marine 3: Homefront
The Marine was a franchise that I had come to know in high school.  One of my friends was obsessed with the first movie in the franchise.  He was a huge fan of wrestling, and John Cena was one of his favourite people.  It’s not a good movie, but to each his own, I guess.  I like Paul Blart: Mall Cop way more than most.  I can’t be one to judge.  The first was the only theatrical movie in The Marine franchise, and possibly the worst of them all.  When the franchise went to video, the quality improved.

The Marine 3: Homefront was where the franchise truly found what it was.  Mike Mizanin was brought in to star as Jake Carter.  He was a hot-headed marine on leave.  His sister was taken hostage by a band of thieves and he fought to get her back.  It had all of the things I could have wanted from the franchise.  There was solid action.  The Miz was a decent enough star, bringing both the small amount of charisma he needed and the action believability required for the role.  The supporting cast was also solid.  Neal McDonough was a fun bad guy.  Ashley Bell did well as Jake’s sister, Lily.  Michael Ecklund and Ben Cotton showed up to give it that Canadian video feel.

It wasn’t the best of The Marine movies (that would be The Marine 5: Battleground), but it brought Mike Mizanin into the franchise, and that’s what matters.  That guy was the perfect choice to lead it into the future.  Though John Cena has done some good film work since, The Marine is one of his weaker outings.  Ted DiBiase Jr. headlined the second one, and, well, he could have been anyone.  Mike Mizanin is the franchise to me, and this is the movie that brought him in.
Michael Myers has an interesting history throughout his franchise.  He began as a simple mental institution patient who got out and began killing babysitters.  There was nothing more to him than that.  He was just a killer.  That’s what made the first Halloween so chilling.  He was a guy killing people, with no real reason to it.  Every sequel would change that.

The sixth Halloween movie was the height of the Michael Myers lore insanity.  Michael Myers was now the product of a cult and needed a baby to pass on some sort of evil or something.  It was a crazy story muddled by the various versions of the final product.  The slasher elements were still fun slasher elements.  The franchise had just gotten so full of mythology at that point that it went completely off the rails.

There’s still a bunch to like about it.  As crazy as the movie is, it’s fun to watch the insanity unfold.  Paul Rudd was in it, for some reason, as a grown up version of Tommy Doyle.  He was the kid that Laurie babysat in the first movie.  Donald Pleasance was going full Loomis, doing lunatic things in a lunatic role.  Everything had to tie into Michael Myers, and it did.  Nowhere near the best of the Halloween franchise, but still a damn fun one to watch.

Halloween 6 was included in the first October of the Sunday “Bad” Movies, as the Halloween movie.  It wasn’t suggested.  I just felt like tossing it in because it was always seen as one of the worst Halloween movies.  I still have a good time with it, and that’s all that matters, really.
Now, I see what you’re probably thinking.  I wrote so much about The Marine 3: Homefront.  How was that not my favourite of the three I watched for week 30?  That one had everything I wanted.  A lead that could handle being the lead.  Good action.  An excellent supporting cast.  How could this one top that in my list?  Let me tell you.

Coming off of The Marine, I wasn’t expecting much out of the sequel.  The first one wanted to be an action comedy but didn’t know how to blend the two genres into something that felt right.  Everything seemed a little off.  The first sequel stripped away the comedy and turned it into a straight action movie.  It improved the franchise by miles and paved the way for everything that came after.

It wasn’t just expectations that made this one good.  Despite the weakest lead actor of the franchise in Ted DiBiase Jr., The Marine 2 was a great straight up action movie.  It took its cues from Die Hard, and used that blueprint to the best of its direct-to-video abilities.  The direction was great from Roel Reiné, the director of Death Race 2 and Death Race: Inferno.  Michael Rooker had a fun supporting role.  It’s just a solid movie with some better action than The Marine 3: Homefront.
Up to the point of watching this, I had never seen a Tyler Perry directed movie.  He had been in the movie Alex Cross, which had already been covered for the blog, but I had never seen anything he directed.  In or out of Sunday “Bad” Movies, he was a blindspot for me.  I definitely chose the right movie to begin with.

Temptation was an overwrought drama about a woman cheating on her husband with a client from work.  It was so over the top in the relationship drama that it was easy to enjoy how far things went.  It was the ending that solidified this as one of my favourites, though.  There was a final act twist that sent things to an insane level.  It practically came out of nowhere to smack the viewer over the head with the moral.  It’s still a shock that the ending is there.

Out of all of the movies that I’ve watched for the Sunday “Bad” Movies, there are few that I have convinced other people to watch.  Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor is one such movie that I got someone to watch.  Friend of the blog and frequent suggestor, @jaimeburchardt, watched it live with me on Twitter sometime after my first watch.  He ended up hating it, but I still love it and I’m sure I’ll have a good time if I ever watch it again.
6. Torque
The week before I saw Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, I watched a movie I was excited to include in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  Joseph Kahn’s kinetic style is something that I’ve been a fan of since I first saw Torque.  His follow-up, Detention, is one of my favourite horror films of the decade.  This is about Torque though.  It was a movie meant to give the middle finger to the Fast and Furious culture of street racers.  Even with the Fast and Furious franchise having shifted from the standard street racing into a superhero style action franchise with cars, Torque still hits that anarchistic spot.

Torque might not be an outright bad movie.  It is highly entertaining.  The story isn’t bad.  The thing is, there are so many weird beats within it that you can’t help wondering why they were included.  There’s a duel between two female bikers on and with their bikes, while signs for Pepsi and Mountain Dew loom in the background.  Adam Scott gives one of the wildest performances of his career.  Jaime Pressly got to go full villain.  There was a giant key.  It was a crazy movie that I will always find enjoyable.

The reasons I included Torque in the Sunday “Bad” Movies were twofold.  One, I enjoy the movie and understand why so many people would find it bad.  It hits some high levels of insanity in the action.  That’s what I love about Kahn.  He’s not afraid to do some extreme things, or to have a story that doesn’t make complete sense.  It’s all about being entertained.  Second, Josh Archer suggested it for the blog, which gave me the push to include it so early on.  If I could do things again, I would probably hold this one off and put Movie 43 in for week 43.  Oh well.  Moving on.
One of the greatest surprises that I ever encountered in the Sunday “Bad” Movies was Hansel and Gretel Get Baked.  I went into the movie expecting a cheesy, bad stoner movie that retold the story of Hansel and Gretel.  I got something better than that.  I got something I could look fondly back upon as I moved forward through my many subsequent weeks of bad movies.

Hansel and Gretel Get Baked was the story of a brother and sister (played by that one guy from Twilight and the daughter from Castle) who get wrapped up in the evil-doings of a marijuana growing witch.  Lara Flynn Boyle turned in one of the most entertaining performances that has ever been included in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  She was clearly having so much fun with the movie that it brought the entertainment up to a new level.  Add that it didn’t turn the “Get Baked” part of it into a joke, and you have a solid little horror movie with stoner aspects.

When I first saw the movie, I had a Live Tweet session with my friends @jaimeburchardt and @erincandy.  All of us were pleasantly surprised and walked away having watched a better movie than anyone could have expected.  It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had since beginning the Sunday “Bad” Movies.
Many movies came out of the cold war era that pitted the United States of America against the Soviet Union.  Red Dawn came out of that period.  Rocky IV came out of that period.  Robot Jox came out of that period.

Robot Jox saw a Market (American) fighter against a Feteration (Russion) fighter in a competition where two giant robots beat the crap out of each other.  These competitions were meant to settle territory disputes.  Achilles and Alexander faced off in a dispute over Alaska.  Achilles ended up accidentally killing a bunch of spectators and spent the rest of the movie trying to redeem himself after the tragedy.

The idea of Robot Jox might seem farfetched.  There was a heart to it that pushed it into a better territory.  The robot fights were entertaining, especially with the direction of Stuart Gordon.  It was a solid way to tackle the Cold War, as it tackled the issues of the American/Russian relations.  Plus, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch the robots beat on each other.  Everything about Robot Jox works.
It was the movie that kicked off the entire Sunday “Bad” Movies journey.  The first in a long line of bad movies that would inspire the nearly 300 posts that I have written for this blog.  It was where the journey began.  Everything that has happened with this writing has stemmed from the moment I first wrote about Starcrash.

There are many reasons that Starcrash was included in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  Most notably, it was an Italian knock-off of Star Wars, which was popular when it was made.  It took the basic concept of Star Wars, slightly changed a few things, and churned out a new movie.  Han Solo was now a woman and the main character.  Princess Leia was now a prince played by David Hasselhoff.  The Death Star was now a space station shaped like a hand.  There was a cowboy robot.  They went to a snow planet and a prison planet.  There was a lightsaber and one of the good guys sacrificed himself to save the others.  There were elements from Star Wars all over in the movie, yet it didn’t lose any of the entertainment by being such a rip-off.

I’ve gone back to Starcrash a couple times since first seeing it back in 2012 when I first started up the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  Each time has been just as enjoyable as the last.  What’s more impressive is that Starcrash was never for sure going to be the first movie I covered.  I likely would have gotten to it at some point, but the first week of the Sunday “Bad” Movies was a vote.  Starcrash won the vote against two other movies to become the first movie I watched for the blog.  It definitely was the right choice and kicked things off well.
Before I get deep into the movie and a quick summary of my history with it, I want to highlight the one thing about The Room that I think is actually good.  The music that gets used over the exterior shots and scene transitions is not bad.  It’s good music that I might listen to if I was looking for some instrumental stuff to put on.  So, there’s one good thing within this movie that many people consider to be one of the worst ever made.

The Room is one of my favourite bad movies.  It was also one that got the approval of @TheTalkingCan, since he suggested it for the blog.  I’ve seen it many times, mostly through my university years almost a decade ago.  There is no doubt that it is a bad movie.  Tommy Wiseau’s acting is unmatched in terms of bad quality.  The script has a story arc but doesn’t know how to tell that story arc.  There are story threads that come in and out of the movie without any sense of introduction or closure.  It kind of just happens in front of your eyes and you’re stunned at what you’re seeing.

What puts this movie so high in terms of my favourites is the heart that went into the making of it.  It’s part of the reason why so many people have grown attached to The Room.  Though the filmmaking skill was extremely poor, it is easy to see that Tommy Wiseau put his heart and soul on screen.  He wanted the movie to be so good and failed miserably.  Yet you feel what he felt.  You know there were good intentions and they paved the way to Hell that is The Room.  When a bad movie has all the best intentions and fails them on every level, that’s a special kind of bad movie.  Those kinds of bad movies are like seeing something beautiful in a car accident.  That’s what makes this one special.
There are movies that get put into the schedule because I’ve seen them before and know their reputation, or because people suggest them to me because they’ve seen them before or know their reputation.  Miami Connection was not one of those movies.  I knew almost nothing about it outside of the name and that it had recently been rediscovered.  I scheduled it.  I watched it.  I fell in love with it.

The movie was about five orphans in Orlando who were part of a band named Dragon Sound.  They played songs about friendship and their favourite thing, taekwondo.  The band came upon hard times when they were targeted by the brother of one of their members’ girlfriend.  He and the drug lord he worked with sent all of their forces at Dragon Sound and the band had to work to take down the drug ring that was infiltrating their city, Orlando.

Miami Connection was similar to The Room in that the heart of the movie poured through the screen.  It was easy to see that the people behind the movie cared about it and wanted to make something entertaining.  Different than The Room, however, was the quality.  Miami Connection was better made.  Sometimes there were pacing issues.  Sometimes the dialogue stunk.  Sometimes the movie had a five minute scene of taekwondo practice.  There was still a lot of good within it.  The Dragon Sound songs were well produced and catchy.  The action was well choreographed and fun to watch.  It was an all-around entertaining movie that has since become a cult classic.  I love Miami Connection.

The first year of the Sunday “Bad” Movies was a fantastic year with many movies that I will end up going back to at one point or another.  With this being a top 10, there were many movies that didn’t get their mention.  There are posts for each of them throughout the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  Check them out.  Check out the posts for any of the movies that I’ve covered.  All the movies are worth their fair due, since they’ve all taught me a little more about movies.

The fifth anniversary is coming up.  I don’t see myself stopping the Sunday “Bad” Movies anytime soon.  There are many more movies coming that will be learning experiences for me, you, and anyone who watches them.  Bad movies are just as capable of teaching you about good filmmaking as great movies are.  It all depends on how you look at them.

For now, I’ve got four more of these posts to get going with.  There are four more years of the Sunday “Bad” Movies to cover, and each of them has their own top ten movies.  What will the movies be?  You’ll have to check out my upcoming posts to see.  I’ll see you soon, as we prepare ourselves for the fifth anniversary.

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