Sunday, December 3, 2017

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

When I came out of the third year of the Sunday “Bad” Movies, things were changing.  It wasn’t anything to do with the blog itself.  It was my life that was changing.  I decided to go back to school and have more to my life than a minimum wage job.  I was going to try and do something I wanted to do.  That thing was film.

With that decision, I began to feel better with my life.  I wouldn’t call it depression before that point.  It wasn’t a debilitating thing.  I was just bored with my life and it came through with the blog.  There’s not much that I remember from the third year, and the movies I picked weren’t the greatest.  Year four was going to be different.  As my attitude toward my life was improving, so was the quality of bad in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.

Year three closed on a rewatch of Mac and Me.  The next week, I started year four by checking out How the Toys Saved Christmas.  It might not seem like the greatest place to begin, but that movie is the exception to how great most of the fourth year ended up being.  The year would come to a close on a rewatch of Jingle All the Way, one of my favourite Christmas movies.  The year truly came full circle, beginning with a Christmas movie I didn’t like and ending on one that I have loved for many years.  It was me going from my funk to sort of finding my place in the world.

There were 59 movies that I watched as a part of the fourth year of the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  The top ten should go to show you how much better the movies were that year than the one before.  I’m going to end up being more excited to write about them, particularly the bottom half.  You might attribute some of that to them being fresher in my mind.  I attribute it to my better mood helping me choose better movies.  Or it could have just been the luck of the draw.  It was probably just the luck of the draw.  Sometimes you choose right and sometimes you don’t.  Year three was one of the years where I didn’t.

Anyway, I should get to the top ten for the fourth year.  There are some interesting, unique, and good bad movies in this top ten.  I hope you enjoy it.
Funky Forest: The First Contact came out in Japan in 2005.  After having it suggested to me by @ddogfilm, I looked it up.  It was at that point that I recognized one of the scenes that had gone viral.  There was a scene where a girl had some sort of creature stuck to her arm.  When someone pulled the creature off of her, there was a little man-like thing hanging off of her arm.  They interrogated the man-like thing before removing it from the girl’s arm.  It’s just a really strange scene that I had watched before on YouTube.

I scheduled Funky Forest.  When I watched it, I realized that it was an anthology sort of thing.  It was a collection of sketches spread throughout a two and a half hour runtime.  Some of the sketches were fun, weird, and memorable.  Others were bland, weird, and forgettable.  Every sketch collection is like that.  The memorable sketches were very memorable though, and the weird one that I knew from before watching it wasn’t even the highlight of the whole thing.

The most impressive portions of Funky Forest: The First Contact were the music sections.  Particularly, there’s a series of dances that one character does on the beach that make for some striking visuals and enthralling moments.  Then there’s a scene at the end where it’s just a girl in the forest experiencing music from the strange, electronic noises produced by three magical women.  Though the movie is on the long side, it’s worth the watch for the ridiculous visuals and masterful audio work.  It might not be my favourite of year four, but it’s definitely a movie that should be sought out.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that doesn’t get quite the film representation that it deserves.  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is always discussed, but there aren’t a whole lot of others brought up when talking about Thanksgiving movies.  Free Birds tried to change that in 2013, to lackluster results.  It made its way into the Sunday “Bad” Movies, though, and won a way into my annual Thanksgiving viewing.

Free Birds was about two turkeys who went back in time to take turkey off of the Thanksgiving menu.  Along the way, one turkey fell in love, while the other learned how to inspire turkeys to fight for what is right.  Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Amy Poehler headlined the animated comedy.

The comedy in Free Birds works better than you might expect from the director of Jonah Hex.  @mrjafri suggested one of the movies that brought me the most legitimate laughs that I’ve gotten from a movie I’ve watched for the blog.  The chipmunks clapping after two turkeys danced, the extended laughing of characters at a bad joke, and the Owen Wilson turkey meeting three other versions of himself scene help to make this Thanksgiving family film a classic.  Whether or not you like it, I don’t care.  This has become a movie I’ll go back to whenever I want a Thanksgiving treat.
8. Troll 2
There are some bad movies that are so well known in the bad movie world, they sort of transcend the idea.  Troll 2 is one of those movies.  It has such a large fandom that a documentary has been made about it.  Best Worst Movie was directed by Michael Stephenson, the child star of Troll 2, and followed the popularity of the bad movie and the people who loved watching it.

There are many reasons for the fandom being so big.  The first important aspect is that Troll 2 may sound like a sequel to Troll but it isn’t.  There wasn’t even a troll in the movie.  A family went to the town of Nilbog where a bunch of goblins were turning people into vegetables in order to eat them.  The second important point was that the director barely spoke English, so the dialogue came across very unnatural and strange.  People don’t talk the way that they do in Troll 2.  The villain was defeated with a bologna sandwich.  There were so many ridiculous aspects that the movie ended up becoming one of those “so bad its good” classics.

I’ve seen Troll 2 a few times now.  The first time I saw it, I wasn’t a huge fan of it.  Watching it for the Sunday “Bad” Movies, after it was suggested by @TheTalkingCan, gave me a new appreciation for it, and watching Best Worst Movie only helped me to appreciate it more.  It might never reach the levels of some of the other bad movies that I love, but Troll 2 has earned its place among my favourites.
If you know me, you know that every year, I look forward to the next installment in the Sharknado franchise.  This first sequel had a major influence upon that.  I’m not a huge fan of the first Sharknado movie, though I’ve seen it more than enough times for people to think I like it.  It’s not good.  It’s not good at all.  I just watch it as part of a full franchise lead-up to the release of each new Sharknado movie.  The second one was what truly got me into the series, though.

The problems I had with the first movie got fixed within the second.  Sharknado took itself a little too seriously, which never quite worked for the outrageous concept of a tornado made of sharks.  The sequel took the right steps in making it a self-aware farce.  It also made the location a much bigger part of the story.  The first was set in Los Angeles, but outside of the Hollywood sign and the Santa Monica pier, there wasn’t much LA actually in the movie.  The second one used a lot of the New York landscapes and landmarks to tell the story, making the city as much a part of it as the characters.

The new elements in Sharknado 2: The Second One helped me fall in love with the franchise and make sure that I would keep tuning in, time and time again, when they aired on television.  The cast was great.  Returning from the original were Ian Ziering and Tara Reid.  Joining them were newcomers to the franchise Vivica A. Fox, Judah Friedlander, Kari Wuhrer, Judd Hirsch, and Mark McGrath.  They fought sharks in Citi Field, in the subway, on top of a taxi, and on top of a skyscraper.  Some characters were chased by the head of the statue of liberty, while others landed a disabled plane at JFK airport.  Everything was a shark-filled, New York disaster movie, and it was great.
Most movies have a clear sense of the story they tell.  It might not be told in a clear way, but the people behind the movies know the story enough to tell it.  Robo Vampire felt different than that, telling two stories that seemed so disconnected that they may have been two movies thrown together.  One was a movie about a robot police officer who was sent to save a woman from a drug lord.  The other was a fantastical movie about martial arts vampires.

There’s not much to say about Robo Vampire outside of the fact that I enjoyed it.  Both stories, with their vastly different tones, were fun to watch.  The gun action of the police story and the wirework of the vampire story were both solid and could have stood on their own.  The way they were tossed together might not have been the best, but it was still a great experience to visit both tales.

Director Godfrey Ho has some interestingly titled movies in his filmography.  Some of them are likely to end up in the Sunday “Bad” Movies lineup sooner or later.  Movies like Thunder Ninja Kids in the Golden Adventure or Ninja Terminator seem like great movies to include.  @DeusExCinema’s suggestion of Robo Vampire didn’t let me down.  Will they?
This is not a good movie, guys.  It comes from the dark period of M. Night Shyamalan.  The tone felt so super-serious with such a ridiculous idea that it never quite worked.  People didn’t like it, though it ended up faring better than the two Shyamalan films that followed.

But when you look at The Happening as a comedy, which it might have been trying to pull off, it ends up being a pretty solid movie.  There were many comedic beats that were undermined by the serious tone.  The hot dog scene is one of my favourites in bad movies.  Three characters were in a greenhouse talking about plants, when one of them went on a mini monologue about how great hot dogs were.  There was also a scene where Mark Wahlberg’s character spoke to a plastic tree.  And, of course, there was the old woman in the isolated house portion of the movie.

I’ve enjoyed The Happening since it first came out.  It is in no way a good movie, but when I look at it as a comedy, there is a lot to take away from it.  The only problem, when it is looked at as a comedy instead of pure horror, is that the movie couldn’t find the right tone to tell that kind of story.  If it wanted to tell jokes, it should have been lighter.  It’s still funny.  Don’t get me wrong.  And it’s one of my favourite bad movies.  But it can’t find the right tone and that hurts it.
Now we get into the real insanity of year four of the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  The top four movies are four of the best bad movies to ever grace the blog.  The Apple, suggested by @AntiqueiPod, begins that section.  The futuristic setting, the music, and the capitalist/religious story came together in a memorable blend of musical fun.  This is a movie that should be seen by every bad movie fan.

Manahem Golan bought Cannon Films in the late 1970s and directed The Apple.  Two Canadian musicians entered the Worldvision contests and lost to BIM.  The man in charge of BIM, Mr. Boogalow, offered them a contract.  They soon ended up experiencing the seedy underbelly of the music industry while dealing with their love for one another and how it was torn apart.

I don’t care what anyone says about the quality of the music in The Apple.  I enjoyed it.  The songs were catchy, and well performed enough that I could listen to them time and time again without growing tired.  The story of The Apple was an Adam and Eve sort of allegory, which didn’t work most of the time, but the music carried it.  The soundtrack was solid.  There’s enough here to enjoy.  Check out The Apple.
The second Sharknado found the right tone.  The third upped the ante to the right amount of ridiculousness to make the franchise a classic in the bad movie world.  It took everything that made the second special, brought the best character from the first film back into the series, and had a great time with everything.  It was a thrill ride filled with thrill rides.  You’ll understand why in a second.

There wasn’t only a single location in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!  There were three primary locations, with a road trip thrown in there for fun.  The opening took the shark storm threat to the capital as the sharks attacked Washington D.C. while Fin was getting a medal for saving New York.  He teamed up with the president, played by Mark Cuban, to make it out of the White House alive.  He then took a road trip down the east coast with Nova (the best character Sharknado has produced) to get to his family at Universal Studios in Orlando.  The characters fought their way across the park, through the many rides, before Fin teamed up with his father Gil and went to space to take down the storm.

Sharknado 3 was the pinnacle of what the series could be.  It was ridiculous, but took everything in stride.  While Fin was preparing to go to space, the backing song was something along the lines of “I’m a badass.”  The medal he got was a statue of a golden chainsaw that he would use later in the movie, since the characters must always use chainsaws to battle sharks.  In space, he even had a laser chainsaw.  It went all out with how over-the-top it could go and it worked.  Every moment of the movie worked.  Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is the best of the series, and there’s good reason why.
Patrick Swayze had a great run through the 1980s and early 1990s, turning out a bunch of movies that people know and love.  He was in Red Dawn, The Outsiders, Dirty Dancing, Point Break, and Ghost.  One other movie that stood out in that pack was the action classic, Road House, where he played a bar cooler who worked to take down the money hungry, corrupt business man that controlled a small town.

The best part of Road House was that the Double Deuce felt like a character.  It had an arc like the people did.  It started as a run-down biker bar, where every corner was filled with drugs, sex, and violence.  Through Dalton’s work, it was cleaned up and became more like a nightclub.  The workers were well dressed.  The fighting was taken outside instead of happening in the bar.  The patrons weren’t as seedy.  The Double Deuce was as much a part of the story as Dalton was, if not more.  Dalton was a tool for the Deuce’s arc as much as it was a part of his.

That’s not to say that the action didn’t live up to the character work.  Dalton could kick ass with his fighting skills, and the bad guy had an equally skilled henchman to go toe-to-toe with Dalton.  There were fires, cars going through buildings, murders, and gunfights.  In the hand-to-hand fight between Dalton and the henchman, there was even a throat rip.  Road House may not have been a bad movie.  It might just be good and misplaced in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.
As I’m writing this, I am wearing a Turbo Man shirt.  That should tell you how I feel about Jingle All the Way.  It’s a Christmas classic that I know isn’t the best movie.  It’s enjoyable as all Hell though, which makes me revisit it year after year.  This was an annual watch for me well before its inclusion in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  The two watches that it got as part of the blog were only more incentive to watch it year after year.

In Jingle All the Way, a father spent Christmas Eve trying to get the toy he was supposed to get his kid as a present weeks ago, a Turbo Man action figure.  But it was Christmas Eve.  Nobody had any of the Turbo Man figures anymore.  They had been purchased long ago by parents who were actually doing their jobs properly.  He ran from store to store, from contest to contest.  All the while, he was competing against Sinbad’s mailman character for the toy, and Phil Hartman’s next door neighbour character was making moves on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife, played by Rita Wilson.

There are many things that worked in Jingle All the Way.  It was a scathing look at consumerism, in a time before Black Friday was such a big deal.  Even though the movie took place on Christmas Eve, it felt like it was commenting on those crazed Black Friday shoppers who scratch and claw their way to a ten dollar discount.  That shouldn’t overshadow the other major great aspect of the movie.  Phil Hartman was great as the neighbour.  His delivery in every scene was perfect.  Sadly, he died soon after the movie was released, and wouldn’t get to produce as much great work as he was capable of.

With Jingle All the Way, the fourth year of the Sunday “Bad” Movies came to an end.  I don’t only mean in my top 10.  Sure, it came first.  That’s pretty great.  Jingle All the Way is a great movie and my favourite of year four.  It was also the final movie I watched in the fourth year of the blog.  It was the rewatch that I did for the anniversary.  Other people loved it enough to get me to watch it a second time for the Sunday “Bad” Movies.

Right after that, I was into the fifth year with a few more Christmas movies.  That’ll be discussed in the next post.  The fourth year was a solid year of bad movies.  Many of the movies I watched during the fourth year have become some of my favourites since I began this series of posts.  The top 9 for sure would all be in consideration for a list of my favourite movies of the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  They’re all that great, in my mind.

Even with school starting for me near the end of year four, I vowed to not end the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  It has been a release for me, allowing me to write about movies once (or more, like now) a week for five years now.  It’s not going to stop anytime soon.  But before I catch up to now, there’s still a fifth year to get to.  That will be coming up very soon.  I’m working hard to get these out before the anniversary, so you’ll be sure to see it within the next 24 hours.  I hope you come back for that fun.

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