Shitty Movie Sundays: Cocktail

Here’s another entry from the aborted Tom Cruise month, written back when I still lived in NYC:

What a putrid mess. Cocktail, the 1988 film from director Roger Donaldson, is about a bartender in New York City with big dreams. That’s just about every bartender in this town, at least before reality sinks its teeth in and, all of a sudden, a bartender’s 30s are looming large. I have a feeling that a large number of those involved in this flick have spent time slinging drinks. How in the world they screwed up a movie about a bartender is beyond me. But, Cocktail is only about a bartender in that the main character tends bar. It’s also a romance, and, near the end, takes a very dark dramatic turn that didn’t fit the film at all. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cocktail”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey

What a gloriously stupid movie. I loved just about every minute of it. Writer/director David A. Prior made a shitty movie, but in giving it a solid pace and an absurd amount of violence, he made something entertaining and watchable. I defy anyone who watches not to laugh during multiple parts of this film, usually when the star, David’s beefcake brother Ted, stabs someone with a Halloween store plastic knife, or spouts out one-liners that would have left Sylvester Stallone blushing.

From way back in 1987, Deadly Prey is a direct-to-video Rambo ripoff. Ted Prior stars as Mike Danton, a Vietnam vet whom David places into an arena and allows to go kill crazy. Danton’s antagonist is Colonel Hogan (David Campbell), his former commanding officer, who has set up a mercenary training camp outside of Los Angeles. Ted Prior may play the main character, but he doesn’t get top billing. That goes to Cameron ‘Discount Shatner’ Mitchell and Troy Donahue, who were slumming it for an easy paycheck. Their scenes in this film looked as if they were filmed in a day. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey”

Empty Balcony: The Color of Money

Still burning off those reviews for the aborted Cruise month. Here’s criticism of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time:

Good things come to those who wait. Many times in the film and television business these days, it seems as if a film sequel or further seasons of a television series are greenlit as soon as a project has a whiff of success. Reasonably enough, the people in charge of feeding us content see success as evidence that we viewers would like more of the same. But sometimes it takes a long time for a success to have a follow-up. Such was the case with The Hustler, the 1961 film directed by Robert Rossen, from the novel by Walter Tevis. A full 25 years went by before Tevis penned a sequel. When he finally did, the film adaptation, The Color of Money, bore little resemblance in plot, but it was helmed by Martin Scorcese. That’s a pretty good tradeoff. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: The Color of Money”

Empty Balcony: Top Gun

Beware films made with the full cooperation of the United States’ military. Without fail, such films are heavy on the heroics and jingoism, and do little to portray the full costs of war, and life in the military. Oftentimes, they are little more than recruiting films, pieces of propaganda aimed at high school-aged males full of testosterone and lacking direction in their lives. Also, these movies tend to be weighted heavily against showing the day-to-day drudgery that typifies the life of the average enlisted man or woman, reducing them to background automatons. Rather, such films are usually focused on glorified versions of officers and non-coms, their duties also scrubbed clean of anything resembling work. Even that most foul bane of soldiers and sailors everywhere — chickenshit — is almost nonexistent. But, who wants to see any of that, anyway? The American military has the coolest toys in the world, and it’s nice to see where our tax dollars are being spent once in a while, even if the resulting film has all the depth of a puddle. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Top Gun”

Empty Balcony: Legend (1985)

We’re still burning through reviews that were intended for Tom Cruise month. This film is where I began to realize I might not want to watch 31 Tom Cruise movies:

I knew there were going to be some tough watches this month. It’s impossible to run through 31 of a star’s films and not find at least one film made for a completely different type of viewer than myself. In Legend, the 1985 fantasy film from writer William Hjortsberg and director Ridley Scott, that audience was one that likes a fairy tale. That’s what Legend is. It draws stark lines between good and evil, takes place in an enchanted forest, features a damsel in distress, and shares its overall creature aesthetic with Halloween displays at a big box store. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Legend (1985)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising

What a bottom-feeding pile of garbage. This reviewer has seen many bad movies — enough bad movies that I’ve ruined any arthouse bona fides I may have had — yet, sometimes, I’m still surprised that something so amateurish manages to get made. This is one of those shitty movies where no one involved, even the professionals, seemed able to capitalize on their work.

Alien Rising, from 2013, is a direct-to-video shitfest brought to viewers by screenwriters Michael Todd and Kenny Yakkel, and director Dana Schroeder. This was Schroeder’s second directing effort, and, if his IMDb page is any indication, it will be his last. Thank goodness. We shitty movie fans may be into flagellation, but everyone has limits. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising”