Bad action flicks from the 1980s are beginning to blend together for me. They all seem to have the same plots, the same producers, the same locations, the same stars, even the same bad guys. No facetiousness on that last part. In a coincidence for the ages, the last five ’80s action flicks I’ve seen have all had Stack Pierce playing a bad guy. There truly is a bottomless pit of shitty movies, and this age of unlimited content can stress the attention spans of even the most dedicated enthusiast.
The Wraith, the 1986 flick from writer/director Mike Marvin, is in stiff competition with Road House for the most relentlessly ’80s movie in the Watchability Index. The music, the fashion, the bright colors, the bitchin’ cars, the way the film is shot, and the raspy-voiced presence of Charlie Sheen will all transport the viewer back to the heady days of mid-1980s Tucson, Arizona.
This film is also a throwback to the teen dramas of the 1950s. The local youths are consumed by their dramas, and, like all good teen flicks, the only adult with significant presence in the film is the local sheriff. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith”
Some horror films live and die on spectacle. They don’t use fear of the unseen to unsettle audiences. Rather, they go all-in early. The Saw franchise went for spectacle above all else, and it worked so well for them that there are nine films in the franchise as of this writing. Aliens was another film that used spectacle. James Cameron used spectacle so well, compared to the wrought tension of Ridley Scott’s earlier film, that it’s easy to forget that an entire hour of runtime passes before audiences see the first alien. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Rawhead Rex”
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 reading “Empty Balcony: The Color of Money”
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 reading “Empty Balcony: Top Gun”
The importance of the Italian contribution to Shitty Movie Sundays cannot be overstated. Many of the most outrageous and joyfully incompetent films featured in the Watchability Index hail from that land of ancient art and culture. I’m sure that way back in the day, before the miracle that is recorded media, there were countless shitty penny operas and circuses for the masses to enjoy. For all we know Verdi had a secret passion for sleaze. My point is, shitty Italian cinema didn’t just come from nowhere. The DNA had to be there already. For every master filmmaker such as Federico Fellini, there has been an Enzo G. Castellari. For every Lina Wertmuller, a Bruno Mattei. And for every Bernardo Bertolucci, there has been a Sergio Martino. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Hands of Steel”
What a gloriously stupid movie. Today’s movie is the movie I was looking forward to seeing the most for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow. It’s a movie of such shitty grandiosity that I was, in fact, giddy at the prospect. It’s not the easiest movie to find for viewing, either. As of this writing, none of the popular streaming services has it for rent or purchase. The only bootleg streams I could find were not in English, and even trying to find a torrent was fruitless. In the end, I had to buy a used DVD from eBay. It cost thirty-five bucks. That’s a lot of money for a shitty movie. Alas, it was worth every penny. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: King Kong Lives”
I think it’s about high time to feature a flick from the Roger Corman stable. Chopping Mall, also released as Killbots, from 1986, doesn’t have Roger Corman’s name on it anywhere, but it’s definitely one of his. It was produced by Julie Corman, who has been married to Roger for almost fifty years, and it’s an underfunded piece of shit. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Chopping Mall, aka Killbots”
Oh, lord. Is this flick produced by the Cannon Group, the most lovable pair of shameless profiteers that Hollywood has ever seen? Yes, it is. Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus did as much for my love of shitty movies as any other filmmaker not named Carpenter. But, this month isn’t about Cannon. It’s about Sly Stallone. And Cobra, the 1986 film written by Sly and directed by George P. Cosmatos (who went on to direct films about a killer rat and a fish monster), might just be peak Stallone. Coming the year after Rocky IV, Sly wasn’t going to get any bigger. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Cobra”
This movie is Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cusp. After Conan and The Terminator, people knew who he was, he was a legitimate star, and this earned him more roles. But he was still making movies for Dino De Laurentiis. That man was a producing legend, but not always for the best reasons. For every Blue Velvet or Serpico, there were about five or six Maximum Overdrives. De Laurentiis movies look cheap, like the filmmakers that made them didn’t have the cash they needed, or weren’t competent filmmakers in the first place. Raw Deal was the last De Laurentiis film with Arnold to hit theaters, and Arnold was probably glad about that. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Raw Deal”