Shitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith”

Empty Balcony: The Last Boy Scout

Some film historian could write a book about The Last Boy Scout, the outrageous action flick from 1991. It’s a film legendary for its troubled production, with no less than four Hollywood egos clashing while it was made.

There was screenwriter Shane Black, who had been paid almost two million bucks for the script; director Tony Scott, who was in the midst of his peak as a blockbuster filmmaker; star Bruce Willis, who was in need of a hit after Hudson Hawk underperformed and The Bonfire of the Vanities absolutely bombed; and producer Joel Silver, part of whose legend involves massive amounts of cocaine. Silver was such a pain in the neck that when Scott later directed True Romance, he based the character of Lee Donowitz on Silver. Reportedly, Silver was not pleased. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: The Last Boy Scout”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)

Cop 1988 movie posterNormally, if there were a trailer available on YouTube, it would be posted here, but not this time. The trailer for Cop spoils the ending. We can’t have that.

What a gloriously stupid movie. I knew heading in that any movie produced by, and starring, James Woods as a lone-wolf detective hunting a serial killer would be an adventure. Cop is more than that, however. It is an absolute howler. It is amongst the most over-indulgent Hollywood vanity projects I’ve ever seen, from an actor who doesn’t know the first thing about nuance.

The highlights:

  • Woods, playing Sgt. Lloyd Hopkins, stakes out a suspected armed robber with his supervisor, Lt. Dutch Peltz, played by Charles Durning. The suspect pulls up to the curb with his date, Hopkins and Dutch confront him, and Hopkins blows the suspect away after he pulls a pistol on Dutch. That’s fine. But then, Hopkins takes the date from the car, who is ambivalent about the whole thing, and leaves the scene to drive her home because she has a nice rack. It’s implied he sleeps with her. I guess that means it was a good shoot.
  • Hopkins tracks down a former actress turned call girl (Randi Brooks), following up a lead on the serial killings, and, wouldn’t you know it? They have sex in the kitchen while bacon is sizzling in a pan nearby. This happens the very scene after Hopkins’ wife leaves him and takes the kid.
  • Hopkins goes to the residence of feminist poet and bookstore owner Kathleen McCarthy (Lesley Ann Warren) to follow up another lead. He’s as gruff and pigheaded as one would expect any clichéd cop from an ’80s film to be, but McCarthy doesn’t seem to care all that much. You see, she’s a feminist only because the right man has never come along to sweep her off of her feet. Lo and behold, that could be Hopkins. He talks her into a date, and later a trip to the bedroom, because he’s the first man who’s been man enough to do so.
  • Hopkins follows another lead to the home of an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy (Charles Haid) who happens to be running male prostitutes. Hopkins then kills the deputy after the deputy goes for a shotgun, but he never faces any repercussions for this, despite having broken into the deputy’s home without a warrant, while also being under suspension from the LAPD.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Fortress (2021)

Regular readers of Shitty Movie Sundays will know that we have quite the appreciation for Nicolas Cage. He’s past the heady days of A-list stardom and has settled into a late career of appearing in small prestige projects and shitty movies alike, to the tune of six or so productions a year. He’s not the first aging star to enter the magical land of b-movies paydays. In fact, he’s not the only actor who has been prolific in the realm of late. Bruce Willis has spent the last decade padding his IMDb page with substandard action and thriller fare, racking up eight credits in 2021 alone. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Fortress (2021)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: On the Edge (2002)

Dakota Smith (Fred Williamson) is back in yet another sequel to b-thriller Night Vision. This flick was intriguing to the shitty movie fan in me because it’s a step forward when it comes to casting, compared to other films in the series. Besides Williamson, who also produced and directed, On the Edge features blaxploitation and/or football legends Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, and Ron O’Neal. Gary Busey returns to play a different bad guy than the one he played in the second Dakota Smith flick, Down ’n Dirty, while Ice-T appears as a slimy nightclub owner and smalltime hood. What a cast. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: On the Edge (2002)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Flying Saucer

To spoil, or not? That is the question facing all critical reviewers of film, even those poor, unpaid wretches who operate on the fringes. Is the big twist in a film something sacred, to be preserved without forewarning potential viewers, or something so linked to even the lightest analysis of a film that it must be revealed? I imagine some people lose sleep over this. I, for one, like being surprised by a story. On the other hand, I do not like being disappointed by a poor reveal. In the end, it’s up to the discretion of the reviewer. If you, dear soul, have ended up in this corner of the internet reading about this film, then I doubt it is your first stop, so I feel I am risking little by writing that there is neither hide nor hair of an alien in The Flying Saucer, the UFO flick from 1950. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Flying Saucer”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men

Assignment: Outer Space, the 1960 sci-fi flick from director Antonio Margheriti, is a textbook example of why cheap practical effects are better than bad CGI. I’m no Luddite. CGI will continue to improve and become more affordable right up to the point AI takes over film production and just thinks shit up on the spot. I’m thinking more of the bargain basement CGI of this still-young century versus what Margheriti’s crew was able to accomplish sixty years ago. Both are unconvincing, but cheap model work has a charm that bad CGI does not — almost an innocence. That’s illusory, of course. Cheap effects are all about saving cash, no matter which method is used. Yet, there’s something slimy about bad CGI, as if it’s more an enabler of poor filmmaking rather than a result of tight budgets. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alcatraz (2018)

My favorite bad movies are ones from outsider filmmakers who pour their hearts and souls into making their films. They may not know what they’re doing, and they usually have resources to match, yet they persevere, often through years of adversity, to get their projects to audiences.

My least favorite bad movies are treated as little more than commodities — something produced to get to market as quickly as possible, with little use for the skills and talents of those involved. In fact, talent is a burden, as it would cost the production more money. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Alcatraz (2018)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Terror in Beverly Hills

I once did an entire month’s worth of Sylvester Stallone reviews. Dear reader, you cannot imagine how sick I was of that man, that icon, that Hollywood legend, by about the two-thirds mark. It was a struggle. So much so, that at one point I decided to take ‘Stallone Month’ literally, and not limit myself to just one member of the clan. However, I soldiered on, and that alternate plan never came to fruition. Had I done so, I would definitely have featured today’s flick. I haven’t seen all that many movies starring Frank Stallone, but Terror in Beverly Hills has to be his apex as a leading man. At the very least, it’s the silliest piece of shit he’s ever been in. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Terror in Beverly Hills”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Post Impact

According to the internet, so it must be true, Post Impact, the 2004 joint US/German production, had a budget of around 3.2 million bucks, and it’s fair to wonder where it all went. It wasn’t in casting. Dean Cain doesn’t cost that much. And it certainly didn’t all go into digital effects, which are among the worst a shitty movie fan is likely to see.

The poor, awful, dreadful quality of this film is nothing new for producers Alan Latham and T.J. Sakasegawa, who have produced dozens of bad films between them. It was nothing new for star Dean Cain, either, who was in a career wasteland for a while after Lois & Clark wrapped in 1997, appearing in many films so poor they would make the folks over at The Asylum blush. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Post Impact”