You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at email@example.com.
[Last] week’s question was great, but I’m wondering about the opposite. What are some brilliant (in your opinion) scenes from terrible no good very bad movies? – Carlos P.
I know I’ve already beaten a dead horse sewn by its mouth to the ass of another dead horse about this, but it’s no secret that I couldn’t stand The Human Centipede. From its cardboard acting to its illogical plot and filler chase scenes, just about all of it was grotesquely bad. Especially since it wasn’t nearly gross enough.
However, I’ll also be the first to admit that the scene in which Dr. Heiter explains the procedure (complete with overhead projector) to his strapped-in victims is one of the most unnerving things I saw last year. It’s done with restraint and a sense of calm timing that makes the good doctor appear even more insane than he already did. Plus, it uses the unthinkable idea to its full potential – by letting the audience strap themselves onto one of those gurneys and fill in the blanks themselves. Watch that scene while listening to Carly Simon’s “Anticipation.” It makes it even scarier.
I’m an unapologetic Stephen King fan and have been for years. Sure some of his novels are bloated and in need of a really brave editor’s eye, but the man knows plot, character, and how to write compulsively readable stories. He has hundreds of novels and short works to his name, and an incredible number of them have been adapted into films. Several are genuine classics, most are pretty standard fare, and some simply suck. But one morning King got it in his head to direct.
And the worst Stephen King film was born.
Maximum Overdrive is about a meteor trail that turns the Earth’s machinery into murderous metal monsters intent on destroying humanity. The short story (Trucks) is simple but effective, while King’s movie is simply retarded. His actors run ragged over the material, yelling, screaming, and shitting on anything even remotely resembling subtlety, nuance, or character. Everyone is stupid in this world. And they all die to the painful blaring of AC/DC.
But the ace up King’s sleeve was his lack of concern over what highfalutin critics or the morality police might think, and so he lets his camera come to rest on a Little League game with children running for cover as a soda pop machine shoots carbonated shells at fleshy and fragile victims… and one of the little bastards falls from his bike just as an unmanned steamroller busts onto the field and crushes the kid from his feet to his pulpy, zit-like head. Kids dying in horror films are always a bonus, but here it’s the film’s only salvation. (Okay, I kind of like the Green Goblin truck too.)
Mission To Mars is one of the most abysmal films I think I’ve ever sat through, so much so that I envied a friend who had seen it with a crowd a few shows after mine where there was a collective panning from the mostly full auditorium. He claims it was one of his favorite moments at the movies and it was for a film that we both pretty much hate.
However, every time I recollect Mission to Mars I don’t think so much about the preposterous dialogue, the weepy alien, or one of the most hilariously blatant and undisguised shots of product placement I’ve ever seen (if you ever need to plug a hole in your spacecraft fill it with Dr. Pepper. This also works with children even though the movie doesn’t necessarily say so); I think about the twister sequence that uncovers “the face” on the surface of Mars.
I remember it being a quiet scene with little talking and no music (probably why I liked it) and the intensity builds as the twister shifts from being something interesting and awesome to destructive. The ultra-twirl dismemberment is one of my favorite screen deaths and it’s the only moment in the film where my reaction seemed to be in line with the intent.
The Last Boy Scout is hilariously bad — like, almost so bad it’s good. Anything with Damon Wayans as a co-lead, supporting cast, background extra, perhaps even a key grip, is a recipe for suck.
Ninety nine percent of that film is a schlockfest of Willis growling one-liners, Wayans punching acting in the face, and Halle Berry hating her agent — but there is one scene worth watching, and it’s conveniently placed in the first four minutes of the film.
Star running back Billy Cole, somehow involved in game fixing, has his life threatened during halftime via phone. “You’d better start scoring some touchdowns, Billy. Just do whatever you have to do, understand?”
Boy, does he ever understand. After dosing himself with PCP, Cole takes the field — and upon receipt of the football, proceeds to charge down the field, knocking opposing players out of his path. With three blockers remaining, Cole doesn’t bother with juking his way into the endzone — he busts out a pistol and proceeds to shoot the remaining players. He then takes a knee, puts the pistol to his head and gives us a classic, “Ain’t life a bitch?” before shooting himself in the head.
I think that Crank 2: High Voltage, is a pretty terrible movie. I know a lot of our readers like it and even some of our idiot staff do, too. I just don’t get it. It’s over the top, sure, but is it fun? Nope. Frenetic and frantic camera work doesn’t equate to a good time, it equates to motion blur and ninety minutes of not giving a shit.
While you’d probably have to pay me around $15 to make me sit through it again (or just gently caress my thigh), there is one scene that I like. Strangely enough, it is probably the most absurd and most unrelated bit of the film: the giant head fight. When Chelios is facing down a gangster amidst a bunch of power lines, he’s struck by two bolts of electricity, grows to enormous cro-magnon faced proportions, and goes Godzilla style against his enemy.
Is this good film making? No. Is this logical? No. Is it entertaining? On some “I feel like an idiot for saying this” level – Yes. I guess my weakness for monster movies has shown through, because despite the garbage surrounding it, that sequence is pretty tight.