Welcome back to to Junkfood Cinema…never drum on a white lady’s boobies at a big redneck dance, got it. Our fearless leader has traveled deep into the heart of the Great White North to sample their delicacies, like the mysterious pooty-tine, and determine what foods and films are fit to bring to ‘Merica and feature on the best bad movie column on this website. Or at least that’s what I’m telling people, in point of fact he’s actually in Montreal attending the Fantasia Film Festival. But in his absence we soldier on, bringing you the finest in truly terrible cinema and the fattiest, most sodium and sugar laden tasty treats we can possibly conceive. Brian’s been trying a new formula here at JFC but I’m going to mix a bit of the old “why it’s bad” and “why we love it” in with a list of potential sequel ideas for this week’s selection. Prepare yourselves adventurous movie-lovers, as we look back on Barry Sonnenfeld’s undisputed amateur-piece, Wild Wild West.
What Makes It Bad
Now, I know what you’re saying. You’re sitting at your computer thinking, come on Luke, have you heard that theme song? How could anyone think this movie is bad? Well dear sir or madam, let me assure you that I am quite familiar with Will Smith’s ode to the Wild West. In fact, there was a time when I knew every word (current lyric memory is holding steady around 90%) to that tune.
Are you familiar with steampunk? I sincerely hope so, because Wild Wild West is like a steampunk fan’s wet dream. This film features clearly anachronistic technology, but as long as you slap a little steampipe on the back of it, then it’s all good. Case in point, General Loveless, who lost his lower legs in the Civil War has was is essentially a Rascal scooter. His clearly motorized wheelchair is supposedly steam powered with little whirring devices on the back next to small steam pipes and puffs of steam anytime he whirls himself around.
Will Smith plays Jim West. In a film called Wild Wild West. Get it?
I swear, there’s a joke involving a puppy and a phonograph horn used as a hearing aid. The frame is composed to look like the RCA logo. Ahhh 1999, when people knew what RCA was.
Oh the effects. Dear Lord the effects. So much terrible green screen. Not much more to say about this, except ugggggghhhh.
I wish I could fully explain to you the insanity of watching Will Smith pull back on a rope with a trick noose at the end and somehow defy all laws of science and physics and gravity and all that and somehow launch himself a good 20 yards as if the rope had suddenly became a giant catapult or trampoline instead of just, you know, a piece of rope tied to a tree limb. Thankfully this is not the only demonstration of the supposedly elastic nature of rope. We are treated to another display in the feats of rope’s elasticity during the train sequence where Smith, laying on a small cart hooks a rope onto the end of a train only to bounce back and forth underneath it like a damn bungee cord.
Why We Love It!
Salma Hayek’s heaving bossom? Is that not enough?
I considered putting this in the above section but it’s so completely insane that even on second viewing it got a chuckle out of me. For no apparent reason whatsoever, during a discussion between Branagh and Smith about the possbility of Branagh, lacking a lower half and thus genitals, being able to bed Salma Hayek, he mentions his mechanical ability and sure enough we get an insert shot of a steampunk penis. It can be nothing else. It is most assuredly a penis. It even pumps back and forth. The best part is it’s relative size, which is about the size of a standard train car. So unless Salma Hayek’s vagina is the size of the Lincoln Tunnel, I’m not sure where Branagh thinks he’s going to cram his giant metal dick. Apparently the penis machine doubles as a giant metal disc shooter that fires these saw-like discs at high velocity in order to decapitate people. Indeed, we see it used for this purpose. But that doesn’t explain why there’s a giant dick on the front of it.
Oh Kenneth Branagh, how the mighty have fallen. I would love to have been in the room when Branagh agreed to do this movie. What could the producers have said? What could Branagh have possibly been thinking? The best part is that he completely throws himself into the role of Loveless with truly reckless abandon. He’s so over the top he’s landed back at the bottom.
Kline and Smith play off each other pretty well despite the ridiculous nature of the film in which they find themselves. They play the typical buddy cop archetypes, first hating each other, then begrudgingly respecting each other as they learn to work together before finally actually liking each other. They’re unlikely allies and strange casting for the roles, but the ultimately have pretty decent chemistry.
Smith and Branagh go back and forth with witty remarks focusing on each other’s primary disability, namely Branagh’s lack of legs and Smith’s skin color given the time period. While the jokes may not be the best ever written, Smith and Branagh deliver each line with such zest and zeal that it’s hard not to find yourself smiling.
Did I mention the theme song?
Where Should They Go From Here?
I really think there’s only one option here. Wild West 2 must follow the exploits of West and Gordon as they team up with President Abraham Lincoln in his fight against vampires. Gordon’s inventions would be perfect in the fight against the undead. He could come up with all kinds of silver-based weapons. And West’s witty retorts would be perfect for one liners after staking vampires through the heart. It’s really the only way to go.
Obviously one of the biggest questions will be what Academy Award winning, classically trained, Shakespearan actor can they possibly ask to fill the shoes take the place of Kenneth Branagh in the role of super-villain extraordinaire. My short list includes names like Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart, and Jeremy Irons. Though the best choice for the job may well be Ralph Fiennes who has experience with Shakespeare in the recent Coriolanus and as a super-villain playing Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. Perhaps in Wild West 2: Wilder and Harder, Fiennes could play a mad scientist who lost his entire body but created a steampunk skeleton to attach to his head which is kept in a glass jar, like Nixon on Futurama.
And despite the lack of a Will Smith theme song on the recently released Men In Black 3, rest assured that the success of Wild West 3: Wildin’ Out rests solely on a brand new song from the Fresh Prince himself.
Junkfood Pairing – Candy Spiders
Anyone who knows Brian and I will know this is a difficult junkfood pairing to make, as we are both pretty terrified of spiders. Luckily, these guys are less scary and far more chewy…I’m guessing. I’m totally not eating spiders like those kids in South America who trap poisionous tarantulas and cook them over an open fire. Seriously, Google that shit. It’s like Snickers to them I don’t get. Anyway, these arachnids are like little girls, made of sugar and spice and nice things. In honor of Dr. Loveless’s obsession with these arthropods, grab yourself a bowlful to enjoy while Smith, Kline and Sonnenfeld wreak havoc on the traditional Western.
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