Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still and other movies I should have skipped

Status: Sore. Getting back into the working out groove after a couple weeks off.
Song: "Subway" by Peter Murphy

Some of you may be looking at the movie poster above and scratching your head. Even though you recognize the title of the movie, that poster sure doesn't look like Keanu Reeves or Jennifer Connelly. In fact, it looks like a really bad old sci-fi movie.

Well, you're right. But I like this movie poster because it shows you much more accurately what to expect. Or, maybe not. You might expect a sci-fi, but it really just felt like a political agenda with a thin movie veneer (and not a very good veneer either). The movie was sort of sci-fi, but not a very good one. It tried to be a thriller at times, but not a very good one. A drama? Maybe, but not a very good one. The plot was marginal, the alien technology so-so, characterization was iffy, the special effects were okay (convenient that the little destroyer bugs only killed people and man-made things) and Keanu Reeves must believe that aliens speak in a monotone and turn their head robotically. Oh, and did I mention that the United States only ever has one solution to any problem, and that's to blow it up (at least according to this movie). The alien kills a man, then brings him back to life immediately for no apparent reason. Oh, wait, to show that he could, I guess. I sure couldn't figure out the logic of it.

Kathy Bates as the Secretary of State was horrible casting. I have to feel a little sorry for her (the actress), because I will never be able to see her without envisioning her holding a poor author hostage and breaking his ankles with a sledgehammer (if you're lost, go rent "Misery"). So when she's talking to the president on the phone, I kept wondering if he was tied up in a "secure location" with a typewriter.

I know we felt like we were watching a train wreck. Surely it would get better, right? Sorry. The best thing about the movie was the previews, and they were AWESOME. The new Star Trek (I'm a trekkie - nuff said), Terminator Salvation totally rocked, and a new X-Men is coming that looks way good. In fact, I think the X-Men trailer was advertized as only available at the beginning of "When the Earth Stood Still" - probably to try and get people there.

The movie got a 12% rating by top critics at and the consensus is "Heavy on special effects, but without a coherent story at its base, The Day the Earth Stood Still is subpar re-imagining of the 1951 science-fiction classic." Amen, brothers.

It got me started thinking about other bad movies I should have skipped. **Note: By bad movies I don't necessarily mean "B movies." I like some B-movies. Visit this blog for a good discussion on what exactly is a B-movie. I sure didn't know that stuff.

Let's get started with a classic. "Traxx" with Shadoe Stevens is forever burned into my memory as beyond horrible. The main character simply wants to follow his dream of making cookies. The problem? Being a hero just keeps getting in the way. Nevermind the fact that he can't bake worth a darn and actually makes doggie doo cookies. *shudder* It was supposed to be a parody but was just plain awful.

"Army of Darkness" was another train wreck, only without even decent special effects. I think the zombie/skeleton things were filmed using claymation effects. This movie does hold a special place in my heart, however, because without it I wouldn't be able to make my husband laugh any time by saying "Give me some sugar." Apparently medieval wenches popping out of their tavern dresses loved that pickup line.

I apologize to Rock fans, but "Scorpion King" has to be on this list. I rolled my eyes so many times I missed half the movie. The bad guy--in ancient Egypt no less--was as white and American as could be. I kept expecting him to break out in country music lyrics.

I also have to give honorable mention to The Forbidden Kingdom. We were told it was worse than "The Day the Earth Stood Still." In fact, it was so bad the couple we were with nicknamed it "Monkey Kingdom." I'm tempted to actually watch the movie to see if it really is that bad, but I think I'll just trust them on it.

I know there are tons more bad movies I could list, but I want to leave some for you to comment on. What are some other movies you've seen when you felt your time would have been better spent watching paint dry?


Deborah said...

The Forbidden Kingdom was not as bad as the Monkey King. But then I have a really hard time with the myth of the Monkey King anyway.


Crystal Liechty said...

I was worried by previews that The Day the Earth Stood Still was just a two-hour 'man is bad, environment is supreme' schpeel.
Bad movies that I've seen...hmmm... Wild Hogs was pretty bad but I'm not the target audience, not being a middle aged man who wishes he were a tough guy.
There are a ton more but I'm a little leery of even admitting I watched them so I'll think about it and get back to ya.