Sunday, January 15, 2006

 

The Deluxe Davids And The Ghastly Goliaths

There's nothing at all interesting happening in my life right now, consisting as it does pointless research about Supreme Court judgements like Yick Wo v Hopkins, and the news is equally boring, so instead I'm going to mine an old seam and do another film post. Other folks have been trying to name two films they like, or at least appreciate, that are widely hated, and two they dislike that are much loved. I thought I might join in, as I have absolutely nothing better post about.

Loathed

1) 'Invisible Mom.'

I see that some people have chosen as their 'hated' films some that weren't really hated at all. One person even put 'Punch-Drunk Love' in, a film which (rightly) got a fantastic critical reception.

That certainly can't be said of 'Invisible Mom.' Indeed, it didn't get a critical reception, because it was a straight-to-video film. It came from infamous exploitation director Fred Olen Ray, the man behind such wonders as Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Bikini Hoe-Down and the formiddably named Attack Of The Sicty Foot Centrefolds. However, Invisible Mom is a kids film, a film that could really only appeal to children of the age of five or six, and probably not even them. The plot? A scientist is bullied by his boss at work, and cannot pursue his experiments. He continues them at home, however, developing an invisibility serum. Unfortunately, Junior's plans to use it to get revenge on the school bully go wrong, and Mom swallows the stuff. She then goes on to solve their problems in her invisible state, while Dad frantically tries to create an antidote.

On the one hand, it is undoubtedly abysmal. The plot is reductive and owes loads to 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.' It also boasts absolutely terrible bluescreen FX, which doesn't convince for a moment.

Still, this is a personal choice. I have only ever seen this film once, during a period when I had more or less constant insomnia, and it was buried at about four in the morning on the TV schedules. In my spaced out state, I found I rather liked its quaint, 1950s, family against the corporation morals, and I particularly liked the dresses that Dee Wallace Stone wears, sort of forties and fifties style, like the one Karin Viard wears in 'Delicatessen.' In short, I liked the kind of retro nature of it, and I also like how, unlike most films for kids produced in the last ten years, it didn't try to fill screen time with pop culture references or other devices that date films so quickly.

It's still crap though.

2) Senseless

'Senseless' is a dumb comedy, starring Marlon Wayans, about a black kid who is really intelligent, but is struggling in his law class because he just can't concentrate enough. He's also short of cash, so when he hears about the chance to be paid for taking an experimental drug, he leaps at the chance. The drug enhances his senses, and he becomes amazing at his course, wins over future employers, pulls the prettiest gal on campus, and gets one over the bully who torments his life.

The script is pretty lousy, but the film is saved by a couple of individual performances. First of all, nobody can play weird and demented like 'The Voice Of Chucky' Brad Dourif, and his short parts as the mad scientist are worth looking at alone. Meanwhile, as the course bully, David Spade absolutely oozes loathsome rich snobbishness. If you're in the mood for a really stupid comedy, you can do worse than this. It's certainly better than the next two:

Liked - But Why?

1) Wayne's World

Having just praised 'Senseless', I have to criticise one of director Penelope Spheeris's earlier works, 'Wayne's World.' This film is widely loved, oft quoted, and often considered a seminal moment in nineties comedy films. I seem to recall the whole 'Bohemian Rhapsody' scene was included in a list of the funniest moments in films on Channel 4, if my memory serves me correctly.

I just don't get it. Why do people find it funny? I just can't see the humour inherent in big cocktails and daft haircuts. In particular, I just can't see why people find the scene with them singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' so funny. All that's happening is that a group of people sing a faintly irritating song very badly. I'm sorry, I just don't get the joke. Oh, and another thing - why does the plot get put on the back shelf for about the first forty minutes? A daft film, and a waste of time.

2) Sister Act

This film remains popular, or so I can only assume from ITV's decision to put both this and its sequel back-to-back on New Year's Day this year, but again, I have real trouble understanding why.

My problems with it are threefold. First of all, I think that - with the notable exception of Maggie Smith - it's particularly badly acted. I mean, how do you think Harvey Keitel looks back at this film now? His portrayal of a greasy Italian-American mobster is just terrible - it's not even comparable to those found in 'Married To The Mob.' Secondly, it has aged particularly badly. It looks about thirty years old now, not just over a decade.

Finally, and more seriously, I have a real moral problem with it. The idea that it's possible to 'save' people simply by crooning at them is absurd, and the scenes in the church when all those people wander in off the street - people clearly meant to look like prostitutes and thieves and the like, but who's appearance is actually laughably parodic - reek of an awful sentimentality. It also contains a constant tone of religious moralising about what is and isn't accpetable, and frankly I found it faintly offensive. Just not worth wasting your time with.

Comments:
You obviously watch way more films than I do. I had a big problem with this little list business because I've either got highly tuned sensors or a low tolerance for crap. Or both. I've never seen Sister Act for example and would just never bother, hence I can't like it or dislike because I'll never experience it or many others of its ilk.
 
When we were young my mum made me and my siblings watch Sister Act at an outdoor screening on the banks of Lake Geneva. It was dubbed in French apart from the songs. Happy Days.
 
I need to get around to watching quite a few more. I'm a bit behind this month - haven't seen 'Brokeback Mountain', yet, for instance, and it's been nearly a fortnight.
 
I hear you can be hung for blaspheming Wayne's World.

My film of shame is the Disney animated Hercules. It had Danny Devito in it, how could the critics be so cruel!

i believe it also featured a song by Steven Gately (the gay boyzone one)

xxB
 
I won't hear a word against Wayne's World: it was an utterly seminal film. It captured the mood of the early nineties, spawned catchphrase upon catchphrase... Plot had nothing to do with the film on the whole; it was just an excuse for Myers and Carvey to do brilliant character work.

Wayne's World 2, on the other hand, is harder to defend. Although the scene with them dressed as the Village People doing 'YMCA' in a gay club still has me in stitches.

And my film that everyone hates but I love? Nuns on the Run. Don't ask me why I love it, but I do. I have it on video and have probably seen it a dozen times. I might have to watch it this evening, now I think of it...
 
You didnt watch Wane's World... remember? You havn't even watched the first 40 minutes. Think back to about a year ago and how you refused to watch it and made up your judgement after ten, maybe fifteen at a push, minutes of viewing. So shut-up its a great film and don't talk about it till you've watched it all.
 
Oops i'v spelt Wayne wrong... and 'til.
 
yup: wayne's world could be called seminal, but only if you're saying it's wank.
now: everyone loves Napoleon Dynamite but i can't sympathise. it was like being dry bummed by a wild boar: far too long, boring and painful.
 
Ah, 'M', if only you knew - in fact, I saw it over Christmas. And yes, it was wank. Oh, and don't accuse me of reviewing films I haven't seen, or I'll bitchslap you!
 
My wife is a Wayne's World Fan. The only part I liked a lot was when the guy who ran the diner would go on about his past.
Guess the dark humor always attracts me.

I need to do one of these. It's always fun to trash a bad movie, especially when everone else likes it. (King Kong, I'm talking about YOU!)
 
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