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Commentary, Lead Commentary

At the Mountains of Movie Madness: Week Nine

Last year, I took part in an experiment in recommendations. When a friend recommends something to me, I typically remember it, but I also get to it when I get to it. So I spent one month last year sampling every TV show people recommended to me. I found that to be a blast, so I’m stupid enough to do it again this summer, but this time with movies.

Since so many movies were recommended, I’m not going to be able to get this done in a month. Every Tuesday, I’ll write about which ones I’ve watched and what I thought about them. The only rule to the recommendation was that they had to pick a film I haven’t seen. Some used that to pick great movies they know I haven’t watched yet and some used that to pick movies that look so awful they know I wouldn’t watch it. Either way, I’m watching them now.

 

Week Nine – My Family Has Interesting Taste

 

The Dukes of Hazzard (Jay Chandrasekhar, 2005)

Recommended by Brandon Lugar

My brother swore this was good. He said that it was funny. There are plenty of revenge recommendations on this list, but he honestly thought I would like this movie. Well, Brandon was wrong. Lame story, lame characters and not a single joke that landed. I actually like Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville as actors and with the right script, they would be fun as the leads. Yet they get nothing to do and the Broken Lizard guys go for the common dominator for cheap non-jokes. Also, Jessica Simpson was hysterical only because her acting consisted of only blank stares the whole time.

Counter-recommendation: “Top Gear” episodes

2 Yaps

 

Hello, Dolly! (Gene Kelly, 1969)

Recommended by Linda Lugar

Why isn’t Gene Kelly on the regular lists of Best American Directors? He made one of the best ever films (“Singin’ in the Rain”) and he knows how to direct the hell out of a dance number. The extended kitchen scene didn’t make a lot of sense story wise, but it was a wonderful spectacle. There is such scale to this movie that could have been a simple romantic musical. Not every song works, and giving Dolly a backstory isn’t necessary. Still, this movie knows how to create the happiest atmosphere. No wonder WALL-E liked it so much.

Counter-recommendation: What’s Up, Doc?

4 Yaps

 

White Nights (Taylor Hackford, 1985)

Recommended by Todd Lugar

At the end of the day, my dad recommended to me a ballet movie. Sure, there was sophisticated Cold War storytelling, a look at how a friendship is formed under impossible circumstances, and strong scenes of tension. Doesn’t matter. This is a dance movie and a really darn good one. Take out the dancing and you have a pretty solid movie, but with them you have some really impressive scenes of pure talent. Another great example for the kind of film I was looking for with this recommendation because I don’t know if I would have picked this up.

Counter-recommendations: Top Hat and Fail-Safe

4 Yaps

 

Airplane II: The Sequel (Ken Finkleman, 1982)

Recommended by Keith Jackson

“Airplane!” is one of my favorite films of all time. I adore that movie up and down. I’ve seen it way too many times and could quote it to you all day. I saw it when I was young, and at that time I found out there was a sequel. So I checked out the VHS from the library (I’ll explain both of those words later) but could only last 30 minutes. I didn’t know the word “blasphemy” at the time, but I do now. This falls under the same mistake as “The Hangover Part II” where instead of continuing surprises and absurdity, they repeat the exact same jokes. At one point, they literally show a clip from the first one so you’ll understand them repeating it again. The only things saving this movie were William Shatner in the last act, a gag involving a dog through security near the beginning, the title, and Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty being so darn amusing with their reaction shots.

Counter-recommendation: A Shot in the Dark

2 Yaps

 

The Day of the Locust (John Schlesinger, 1975)

Recommended by J.C. Smith

Hollywood satires are often difficult because the movies are made by Hollywood. This one tried to capture the destructive and expensive lifestyle of the 1930s filled with betrayal, fame and sin. A film like “Sunset Blvd.” works because as you see that nature consume the hero; you want him to break free. With this movie, I didn’t care. All of the characters were low and uninteresting and they wanted you to hate them most of the time. Nothing about their narcissism was captivating, especially as the film went off the rails in the end.

Counter-recommendation: A Star is Born (1954)

2.5 Yaps

 

Thankskilling (Jordan Downey, 2009)

Recommended by Paul Weller

Frak you, Paul. There have been plenty of bad films in this marathon, but most of them thought they were making something worthwhile. “Zombie Nation” thought it was being enlightening, “Digimon” thought it was making sense, etc. This movie is proud of the fact that it doesn’t care. Using the spoof genre as a defense in not trying in the slightest, this 70-minute film is just unbearable. It’s not funny, it’s not scary, it’s not even close to being filmed decently. Having a turkey kill people could be a fun topic, but not when the type of humor is having the turkey call the heroes “retarded.” Vile on all accounts, and don’t take that as an endorsement. It’s lazy, boring, awful, vile.

Counter-recommendation: The Grindhouse trailer “Thanksgiving”

0.5 Yaps

 

Skeleton Man (Johnny Martin, 2004)

Recommended by Zach White

My only thought throughout this whole film was “I’m not as angry as I was during Thankskilling.” That’s all I got. This is a pathetic “Predator” ripoff with terrible actors (and Michael Rooker), dialogue, plot, pacing, logic and characters. There’s really nothing fun or interesting going on. I’m sure they thought the filmmakers thought they were hardcore because they had people holding guns while staying things like “If it breathes, I can kill it.” Well, no. Obviously you can’t because some extra in a bad skeleton costume is riding a horse all the time and you can’t do anything. Very lame and not fun.

Counter-recommendation: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

1 Yap

I’m going to try not to have any more weeks off, but if I can’t get enough done for a solid article, I’ll skip a week. Silly workload…

Next week, I’ll try to find my car, make a wish on some dragonballs and try on a puppet.

21 to go….

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