Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Top Five Worst Movies (part 2 of 2)

3. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

What a disaster. So, it’s been fifteen years since Return of the Jedi, and you hear the news: Star Wars is coming back. Wow, that’s amazing, you say. George Lucas must have taken years to finely tune an awesome script with wonderful new characters and situations, right? Damn, that didn’t happen, huh? Well, at least the computer effects look nice… oh, and the last fight with Darth Maul was kind of cool… Come on, let’s face facts here, if this didn’t have the Star Wars license on it, no one would watch this train wreck. But since it does, people who saw this movie when they were nine (and haven’t seen it since) say “it’s not that bad.”

Well, watch it again. This sucks. Some of my favorite films are from the original trilogy, so it’s not that I just hate Star Wars. In fact, the third prequel, Revenge of the Sith, I think is a good movie. I’m just being objective. Episode I is awful.

Where to even begin. Alright, let’s start with the plot. This corporation called the Trade Federation is taking over the planet Naboo. What, a business is taking over a planet? Somehow, I find that a little less menacing than the Empire, maybe that’s just me. Anyway, Two Jedis, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi try to negotiate with the Trade Federation but fail, escape to Naboo, and meet a fish man named Jar Jar Binks… Actually, I’m going to stop talking about the plot now… I thought of writing more, but who cares, do you? I don’t. I can’t take this movie seriously.

This movie is a giant pointless misadventure. You see the characters running away from an oversized goldfish in their little submarine, to the characters beseeching the king of the fish men for an audience. There’s also random racing scenes in weird little pod things.

Yeah, there’s a scene where they fight in space. Yeah, there’s eventually a lightsaber fight. But who cares? The narrative is supposed to show Anakin being the chosen one, but he’s just a snot nosed ten year old kid here. The whole battle for Naboo has zero significance for the rest of the prequels. It’s a side story. You could actually start watching from Episode II and not really miss anything.

Then you have the characters in this movie. This has been done before by another critic, but think of Han Solo, how would you describe him? There are dozens of words I would think of to describe the lovable rogue. Now, think of Qui-Gon Jinn’s personality. Drawing a blank? I thought so. Every character in Episode I is a flat, two dimensional cartoon. Anakin is a whiny kid. Qui-Gon is wise. Jar Jar Binks is… wait, I need a moment.

So, let’s discuss Jar Jar Binks. This character is basically an Ewok, only he’s not adorable. He’s everything that is wrong with this movie personified. I suppose Lucas thought that Jar Jar would be comic relief, but his constant presence on screen makes me want to attack my television set. He talks like some blackface caricature from the 1920’s, and serves no point in the movie. He’s tripping over objects, shouting stupid catchphrases, and generally making an ass out of himself. My favorite scene with Jar Jar has to be when he accidentally steps into shit. It just sums up this movie perfectly.

This movie didn’t have to be made. Lucas could have skipped this pointless playground romp and just went straight to Episode II when Anakin wasn’t wetting the bed. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Lucas needs to stop destroying Star Wars. Just stop, leave it alone. Make a remake of Howard the Duck or something; it can’t be worse than this.   

2. Batman and Robin

Okay, maybe The Happening isn’t the stupidest movie on this list. Oh God, Batman, what have they done to you? When Tim Burton created Batman and Batman Returns, he not only made two great movies, he brought comic book movies back into style. Then Joel Schumacher started making Batman movies. His first attempt, Batman Forever, was nothing in comparison to the Tim Burton films, but it was actually okay. Maybe he just needed to work himself into it, you know? I’m sure the next one will be… no, no, no, kill it with fire!

Batman and Robin looks like a shiny plastic toy designed for a toddler with Attention Deficit Disorder. There are some decent special effects, yeah, but they’re all thrown together on screen. I feel like they’re suffocating me. There’s little rhyme or reason to what they show, all the lighting, for example, is blue and pink. Why? Why those colors? Why not brown and orange? It’s not like the movie could look more arbitrary than it already does.

The movie’s plot (and I use that word very loosely), is that Mr. Freeze has come to Gotham and he’s freezing the city. Yeah, Mr. Freeze is freezing stuff. Awesome. Honestly, Mr. Freeze has always been one of the worst villains in Batman, because he’s not realistic. Tim Burton wisely chose the Joker and Penguin because they are semi-believable. The worst part is that Mr. Freeze, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a parody of himself. Everything, and I mean everything, he says is a pun on ice. “You’re not sending me to the cooler.” “The Iceman cometh.” “It’s time to kick some ice.” I think you get the picture, at least I hope you do, because if I have to type another ice pun I will rip my right arm off and beat myself with it.  

They also wheel in Poison Ivy, and her entire character is basically a giant whore. I can only imagine that Schumacher was yelling at Uma Thurman between cuts, saying “Not slutty enough, Uma!” Her character eventually brings a rift between Batman and Robin. They each think that Poison Ivy loves him, and a ridiculous fight breaks out between the two, which ends with Robin being pushed into a vat of ice cream.

This movie is just stupid. The acting is non-existent, and even the special effects, while acceptable, don’t add anything to the experience. It just felt like the movie was made to sell toys and video games. Also, I hate when people defend this film by saying “Come on, it’s just made for kids man, it’s a cartoon.” What a crappy excuse. There are dozens of imaginative children’s movies I can think of that don’t talk down to kids. Look at the Neverending Story or Dark Crystal, that’s how it’s done. Even Batman: The Animated Series, which actually was a cartoon, shines in storytelling. So, Batman and Robin isn’t good for anyone. The MPAA should rate this B for bad.

Also, thanks Joel Schumacher for all those classy ass and crotch shots of Batman and Robin. That’s good for kids. Jackass.

1. Project X

The previous four movies I reviewed were terrible, completely without any redeeming factors. Still, they were ostensibly about something. Wikipedia lists Project X as a comedy, but it isn’t one. I imagine they listed it as such because every movie has to be about something, right? Drama, action, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, documentary, and comedy. Those are the major ones. Well, it’s accurate to say that Project X has a few lines of dialogue that are supposed to funny, but just because a few jokes are in a film, doesn’t make it a comedy. I remember one of the Jews in Schindler’s List saying “How could it possibly be worse?” in response to his wife saying it could be worse. That plays to the sense of irony, which instills humor. So, is Schindler’s List a comedy then? No, and neither is this movie.

The truth is that Project X doesn’t fit into any genre. Is this because the film is so daring and original that conventional labels just can’t contain it? Instead of answering my own stupid question, I’ll hum the Ninja Turtles theme song.  Project X is the absence of everything. It offers nothing, story included.

Project X shows some white, over-privileged high school brats planning an “epic party.” Thomas Kub, our main character, throws the party at his house while his parents are away. He’s not popular at first, but becomes so due to the “epic party.” Soon enough, teenagers show up, and the party begins. That’s the entire plot, right there.

The whole movie just shows these punks doing irresponsible, childish shit.  They drink till they puke, get high, have sex with each other, and oh, they take some ecstasy. Awesome. They break stuff in Thomas’ house, and eventually the party gets so out of control that they riot in the streets and attack police officers. Then some guy with a flamethrower comes and burns the house down.

What is this movie trying to say? Does it have any point at all? No, this movie is a monument to hedonism, just living to live. It’s sad, because there’s actually one nice girl that Thomas has a friendship with, but instead of trying to grow in their relationship, he screws some random classmate because she’s apparently the hottest girl in high school.

After Thomas’ house is nothing but rubble, everyone at school now thinks he’s cool. Hooray, hooray! Except his college fund is gone, his parents hate him, and he’s actually facing jail time for his actions. But hey, it’s okay, right? The party was a hit! What an awesome night, dude! Forget the fact that this kid’s life is now fucked with a capital F, he had fun.

I would like to point out that the director of Project X is in his mid 30’s while the producer is in his early 40’s. Does this movie still sound cool? It’s the deranged and deviant fantasy of two grown men who wished they partied harder when they were still in high school. It’s pathetic. Grow up. Don’t inspire kids to do this kind of shit, and there are actually news stories of teenagers having “Project X parties” because they thought it looked so sweet in the film. Life isn’t a movie.

Fuck the people who made this movie. In any decent society, no studio would hire such miscreants. Sadly, kids are eating it up. By the way, to all the idiots saying this movie is just an homage to Animal House, please go jump off a bridge. Animal House had good characters, and was set up like a comedy. The true successors to Animal House are Old School and Superbad, not this alligator shit.

Project X reminded me of Night, by Elie Wiesel, a memoir on the Holocaust. Let this quote sink in “Here there are no fathers, no brothers, no friends. Everyone lives and dies for himself alone.” That’s this movie in a nutshell. The brats at this party don’t care about Thomas, they just want to get drunk. They won’t be there when the dust settles. Thomas, even though he’s at a party, is alone. Perhaps Nietzsche was thinking of Project X when he wrote “God is dead.”


  1. I'm glad I was stupid enough as a kid not to hate Batman and Robin that much. Looking back (especially Bane) is such garbage.

  2. Dude, hilarious. My favorite parts so far ... "well watch it again." And ... "actually I'm going to stop talking about the plot now" I look forward to checking out The Sunset Limited Tues night. Peace.