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Shitty Movies Make Jesus Cry

Posted in movies,rants,satire,YTAH by YTAH on February 27, 2008
Tags: , , ,

So to be absolutely clear on this: your favourite movie – the one you treasure as though it were an orphaned puppy you rescued from drowning one morning the night after your spouse left you and you went down to the bridge to end it all; that special piece of creative genius you so firmly believe will some day be acclaimed as the greatest masterpiece ever to subsist on a meagre cult following before rising from the depths of obscurity to attain worldwide acclaim – well, it’s fucking terrible. No-one likes it. And even your friends, on whom you regularly foist copies of this rancid chunk of petrified horseshit in the vain hope that they will one day share in the wonder of your cultist obsession – whether they admit it or not, they will never, ever watch that film. So yes, I know: you gave them each a copy of it, wrapped in a special little box, painted that special colour of puce which you found so meaningful in the film, and handed them a handwritten thesis on the wonders of the juxtaposition of magenta and vomit in the final scene. But rest assured, that lovingly-prepared gift set edition is gathering dust along with all the rest of the trash in garbage bin number 9, unopened. Because desperation is a major turn-off, and your little parcel reeked of it.

But never fear: you are not alone. Many, many people absolutely love shitty movies. And I’m not saying that crappy movies are a bad thing, mind. After all, as long as the masses have some sort of manufactured pap to keep them occupied – the movie equivalent of baby food, if you will – I can enjoy the pretentious art movie I’m watching without being subjected to the snivelling opinions of ignorant cellphone-wielding cyborg teenyboppers, who’ve spent their entire lives avoiding intelligent conversation and who have trouble keeping up with a story arc longer than a music video. (One day, I am certain that I shall be witness to the sight of two tarted-up adolescents SMSing each other to find out, “What just happened?”)

So no, I’m not talking about all those sappy, predictable rom-coms, or the ludicrous actioners starring over-the-hill no-talents, or movies starring Sharon Stone, that keep the plebs out of my fucking cinema. Christ, sometimes you may even be pleasantly surprised. (Sylvester Stallone vs. The Axis of Evil? Who wouldn’t pay to see that?) No, I’m talking about the epic fuckups. Forrest Gump. Apocalypse Now. Life Is Beautiful. Let us not mince words here: those films are fucking terrible. At least when you go and subject yourself to something like Failure to Launch, or Transformers, or anything starring Tom Hanks, you have been warned, and you deserve what you get, and you have nobody but yourself to blame for those interminable minutes of your life that you have wasted, wasted, wasted. But when a pretentious art movie goes bad, it is just fucking terrible. Think Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Think The Legend of 1900. Think Chocolat. And if thinking about those films doesn’t make you want to end it all (and I mean everything, as in with an atomic device), then fuck off. You obviously have no soul, or no brain, or you starred in it. (Actors generally have an easier time of distancing themselves from the shit they hovered around like horseflies; directors remain more firmly tethered around the shitpile, so they generally get to work up more of a distaste for their movie abortions.)

Jesus just saw Philidelphia and Forrest Gump for the 302,875,106,592,253 time.

For example, I’d rather watch a Police Academy marathon – up to and including the very final ones, where even Steve Guttenberg went, “Um, no thanks, I still have my dignity” – than ever watch Philadelphia again. “Oh pity me, pity me, and then give me awards. Look! I shaved my head! How method can you get?” Dances with Wolves? I’d rather watch Dances with Farts in Mouth. I don’t even want to think about supposedly “prestige” action films like 300 or Beowulf or Troy.

And while I have a certain fondness for bad movies – Plan 9 from Outer Space being a classic example – there are some B-movies that don’t deserve a reprieve. Masters of the Universe, for example. Dolph Lundgren in tights, anyone? Sound like fun? Worth a laugh, if only to watch some famous people embarrass themselves, yes? Um, no. Decidedly not. Because some experiences are too painful to enjoy. We’re talking about a film that Sylvester Stallone turned down. For Courtney Cox, doing this film was a step down from dancing in a Bruce Springsteen video. It features in the role of a prominent villain something that the A.V. Club has described as “a medieval werewolf dwarf sorcerer” – imagine one of the munchkins from The Wizard of Oz, strapped to a Tina Turner hairdo, and then dipped entirely in green paint. He would have been able to glow in the dark if they’d had enough money to give him a second coat.

And if you think that I’m being unnecessarily cruel to a film that is way past its sell-by date and which no-one has probably seen in years, then allow me to not give a shit. Because this movie demonstrates something inherent about bad movies – truly bad movies, not just wannabes or laughable fuck-ups: the fact that someone came up with what can only be described as the stupidest idea ever spoken out loud, and that an entire film’s worth of people – scriptwriters, makeup artists, set designers, producers, costumers, cinematographers, directors, et al. – sat there, listened to the idea, and then went ahead and did it anyway. Not only that: the entire time that that idiot was standing there, dressed like a Tina Turner werewolf with gangrene, no-one thought to mention how incredibly fucking un-scary he looked. I bet you that people were telling him, “No, man, you look great.” Yeah, a great fucking moron.

More importantly, I think it’s very selfish of you to think only of how often you have to watch these films. After all, you’ve got satellite TV, and movie channels, and eTV. Thanks to DVD, and video, and syndication, there is a life for these films after their first release. I’m sure that someone somewhere is watching Masters of the Universe – or something very much like it – right this moment. And even if they enjoy it, there’s someone who doesn’t. There is always someone who has to put up with it, someone who is always there, who never gets to not see it. I’m talking, of course, about Jesus. He’s omniscient and omnipresent, just like Santa. So every time someone watches a bad movie, he’s right there, possibly sitting on Santa’s lap, watching them watch Dolph Lundgren fight a werewolf in emerald tights. Savour that image, then think about what it would feel like to go through eternity watching bad films, wherever one is showing, anywhere in the world, and then weep for Jesus.

So you gotta ask yourself. What would Jesus watch? I am going to have to be honest here, I’m afraid, but I doubt he’s gonna be watching The Passion of the Christ. I mean, once was enough, surely? Does he really have to suffer the torment again, and again, and again? Also, I doubt he’s going to watch anything with too much violence, or sex, or drama, or profanity, because hey – there’s plenty of that in real life to go around. (Also, again, I doubt he’s found violence all that funny since the whole crucifixion incident.) Which is why I reckon he’s probably quite keen on comedies, because fuck knows there aren’t enough laughs to go around. Personally, I like to think he prefers religious satires –The Life of Brian, for example – because at least he can understand the jokes, and because nothing is funnier than people who have no sense of humour. I also suspect he likes anything with zombies (because you can never have enough zombies) or Bruce Campbell in a leading role. (Not Spiderman. Never fucking Spiderman.) And maybe, just maybe, he’d like Yentl, or The Sound of Music. Because God knows there’s no accounting for taste.

So children, do Jesus – and Santa – a favour. Be careful what you watch, because Jesus just sat through a Tom Hanks marathon. Again.

Yours truly, asshole

[Originally posted on http://www.africans.co.za, on Tuesday, February 12, 2008.]

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