Saturday, June 30, 2007

The fight against bad movies

I was inspired by an article I read about how as cinephiles, we hate it when people brandish what they consider to be a good film without knowing what a really good film is because they’ve never seen anything before 1980.

I generally would fall a little on the softer end of most reviewers and approve of mainstream fare more than some of the more artsy film critics. Last year, when I was employed by a Maryland newspaper, I gave positive reviews to Lady in the Water, Poseidon, You, Me and Dupree; and some people thought it was ridiculous to give such a high review to War of the Worlds, and by putting Anchorman in my top ten of 2004, I probably lost significant credibility as a film critic. I can generally see things I like in most movies.

Some people say that the state of movies today is terrible, the studios are taken over by accountants with no idea how movies work, and commercial interests have won out over art. I don’t believe the state of movies is bad. I see a number of masterpieces each year (last year I would count Prairie Home Companion, Prestige, Hollywoodland, Little Miss Sunshine, Blood Diamond, and Departed in that group) and a variety of good and interesting films. It’s a little difficult to declare the state of movies today to be a failure when we can point to good movies coming out and we can’t all agree on what’s bad. There’s not really as much critical consensus on much of anything except Duece Bigalow and Gigli. I think the big publicity crazy over how terrible Gigli was 4 summers ago, was a mutual celebration of film critics nationwide that it was the only time they had all ever unanimously agreed on anything.

I think the solution though is for the small portion of films I see, that I dislike, I need to unabashedly state my dislike for them and we need to unite more often and publicize these bad choices. Film critics are generally most visible in society for the praise they give films like Little Miss Sunshine, The Prestige, Letters of Iwo Jima or The Queen. This is especially the case with indie films and documentaries like Hustle and Flow, Spellbound, Tea with Mussolini, Junebug or Little Miss Sunshine. It’s the growing consensus of great reviews from critics that do the word-of-mouth publicity that would ordinarily be done by a massive supplemental budget.

But why don’t critics ever have much effect on keeping the crappy movies at bay. I’m sure critics are just as unanimous in their love for Little Miss Sunshine as they are of the ridiculousness in Jesssica Simpson, who has no acting ability whatsoever, being cast in the film “Employee of the Month” because her dad’s a producer. I’m sure no critic, except possibly James Lipton, has ever felt that the Wayans Brothers are comparable to the Marx Brothers or even the Affleck brothers. And just think, if the critics voiced such unanimous support against Tomb Raider, The Fast and the Furious or Rush Hour II, they might not have had to sit through Tomb Raider II, 2 Fast 2 Furious, or Rush Hour III.

So let me present a list of films from the last few years, which I would like to unabashedly denounce as crimes against humanity (or at the very least, crimes against the intelligence of the moviegoer). I am not a full-time critic so I do not need to review every movie that comes out, therefore I generally am smart enough to avoid something like “White Chicks”, “Norbit”, even what might look like a dumb cop thriller like “Shooter” or “SWAT,” but in some cases I have seen films like these which I'd like to defiantly state are bad movies which shouldn't be made let alone be given a sequel. This is a list of dissapointing movies i've seen from the last few years:

Snake Eyes
Sin City
The Perfect Man
Igby Goes Down
League of Extroadinary Gentlemen
Johnny English
Summer Catch
Sweet Home Alabama
Down with Love
Spy Kids
Along Came Polly
Tomb Raider
Not Another Teen Movie
Scary Movie
Rush Hour II
Gone in 60 Seconds
The Wedding Singer
Cruel Intentions
Happy Gilmore
Anger Management
Mission to Mars
Liar Liar
The Mexican