As I previously mentioned, there were far too many worthy entries to give everyone a prize. Ultimately, what I was looking for when judging is a real passion for the guilty pleasure movie. I can hardly imagine more passion than these five submissions.
Let’s get right to the…
Our runners-up have each won prize packs of 5 Blu-ray titles a piece.
If the Shue Fits: 10 Reasons I Love “Adventures in Babysitting”
Adventures in Babysitting is one of my favorite movies of all time. Call it a guilty pleasure or not. It’s not on Blu-ray and I don’t exepct it to be anytime soon. It’s hardly even on DVD. Where’s the commentary? The deleted scenes? The 10 part making-of documentary? I love this movie and here’s why it deserves to be on BLU…
1) The Opening Dance Number. Anyone who has seen this movie more than once has attempted to re-enact Elizabeth Shue’s corny dance to “Then He Kissed Me” during the movie’s opening titles no matter what gender you are. Or am I the only one? This scene is so overly corny and silly even by ‘80s standards (yet still wonderful) how did anyone watch the dailies with a straight face?
2) “Don’t F*** with the babysitter!” During the gritty elevated train gang fight (which would sound great in Lossless Audio), this line of dialogue was so shocking for me to hear as a child. Let alone the first F-bomb heard just seconds before by one of the gang’s leaders. The redubbed line aired on the TV version is even better: “Don’t FOOL with the babysitter!” The word ‘babysitter’ instantly became a synonym for terminator.
3) The Smurfit-Stone Building. Why little Sara would choose to go “out the window” is beyond me, but it’s as close to a “Die Hard” action sequence as we can get for a PG-13 rated movie about babysitting misadventures. I love how Sara says “Mom? Dad?” while hanging out the window as if they could hear her. Now I know why she’s wearing that Thor helmet…
4) Playboy mag as MacGuffin. I’m not sure what Alfred Hitchcock would think about this plot device, but those scary car thieves, including the creepy child molester-looking guy, who are after Daryl’s (who is rather overly sex-obsessed for a high school freshman wouldn’t you say?) dad’s porno mag is just simply amazing. And to think Disney released this movie. And after Brad throws the magazine out of the car window, you could hear every prepubescent boy’s hearts stop for a moment.
5) Brenda at the Bus Station. Chris Parker’s best friend’s (and runaway/band member) misadventures at a scary downtown bus station are just as entertaining as what Chris and her charges go through, including picking up a jumbo-sized sewer rat, trying to purchase a hot dog with a check, a run in with a homeless guy who lives in a phone booth and seeing a bald Chinese lady with no pants on.
6) Thor, Mighty God of Thunder. Thor is roller-skating Sara’s favorite superhero (and we all know Superheros look great in high-def). (“He fights the forces of darkness.”) She even wears that ridiculous Thor helmet throughout the entire movie even when hanging off the side of a skyscraper. That is commitment. Vincent D’Onofrio showing up as an auto mechanic who Sara believes to be Thor is priceless.
7) ‘Handsome’ John Pruitt. The bearded truck driver with a hook for a hand (which he supposedly keeps in the glove compartment) who scares the hell out of the gang but eventually turns out to be the good guy is just too amazing for words. And he beats the crap out of the guy who’s banging his wife. I thought this was a kid’s movie?
8 ) The Anderson Family. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson are the typical suburban couple. They go off to glorious dinner parties in the city and leave the local teen in charge of their kids. And you can tell they care about their children (“Take care of my baby!”) and even offer smart health advice to Brad (“Will you stop eating chocolate, you’re gonna have zits all over your face.”) but they still have a soft spot because they allow Chris to take Brad and Sara to Häagen-Dazs even though they never quite make it. Brad and Sara have the classic big brother, little sister relationship. They get on each other’s nerves and make fun of each other but they do love each other.
9) The Babysitting Blues. We’ve learned from the opening sequence that Chris Parker is a faker. She just lip syncs. But can she really sing? She insists she can’t when her and her charges appear on the stage of a groovy blues club in the city. (“No body leaves this place without singing the blues!”) This sequence is amazing (and music scenes always sound good on Blu) and shows the musical theatre potential for Adventures in Babysitting as a Broadway show. (No?) Of course the suburban white kids win over the Black crowd by song’s end and perhaps even land a record deal.
10) Michael Myers’ cameo. Those hardcore fans will notice that during an early scene in the Anderson house the movie “Halloween” (my fourth favorite film of all time and available on Blu, thank God) can be seen playing on the TV in the background. You can even hear John Carpenter’s eerie music. Debra Hill who co-wrote and produced “Halloween” just so happened to be a producer of “Adventures in Babysitting” as well.
So there you have it, people. One of the best guilty pleasure movies of all time. I want the babysitter BLUs!!!
Chris, anyone who has so unabashedly declared his love for a silly movie about babysitting will surely appreciate the irony of winning our Kid’s Pack of Blu-ray titles. You’ve won the following discs: ‘Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove‘, ‘G-Force‘, ‘Santa Buddies‘, ‘Shorts‘, and ‘TinkerBell and the Lost Treasure‘.
I’m sure they’re exactly what you were secretly hoping for.
My guilty pleasure movie, that I would like to see on Blu-ray, is the 2006 teen comedy “She’s the Man,” starring Amanda Bynes. I would like to preface my support for this entry by first stating that I really do LIKE THIS MOVIE, and this is NOT an attempt at sarcasm in any way. I really like this movie because I’m a sucker for below average teen comedies. I grew up in the 80s with all the John Hughes’ classics: everything from “Ferris Buellers Day Off”, to “Sixteen Candles”, to “Pretty in Pink”, all the way to “Dutch.” All of these were movies that I thought were sincerely funny and heart warming at the same time. Most importantly, they were movies that anybody could relate to.
Therefore, after growing up with all of these movies, I find it kind of odd that so many writers/directors have such a difficult time of striking a chord with today’s teen audiences. I mean, how hard can it really be to make a movie that is both sincerely great, AND is something that teenagers can relate to (without feeling like they are being talked down to, or looked down upon for being awkward at that stage in their lives)?
“She’s The Man” obviously comes nowhere close to matching the greatness of John Hughe’s best teen comedies. However, I do enjoy the movie, because I know of people who were able to relate to the movie. In particular, my teenage niece (who I was practically raising, like my own daughter, at the time), found this movie to be very appealing. She typically, does not like very many movies, but she found the human relationships in “She’s the Man” to be something that she could connect with; particularly the feelings of wanting to go the extra mile to reach a goal/dream that seems so out of reach.
SO, basically, I like this film because after seeing/hearing my nieces’ response to this movie, I was reminded of the movies that I enjoyed when I was a kid…and that is what movies are really about…sharing memories/experiences/ that we get from watching particular films.
I know many people scorn these films that are “loosely based” on Shakespeare’s plays, such as “O”, “10 Things I Hate About You”, and “She’s The Man.” However, I feel that these movies were able to speak to a new generation of teenagers…Due to the fact that there were not many writers talented enough to tap into the teenage psyche in a sincere manner, Hollywood had to look all the way back to Shakespeare to find stories that were timeless enough to actually trigger any sort of emotional response or lasting impact on the younger generation of movie goers. At the very least, these types of films were able to resonate with members of my family.
Therefore, I would like to see this movie on Blu-ray so I can see it with the best picture quality possible. It would be great to see it in a quality that is as close to the movie going experience as possible. I’m also fairly sure that the scenes of the soccer fields would look great in Blu-ray, because I enjoy any type of outdoor scenery in high definition.
After all of the above praises have been noted, even though I like “She’s The Man”, it is still important to note that this movie is definitely a guilty pleasure. It is clearly NOT a great film by any stretch of the imagination. Moreover, this post is SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT WHY THIS IS A GUILTY PLEASURE, AND WHY I LIKE IT, DESPITE ALL THE FLAWS THAT IT HAS. So, I’ll go ahead and list all the reasons why I should REALLY NOT like “She’s the Man”:
1) It has Channing Tatum. You know, the dude who “starred” in that new “G.I. Joe” movie, and then went on to severely burn his penis while filming his next movie (could this have been karma at work?)
2) Its probably the one gazillionth movie and/or T.V. show to showcase the pop song “Move Along” by “The All American Rejects.” Seriously, I already drew the line when I heard this song in opening credits to “The Hitcher” remake (mmhmm…Sophia Bush).
3) It takes an admittedly cute girl, in Amanda Bynes, and has her dressing up as a dude for a good portion of the movie’s run time. I know a lot of people say her cheeks make her look like a chipmunk, but I totally wouldn’t kick her out of bed. Which means, I seriously don’t want to see her dressing like a guy all the time either.
4) If you thought Channing Tatum had a lot of chemistry with the ladies in “G.I. Joe”, then its obviously a lot worse to watch him try to work his way through a “romantic scene” in which his love interest is trying to pull off being a guy. Talk about awkward. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Channing Tatum’s character is named “Duke” in “She’s the Man” as well? Is this a coincidence? I think not!
5) David Cross, in a post Arrested Development role, is really slumming it in this one. When do you think David Cross needed the paycheck more, when he signed up for “Alvin and the Chipmunks”, or when he signed up for “She’s the Man?”
6) This movie is wholly unoriginal. We all know that it trashes the concept of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” However, its also a complete rip-off/mash up of “Just One of the Guys” (1985) and the Rodney Dangerfield/Jonathan Brandis classic “Lady Bugs.” Without the star power of Rodney Dangerfield, the charisma of Jonathan Brandis, or the 80s cheese of “Just One of the Guys” there really isn’t any reason for “She’s The Man” to even exist!
7) I think the target audience for this movie might be 11-17 year old girls. There is no reason why a 25 year old male should have enjoyed this movie that much. Unless of course, this same 25 year old male was also a fan of “One Tree Hill”, “Dawson’s Creek”, and “90210.”
When you add all of this up, its obvious that the odds are severely stacked against me liking this movie. However, the fates would win over when it came to this film, and there were many factors that actually contributed to me liking this movie.
As with all “guilty pleasures”, I’m saddened to say that most of the reasons why I LIKED this movie are very much the SAME reasons that I thought I would DISLIKE the movie. However, here are a couple reasons why I like it anyways:
1) Channing Tatum is a hilarious actor. His range is unbelievable. I truly think that he will one day, grow up to be, the next Hayden Christensen.
2) Who doesn’t want to see David Cross playing a principal, or Vinnie Jones playing a Coach? The only better guest starring appearance I could think of is Bruce Campbell as the P.E. coach in Sky High.
3) That All-American Rejects song? Guilty as charged, its a fun guilty pleasure single. It might not provide the perfect soundtrack for a movie about Sean Bean Hitchhiking his way across the desert, and tying up college kids in between semi-trucks, in order to kill them Mortal Kombat style. However, it is the perfect pop tune to open up a coming-of-age, teen-sports comedy.
4) There might just be enough room in my heart for both “Lady Bugs” AND “She’s the Man.” If Rodney Dangerfield were still with us, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel in which Amanda Bynes decides to disguise herself as an African-American student, in order to earn a scholarship to college (ah, they really don’t make movies like THAT anymore, do they?) Rodney Dangerfield could co-star as an aging gentleman who is going “Back to School.”
5) This movie gets points for not trying to gain the teenage audience’s favor, by using incorrect spelling/grammar. In an age of text messaging and tweeting, this movie could have easily been titled “She’s Da Man”, and it would have made much more money; just like “Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood.” Instead, it actually went the classy route by using an apostrophe in “She’s” and spelling out the word “the.” It is truly amazing stuff right there.
6) Amanda Bynes, dressing up as a man, is pure comedic gold. At no point in the movie does she actually LOOK like a man. At worst she just looks like Amanda Bynes with a 90s, Josie Bissett from “Melrose Place”, bob-cut. However, isn’t that what inspires all the laughter? Basically, its about Channing Tatum not being able to tell the difference between a girl and a dude, because he burned his penis off…
7) This is a refreshing teen comedy, because it doesn’t star Hillary Duff or Miley Cyrus. The only thing that would make this movie better, is if it starred a “Mean Girls era” Lindsay Lohan or Mandy Moore. Speaking of Mandy Moore, “A Walk to Remember” really needs to be released as a two pack with “She’s the Man.”
8 ) It still manages to adhere to all the sports movie clichés. Do sports movie clichés ever get old?
This is pretty much all I have to say about this film. It’s really a guilty pleasure, so I really shouldn’t have wasted this much space talking about it. That is all.
Justin, with a pick like this, I can tell that you must truly appreciate quality cinema. Therefore, you have won our Prestige Pack, which includes the following Blu-ray discs: ‘(500) Days of Summer‘, ‘Adventureland‘, ‘The Blind Side‘, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story‘, and ‘Julie & Julia‘.
Before you ask, no I did not pick out the titles for these packages myself.
I tried to really consider what guilty pleasure movie I would most love to have on Blu-ray. There are so many of them that I want so bad. Any early John Waters. Anything by Andy Sidaris. “The Room” or “Village of the Giants” or “The Thing with Two Heads.” Maybe “Wicked, Wicked” or “Dolemite” or, oh yeah — “The Devil’s Plaything.” Or “Wishmaster”! Or “Pop Gear”! (Oh, what I wouldn’t pay for a Blu-ray of “Pop Gear.”)
As I considered all of these possibilities, I knew in the back of my head that there was one movie that I wanted way more than any of these. That movie is “The Granny.”
“The Granny” was written and directed by Luca Bercovici, who made the more popular “Ghoulies” a few years earlier.
The closest thing to a star in the cast is Stella Stevens, who plays the titular Granny (under a few pounds of latex wrinkles). Granny is a rich but cantankerous old broad in a wheelchair. She loves pro wrestling, hates her money grubbing family, and has secretly acquired a potion that will let her live forever. The potion comes with a bunch of Gremlins-style rules about keeping it out of the sun, etc. If you don’t follow the rules, bad things will happen. Like, maybe you will turn into a wisecracking superhuman undead revenge killer, a sort of old lady Freddy Kreuger. Spoiler: Granny ignores the rules.
Shannon Whirry, big-bosom queen of Cinemax in the ’90s, plays Kelly, the granddaughter who takes care of poor old Granny. Kelly is too ugly to get a man, which is patently ridiculous except for one thing–she wears glasses! Brilliant! (Note that she is not too ugly for a gratuitous just-out-of-the-shower topless scene.)
Granny’s wicked family comes over for dinner. They poison Granny, unaware that she took the magic potion first. They replace Granny’s will with a fake that cuts out good-hearted Kelly, and throw a big bash to celebrate their inheritance. They get up to all sorts of naughtiness, including an incestous romp between an uncle and his super-hot niece. The niece is played by Heather Elizabeth Parkhurst, who was on the old Showtime sitcom “Sherman Oaks.” Her ample assets were the most memorable part of that show.
Granny returns as a monster and things go way over the top. She kills the family off one by one, while making wisecracks. She goes all Lorena-Bobbit on one of her sons, before cutting his head off with the scissors. The dead family turns into a bunch of zombie-monsters, trying to kill poor Kelly.
“The Granny” is a fun, gross and very funny horror-comedy. Everybody on screen is clearly having a great time. Except for Shannon Whirry, that is. She is totally wooden. It works, though. Her terrible acting is awesome.
I watch this movie every holiday season with a small group of friends and family, and it never gets old.
Unfortunately “The Granny” is only available on VHS. It has been at the top of my DVD want-list for 10 years, and now it is at the top of my Blu-ray want-list. If I found out it was coming to Blu-ray I would yell and leap and dance a jig. I can hardly imagine seeing this movie with high quality audio and video. (And no wrinkles in the tape.) And deleted scenes, making of doc, commentary — the mind reels at the possibilities. The only extras on the VHS are a couple of trailers for direct-to-video movies no one has ever heard of. (In all honesty, I would like to have those trailers on the Blu-ray too. For nostalgia.)
In my heart of hearts, I am resigned to the likelihood that “The Granny” will never be released on Blu-ray. But it is nice to imagine a beautiful high-definition version of this movie that means so much to me.
I have to wonder how many of our readers had ever heard of ‘The Granny‘ before this. I know I sure hadn’t. Gabe, this truly must be the most random entry we received. And for that, you win our Random Pack. If these movies have any connection to one another, I can’t figure it out: ‘The Green Mile‘, ‘The Invention of Lying‘, ‘Sherlock Holmes‘, ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife‘, and ‘Whip It‘.
We actually received two very well-argued responses for this next movie. I feel bad having to choose between them. But Lance’s epic-length defense really goes the extra mile.
Three words: WILD WILD WEST.
The fact that it’s a nakedly cash-grabbing pillage of a vintage classic TV show, a long and storied history of development hell, an (admittedly relatively minor) rights lawsuit, an extensive list of screenwriters with their endless waves of script rewrites and revisions, an eccentric megalomaniacal mega-producer with a fetish for massive mechanical arachnids, a crassly commercial fast-food tie-in, an almost comically incongruous hip-hop/R&B-flavored soundtrack, a brutal rotten Tomatometer score of 21%, a harsh Metascore of 38 (Generally Unfavorable Reviews), a worldwide box office gross of only a tiny smidge over $222 million against a mammoth production budget of $170 million and even a (rather belated) public apology from superstar Will Smith….all the cumulative negativity these unfortunate elements can collectively cultivate and you know what? I really couldn’t care less.
Against all not-inconsiderable odds, the entirety of that was ultimately distilled into a movie that shot me dead-center in my mind’s goofy, off-kilter, blockbuster pleasure center.
I unabashedly love WILD WILD WEST and I really feel little to no guilt whatsoever in the considerable pleasure that I derive from the flick; I do, however, feel a sense of utter bafflement as to why it appears to be so universally and passionately reviled, even to this day. I mean, obviously, I can understand why one wouldn’t particularly care for or perhaps merely dislike it and all but why all the hate? It’s all just more than a little outsized and unfair in my book.
Maybe WWW holds a special place in my heart of hearts because it just so happens that when this movie hit theaters in July of 1999, I was at the magical, easily impressionable and very nearly pubescent age of 11 and on my way into junior high. Naturally, as such, that made me essentially the core target demographic Warner Brothers had the picture so strenuously tailor-made to appeal to most fervently; this despite being a motion picture take-off no one asked for of a beloved TV series that went off the air generations before my time. I can see how that could really rub long-time fans of the original series and adults in general (and star Robert Conrad) the wrong way.
This cleverly calculated practice of targeting gleefully high-concept projects, however, continues to the present and, judging by the currently immense popularity of comic book/SF/superhero/reboot-ready/remake-friendly properties, won’t be subsiding anytime soon. In fact, I’d enthusiastically wager that WILD WILD WEST would most likely be met with much more box office gusto and perhaps even a bit warmer critical reception had it been produced and released in today’s cinematic environment.
Anyway, I grew up watching THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR and listening to Will Smith’s rap albums and, especially after the dynamic one-two knockout punch of INDEPENDENCE DAY and the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed MEN IN BLACK (which were both wonderfully bookended, of course, by the R-rated hits, BAD BOYS and ENEMY OF THE STATE), the man was undeniably infallible and I worshiped him accordingly. He was making movies I totally dug and which mashed up all the genres I held most dear: action, comedy, thriller, buddy movies, SF and sometimes they were flicks that did all of them at once. Naturally, when I learned that his next would be reuniting with his MIB director to continue that appealing trend albeit with a sweet, sweet Western kick, I went suitably nuts. When my dad told me about how it was based on an old, awesome Western spy show that featured all kinds of crazy gadgets and was basically James Bond or MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE in the Wild West I couldn’t have been more psyched.
When I finally saw the movie after being endlessly, painfully titillated by trailers and posters and Big Willie’s own absurdly catchy hit single/music video and Burger King merchandising (Yes, I just had to have both Jim West’s and Artie Gordon’s collectible sunglasses and included cases and, embarrassingly enough I still have them both in my possession.), I couldn’t have been more satisfied. WILD WILD WEST was so damn cool and just a metric ton of fun, man! And, surprisingly enough, I really haven’t lost a whole helluva lot of that unassuming childhood affection for the film in the more than a decade that’s elapsed since its theatrical release.
I can even still fondly recall saving up some cash and buying the fully-loaded (for the time) DVD the day it came out in the fall of that same year and being pleasantly surprised that the DVD was actually a full 5 bucks less than the VHS; a move that was seemingly inexplicable to me at the time but was likely a savvy concerted attempt by WB to encourage consumers to adopt the burgeoning DVD format while still in its infancy and really, what better way to do so than to target hapless, easy-mark young males with money burning holes in their pocket and the urge to finally experience the rush of impulse-buying stuff they don’t particularly require for themselves? It was one of, if not THE first movie I ever purchased by myself and I’ve proudly kept it in my collection, patiently awaiting a sweet, sweet Blupgrade.
At any rate, the movie’s truly an out-and-out blast from start to finish thanks in no small part to the tremendously gifted cast who all miraculously manage to not get hopelessly lost in the multi-million dollar din of sound, fury and visual effects. They’re all more than game for the good time and no one callously phones it in for an easy paycheck and free craft services. I’ve always found the amusingly competitive and high-spirited odd-couple chemistry between the unbelievably versatile and shockingly affable Kevin Kline and the effortlessly charismatic and smoothly confident Smith to be thoroughly infectious and irresistible. You really can’t ever go wrong with two leads this commanding and comfortable on-screen, especially when they’re smartly placed into a well-worn, ultra-reliable buddy action/comedy formula with each other. It always kind of surprised me seeing Kline so into a movie of this sort and he’s clearly enjoying himself in both of his roles in the film. Kenneth Branagh is delightfully despicable as he sinks his teeth into his juicy, literally mustache-twirling, skeevy Southern gentleman Dr. Arliss Loveless with the relish only a classically-trained, Shakespearean actor like himself ever could and Ted Levine even makes a great impression in his brief screentime as the disgusting, dim-witted and yet still somewhat decent General “Bloodbath” McGrath.
It’s ridiculously fast-paced, energetic yet not frenetic, endearingly anachronistic genre-mashing rollercoaster ride of junk-food summer cinema. A big-budget blockbuster that modestly aims solely to entertain in the most goofily garish fashion imaginable and never misses that mark.
Another refreshing characteristic that sets WWW apart from many other popcorn flick affairs, especially those of today, is its freewheeling insistence on keeping a breezy, light-hearted vibe even when the story takes some turns towards darker territory and a total lack of pretense and self-importance; not once does this movie ever come close to taking itself too seriously but at the same time, it never feels as if the parties involved in making it lazily and carelessly threw it all together. And at a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes, WILD WILD WEST doesn’t leave a viewer feeling a bit fleeced and foolish with a studio-mandated, money-maximizing rushed and truncated cut and yet is also free of that painfully overwrought, rambling bloat; both major issues that plague far too many blockbusters.
All of that and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that WWW is blessed with Salma Hayek’s incredibly smoldering presence, adorably thick accent, loads of awesomely gratuitous shots of her amazing cleavage in various skimpy and form-fitting attire and a woefully brief glimpse of her equally wonderful and memorably nude posterior.
The filmmakers obviously went to great lengths to ensure that every dollar of the remarkable and, at the time, record-setting budget was thrown on the screen for the audience’s viewing pleasure and their noble efforts are readily apparent: the spectacular and still-solid visual effects, the lavish sets and overall imaginative production design, the bombastic score and wall-to-wall sound effects, the over-the-top action set pieces, the stylish and sexy costume design, etcetera. It’s all the very best technical craftsmanship and artificially-engineered studio tentpole magic that a Hollywood major’s money can buy and it’s all undoubtedly perfectly suited to Blu-ray and the renewed appreciation (or even simply base acknowledgment) that the pristine high-definition audio/visual ideals our favorite next-gen format can afford.
Plus, is there really a much more logically-sound rationale for a movie receiving the HD treatment than the promise of Salma Hayek in full 1080p?
I have a feeling that a fan of a big summer tentpole movie like ‘Wild Wild West’ will enjoy our Action Pack. Lance, you’ve won: ‘12 Rounds‘, ‘Angels & Demons‘, ‘The Bourne Identity‘, ‘The Bourne Supremacy‘, and ‘Taken‘.
Now, some of our readers may look at Lance’s entry and wonder how anything so long, so detailed, and so impassioned could fail to win our top prize. Indeed, this was a difficult call to make. For me, the one thing that held this submission back is that Lance seems to honestly feel that ‘Wild Wild West’ is a good movie that has simply been misunderstood. A true guilty pleasure is one that the viewer knows is a bad movie, but loves anyway.
Which brings us to our…
Grand Prize Winner
My guiltiest guilty pleasure has to be “The Karate Kid, Part III”. I’m sure I’m the only one on the planet, but I’m truly saddened that the first two films are getting blu-ray releases and the third is not. Just about every single thing about this movie is atrocious, and yet somehow, every single time I see it on television, I get sucked in. I don’t know, chalk it up to my being in my formative years when I first saw this film theatrically (yes, I paid to see it on the big screen), but there’s just something about Avildsen’s insanely heavy-handed direction, Macchio’s over-the-top-neurotic acting, and Conti’s fantastic score that is so wasted on this film that it’s comical.
I’ve devised so many amazing drinking games to this film that it deeply saddens me every time I see it now that I no longer drink. There’s nothing subtle about the film, nothing new. Terry Silver is the absolute epitome of a comic book villain from head to toe, with Daniel just stupidly falling precisely into whatever hole he presents to him to step through. It’s as if the character has learned absolutely nothing, either from the coming-of-age journey of the first film nor the climactic battle to the death with one of the deadliest martial artists in the world in the second. Mike Barnes, Silver, Kreese…it’s like Avildsen was just throwing in everything but the kitchen sink to make us feel real tension from the sheer volume of villains, without making any of them as formidable as our protagonist’s own stupidity.
That scene in the original Karate Kid where Ralph Macchio’s writhing around covered in spaghetti. Metaphorically, that’s where his character spends this entire film. And it’s just absolutely hysterical. The end fight is the funniest thing ever committed to film. He loses spectacularly before confusing his opponent into essentially giving up one single point to win the tournament. And he STILL can’t defend himself at the close of the picture.
I LOVE “The Karate Kid, Part III”. Unapologetically. It’s the high water mark to this day of what a trashy shell of a sequel can do when it ignores its established characters in favor of a quick buck. But the brilliant thing about the film is how desperately it wants to be good. It has no idea just how low brow it actually is. Nothing about any part of this movie, from the actors to the cinematography to the (again) gorgeous orchestral score had any idea that it was destined to be at the bottom of Wal-Mart’s $5 DVD bin. What better way to honor this dishonorable film that I enjoy far more than is reasonable than with a pristine 1080p transfer and lossless audio? Then the presentation itself could exist in as much ignorance of this film’s worthlessness as art as the film itself. It’s begging for it. And God help me, I will buy it on release day. And it might just force me off the wagon.
As far as I’m concerned, this is a flawlessly-reasoned piece of film criticism that utterly deconstructs the mess that is ‘The Karate Kid, Part III’, while still expressing deep affection for it. It’s clear, it’s concise, and it perfectly captures that abiding love some of us have for movies we know to be objectively bad. Daniel-san, you have won our grand prize, the Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player and starter pack of six guilty pleasure movies: ‘Black Dynamite‘, ‘Daybreakers‘, ‘Last Action Hero‘, ‘Ninja Assassin‘, and ‘The Proposal‘, and ‘The Waterboy‘.
Congratulations to all our winners. I will contact you all by email shortly with instructions for how to claim your prizes. Please, no carping about the Blu-ray discs we’ve chosen for you. You entered a guilty pleasure contest and should have known what you were getting into!
Thank you also to everyone else who read and participated in our Kick-Off Contest. We feel that this has been a great success, and hope to do something similar again in the future, when we have a worthy prize to offer.