Sometimes, great movies fail to catch a mass audience but play well to smaller throngs of devoted fans. On the other hand, sometimes cult movies with fervent followings turn out to actually just, you know, kind of suck. Our Roundtable this week is about the latter.
M. Enois Duarte
The immediate movie that jumps to mind is the utterly vapid and ridiculously beloved ‘The Boondock Saints‘. Writer and director Troy Duffy made a notorious name for himself by burning a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity while also setting fire to every bridge in Hollywood using the same matches. Nevertheless, he somehow managed to have his script financed and made, though theatrical distribution proved a far more difficult challenge and his eventual downfall.
The result is a preposterous plot with plenty of potential for something entertaining in the right hands of an experienced filmmaker. Instead, moviegoers are given an absurdly pretentious actioner that oozes with Duffy’s inflated and absolutely unwarranted ego. The movie feel cobbled together from other genre flicks while trying desperately for vainglorious action sequences that are ultimately shallow and lackluster, all punctuated by monotonous, eye-rolling dialogue. While I agree that the movie has earned its cult status for being so horribly bad (I even have it in my library because I’ve been an enthusiastic collector of bad movies since childhood), it baffles me when people praise this particular piece of garbage far beyond what it deserves. As a fervently passionate cult collector, this movie doesn’t even qualify as “so bad it’s good.” It’s just flat out garbage.
I loved director Edgar Wright’s ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and enjoyed his recent film ‘Baby Driver’ quite a bit, but I hated, hated, hated ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World‘ and still have no idea why anyone likes this movie, let alone loves it.
About five minutes into the story (if that term even applies here), I was already sick of Michael Cera’s annoying quips and one-liners and exhausted by Wright’s quick cuts and bombardment of F/X shots. I’ve heard of having a short attention span, but ‘Scott Pilgrim’ was made for people with NO attention span. It’s a movie that makes Michael Bay look like David Lynch in terms of pacing. It’s one of the few movies where I found myself both bored and exhausted by the time the end credits finally rolled. It’s big, loud and brash, with a big ol’ helping of stupid.
Do you remember that guy in high school or college who tried oh-so-hard to be one of the cool kids? You know, the one that you look back on now and realize was just a major douche? For me, the cinematic equivalent of that is ‘Donnie Darko‘.
I was in college when the cult classic hit DVD shelves. I hadn’t heard of it before then, but a few girls who lived down the hall would not stop talking about it. They brought it over one night and said something along the lines of, “Don’t be frustrated if you don’t understand it. Nobody gets it the first time.” Then we watched it. And when it was over, they asked, “You didn’t like it, did you?” Before I could answer, they said, “You need to watch it again. Then it won’t be confusing. It will all make sense.” I responded by telling them it made complete sense, but that it was trying so hard to be cool that I saw straight through it.
That was the last time those girls came around again.
I revisited the movie with friends when the director’s cut was released a couple years later. I still didn’t like it.
It has to be ‘Equilibrium’. A million times, ‘Equilibrium‘. Before he made Batman begin, Christian Bale starred in a low-budget sci-fi flick about a dystopian future world where all emotion is outlawed and everyone is miserable and oppressed. The only hope for salvation comes when Bale’s government enforcer goon falls in love with a puppy and suddenly has a surge of emotion, gets woke, and single-handedly overthrows the totalitarian regime.
Blah blah blah, you get the idea. The movie cobbles together clichés from countless dystopian future stories (‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, ‘The Matrix’, etc.), each executed as stupidly as possible. The basic premise makes no sense at all, and every beat of the plot is completely idiotic. The only merit in its favor is that writer/director Kurt Wimmer stages a number of unique action scenes in a made-up form of combat he calls “gun-kata,” which mixes kung-fu with shooting. Those scenes are actually pretty cool, which might explain why the movie grew a very vocal fandom who take this garbage way too seriously. Unfortunately, sitting through the scenes in between the action set-pieces is torture. I loathe this movie.
The director would later go on to make an even worse piece of shit called ‘UltraViolet‘, which is so insanely bad that nobody can defend it. That was his last directing credit, though he has somehow continued to score screenwriting gigs that inflicted both the ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Point Break’ remakes onto a world that didn’t want them.
Tell us in the Comments about the cult movies that you just can’t get behind.