Movies that Actually Aren't That Bad
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
I was perusing Pop Candy today and saw a link to this blog: 5 Worst Directorial Sellouts of All Time. The list, for those of you too lazy to click over, is:
  1. Alien Resurrection
  2. Hulk
  3. Mallrats
  4. Canadian Bacon
  5. Finding Forrester
Now, I'm not really a fan of 2, 4 and 5. But I secretly love Alien 4. And even though it's not a cinematic masterpiece, Mallrats actually isn't that bad. In neither case do I really feel that the director sold out.

Part of the reason I think a lot of people aren't fans of Alien 4 is because the director was fairly true to his cinematic vision - if you've seen his other work, such as Delicatessen or Amelie, you'll recognize the same distinctly French sci-fi flair as in Alien 4. I love this film because it's so damn weird, so damn French. It ranks #2 on my list (which goes: Aliens, Alien Resurrection, Alien, Alien 3). It's exciting, and Sigourney Weaver gets to go to some strange and cool places with the Ripley character.

Mallrats is chock-full of references to Clerks and still has plenty of Smith's toilet humor, which isn't exactly what you'd want in a sell-out mainstream movie. It's not like Smith turned around and made a family film or some other work that feels less true to who Smith is as a film maker. If you want to argue he's sold out, I think "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" or "Jersey Girl" would be a much better example. But Mallrats is still charmingly ensconced in the Clerks universe, with jokes and references that make it difficult to sell to non-Clerks fans.

This has made me think about a lot of films that were panned by critics and my own circle of friends, but that I think are actually surprisingly good. These are films that need to be taken for what they are - be it experimental, fluffy popcorn fare, or whatever.

Top 5 under-rated films
  1. Alien Resurrection - see above.
  2. Equilibrium - This film only gets a 35% on Rotten Tomatoes. And parts of it are really silly. Taye Diggs is undeniably bad (and I usually really like him). But Christian Bale is awesome in this. He always brings his A-game, even when the film isn't up to his personal level of greatness. The "gun-fu" invented for the film looks incredible, and the action sequences
    are a ton of fun to watch. This is a slick little film, in the vein of The Matrix, that is highly enjoyable.
  3. How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days - again, another film poorly rated (42%) on RT. Anyone who knows me knows that I usually disdain "chick flicks" and I'm not particularly that into Kate Hudson. In fact, when I went to see this film, I expected the worse. I was shocked to find a charming little romantic comedy that I really enjoyed. Hudson and McConaughey have a ton of chemistry, and their back-and-forth really pops. The torments that Hudson's character, Andie, invents to try to drive McConaughey away are hilarious. Even my boyfriend laughed out loud when I forced him to watch this with me.
  4. Just Friends - another film you'd think would be terrible, but is actually quite funny. Anna Faris is particularly great as a bubble-headed Britney-type singer. Ryan Reynolds also shows his comedic chops off, and it's a good result. He's charming and handsome, but still believable as a guy who has never really recovered from being the fat kid in high school stuck in the "friend zone" with the girl of his dreams. I'm not a fan of actors in fat suits normally, but I can't help but laugh every time I see Reynolds singing along to "I Swear", with his frizzy hair and fat face. It's less "Shallow Hal" and more "Fat Monica from Friends" levels of funny.
  5. Constantine - it's very hip to bash Keanu Reeves these days, so a lot of people were probably immediately turned off to this film solely because of his presence. And a lot of fans of the comic Hellblazer were also turned off due to the wild deviation from the source material. But this is actually a very good sci-fi/fantasy film, with plenty of action and some incredible visuals. It also sports some great supporting actors, including the magnificant Tilda Swinton (in a genius casting move) as the archangel Gabriel and Peter Stormare as Satan. The mythology the film sets holds up well and the scenes of Hell are really pretty creepy. It's a popcorn movie, sure, but it's not a bad way to spend 2 hours.
What do you guys think? What's on your list?
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