My son is a huuge fan of the Cars movies. He doesn’t leave the house unless he is wearing Lightning McQueen and owns more than his fair share of Cars toys. As such, it was a foregone conclusion that we would be seeing Cars 3 on opening weekend. Having just returned from this, I was initially struck by the incredbile similarity with the single most awesome Rocky movie ever, Rocky IV. However, upon further examination, I am realizing more and more similarities with the significantly more terrible (but still oh, so awesome) Rocky III.
Let’s delve into this in a little more detail…
|Theme from Cars 3||Rocky III||Rocky IV||Notes|
|Bad guy’s name is an obvious play on the good guy’s name||✔||Come on, Lightning/Storm, Rocky/Clubber|
|Hero is motivated by the death of a coach||✔||✔||Rocky sure had a lot of coaches die. Seriously, the worst job in the world is a redshirt on the USS Enterprise and second is being a trainer for Rocky|
|Bad guy making inappropriate advances to the hero’s lady partner||✔||Well, as inappropriate as can get in a Pixar movie|
|Hero has to recover confidence after being soundly defeated by a black man||✔|
|Training montage||✔||Honestly, Rocky 3 may have had one, but the montage in 4 really sets the bar for all time|
|Bad guy is a product of technology while the hero is all heart||✔|
|Bad guy trains in a super modern facility while hero roughs it||✔|
|Running on the beach as training||✔|
|Babe who leers menacingly at the hero||✔||Granted the statician babe car is no Bridgette Fonda, but you get the idea|
|Hero finally beating his trainer proving he’s ready to finally do battle with the bad guy||✔||Nice play on this in Cars|
|Conquering age to be the champ again||Fine, this didn’t actually happen in either of these Rockys. However, considering they made at least 3 more Rocky movies (Rocky V, Rocky Balboa and Creed) after Stallone turned 80, I have to think that this theme must have been touched on at some point|
|Competition at the end between coach and student with outcome uncertain||✔|
Verdict: Clearly, the more memorable Rocky IV should not overshadow the influence that the terrible (but oh so awesome) Rocky III had on this movie.
In a word, diversity. This town brings out all sorts. And I’m not just talking about your regular left wing hippies or your run of the mill fringe right wing extremists… I’m talking about those who are all of the above.
Like this guy…
On one hand he wears his fringe-right credentials proudly being a fan of infowars.com and wanting to end the Fed. But on the other hand, he cares about the environment, he wants to reduce his impact and drives a car that only those to the left of Ralph Nader would, a Smart car (I think that weird thing hanging from his mirror is what he uses to feed the hamster that runs on the spinning wheel powering his engine).
The play Cats came to Austin last year and the presenting sponsor was… wait for it… “Purina Cat Chow!”. I still can’t decide if this was brilliant product placement, a bizarre juxtaposition of unrelated items or just so groan inducing-ly awkward, so eye-rollingly obvious, so on the nose that I am embarrassed for the marketer who made that decision.
…am leaning towards #3.
Saw this ad in “Texas Parks and Wildlife” magazine while waiting at the car repair shop (happy Friday the 13th btw)… maybe I’m still a California hippie at heart, but I am really having a hard time finding the part of this which is “understated!”
It actually brings to mind a quote by Rush Limbaugh that I heard not too long ago… “One of the things which makes me a great host is that I have empathy and humility!”
Finally, a movie that was so bad, that, well it was just so bad: Plan 9 From Outer Space
This movie pissed me off. This is supposed to be one of those classic great “bad” movie and after the previous two unintended great “bad” movies, I was looking forward to this one.
From the beginning it became clear to me that dialog this bad does not happen by accident, it was clearly intentional. And the special effects… it is one thing to take a cheesy paper cutout of a flying saucer and suspend it from a string, but to be so lazy as to not even some sort of fishing line which at least tries to be clear made it apparent to me that this wasn’t a great movie made badly or even a bad movie made badly… this was a movie which tried to be funny by being bad, but only succeeded at being bad.
The best hallmark of how much this movie sucked was that despite repeated attempts, I couldn’t get past more than the first half an hour or so.
While we are on the topic of bad movies, I started thinking of the other type of bad film… the one which aspires for greatness – it has the budget, the star cast and the promotional muscle behind it to be the next big mega mega blockbuster. However, some combination of fatal flaws causes it to enter the realm of something that can be referred to as Worst… Movie… Ever…!
In no particular order, here are a couple that come to mind. Let me know of others…
- Waterworld – The start of Kevin Costner’s long decent into hell…
- Battlefield Earth – I really thought that this had the potential to be one of the “so bad it’s funny” types… it wasn’t. Sometimes when everybody tells you to avoid a movie, listen to them!!!
- Robocop 3 – The first movie in this trilogy was probably one of the most awesome ever. Compared to that, it’s not surprising that the second didn’t live up. But the third… let me just say while Japanese ninja robots wearing suits and cowboy boots may sound awesome… they weren’t… and they certainly weren’t enough to save this utter train wreck of a film
- A Night At the Roxbury – I dragged a bunch of friends to this when it was in the theater and it has caused irreparable harm to said friendship… one of them even tried to have me killed at his wedding…
Moving on to bad movie number two – for completely different reasons, this is another movie which was so terrible, yet so totally enjoyable…
The 1966 version of Batman, starring Adam West
This movie was freaking awesome… on one hand, it was actually a little self-aware in how over the top cheesy it was… from the obvious fact that all the main characters were dudes in weird costumes to the overly dramatic acting to the overly complicated (to the point of non-sensical) technical jargon… “dehydrated pirates re-hydrated with our heavy water that we use to recharge the atomic pile so were in a highly unstable condition which reduced then to anti-matter when struck” made it clear that this movie didn’t take itself too seriously (I just love the fact that the Bat-Coptor’s standard equipment includes Barracuda Repellent, Whale Repellent, Manta-Ray Repellent and Shark Repellent).
Yet for so many more unintended reasons, even more cheese oozes throughout this movie.
Why do Batman and Robin have to run everywhere they go??
So much of the behavior seems so totally anachronistic today…
- The general complete deference and unquestioning of authority
- The sense that the United Nations is our only true hope for world peace
- The sense that if the problems of the world could just be handled by the scientists and smart people, then everything would be ok
Sigh, it actually wouldn’t be such a bad thing if these were a little more prevalent…
And then there was Adam West. On top of all the cheese, he tried so hard to be suave and sophisticated as well but combined with the Shatner-esque stilted speaking manner just came off as completely corny.
There was a good mix of cheesy dialog, bad effects (the rubber shark stuck to Batman’s leg – did I mention the shark repellent?), action (“POW”) and moments of ridiculous logic that it kept it interesting till the end.
Speaking of which… during the credits I noticed… the Penguin was Burgess Meredith? Wasn’t that the yelling old guy from Rocky??
There are 2 types of really bad movies, 1) movies that are so bad that they make you want to walk out of the theater on a good day and claw out your eyeballs with an electric toothbrush on a bad one and 2) movies that are so bad that they are funny.
I saw 3 movies recently which were really bad. The first 2 were so bad they were funny and the third was, well, just bad. Let’s start with the good…
The made-for-TV movie, The Pirates of Silicon Valley
This dramatization of the rise of Microsoft and Apple through the 80s and 90s contained enough geek references to entertain the nerds, enough references to familiar products to appeal to the normals and enough ridiculous drama to be make it a hoot to watch. It didn’t try to be all self-important like the Social Network. There was no sense that it was trying to be an accurate representation of the conflict – it was the epitome of an overdone made for TV drama.
The characters were just hilarious,
- Steve Jobs as the self-absorbed, LSD tripping new age hippy asshole
- Steve Balmer as the beer drinking, porn loving, strip-club going frat-boy
- Bill Gates as the lying, evil little nerdy guy – ok, actually this one was played probably not too far from what most people assume is reality
While the characterizations were over the top, the characters developed as the movie progressed and made you care about the outcome. This is the hallmark of a good “bad” movie, it is terrible, but you still want to watch it.
Adding to the funniness of the movie was how times have changed since this. In 1999, Apple sold 1 machine for every gazillion that had Windows on it. Apple’s market cap was a drop of bird poo on Microsoft’s Stretch Suburban. Apple didn’t even have a mobile OS, (while Microsoft was rockin’ Windows CE 2.0). There was no “i” anything.
The Pirates of Silicon Valley 2 is going to be a *veeery* different movie.