the art of watching bad movies


I find it essential to sometimes rent a series of bad movies and indulge in a bad movie marathon. As I am sure we are all familiar, selecting bad movies is far easier to do than selecting good movies. I don't really have any particular strategy... I usually employ the random browsing method... and pick out movies that I would be shamed to see in a movie theatre or a movie that looks suspiciously plain. I indulged in such a bad movie marathon the other evening. I have spent the last several months hovering on the brink of burnout because, as my brother has observed, my body operates on a schedule that thinks that every upcoming day there is some kind of serious deadline. So, in an effort to regulate and achieve balance I chose to take an evening off. I like to pretend to be an intellectual, I am not always successful at this... but even if I am not an intellectual I should really be shamed to admit that I spent the evening watching two rather ridiculous movies... (and one that is not so ridiculous). However, I am also one who watches musicals, so I guess that I probably have some sort of appreciation for the cheese factor.

(don't mind my repetition of vocabulary this evening... I'm tired and trying to pass time while waiting for my ride)

But I watched the three films in rapid succession... and by luck of the draw as I proceeded from film to film the content of each film got progressively better. I started out with the horrible Jersey Girl starring boring Ben Affleck with a bouffant (although not so much a bouffant to rival the do I saw on a lady this morning at the bus stop), Liv Tyler, George Carlin (who I am sure was once Mr. Conductor on Thomas the Tank Engine), and some "precocious" little girl as required for this type of film. In brief there were few redeeming qualities of this movie... but that doesn't mean I wasn't crying during the "key" emotional sections of the film. I'll blame it on my fluctuating haemoglobin levels... but we all know that I am just a crybaby.

Film two... horribly (yes horrible again) entitled The Prince and Me starring Julia Styles in her intelligent and obnoxious college girl schtick, and "newcomer" Luke Malby as the spoiled Crown Prince of Denmark (Oh and couldn't we just see the Shakespeare references coming). Ms. Styles gets one scene where she isn't annoying... in the (now formulaic) emotionally charged lovers quarrel drenched in the rain. The unfortunate thing about this scene however was that it only lasted a few seconds... and then we were treated to the boring montage sequence before we are whisked off to Denmark for the ridiculous "fairy tales can come true" portion of the movie. I know that the director/producers on this movie attempted to shake things up a bit... give us a little twist ending... but I was less than impressed. "Newcomer" Luke Malby was really the highlight of this movie... but the whole "my true inner self was revealed because of the love of a good woman" thing was a bit barfilicious. Lovely and romantic... sure... but also very barfilicious. He was noble beyond reproach... and Julia Styles' character too stupid. Sure she chose to go to Medical School... but she could have done that anyways... I mean it's a movie... We were forced to endure the rather ridiculous revelation of self through Shakespeare panel (ok... she's going to a University in Wisconsin... is it regular practice in Wisconsin for lower level Shakespeare courses to involve defending a paper infront of a panel?)... so why not have also spared us the queen taking ms. style's character (Paige... I finally remembered) into the vaults where all the crown jewels are kept... and spent a little more time on deeper character development? It's unfortunate... because I really did not care that she wanted to become a doctor... and in the end stuck to her guns. But, just like Jersey Girl I was also found with a tear in my eye during the key emotional scene where Crown Prince Eddy is heartbroken when he realizes that he can't make Paige stay... Lovely work "newcomer" Luke Malby.... I hope that you might get to play more than bit parts in films like 28 days later.

The final film of the marathon was I Capture the Castle starring Romola Garai (of Daniel Deronda where she was very good and is the only reason why I watched Dirty Dancing Havanna Nights... a prime example how good actors cannot redeem a terrible movie... apologies to my sister Alessandra who sat through the movie with me), Bill Nighy (recently aging Rock Star in Love Actually), Henry Thomas (of ET, Legends of the Fall), Marc Blucas (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Tara Fitzgerald (of The Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain). But I picked up this movie because it fit the criteria of looking suspiciously plain. It was wonderful and exceeded my expectations. Thanks to the BBC for producing films that are highly watchable.

I Capture the Castle (based on the 1948 novel by Dodie Smith) is the story of Cassandra (Garai) and her rather eccentric English family... who reside, in all places, a castle. Her father, Mortmain (Nighy), was hailed a genius writer and moves the family to the castle as he feels it would surely be an inspiring place to write. But ten/twleve years pass and Nighy has not written anything... his wife has passed away and been replaced with a (not evil) bohemian stepmother, Topaz (Fitzgerald). Blah, blah... long story short... the family is eccentric and of course poor... and one evening two young American gentlemen stumble across the family's path. I am getting a cold and as I type my contacts are drying out... so I will attempt to condense this film to its core. It's a coming of age story... a female bildungsroman (thanks to Dr. SolarPlexus for that one) if you will... where Cassandra learns about the trials of love. Despite appearing suspiciously plain, this film had many merits and is well worth a watch. I have no ratings system, so unfortunately I do not have any stars to give.

So... it was an evening of bad movie watching that was not altogether a waste. But I'm exhausted.... being a library junkie is hard work... and I've just found out that I will not be getting a ride until 10:30 this evening. So, it will be me and the security guards tonight I think. Have pity on me and post a comment. I'll remember you fondly when I am an academic out helping to transform the world.