Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Hurts So Good
A friend's recent blog mention of the cinema classic "Glitter" got me thinking about the joys of truly bad movies. Not garden-variety bad, like Matthew McConaughey's rom-coms, but go-for-broke, career-defining bad. Think "Showgirls." One of my favorite things to do is watch the latter with like-minded friends and family members, a surprisingly small group.
When my sister and I took Mom to see the Tyler Perry opus "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," she didn't realize that we had different agendas. Mom's agenda was to enjoy the movie. Ours was to mock it. Repeatedly. While we were doubled over with laughter (and not at the parts Perry intended), Mom just shook her head and silently vowed never to go to the cineplex with us again.
My husband comes from a family of sincere people who don't revel in sarcasm and irony, so it took him a while to appreciate this particular hobby of mine. I'm happy to say that he is now fully corrupted, and we have watched many a howler together. In no particular order, here are a few certified classics that have provided loads of unintentional laughs over the years.
1. "You Got Served": A shirtless Omarion, practicing his dance moves in slow motion (in the rain!) puts Julia Stiles to shame.
2. "Imitation of Life": I know this movie about a light-skinned (black? biracial?) girl passing for white was daring in its day, but scenery has never been so thoroughly chewed. (Best line ever: "I'm white! WHITE!") OK, I still cry when the self-hating character throws herself on her mother's flower-strewn casket at the end, begging forgiveness.
3. "Stomp the Yard": I was in a sorority in college, and I've been in step shows. They're a blast, but there isn't much at stake other than bragging rights. According to "STY," stepping is a pathway to Fortune 500 careers and, ultimately, redemption. Who knew?
4. "Glitter": Almost every frame of this infamous Mariah Carey flick is gold. You know you're in for a treat when one of the characters is a DJ named Dice.
5. "Top Gun": First, there's the dialogue ("You're good, Maverick. Maybe too good."). Then, there's the cliched plot (He's a talented hotshot who doesn't play by the rules!). Look closely, and you can see Tom Cruise perfecting the acting tics he's used ever since to convey "intensity." Did I mention the dialogue? ("I'm holding on too tight. I've lost the edge.") Um, what?
6. "Crossroads": Back when she was still America's sweetheart, Britney Spears unleashed this coming-of-age film on an unsuspecting public. She isn't terrible, exactly, but almost everything else in this movie is. During the pivotal loss-of-virginity moment, the camera actually pans to a view of ocean waves. I'm still trying to figure out what Dan Aykroyd was doing in this movie, but a guy's gotta eat.
7. "Poison Ivy": I'm always gonna root for Drew Barrymore, even if she makes a crappy film. And this one, about a teen seductress who wreaks havoc on a friend's family, is trashtastic. The patriarch is played by poor Tom Skeritt, who was also in "Top Gun."
8. "The Last Dragon": I was 15 when this martial arts movie came out, and 99 percent of my interest in it was related to model/actor Taimak. How bad is it? The lead actress is onetime Prince protege Vanity, who, while gorgeous, is no Dame Judi Dench. Taimak's onscreen rival goes by the name Sho'nuff. Really.
9. "Gone With the Wind": Yes, it's a groundbreaking classic that changed American filmmaking. Yes, it's silly to judge a movie made in 1939 by 2008 standards. Yadda, yadda, yadda. GWTW is full of so much jaw-dropping wrongness that laughter is the only appropriate response. The scene where Scarlett and Rhett's bratty daughter bites it in a horse riding accident shouldn't be funny — but it is. And you gotta love the optimism of the newly freed slaves: "Forty acres and a mule? Gee!"
Make it a Blockbuster night.