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Movies Gone Terribly Wrong

Johnny Handsome was a 1989 movie that had everything going for it: a talented cast, including Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Elizabeth McGovern, Forest Whitaker, Scott Wilson, Lance Henriksen, Morgan Freeman; an innovative director, Walter Hill, and even a terrific soundtrack by Ry Cooder. What could possibly go wrong?

Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:

Born with a horribly disfigured face, and unable to become part of “normal” society, John Sedley turns to a life of crime. But his two fellow gang members trick him and Johnny is sent to prison. There he meets a plastic surgeon who takes sympathy on him and surgically transforms him into a new man. Now unrecognizable to those who once new him, the once ugly duckling plots a vicious revenge.

Walter Hill was director and scripwriter for one of the coolest movies of all time, The Warriors (1979). He also wrote the screenplay for The Getaway and was writer and producer of Aliens. Hill has a tendency to go a little too far at times. For example, his 1980 western about the James Gang, The Long Riders, was so violent and bloody that at times it was just too much; and I found myself laughing at the sheer over-the-top horror of it. But the movie was still worth watching for it’s visual beauty and for Hill’s efforts to realistically portray the brutal criminality of his characters while at the same time revealing their humanity.

With Johnny Handsome, Hill went way beyond over-the-top to side-splittingly bad. I went to see Johnny Handsome with a friend I think of as my movie buddy–whenever we get together, we see a movie. We have seen hundreds of movies together over the years; and yet we both still remember Johnny Handsome as one of the most stunningly bad movies we ever saw. We literally laughed out loud through much of it.

Although the film had had mixed reviews, I had heard some good things about it. The film was supposed to be a riff on the old gangster movie Dark Passage, (1947) starring Humphrey Bogart. I’m a fan of film noir, and I also like Mickey Rourke (I know, weird); so I wanted to see it. Check out the incredibly over-the-top violent ending.

Johnny Handsome was a movie that could have been good, but turned out really bad.

There are other movies that never really had a chance to be good, but turned out to be so bad that they are memorable. For me, an example of that category would be Robocop, (1987) a movie about a hero cop who is horribly injured and rebuilt as mostly machine. It’s hysterical.

Other movies are really terrific, but end with a big letdown. Some people love twist endings. I think they are hard to pull off and quite often they ruin the power of the movie for me. Some examples (IMO) are The Usual Suspects and Fight Club. Both are great movies, but I found the endings so disappointing that I would rather have left early and never known how they turned out. A couple more in this category are The Forgotten and The Pledge. I’m often disappointed in endings…

This is a “bad movie” thread, following on the success of last Saturday night’s “bad music video” thread. What are the most memorable bad movies you’ve ever seen? Please share your picks in the comments and, whenever possible, post links to clips of films and actors.

I’m sure there are as many categories of bad movies as there are moviegoers. Feel free to expand your selection to include your own categories. We could also discuss worst actors and actresses. One promising category I thought of is “great actors who have become caricatures of themselves.” For me, a good example of that would be Robert De Niro. Of course these judgments are all very subjective. Use your creativity and defend your points of view!

To Zack and Alana

img_0076Maybe it was the weather.  It was rainy and cold in Manhattan,  I almost didn’t go.  Like many people in the NY-NJ area, I’m tired of the chill.   It’s been a very cold spring so far.  The last thing I wanted to do was pile on layers and go to a protest.  From Central NJ, there is no straight route.  As the crow flies, it is really no great distance.  About 36 miles straight east from my house.  But practically, I might as well be living in central PA.  I have to take multiple trains and once I get to Manhattan, there is always at least *one* line that’s undergoing maintenance.  In other words, it’s a pain in the ass.

But go I did.  I was late.  (See trains above)  I hoped I wasn’t too late for the speeches, the burning efigies, the crowds “marching and shouting slogans”, as they say in NPR speak. I hurried to Union Square from the subway station looking for the throng.  Alas, I didn’t find a throng.  I found a little crowd.  Well, crowd wasn’t exactly the word.  Group is more like it.  A small group.  My heart sank.  Here was one of the most important issues of the day, the debate over whether the banks should be nationalized, and it was going largely unprotested.

Then, a girl came up to me and handed me a small white flyer.  She asked me what I thought of the bank situation.  She was energetic and assertive but not pushy.  She knew her facts about the banks and even though she confessed to having voted for Obama, she was no Kool-ade drinker.  I liked her immediately.  In a few minutes, she was joined by her cousin Zack.  He too was articulate and passionate and knew by observation that Obama won the presidency by having the slickest, best paid PR firm around.

I asked them where their group was.  Apparently, they were it.  A group of two.  They didn’t really know the other protestors hanging around the subway exit.  I thought we might adopt them, Conflucians.  Our unParty could use two people like them who would make themselves cold and uncomfortable on a day like today and face complete strangers with courage and conviction.

Zack and Alana

Zack and Alana

Saturday Open Thread: What’s Happening?

Captain Richard Phillips

Captain Richard Phillips

I’m not usually the bloodthirsty type, but I’ve been feeling pretty angry lately about the Somali pirates who have been holding an American ship captain hostage. Yesterday, when I heard he had tried to escape and then been recaptured, my head just about exploded.

The captain of the Maersk Alabama, Richard Phillips, tried to escape from the lifeboat he’s sharing with four pirates in the Indian Ocean and was quickly recaptured, a pirate said yesterday. Two U.S. warships in the waters off East Africa are monitoring the pirates.

“Negotiations are under way to free the American captain and the discussions are continuing,” a man calling himself Da’ud, who identified himself as one of the pirates, said yesterday in a telephone interview from the area of Eyl, Somalia. “The captain is unharmed and at this stage we aren’t going to hurt anyone.”

WTF?! Where is “President” Obama? Why doesn’t he want to answer questions about this situation? Yesterday, reporters asked him about it, and Obama gave a typically snotty response: “Guys, we’re talking about housing right now.”

You know, I would like an explanation. I understand there are U.S. Navy ships near the scene of these events. Why don’t they have sharp shooters to pick off the pirates in the lifeboat? Or Navy Seal types swimming under water to aid Phillips’s escape? How must Phillips feel knowing that even if he courageously tries to escape again, no one will come to help? Isn’t that what happened in Somalia during the “Black Hawk Down” incident–no one came to the rescue? Exactly how are we going to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan if our military can’t deal with some pirates? Is it too bloodthirsty for me to want to bomb the hell out of Mogadishu after this pirate incident is resolved? I don’t get it. And I’m willing to be educated. I heard on a radio last night that the fear is the pirates could kill Phillips if any attempt is made to rescue him through firepower. That’s probably true, but why can’t I hear an explanation from the U.S. President?

In line with the pirate standoff, how come Dear Leader isn’t doing anything about North Korea? They shoot off a rocket and what does the O-man have to offer in response? “Just words,” as far as I can tell. I found this hilarious commentary by a British Conservative in the comments from last night’s cocktail post. He refers to Obama as “President Pantywaist.”

Then came the dramatic bit, the authentic West Wing script, with the President wakened in the middle of the night in Prague to be told that Kim Jong-il had just launched a Taepodong-2 missile. America had Aegis destroyers tracking the missile and could have shot it down. But Uncle Sam had a sterner reprisal in store for l’il ole Kim (as Dame Edna might call him): a multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air.

“Rules must be binding,” declared Obama, referring to the fact that Kim had just breached UN Resolutions 1695 and 1718. “Violations must be punished.” (Sounds ominous.) “Words must mean something.” (Why, Barack? They never did before, for you – as a cursory glance at your many speeches will show.)

Is it wrong that I somewhat agree with this guy?

In other news, there are rallies around the country this afternoon, organized by A New Way Forward. William Greider and other former koolaid sippers are all thrilled about these actions. I still love Greider, but I’d feel a whole lot better about his judgment if he hadn’t fallen for Obama’s lies the first time.

Apparently the leaders of ANWF are Joe Trippi and Mike Lux, who as far as I know are still on the koolaid. Am I wrong to be a little bit suspicious? Another Conflucian suggested to me that this could be an “Obot army” effort to take the focus off the Obama administration’s complicity in the financial crisis and put it all on the bankers. Is that too tinfoil hat? After reading this article last week, I really don’t think so. Obama and his Axelrodian puppetmasters are some very manipulative M-Fers. Paging Cinie! If anyone could scope this out, she could!

So what are you reading/hearing/watching today? Please share your links. Our commenters are the best researchers evah!!