Smiffy has done quite a bit on his personal blog, but his main contribution to this website, aside from podcasts, is his Movievault666 series, where he looks at what appears to be rather bad movies that he bought cheaply. A couple may be entertainingly bad, but most seem to be just bad. So when I got Smiffy as my Secret Santa, I thought to myself whether I knew of movie that I would recommend for his series. And, to be honest, I had a bit of trouble working it out.
You might notice that only a few of my posts here are spent picking apart stuff that I dislike. It is more that I would like to actually talk about things that I genuinely like here than ineffectually dwell on things that I would be happier just forgetting. I normally do not ascribe to the “so bad that it’s good” take on movies. Sure, I can turn off my mind and enjoy a piece of entertaining crap every now and then, but turning off my mind usually makes me a passive viewer. For me, even a crappy movie should stand on its own as a piece of entertaining crap. The flaws of a movie are to be charming nuggets for me to embrace, and snarking upon them for a laugh should be optional. The movie should speak to me for me to enjoy it; I should not be required to speak to it. I don’t begrudge other people from enjoying these “so bad that they’re good” movies and I have enjoyed watching other people lovingly pick apart said films in 10-50 minute videos. It is, however, the people doing the riffing that I enjoy, not the films that they review. I would rather not subject myself to long stretches of a movie that I dislike, let alone the whole thing. Rifftrax may have made it possible for me to sit through The Room, for example, but it didnâ€™t prevent me from thoroughly hating the experience. Finding out about the cult phenomenon of this film actually really irritated me. Throwing spoons? What is the matter with you people?
That said, I am not immune from the allure of entertainment masochism. Some of you may remember that I have read The Turner Diariesâ€¦twice. I have also voluntarily watched some films that I knew beforehand were just plain bad. I may sometimes find catharsis in venting my anger at these work. More often, however, I just move on and focus my attentions on things that I like or problems that I cannot avoid or ignore quite as easily. For the most part, it was purely my fault for wasting my own time and resources on these movies anyways, so I cannot really wish death upon anyone else for these bad experiences.
I wondered if there were any films in that group that would fit with the type of movies that Smiffy might review. I think that I have found one film that I could recommend. It is not a perfect fit, but it is the best that I could think of. I won’t say what it is this time around, but I will give a little summary of a few movies that he might want to check out. I also have included trailers. I have seen about three or four forgettable British Gangster films that I have seen over the years. There is not much that I can see separating them from American Gangster films aside from being set in the Estates. Smiffy might be more familiar with these than I am. The last one that I had seen was called Montana. It wasnâ€™t all bad, but it descended into utterly laughable wish fulfillment by the end. I don’t really remember the names of the others that I saw (forgettable), but they all seemed to be about a group of small-time crooks ripping off some big time crook and bang bang bang.
On the other end of this are the various J-splatter movies that I have seen. They are always trying to find creative ways to wring the most out of their budgets through gleeful stupidity. I have talked about a few of these movies in my series but, to be honest, most of those movies that I have seen have bored me. At the same time, I do appreciate the appeal of the genre in general and most of the supposed flaws are probably not due to laziness or incompetence, but rather the focus being on what really matters; a blood-soaked gorefest. There are two movies, however, that could have been contenders here for recommendation. Big Tits Zombie is about a group of strippers who find an underground lair that turns people into zombies. Maybe. I don’t quite remember how it went. Mostly, I remember that there was a lot of bickering. And some tits, I guess. Attack Girlsâ€™ Swim Team vs. the Undead, which was supposedly about a high school girls’ swim team that confronts a zombie onslaught before the director decided to troll the audience and turn an otherwise okay movie into one that I found to be downright infuriating. I loathe this movie.
Speaking of movies that I really hate, there are two Korean comedies about infidelity that really ticked me off: Cheaters and Everybody Has Secrets. They are relatively well-made, so they are way outside of Smiffy’s wheelhouse, but I found them to be just plain obnoxious. I guess that, if you are looking for nudity, then Cheaters would be the place to go. Really, though, just don’t.
On the other side of movies about infidelity, there is Fireproof. There are many obscure, lame-looking movies that end up on my local library’s DVD shelf, but this was a dare. I had to know whether it lived down to its reputation and it did. This movie somehow turns into an infomercial for a book that is NOT the Bible. I have heard that there are plenty of other Christian movies that are worse than this one…some of which may be in the library. I am afraid. I donâ€™t know how Saving Christmas compares to this one and I hope to never have to find out.
Takashi Miike is well-known in certain circles as a very prolific film director. I have recommended two of his movies already and plan on writing recommendations for at least two more. But not all of his movies are gems. A lot of his Yakuza films that I have seen are downright boring save for a few bits that fans might latch onto. One movie of his that I remember simply hating was Silver, a really cheap-looking movie about a female wrestler. I don’t remember exactly why I despised it so much, but there was some S&M rape involved. Also, it was also so boring that there is no Youtube trailer.
In my quest to find movies for my WTF ASIA series, I have watched several movies that were outright dull. I was just not expecting Tokyo Trash Baby to be among them when I ordered it from the library. It is about a young woman who is obsessed with going through other peopleâ€™s garbage and becomes particularly smitten with the garbage of a rock musician who lives in her apartment complex. Perhaps this was supposed to be a metaphor for consumer culture and how Japan does not value things that have outlived their initial purpose or the obsession with cleanliness. Maybe this would have worked for me had the vibe been loopy, but this was boring. And slightly gross.
I have tried to limit my offerings here to movies that I have finished, but I could not resist including No Matter What. This movie seems to be pretty much the standard story of a country girl with big dreams going to the big city to become a singer, only to find out that her dream can become a nightmare. The thing that sets this apart from those other movies is that she is a terrible singer. Not terrible as in she sings off key or has a voice like a baby duck; she puts absolutely no effort into anything. She has no presence, no charisma, no emotion, no energy, no passion, and no concern over whether she stays on key or holds a note. There is absolutely NOTHING that would warrant her getting noticed by any record executive other than being cute. I have read that this may have been a satire ofâ€¦something. Maybe how modern pop singers cannot sing? Maybe the Swedish writer-director was making a joke of how Asian singers are terrible? All I know is that this cognitive dissonance became too much for me and I bailedÂ 57 minutesÂ into it. Maybe it got better during the last 28 minutes, but I was just too annoyed to find out.
Soul Assassin. I am sure that many Netherlanders are comfortable speaking English, but I doubt that they speak it all of the time, especially when the American is not there. This movie had this ridiculously oppressive blue tint and love to speed past scenes of walking to get to the good bits. I remember practically nothing else about this movie.
There is The Foreigner, one of Steven Segal’s lame action movies. The premise of there being multiple factions of evils out for whatever it was sounded interesting to me, but this is just terrible. Decker Shado already did this one, though, so proceed with caution.
Act of Valor was a military recruitment and training video that somehow turned into a movie. With actual actors in the supporting cast. Unfortunately, that did not extend to the main cast. Apparently, there were those who thought that the air of authenticity that was achieved by having actual troops in the lead overcame their deficiencies as actors. Additionally, someone must have believed that turning some shots into first-person-shooter footage made it seem like the viewer was really there in the midst of the action. No. This movie was bad.
Long Legged Girls is Vietnamâ€™s first privately funded film and it was a hit. It was also terrible.
Dead Hooker in a Truck, the debut of the Soska Sisters, was just not my cup of tea. You might like it, but I didnâ€™t. Everything was amateurish and the Do-It-Yourself ethos did not win me over. The acting was too lazy and incompetent to make up for the annoying characters. This one moment near the end of the film when one of the sisters tries impersonating the other is the only time in the movie where I laughed. Otherwise, it was just boring to me. The sisters improved a bunch with American Mary (though I was not too fond of that either) and I hear that See No Evil 2 is okay.
Hoodrats 2: Hoodrat Warriors is the sequel to a movie that I have not seenâ€¦but it is terrible. It plays like a pornâ€¦except the porn is pretty women fighting each other. I guess that one could get off on that if one is into that sort of stuff; I am not. This movie is painfully incompetent on so many levels, like some amateur project. At least Angel Warriors seemed like an actual movie with a bad script and bad direction. This seemed like a bunch of people filming themselves playing make believe as if they were kids and I am not sure that there was even a story outline; they just made stuff up as they went along as far as I can tell. I probably would have chosen this as a suggestion had I not already completed my summary before remembering that I saw this utterly awful movie. Perhaps I had blocked it from my memory. I still stand by my final choice, but this is a runner-up.
So that’s it. Tomorrow, I will begin my…five-part series on the movie that I have chosen for Smiffy. Thatâ€™s right; I am going all out with this one. The first four parts will be a recapping of the movie. The final part will be me trying to articulate why this movie confounded me so much. I did not choose the movie because it is necessarily appropriate for Smiffy to review; I chose it because I have already watched it twice specifically for this Secret Santa despite disliking it when I first saw it months ago, and I am not going to let that experience be for nothing. Enjoyâ€¦or donâ€™t enjoy; I donâ€™t know how these things work.