Five Movies I’m (Un)Ashamed to Love
Go ahead, judge me.
June 22, 2012 10:35 amJune Dakota
We all have them. Movies we love secretly, pulling them out to watch for the 100th time when we're alone. Movies of questionable quality. Movies that might be described by the average person as "blasé", but that have wound their way into our hearts. Well today, internet, I'm outing myself to you. Here's my list of geeky movies I'm often (rightly) challenged for loving, and why I love them anyway.
5. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Widely (and dubiously) acclaimed as the least bad of the prilogy, Episode III is a terrible, terrible film. Hayden Christensen's Anakin is whiny and practically prepubescent in his maturity level, Natalie Portman has deftly removed any of Padme Amidala's charm or autonomy, and Ewan McGregor is obviously just phoning in his lines until it's time for happy hour. So why do I love this movie so much? Part of it is the soundtrack. John Williams is in attack mode with "Duel of the Fates," which makes everything sound totally epic. And when it boils down to it, I guess the movie just ties up all the loose ends. It is what connects us from the prilogy to the trilogy. There, at the end, is Anakin Skywalker's transformation. It takes a serious amount of intentional suspension of disbelief to be in this story for any length of time, but as a life-long Star Wars fan, I just can't stop watching. Sometimes…sometimes I quote it. I know, I'm a sick puppy.
4. Star Trek: Insurrection
What's that? You've never heard of it? Don't worry, neither did most of America. Following the much-more-popular Star Trek: First Contact was this little gem, placing the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew in a far-flung region of space protecting a small, semi-indigenous population of people. The bad guys are a weird-looking race obsessed with plastic surgery and intent on destroying a planet for the sake of a limitless, technological fountain of youth. Sound simplistic? It is, and the classic good guys vs. bad guys plot makes plenty of room for the usual amount of high morality and self-referential audience-pandering. Even so, I cannot stop watching this film. It's basically an episode of the series elongated to feature film length, and I love it. Also, what the heck is F. Murray Abraham doing in this movie? His performance alone is worth the price of admission, but we also get to hear Picard, Worf, and Data sing a selection from Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, Riker and Troi get it on, and everybody in civilian costume hiking through the mountains, fighting the enemy guerilla-style. Sold yet? The only downside is the sub-plot in which Data makes friends with an annoying little kid; it's so trite it'll make you want to take up bloodletting, but the scenes mercifully brief and occasionally cute.
3. Mortal Kombat
When I was in college, I spent nearly my entire senior year on the living room floor of our suite playing Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, beating the pants off of whomever cared to challenge me. Granted, I could only win using the practically-cheating super-bitchy moves Mileena had up her sleeve, but winning is winning, am I right folks? My obsession with the video game slowly developed into an obsession with the franchise, starting with this film – if you can even call it that. It's really just a bunch of fight scenes strung together with dialog – a live-action play-through of the game. There's little plot here: one side is arbitrarily right and good, the other wants to destroy the earth…FIGHT! The only recognizable actor here (and I use the term "actor" loosely, believe me) is Christopher Lambert of Highlander fame. The performances are so-so, the martial arts are okay, the script is passable. The thing that makes the movie a winner for me is the sky-high unintentional comedy, which encourages repeated watching. After 10 or 12 times through this film over the course of the last five years, it's wormed its way into my soul. Best enjoyed with friends, booze, and as a double feature with the sequel (yes, there was a sequel!) Mortal Kombat: Anhillation.
2. Jurassic Park III
I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that Jurassic Park was not a movie designed for sequels. I may have a postcard autographed by Jeff Goldblum laminated on my bedroom wall, but even I have to admit that Jurassic Park II: Pig in the City (The Lost World: Jurassic Park) was a miserable excuse for a follow-up, and I thought the franchise was dead after that. Not so! Out comes the more-aptly-named Jurassic Park III, welcoming back Sam Neill as our old hero, William H. Macy and Tea Leoni as parents whose son was lost on a second dinosaur island (now they're just testing the limits of my suspension of disbelief!), and Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler, now with baby in tow! Also, William H. Macy must have been pretty hard-up to take this job, but his performance is great, and he and Sam Neill are enough to keep me reasonably entertained. Other positive tidbits include: a young child who manages to survive dinosaurs for weeks by somehow getting his hands on T-Rex urine, a dinosaur that swallows a ringing satellite phone, and velociraptors that are practically communicative enough to lodge a formal request with the UN for land rights on the island. Definitely not a movie to watch if you have anything better to do, but totally worth the two hours on the couch if you're sick at home and it's on TV.
1. The Core
As a completely implausible late-‘90s disaster movie, The Core has no right to its cast. It stars Aaron Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking), Hilary Swank, and Stanley Tucci, as well as some other people I didn't recognize. The film's premise, that the core of the earth has stopped spinning, is completely absurd, and the plan to restart the core by setting off nuclear bombs inside it is even more so, but man, is this movie a good time. Highlights include Stanley Tucci being a completely prissy chain-smoking asshat, Aaron Eckhart coming out with what I'm pretty sure is some great ad-libbed dialog, Hilary Swank sporting the least attractive haircut of her entire career, and a soundtrack guaranteed to stress you out even when the "action" doesn't. I don't know what it is about the script, but for all the talented people here, nobody seems to come off as believable…or even able to act their way out of a paper bag. It's a delightful, explodey, disaster-ridden train crash I'd highly encourage you to watch.