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Are There Any Bad Hollywood Films That One Has to See?

christo​pher sepesy

about 2 years ago

Man, Francisco … you and I are at virtual polar opposites … all of those you regret seeing are many of what I consider to be the flowers of all cinema. Platoon is very good, Ordinary People and Tootsie are masterpieces, and West Side Story is arguably the best musical film of all. I am, tho, with you about Chariots of Fire, which I consider to be the nicest episode of Masterpiece Theater prior to The King’s Speech , but hardly any great example of filmmaking.

In any regard, and back to the original thread thesis, the 1973 musical remake of Lost Horizon is sooooooo bad it has to be seen to be believed. It came on one afternoon while I was in college, and my fraternity brothers and I kept watching with a few audibly speaking out, ‘This can’t get any worse,’ and amazingly it did.

The cast includes such well-known and highly regarded musical performers as … Peter Finch, George Kennedy, Sally Kellerman, John Gielgud … and, making her American film debut … Liv Ullmann (!!!). Her presence in this was so unbelievable at the time that Bette Midler made it a joke in her act, renaming the film “Lost Her-Reason,” and saying that no one should ever miss a Liv Ullmann musical.

Santino

about 2 years ago

Ordinary People is a masterpiece?

I’m sorry Sepesy but I’m going to need to confiscate your film professor membership card.

HAL 9000

about 2 years ago

Beverly Hills Cop. I believe it is one of the highest grossing films of all time, (correct me if I’m wrong), and a very popular 80’s film. I do not think it has aged well either.

HAL 9000

about 2 years ago

Beautiful Mind, maybe?

Francis​co J. Torres

about 2 years ago

A Beautiful Mind. Oh brother. What a waste of my time and money. Should had stayed home cleaning the cat box.

Judicial Joe

about 2 years ago

Why limit it to Hollywood? Two-Lane Blacktop and Shadows are unnecessary unless you’re a cinematic carnivore like moi.

Francis​co J. Torres

about 2 years ago

In my Film School, Two Lane Blacktop is required viewing.35mm print.

BRAD - E

about 2 years ago

Really? How about a topic any bad Japanese or Italian films one must see? Just another elitest topic to bash American films.

Jazzalo​ha

about 2 years ago

@Joe

Two-Lane Blacktop and Shadows are unnecessary unless you’re a cinematic carnivore like moi.

I think the former is terrific and the latter at least good. I’m trying to see if there are any bad or mediocre films that one should see (and not so bad they’re good type of films).

@Bradley

I assure that’s not my intent at all. I’d say most of my favorite films are American.

VOLUPTE NOIR

about 2 years ago

@Jazz

I would offer one minor correction: Carnival of Souls was not a bad B film, merely a low-budget one ($33,000). And certainly not Hollywood. It was about as independent as a film can get. It has demonstrably exerted an influence on George Romero and David Lynch, among others, and is really quite excellent, given its provenance.

Francis​co J. Torres

about 2 years ago

“’ Just another elitest topic to bash American films.”"
MAINSTREAM is what we are bashing here.

Brad S.

about 2 years ago

Actually, BAD is what’s being bashed.

Francis​co J. Torres

about 2 years ago

MAINSTREAM BAD. The worse kind.

Francis​co J. Torres

about 2 years ago

Some may get the idea that I do not like a film just because it is popular. Not true. Some of my favorite films have been very popular-
Psycho
The Dirty Dozen
The Big Sleep
Close Encounters
The Maltese Falcon
The Mummy
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Deliverance
The Ipcress File
The Italian Job

and so on….

Judicial Joe

about 2 years ago

It’s not elitist. There’s a definite difference between a bad and good Hollywood film.

Jazzalo​ha

about 2 years ago

@VN

I would offer one minor correction: Carnival of Souls was not a bad B film, merely a low-budget one ($33,000). And certainly not Hollywood. It was about as independent as a film can get. It has demonstrably exerted an influence on George Romero and David Lynch, among others, and is really quite excellent, given its provenance.

I stand corrected. I agree with you, but I just wanted to make clear that I’m not talking about b-movies that are good—but truyl mediocre or bad movies that come out of Hollywood.

Brad said, Actually, BAD is what’s being bashed.

Yeah.

@Francisco

MAINSTREAM BAD. The worse kind.

Any of these that you think are important to see?

Coincidently, Atlantic had a blog post related to this topic (and another recent one)—Was American PIe More Influential Than Titanic

(Btw, I liked a lot of those films you hated, fwiw.)

@Hal

Why, Beverly Hills Cop and Beautiful Mind?

ammyann​e

about 2 years ago

@JAZZALOHA, @VN: I suuuuper loved Carnival of Souls -got it at a discount store, & it scared me badly! Its almost like they had to try super hard to make up for lack of funds, & therefore it’s Sooo unconventionally creepy! I really didn’t even realise many people even knew about that film. What a delight! So, were u both impressed then?

Jazzalo​ha

about 2 years ago

@Ammyanne

Yes, the film impressed the heck out of me. It was inspiring, even. In a way, it reminded me of the “message” in Be Kind, Rewind—i.e., You don’t need a lot of money or even talent to make art that has meaning and value. (FWIW, Blast of Silence, a completely different film, also impressed me for similar reasons.)

ammyann​e

about 2 years ago

Blast of silence-now on my “gonna watch list” :-)

Jazzalo​ha

about 2 years ago

OK, but just remember it is a completely different film (noir—with a more European sensibility). If you like noir from the 60s (I think), then, yeah, I’d recommend it.

HAL 9000

about 2 years ago

@Jazz I’ve always rather hated Beverly Hills Cop. This cop from Detroit who comes to L.A. to find out about the death of his friend might be an interesting plot line, but I just hate a fair amount of the music, Eddie Murphy’s annoying laugh and as I said, it looks fairly dated such as when Eddie Murphy sees those two guys walking down the street in Michael Jackson leather jackets. And maybe I didn’t like how those two other cops that tag along with him are treated. I don’t know. I just think that’s it not a very good film. As to A Beautiful Mind, and I think I mentioned this somewhere in a previous thread, I can’t understand why the Russel Crowe character hallucinates about a young girl when it seems that the story has not set us up for a reason why she is there. And I also find a lot of, except for a few of Ron Howard’s other films, to be rather mediocre. I see you’ve seen Be Kind, Rewind. I’ve thought of taking that out of my local library, but never do. I think the idea behind the movie sounds kind of interesting. I might check it out. What do you think of it?

@Ammyane Yeah, I second Jazz on Blast of Silence. Very good film made on a very low budget. I’m not sure if there is more than one version you can get of the film, but try for the Criterion. The special features are worth watching!

wolfman​sRazor

about 2 years ago

I think there are certain cultural touchstones which aren’t exactly great movies but are still “required viewing” for a well-rounded overview of American film. These would include films like Forrest Gump, Dances With Wolves, Good Will Hunting, The Poseidon Adventure, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Death Wish.

This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, just some examples. Also, except for Dances With Wolves, I wouldn’t call any of these “bad,” but neither are they very good.

wolfman​sRazor

about 2 years ago

Also, Blast of Silence is one of my favorite movies. Very bleak, but extraordinarily powerful. And it has second-person voice-over narration!

Jazzalo​ha

about 2 years ago

@Hal

I’m not asking why you think the films aren’t good (not necessary), but why you think people should see these films even though they’re not good.

@Wolf

Ah man. I liked the first four, and don’t think they’re bad :( (I liked Death Wish when I was kid, but I was a Bronson fan.)

wolfman​sRazor

about 2 years ago

@Jazz

Ha, well there’s no accounting for taste. Just kidding!

I guess I was going for “mediocre” more than “bad.” I do kind of like Death Wish and The Poseidon Adventure. Basically, I was trying to think of movies that I would recommend that someone watch for reasons other than their quality.

Jazzalo​ha

about 2 years ago

Ha, well there’s no accounting for taste. Just kidding!

Heh.

Btw, why would you recommend those films (if you don’t mind sharing)?

aoaijea

about 2 years ago

there are no bad hollywood films. it’s an oxymoron. hollywood is where gold is dug up by thirsty barbarians. BUT, if there were one movie to see, yes, it would be titanic. all the gold was plugged from that orifice.

HAL 9000

about 2 years ago

@Jazz Oh, I sort of forgot how to address this topic. Sorry. As far as Beverly Hills Cop goes, I guess it’s a bad Hollywood film that one has to see in order to understand that some films that make a lot of money aren’t necessarily like Titanic or Star Wars or Jurassic Park. I guess you can see how it would pull audiences in to the theater due to it’s then use of hit music, how a film like that can make someone like Eddy Murphy a star and just to see what kind of films sometimes sell well, even though I find them to be pretty crappy. I guess another one that sort of operates like that is Pretty Woman with it’s ridiculous ending, Julia Roberts’ annoying laugh and crazy story, but you can see why people saw due to who starred in it and it’s storybook plot such as a real life example of a prince making Cinderella a princess. As far as A Beautiful Mind goes, you can see that films that usually have a character who has some kind of handicap like Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot, (which I liked), Colin Firth in The King’s Speech and other characters of that nature sometimes win an award due to something like that. So, in an even broader context, I guess, to some extent or to some degree, maybe it’s a good idea to see what’s been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and the other categories that are nominated there as well, so you can sort of have a feeling for what is popular and what really is good. This, in a way, sort of relates to that pop culture thread, that where seeing new movies can hopefully help you to separate what might be mediocre or good compared to something excellent. Also, I guess you would have to have a little or some grounding in some of the great classic films as well, Hollywood and foreign, independent and old Hollywood in order to have a good yardstick for what you believe makes a good or excellent film.

Jazzalo​ha

about 2 years ago

@Hal

I guess you can see how it would pull audiences in to the theater due to it’s then use of hit music, how a film like that can make someone like Eddy Murphy a star and just to see what kind of films sometimes sell well, even though I find them to be pretty crappy.

I remember the soundtrack. Were the songs hit before or after the films? I’m pretty sure, “Axel F.”, came from the film, but I’m sure about the rest. (I think the Pointer Sisters and Patti LaBelle had songs that were top 40 hits.)

As for Murphy, didn’t he star in 48 Hours before this one? Still, BHC was a big hit for him.

I guess another one that sort of operates like that is Pretty Woman with it’s ridiculous ending, Julia Roberts’ annoying laugh and crazy story, but you can see why people saw due to who starred in it and it’s storybook plot such as a real life example of a prince making Cinderella a princess.

I’m a little (just a little) surprised at the venom at this film. I haven’t seen it since college, but I remember liking the film. Criticisms towards the silly, fairy-tale plot seem to be missing the point, imo. Many Hollywood romances have these qualities, so I’m not sure what makes this one so different. Now, if people just don’t like Julia Roberts, OK. What can you do? I happen to like her, though.

As far as A Beautiful Mind goes, you can see that films that usually have a character who has some kind of handicap like Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot, (which I liked), Colin Firth in The King’s Speech and other characters of that nature sometimes win an award due to something like that.

So, seeing the film might give insight into the appeal of these type of stories? (There’s also Rain Man.)

wolfman​sRazor

about 2 years ago

@Jazz
To be honest, I probably didn’t think through those choices incredibly well, but I’d recommend those films primarily to achieve a certain amount of pop culture literacy. Basically, I was trying to think of movies that, if a cinephile told me she hadn’t seen, I would be surprised and would think that their understanding of mainstream American film culture suffered (however slightly) for it. Now, of course, many cinephiles have no interest in understanding mainstream Hollywood filmmaking, and that’s fine. I chose Death Wish and Poseidon Adventure because they represent certain popular trends (disaster film, revenge fantasy) that were firmly established in the 70s and continue to be used today. Beverly Hills Cop would also fall into this category, too, although its particular style (coked-up, violent action comedy) you don’t see so much these days.

Also, maybe for a general film fan, It’s a M x 4 World isn’t required viewing, but it definitely is for comedy fans as it brings together dozens of comedy legends. It was intended as a kind of “ultimate comedy film,” but I just don’t think it’s funny or entertaining, and it’s excruciatingly long.

Obviously, my assessment of these films’ respective quality is subjective. Many consider these films classics, and that’s part of why I chose them. Any film which is considered to be a classic is worth watching, even if you ultimately find that it’s not actually a very good movie. It’s just a part of understanding the film culture. I remember reading once that Jonathan Rosenbaum (whom I consider a great critic) had never seen Ben-Hur and that he had no interest in watching it. I think that’s wrong, in a way. I don’t think Rosenbaum would necessarily think Ben-Hur is a great film (though I like it a lot, and it certainly wouldn’t fit this category), but it’s certainly an important document in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. Now, Rosenbaum has surely seen enough movies like Ben-Hur that maybe watching Ben-Hur would simply be redundant. But for most film fans, even if they hate it, it will at least serve as a useful shorthand introduction for a certain type of epic filmmaking that was popular in the 50s and 60s.

To put it pithily, I’d say this: Any classic is worth watching, even if it’s not any good.