Hollywood wants your money. Like any self-respecting moviegoer, however, you expect them to work for it, and—more importantly—to earn it. Trouble is, Tinseltown doesn’t always bring it’s A-game, leaving us more times than not with a dog pile of a movie.
And just how do you know if the movie you’re watching is of the aforementioned pile? Glad you asked. There are many ways to tell, of course, but here are some of the things I look for (because, you know, my wisdom is boundless and plentiful and absurdly good looking):
Did you just rent a movie? Was it a big budget Hollywood blockbuster? If so, go back and check the title. If you meant to rent Transformers but ended up with Transmorphers, then you’ve rented a mockbuster. Same goes for Snakes On A Train instead of Snakes On A Plane, or Paranormal Entity instead of Paranormal Activity, or Battle Of Los Angeles instead of Battle: Los Angeles. And the list goes on and on. The gist is this: mockbusters are cheap rip-off movies intending to piggyback on the success of major films. Rent them if you intend to get drunk or stoned; otherwise, view them at your own displeasure.
There’s nothing wrong with nudity on the silver screen; the same goes for sex. Both can be used to better the story being told in a myriad of different and interesting ways (think Eastern Promises, Secretary, or, hell, even Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life). But if in the film you’re watching a young and slim women disrobes and reveals herself to be of the pornstar persuasion (i.e. with an absurdly large chest that is more silicone/saline than flesh), you can assure yourself that you’re watching a stinker. After all, nothing says “I don’t give a damn about storytelling” like oversized fake boobs paraded on screen.
The hard truth is this: some actors just aren’t meant to play leading roles. And wouldn’t you know it, Comedian Rob Schneider just happens to be one of those actors. Granted, he’s appeared in some decent movies, but don’t let that fool you. If he is the lead, then you’ve found the bottom of the barrel, my friend. Personally, I’d like to think that Mr. Schneider just doesn’t challenge himself enough. Maybe he has some serious acting chops hidden behind his awful shtick. Maybe. But that’s just me being a glass half full kinda guy.
BOLL / SHYAMALAN
Here’s a confession: I love directors. Be it Frank Darabont, Darren Aronofsky, The Coen Brothers, or any number of other talented men and women, you can bet I’ll buy a ticket to their movie just because they directed it. On the flipside, however, there are movies I won’t see specifically because of the director, especially if they are movies directed by either Uwe Boll or M. Night Shyamalan. Boll, who you may know as having directed Alone In The Dark and House Of The Dead (among countless others), is considered by many to be the worst director in Hollywood. And let me tell you: he’s earned that distinction. Not too far behind him is Shyamalan, a director who’s fallen so far from his great beginnings that it’s actually disheartening. To go from films like The Sixth Sense to films like The Last Airbender is something that just shouldn’t be allowed to happen. It is for this very reason that I lie awake at night, weeping.
Remember when I asked you to go back and check the title of the movie you just rented. Well, do so again. Did you just rent a movie titled The Room? Was it released in 2003 and directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau? Happy Day, my friend—you just rented what’s considered by most critics and moviegoers alike to be the worst movie in cinematic history. Don’t believe me? Watch this short clip, and see for yourself:
Rowing For Pleasure is a weekly opinions column written by Z S Roe. Please leave a comment or question—all opinions are welcome, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. If you like what you read here, please subscribe.