In honour of the new Defending the Indefensible series, which starts tomorrow night at the Toronto Underground Cinema, I decided to highlight some of the films that I enjoy that others consider awful.
The Fast and the Furious – I am not a car buff, nor do I claim that this is by any means an original tale. Yet The Fast and the Furious is one those films that I can watch over and over. The “we are not so different” bromance between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker coupled with the well done action sequences makes this flick a real treat for me. While the franchise has had its ups and downs, I still think the first film is the best one.
Road House – A film about a “world famous bouncer” ? This should be enough of a warning to let you know that this movie will be bad. My experiences with bouncers is that they are anything but famous. Usually they are big guys who a trying to make a little money on the side. Still, there is a cheap charm to the senselessness of this film. You cannot help but cheer on Patrick Swayze as he takes on the bad guys. Plus the addition of Canadian music icon Jeff Healey is a nice touch. Thanks to shows like The Family Guy, Road House is slowly beginning to garner the cult following that it rightfully deserves.
Serial Mom – This tale of a suburban housewife who strives a little too hard to be perfect never really got much love upon its release. I think this is a result of John Waters being ahead of his time with the film. Many of the satirical elements that people found shocking when the film was released, are now popping up on mainstream television, to rave reviews, in shows like Desperate Housewives.
Marked for Death – Why is this one of the best Steven Seagal films ever? Simply because it features some of the worst fake Jamaican accents ever captured on film. Plus Screwface is one of the most unintentionally funny villains to ever grace the big screen. Every line he utters is comedic gold.
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – I hated Dude Where is My Car? but absolutely loved this multi-cultural take on the tradition stoner comedy. Unlike its sequel, one of the things that makes the first Harold and Kumar film so endearing is that they are actually portrayed fairly smart guys. They get good grades and have promising careers ahead of them. This only makes the comedy that much greater when they finally decide to let loose a little.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls – This is nowhere near as good as Russ Meyer’s best works such Faster, Pussycat! Kill Kill, Lorna, Mudhoney, and Vixen!, yet Beyond the Valley of the Dolls does have its own twisted charm. It keeps all the moral subtext of Meyer’s other films while sprinkling elements that are just plain absurd. Roger Ebert’s script may not be great, but it does make for an oddly entertaining mess of a film.
Taken – Liam Neeson going to town on the sinister European sex trade...that pretty much sums it up. Similar to The Fast and the Furious, there is something about Taken that I just love. I think it has to do with Neeson playing against type. Normally roles like this are given to the likes of Steven Seagal, Billy Blanks, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. I also like the fact that the action is, for the most part, fairly realistic. The age of Neeson’s character is always kept in mind and we never see him do anything that a man his age would not be able to do.
The Secret of my Success – I was considering placing Doc Hollywood on the list but I enjoyed this Michael J. Fox film far more. Sure the whole rising up the corporate ladder so quickly based on mistaken identity plot line seemed dated even by 1980’s standards. Yet Fox is what sells this movie. His charisma in the film is what makes this film far more enjoyable than it really should be.
Blue Streak – Yes, this is a blatant rip-off of Beverly Hills Cop but I enjoyed it anyway. Martin Lawrence has been hit (Bad Boys, Do the Right Thing, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins) or miss (Bad Boys 2, Black Knight, National Security) on the big screen but given the right roll he can really excel. While I will not claim this to be a must see film, I can admit that I enjoyed watching it.
Wild Things – As my wife often tells me, sometimes we all just need a good trashy novel. This is exactly what Wild Things feels like with it multiple twists and overtly sexual themes. Throw in a cast that features Matt Dillon, Bill Murray, Kevin Bacon, Theresa Russell, Neve Campbell and Denise Richards; and you have a recipe for a fun pulp movie. While the pool scene is the most talked about aspect, the film offers several other guilty pleasure moments.