Thursday, September 30, 2010

movies i like that suck Vol. 1

They don't suck, I just love that title.

I've wanted to do another one of these for a while. I am by no means an authority on the 'buried treasures' of movies and games like a ton of other people out there are, but I've still got a few recommendations in my stable (?) that are worth a mention and a try. These are the movies, specifically comedies, that were either reviewed badly or received practically no publicity but were still widespread enough for me to catch wind. If you throw in my natural tendency to call everything stupid, it makes it that much more strange that I like these movies. Buh-reak, ah-DOWN!

1. The Stupids
My sister and I had our mom rent it as children. We rented it exclusively because we were in elementary school and were, until then, not officially allowed to say the word "stupid". It had always been a curse word. It's hard to imagine now, but there was in fact a time in my history when the use of a foul word (in and of itself) warranted punishment. We used this movie to "test" whether we would get punished for saying stupid, and I am almost certain that after we successfully said "now that was stupid" to the movie without consequence, we officially had graduated to acceptable use of words like "stupid", "shut up" and "dang". From then on, "Sh*t" was the new S-word. Tom Arnold stars as a husband and father of two who has a really odd way of perceiving things. As I'm writing this I realize it's actually kind of hard to explain what type of stupid this family is. The closest approximation is probably Dumb and Dumber, though The Stupids has a much more 'cartooney' variety. Unlike Harry and Lloyd, the Stupids have practically no capacity for misdeeds. Harry and Lloyd try to do wrong once or twice, something the Stupids wouldn't really do. Here's an example.

 I didn't really appreciate it when I first saw it (being roughly 8 and all) but there is a lot of clever dialog and gags that sort of depend on the characters' odd logic. Did you see the part about "2 wheels, 4 wheels" in that video? Brilliant, right? Christopher Lee makes a cameo which is at once brilliant and WTF. I never really read any reviews for this movie, but apparently there are a lot of people out there that like this movie. Give it a try if  you got some of the more language-based misunderstanding gags in Dumb and Dumber. The movie isn't solid gold -- it looks and feels "cheap" sometimes (not in the good Clerks way) and has some stock jokes that we've all seen and moaned at before, or are just plain dumb. Sometimes, for the sake of having villains in the movie, they have to take a break from cartoonish humor and deliver some relatively (that's relatively) dry or serious scenes, which sort of "kill" the ridiculous vibe that this movie needs to stay funny, but for the most part its enjoyable.

2. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
I'm not sure why, but me my sister and my cousin all loved this movie. I'm not sure if it's just because I expected little, or whatever but this movie honestly is funny throughout. In every Happy Madison film there's a happy but tolerable dose of boner jokes. This movie is nothing but those boner jokes. That might sound like a bad thing that would get irritating but the movie carries itself with a constant tongue-in-cheek attitude and does not try to be anything more than a dick-fart movie. I've never understood people who say movies can be fun as long as stuff blows up, but maybe this movie is like that: It's not a great movie but it only tries to be dumb. There's a welcome heavy dose of Eddie Griffin, whose every line works. Most lines work because everything they say isn't well written: it's dumbly acted. There's a scene in which a man waves goodbye to the manwhore he just tipped. Nothing funny about that, but the way he waves is just so dumb that I can't help laughing. This is probably the kind of laugh the movie was intentionally going for, and because of this normal critics probably just didn't pick up on it. Most probably thought it was just stupid and were probably right. What they didn't realize is that there's a difference between a stupid movie and a bad movie. Example:

3. Malibu's Most Wanted
Again we have a movie that was critically based mostly due to straight-up snobbery. The movie has some genuinely clever moments and clever use of misunderstanding-based humor, as well as some sharp (but not offensive) looks at the differences between white and black stereotypes. Jamie Kennedy's original B-Rad character on his X-Periment show was a joke about people whose only exposure to thug life is TV. This movie takes that character and makes the necessary (for the plot) assumption that he's thug on the inside and is struggling to get accepted for what he is. Most people look at this movie and probably think it's a "white guy acting black" cash-in kind of movie, but it doesn't really rely on the tacky variety of this for every single laugh. It takes that concept and does a lot of worthwhile gags with it as well as working in some surprisingly good one-liners and qiups. It's a lot like European Gigolo in that the movie does not try to be an oscar winner and does not take itself seriously. With it's tongue in its cheek the whole time, there's no disappointment to be had. They just take their concept, run with it and have fun. As long as you are willing to do the same as a viewer, you can enjoy it. Observe. In this scene the man running for governor is trying to convert his thug son to whiteyness, and hires two actors.

You can check out any of these movies, and if you're not a snob, you can get a few laughs. Most of these movies are free if you use youtube well.

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