The weekly list: The top 6 beloved SF films we’d never watch again

October 15, 2008

6. Jurassic Parknominated by harrysaxon
“This is a horrible adaptation of a decent book. When Samuel L. Jackson comes across as a crappy actor, you know there’s a problem. It felt like a Disney theme ride. Sam O’Neill is not a good actor to begin with, and they cast him front and centre. I’m a Jeff Goldblum fan and am glad the film gave his career a boost, but other than one or two decent action sequences, this is a decent B-film given iconic status because of the admittedly terrific special effects. The book was exciting, but the film chose to embellish the book with action sequences that weren’t half as exciting as some they cut. I wouldn’t watch it again.”

5. The 5th Elementnominated by bloginhood
“This was a movie with plenty of elements that should have appealed to me: Bruce Willis as a tongue-in-cheek hero, Gary Oldman as the villain, an ass-kicking leading lady who’s easy on the eyes, aliens galore, good SFX, and a plot that didn’t take itself seriously. It bored the shit outta me. None of the story’s elements came together. Mila Jovovich was flat-out annoying – so annoying that her terrible performance overrode her hotness. Oldman’s ultimate comb-over was neither menacing nor funny and made me think he was about to sell me a used car in Swift Current. The flick made me think the studio was trying to expand the Harry Canyon story in ‘Heavy Metal’ into a full feature – and I hated ‘Heavy Metal’. If this is the 5th element, I’m sticking with elements 1 through 4 and going no further.”

4. Solaris (1972 version)nominated by harrysaxon
“Okay, Tarkovsky is talented, no question. The film is different and presents some intriguing ideas. Maybe the mediocre translation of the original dialogue – even my very, very rudimentary understanding of the Russian language made it clear that it wasn’t always properly translated – hurt the film. But, frankly, this is one of the most boring films I’ve ever watched, and I don’t see how the ideas and images presented within ever really justify the 3+ hours I spent getting to them. I’ve never heard a good defense of the endless, 10-minute drive along featureless highways that opens the film, and I can’t imagine one that really justifies the level of boredom it created. I honestly think the Soderbergh/Clooney adaptation was better, and it still wasn’t great, but at least it was a reasonable length; not that I don’t love long films sometimes, but they need to justify their length (eg. Branagh’s “Hamlet”, PTA’s “Magnolia”). I’d watch the Clooney adaptation 3 times in a row before you got me to sit through the original again.”

3. The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimensionnominated by bloginhood
“It’s hard to know where to start with this steaming pile of deliberately-campy-in-an-attempt-to-be-hip self indulgence. Maybe we should take a look at Buckaroo himself: when I think of who I’d cast as a multi-talented-genius comic book-style hero, Peter Weller ain’t it. Robocop, sure. The neurosurgeon incarnation of Bonzai, maybe. Cutting-edge physicist? No. Rock star? Never in a million years. Certainly not the saviour of two universes. Weller seemed as lost in the film as I was in the audience. Other casting decisions didn’t help either: it would take ‘Transylvania 6-500’ a year later to make Jeff Goldblum look more out of place. Clancy Brown held his own but shouldn’t have died – worse still, there should not have been any references to his being brought back as there were in the credits. And John Lithgow… Lithgow is the man, but in this flick they seemed to use his potential for over-the-top weird (which he played so successfully in ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’) in all the wrong ways. His bits got boring, and that’s unforgivable for Lithgow. As for the rest of the flick… there isn’t enough time to delineate all of its failings. If it’s considered a cult hit, I’m glad I was never converted.”

2. Terminator 2: Judgement Daynominated by harrysaxon
“Though I loved the first film, and actually quite enjoyed the third, why the second is so popular is beyond me. The ‘father figure’ crap was hokey and overwrought. The film relied on gruesome images like shooting out kneecaps for laughs. The final ‘thumbs-up’ scene actually made me groan and roll my eyes, and was entirely negated by the third film anyway; Skynet was still going to happen, whether he killed himself or not. The first-person shots of the ‘unknown highway’ were deeply pretentious. The morphing effect, though now familiar, was impressive, but the effects entirely hinged on it; every other effects shot was often bad rear-screen projection, stuff that was more convincing over a decade earlier when Lucas used it. Overacting from Linda Hamilton. A cruddy script. Overall, just a bad film that somehow has achieved a respected status just because it pioneered an effect that someone with a PowerMac and a couple hours can stick into a wedding video today. Even though it took subterfuge and begging to get into this film when I was underage, I’d never watch it again. Thankfully, ‘The Sarah Conner Chronicles’ is providing a much better bridge between the era of Reese and the era of John Connor for those of us who loved the original.”

1. Armageddonnominated by bloginhood (and whole-heartedly seconded by harrysaxon)
“When you have a goddamn huge rock screamin’ towards the Earth and no one can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire: The A-Te – er, um, Bruce Willis and a bunch of action film cohorts who we’ll ask you to believe are oil drillers. Yeah. That’s it. Yeah. This movie felt like an asteroid had actually slammed into the studio one day, and someone picked some bits of celluloid and some semi-intact computer hard drives out of the wreckage and tried to cobble something together. And failed. Miserably. By the end of it, I was wishing for an asteroid to slam into the theatre and end my cinematic suffering. The bad science we can take. Audiences are used to that from Hollywood. It’s the illogical and stupid plot and total lack of meaningful character development that’s unforgiveable. It wasn’t a movie or a story so much as a single protracted chase: now they’re running through the bad guy’s house/through the oil rig; now they’re bursting out onto the street/rounding up the crew; now we’re plowing through the outdoor market upsetting fruit carts and smashing plate glass windows/launching 2 shuttles within 4 feet of each other/blowing up a space station/shootin’ stuff on the asteroid/yadda yadda yadda. It’s a sad state of a affairs when an action film’s action is so non-stop and over-the-top that it becomes boring. It was like a really bad comic or half-assed video game. The asteroid movie audiences should have been watching in 1998 was ‘Deep Impact’. That was a real movie.” – bloginhood

“Ugh, couldn’t agree more on the nomination of ‘Armageddon’, and that’s coming from a big fan of Bruce Willis, Owen Wilson, and Steve Buscemi, with nothing against most of the rest of the cast. A series of bad one-liners was the entire script. The Animal Crackers scene is one of the most inept and embarassing love sequences I’ve ever seen. This began a life-long hatred of anything Bruckheimer had anything to do with.” – harrysaxon

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