Category Archives: Movies
Hollywood is in a tizzy over the weak box office this summer. Grosses this past weekend were down 25% over last year. And overall, the summer is down about 20% over last summer. While there haven’t been a lot of huge bombs, there also haven’t been many break-out hits.
Thirty years ago, it was a different story. In 1984, Hollywood was enjoying one of the best summer movie seasons of all times. Several movies from that summer are still remembered fondly today. (Many consider 1984 to be a banner year overall – not just the summer movie season.) What’s your favorite movie from the summer of ’84?
Lea Thompson is best known for playing Michael J. Fox’s mom in the Back to the Future trilogy. For most of the 80′s, she seemed like an actress poised for stardom. But when the decade ended, Thompson’s movie career dried up. From there, she transitioned into television. First as the star of her own sitcom and then in frequent made-for-TV-movies. Despite having worked steadily for more than three decades, Thompson never achieved A-list status.
What the hell happened?
When a movie is a hit, a sequel is inevitable. We all know, the sequel is almost never as good as the original. But sometimes, a sequel comes around that is so inferior that it actually tarnishes the original. A truly terrible sequel (or multiple terrible sequels) can make audiences forget what the loved about the movie that started it all. There are plenty of bad sequels that we just forget about. For example, recently actor Steve Guttenberg insisted that Ghostbuster 2 didn’t exist. And then there are sequels that you wish had never been made!
Successful movies almost always result in sequels. Lots of movies are made with the intention to launch a franchise. But sometimes, those plans don’t work out. This can happen for a variety of reasons but more often than not it is because the first movie wasn’t as successful as the studio had anticipated.
This week’s poll is about movies that were supposed to launch franchises, but didn’t. Looking back at some of the movies that fell short of the great expectations that were placed upon them, which movies do you think represent a missed opportunity? Which ones do you think would have made for a successful series if they had been given just one more chance?
The Golden Raspberry Awards were created to “honor” the worst movies of the year. But just like a real awards ceremony, sometimes they get things wrong. The Razzies like to pile up on favorite targets like Sylvester Stallone and Demi Moore. Awards are sometimes handed out to suit an agenda instead of being based on merit. (Love him or hate him, George W. Bush does not deserve to win Worst Actor for Fahrenheit 9/11).
Today’s poll looks at Worst Picture Winners that really aren’t that bad. Or at least they are bad in a fun way. These films have their fans and arguably were not the worst picture released that year. So, which Worst Picture Winner do you actually like?
Billy Zane got his start in one of the most beloved science fiction movies of the 80′s. He gained popularity on one of the quirkiest TV shows of the 90s. And he played the least-loved character in what was at the time the highest-grossing movie ever. His list of credits include several popular films. But when the handsome actor tried to transition into leading man roles, something didn’t click. Zane has worked steadily since 1985, but somehow he never became a household name.
What the hell happened?
There are very few actresses who have played iconic roles in action movies. Linda Hamilton is one of them. But immediately following the biggest success of her career, Hamilton stopped working. When she did work, it was usually as a guest star on a TV show. She basically terminated her movie career at its peak.
What the hell happened?
X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Directed by Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
LeBeau has just finished his review of Bryan Singer’s retconning X-Men: Days of Future Past. As everyone is seeking to follow Marvel’s Avengers formula, either by villain spinoff as Sony and Spiderman are doing, or DC by introducing the team first and doing the solo movies after, or now Fox by creating a movie that makes 3 separate X-Men movie tales and retcons them all into one mostly coherent story. In that, the movie is mostly successful, but as a film, it stands as probably the best film in the franchise’s history, and gives me hope my favorite comic book franchise will at some point become my favorite movie franchise.
The X-Men franchise can be seen as the prototype for the modern super hero movie. Prior to the first X-Men movie in 2000, super hero movies focused on a solo character like Batman or Superman. Batman was sometimes allowed to have a sidekick or two, but Hollywood wasn’t ready to tackle a super hero team. Additionally, characters like the X-Men and the Avengers were not seen as popular enough to sustain a movie franchise. Bryan Singer’s X-Men was the first movie to break down those barriers.
Singer had a lot of heavy lifting to do in that first movie. The first two-thirds are almost entirely exposition. Not only did Singer need to introduce an entire cast of characters, he also had to introduce mainstream audiences to the world of mutants. By the time all the background info was out of the way, Magneto barely had time to hatch his harebrained scheme in the movie’s third act. Singer’s follow-up, X-Men United (dubbed X2 by the studio) was able to cut loose with a bigger budget and no need to lecture the audience about the nature of mutants.
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olson
Godzilla is an anomaly, there have been few (arguably less than two) actually good Godzilla movies ever. You can argue that the cheesefests of Godzilla playing volleyball with other monsters and the one where they danced are fun in their own right, but calling them masterpieces of cinema is a stretch. At the very least they are the paragon of Kaiju movies, which with Pacific Rim in mind, have never really caught on in the west. But the fan-love and expectations placed across this film are so seemingly incongruous with the actual quality of Godzilla films over the last 50+ years. Lets not even get started on Roland Emmerich’s take.