American cinema has blessed us with some of the precious few things that can be described as “American Culture”. “American Beauty”, for example, explored the things American’s treasure, for better or worse. Yes, films have an amazing power to transport, educate or simply entertain an audience.
However, I’m not concerned with those films. In this article, I will explore the failed projects in our cherished cinematic history. Frankly, my low self-esteem has left me predisposed to point out the shortcomings of others in an attempt to feel better about myself. What could be more American that that?
10. “Showgirls”/ “Striptease” (1995/1998)
Two movies about two attractive women taking off their clothes, what could have possibly gone so wrong?
9. “Street Fighter” (1994)
I have two notes I’d like to share with Mr. Van Damme:
1. The REAL Col. Guile doesn’t have a thick, vaguely European, accent.
2. The REAL Col. Guile brings more than one clip to a gunfight.
8. “Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace” (1999)
Waited in line for hours, Jorge did. Disappointed Jorge was; money back he wants. Ticket for next chapter Lucas film did send. In line for “Episode Two,” cry Jorge did.
7. “Captain America” (1991)
Being a fan of comic books, I’ve reserved myself to being disappointed time and again by their adaptations. But I do have one simple request. Give the actor playing America’s fiercest and noblest protector the dignity of not having fake rubber ears flapping about the mask of his superhero Halloween costume.
6. “Mortal Kombat Annihilation” (1997)
Let me sum up this movie for you:
[Enter ninja, preferably female, preferably “PG-13 nude”]: “Hello, have you seen Lui Kang?”
[Lui Kang]: “Why sure, that’s me! Who are you, sir [or madam]?”
[Ninja]: “Kenya, Queen of the bullet blades!”
[Cue fight music]
[Repeat for 90 minutes]
5. “Glitter” (2001)
Watching “Glitter” was a lot like the time I drank paint on a dare. I knew it was a bad idea, but it was a dare, and the paint (or ticket) was free. Of course, unlike “Glitter”, I have since recovered from my paint consumption with little or no permanent effects.
4. “Battlefield Earth” (2000)
When I think about classic performances that explored the dark side of religion, I think of Willem Dafoe as Jesus Christ, struggling to come to terms with his destiny in “The Last Temptation of Christ.” I think of Linda Forentino in “Dogma”, facing up to what has turned out to be a very real, very demanding God. And then I think of Psychlo, John Travolta being outsmarted by cavemen in fighter planes, embodying the secret fears of every member of Scientology. It really makes you think.
3. “Godzilla” (1998)
First off all, if a rampaging kill beast is reeking havoc across the city, the last two people I’m recruiting to stop the madness are Matthew Broderick, who shows so little emotion it makes Al Gore look like a drama queen, and Jean Reno, “the professional” who couldn’t even save Natalie Portman from “Star Wars Episode One.” However, it was nice to see the raptors get work outside of “Jurassic Park.” Although, I suspect, they may have been typecast.
2. “Batman and Robin” (1997)
It really shouldn’t be this hard to make a good Batman movie. First of all, don’t make Gotham City look like Jerry Garcia finger painting. I’m fairly certain Batman doesn’t enjoy raves, and if he does, he definitely isn’t going to hang out with Chris O’Donnell. Second, don’t cast the charismatic George Clooney to play a brooding sociopath. And finally, don’t rehire the man who thought it would be a good idea to show Batman pulling up his bat-pants in the last movie. It’s a recipe for disaster.
1. “Final Destination” (2000)
This has to be the worst premise in a film since “Rocky V” (Rocky versus Rocky Jr.). A bunch of teens on the run from the ultimate villain …death itself! Watching this movie, I get the sense that someone took the death scene from “Bill and Ted 2” a tad too seriously. And why are “death’s designs” so elaborate anyway? Why not just give them cancer or get them caught in a drive by shooting? Hey, I’d be willing to pay for the bullets myself!
In conclusion, any aspiring filmmakers reading this needs to remember a few simple principles. For example, if your cast can’t keep a straight face during rehearsals, despite the fact it is supposed to be a serious drama, go back to square one. If the check for your special effects budget bounces, get out and don’t look back. And if you are driving to the set and realize your name is Joel Schumacher, just turn around and drive home. America will thank you.