' ' Cinema Romantico: My Christmas List: Top 5 Moviegoing Experiences At Movies That Weren't Good

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Christmas List: Top 5 Moviegoing Experiences At Movies That Weren't Good

Not every movie we shell out let’s-not-talk-about-how-much to see in the theater can be great, right? A lot of them can’t be good. Some of them can’t even manage mediocre. But does this mean we can’t have a good time? I say, absolutely not. Let me prove it to you.

5. "Wing Commander" (1999). This based on a video game movie opened to much, much less than stellar reviews and so why did a bunch of us employees at the venerable Cobblestone 9 theater turn out for a midnight sneak of it? Because it allowed us all to see for the very first time a trailer for a movie called "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace." Except then the trailer ended and, well, we had to watch "Wing Commander." Except it was a lot of fun. Honestly. It had Lovejoy and it had Matthew Lillard in space and it had Saffron Burrows appearing to be drunk on red wine for the duration of the shoot and, best of all, it had Freddie Prinze Jr. barking one of the most un-immortal lines in movie history: "My whole life I’ve taken crap because I’m part Pilgrim!" Oh, dear readers, if the colonists at Plymouth had lived to hear that one….

4. "The House Of Flying Daggers" (2004). In December of '04 I visited my best friend and his future spouse in New York City and the Sunday I was there was a lovely day of going to the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens and seeing a stage production of "The Christmas Carol" that my best friend’s future spouse had helped put on and going out for a marvelous dinner and a drink at my favorite place in NYC, the Algonquin (glimpsed in "Morning Glory"!), and we were trying to figure out what to do then and, well, it just so happens that no matter where I am in the world I love seeing movies and I was on vacation, damn it, and I wanted to see a movie and we passed a theater showing "The House Of Flying Daggers" which I assumed would never make it to Iowa theatrically and so we went. I didn’t care all that much for the film but I loved going to it all the same and it also allowed me to glean this little nugget: New York audiences are tough. I have never heard so much derisive snickering in a theater.

3. "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997). This was a midnight show on its opening day en route to its $92 million first weekend. The theater was sold out and I was watching with friends and there were gasps when Julianne Moore was laying on the glass and it started to crack and there were horrified groans when the T Rex pulled that one guy out from the cave and the waterfall turned red and laughs at the movie poster advertising the future governor of California as King Lear and, I don’t know, man, it was just a great time. It was only when I watched it again years later that I realized, Oh, this isn’t all that good.

2. "The Vertical Limit" (2000). One of my favorite things is going to a matinee showing of a movie the day it opens and I had moved to Phoenix but one week earlier and I had no job and it was Friday afternoon and so I wanted to see a matinee showing of a new movie and the only new movie opening in that backwater "city" (it’s really just one mammoth suburb) was the mountaineering opus "The Vertical Limit." And you know what? Chris O’Donnell and Scott Glenn and Izabella Scorupco climbing up K2 with nitroglycerin was exactly what I wanted to see. This movie was awful but, man alive, did I have a good time that Friday afternoon. Sue me.

1. "Lake Placid" (1999). A summer Saturday afternoon. A few of my friends and I went out for something to eat and then hit the theater for a showing of this gigantic crocodile gone amock tale that was indescribably, improbably terrible. It was just my friends and I and, maybe, three other guys, all on their own, in the theater and it took about 20 minutes of all of us looking around at one another and confirming the inanity of the whole thing and then we all started making fun of it out loud. Everyone has their own "Mystery Science Theater 3000" story come to life. This was mine.  What was yours?

1 comment:

Jacob said...

To clarify House of Flying Daggers, wasn't all terrible. But I've never experienced a movie "jumping the shark" to such an extent. I believe the exact quote was. "I think the screen writer quit about 3/4 of the way through and his 4 year old finished the script."