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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Top 5 Movies From My Era Of Cinematic Innocence That I Didn't Like

We’re in the midst of 80s month – well, 80s Friday – here at Cinema Romantico and, of course, the 80s remind me of a more innocent time, if you discount Reaganomics, Iran Contra, the AIDS crisis, and – okay. I get it. The 80s were awful. That’s because every decade is awful once you remove the rose-colored glasses of youth and get down to brass tacks. I once posted a Springsteen video on Facebook and lamented how much I missed The 80s and a friend said something to the effect of “Dude, you were twelve in The 80s” to which say, well, yeah, exactly. That’s why I miss The 80s. I had no idea what was going on. Once you realize what’s going on, everything is awful. Blue Pill or Red Pill? The 80s were the last time I took the Blue Pill, and got to wake up in my bed and believe. But were they?

The 80s and the early portions of The 90s that were like The 80s Minor were truly the last days of my Movie Innocence, when I would watch a movie and love it no matter what. “Crocodile Dundee” was on par with the entire Carole Lombard catalogue. “Young Guns II” was as good as anything John Ford ever made. “The Flamingo Kid” was basically “On the Waterfront” with Matt Dillon. “Summer Rental” was a paean to perfection, “The Secret Of My Success” was a stone cold masterpiece and “Cocktail” was “Citizen Kane”. Anything you put in front of me, I loved it, and I loved it true.

Of course, that’s all revisionist history, and I know it is because every once in a while someone will mention a movie from that period of time and it will trigger a repressed memory and I’ll think, “You know what? Even then I thought that movie was crap.” Perhaps I was always critic even as I was simultaneously always someone destined to defend “Serendipity” ‘til death do us part. This brings me to my overarching question – what are the movies from my era of innocence that I specifically recall as not having liked?

5 Movies From My Era Of Cinematic Innocence That I Didn't Like

The Golden Child (1986) / Coming To America (1988). These two Eddie Murphy films were both box office smashes, each one finishing in the Top 10 and “America” climbing all the way to #2, and yet I quite literally recall being bored stiff by “The Golden Child” (I remember virtually nothing about it) and thinking “Coming to America” was quite plainly unfunny. I have no idea where “The Golden Child” sits now in popular culture and don’t care to do the research to find out, but every now and then someone mentions “Coming to America” in a memorable light even as they acknowledge its awful stereotyping. Nope. Sorry. Even with rose-colored glasses, the stereotyping is as awful as the whole movie.

Dragnet (1987). In so many ways I feel this was my first understanding of a critical thesis I will argue to my dying day (and into the great beyond) – that is, The Theory Of Expectations Is Absolutely 100% Bogus. My expectations were so high for this movie and I didn’t care how high my expectations were for this movie, and do you know why I didn’t care how high my expectations were for this movie? Because I knew what I was watching and my expectations had nothing to do with its rocking the blasé to the extreme. Fact.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990). Almost twenty-five years later and I still feel like I’m cleaning sewer sludge off myself after this O.M.F.G soiree.

Space Camp (1986). When I was in third grade my family moved into a new house in a brand new development that only had three other houses. Other than us, it was wide open fields and one paved road down to 4th Street and the Pronto convenience store where you could rent a movie (this is one of the reasons why I didn't see, say, Antonioni for years and years - I didn't have the fancypants Netflix these kids do now, I had the Pronto) and I remember many Friday nights peddling down there excitedly on my bike to get a VHS tape we could crowd around. "Space Camp" is one of the times I remember being most excited to make that half-mile journey. This may have been post-Challenger, but the premise was still music to a kid's ears - a trip to Space Camp at Cape Canaveral turns into an ACTUAL trip into space. Sigh. The only detail I remember about watching the movie was a foreign feeling then which I know all too well now - that sensation that all my excitement had atrophied and I was simply left with moviegoing mush.

Spies Like Us (1985). New Year’s Day morning at the home of my parents’ friends in Red Wing, Minnesota. I watched this with their two sons. I may still have been at an age where I was naïve enough to think one day I’d marry Samantha Fox, but I wasn’t so naïve to not think, “God, this movie isn’t funny.” Nor to think, “Could we please turn on the Citrus Bowl now?”


Derek Armstrong said...

I'm with you on most of these (haven't seen Space Camp), but I can't go with you on Coming to America. No, it's not going to win any humanitarian awards, but it's an amazing showcase for both Murphy and Rick Baker. And yes, it did/does make me laugh.

So what I am essentially saying is that you are 100% wrong about everything, ever.

Nick Prigge said...

Fair enough. To each his/her own. I'll agree with you about Rick Baker, though. That's a good point.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, lovely post, Nick. While I'm about a decade younger than you, I didn't watch many movies when I was kid. But some of the memorable ones I DID see included Coming to America, Ninja Turtles, and Space Camp, the latter being my favorite and most memorable at the time.

At the time, I was on the blue pill, considering how limited I was in my viewing options. I saw all three on VHS of course, not just because of their release time, but also because I wasn't allowed to attend movie theaters at that time in my life.

Completely unrelated, but just wanted to let you know that I had to change my URL to alleyesonscreen.me since a porn site picked up my previous URL (alleyesonscreen.com). If you wouldn't mind changing it on your blogroll in your free time, that would be cool ;-)

Nick Prigge said...

Gah! Sorry. I'd been meaning to do that. And now...done.

Alex Withrow said...

Great post. I've never been a fan of Coming to America either. Actually, and this can be quite alienating to admit, but I've never been the biggest fan of Murhpy's star vehicles in general. But oh well, that's the way it goes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles never did it for me either. Secret of the Ooze, however... a classic. Ha.

Nick Prigge said...

You know, outside of "Bowfinger", Murphy's films haven't really done it for me either. And I feel like that's because he really truly disappeared into his characters rather than just sort of riffing on his own persona.