Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks - So Bad It's Good

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Come play along by picking three films that fit the week's theme and saying a little bit about them!

Thursday again?!? It seems like almost no time has passed since the last round of Thursday Movie Picks. And this week's theme, well, it was suggested by yours truly! Why? Well, because I thought it would be fun (and it was close to April Fool's Day). Everyone has those films that they know are so terrible, but they love them anyway. Here are three of mine. You... may notice a theme within the theme...

Conan the Destroyer (Richard Fleischer, 1984) Arnold Schwarzenegger's first big starring role, Conan the Barbarian is just plain bad. But its sequel, Conan the Destroyer, is so bad it's AWESOME. Yes, this is thanks mostly to the one and only Grace Jones, but Schwarzenegger is no slouch either. Far more at ease in front of the camera than he was two years prior, he's a full-fledged star here. Handsome to look at most of the time and utterly crazed and almost inhuman the rest of the time, it's the stuff camp dreams are made from, and so is the plot, which involves a ragtag group of medieval-ish rogues on a quest to take a princess to find a jewel that will awaken a Dream God. Or something. I don't know, it doesn't matter. What matters is that this thing is utterly ridiculous in every way.

Bloodsport (Newt Arnold, 1988) What Conan was to Arnold, Bloodsport was to Jean-Claude Van Damme, and they both share the characteristics of their respective stars. Whereas the first Conan film is bloated and lumbering, Bloodsport is short and swift. The acting is still terrible, though. However, the fights (aka the film's sole reason for existing) are all amazing to watch, and it's kind of hard not to be attracted to the Muscles From Brussels, as an American military man who travels to Hong Kong to compete in an underground martial arts tournament, in which fights often end only in death. It's ridiculous, but it's FUN once you give yourself over the hacky cliché of it all.

Gymkata (Robert Clouse, 1985) I mean, just watch the trailer. That should tell you everything you need to know about this ridiculous, addictive piece of 1980s B-movie junk. I mean, Kurt Thomas is even rocking a mullet FAR better than anyone should have the right to. I caught this one day on TV when I was home sick from school but old enough to be left alone (so probably around 11 or 12) and was utterly in awe that such a film could even exist. And that's where the obsession with these God-awful 80s "action" flicks started. Do you like any of these as much as I do?

15 comments:

  1. I remember Conan The Destroyer being really corny, but I don't remember much of what happened. I haven't seen the other two, but you're right about the last one's trailer, that looks like some amazing B movie trash. lol

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    1. To be honest, I often get the two Conan movies mixed up. I never remember what happened in which one. Gymkata is just a few "KA-POW!"s away from being a '60s Batman movie lol - it's that level of bad/camp.

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  2. Oh Daniel I have to admit that I've been looking forward to this week and your choices didn't disappoint! Your three picks are perfectly dreadful in the best possibly way. I've seen all three though not for years, I did watch the trailer for Gymkata just now and chuckled all the way through. Kurt Thomas does make that mullet work better than most. And I love a theme within a theme!

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    1. Thanks, Joel! I had hoped this topic would be fun and it hasn't disappointed so far. :)

      That trailer is so ridiculous I almost can't believe it exists.

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  3. I forgot to attach my picks! My list could be endless!! The hardest part was limiting myself to number of picks, I got down to five and still had to leave off Angel, Angel Down We Go and The Big Cube.

    *The Best of the Worst*
    Valley of the Dolls (1967)-“You've got to climb Mount Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls.” And when you do you face plant right into this hooty mess based on Jaqueline Susann’s notorious best seller. A roman a clef about the messy backstage lives of three career girls looking to make it in showbiz in NY and Hollywood is scuttled by leaden direction and absurdly overdone or somnambulant performances. Susan Hayward is terrific as vicious stage star Helen Lawson, based on Ethel Merman and Sharon Tate touching as the doomed Jennifer but everyone and everything else is a shambles. The worst offender and therefore the most fun is Patty Duke (RIP Patty, you’ll be missed!) as Neely O’Hara, an amalgam of the tortured souls of Judy Garland, Betty Hutton and Frances Farmer, there is no scenery left unchewed when she’s done with it. The hairspray and makeup costs alone must have taken up half the budget!

    *Getting In Touch With Your Inner Bad Movie*
    Skidoo (1968)-Crime boss “God” (Groucho Marx) forces retired mobster Tony Banks (Jackie Gleason) to perform a hit on an incarcerated prisoner by kidnapping Tony’s daughter and holding her on his yacht. But the plan goes awry when Tony unknowingly drops acid and goes on a mind-blowing trip. Things go downhill from there! What begins as a silly but not dreadful generation gap comedy devolves into an incoherent mess capped by the horrifying sight of Carol Channing, playing Gleason’s wife Flo Banks (no, really), in long platinum wig, admiral's hat and red hot pants singing the title tune. Just when you think it can't get any worse Frankie Avalon sings the credits! ALL OF THEM! It's as ghastly as it sounds and yet hilarious at the same time. A great many respected actors, Peter Lawford, George Raft and Mickey Rooney among them, shred their reputations for a paycheck.

    *The Frightfully Atrocious Big Star Debacle*
    The Conqueror (1956)-John Wayne is GENGHIS KHAN!!...battling the Tartar armies where he takes redheaded (?) Tartar princess Susan Hayward and her servant, an equally Caucasian Agnes Moorehead prisoner. I repeat John Wayne is Genghis Khan! Yeesh. As absurd and ridiculous as the film is it has a somber aftermath. It was filmed in Utah near a nuclear testing site and about half the company, including all the principal players, died from cancer linked to fallout exposure.

    *Screamingly Awful Runner-Up*
    Scorchy (1976)-This tacky turkey is bargain-basement claptrap starring Connie Stevens as Seattle narc Jackie Parker aka Scorchy, with a voice one octave below Minnie Mouse, a frosted wing hairdo that is both a marvel and a testament to the bad taste of the 70’s and a wardrobe straight out of Frederick’s of Hollywood. She’s about to blow the lid off an international heroin ring but when she’s not chasing bad guys down in a high speed-dune buggy or chopper she finds time for a long steamy shower or a nooner with a lover who is harpooned on top of her as she screams like Fay Wray! AIP exploitation flick is cheesy beyond belief all the way up to its self-important finale…but don’t worry “Scorchy” is on the case!!!

    *The Abominably Infamous Bonus*
    Can’t Stop the Music (1980)-This musical purporting to tell the story of how The Village People formed starts with Steve Guttenberg getting his boogie on by roller-skating under the credits down a New York street in ultra-short shorts and only gets wackier from there. Includes a performance of Danny Boy in full cop drag, a production number devoted entirely to milk and other jaw dropping items including a rendering of Y.M.C.A., part of which takes place in a packed men’s shower! Ya gotta see it to believe it!!

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    1. SKIDOO!! I've only heard about it, never seen it, but HOLY CRAP does it sound amazingly awful. I mean, the premise ALONE, but then all that extra stuff you mention? WOW.

      I need to see Valley of the Dolls - I feel like it's a rite of passage of some sort!

      Who in their right mind would see John Wayne as Genghis Khan?!? It boggles the mind, which is one of the reasons why I've never gone near The Conqueror.

      I'm honestly slightly afraid of Can't Stop the Music. I caught a bit of it inadvertently on cable a while back and my eyes started burning. As I'm sure they also would while watching Scorchy (which is just the greatest title).

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    2. Oh you should approach Can't Stop the Music with caution. It is SSSOOO bizarre, aside from the stuff I've mentioned it also has dialog like "Anyone who could swallow two Snowballs and a Ding Dong shouldn't have any trouble with pride."!

      And Scorchy likewise should be watched with defenses up. To give you a small, horrifying, taste of what to expect here is a link to the preview.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r0Tkh3Vy2Y

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  4. My favorite part of Conan the Destroyer is when he punches the camel in the jaw. So ridiculous. You hit the nail on the head with Bloodsport. I have a blast watching that. Somehow, I just never bothered with Gymkata. I might just give it a go. Great picks. Great topic!

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    1. Thanks, Dell!

      The camel punching is really what puts Destroyer over the top for me. Well, that and Grace Jones.

      Oh PLEASE watch Gymkata and review it. PLEASE. Words cannot describe its ridiculosity.

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  5. Conan is so bad and so is the middle one which I only saw snippets. This last one is too funny.

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    1. The trailer for Gymkata is slightly more overtly hilarious than the movie itself. But only slightly.

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  6. I've only seen a few scenes of Conan the Destroyer and they were so ridiculous!

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    1. ...but in the best possible way!

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  7. Hey thanks for your theme contribution. It was tough theme for me. I guess I don't watch a lot of B-movies, and that's what most of the so bad it's good movies are.

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    1. My pleasure! It was a fun one. B-movies are generally not ones that I actively seek out, so much as I stumble across them, and am usually unable to look away. That's what happened with the three I picked, anyway.

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