Great Scenes in Terrible Movies

Watching the BAFTAs the other night reminded me of how far removed I am from what is considered “good” in the movie world. Industry love-ins, or as I like to call them, “movie mutual masturbat-a-thons”, turn my stomach somewhat. Weirdest of all was Christoph Waltz’ almost-tearful tribute to Quentin Tarantino, which would have been touching (I think Christoph Waltz is awesome) if it hadn’t been so Miss America.
Of course Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi walked away with a whole bunch of awards. I can’t say much about this movie, except that I will never, ever watch it, and the reason is this: the Tiger looks too good to be real. This is a big problem I have with CGI in general – they spend millions creating the most realistic animals they can, and they end up looking unreal because they’re too good. I know that doesn’t make much sense. Tell you what, the next time you see a CGI animal in a movie, ask yourself this: does it look like the best one (of that type of animal) that you’ve ever seen? Does it look unreal because it’s too realistic? I realise I’m not exactly clarifying my position.
Life Of Pi will of course joined the hallowed ranks of Great Movies. I tend to disparage these lists. Citizen Kane is usually at the top. Has it ever occurred to you that that movie makes no sense? This journalist spends the movie finding out what Kane’s last words (“Rosebud, Rosebud”) mean. There’s just one problem: Citizen Kane dies alone. A Grade A plot hole.
And there are some movies that are considered terrible. But a terrible movie can have great moments. Today’s list will be a few of those. I think these scenes deserve recognition for their genius.
The Matrix Revolutions (2005) : Club Hell Scene
The Matrix Series was an essay in diminishing returns. The first movie was genre-busting, beautiful and mind-blowing. The second film, I feel, is vastly under-appreciated. It offered a second take on the Matrix philosophy, the idea of an eternal return. It kind of offers something new: the idea that there have been many other “One”s like Neo, and that the machines have total control over both the matrix and the real world. Also it has an amazing scene on a motorway.
The third movie….yech. Way too long, with way too little to say, it offered a dim happy ending and a lot of unanswered questions.
There were, however, upsides. And this scene is perhaps the last shred of the original matrix left in the trilogy. See, if I watch a Matrix film, i want gunfights on the ceiling. That’s what I’m there for. I do not want long, ponderous pseudo-theological discussions and heartfelt moments. I want to see people dodging bullets.
Bonus upside to this movie:
Monica Bellucci’s Basketball-holder Dress
Freddy Got Fingered (2001): Daddy Would You Like Some Sausages?
This film is widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. It has a 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 13% on Metacritic. Roger Ebert gave it 0 out of 4. This movie is hated.
And I can see why – it’s offensive, stupid and poorly-written. Most of the jokes fall flat.
Except for this scene, which i think qualifies for a unique award: Most Dadaist Moment in Film. I can’t even remember the background to this scene. It doesn’t really matter. Tom Green plays the piano, wearing a meat helmet, with sausages strapped to his fingers, and then Rip Torn (a cinema veteran, and I’ve never been able to work out why he’s in this movie) comes in and smashes his piano. It remains the most surreal and bizarrely funny scene I’ve ever seen.
Don’t watch Freddy Got Fingered. It’s awful. i just can’t help but find this scene hilarious.
Dawn of the Dead (2004) : Title Sequence
Like Watchmen‘s title sequence, Dawn of the Dead‘s offered something it never delivered. I was captivated for the first five minutes and asleep for the last hour. I was intensely disappointed, in other words.
There’s something great about this sequence, though. The grainy film footage of riots and panics, the monster noises, and Johnny Cash’s eerie song about the End of Days make this great. They make it really great, in fact: the atmosphere is set for a grim, 28-Days-In-America sort of movie. Which never shows up, like the sneeze that never becomes a sneeze.
Also this movie has a scene with a little girl zombie that freaked me the fuck out. I hate this movie.
Spy hard (1996) : Title Sequence
Another one, and notable only really for the end. Spy Hard was a lackluster Lesley Nielsen vehicle, a bit like The Naked Gun, full of that slapstick-pratfall kind of comedy that Americans and Germans love and nobody else knows why. Did you know they still watch Benny Hill over in America? What the hell, guys?
Anyway, I watched this with my dad when I was nine and even then I didn’t find it that funny. But this scene is inspired. A deliberate parody of James bond opening credits, it has the right sort of feel and a bizarre song sung by Weird Al that culminates with a note so long his head explodes. If only the rest of the film had been so funny. Nielsen could have retired instead of appearing in Scary Movie. Man, do you remember that? It was awful.
Return Of The Jedi (1983)- Vader and Skywalker
You’re gonna shut you damn mouth and listen up while I tell you that Return of the Jedi sucks. It’s a terrible film. It makes no sense and everybody is as stupid as possible for no apparent reason. It’s a movie full of gimmicks since the plot has run out. For goodness’ sake, it runs over its own continuity. Leia’s attracted to Luke! Ohnowaitthey’resiblings. There are cute bears! And a big slug! And a dinosaur-pugdog-thing! And a tentacled thing! And a blue thing! It’s like if the Muppets made a Star Wars film (hang on, did they?). When fanboys were disappointed by The Phantom Menace, I wasn’t. Lucas had already lowered the bar with Return of the Jedi. Next to Ewoks, Gungans look like The Terminator, despite what Tim said in Spaced.
But this scene is the climax. Everything’s fucked. The rebellion is going to lose: they’re massively outgunned. Luke is facing the two most evil men in the galaxy on a giant (working) death machine. They goad him into becoming angry. The whole galaxy comes this close to another thousand years of darkness. It’s nail-biting stuff. And it ties together the overall theme of Star Wars: good versus evil, righteousness versus tyranny.

3 responses to “Great Scenes in Terrible Movies

  1. Pingback: The Bad or Unwatchable Movie Society | James Rayneau·

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