I have been known to have an odd sense of humour and, sometimes, an even odder taste in movies. I’ve talked before about my dislike of some movies that others really liked (Man of Steel, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, to name two). But this time, I’m going to talk about three movies that I liked, but were hated by the majority or critics, or both.
Now before I begin, I want to make something abundantly clear. Just because I like a movie you think is shit doesn’t make me a moron, just like if you loved Man of Steel doesn’t make you a moron, even if I thought it was shit. It just means we have differing opinions. Believe it or not, that is totally allowed! You may think it isn’t allowed these days, thanks to the brave, anonymous souls out there who love to slag people for liking something that the majority don’t. One opinion or another isn’t right or wrong, they are just our opinions.
Having said that, let’s move on to movie number one…
Dune, by David Lynch.
I was never a Frank Herbert fan. I only heard of the Dune book series through my Mom, who was, and still is, a big sci-fi fan. So when this movie came out, and people didn’t like it for one reason or another, I didn’t really think much of it. Even after seeing it as a teen, I wasn’t overly impressed, so it just became a movie I was indifferent too.
Thankfully, a TV miniseries was made of Dune that, if memory serves, did better than the movie. Speaking of TV, a version of David Lynch’s Dune aired on TV supposedly with extra scene cut into it. This pissed of David Lynch, so he requested his name be changed to “Alan Smithee”, which is a name directors use when they don’t want to be associated with a movie they have made.
Recently, I was at my local flea market when I saw Lynch’s Dune on DVD for a couple of bucks. Having not seen it in a long time, I bought it to watch. Upon watching, and having a better grasp of movies than my teen-aged version of myself, I watched it with eyes that appreciated it much more than before.
For mid-80’s, the special effects were pretty good. The look and design of the movie was more Blade Runner than Star Wars, which was the popular at the time. It had some great actors trying to make the best of a lot of stuff jammed into a 2+hour movie. Hell, it even made Sting looks somewhat dangerous, or at least maniacal. It is by no means a great sci-fi epic, but it is still an epic sci-fi movie, with a lot of potential that just missed its mark. If you are a student of film, especially set and character design, give Dune another shot.
Number two is The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.
It starred that flash-in-the-crude-pan comic Andrew Dice Clay, who I couldn’t give two shits about, as a slightly toned version of himself as the Rock-N-Roll Detective, Ford Fairlane. The movie was directed by Renny Harlin, who also directed Die Hard 2 in the same year. He has done some decent movies, like Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea, and Mindhunters.
As a kid, when I saw this, I enjoyed it for the crudeness, the action, and the comedy. Everyone else seemed to hate it for the same reasons, as well as the fact that Andrew Dice Clay was in it. But as I continued to watch it over the years, I came to see the movie as a mixed-bag of genres that added up to an odd little movie that I still find surprisingly enjoyable.
The best thing about this movie is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. Fairlane does narration, like a noir crime story, but sometimes he’s totally clueless. He can act cool and confident, but also act like a tool and very uncool. Oh, and hes a sarcastic smartass, which I quite enjoy. It definitely isn’t a good movie, but it still makes me laugh, which sometimes, is the best thing about a movie.
Number three is The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (or LXG for short).
Yes! It sucked. The continuity was terrible. The editing was particularly laughable in the fight scene in Dorian Gray’s library. The logic of the movie was stretched beyond the breaking point. I’m sure Alan Moore was quite pissed at the finished product. A lot of people didn’t like it and they weren’t afraid to say so.
Despite all that, I still enjoyed it.
The main reason, Sean Connery. Even in Highlander 2: The Quickening, he was still cool, even if the rest of the movie was absolute shit. He automatically makes a movie cooler by being it, and he always has. From his first appearance as Bond in Dr. No, through The Avenger (the British, quirky spy/sci-fi series turned into a movie, not the “Avengers”), to the LXG, he has been cool and reason enough to watch a movie at least once.
But there are other reasons for me to like LXG. Alan Moore may have created the idea of late 1800’s characters teaming up and fighting a common foe, but since its hard to find his books, watching the movie about them was the spark that got me interested in those characters. This also lead to the creation of my own, original 19th century characters, inspired by LXG, as well as the original literary creations. Without LXG, I may never have read the original War of the Worlds, Frankenstein, The Time Machine, or garnered an interest in that time period.
One thing I also enjoyed with Mr. Hyde. Although he may have been digitally manipulated, the creature itself, played by Jason Flemyng, was done with prosthetics and animatronics arms. In 2003, digital effects were quite popular, but making the actor “become” Mr. Hyde added something to the movie for me. It also helped that Flemyng is a good actor, along with many of the others (Tony Curran, Richard Roxburgh, Stuart Townsend, to name a few).
Add to this the action and special effects, and I still enjoy this movie, flaws and all.
There are others I could mention, like The Last Action Hero, Battleship, or Gamer. But I’ll leave those for another time.
Until then, remember, no movie is bad, even if you think it’s shit.