Upon a recent re-viewing of Vanilla Sky, I realized the film that I loved a few years ago is definitely flawed–if not terrible. I had been warned of this in advance, but refused to believe it. I’m not sure if it’s because I thought my film taste at 16 was impeccable or that I just didn’t want things to change. But they did, and the movie came out worse for wear. This got me thinking about other films this could possible happen to, so here is my list of 7 films I’m afraid to watch in case they suck. (Note: list does not include films I love even though I know they suck e.g. Final Destination 3, The Comebacks, any Nic Cage film).
Richard Kelly‘s 2001 time-travel thriller Donnie Darko is the one film on this list that I’m pretty sure sucks. In fact, I’m not even sure if I ever liked it. Donnie Darko is a film I probably said I understood and liked because cool people said they understood and liked it. I haven’t re-watched it in years, but Kelly’s post Darko work (Southland Tales, The Box which may be the worst film I’ve ever seen) does not bode well for this film. I will say that it has the most terrific soundtrack this side of Pretty In Pink, but as a film, I don’t have much hope for it holding up. Below is the intro to the Director’s cut featuring one of the greatest songs of the 1980s: INXS – “Never Tear Us Apart”.
A theme is beginning to form as I work on this list: I don’t want to dislike these films because I like the people in them. Rounders sports starring roles from four of my favorite people (Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malcovich, Gretchen Mol) but I have my doubts. For starters, I was in a huge Norton phase when I first saw this. Secondly, Matt Damon is cool and all, but since Good Will Hunting he hasn’t exactly been known as a great thespian. And finally, we come to John Malkovich. Listen John, I love you. I really do. But I remember your Russian accent being the best part of the film, and that my friend, is not a good sign. Below is Malkovich in all of his “Teddy KGB” glory.
Once again this comes down to me liking the people involved. Ask anyone who knows me, ANYONE AT ALL, and they will say that the love of my life is Natalie Portman (Clive Owen is a close second). It even won two Golden Globes and was nominated for two Oscars (both for Owen and Portman). But for some reason, I don’t know if I’ll like it anymore, but that’s probably just the fact that Panic At The Disco named some songs after lines from the movie. That will kill your love for anything. Below is the trailer featuring Damien Rice‘s magnificent “The Blower’s Daughter”.
Once again Natalie, thou hast forsaken me. Made by writer/director/star Zach Braff (apparently after he got a “C” in a How To Make Wes Anderson Films class) and featuring the second best soundtrack this side of Pretty In Pink, Garden State is so twee it hurts. Just off of memory, here is what I remember: Natalie has a helmet, Zach has a problem and pills just numb him out man, the wallpaper shirt, screaming into a void, and Method Man works at some kind of porn theater. I know this is fellow List Offer Mike Pop‘s favorite movie (second maybe to Vision Quest) but I have no hope for its return viewing. Fun fact: one of the film’s executive producers is Danny DeVito.
The Usual Suspects
1995′s The Usual Suspects was probably my first real favorite movie. I know it’s good. I’ll bet money that it’s good. The only problem is, I don’t care about the twists and turns of it anymore. I’ve seen it too much. After a certain amount of repeat viewings, the film just loses it’s flair, it’s mastery of storytelling, and everything becomes so obvious you wonder how you were so fooled to begin with. I know it’s a good film, and I know it will be looked at that way by many others for some time, but for me, I just don’t need it anymore. Below is a sample of the world’s ugliest good-looking guy, Benicio del Toro, doing the best/worst accent in film history.
I confess, I used to like M. Night Shamalamadingdong. In fact, I even defended The Village when it came out (THE VILLAGE!). And for a second confession, I still like Joaquin Phoenix (Mel Gibson gets no love here). It’s not Shyamalan’s best film (that’s Unbreakable) and not his worst (that’s a tie between a lot of movies) but I don’t know where in-between it sits. Yes, it panders to you, and yes it has the world’s worst usage of Deus ex Machina that has ever existed, but I still have a soft spot for it. That being said, my pre-Lady In the Water opinions of this film may not hold up in the post-The Last Airbender world we all now live in. I really don’t want to show any clips of this film, so here’s Bloc Party‘s song “Signs” instead.
Lucky McKee‘s 2002 horror film about a lazy-eyed, anti-social, doll-friending girl who just wants to be loved, just so happens to be James Duval‘s second appearance on this list (he also plays Frank the Bunny in Donnie Darko, but all is redeemed by his role in Independence Day). May is a horror film that keeps you cringing, laughing, and trying to divert your eyes from the screen (but never being quite able to) until the end, which for my money, is one of the best endings in recent memory. On a side note, how many casting directors have sent out listings for a “skeevy guy” and ended up casting Jeremy Sisto? The problem with May is also it’s strongest point, the ending. Once you get to that ending, and you see it for the first time, the surprise is gone. And for a film (albeit a good one) that bases its appeal on the last 3 minutes, the first 90 lose their luster.