I wanted to write this piece for a while now! I’m asking you, moviegoer to moviegoer, did you ever have that feeling that you were somewhat alone with your arguments during a debate with some friends? Did you find yourself defending a movie that you loved, but that weirdly enough, nobody else seemed to care about? Well, my friends, you are far from being complete fools, that’s just the beauty of subjective analysis in cinema. In the next paragraphs, it will be my great honour to introduce you to the ‘bastards’ (yes, exactly like Jon Snow) of my movie collection. Even though I grew up loving these movies, almost all of them were pretty much hated by the critics, the box office and other big movie fans like myself at their release.
If some of these flicks are unknown to you, please check them out when you have the chance. I’ve seen a lot of bad movies in my time, so I wouldn’t waste your time, they are surprisingly good! You just have to exit your comfort zone for a few hours, and you’ll be fine. Who knows, I might get a few brothers and sisters in arms who will join my cause!
1.Cosmopolis (2012) – David Cronenberg
I remember seeing this movie in an almost empty theatre, right after I finished my day at the public relations firm where I did my first internship. I didn’t know what to expect, except for the great talent of Cronenberg and the look and feel of a Wall Street movie. Well, let’s just say that if the basics of capitalism and western philosophy were put to film, you would get something like Cosmopolis. Although this movie is EXTREMELY talkative, lacks action and isn’t too creative, I loved it on first viewing for its profound and philosophical script. Filmed during the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in New York around 2011, Cronenberg presents us a rich and young finance shark (Robert Pattinson) who circles the city in his high-tech limousine in order to find a hair salon and get a haircut. During his day, he invites many colleagues, partners, friends and mistresses in his limo to discuss the present situation, including the anomalies of the economy and the social crisis in the streets. Sure, nothing else really happens, making this movie really slow and intellectual. However, if the viewer simply takes the time to listen, he or she would find themselves wondering about the foundations of modern society. That, however, is surprisingly fascinating! A philosophical movie for sure, so let’s categorize it that way. The critics were harsh on Cosmopolis for being slow and boring, but trust me, just listen and analyze. You might learn something!
Last warning – if you fall asleep easily while watching a movie and watch nothing else than adventure and action blockbusters, it might be preferable to skip this one…
2. The Godfather Part III (1990) – Francis Ford Coppola
Ah..of course I would name that one! The Godfather series is still known today as one of the best franchises of all time, but the third and last movie of the trilogy was declared one of the ‘worst’ sequels of all time. Good god, good god…how they are wrong! To truly admire Part III, it is better to give it some credit without constantly comparing it to its two prequels. The greatness of the first two classics lies in the exquisite family drama, Mario Puzo’s great dramatic scenario and the good-looking cinematography. The third movie is not too far from accomplishing that all on its own. The aging Al Pacino offers a truly great performance as Michael Corleone, who is joined by Andy Garcia’s memorable character of Vincent Corleone. The story evolves in a really interesting way and offers an amazing closure to the trilogy with an epic finale in Palermo’s opera house.
Like many movies, The Godfather Part III was always downgraded for Sofia Coppola’s pretty weak portrayal of Marie, but it’s definitely Francis Coppola’s only bad decision in this film. The first two movies might give you chills every time you watch them, but the third instalment will give you some of the same today. Like me, you might let go a few tears at the end, having worked its magic on us.
3. Legend (1985) – Ridley Scott
Many of you probably have no idea what this beast of a movie is! Unsurprising really, it’s pretty hard to find these days and no one really seems to acknowledge it as one of Ridley Scott’s masterpieces (yes, that same guy who gave us Blade Runner and Alien). Sure, I admit, Legend hasn’t aged too well since 1985, but its truly remarkable set design and costumes still find a way to enchant me today in 2019. The script isn’t too original; a princess and an orphan boy from the forest find themselves facing the Lord of Darkness, who wishes to kill unicorns, the most sacred beasts of all, in order to submerge the world in the shadows. However, the true value of Legend is not in its story, but definitely in its sets and ambiance. It might look kitsch and outdated after the first thirty minutes, but give it some time…until the truly awesome Tim Curry (the guy from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) appears, as this massive horned demon. Truly, you’ve never seen props like this! Interestingly, this is known to be Tom Cruise’s first blockbuster.
You really want chills? Watch this film at 11:00 PM, on a cold night in November, turning all the lights off. You won’t be scared, but you’ll feel a satisfying tension and awkwardness. It’s worth the try, believe me! Add some substances if you like, but don’t abuse.
4. Mission: Impossible II (2000) – John Woo
Since we were discussing Tom Cruise, let’s jump into his most successful movies to date. Following the many great entries in the Mission: Impossible series these last few years, the first few ones seem to have gained a bad rap. Even so, I’m still proud to say that I grew up with M:I2 and it still remains one of my favourite action movies to this day! Many reasons for it: great action, cool music and pretty intense stunts. Remember seeing the character of Ethan Hunt climbing this pretty high rocky mountain in the desert without a rope? That’s the one! Now that Mission: Impossible – Fallout changed our definition of a great action film, I still acknowledge the second instalment for teaching me what ‘cool’ means in actions flicks. Unfortunately, this is still and always depicted as the weakest segment in the franchise for its uneven script, implausible plot and overuse of slow-motion…and that might be true. Of course, John Woo had his vision for action movies, which might be too much for some, but I still think it was well suited for Mission: Impossible at the time. It might never outrank the newest actions movies of the franchise or even others, but you can’t misplace it either.
5. Only God Forgives (2013) – Nicolas Winding Refn
If I remember correctly, this movie was rudely ‘booed’ at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. People exited the theatre early and many critics called it an ultra-violent piece of trash. However, Only God Forgives is more than meets the eye. Basically, the unwanted child of director Nicolas Winding Refn after he made the truly excellent Drive in 2011, it gained a fanbase over the last few years. I see this movie as a beautiful nightmare, basically by mixing amazing cinematography with bloody violence. The strength of the movie is definitely not in its script, which is pretty minimal, but in its outstanding images and musical tones. As Only God Forgives was co-produced by a studio from Thailand, the movie inherited oriental inspirations in its depiction of ultra-violence, which gives you the impression of watching Seven Samurai and Apocalypse Now at the same time. To admire this one, please take into consideration style over substance more than once. The colours accompanied by Cliff Martinez’ music is a truly powerful mix, you can’t miss there!
FAIR WARNING – this movie is extremely violent and disturbing, so viewers’ discretion is advised.
6. The World is not Enough (1999) – Michael Apted
I have a big emotional connection to this one! I’ve written about the James Bond franchise on this blog before, but I never mentioned how much this movie had an impact on me when I was a kid (even to this day). Pierce Brosnan was my Bond, he was the super spy I grew up with and will probably remain the true 007 for me. After the excellent and well-known Goldeneye, The World is not Enough was the second Bond movie I ever saw. In my daily car rides in my Volkswagen Golf, I sometimes listen to Garbage’s great theme song for this movie. The movies works on so many levels for me, including the great action sequences (that boat chase on River Thames…wow), the brutal and sexy Bond Girl who is Sophie Marceau’s Elektra King and Brosnan’s more brutal and dramatic exploration of Bond. Also, a villain who has a bullet stuck in his head and can’t feel pain? How cool is that! I’m sad that everyone seems to remember this movie only for Denise Richards’ poor performance as a nuclear scientist and Bond Girl. Sure, she was pretty bad in the movie, but her role remains pretty minor anyhow. Oh…did I forget to mention the BMW Z8? Basically, this movie gets a bad vibe for no valid reasons and still remains a great James Bond film of the 90s. We know Bond to be a pro for one-liners, but you’ll never have a one-liner as funny as the closing line of The World is not Enough, believe me.
Also, was I the only one to play the Nintendo 64 game as well? Come on, I’m sure you remember it!
7. Blade Runner (1982) – Ridley Scott
Surprised? Haha. You might not know that, but upon its release in 1982, Ridley Scott’s cult classic bombed at the box office and was very poorly reviewed. Since it was so ahead of its time, too few people seem to understand all the greatness that lies in this masterful motion picture. Of course, things have changed for the best and it even earned a truly great sequel in 2017. However, even today, I sense that too few of my friends seem to admire the original film as I do. Is it for its dark post-apocalyptic ambiance? Its slow script? Intense character portrayal? I don’t know for sure, but I believe people need to see this movie many times in their lives to fully grasp its authenticity. This sci-fi classic paved the way for future movies of its kind in our days, I’ll just leave it at that. Unique music, lighting, set pieces and story; the adaptation (sort of) of Philip K. Dick’s Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep? is a must-see, and that goes for everyone.
The people who know me best are sick and tired of hearing me discussing Blade Runner. To this day, it probably ranks #1 on my list of favourite movies of all time. I’m in complete awe of this visual wonder. I even have the origami unicorn tattooed on my arm…if you get the reference. Although Denis Villeneuve’s sequel, Blade Runner 2049, is also pure genius, the original is tough to beat.
8. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Christopher Nolan
Hold on to your horses! Of course, it is commonly known that the third and final instalment of the Dark Knight trilogy is not all a bad film, I’m not saying the contrary. However, it is also said that this film will always live in the shadow of its prequel, being The Dark Knight. Even by Nolan’s greatness as a filmmaker, this movie is still ranked as one of the lowest in his filmography. If I told you that The Dark Knight Rises remains my favourite of the trilogy, would you stone me to death? The action scenes, the hand-to-hand brutal combat scenes between Batman and Bane as well as the plane highjacking scene of the prologue…how can you top that? Heath Ledger’s Joker might surpass everything by his mere presence, but The Dark Knight Rises succeeded in giving us amazing entertainment. This movie is far from perfect, I admit. There are a lot of flaws in its script (like the young police officer knowing fully well that Bruce Wayne is Batman only by a face he made once) and some of the action sequences were not always well-choreographed, but there is greatness to be seen. Also, I quite like what they did with Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne here, as he rediscovers himself in the pit.
I’m ranking this movie by what it is; an amazing spectacle. This is the basic and is required of every superhero film these days.
What are some of your favourite divisive or critically panned movies? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out our reviews of Detective Pikachu and the final episode and season of Game of Thrones!