I have mentioned before that I am not a big fan of awards shows. With the Academy Awards being tonight, my opinion has not exactly changed. I did get a pretty well received post out of my angst about the Grammys, so I figured I would go to the well again for the Oscars. I am not going for one-hit wonders again, partly because that would be rather unoriginal of me, partly because when I looked at lists of award winners there were no one-hit wonders, and partly because I had a much more fun idea that I have been waiting weeks to unleash on the world. Movies that I secretly enjoy that are not exactly Oscar-worthy. (No Karate Kid references, I promise!)
Hudson Hawk (1991) – When people talk about a big budget, all-start cast movie that has a lot of hype and totally bombs, this is the movie that first comes to people’s mind. Actually, to be more accurate, it used to be what came to people’s minds. I don’t think anyone has thought about this movie in at least 10 years, besides me and like, 3 other people. This movie is odd, the viewer frequently feels like they are missing out on an inside joke and is just flat-out confusing some of the time. Despite all of that, I love this movie. I can’t quite say why, but somewhere between Bruce Wills randomly singing a duet of “Swinging on a Star” with Danny Aiello (because, like all catburglars, singing songs are how they keep time during heists), Andie MacDowell playing a nun who is also is a secret Vatican operative who may or may not be falling in love with Bruce Wills’ character, and Sandra Bernhard as one of the heads of a diabolical organization bent on WORLD DOMINATION!, this movie won me over. Unfortunately for everyone who invested money in this film, I may be the only person in the world that owns a copy of this movie. ($70 million to make, $17 million earned. Yikes! No wonder TriStar went bankrupt after this.)
Bulworth (1998) – I have seen this movie a few times and to this day, I am not totally sure how I feel about it. After seeing the preview I remember thinking that this was a movie I definitely needed to see. Once I saw it, I was blown away by it. I thought it was amazingly refreshing and it made me wish all politicians would just speak their mind and not worry about what people thought about them all of the time. It made me want to be a rogue politician and change the world. At some point a few years later, I watched it again and that time the movie just didn’t strike the same chord. It seemed a kind of silly and not at all realistic. I haven’t seen it since, so I don’t know exactly how I feel about it anymore. On the whole, I probably like it more than I dislike it, but I am a little afraid to watch it again because who knows how my opinion of this movie will sway. I would rather just leave it in my mind as an above average movie with an interesting message. My favorite memory about this movie is that it contains the song my wife and I claim as “our song.” We didn’t dance to it at our wedding because, frankly it isn’t exactly a “first dance” kind of song. (Special prize to the first person (besides Susie) who can name the song. Our previous winner was my cousin-in-law, Jeff Ruggaber, who knew that Yahoo! was named after a race of people in Gulliver’s Travels.)(I should probably get him his prize!) ($30 million to make, $26 million earned.)
The Saint (1997) – A perfect combination of randomness makes this one of my favorite bad movies of all time. The main character plays into my love of mythology and Catholicism by using various Catholic saints as aliases. The heroine is someone that I had a major crush on and she plays a character that is not only cute and a super smart scientist, but she also is just clumsy and awkward enough to make a college-age guy like me think that I would definitely have a chance at picking her up. Add in the extra benefits of an excellent soundtrack (especially “6 Underground” by the Sneaker Pimps) and my nostalgic love of old TV shows and it added up to a winner in my book. Unfortunately, the average American movie-goer did not enjoy said recipe and yet another of my favorite movies was deemed a commercial flop ($70 million to make, earned $61 million in the US).
Sneakers (1992) – I’m not sure anyone would call this movie a flop or crappy, but it sure isn’t Citizen Kane either. However, there are at least 10-15 lines/scenes from this movie that I quote that no one ever knows what I am talking about, so I think this movie fits the category. (“My name is my passport, verify me”. Or how about “We’re the United States Government, we don’t DO that kind of thing”. Classic) Anyway, I am man enough to say that I love Robert Redford and I think he is cool, so I can’t stop watching this movie if and when it ever comes on TV. It also has a pretty great and eclectic cast of actors and characters (What’s not to love about a wacky group of guys who make a living by breaking in to banks to show how bad their security systems are?) Sir Sidney Poitier, cracking a joke or two. Dan Aykroyd, being Dan Aykroyd. River Phoenix before he tragically died. And this guy, the future voice of IU Health, who helps the team find the bad guy’s secret hideout solely by recreating the sounds that Robert Redford’s character remembers from his ride in the trunk of a car. (“There’s a cocktail party at the reservoir?”)(This movie is totally believable.) (Unlisted budget, $51 million made).
Down Periscope (1996) – Did someone say immensely quotable movie with a wacky cast of mitfits? I can’t count how many times I watched this movie with my best friend in college. (You remember that I am a dork, right?) You can’t beat a movie based on a plot of wacky Navy Captain finally gets his commission but its a crappy, diesel submarine, with a crew of misfit, whose job is to try a simulate a rouge attack on various naval bases on the Atlantic. (“Think like a pirate!” Oops, there I go again.) This movie is not too long (about 90 minutes) so it doesn’t try to be too much and wear out its welcome, it may be the only time I have ever found Kelsey Grammer to be funny, there is a good amount of pirate talk, a crazy whale act by Harland Williams and it also feature a tremendous running joke about an inappropriate tattoo. The only drawback to this movie is that the “love interest” in this movie is played by Lauren Holly, who really doesn’t do much for me and I didn’t really believe as the first American woman on a submarine. (Because of course the first woman on a submarine would totally be a timid, unsure of herself pansy who is scared to actually pilot a boat, until she gets under the “tough-love” tutelage of the wacky, Captain Tom Dodge and then she would immediately throw it all away by falling for her commanding officer. Right.) (Unlisted budget, $25 million earned).
There is a reason that as much as I would love to be paid to watch and review movies, no one has actually given me a job doing such. I would do crazy things like rank all of the above movies highly and even, *gasp*, recommend that an animated movie win “Best Picture” at the Oscars. (Beauty and the Beast was robbed in 1991!)