The photo above is the movie theater where when I was younger we'd go see movies. That was the only indoor theater in town, but there were a few drive-ins around town too, and we'd watch movies there as well. Once my dad revealed to me that he thought about owning a cinema and thought it would be fun occupation or enterprise. The Arleyne theater above is no longer there and that area of town has been renovated. This was when I was much younger from the ages of around grade school to early high school. Sometimes my mom would drop me and my siblings off there, and we'd watch a movie, and call her when the movie was over, or if she wanted to go shopping, she'd find out when the movie ended and would wait for us outside. I remember seeing Disney films there, Elvis Presley movies, a few horror/SF films there, and some Harryhausen films there, along with 007.
When my family moved to West Texas, we continued our movie going experience to this theater called the Ritz. It was in the downtown area, and there was another theater close by just around the corner. Both the Ritz and the Arlyne had balconies, and seemed, at least at the time, fairly plush. I often wondered where the Arlyne got its name, that just seems an odd name for a theater. Perhaps it was the last name of the owner, I have no idea. But we continued watching great movies. At the Ritz I continued to watch even more Sci-Fi. I saw 2001, The Planet of the Apes, Fantastic Voyage, A Clockwork Orange, more 007 sequels, and other action films there. It's odd, but I think between me and my brother I picked out what movies we'd go see, whereas at home he'd pick and choose what TV we watched. The good thing about that, however, is that we both had pretty similar taste. That holds true for music and books as well.
Ever so often though, whether you go see a film at the cinema or you just watch them off TV, cable, etc. you are bound to run into a few duds. Some films are just out right dogs, but a few, although not great films, are entertaining, fun, escapist, guilty pleasures. I'm not talking about some fiasco like Battlefield Earth that was universally -- and rightly -- condemned on its release, a film that's so bad you wanted to pull out your eyeballs and hurl them at the screen. I'll further add, this is a subjective call, because what I enjoy as a guilty pleasure might well be someone's favorite film of all time. There may be someone out that that actually thinks Battlefield Earth is a great film (I find that hard to believe or that they'd be above the age of six, but I guess it's possible).
The guilty pleasure film is one that isn't that great of a film, more than likely has flaws and plot holes, or is just beyond suspension of doubt, or may even contain all and more of those criticisms. These are not films that for some imbecile reason you liked, and kept liking, until
enough others began to like it as well, allowing you to lie to yourself
about how right you were when everyone else was wrong. No, I'm not
referring to that. I'm talking about those guilty pleasures that make
you so guilty you dare not mention them approvingly in certain circles,
since such a confession would mark you for life, scarring your
reputation beyond any hope of recovery. I mean those movies that will
never develop a cult following, that merit the scorn that's been heaped
upon them. Don't pretend you haven't got a few of these in the closet.
None of us has perfect taste. No matter how much you educate your taste
buds, you still make room for chili fries and pork rinds. I realize that
it's mighty tough standing up in front of everybody and saying, "My
name is Rupert, and I'm an alco -- excuse me, I actually enjoyed
_______________ (fill in the blank)."
I'm gifted when it comes to publicly degrading myself, so I'll start.
Here are some of the films I've enjoyed -- there are others -- that I've seen and ENJOYED, even
though I know they've gotten criticized and have mixed reviews:
8MM--with Nickolas Cage--I honestly don't see why some people didn't like this film. I thought this movie was pretty edgy and dark, and it's not one of Cage's top tier films, but I still enjoyed it. Granted it reminded me a lot of the George C. Scott film, Hardcore, which is the better film, but I thought 8MM had enough going for it that it is worth watching, and even rewatching again. I guess it helps if you are into crime picture, mysteries, and that sort of thing.
The Avengers with Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes? I used to enjoyed the British TV show, but I already knew going into this film it was going to be a film made for that built-in audience of fans, similar to Charlie's Angels. So was it a good film? Heck no. But for me anyway it was watchable, and after reading a few reviews, I found it more indulging that the critics who panned the film. Now granted I didn't go to the cinema and pay to see it, I just caught it off TV on a rainy day, but for that it was fine.
I've already posted about the infamous, Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale movie, Val Helsing here
. Is it a great movie? Not hardly, but it is what it is: an early CG effects film, that tried to the appeal to a teen horror market. Depending on my mood, and if it's around Halloween time, I could see watching again if the mood struck me, but I don't think I'd want to watch it again anytime soon.
What about the Popeye movie starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall? Actually I think the movie was pretty well cast, particularly with Duvall as Olive Oyl, but actually the other actors fit pretty well too. The first time I saw this film, I was on the side of the fence that thought it was a bad movie. However, I've seen it a few more times, and there is an attraction to the film. I do think the third act goes on too long, but I like the set-up to the film, but it does wear a bit thin in spots. For a film made from a comic strip it works okay. Is it any better or worse than say the Dick Tracy film or The Shadow film? I guess that's your own personal call. I actually own The Shadow and the Dick Tracy films, though I'm not a huge fan of Dick Tracy. I like certain scenes in that film though. Any film has its acolytes. In a sense, that's what this post is all about.
Road House! I avoided this one like the plague when it was making the rounds on cable back in the day. For one I'm not a huge Patrick Swayze fan, and Sam Elliott is about the same for me. At least Elliott can be pretty good in certain character roles, albeit they are similar badass types. But the premise, aye yai yai... This came on the El Rey network a few weeks ago, and I just had to check it out. I was sort of in the mood for a mindless action film, and well, it fills that bill, but it's also pretty doofus on so many levels. Here's what Leonard Maltin had to say about the film: Bouncer Swayze--an NYU philosophy major no less--is hired to clean house at a hellhole Midwest saloon, and tangles with local kingpin Ben Gazzara, who regards the burg as his own. One broken limb won't suffice when twenty-seven more will do; braindead yahoo fare is fun for while, until it goes overboard with violence. I particularly enjoyed the braindead yahoo fare line. Roger Ebert went on to say: Was it intended as a parody? I have no idea, but I laughed more during
this movie than during any of the so-called comedies I saw during the
same week. For sure it's an eyeroll type movie, or was for me, but at the same time in its own goofy universe, it's watchable.
So what would be your guilty pleasure, Heaven's Gate film? I could certainly name off more. Is your favorite guilty pleasure Tomb Raider, Gigli, Ben Affleck in Daredevil, Batman and Robin, or Showgirls? I guess we all have those secret films that we don't like to admit we enjoy in private.