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Uncle Orson's All-time Film List
Movies that made a lot of money that are pretty horrible
- Good premise, good scenery chewing performances, but the chase scene at the
end gives the lie to all that went before and exposes the ultimate cheesiness of
the story. They shouldn't let you see that it's all about the popcorn in the
- The earnest cast does its best, and there are moments when it looks like it's
going to be promising, but writer Chris Columbus doesn't know how to hold
onto any kind of truth in his movie making, and this movie collapses quickly in
its desire to throw in all the "cool stuff" Columbus thought of. What happens,
though, is that the story turns mean and then, after relishing its meanness,
pretends to redeem itself by teaching us a lesson. What's the lesson? Obey the
feeding instructions that come with your pet? Yeah, that'll save the world.
Dumb and Dumber knows it's moronic. That's why this one is dumbest.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- The original story was about how the Grinch didn't get it -- the town
understood the true meaning of Christmas all along. This movie transforms
that simple story into the standard Hollywood savaging of smalltown life.
Now all the people in town are greedy, competitive idiots, and it's the sensitive,
misunderstood Grinch who has to save them. Add to the dishonesty and
stupidity of this betrayal of Dr. Seuss's original story the soulless and unfunny
performance by Jim Carrey (or was that just the makeup and computer
graphics performing? It might as well have been) and the stock Hollywood
"upping the jeopardy" gimmicks at the end and, well, you've got a pretty lousy
film. I suspect this one will end up eventually moving down onto the worst-movies-ever list before long. But you have to let the badness ripen a little
before you can be sure.
- Sure, I'm human, I got sucked in the first time. But on rewatching it, I've
realized how very mechanical and by-the-numbers this one is. But what can
you expect with Chris Columbus directing a posthumous script by John
Hughes? (No, John Hughes isn't dead. Just his sense of truth.)
- Scratch the surface of most of Spielberg's films, and Hook is inside it, leering
out at you. The pandering of the "lost boys" was bad enough -- when will
adults realize that they can't be cool by capturing fads that were already over by
the time they heard of them? -- but what killed this movie was the cowardly
ending. Though cowardly endings are proof that the film is by Spielberg, in
case the hype somehow passed you by, this one was especially egregious. I
mean, this is about a father who has been told by the villain that if the villain is
not killed, he will come back again and again to torment and, if he can, destroy
the his children. So the father beats him in a fair fight, but with his sword at
the villain's throat, he turns around and walks away. What a wonderful
message for children: No, kids, Daddy doesn't have the spine to keep you safe.
He'll let the bogey man live because, after all, good guys can't kill disarmed
villains even if they were disarmed in a fair fight. Well, I've got a clue for you:
this father could. And so could every other father I know. And no, it didn't
save anything when the big stuffed crocodile fell over on Captain Hook and
Hook disappeared. Because we had no way of knowing what that meant. This
story took place in a fantasy land, remember? How do we know that someone
who magically disappears won't magically reappear later? (Indeed, I suspect
that if Hook had been a bigger success, we would already have seen the sequel
-- in which Hook was not dead.) No matter what, the ending sucks because we
don't know what happened and even if we did we'd hate it.
- After the greatest promotional campaign ever, this movie had to deliver big
time. And it did. We loved this movie first time around. And some moments
still work. But the dialogue. Aaargh. And the phoniness of the president.
And the pure manipulation of subplot of the drunk who gives his life and earns
at last the respect of his children. And the stupid death of the ... no, no, it's too
painful. Everything in this is by the numbers. The guys who were trying to do
something fresh and real in Stargate had no such ambition in this movie. In a
way, it's just Red Dawn writ large. And yet ... the parts that work really work.
And it's still fun to watch. Which is why, like Titanic, it is on this list but is
also on my favorites list. As Emerson said, A foolish consistency is the
hobgoblin of little minds.
- This is the movie Robin Williams made to justify abandoning his marriage and
damaging his children because he couldn't keep his pants zipped. It doesn't
work on that level, and it doesn't work as acting, either, since he is so
hopelessly unbelievable as a woman. But it is funny sometimes, and so it's on
this list instead of the worst-movies-ever list.
- I didn't hate this the first time. But my missionary companion in Brazil loved
this film so much that he dragged me back to it twice more, wasting two of my
P-days and forcing me to listen to some of the worst writing in the history of
film over and over again. There are moments that aren't embarrassing, and
some that are even cool, so it isn't on the worst-movies-ever list. But by the
end of this film, is there any character left alive that you weren't hoping to
Return of the Jedi
- Ewoks. The sock hop at the end. The idea that a guy who was more evil than
Hitler could be redeemed just because at the last moment he declined to murder
his own son. And ... it's boring. But somehow it made more money than the
infinitely better The Empire Strikes Back. Go figure. No, don't go figure.
Look in the mirror. You did it, you audience member, voting with your
money. Shame on you.
Robin Hood (Kevin Costner version)
- Kevin Costner is a good actor who doesn't understand his limitations. Mr.
Costner, you're a quiet actor. Don't accept parts that require you to give
heroic speeches. You don't have those chops. And if you are going to attempt
it, for pete's sake don't have Morgan Freeman in the same movie to show us
what heroic acting looks like. It just shrinks you to the point of invisibility. If
you want to see a Robin Hood movie, rent Robin and Marian.
- Yeah, I was sucked in the first time. I cried and everything. And most of the
story still works on rewatching. It's the falseness of the clunky, ludicrous
dialogue (what happened to Jim Cameron's writing talent? He used to have a
lot!) and the badly written, badly directed, and severely overacted Billy Zane
role that do this movie in. That and the embarrassment of watching Cameron
try to pass off his bad drawings as work that would impress a woman who had
the artistic vision to buy Picasso before he was famous. I mean, is there no
limit to the hubris and the blindness? And yet ... this movie is still on my list
of favorites (though not all-time greats) because, bad as the flaws are, I still
marvel at the sights we're shown, and I still cry when Kathy Bates can't get
them to bring the lifeboats back.
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