The idea started simply enough: I would watch 24 hours straight of "bad" super-hero/comic book related films, documenting the entire thing with notes and hopefully not going completely bat-shite insane along the way. I pitched my idea to my boy Goddard whom I often bounce column topics off of and was completely amazed how excited he got by the concept. In fact, he wanted to join me in this obviously daft endeavor. We made a list of potential movies and figured out what we could get and what we wouldn't be able to find and last Saturday at 10:34am - it began. While I am sitting here alive and well enough to tell the tale, one might question my sanity now that I have consumed such drivel in one 24 hour period. Kittlings, it was a difficult task that left me worn down but I am here to relay the details to you for your reading pleasure.
(While we did find 12 movies that can be considered "bad" or "awful" in some sense of the word, we randomly mixed them up and put them in no particular order. I think this made for a much more scientific presentation of the facts.)
MOVIE #1 - THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN, or LXG
10:34am IT BEGINS. Jacob brewed a pot of Trader Joe's 5 Country Espresso Blend while I stuck with my ever present beverage of choice these days, Diet Pepsi. LXG was a comic book put out by Alan Moore's ABC imprint, a division of Wildstorm, a division of DC Comics. Goddard and I are both fans of the comic book series which ran 6 issues (there have been 2 subsequent mini-series following the original series but the movie was based on the 1st series alone). James Robinson wrote the screenplay for the film - he is a well respected comic book writer known for his Starman series. So this would potentially lead to a good movie right? So. So. wrong.
I had seen the movie before and knew what I was getting into. Goddard had not seen it but was still able to discern the end of the movie not even halfway through the film. Now you would think this would be easy considering he had read the series but characters were added and the plot was rearranged to add certain elements that the producers deemed "essential" for American audiences. Like adding Tom Sawyer (how are them dum Americans going go be able to follow around a team of foreigners?) and the rather Johnny Depp-ish looking Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray. Mina Harker (from Bram Stoker's Dracula) was the leader of the League in the comics, but no way was a girl gonna lead the LXG! Nah, Sean Connery as Quartermain is the obvious leader of the group. After all, he is old enough to be every one's great grandfather. But Mina needs to be sexy guys! So let's make her a vampire! Hilarity ensues. This movie was more annoying than anything else for Goddard and myself as we felt the book was bloody great and the movie was just plain stupid. I know I shouldn't blame Mr. Moore for the outcome of other people adapting his comic book work to films...but dammit! Tom Sawyer doesn't even fit into the time period! I hate the misconception that it needs to be violent, bloody and American for the US to understand or like something.
MOVIE #2 FANTASTIC FOUR 2 : THE RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
12:26pm. It now being lunch time, Goddard and I order Dominoes pizza and get to watching the sequel to FANTASTIC FOUR, which was actually a movie I liked. What can I say? Johnny Storm is hot and the film was fun. I have always said that the Fantastic Four are the lamest Super-hero team ever - just a bunch of nerdy scientists and a guy that says "Flame on"? Utter silliness. But nevertheless I was a fan of the 1st film and was actually looking forward to the sequel.
The fun first part, where the Silver Surfer is cruising around ze earth, wreaking havoc and messing with Mr. Storm's powers is like watching a sitcom. A pretty funny one too. Then it has to get all serious and the Fantasticar has to show up. Why doesn't Victor Von Doom have an accent? Isn't Latveria a foreign country? The biggest disappointment of this film is Galactus whom I've grown to have an increasing fondness for over the past year. If you know anything about Galactus, then you know he is this HUGE bloke with a silly purple helmet that devours planets. Silver Surfer is his "herald" that prepares the planets for Galactus' ravenous appetite. The Fantastic Four need to stop the planet from being eaten, and as Galactus approaches Earth, there is a shadow of his helmet on Saturn as he inches closer to our world. But then he arrives...and he's JUST A STUPID CLOUD!!!! WTF?? Things get serious, Silver Surfer loses his illustrious shine and helps the nerdy 4 save the day simply because Invisible Girl is hot and kinda reminds him of his gal back home. Awww....how terribly cute. I swear to god if I hear "It Clobberin' Time" ever again (even if darling Johnny Storm says it!) then I might just lose it.
NOTE : 1st appearance of blind character, Ben Grimm's girlfriend. Also 1st appearance of Stan Lee, who may be dressed in a tuxedo but still is stumbling drunk and couldn't put his toupee on straight.
MOVIE # 3 - DAREDEVIL -- aka DD (or as I like to call it "my own personal Hell")
2:09pm Oh how I regret not starting to drink during this film. At least I could've laughed a little bit at the absolute absurdity put before me in the shape of a movie. I have never read Daredevil before and after seeing this movie, I will run screaming at the thought of Ben Affleck in tight red leather. This movie wins for number of name drops alone. Quesada, Miller, Mack, Bendis, Romita, Lee, Kirby. But nobody really wins with a movie like this. There is only pain.
So Ben Affleck is blinded by some hazardous chemicals (2nd occurrence of blindness) and hones his other senses with the help of a montage (you gotta have a montage!) so much that he actually saves Stan Lee (2nd occurrence of Stan) because Lee is too drunk to realize he's walking into oncoming traffic. And yes, Lee's toupee was still crooked. DD is a bit bitter when it comes to criminals and uses snappy one-liners ("Half a Nice Day" before pushing a low-life named Quesada onto subway tracks where he is cut in half) and has the foresight to write his initials in lighter fluid on the off-chance that news reporter Ben Urich will throw his match onto it, igniting the flaming "DD" with such dramatic stupidity that I felt myself getting dizzy.
It's pretty cool when you have a pal like Batman to build your apartment for you. I don't know how much Daredevil paid the Dark Knight but it was worth every penny. The best part of DD's pad is his water isolation tank that he sleeps in to block out all the noises he can't help but hear because of his heightened senses. Funnily enough, DD doesn't wake up as a prune-man every morning, and still takes a shower after spending the entire night in water.
And what about that snappy soundtrack? All the main characters get their own type of music. Daredevil has that angst-ridden generic rock so popular with teenage boys these days. Bullseye (Irish!) has House of Pain to herald him in. The Kingpin has N.E.R.D. to illustrate to the viewer of his status, and Elektra gets the sweet Evanesence for her tunes of both anger and sadness.
Bullseye needs to get revenge on DD because as our Irish dead-aim so eloquently puts: "He...made...me...miss." Spoken like a true William Shatner student. Bullseye requires one thing from the Kingpin to accomplish this revenge kill. Why - a costume of course!
To pay homage to Batman for tricking out DD's apartment, bats inexplicably fly out of a huge pipe organ during one fight scene, and somehow Bullseye makes it all the way to the end to ensure a funny "after the credits start rolling" scene. If only this film was mocking Daredevil. Nay, they were trying to be absolutely serious. And that's what makes me ill.
MOVIE #4 - THE PUNISHER
4:10pm. This movie wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected. Except for John Travolta and his toupee (3rd toupee of the day kittlings!) and an inexplicable R rating. I mean, they really could've shown Frank Castle just getting medieval on plenty of people. Instead, he's really a bit of a nice guy, but with that "revenge" thing that most all those super-hero guys have got going for them. His mastermind plot to seek vengeance? A fake fire hydrant. Brilliant? - maybe. Exciting or inherent to the character of The Punisher? - no way. Seems the R rating was to show one pair of Bazooms and drop the F-bomb a bit. Although I gotta give big props to the 2 assassin scenes featuring the musician/killer Harry Heck and an unnamed Russian bloke that doesn't say a damn word (moral of that story: people in glass bathrooms shouldn't throw grenades).
MOVIE #4 - GHOST RIDER
6:30pm. I'm not gonna lie. I have despised Nic Cage for a long time now. I hate the way he talks. There are 2 movies that I like that he is in (Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas) and that's it. He bothers me. The previews for this movie bothered me. And after seeing Daredevil, I was just horrified that the next thing I would be watching was a Nic Cage movie. But that was how the chips fell, and I had to bite the bullet.
So Ghost Rider signs his soul away to Mephistopheles, or Mephisto, or some dark demon lord played by Peter Fonda, who made a good motorcycle film. He tries to save his dad, but then that mean old devil dude kills his father anyway! How rude! Then some other demons come out (element demons, the main one played by American Beauty weirdo Wes Bentley) and Ghost Rider must do away with them because he's under contract to Mephisto. At night he becomes a demon rider and must perform Mephisto's will. Along the way he meets grizzled old gravedigger dude played by Sam Eliot that gives the Ghost Rider the know-how on what he is and what he has to do.
I find it utterly laughable we are meant to believe as an audience that Nic Cage and Eva Longoria are the same age. I also found the "Penance Stare" more annoying than Nic Cage himself. Donal Logue saves this pic somewhat...but not really. The worst part this film? The video game element that Ghost Rider must beat all the "level bosses" to make it to the "head boss." I probably would've hated this movie more but Daredevil saved it.
MOVIE #6 - ELEKTRA
8:45pm. It was during this movie that Goddard made a SPARKS alcoholic energy drink run and we commenced watching Elektra, the Daredevil spin-off starring Jennifer Garner with (thankfully) no Ben Affleck or DD to be found. I couldn't really place the time of this movie but I feel that it was after the DD flick because she talks about dying and being brought back to life. This is a power that certain ninjas known as "The Hand" possess. We get some background knowledge on Elektra's training, Terrance Stamp plays Stick, who trained DD in the comic books but does not make an appearance or get a mention in the DD film.
Apparently Elektra has a killing problem, she's more like The Punisher than The Punisher is in his movie. Elektra is a paid assassin, and I guess is so high-profile that she needs an agent to handle all her jobs. In this movie Garner's character is fleshed out more, so we get some flashbacks, we get to see her set up her bathroom which reveals her OCD. Elektra is sent to some location to do some killing, but before she gets her assignment she makes nice with the neighbors down the street. Oh snap! Those are the peeps she has to kill. I mean, she's a stone cold assassin with a "killing problem," does dinner really make it that hard for her to finish her mission? You bet it does. She can't do it and actually ends up saving the man and daughter she was sent to murder.
Some cool team (reminded me of the villains from Ninja Scroll) from The Hand sets out to find Elektra and the family she is protecting...and you know, action and adventure ensues.
Oh yeah, and Stick is blind. That's the 3rd blind character. And the 2nd grizzled old man that helps the super-hero overcome some obstacle or issue (Remember Sam Eliot in Ghost Rider?). This movie was silly, but still not nearly as lame as Daredevil.
End of PT 1. Stay tuned next week for PT 2!!!!
~Till Next Time Kittlings.