Thursday, July 7, 2005

Not Bad, But Flawed; and By the Numbers, Part One

Not So Much "Bad" As Flawed
Weekend Assignment #67: Bad Movie Marathon! Share your favorite bad film of all time. Tell us why you love it so.

Extra Credit: Your favorite quote from the aforementioned film.
- J.S.

Only one of these is actually bad.

I have to take issue with the whole concept on this one.  I don't like bad films, because, you know, they're bad.  I've never managed to sit through Plan 9 From Outer Space or Robot Monster or Night of the Lepus

I will admit, however, to liking several films that critics did not.  The one that sticks in my mind is Robert Altman's Popeye (1980), starring Robin Williams as the spinach-hating sailor.  What?  Spinach-hating?  That's right.  In this film, he hates spinach, but Poopdeck Pappy eventually gets him to eat it anyway.

When John and I saw this with John's friend Kal in 1980, the main attraction for us was the music by Harry Nilsson.  Kal disliked the film, including the music.  "I'm going to go home and listen to my Nilsson records," he said, "and give them one more chance before I get rid of them all."  (He did not, in fact, get rid of them.)

But John and I always liked the film, from the fun Nilsson songs and score to cartoonist Jules Feiffer's clever screenplay to the wonky cast.  Being an Altman film, it had a lot of mumbling, but that just meant we had to listen a little harder for Popeye's under-his-breath observations and insults.  Most of the best lines went to Popeye or to Poopdeck Pappy, played by wonderful Ray Walston:

Popeye: I'm your one and only exspring. See, we got the same bulgy arms.
Poopdeck Pappy: No resemblance.
Popeye: We-we got the same squinky eye.
Poopdeck Pappy: What squinky eye?
Popeye: That's going to be hard for you to see. Oh, we even got the same pipe, Pap.
Poopdeck Pappy: You idjit, you can't inherit a pipe! Ooh, I am poppa to no male. Nor no female child. That no court could prove otherwise.

Popeye: Wrong is wrong, even when it helps ya.

Many years later, John bought me Sweethaven prop money from the film on eBay.

The second film that isn't really bad is Jesus Christ Superstar.  I thought I previously told my Ted Neeley story, but Google can't find it, so I'll get back to you later on that. For now I'll just say that this film is flawed in that it's over-the-top and takes major liberties with, well, pretty much everything and everyone.  But I really like the music, and the complex relationship between the Judas character and the Jesus character, and even the silly anachronistic stuff such as the souvenir postcards for sale in the Temple.

Call them "flawed."
As for the third film pictured here on DVD, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, well, okay, that one is bad.  But that's not why I like it.  In fact, I don't like it, although I did buy it cheap a while back.  I own it because it's the only way to see Buffy when she was first called to be the Chosen One. Even though it's the wrong Buffy, and badly directed, I have to have it for that reason. I think of the film's title character as an alternate universe Buffy, a weird distortion of what "really" happened to the Buffster before Sunnydale.  And even the mangled script has a few Joss Whedon gems:

Buffy: I've got something the other girls don't.
Merrick: And what's that?
Buffy: My keen fashion sense!
Merrick: Oh, vampires of the world beware.

Buffy: Does the word "duh" mean anything to you?

But after watching it, I always need the antidote:  Season One of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the tv series.

Oh, there's one other thing that's flawed about these three films: the DVDs have no special features to speak of.  I'd love to hear Nilsson's Popeye demos, or find out why they wrecked Joss Whedon's Buffy script (not that they'd admit to this result), or see something about the cultural context of Superstar.  But no: apparently even the studios don't respect these films enough to give us anything extra to chew on.

By The Numbers, Part One: The Saga Continues

In case you've been wondering, I should mention that yes, I'm still working out. I took the 4th of July off, but otherwise I've been there every night, usually near closing time.  Last night I met with Junior again.  He had me work my legs until I could barely walk, and then had me bump my time on the treadmill up to 35 minutes.  I had to back off on the speed to 3.0 mph, but I did it.

35 minutes, but back down to 3.0 mph.
However, I'm taking tonight off, partly because it's getting late, and partly because of that legs-hurt-so-much-I-can-hardly-walk thing. So that's three nights I've taken off out of twelve. And one of those nights, I walked the dog for 20 minutes, and tonight I plan to do some stretching. Does that count? So overall, the numbers aren't perfect, but they're pretty good. Too bad the scale bounced right back up four pounds after a 5 1/2 pound loss!

Speaking of numbers, I ran into one of my favorite UoP instructors last night in the L.A. Fitness parking lot.  Fred's presence may have something to do with the fact that he's a world class handball player.  He asked me if I'm learning anything accounting-wise in my new job, and I said it was all company-specific stuff. 

But I spoke too soon.  Today I had to work on figuring out how to account for a capital lease.  I was so stumped that I went home at lunch and grabbed my Intermediate Accounting textbook to take back to work with me.  I told this to a company muckety-muck who came by to go over it with me.  He smiled and said that he does the same thing sometimes.

Rainy Palms

Tomorrow:  By the Numbers, Part Two:  When It Rains in Tucson...



ryanagi said...

"Excuse me much? Rude or anything?"  OK. At the risk of losing any remaining respect you have for my taste in movies...I love the Buffy movie.  

Buffy - "All right, let me get this straight, okay? You want me to go to the graveyard with you because I'm the Chosen One, and there are vampires?"
Merrick - "Yes."
Buffy - "Does Elvis talk to you?"

And remember...muscle weighs more than fat. And at the rate you are going, you are gonna be ready for the Ms. Universe competition in no time. ;-)

ondinemonet said...

Hi Karen :)

I loved Jesus chirst Superstar. Victor Garber was very good I thought. Sometimes "Day By Day" plays in my head. I didn't care much for the original "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" I am glad Joss Whedon got to tell the story per his original vision. Great show. I hear they are working on an animated Buffy for Fox I think. Hmmm.

Always, carly :)

dragonrose637 said...

I loved Buffy.

sakishler said...

I think Jesus Christ Superstar is absolutely fantastic. Don't forget to tell your Ted Neeley story (dude, that man can sing).

There is now a special edition DVD that does include a commentary track by Norman Jewison and Neeley as well as a video interview with Tim Rice. I can tell you don't have that one because the cover in the photo is slightly different from mine. The commentary is great, although it's sad when they talk about Carl Andersen (did you know he died a year or two ago?) I've had the fortune of seeing both Carl and Ted do these roles on stage . . . Carl I saw twice.

pixiedustnme said...

Flawed - a much better word, because if they were really "bad" how could we like them?!!

fdtate714 said...

I love the Buffy movie.  And Kristy Swanson makes a much more believable Buffy than that Gellar chick.  I could snap her like a twig.  

chrisuab said...

Yea, I hate how "bad" movies dont usually have special feature DVD's.  :(

sdoscher458 said...

Good choices...I still love the TV Buffy...mad at them for killing a good thing then they went after Angel ARgh...rotten people....Sandi

plittle said...

I liked the film version of Buffy. Tongue-in-cheek was the way to go with that. I never got into Buffy on TV. Took itself too seriously for me. I love JCS. I have the soundtrack on CD, and I can listen to it over and over again. Come to think of it, I don't need the CDs. I can sing the whole thing in my head. Not out loud, though. I don't want anyone to throw rocks at me. Popeye, I have never seen. Well, maybe on TV once, but I really wasn't paying attention.