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Bully for Bugs (1953)
An all-time classic
This is one of my all-time favourite Bugs Bunny cartoons -- it contains everything that sets the classic Warners animation stuff apart from the stuff that's mass produced today. I especially love the way that the fortunes of Bugs and the bull waver back and forth; I also love the synchronization with the "La Cucaracha" music (see also "Rabbit of Seville (1950)") and the elaborate contraption that Bugs builds.
If you're trying to show someone a classic WB cartoon, this is a great one to start with.
Cop & ½ (1993)
Burt needed the money - but nobody else is forgiven.
There's a whole host of movies that are so bad that they are worth watching purely for a laugh. There's even more that are not worth watching because they're boring as well as being bad.
And then there is this movie.
You know that feeling you get when a good friend of yours is embarrassing themselves in public? That's what watching this film is like -- and Burt Reynolds isn't a friend. It's just that this movie is so bad that he feels like one - the only thing recognizable and close to normal that you can clutch at desperately as you're riding this movie as it swirls around the bowl...
What's wrong with this film? In short: everything. A horrible conglomerate of ill-conceived and irresponsible ideas. I can just see the plot being sketched out:
"Let's have this kid witness a crime!" "Won't that be a bit scary?" "Ok then, we'll have the killer sing a song before he does it." "Yeah, and his dumb goons have got to like it even though it's bad." "Ok, but only if we can show someone getting kicked in the nuts a few times..."
I want these 97 minutes of my life back. No, I want them back, plus interest. The advent of DVD commentary tracks allow directors to walk viewers through their films. Perhaps the reverse should apply: directors of films like this should be forced to sit through a screening of their film while it's ridiculed by even the most amateur of film critics.
Future Past (1987)
This films is a complete mess - stupid lines, stupid characters, bad actors, a dumb plot, and careless production. It mistakes confusion for complexity, and assumes that the audience will swallow whatever junk they throw on the screen. I mean, there's actually a mad scientist twirling his fingers in his hair and talking to himself as he hatches his fiendish plan....
The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
It gets better as it goes along
As a writer/director, Mamet unfortunately relies too often on words - having characters talking about something when showing them doing what they are talking about would be more interesting. This is especially true in the opening scenes of the film, where character sit around and through some clumsy dialog eventually manage to set up a premise.
I also get the feeling that Mamet was writing with a screenplay theory book in one hand: he constructs the world of film's most blatant "McGuffin", and his attempts at introducing seemingly insignificant plot elements (which are later discovered to be of vital importance) are clumsily blatant.
Apart from these stylistic elements, Mamet's story unfortunately suffers from the same thing that many other "con-artist" movies does: the con-artist is a master strategist, who is able to foresee and exploit all of the dumb moves that the victim inevitably takes. In some cases, the con-artist's plan *requires* the victim to make a dumb move. The audience is left screaming at the dumb characters in the film, much as a room full of children would scream at the pantomime hero who is oblivious to the dragon sneaking up behind them.
Of the cast: Steve Martin plays very well a refreshingly low-key character, and Campbell Scott is excellent - even though his character is required by the script to make some stupid moves.
Scott's confrontation with his boss' lawyers is one of the few places in the film where the script is up to the quality of Scott's acting.
On the plus side, the film picks up after a dragging first 45 minutes, and actually manages to generate some mystery and suspicion until we get to the end, where we get yet another example of super-smart criminals who can predict exactly which way the victim will bolt.
Bad jokes stretched pretty thin
This film suffers greatly because screenwriter/star Mike Myers is under the impression that a weak joke can be made hilarious one if you just stretch it out and repeat the punchline for sixty seconds or so. Slipping on a banana peel (say) is funny the first three times, but after that the laughs dry up.
The film is only enjoyable as an exercise in spotting the homages to James Bond movies - and there are a lot. Unfortunately, like the jokes, the spoofs are cranked right up past the redline so that us dumb old viewers catch them. For example, Myers' charicature of Blofeld works better as an impersonation of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.
The film lasts 90 minutes - usually this seems too short, but for this film it's an eternity. The alternative endings and cut footage on the DVD release show that they filmed more material - which they decided not to include even though there was plenty of time - what does this say about quality?
Hopefully, this is as ridiculous as this genre will get.
Βay and Bruckheimer have created this film based on what they think the public wants to see, not based on a story or message that they want to convey. In far too many respects, I get the feeling that plot elements, dialogue, or settings are inserted because of their mass appeal, and how they will look in 30-second TV spots. This is to action films what "Moonraker" was to the James Bond series: an utter contrivance, in which characters and logic are sacrificed in order to set up an unlikely but visually spectacular situation. Just as Bond was returned to his roots in subsequent films, we can only hope that those responsible for this film realize that they've pushed the envelope (and their luck) far enough. Now that we've narrowly avoided extinction from an incoming Texas-sized cliché, one hopes that the next film from Bruckheimer features a better plot and more intelligence, not a bigger disaster with a dumber redneck hero. If we keep going along this path, we'll have a high-school dropout garage mechanic preventing a supernova by swallowing a nuclear weapon and belching the national anthem at the sun.