Feb 10, 2008


Ah the wonder of the movies.  You get a wonderful idea, go through the whole process of getting the film made, release it, drink in your success.  Then twenty years later, you go back and watch it.  I personally believe that the true classics will either be just as moving and relevant in that twenty-year anniversary watching - or even better.  And then you have those movies that are just a complete joke.  At one point, they were somewhat enjoyed or respected.  (Which eliminated Virtuosity, Johnny Mnemonic, Judge Dredd, etc) At some point, something happened.  Some of them are left behind for technological reasons, others for cultural, others for acting.  Whatever the reason, some movies just do not stand the test of time.  For every Quiz Show or Schindler's List that age like a fine wine or premium steak, you have others - like these five - that age like a cheap pile of bologna or an open can of Sprite.

1 - THE NET - 1995 - This Sandra Bullock movie is shockingly bad - now.  I remember watching it when it first came out, back when the interwebs were still in their fledgling state.  The thought of someone ordering pizza online?  How shocking.  I left the film with a sense of worry, wondering if anyone really could do what was portrayed.  Now, I put more information on my Facebook account than the villains in this movie were able to retrieve.  This is movie that was cutting edge in its topic, but just got passed by innovation.  Don't feel bad, Sandra, lots of movies get burned by this.

2 - THE SAINT - 1997 - Val Kilmer was the dashing Simon Templar and Elisabeth Shue was the brilliant scientist (huh?) in this movie update of the classic spy television show.  I remember watching the movie and loving it.  Kilmer was so cool and ahead of the bad guys.  Shue was white hot, coming off of her Oscar nominated performance in Leaving Las Vegas.  There was suspense, romance, science, and a wicked cool new Volvo.  I watched this last night.  Good golly.  The dialogue sounded like rejected soap opera lines written by a non-WGA scribe.  The science was just stupid.  But what stunned me was the horrible acting.  I remember when America thought that Kilmer and Shue were good actors.  But watching them again, I realized that they were terrible.  Heather at one point looked at me and asked if there was a story-based reason why Shue was playing the scientist as a flighty air-head bimbo.  Sadly, I had to say, "No, that serves no purpose."  Even the car seemed dated.  Thanks to the Bourne trilogy, even the suspense and espionage seemed ridiculous.  Made me want to go and apologize to everyone who I recommended the film to over the last few years.

3 - STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE - 1979 - I know I stand on dangerous ground, daring to take shots at Star Trek.  I mean, it is Star Trek, and it was nominated for three Oscars.  But come on, this film was sketchy when it came out.  And it gets worse every year.  Now it HAS to be considered a comedy.  I mean, after the subsequent Star Trek series, we are seriously supposed to be threatened by a giant Simon game as a villain.  And the questions that a new viewer would ask.  Why is everyone in their jammies?  What is Brittney Spears doing in this movie?  Why is Rev. Camden getting uppity with Captain Kirk?  Did they forget to take the soft focus filter off the cameras?  Why did they actually go backwards in their technological advances as time went on?  Were these special effects by a teenager on his Mac?  It is a miracle this franchise survived.

4 - DANCES WITH WOLVES - 1990 - This movie is a perfect example of how an actor's later personal behaviors affect how a film is viewed.  In 1990, Kevin Costner was at the top of the acting world.  This film was smack in the middle of a nine picture winning streak to rival anyone in cinema history.  And Costner did one better by directing and everything.  It was like awards couldn't be thrown at the film fast enough.  Twelve Oscar nominations.  Seven Oscar wins, including Best Director and Picture.  It was a great, sweeping epic.  But Costner seemed to go on a ego-trip, partly as a result of it.  He went on to a much less successful streak, and some very questionable projects - especially the huge money pit Waterworld.   Now, films like this and JFK were seen not as masterpieces, but as an ego-stroking cheap version of history.  This was further reinforced by Costner himself, who just became unlikeable and narcissistic.  

5 - WAYNE'S WORLD 2 - 1993 - Most comedies can age pretty well.  I mean, if kicking someone in the groin is funny in 1950, it is going to be funny in 2020, right?  But in this case, this movie does not come close.  The original film was funny and original and (unfortunately) launched the Saturday Night Live movie mine.  But the sequel was everything the first was not - it was bloated and plodding and too orchestrated.  The producers figured by jamming the movie with celebrities and cameos, it would make up for a severe lack of plot or humor.  Instead, the whole movie just continues to disappoint.  When it came out, the characters and actors were popular enough it got a free pass for a while.  Now, if someone watches it, they will have no idea why the movie got made.  The first one had organic laughs and felt natural.  The second one could have been called "The Contractually Obligated Wayne's World Sequel."

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