Film is probably a topic that interests many people, so I shall continue to talk more about this category. Sometimes I think film is a pretty spurious connection to Monday entries, because the only films that belong to a literary discussion are probably the artsy films. Commercial movies like, say, CZ12, probably have nothing to do with literature and cannot really be analysed for intertextuality or whatever literary people do with films. I shall set aside this idea for now, since I really have not watched that many artsy films and have no knowledge of how to critique them most of the time. Hence, commercial productions.
I would give a list of the films I consider to be best, but I think you would already know that UP would top the list, so maybe I should try a different tack and go with the worst films, my least favourites, instead. Except I haven’t really thought much about this, evidently, so give me a moment to remember all the movies I ever watched.
1. Alligator… and all other monster movies in that vein
Alligator is a 1980 film about a giant alligator (which really looks more like a giant komodo dragon) eating humans in the sewers. It jumps with breakneck speed on any prey it sees, crushing cars and buildings in its wake, never mind that alligators don’t usually hunt like that. A man and a woman (usually the woman is some scientist who has been studying mutated reptiles all her life) decide to catch the alligator, and all sorts of epic tragedies and bloodshed occur, though both of them end up quite alright and even fall in love in the end. And at the end of the show, the sewer spits out a baby alligator, promising that the cycle will be repeated once again. It’s like a rollercoaster ride which returns to the start point at the end of the movie.
But really, why does Hollywood enjoy brainless monster thrillers so much? Things like Snakes On A Plane, Anacondas, Croc (which should not be mistaken for Alligator because as Lead Female Scientist will tell you, they are a different species of monster). Or less animalistic creatures such as Aliens vs Predators, or zombies in I Am Legend. All of them fall into the same formula of hysterical screaming crowds in the background, heroes who are picked off one by one, but the male lead and female lead survive in order to propagate for the sequel. I hate Hollywood horror. I also hate how half-witted most of the monsters look. Drooling, gaping, enormous. I would really appreciate a monster who, for once, mutated into something more intelligent than it used to be. Something like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But no, sentient animals have to be on our side, right? Because we are undeniably the good guys, friendly to all beings on Mother Earth.
Or maybe it’s because the movie will cease to be horror and start to be a social or environmental commentary.
2. Red Eye… and other films about kidnap and assassination
I don’t hate all shows relating to kidnap and assassination. For example, I really love Cellular, which is about this woman who is abducted and who manages to get in contact by phone with a stranger, and tries to get him to help her. Cellular was great heart-pumping action the entire time, plus who doesn’t love pretty-boy Chris Evans? But Red Eye? Red Eye is simply terrible to behold, in my opinion. Cillian Murphy’s eyes are so creepily blue I wonder why the movie doesn’t just rename itself to Blue Eyes (of Danger).
But yes, Red Eye is an absurd plot about a woman who is on this flight with this handsome blue-eyed man (dubious value judgment there) but the man turns out to be some kind of terrorist who has sent a hitman to shoot her father if she doesn’t comply with his evil request. If this doesn’t sound unlikely enough, the remainder of the movie has her single-handedly stabbing the guy with a pen (on a red-eye flight no less), stealing an SUV and performing this incredible game of hide-and-seek with the terrorist that she stabbed (who turns out to be alive and well). And well the whole storyline is just painfully unbelievable.
Speaking of painfully unbelievable storylines, that tends to apply to most movies of this genre. I remember having watched Eagle Eye, which is suspiciously similarly named to Red Eye. Eagle Eye stars Shia LeBeouf, who looks like an Indian even in Transformers, and Michelle Monaghan. This story is somewhat more fun in that it is some kind of futuristic world where a government software gained artificial intelligence and sentience and wants to thwart Parliament from within by killing all the politicians. This software has access to every single electronically-connected thing in the country and can communicate with random people through phone calls, threatening them (and making good its threats) if they refuse. The software takes a female voice, and reminds me a lot of GlaDos, which is the humourous fun part. A pity they didn’t cast the voice actress of GlaDos, because that would have made the film a lot better and more appealing, I think. But yes, most of the time kidnap-related films just make their protagonists — supposedly everyday people like you and I — way overpowered. They can do everything! They’re really in fact scarier than the antagonists themselves.
Well, the human race survives on hope.
3. The Spy Next Door… and other “kids know best” movies
I think this last category can lump all kid-related movies together. I don’t hate the genre on the whole, but I think some of the plots are rather overdone. But well, The Spy Next Door is a Jackie Chan film (I can hear alarm bells ringing already) where Jackie Chan plays a retired spy who must take care of his girlfriend’s children. The kids start off being annoying brutes, but he gradually builds rapport with them, then his previous enemies come back for him. You should know the rest. Should I also mention that by stereotype, the show has 3 children? And these children comprise a teenage/preteen girl who thinks she doesn’t belong in her own family, a boy who loves playing rowdily, and a cute youngest girl who just wants to hug everyone she sees? I can facepalm already.
I think, though, that the worst plot comes in something like The Pacifier, where the male lead somehow inexplicably falls in love with the principal of one of the kids’ schools. It is just so unprofessional of a principal to fall in love with a guardian of one of the students during a formal meeting, and oh gosh there is seriously no romantic atmosphere there.
I don’t really remember any other categories of films that I hate as fervently as the above 3, so I shall stop here. Support good movies and let the bad ones fall prey to piracy (though who would want to download Red Eye I can never guess)!