8 Recipes for Accidentally Compelling Movies



1. Face/Off (1997)

These films are the cinematic equivalent of pickle, banana, and pepperoni sandwiches. They are the bird droppings on your windshield that resemble the face of Jesus. They are the Island of Misfit Toys. They turned out disastrously, dramatically different than any conventionally good movie you can name. They are wrong. And they are beautiful.
 
Face/Off is as good a spot to begin as any, and I have one simple question. Why does the face swap have to be a medical procedure?

No, really? At a conceptual level, Face/Off is about a lawman and his quarry switching places. Fantastic. Let it happen because of magic. Have a scene where the hero is chasing the villain up a transmission tower or something. Lightning strikes, and when they come to they’re in each other's bodies. Done! Our movie is off and running in twenty minutes at most. Instead, Face/Off opts to have the switcheroo happen through highly advanced surgery. Which necessitates a complicated story in which our hero and villain have to choose to switch faces. That’s what makes this movie so goofy and delicious, the sheer amount of time it spends trying to make its insane premise seem plausible.

So our villain is introduced via an inciting incident involving him killing the six year old son of the hero, then there’s a time jump to his capture in a finale like set-piece that involves a plane and car on a collision course, helicopter chases, and a shootout in a huge hanger. You feel like you’ve already watched a two hour movie with the middle hundred minutes lopped out before you even get to face swapping.

After that, the story has to jump through so many hoops to get us to a point in which the hero and the villain have fully assumed each other’s identities. Villain has planted bomb, hero has to disguise himself as villain to get information on where it is but goes to jail to do it, villain wakes up from a coma and becomes hero so he can diffuse his own bomb, hero has to bust out of jail to stop him… We’re two thirds of the way in before both characters are in place for their first real face/off, and from there it’s a dizzying bombardment of Mexican standoffs, people repeatedly attacking mirrors, and wildly unnecessary boat chases. Honestly you get tired of the movie before it gets tired of itself, it’d behoove you to pause at the halfway point and go for a walk or something. Face/Off is a marathon, not a sprint.

And I’ve just been talking about the wacky story structure. In addition, Face/Off is directed by action auteur John Woo, who was handed a script that originally took place in the future. But that aspect wasn’t interesting to him, so he made it a contemporary film that had to keep a single piece of bizarrely advanced technology (the face swapping procedure). Woo grafts his trademark balletic action sequences and motifs (doves and crucifixes) onto a story that doesn’t support them. He treats this silly premise with more melodrama than you can even imagine. He’s got Messrs. Travolta and Cage, two of the great overactors of our time, in a scenery devouring competition. Joan Allen is in the movie too, giving a sincerely good, utterly unnoticed performance as the hero’s wife. And on top of that, it’s the late 90s, a time in which action scenes have visible stuntmen and wirework, a time in which heroes were MEN but they cry a whole lot because they’re also COMPLEX. If anyone involved realizes how funny this movie is, they never let on.

Face/Off is one of those movies where you hear people go “Oh I remember that being good.” A revisit might change their minds on that, but what does “good” matter, really? The movie is a blast, it doesn’t matter why.





2. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Is it possible to get a movie expelled on the grounds of self-plagiarism? You shouldn’t just get to remake Home Alone two years later with the setting changed up. If you put on the DVD commentary track, Macaulay Culkin and director Chris Columbus are very happy to tell you they wanted to do this movie because they’d get paid the money they missed out on before. Home Alone 2 is as an inferior cash grab, and I would have had no trouble realizing that I been an adult in the 90s. But I was a kid. And I saw Home Alone 2 before I saw Home Alone. And that’s why I like it more. Nostalgia is stupid.

There are things that are objectively worse about 2. The second movie doesn’t have the heart that the first does. Macaulay Culkin has gone from a guileless kid to someone who’s very aware that he’s Macaulay Culkin. Catherine O’Hara’s sincere, stricken reaction to leaving her son behind last time is a pratfall here (though she does acknowledge that Kevin can take care of himself, maybe the only bit of scripted evolution from the first one). And Harry and Marv are dumber and surlier (though given all the head trauma they suffered maybe that makes sense). All that said, here are three things I love about Home Alone 2.

First, it’s got the purest, most uncut injection of Tim Curry in cinema history. In his role as an oily, suspicious hotelier, he makes a meal out of every single nanosecond of what could have been a thankless role as the movie’s intermediary villain. But as it goes on he’s capable of getting a laugh just by appearing in the shot. He’s so much fun to watch you don’t even care that Rob Schneider is often his screen partner.

Second, the booby traps are hilariously sadistic. In the commentary, Culkin and Columbus talk about how the most potentially fatal traps in the first movie (the iron in the laundry chute and the paint cans) got the biggest laughs from the audiences. So Kevin has put away his Micro Machines and has brought out the power tools. Virtually everything he does to the Sticky Bandits should stop them dead. At one point he’s just throwing bricks at Marv’s head, all of which connect with a comically realistic sound effect. And have you ever noticed how, in contrast to being on the defensive in his own well lit suburban home, this time Kevin goes out of his way to lure Harry and Marv into a nightmarish, partially renovated townhouse that absolutely would have been the death of them if cartoon logic wasn’t in effect? For about twenty minutes of the movie we’re just watching Harry and Marv fight for their lives, while Kevin is a distant, villainous figure who could call the police at any moment but is having too much fun playing Jigsaw. Oh well, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern have such great comic timing they make it all fun.

Finally, although both movies had fun sounding premises when I was a kid, as an adult the idea of being alone on Christmas chills me to the bone. On the other hand, I love New York and spending the holidays there in a beautiful hotel suite sounds like my dream Christmas. I even still want to go to that toy store. The fantasy elements of the first movie have faded with time but the second’s have grown more powerful than ever. The movie is cynical, it’s unoriginal, it’s even kind of mean spirited, but it’s irrationally a transporting experience for me and I don’t think that’ll ever change.





3. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
A few times per year, Marvel will put out movies that are well made, safe, and gone from my mind a half hour after I’ve seen them. There are some rigorous quality control standards over at the ol’ MCU factory these days and sometimes I wish they’d falter, because I want another superhero movie to leave an impression on me the way Spider-Man 3 has. It’s an absolute disaster, and I watch it all the time.

I promised myself I was going to limit these to a few paragraphs apiece but I feel the need to try to summarize just what happens in Spider-Man 3. I’d recommend reading the next section in three or four separate sittings, otherwise your head is liable to explode like all those Indiana Jones villains who gain too much knowledge. So in this movie…

1) Harry Osborn a) Assumes his father’s identity as the Green Goblin, b) Gets amnesia after a fight with Peter Parker and becomes nice again, c) Has a marathon omelet cooking session with Mary-Jane that is treated like an affair, d) Touches a mirror with Willem Dafoe in it and regains his memory, e) Has his face deformed in another encounter with Peter, f) Is told that his father’s death wasn’t Spider-Man’s fault by an ancient butler who had no significant presence in any of the three films before this pivotal scene, g) Joins Spider-Man for a big showdown, h) And dies. 2) Meanwhile, Flint Marko a) Breaks out of jail, b) Accidentally winds up in a science facility that turns him into sand, a moment that the soundtrack has decided has more pathos than anything else in the film, c) Goes on a crime spree as a sand monster, d) Is revealed to have actually been the man responsible for Uncle Ben’s death, e) Is killed, f) Comes back and decides to team up with Eddie Brock, g) Menaces New York as a behemoth monster, h) Explains to Peter that he’s only Uncle Ben’s killer by accident, i) Is given an exit that feels like a death scene even though he just kind of leaves the film. 3) Meanwhile, an alien a) What there’s really an alien in this movie? b) Fuck this.

In the first two movies we had Peter Parker, maybe the world’s dorkiest superhero. He’s played by Tobey Maguire, someone who looks and acts like that nice boy your parents wanted you to date in 1956. This movie makes him a little darker, which is to say he’s more conceited. Which mostly just means he’s not sensitive to Mary Jane’s failing Broadway career because he’s too excited that he’s Spider-Man. But the alien that coincidentally lands fifty feet away from Peter while he’s in the midst of two separate conflicts possesses him and brings out his dark side even more. Which mostly just means he’s got black hair and is ordering his neighbour to make him some cookies (with nuts) and strutting down the street giving finger guns to women. He started in such a goody-goody place to begin with and he only takes these little incremental baby steps into darkness. Is the movie telling a story about how even the evil, alien enhanced side of Peter Parker is lame? Because my evil side is lame too, and to date no one has made a $200 million dollar movie about it. And then on top of all that he drives away the alien only to have it possess Eddie Brock, a hideously miscast Topher Grace, who menaces Peter for about ten minutes before dying. Before that Brock is in the movie as an occasional peripheral love interest for Gwen Stacy, who’s an occasional peripheral love interest for Peter Parker, who loves Mary-Jane, who has an occasional peripheral love interest in Harry Osborn. And Rosemary Harris, James Cromwell, and J.K. Simmons pop in and out as well.

It’s possible to have a good, densely plotted superhero movie. The Dark Knight is only ten minutes longer and honestly has just as much going on, including another iconic villain who only shows up in the third act before dying. But that movie stays on an even keel because the Batman vs. Joker conflict is the fulcrum upon which many storylines and characters turn. Spider-Man 3 is about Peter and his troubled relationship with his girlfriend, Peter and his former best friend who blames him for his father’s death, Peter and the criminal who killed his beloved uncle, Peter and that fucking alien. These four stories all run concurrently and only occasionally intersect, and Green Goblin, Sandman, and the alien are defeated on multiple occasions only to return for more later on. It’s a movie in which everything that happens feels like a subplot. This is a 13 episode television season in a two hour movie.

So obviously it needs to be streamlined. But what do you lose? The Mary-Jane arc is actually an interesting story about someone who can’t quite keep up a brave face after failing to achieve her dreams, and the way she grows distant with Peter before they have an uneasy reconciliation is realistically acted by Kirsten Dunst. The threat from Harry as the Green Goblin has been in the works for two movies now and it can’t simply disappear in Spider-Man 3. And much as I’ve reeled at how there's an alien in this thing, I’m aware that the symbiotic costume and later appearance of Venom are iconic storylines that have all the cinematic potential in the world. So obviously, we get rid of Sandman and it becomes more manageable, right? Well, there are three genuinely good aspects to this movie. The opening credits are beautiful. The first few action scenes are cartoony but kinetic and fun. And Thomas Hayden Church is putting in an actual performance as the Sandman. He is committing hardcore to this role and I actually feel something for him based purely on the actor. You’ve got to kill one of these babies in order to give the others space to develop, and I’m not sure which it should be.

It’s here where I come to the realization that this isn’t a movie that’s bad because it’s uninspired, it’s bad because of a lack of creative discipline. All these storylines are undercooked, but all have the potential to be great. The movie’s weakness is also its strength; something interesting and goofy is happening in every single scene and it’s impossible to become bored. So why am I trying to think up ways to correct this Frankenstein’s monster of a film into just another bland, forgettable superhero story? When I was listing everything that happens in Spider-Man 3 earlier, I was grinning like a fool as it all came back to me. In fact, I’m going to take a break from writing this article so I can go for another rewatch. I’ll meet you back here in two hours so we can talk about The Lord of the Rings.

(Not THAT Lord of the Rings.)





4. The Lord of the Rings (1978)
Back in December 2003, I was in the tenth grade and my excitement for The Lord of the Rings was at a fever pitch. I’d read the book, I’d seen the first two movies, I was hyped beyond measure after all the gushing advance reviews for The Return of the King. The weekend before it came out, I was watching the Space Network when all of a sudden a commercial for this animated thing came on. It juxtaposed iconic scenes from the Peter Jackson adaptations against this movie, culminating in the shot of an animated Gandalf rasping “You cannot pass!” at a lion headed Balrog. “Are you ready to see The Lord of the Rings like you’ve never seen it before?” asked the voiceover. I sure was, Mister! I canceled my Saturday night plans which absolutely did exist, put in a blank VHS tape, pressed record, and let this movie have its way with me. Years later, I don’t own a VCR anymore but I still have that tape. I think I just need proof that this movie actually happened. I might be called for a deposition someday.

Although a two hour movie is not going to cover the epic length novel, there’s no reason you can’t have something that at least is true to the book’s spirit. And if you’re going to make The Lord of the Rings in the 1970s, animation is really the only way to go. But Ralph Bakshi in the one who brings this to the screen, and he rotoscopes the whole thing. What’s rotoscoping? Damned if I know. I’ve literally only ever heard that word used in conjunction with Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings. But I think it involves filming live action people and then drawing animated characters on top of them.

This approach yields some success early in the movie, especially a depiction of a Ringwraith that’s even creepier than Peter Jackson’s because of the uncanny way it moves around. But before long, the more traditionally animated Hobbits are in environments with humans and orcs who look like live action people with a weird filter. Is it a creative choice? A lack of money? Pure corner cutting? I lean towards the last one, because there are moments in which the one-take wonders performing the live action characters trip, or they can’t control their horse. At one point someone tries to reveal himself with a dramatic flourish but gets wrapped up in his own cloak. All these mistakes make it into the movie. One character name, Saruman, is changed to Aruman. That’s fine, but sometimes he’s just called Saruman anyway. The backgrounds become lazier, uglier and more indistinct as the movie goes on, and by the time the adaptation reaches The Two Towers the unpleasantness of the visuals overtakes whatever fascination the experience might have.

The secret to bending the space time continuum is located somewhere within the animated The Lord of the Rings, I’m sure of it. Whereas the live action movies took about five hours to reach Helm’s Deep, Ralph Bakshi gets us there in two. And there really isn’t much of anything missing along the way, it’s actually a fairly complete adaptation of the book. Paradoxically, this movie seems to drag so much more than the other adaptation. The five minute scene in which Frodo is tripping out on horseback while the Ringwraiths approach is maybe the worse thing I’ve ever seen?

And looking at it from a character perspective, Gandalf is a brusque jackass, Merry and Pippin are non-existent, and Sam is… sigh. Sam is the ugliest, fussiest character who’s ever been drawn, but here’s the damnable thing: he resembles the literary Sam a lot more than the Sean Astin version. Now the animated version is what I hear in my head when I read the book, and for that I eternally damn this movie.

At a certain point the filmmakers run out of money and the movie just ends with half the book left untold. And despite everything I said… well, if anyone offered me the chance to time travel and kill Hitler, I would emphatically say no. History should not be tampered with and all that. But if someone offered me the chance to time travel and ensure that Ralph Bakshi makes The Lord of the Rings Part 2, I admit I’d at least have to think about it. How would the fight with Shelob have looked? Sometimes at night I close my eyes and can so clearly picture the rotoscoped spider that never was…

Of all these movies this is the one I recommend the least. This is an experience only a Lord of the Rings fan could… I was going to say love, but no. It’s an experience only a Lord of the Rings fan could find interesting, is more accurate. And even then, it’s perfectly fine turning it off once you’ve got the idea. But if ever you want to see this story “like you’ve never seen it before,” feel free to borrow my VHS tape.





5. Batman Returns (1992)
Yeah, let’s put Batman in a movie called Batman Returns. Why not?

If you ever watch this movie with a stopwatch, let me know how often Michael Keaton is actually onscreen. Because I’m pretty sure that in terms of screentime and impact on the plot, Batman is the fourth most important character in his own movie. His primary role is to be a sometimes seen love interest to Catwoman, who herself plays second banana to the Penguin. These two villains were created by and have a personal conflict not with Batman, but with a corporate executive played by Christopher Walken in a fright wig. Batman’s participation in the climax mostly just amounts to watching the other three characters kill themselves and each other. That’s really nothing to say about him beyond this.

Batman Returns has a talented cast, all of whom on paper are perfectly suited to their roles. There’s a talented director, a talented composer, and a talented production designer. If you watch the movie they all seem to be in synch on a very surface, superficial level. But look closer and this is a collection of people who are not playing well together. Go deeper and the more wrong you realize the movie is, the more mesmerizing it becomes. I’ve long been in the grasp of the vortex of madness that is Batman Returns, but you still have time to save yourself.

First, there’s the Penguin. Danny DeVito is visually perfect for the role, and he’s plays the Penguin as a nasty, grasping villain prone to violence and misogyny. But Tim Burton seems to sympathize with him, the camera frames in a way that emphasizes his lonely existence, the soundtrack could just be a voice repeatedly saying “Feel sorry for this man!” and it’d be just as subtle as the real music Danny Elfman give us. He drives all the action in the movie, and Batman shows up occasionally to thwart him, leaving Penguin screaming in rage and despair. You in the audience might detest him or you might feel pity for him. Or both. But not because he’s a multidimensional character. It’s because DeVito and Burton are at cross purposes about how he should be portrayed.

Michelle Pfieffer is doing some fantastic work. Selina Kyle starts off mousy and self-loathing, later she’s assured and assertive, towards the end the character visibly struggles to reconciles all these aspects of her personality and Pfieffer nails all of it. And she brings an iconic, slinky physicality to Catwoman as well. But the script doesn’t really give her any reason for all these transformations. She gets shoved out a window, is licked by cats, and comes back as a different person who’s capable of backflipping and beating up Batman. When Selina tearfully says “I don’t know who I am anymore” near the end it feels so real I wonder if it’s scripted. But she and Christopher Walken (who gets all the best lines) come out of the movie unscathed.

Tim Burton is the one who doesn’t let this cohere in any kind of meaningful way. Directing a Batman movie doesn’t seem that interesting to him, it’s the Penguin who feels more in line with the kind of pale kooky outcast he usually has as his protagonists. So he kind of latches onto him as his point of entry and the story is built around the Penguin. Burton did Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas on either side of this one, those were the movies his heart was in and Batman Returns looks and feels like the bridge between them. And then on top of that you’ve got studio executives who need to sell toys off this thing, so there’s inexplicable twee elements forced into his dark and depressing movie like the Penguin’s rubber ducky car. In the climax, an army of penguins with rockets strapped to their backs are menacing Gotham City, Alfred is gravely intoning “The penguins are converging,” the cinematography and the soundtrack are suggesting that this should be operatic as all get-out, and I don’t know who I am anymore either.

Danny Elfman is at his best, his score nearly drowns out the dialogue in every scene and that’s fine by me. Production designer Bo Welch (lately of A Series of Unfortunate Events) recreates the gothic cityscape from the previous movie and covers it in snow and Christmas lights. Those two aspects of the production hold up and singlehandedly make Batman Returns a worthwhile watch. Actually, everyone is working in isolation to do some fine work. But all these great performances and production values are held together by scotch tape.





6. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
If you listen to Attack of the Clones and hear all the petulant whining and stilted declarations of love, you’ll swear teenagers are putting on a school play in your living room. Open your eyes man, because those are some grown ass adults on your TV, and they’ve got the backing of a multimillion dollar effects budget and an A-List composer at the top of his game. Kind of sums up the Star Wars prequels (and if you’re asking me, all but a couple Star Wars movies), but Attack of the Clones is right in the sweet spot. The Phantom Menace is such an aggravating experience I can’t see myself ever watching it again. Revenge of the Sith is actually well on its way to being a pretty good movie, put that in front of me and I’ll have a lot of fun. But Attack of the Clones is just pure insanity, and it’s all about that love story.

Half the movie is Ewan MacGregor on his own, traveling through a series of visually astounding environments and getting in and out of blockbuster action sequences. Whatever. Just cut back to Anakin and Padme, because George Lucas has accidentally created the creepiest, funniest love story ever put on film and I need more. All of their scenes are just awkward conversations that end in uncomfortable silence. Long, leering looks and flat statements of “I dreamed about you since I was a child.” They’re all treated as deeply romantic moments. And Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman (who’s an actual actress, though you wouldn’t know it here) have a chemistry that I can only describe as a lack thereof.

But on the technical side, there's a crew working their hearts out to try and sell this. They shuffle the two actors around to every beautiful location and set they can find, they’re lit by candlelight, Padme is put in a different sexy outfit every sequence. And John Williams is on hand to underscore all their scenes with a wonderful piece called “Across the Stars.” I’ve never heard music convey the idea of a tragic romance so effectively, and there’s never been any material less deserving of his talents. Everything I’m saying is well documented, but unlike a lot of people I find it really funny instead of cringey. The amount of effort wasted trying to sell this awful love story is sublime.

Aside from that the movie has a famous reliance on computer generated effects. Later on in Revenge of the Sith, the CGI actually goes so far it almost becomes like a stylized avant garde experience, like that Sky Captain movie you saw the trailer for and said “Oh maybe I’ll watch that” and then never did. But in Attack of the Clones there are still occasional scenes set in real outdoor locations. Those only serve to make the presence of, say, entirely CGI stormtroopers all the more baffling. It was really that hard to make a few costumes?

There are some diamonds in the rough. The action scenes are great, especially a dazzling (though endless) chase through a tech noir city, a cat and mouse game in an exploding asteroid belt, and basically the entire last forty five minutes. Christopher Lee brings his usual screen presence to the role of the villain. Yoda springs into action, which looks kinds of ridiculous but inoculates us for his starring role in Episode III. Some of the imagery is fantastic, especially a laser shootout in the midst of a sandstorm. And the actively irritating characters are at a minimum. Damning with faint praise, but that’s quite a step up after The Phantom Menace. Some great elements in the midst of the epic, hilarious failure of the love story and the conspicuousness of early 00s CGI keeps me coming back to Attack of the Clones.




7. Space Jam (1996)
I thought about it and no way this movie is real.




8. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Here was a troubled production. Harrison Ford was sent to the hospital after injuring his back, which forced Steven Spielberg to shoot without a lead actor for five weeks. It was supposed to be filmed in India, but this script about a cult who eats monkey brains for dinner and moseys on downstairs to kill people in the name of Kali didn’t go over well with the government. And Spielberg and George Lucas had long term relationships collapse before production, with that in mind hard to ignore the nasty treatment of the movie’s one female character. On paper it’s a fresh idea to contrast the tough as nails Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark with someone who’s completely out of her element. But you can do that without creating a character who’s meant to be irritating.

More than that, the black mood of the filmmakers led to a story about enslaved children in an underground inferno, and Indiana Jones himself becoming evil after being drugged by a villain who rips out hearts for a living. It was impactful enough to lead to the PG-13 rating, and Lucas and Spielberg opted to lighten things up and go back to Nazis and religious artifacts in the third movie (Nazis and religious artifacts were less controversial than Temple of Doom). The plot and tonal similarities between Raiders and Last Crusade only make Temple of Doom seem like even more of an ugly stepchild, an experiment gone awry.

But here’s the thing. The middle of the movie is so far over the line, and is so dark and so oppressive, Indiana Jones breaking loose and leading the children to safety is as cathartic as the sequences before it were frightening. The stakes for the characters as they make a break for it could not feel higher, you’re scared they’ll get caught and we’ll all be put back into the nightmare. It brings so much more excitement to an already nonstop series of fights, shootouts, mine cart chases, and a final confrontation over a crocodile filled canyon. I still think the shot of the collapsing rope bridge that leave a dusty impression of itself in the air as a half dozen Thuggees fall to their death is the most thrilling single shot I’ve ever seen in a movie. The last half hour of Temple of Doom is the most exhilarating segment of arguably the most exhilarating film series.

And wait, there’s more. The first half hour is madcap entertainment as well, exactly what you want and expect out of an Indiana Jones movie. I’ve always found Short Round and his relationship with Indy very endearing. It ought to be a horrible idea, giving Indiana Jones a child sidekick who yells all the time, but I love Short Round’s bravery and his proactive role in the action scenes. Mola Ram is the nastiest, most imposing villain in the series. Pure evil just radiates off the guy, and he has my favourite calling-the-hero’s-bluff moment ever. (“They will be found! You woooon’t!”)

And I love how uncomplicated the structure is. Heroes crash land in India, go to the Temple of Doom to rescue some kids, get trapped there themselves for a while, make a daring escape. An eight year old can follow the movie exactly as well as an adult. I know this because I saw the movie when I was eight. And I have to say, it was frightening then in just the right way. Temple of Doom isn’t psychologically terrifying, it’s not a story about the evil humanity is capable of, or anything like that. It’s scary in the way the Haunted Cavern over at the carnival is scary, right down to all the plastic looking walls. It also helps that at age 8 I didn’t know that Indiana Jones was a franchise, so as far as I was concerned, the survival of the three protagonists was in no way assured. Whether a poisoned Indy is racing around a nightclub looking for an antidote, or he’s got a ceiling of spikes closing in on him, or he’s about to hack the rope bridge he’s standing on, it was never “How is he going to get out of this one?” It was “Will he get out of this one?”

I’ll be honest, for a long time this was a legitimately great movie for me and I would never have thought to put it near a list like this. But when you’ve got Steven Spielberg himself talking about what a misstep Temple of Doom is, you wind up reevaluating what might be wrong with it. And you see how this dark and thrilling movie could only exists because of an utter lack of social responsibility, as well as the very brief nihilistic time in which two populist filmmakers made it. It’s my favorite accidentally great film of all time.


Thank you to Wolf in a Gorilla Suit for letting me talk about these awful, great, great awful movies, and thank you for reading!
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