10 Reasons why the critics have got it so wrong about Gone Girl

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Last night, to dust off the writing cobwebs formed after a long summer of football, festivals, house moves and holidays, the Framerates team went to the cinema to see the highly-anticipated, critically-acclaimed, David Fincher directed, adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl. With the screenplay also by Flynn, and a top cast that included Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, our hopes were high. Could Fincher channel his immense talent to create a chilling, intelligent thriller that echoed the intensity of Se7en and Zodiac?

In a word: no.

To our surprise, though, Gone Girl is seemingly a hit with many critics. Here are ten reasons why we feel that this critical reception is a case of mass “drinking the Fincher Kool Aid”.

This article contains spoilers.

1) A faithful, unfaithful adaptation

Despite a screenplay from Flynn herself, the tense, psychological, emotionally engaging tone that is captured in the book fails to fully translate onto the screen. Flynn has faithfully stuck to the narrative laid out in the novel however without the continuous stream of thought from the characters the movie feels shallow and the characters motivations and emotional arcs unclear. This is no more apparent than in the final act of the movie where we see Amy heartlessly slaughter Desi Collings. This played on screen like the calculated acts of a horror movie psychopath whereas in the novel, despite Amy’s deplorable moral compass, the reader understands that she is left with little choice.

2) Tone issues

Perhaps Fincher added flecks of humour throughout Gone Girl to provide comic relief, and to heighten the darkest moments of the movie. However, when characters are making the stupidest decisions left, right and centre, unfortunately, the humour intended as light relief was actually just a series of snorts at the movie’s ridiculousness. An absurd movie this was; “an absurdist thriller” this was not.

3) Pacing. Pacing. Pacing.

I felt I was watching three episodes of a TV programme that were cut together by an amateur YouTube editor. I do believe that the movie got caught somewhere between police procedural and Stepford Wives thriller, and there was such a blatant division between the three acts of the film, which resulted in an extremely jarring watch.

4) Direction

Was Fincher deliberately telling his cast to act on the same level throughout the film? Everything was so flat, it felt like the director was intentionally channeling Frank Underwood and the entire feel of House of Cards, but with a mixture of Prisoners thrown in for good measure. It was very disappointing that this didn’t feel like a Fincher movie, but maybe that will act in his favour when people finally remove their tongues from his arsehole.

5) Acting

A flat tone, jarring pacing and seemingly misguided direction in Gone Girl all results in some rather underwhelming performances from the leads. Pike as Amy does a good job as coming across as cold, sharp and intelligent but fails to fully round Amy as a character- arguably this is in large part down to the lack of distinction between the opposing Amy’s (see point 7 for more). Affleck has always been a firm favourite over here at Framerates.net as an actor, as well as a director, however the stoic nature of the character of Nick required a nuanced performance that depicted an internal dialogue, instead Affleck at times felt vacant and the emotional weight was lacking.

6) Team Amy vs Team Nick

Fincher himself has said that people will leave in either a “Team Amy” or “Team Nick” camp. If the director has acknowledged that fact, there are clearly flaws in the way his characters are represented. One can claim “misogyny” towards Amy, or “men’s rights” at Nick, until they’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that all of the above factors have contributed to a film that leads us beautifully into Point 7.

7) Failing to define the character roles.

The single most important element of the movie to get right was the clear and apparent differences between the two Amys. ‘Cool girl’ Amy, the Amy created for Nick, and the real Amy. Fincher makes no distinction between the two opposing personalities. Without this we don’t understand Nick for falling in love with Amy and equally we don’t empathise with Amy and the façade she is forced to display. Instead of creating a compelling insight into two flawed characters, who we both empathise with and despise, or making a coherent point about gender roles and feminism, the movie leaves us with two people who we neither understand very much and who represent very little.

8) It looks beautiful, but what is below the surface?

When you look at a movie like Zodiac, you can literally peel back the nuanced layers within the frame, the acting, the cinematography and plot. In Gone Girl, because the characters were so unrelatable, it was hard to get fully immersed into the world that Fincher is normally so great at building. Gone Girl left me with a similar feeling as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is a movie referenced in another 10 things post from last year.

9) No one shags in a library after 3 years of a relationship

After 1095 days together, you’re lucky if you get your genitals get but a fleeting glance when you’re out with your other half, let alone being balls deep in a dark corner of a public library. I will suspend my disbelief for many things, but this is not one of them.

10) It’s just really not as good as people are claiming

All-in-all, the film was over two and a half hours long and after half an hour I was feeling frustrated and bored. The word flat has been used many times in this article to describe elements of this film and that’s exactly what the overall experience left me feeling. There was no excitement, intrigue or desire for any of the characters to succeed in anyway. Unlike Se7en, Zodiac or Fight Club, which are intense, thrilling and heaped with personality, Gone Girl is as grey as the colour palette it displays.

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10 film characters who terrified us when we were kids

It’s All Hallows Eve today, and if you’re into that kind of thing, like that noisy lot on the other side of the Atlantic, you’ll more than likely be donning some questionable attire and, depending on your age, either annoying your neighbours or getting mortal at a drinking establishment. To celebrate Halloween, me and Lauren are diving into our childhood to pick out the 10 scariest kids film characters from our childhoods. So without further…

1. Scoleri Brothers – Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

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The scene in Ghostbusters 2, which culminates in the release of the Scoleri Brothers, was the scariest thing about this movie. Even as a child I found the rest of the film a little bit camp (without knowing the concept of campness), yet the Scoleri Brothers scared the shit out of me. The tension built up in the scene, with the malevolent pink goop bubbling and popping with increasing viciousness, was immense. It was probably my first introduction to the concept of murder (as the brothers were executed for murder) and it still gives me shivers to this day.

2. Grand High Witch – The Witches (1990)

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Anjelica Huston before the big reveal was scary enough to make a little whipper snapper like me shit themselves. Then she peeled her face off and…. WTF! Terrifying and gross in equal measures the Grand High Witch was a seriously bad ass villain with a seriously bad ass, facial, fungal infection. Tough to beat on the WTF scale of children’s characters.

3. Judge Doom – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

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Doc hit the sauce when Marty left.

[SPOILER ALERT…even though you all should have seen WFRR?] 

[voice getting higher, until it reaches a high-pitched squeak] ‘REMEMBER ME, EDDIE? When I killed your brother…I spoke…like….THIS!’

Oh gahd, it’s still horrific thinking about that line. And then he melts in the toon-dissolving acid and my dreams get haunted for about 2 years. Scary stuff for a child’s mind.

4. Dr. Janosz Poha – Ghostbusters II (1989)

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Arguably not intended to be as scary as the creepy painting guy Vigo, however the weird transvestite/Victorian child/demon/ghost apparition of Dr. Janosz Poha was horrifyingly chill-inducing. He had a molestery vibe before he became possessed and afterwards it was off the scale. “He’s a molester…. HE’S A CHILD MOLESTER!” Points for the reference here.

5. The Goblin King – Labyrinth (1986)

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Not sure if sexy or a paedophile…

A weird choice, I know. I think the scariest thing about David Bowie in this movie is his bulge bouncing around in the tight leggings he wears throughout. It also confused me as a child because he had long hair like a girl yet had quite the package in his pants. Oh yeah, and he could be summoned into your life with a simple incantation, and what 3 year old wants to get kidnapped by a singing dude that can sprout a chubby while playing baby catch with a load of goblins?

6. Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

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Let me just start by saying Willy Wonka is a bloody legend, If he was real and alive today I’m sure he’d have a banging Twitter personality, would appear on Question Time to debate the the importance of import regulations and would go out to dinner with Stephen Fry, however there are moments in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ where I seriously questioned his legitimacy as a sane human being. Wonka had a temper and an unhinged nature that, as a child, was oh so slightly scary. Boats in tunnels will never be the same again.

7. Ursula – The Little Mermaid (1989)

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If Ariel was the jewel of the ocean, then Ursula was the toxic waste dumped into the Gulf of Mexico by BP. She’s one of those Disney antagonists that starts off fairly chill and ends up multiplying into something horrific, all while singing a song in a minor key. Disney, there was something deeply wrong with you, you brilliant bastard.

8. Mola Ram- Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984)

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Rips. A. Guys. Heart. From. His. Chest.

9.Darkness – Legend (1985)

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Tally-ho, chaps.

Why is the devil always an Englishman? Regardless, I loved this movie as a kid, yet every time Darkness appeared on screen I white-knuckled instantly, even my toes (do toes have knuckles? They look like they do.) When re-watching this movie it was significantly less scary, but I honestly thought the devil in this was going to get me somehow and poke me in the eye with his horns. Irrational kids be irrational.

10.  Debbie Jellinsky – Addams Family Values (1993)

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There is no such thing as being too young to understand the complexities of a straight up, psychopathic, socio-path according to the world of The Addams Family. As a child Fester’s wife Debbie seemed so nice, that was until she started killing people. Tapping into a fear we didn’t even know we had as child, Debbie made us realise that appearances can be deceiving. In a refreshingly moralistic tale the Addams family taught us that not all monsters are monsters and that some people most definitely are. Existentialism as a child. Terrifying.

10 iconic wedding movies and scenes

This may appear a weird list when considering what we usually post here on FrameRates, so here is some context: Lauren, my FrameRates buddy, is getting married on tomorrow! *cue cheers*. She’s currently getting the kilts ready and making the final preparations, so I have put together a special list!

So, to celebrate, here are 10 movies with marriages as a plot device or a key scene!

1) The Graduate

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When you get referenced in a movie, regardless of how shitty the movie is, you know you are relevant and well-known enough to the cinematic lexicon. Wayne’s World 2, the above average sequel to Wayne’s World, contains a scene that directly references the end of The Graduate. There are so many scenes in this certified classic that have gone down in history, and none more so than Ben (Hoffman) hammering on a window above a congregation during his love’s wedding to another man. Part of the Hollywood New Wave era, The Graduate is a standout example of how to construct a story with great characters, a solid script, as well as technical adventurousness.

2) Romeo and Juliet

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Oh, Leo, how lovely it is to see you grow into the actor you are now. The child star that scowled his way through such early 90s movie like This Boy’s Life and The Basketball Diaries, really hit the dizzy heights of Hollywood stardom when he trod the boards as Romeo in Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet. Lurhman transported the Shakespeare classic into modern day America, and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s a solid enough reimagining, complete with contemporary music and a colour palette that would make Pixar squint.

3) Wedding Crashers

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I’m not a comedy snob but I find it quite difficult to like Vince Vaughn. It’s to his testament that he nails it in Wedding Crashers, an interesting take on the ‘buddy movie’ we have all become so comfortable watching. Fast-talking Vaughn and Owen Wilson play a pair of ballsy business partners that spend their summer vacations crashing weddings and boning bridesmaids. That is until they crash a lavish wedding, during which they fall for two women who are their equal match. It sounds like your average Hollywood snorefest, but this is a decent movie with a lot of laughs!

4) Four Weddings and a Funeral

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“Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.”

CRINGE AT THE TERRIBLE ACTING! Putting that single-worst line of delivered dialogue in cinema history aside, Four Weddings and Funeral stands up as Richard Curtis’ best work to date. Complete with a bumbling Hugh Grant, a rainy London and some clever laughs, this is probably the seminal movie about weddings in recent times, if not ever. It was, however, responsible for the Marty Pellow/Wet Wet Wet song, Love is All Around Me; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQQ6SfPZggw. I used to sing ‘I roll them in my fingers, I roll them in my toes, bogeys all around me, I got them from my nose.’ 7 year old me was such a funny guy.

5) The Hangover

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I want you to take a long, hard look at yourself, The Hangover, and report back when you can admit your mistakes. I won’t regale you with Stag Do stories about Lauren’s groom-to-be, however his tooth has been fixed now and Latvia has just about recovered.

6) The Wedding Singer

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The second-least annoying Sandler role after Punch Drunk Love, The Wedding Singer tells the story of Robbie and Julia, a singer and waitress engaged to the wrong partners, that eventually find out each others’ love for the other. This was the first movie I saw on my own at the cinema, which may sound lame, but I was only 11 so fuck you. I jest, of course. I’d like to reiterate that it is Sandler’s second-least annoying role, which should be reason enough to check it out.

7) Match Point

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The last Woody Allen outing that got reviewed on FrameRates was not received well at all. It’s a shame, because when he is on form, Allen can craft a story that will engage the most ADHD among us. Match Point is no exception; set in the opulent world of London’s elite, a marriage between a loving couple gets shaken to its very core with the introduction of a busty, blonde siren. Rhys-Myers plays the bachelor-then-husband that succumbs to the charms of Johansson (who wouldn’t?), and by the time the credits have roled you may be shocked as to where this movie has taken you.

8) Father of the Bride

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A remake of a classic always creeps up on our lists, and this is one of them. Father of the Bride is a remake of the 1950 classic about a dad that cannot accept his daughter is a grown woman making her own decisions. While not being Martin’s best role as the titular father, George Banks, he still manages to convey the character as having his daughter’s best interests at heart, in between all the comedic moments that one would expect from a wedding movie. The original is probably more of a classic, but if you’re a Martin fan then this is certainly not his worst work!

9) Downfall

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Probably the most infamous wedding in modern history. Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun got married while holed up under the streets of the Reichstag, Berlin, 1945, just days before committing suicide together. Downfall (or Der Untergang in German), tells the story of the last weeks of Hitler’s life. Critics of the movie have stated it paints too human a portrait of the dictator, and while this could be substantiated, it doesn’t detract from how good this movie actually is. You’ve probably all seen the parody videos of Hitler’s rant, however, when in the context of the movie, that scene is Hitler coming to terms with the fact his Reich is coming to an end.

10) Sideways

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I’ve never been middle-aged. That said, if I get to a certain vintage and am still not married, I’d like to take a week off before my wedding to eat fine food and drink fine wine. Sideways is a smart, slow but hilarious movie that is as much about food and wine as it is about getting older, feeling young and friendship at all costs. 22 year old me loved this film, and while at that age I had nothing in common with any of the characters, who doesn’t love a movie about booze?

Do any of you have any you’d add to the list?

Also, congratulations, Lauren (and James!)! You guys rock 😀

10 sequels that tarnished the brilliance of the original

You would be hard pushed these days to go a week without hearing about, or seeing, a movie sequel being stuffed down your throat. The desire to turn movie’s into franchises, money making juggernauts, means that integrity and genuine creativity goes right out the window. To stick our finger up to lazy film making, here’s our top 10 sequels, to brilliant films, that didn’t really need to be made.

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1) The Matrix Reloaded (& Revolutions) – When The Matrix was released in 1999 is was so god-damn good, so unbelievably cool, so original and well made, it collectively blew the minds of everyone who saw it. When we found out it was a trilogy, we were excited. Giddy some might say. Then we watched the sequels and it all started going a bit wrong. What had begun as clever became slightly confused, and what had been original felt stale by the third film. It wasn’t that The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded were bad, the special effects and action sequences were first rate, it was that the idea from the original Matrix was lost. Rules that had been created were broken and by the end no one had a clue who or what the fuck Neo was. I’m still not sure to be honest…

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2) The Hangover 2 – The Hangover franchise has garnered a lot of criticism over the past few years for it’s undeniably awful sequels, but we really have to remember that the original was pretty darn funny. The jokes were fresh, story well put together and Zach Galifianakis was new, exciting and not the most annoying man on earth. Cue a totally unnecessary and lazy sequel and all the credibility for the original goes out the window. Boring, unfunny, annoying and shit; the most heinous of mercenary film making.

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3) Star Wars Prequels – Fuck you, George. I hope you and Jar Jar Bollocks find a small hole to crawl into where you can waste away and hopefully no one will ever remember you existed. You proved that the magic of Star Wars was due to the collective thinking of a larger team, and if it had been down to you we may not have even had the original films. Given sole creative control you royally fucked it up.

Check out what George Lucas didn’t actually said in 2011:

“I took a lot of crap for Jar Jar Binks, But let me say here once and for all: He was the best damn character in any of the six movies. He was by far my favorite. He was funny, he was kind and moral and he ended up playing a pivotal role in setting the course of the Emperor’s actions in motion. If not for him, the story would’ve gone nowhere. Nowhere.”  You’re still a hack director, George.

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4) Men in Black 2 – Now, unlike some of the other stinkers on this list, Men in Black 2 wasn’t wholly horrific. There were some new aliens, some cool new weapons, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were in it…. It was just so distinctly average, and compared to the original it was bad. Men in Black was action-packed, scary (yes that cockroach guy was terrifying), funny and it was a delight to watch. Left at just one film Men in Black would be a cult classic. As it is we’ve had another two, over-egged the pudding and what could have been a single delight has been replicated and killed. R.I.P M.I.B.

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5) Kronk’s New Groove – Now Emperors New Groove is by far my favourite Disney film. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you are doing and go and watch it right now. This is a film that pitched the humour so perfectly it appealed to adults and children, so it pains me to have to include the straight to DVD follow up in this list. However, not as much as it pained me to have to see my favourite characters wheeled out to try and milk some of the success from the first movie. Patrick Warburton is a genius voice actor and, arguably, Kronk made the original film, but the sequel goes to show you can have too much of a good thing. When the comic relief becomes the film, then the jokes quickly dry up.

This looks nothing like the original. WTF is up with his hair?
This looks nothing like the original. WTF is up with his hair?

6) Son of the Mask – The gif is back, but there really in only one way to express how I feel about Son of the Mask.

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Can anyone in L.A let us know if you have got out alive?
Can anyone in L.A let us know if you have got out alive?

7)  Escape from L.A. – Escape from New York has a classic, 1980s sci-fi premise; in near-future 1997, New York has become so overrun with crime that it has been turned into a maximum security prison. When the President’s plane crashes in Manhattan, the only person that can save him from a heinous buggering is convicted burglar, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell). Directed by John Carpenter, this seminal piece of science fiction delivers thrills, one-liners and a Die Hard-esque tone. Escape from L.A. doesn’t have half the heart & soul of the original despite being directed by Carpenter, which is a shame because Plissken is a badass.

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8)  [Insert Genre] Movie – I’m taking genre liberties here (I’m so postmodern) and am going to consider Scream (which is one of the best horror films ever made) the mothership to the scores of terrible ‘parody’ movies that have come out since; Scary Movie started the ball rolling, then we got [in no particular order] Date Movie, Scary Movie 2, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Scary Movie 3, Not Another Teen Movie, Meet the Spartans, Scary Movie 4, Superhero Movie and Scary Movie 5. If you, or anyone you know, were involved at any level of production on any of these movies, hang your head in shame. Parodies are great…when they are done like Airplane or Blazing Saddles.

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9)  Saw 2-1000 – [music] Duh duh DUH, duh duh duh duh duh DUH duh duh! Saw was awesome. Regardless of the acting, which at some points was pretty melodramatic, the twist at the end of the first movie was EPIC. The first time I…saw…it, my jaw hit the floor. Then I see’d Saw 2 and it was no way near as good, despite having some pretty good gore. Then the rest of the franchise came out, and by this point I was indifferent to the imagery, jaded if you will, and the films never really recovered. Saw 3 was probably the best out of the rest in my opinion, but Saw was the movie which, if you haven’t, you all have to see.

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10)  Transformers 1-4 – Bla, bla, anti-Bay circlejerk, bla bla. That’s what is often spouted online but without much to back it up. However, the affection I have for the original Transformers cartoon from the 80s is huge. I own the series’ on DVD, have still got my favourite figurines, and that’s why I cannot understand how the Transformers movies have done so well. Originally concepted as a way to sell Hasbro toys, the cartoon had an 80s innocence. It was good vs evil, a true 80s narrative. Cars, planes, trucks and robots, maybe with a white conservative Christian subtext, but who cares? It didn’t work on me anyway, and I just loved the battles and one liners. Then I saw the first Transformers movie and my heart collapsed in on itself. I’m sure there are some idiots out there that enjoyed these movies, but when you go from selling toys to a sexist, machinist wankfest, you know your childhood has been pillaged and left to burn inside a bum’s rusty bin.

10 Films we couldn’t watch until the end

As film lovers, bloggers and decent human beings we always try and see a film through to its conclusion. You can’t judge a film if you haven’t seen the whole thing right? This list begs to differ. Here are some of the films that no love nor money could make us watch all the way till the end…

Worst. Film. Ever
Worst. Film. Ever.

1) The SitterThis film is a lesson in how not to make a comedy. For a comedy to be funny either you bring funny characters into a mundane situation or you bring normal characters into a funny/over the top situation. This film strings together the most ludicrous people (the kid makes bombs?!! WHAT??!!!) with the most insultingly far-fetched yet predictable of plots. I don’t know how this finished and I don’t care. Adventures in Babysitting this is not. Jonah Hill I like you but just no. No. Bad Jonah Hill. Bad.

This is how I felt 5 minutes in..
This is how I felt 5 minutes in..

2) The Double This is probably getting rather short shrift from me, and doesn’t really deserve to be on a list with some of these absolute howlers, however I can’t pretend that I saw this through all the way to the end. I didn’t even make it to half an hour. This film isn’t so much bad, it’s just been done before, a lot better. It’s boring, clichéd and Richard Gere started to get on my nerves after 10 minutes. I wondered why I had never heard of it when I spotted it on TV and now I know why… Sorry Rich, seeing you like this was too painful..

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3) The Hottie and The NottieDon’t think we really need to rehash this again but for those who haven’t had the joy of hearing us say it the first time then here it is again. This film may be the worst film I have ever seen. I spent most of the film fast-forwarding through someone saying something douchey so managed to watch the entire film in about 15 minutes. Name a group or minority; this film insulted them. All this film does is show Paris Hilton wanking herself off and we all have to watch. With a gun against my head I couldn’t say one nice thing about The Hottie and The Nottie.

The only time I was this happy to be at school was when I was drunk..
The only time I was this happy to be at school was when I was drunk..

4) High School the MusicalOk so I may not be the target market for this all singing, all dancing, corny, cliche, cheese-fest of a film, but I’m a firm believer that, when a family movie is done well it appeals to adults and kids alike (er hello most things Pixar makes!). This is so sugary, sickly, void of any tangible cynicism and difficult for an adult to digest I simply got annoyed and turned it off. I am a huge fan of musicals but this has zero integrity as a musical for all ages, and for me will always be a film for the under 10’s. I will forever be grateful, however, as it gifted us with Zac Efron. So thank you for that!

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5) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)Now, this film is probably the best film on the list. However, after spending a good 12 hours (it took a while to recover from each film) with my emotions invested into the Swedish language versions of The Millenium Trilogy, I found Fincher’s remake offered nothing more than better cinematography and a selection of questionable accents. I am not a hipster, but I feel this was a pointless remake of a perfectly acceptable Swedish film. I turned off 70 minutes in when I saw the movie was going to finish in 2018.

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6) Grindstone RoadShit. Didn’t last 15 minutes.

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7) AnuvahoodAdam Deacon, stick to your London accent and shitty chav roles. This was one of the most embarrassing things to come out of London since Boris Johnson got stuck on a zipline. No wonder we had riots; they were probably all looking for Deacon to try and merk him. And for the cultured, ‘merk’ means to beat up, not supply him with a reliable German-made automobile.

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“But mum, swimming cap or no swimming cap, I will drown if I wear this in the pool.”

8) Hostel Part IIITo be fair, Hostel was a pretty groundbreaking horror movie. However, by the third iteration of the series there was no heart and, by the looks of things, no money left. Boring, even the gore was half-arsed. I felt compelled to turn it off because I remembered I had more interesting things to do, like to watch dust float past the crack of light between my curtains.

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9) The PromotionMy girlfriend loves shitty movies, and not ‘so bad they are good’ movies. Just shitty movies. *Jumps down from high horse*. That’s why it surprised me when she was the one that suggested we turn this off. What didn’t surprise me is that she suggest we watch it in the first place…

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Believe or not, in this picture Cusack is cradling what’s left of his career.

10) The Raven –

“Did I add this or did you add this?! Totally started watching this the other day and didn’t finish it…. well confused!! Apologies if I’m having a moment and this was me. John Cusack needs a punch in the face in this film.”

If two of us turned off this shit then what hope does it have? Just rubbish. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, what are your picks for movies you just couldn’t bring yourself finish?

10 childhood VHS tapes that got worn out from repeated viewings

Ah the humble VHS how you are gone but not forgotten. In a time before Itunes, torrents and the cocky DVD all we had to rely on against the mundane predictability of terrestrial TV was our trusty video cabinet. Harking back to a simpler time, here’s our stroll down memory lane with a look at some of the video’s we kept on coming back to as wee children.

1) Ghostbusters 2: IH

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‘Doe.’

‘Ray.’

Egon.

The dialogue in this movie is superb. The acting is bang on. The special effects are still great. I watched it again at the beginning of this week and it still makes me laugh out loud. There are also a few decent scares. If you haven’t seen this movie, where have you been and what is your problem?

2) The Mask: LJ

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The film that made Jim Carrey’s name in Hollywood was a staple of any child’s video collection. The film is bizarre, sexy, funny, exciting and as a kid I bloody loved it. Also the special effects in this film are mind blowing. How they got Cameron Diaz’s boobs to look that big is still a mystery to me.

3) Labyrinth: IH

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Ain’t got no problem…

‘You remind me of the babe.’

And that’s all I’d need to say to you to kick off what is, arguably, the best back-and-forth between a Goblin and his minions in cinema history. Jim Henson lit up my childhood with this movie; it’s complete with awesome puppets, catchy music and a really fantastical story, and for that I am truly grateful.

4) Peter Pan: LJ

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A Disney classic and a firm favourite of mine as a youngster. Peter Pan has been re-spun in many forms over the years, but this 1953 Disney animation has an air of nostalgia, character and beauty that is hard to beat.

5) Beetlejuice: IH

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My pursuit to be scared shitless started early, and my love of Beetlejuice is evidence of that. Tim Burton’s most original work was one of my absolute favourites from a very young age. It all gets very weird very quickly, and the final marriage scene has one of the oddest uses of the Banana Boat Song I’ve ever seen.

Daaaay-O!

6) Annie: LJ

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The 1982 adaptation of the Broadway hit Annie was a hugely loved in my household. Despite criticism at the time that the movie did an injustice to the original stage production, as a child, and blossoming musical fanatic, Annie had it all. The songs were catchy, sets impressive and ending satisfyingly schmaltzy.

7) Aladdin: IH

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Is Aladdin the best Disney film ever? I’m sure both of us would argue for and against this statement, but it was certainly the best Disney film featuring a flying carpet. Regardless, it’s still a firm favourite, and I even perfected Abu’s voice as a tribute.

8) Look Who’s Talking: LJ

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Bruce Willis as baby. What’s not to like? With Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and lots of singing sperm, Look Who’s Talking had charm in abundance. As well as a banging 80’s soundtrack, genuinely sweet love story, oh and did I mention Bruce Willis as a baby? This film rules. We’ll pretend the third film with the talking dogs never happened..

9) Legend: IH

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Legend is one of my go-to movies if I want that nostalgic feeling, and probably more so than any of my choices on this list. Directed by Ridley Scott, Legend is an adult kids film, much like a lot of films from the period. They really do not make them like this anymore. What do kids nowadays have…Jack The Giant Slayer? It’s doesn’t have a patch on Legend.

10) Star Wars: LJ

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Too young to have seen the Star Wars films first time around I remember going to get them in the cinema when they were re-released and then subsequently getting the wonderful gold and silver VHS box set one Christmas. I don’t need to remind anyone just how good these films are but they are SO damn good. Cult classics and some of the best characters ever created on film.

So, here are our 10 (5 each) movies. What movies did you wear out as a kid? Saturdays are never going to be as good as they were when you were 5. All day VHS sessions seem a millennium ago…

10 really bad ‘bad guys (and girls)’

Iron Man 3 came out in the UK this week. In honour of Robert Downey Jr’s arse-kicking, mega hero, here is a list of ten bad guys and girls that we think rightfully belong on cinema history’s rubbish [garbage] heap.

10) Jurassic Park: Dennis Nedry

I’m not sure about you lot, but I think I hate this guy more than any villian in any film ever. If there weren’t dinosaurs roaming around killing everyone I’m pretty sure Richard Attenborough could have caught up with this diabetic bastard and taught him a lesson or two.

You are lying if you say you wouldn't punch this guy.
You are lying if you say you wouldn’t punch his smug face.

9) Super Mario Bros: King Koopa

Split-tongued, rubbish hair, looks nothing like anything in any Mario game ever. Dennis Hopper said yes to some questionable roles, none more so than his turn in the WORST video game adaptation in history. Doom, you can stop holding your breath.

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8) Snakes on a Plane: snakes

SMH.

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7) 3 Ninjas – High Noon at Mega Mountain: Medusa

I don't see no motherf*ckin' snakes in her motherf*ckin' hair...
I don’t see no motherf*ckin’ snakes in her motherf*ckin’ hair…

Saw this movie back in ’98 on a pirated VHS (remember those?). Colt, Rocky, Tum Tum and a washed-out Hulk Hogan have to battle the big-breasted blonde siren, Medusa. It’s not like the 2 movies that preceded High Noon at Mega Mountain were Oscar-worthy, but this, and she, was truly awful.

6) This guy

5) Birdemic: the birds

Watch this film. It’s the funniest thing we’ve seen since Grabbers, which was actually supposed to be funny. The birds, rather than looking like epic vessels of apocalyptic destruction, appear to be GIFs of parrots cut-and-pasted over the live action. We are currently doing a post for Disaster Movies, but if you get the chance the full movie is on Youtube.

4) Batman and Robin: Mr Freeze

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If you had told me way back in 1997 that Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man more wooden than a piece of wood having a particularly woody day, would go on to become the Governor of California (yes this actually happened people) then I would have told you to lay off the meth and take a time out. Mr Freeze is by far the worst of all Batman villains, saying some of the worst dialogue you’ll ever hear in a Batman film.

3) Star Wars The Phantom Menace: Darth Maul

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Everything about this character was unbelievably annoying. His face looked like inside of a gone off watermelon, which may have been scary if it didn’t look like the prosthetics had been stuck on with chewing gum and the make-up done by someone at a local fair. Give me a fat, slimy, slug looking creature over this poor excuse for a Star Wars villain any day..

2) Harry Potter Series: Draco Malfoy and his merry band of arseholes

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He has the looks of Aaron Carter, the smugness of Piers Morgan and the same amount of threat as a common cold. And just like a cold, there didn’t seem to be any cure for him. He stuck around for seven fucking films, leaching from one film to the next, getting more and more bloody annoying as the series developed. Turns out he wasn’t really a villain anyway, he was just a massive douche.

1) The Mummy: Benny

Look who's got all the horses!
Look who’s got all the horses!

Goddamn it, this weasel brings nothing to The Mummy apart from a stupid, high-pitched cackle laugh. Wasn’t it enough having Imhotep running around nicking people eyes?

Have we missed anyone? Perhaps that purple thing from Power Rangers? Or the floating head in Crank 2? Who would you have on your top ten?

10 amazing screen partnerships

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1) Brian and Mike (End of Watch): This movie is so damn good because it feels completely real. Jakey G and Michael P play two utterly believable ‘Brolicemen’ that don’t give a damn about the gang roots of LA’s most dangerous. There are a number of scenes that will make you forget you are watching a movie and question why there are no ad breaks in this latest police documentary. Obviously cinematic licence is taken, as the movie does shift perspective from ‘hand-held footage’ to ‘fly on the wall’, but the story is so compelling you won’t care.

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Is this your homework, Larry?

2) Walter and The Dude (The Big Lebowski): It took a five year break and a second viewing for me to fall in love with this movie, and the main reason for this is the relationship between Bridges and Goodman. Whether it is meaningless back-and-forths about bowling, or straight-face trying to scare the bejeezus out of a 15 year old kid, the pair manage to be hilarious, touching, ridiculous and awesome all at the same time.

3) Buzz and Woody (Toy Story): You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Toy Story. As a kid I didn’t wish for my toys to come alive when I wasn’t in the room because my toys were shit, but I wished Buzz and Woody were real. Buzz and Woody are two of the most genuine, believable characters in cinema history, which is odd because their original physical form is just a series of mathematical calculations inside a computer.

4) Bonnie and Clyde/Mickey and Mallory (Bonnie and Clyde/Natural Born Killers): Violence breeding violence, set against true love. Or is it the mutual love of violence that brings them together? Both of these partnerships make you root for the ‘bad guys’, and that’s not always a negative thing.

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5) Ferris and Cameron (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off): The ultimate post-modern lead in film history, Ferris Bueller is as much a film about bunking school as it is an advert for everything and nothing during the 80s. Cameron provides the perfect emotional foil to Bueller’s ‘crazy’ antics, which alone are worth watching just for the musical number in downtown Chicago.

6) Thelma and Louise (Thelma and Louise): It’s a buddy road movie with two female leads. Somewhat placed in the ‘all men are arseholes’ camp of feminism, this matters not, as Thelma and Louise prove you don’t to have a penis to travel across the US on a Kerouacian mission to find yourself.

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7) Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid): I just picked up a Paul Newman collection from HMV for £5, which contained The Verdict, The Hustler and this movie. Indexed by one of the most iconic endings in cinematic history, Cassidy and Sundance is almost the male version of Thelma and Louise, where friendship prevails under the most testing circumstances.

8) Harry and Lloyd (Dumb and Dumber): In true Farrelly style, this film has plenty of fart, poop and boob jokes to keep an adolescent male amused. However, there are some truly touching moments, compounded by the friendship of the two main protagonists. There’s not a moment when you aren’t rooting for them! And the music…

9) Wallace and Dave (See No Evil, Hear No Evil): Wilder and Pryor at their best in this comedy of errors. Filmed in the spirit of Mel Brooks, Wallace and Dave, one blind, one deaf, work together to foil the plans of some murderous criminals. It’s a great movie, with Pryor and Wilder on top form. Coincidentally, I share a birthday with Richard Pryor, and Woody Allen! And Pablo Escobar.

10) Don and Cosmo (Singin’ in the Rain): This is the second time Singin’ in the Rain has come up in one of our 10 Things, and rightly so because it is such a wonderful movie. It stars Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor as Don and Cosmo. Their chemistry is electric, their dancing timeless and energetic, and it’s one of those cinematic pairings that will put a smile in your face no matter your mood!

10 Reasons why another Transformers film should not be made

1) The first one was ONLY alright (if a noise had to be attributed to the film it would be ‘meh’) and it didn’t even need a sequel; dat character arc… [read: explosion, explosion, Megan Fox’s arse, explosion, Wittwicky (what a weird name), end]

2) The sequel was just bad. And not even Adam Sandler movie bad, where you can laugh at it and feel smug. T2 was like being bog washed by The Undertaker.

3) Transformers are were super cool but Bay’s execution leaves you feeling exhausted and not in a good way. Watching these films feels like running up 10 flights of stairs whilst being chased by a rabid dog.

4) People will go and see it, thus enforcing the crazy notion that these films are decent, legitimate film making.

5) Michael Bay has stated that this will be the first in a new trilogy of films!!! When will the madness end?

6) Michael Bay will make lots of money and this is not good. He will keep on making money and making more films and the circle of banality will never end.

7) Mark Whalberg is set to star in the next iteration of Transformers. He doesn’t need to do this. His career has been on the up in recent years with some credible turns in films such as The Fighter.

What about The Happening?

*Fingers in ears*

8) Ehren Kruger is set to write the screenplay. His most successful works include the previous two Transformers films, Scream 3; the least plausible of the Scream films and Reindeer Games, arguably one of the worst Ben Affleck films ever made. Bay has argued that these new films are going to be completely different to the first. His way to do this? Hire the same guy to write the script as the last two?!

9) This is cynical filmmaking and needs to be stopped. There are new ideas to be explored and of course other cartoons to fingerbang with a rusty nail.

10) And finally. No one cares any more. The Autobots will win. Optimus Prime will be cool for like 5 mins and then we’ll realise we’ve seen it all before and hate ourselves.

I realise this is cynical and judgemental and could be so unbelievably wrong. If I’m not though Michael Bay won’t care. He’ll be too busy counting all his money and laughing. There will be lots of laughing.

PSA: This will be the first and last anti-Bay post you will see on here. Well, until he releases his next film.