I was privelidged enough last weekend to spend time with my dear friend Black, of Two Tokens, and his family. I have a lot in common with all of them, including their awesome 8 year old, Lil’ K (you can pick a new nickname if you don’t like that one).
While I was there, we spread out on the couch to watch movies. Through the magic of netflix, we picked some random movies, one of which was awesome, the other of which was terrible. This got us discussing how you can tell if a movie is bad from the outset. The rules (so far) are these:
1) If the movie has super long credits, it’s probably bad. According to Mrs.Black (again, you can choose a different nickname), if it’s a good movie, they want to get you right into it, rather than have you sit around watching credits.
2) If there’s gratuitous nudity early in the movie, it’s probably terrible. My reasoning is that the creators are hoping viewers will say, “Ooh, boobs!! Let’s stick it out to see if there are more boobs later!”
Both movies we watched this weekend followed these simple rules.
First up: Dance of the Dead. Zombies at prom??? Yes, please!! Awesome premise, and fortunately, awesome movie! It did break a couple rules of zombie movies, but the mistakes were forgivable. So, how it followed the rules:
1) Super short credits. I don’t even know if the actors names were listed.
2) The only nudity in the movie is about halfway through, and it’s just a male zombie’s bum. That means this movie has substance, rather than gimmicks.
The plot is great. The town is near a nuclear power plant, which doesn’t bode well for anyone. Of course, since it’s a zombie movie, the dead start to rise, but it happens to be on the night of the school prom. This whole movie is filled with humor, great acting, characters, and plot reveals. I loved it. On the Clever Chick scale it gets a “I’ll recommend it to tons of my friends, and watch it repeatedly”. It’s not on the level of Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, but it is damn close.
Next victim: The Funhouse. This movie came out in 1981, and just from the tagline “Pay to get in; Pray to get out!” I was severely tempted to watch it. Let’s get right to how it violated the rules of good movies, and just human decency.
1) I swear, 10% of this movie is credits. When you start seeing “Best Boy – Kyle Furthham” and “Dolly Grip – Toby Westhover”, you know it’s going to be bad.
2) Boobs in the first 2-4 minutes. And it was creepy. The actress is about to get into the shower, so you think to yourself, “I bet they’re going to show her nude”, but she looks like a twelve year old. I’m not kidding. We all thought the same thing. I think it’s because she had her hair down, and a big, fluffy, pink robe on, and a fairly youthful face, but it was disturbing.
Any time movies start using nudity as a crutch, you know it’s going to be missing in the plot arena, and this movie was no exception. At one point, we realized there were only 24 minutes left in the movie, and anything interesting had yet to happen.
There were several plot points that were never resolved, or referred back to. For example, they make a point of having the main actress stop and stare at several carnival barkers, who are all played by the same actor, but then nothing happens with that. They basically took a bunch of random occurrences set in a carnival and called it a movie. On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “It’s so bad, you can’t even laugh at it. Save yourself 2 hours and avoid, avoid, avoid”.
I love movies, and I love cheesy, hokey, attempting-to-be-scary movies, but this one is inexcusable in its awfulness.