Welcome to The Top 5, where every week, we list five things for a given topic. These topics can range from "5 Things We Liked About The Power Rangers Teaser Trailer" to "5 Things We Want (Or Don't Want) In Ben Affleck's The Batman."
Of course, because everyone has an opinion, there is sure to be some disagreements, which is why, despite the title "The Top 5," very rarely are these actual "best of" articles. Instead, they're meant to provide entertaining insight, and to stir a discussion, and give everyone a chance to speak their mind.
If you have a suggestion for a Top 5 piece, send them my way via #TheTop5LRM on Twitter. If I choose your topic, I'll be sure to give you a shoutout!
Now, on with today's topic!
5 MOVIES YOU THINK ARE BAD, BUT ARE ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD
We often go through life assuming certain movies are bad. Gigli? Bad. The Room? Bad. Jack and Jill? God-awful. Some films are so bad that it becomes ingrained in our very culture. Despite the fact that you may not have seen a certain movie, you may have already come to the conclusion that it was bad on all sorts of levels? Hell, perhaps you even saw the movie, but thanks to said ingrained culture, you’ve convinced yourself you hated the film, even if it wasn’t that bad.
In today’s post, we’ve decided to take a look at some of these films and flat-out tell you that you were wrong when you thought that movie was bad. That’s right. We’re calling you out. You’re wrong. Granted, with a list like this, there are sure to be plenty of you who disagree, and with some of them, we’re pretty much asking you to suspend your disbelief at least a bit more than you’d naturally be inclined to. However, if we let our barriers down a little bit, occasionally, we can find new media out there that resonates with us on a completely different level.
So here we go. Here are five movies that you think are bad, but are really actually pretty solid flicks.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 39%
This is a movie I’ll defend to my grave. I was never a fan of the original anime, so my love for this movie is completely detached from the source material, for better or worse. Let’s start with the visuals. Simply put, they’re like a complete acid trip. Rather than go solely for stylized CG, the Wachowskis went so far as to give it the illusion of a cartoon by creating several in-focus 2D-ish layers in every shot.
The storytelling in Speed Racer is frantic and unique. Within the first twenty minutes, we are treated to countless flashbacks that weave in and out of Speed’s big race, making for a first act that almost stands completely on its own. It somehow manages to maintain that style over the course of two rock-solid hours of entertainment.
The movie isn’t without flaws. The Wachowskis can’t tell kids’ stories to save their lives, and every scene aimed towards entertaining kids falls on its face. What’s more, a plot that revolves around stock prices, hostile takeovers, and capitalism isn't exactly the most primal of tales that will resonate with a younger audience. We reckon that questional demo-targeting is partially responsible for this flop, but I also imagine a lot of the hate from critics came more from their distain of the Wachowskis' previous endeavor, The Matrix Revolutions, than anything else.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 34%
Note: Special shoutout to contributor Drew Carlton for writing up this one. Due to the stigma surrounding board game movies, and the general critical failure, I even avoided this one.
After about 25 years of "disaster" and "alien invasion" movies, it was no surprise that when Battleship was released in 2012 it was swept under the rug and left to rot. However, I was shocked just how badly it was hated considering the cast was decent with Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, and Brooklyn Decker (truly gorgeous). But again, I think the critics were still hungover from movies like 2012, War Of The Worlds, and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer to truly give this movie a shot.
The story starts with your typical scenario of a badboy turning into a military hero, and of course his love interest just happens to be the admiral's daughter. Ya ok, not the best plot, but the execution was done well. The aliens and alien ships in this movie were extremely cool, and they did the best they could with the technology available at them time (yes 5 years is a huge difference), and the movie really gets exciting towards the end. Having lost targeting ability, all of the human's modern technology had failed them, and they were forced to go find a crew of old-timers to command a WW2-era ship to destroy the enemy. But how could they possibly attack them without a modern day guidance system? Enter the board game Battleship. The heroes figured they could use tsunami detection buoys to create a grid, and they could guess where the aliens were moving and target them that way -- a very cool way to bring the boardgame into play. When all was said and done, I was satisfied with the ending, and I have actually rewatched it a few times!
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%
We live in quite the cynical age. With all the information on the web that surrounds us, it’s pretty easy to be pessimistic about our existence. Everyday we hear about crises around the world, murders in our back yard, and CEOs who bankrupt their companies and hop out, clinging to their golden parachutes. So cynical are we that we tend to scoff and brush away anything that’s remotely optimistic.
Enter Ben Stiller’s 2014 film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Based on the short story that revolves around a man who spends the majority of his life living out his dreams in his head, this film takes a different approach. Rather than make it a story about someone too set in their ways to do anything, the film allows the titular Walter Mitty actually push himself outside his comfort zone and become the man he’s always wanted to be.
The film is endlessly optimistic, the jokes are ridiculous, the scenarios are farfetched, and by the time Walter is answering a phone call while hiking the Himalayas, you pretty much have to accept that this is not a film that’s hindered by actual reality. It’s for this reason that we believe the film was panned as it was. Rather than focus on the hopeful narrative or positive message, many critics instead latched onto the ridiculousness of the plot, and what they viewed was a moment of fleeting vanity from Stiller. Perhaps it was, to an extent, but the end product is actually one that celebrates the very act of living, and for that reason alone, it’s worth checking out with an open mind.
LADY IN THE WATER
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 24%
Poor, poor M. Night Shyamalan. We all know this story. This was a director who had everything going for him. Between The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, it seemed as though the filmmaker could do no wrong. Then over the course of a handful of movies, his career took a stark turn south. The Village was a disappointment, Lady in the Water was laughed at, The Happening was one big punchline, The Last Airbender angered fans all around the world, and After Earth seemed to cement his downturn. It’s only with his last two films, The Visit, and Split, that he seems to have slowly turned things around.
But I’d like to argue that at least one of those films, Lady in the Water, wasn’t as bad as many believed it to be. Like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, this was a film that asked a lot of the audience. It asked them to accept the impossible, and to let a bit of magic in. More than any of Shyamalan’s other films, I consider Lady in the Water to be something of a magical realist film. Like in such films as Like Water for Chocolate, or such books as One Hundred Years of Solitude, ridiculous s**t happens, and audiences oftentimes just have to accept it as a part of the reality in this world.
Shyamalan is asking similar things of his audience in this flick. Between all the strange inhabitants of the apartment complex — the stuttering maintenance guy, the beautiful mermaid, the man who only works out one side of his body, the boy who sees messages in cereal boxes, and the writer destined for greatness — it’s really easy to roll your eyes at this film. But that’s kind of part of its charm.
Understandably, there are those who can’t stand the fact that Shyamalan cast himself as the writer destined for greatness, and yeah, I can see that as being annoying. However, barring any annoying vanity story choices, I think there’s actually a decent amount of good entertainment to be found…so long as you try and forget Shyamalan had anything to do with this one.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: ULTIMATE EDITION
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 27% (Theatrical Cut)
It’s become en vogue to crap all over the DC Extended Universe. Why not? It’s an easy target. WB clearly is still figuring this out, they pushed this world down the fans’ throats with almost no good faith to speak of, and they always seem to be scrambling to catch Marvel’s success. That being said, I think part of the narrative here is actually quite wrong. Batman v Superman isn’t a bad movie. Sure, the film has its problems, but I’d argue the majority of these problems were fixed in the Ultimate Edition, which was released shortly after the film’s theatrical run.
Sadly, this edition seemed to come much too late. The narrative has already been set regarding this one, and fans love love love to call Zack Snyder an overrated hack. But take a good look at the finished product. It may be bloated and a bit overly-ambitious, but there’s no doubt there was a lot of TLC thrown into this one. Ben Affleck’s Batman was a sight to behold, Gal Gadot was a great Wonder Woman, and the continuing narrative of the alien known as Superman was tackled with interesting political overtones.
Of course, like all the films on the list, this isn’t a perfect piece. Jesse Eisenberg’s performance was understandably polarizing, and Luthor’s plan overly-convoluted, and a few of its plot devices were forced and contrived, but at the end of the day, when all said and done, this was a film that faced an unwarranted amount of hate from fans.
All right, let’s hear it. How wrong are we about these films? Are there any other films that you love that are generally considered duds? Let us know your thoughts down below!