Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

If you know Ingmar Bergman primarily as a director of motion pictures – and since you are reading this review in English rather than Swedish, that is almost certainly the case – you probably know him as the miserabilist creator of morbid, heavy character dramas, one after the other, fixated on dying marriages, death, and […]

Is 1929’s The Broadway Melody, as its reputation has it, the very worst film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture? Does it actually matter? The film is a great big piece of poo, and whether or not it is slightly smellier or wetter than other pieces of poo, it will empty out […]

The existence of a third Bill & Ted movie in the Year of Our Lord 2020 is both inexplicable and inevitable. The first two movies – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, from 1989 (though it was intended for 1988) and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, from 1991 – are a pair of films incredibly of […]

The Bill & Ted series is made up of nothing but miracles. 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure obviously intended to be nothing but a disposable lark, mocking some cultural trends of the day on the way to being forgotten by the world at large; instead, based really on nothing I can point to except […]

Director Stuart Gordon is probably best known for his extremely violent genre films made for tiny indie production companies. But he also had an inexplicable relationship with Walt Disney Pictures, dating the late ’80s when he and his producing partner Brian Yuzna, along with Ed Naha, screenwriter of the Gordon/Yuzna film Dolls, pitched a project […]

Nobody who ended up in Director Jail has ever deserved it less than Joe Dante. Out of the first six features on which he received sole directorial credit – Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), and The ‘Burbs (1989) – only Explorers lost money, and of the remaining five, Innerspace […]

No reviewer of the 1958 MGM musical Gigi will ever come up with a better lede paragraph than the one Bosley Crowther wrote for his review in The New York Times, in which he affects modest shock at the astonishing list of coincidences between the film and a recent Broadway, before drily ending with the […]

To claim that Re-Animator, a faultless hybrid of no-holds-barred splatterpunk horror and pitch-black comedy from 1985, is the best movie ever drawn from the writing of H.P. Lovecraft is to merely claim the offensively obvious. It doesn’t take very much at all to be one of the best Lovecraft adaptations (he’s a good candidate for […]

Palm Springs, in one single creative choice, becomes both an extremely fresh and an extremely limited variation on the time loop scenario: it is the first one of these things that I can name that assumes that we all know what “time loop scenario” means (if you don’t, it means “Groundhog Day knock-off”). This means […]

The films of Don Bluth have been a much more reliable source of franchise than I would have ever imagined. The Secret of NIMH got a sequel, though it took 16 years; An American Tail got three sequels, one of which played theaters; All Dogs Go to Heaven, despite being wildly perceived as a failure, […]

Ingmar Bergman once suggested, I do not know how seriously, that his choice in the early summer of 1955 was between two things: making a lightweight comedy for Svensk Filmindustri, or killing himself. Now, I shouldn’t think that his professional situation was as bad as all that – his position with Malmö City Theatre was […]

The dream of Sullivan Bluth Studios, later Don Bluth Entertainment, came to a miserable end late in 1994. Over the previous nine years, the company (the second one co-founded by Bluth) had ascended as high as An American Tail in 1986 and The Land Before Time in 1988, the first two animated features ever to […]