Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The question of whether Green Book is worse on race or worse on class is a tough one. It’s at least more spectacularly bad on race; but I, for one, was unprepared for it to touch on class at all, so that came as the far uglier surprise. Either way, it’s the kind of modestly […]

It is genuinely difficult to understand how Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald could have turned out so badly. This is, after all, the tenth movie in what I guess is officially being called the Wizarding World franchise, after eight Harry Potters and 2016’s Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and one […]

Much of the pre-release promotion for the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas focused on the extraordinary (and, eventually, Oscar-winning) make-up work it took to get Jim Carrey entombed in the flexible latex mask that allowed him to play Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s beloved Christmas-hating misanthrope. And, in particular, on how it was […]

I would say at the outset that David & Nic Sheff, subjects of the biopic Beautiful Boy, are a real-life father and son (the movie is based on their respective memoirs, titled after David’s), and the suffering depicted in the movie is real-life suffering, and far be it from me to minimise any of it. It […]

We must now ask ourselves: at what point does a studio become merely a brand name? Let’s not even make it a hypothetical: if we have something called Hammer Film Productions, and it’s all legal and aboveboard and there’s a clear line of ownership justifying that name, but also James and Michael Carreras are both […]

Because I am fundamentally broken, wretched person, I come to the films in the God’s Not Dead franchise with a certain expectation of laughing at the ineptitude, cringing in merry pleasure at the deep lack of understanding of human behavior, and feeling a twisted, ripped-up churning in my guts, like I’ve got a live copperhead […]

Bad movies happen all the time. Anybody can make a bad movie: all you need is some flat dialogue, lazy cinematography, actors in over their heads, an unprepared director, poorly thought-out story beats, an inattentive editor, cheap sound equipment. Or any combination of the above. No, there’s nothing particularly interesting about a bad movie. But […]

There is exactly one thing I unreservedly admire in Slender Man: in one shot, the protagonists are huddled around a laptop, and in the background, what appears to be one of their shadows stretches and elongates in a distinctively lanky (one might even say “slender”) way, looming over them on the back wall. Everything about […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: The Meg has decided that 60 feet isn’t nearly imposing enough of a size for a giant shark and […]

Without a moment’s hesitation, I’d declare 2009’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself the peak of Tyler Perry’s career as a director, and in a pinch I’d call 2008’s The Family That Preys his second-best, and this matters because of one of the only characteristics they share in common: prior to 2018, they were […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation demonstrates all the fun times that can be had when a collection of monsters […]

From among the Video Nasties In 1963, indie producer-director and godfather of gore and direct marketing Herschell Gordon Lewis made Blood Feast, a movie typically identified as the very first gore picture (that is, a movie with no intrinsic merits and no hook to its marketing campaign other than “there is blood, lots of it). […]