Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

“Movies are so rarely great art,” Pauline Kael wrote in 1969, “that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.” I do not agree with much of what Kael had to say over the years, and in fact I do not even agree with large swaths of […]

Just explaining the concept of Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets potentially constitutes a spoiler to the sufficiently way reader, so I guess the best way to start is to say: if you are a lover of human beings, this is a film for you. And if there is any shred of justice in this world, filmmaking […]

This review is based on the first released cut of the movie Show Dogs, before the hue and cry against the film’s implicit instruction to young children that “this is how you behave when strangers want to touch your genitals” led to it being recut in time for its second weekend of release. I lead […]

A second review requested by Chris W, with thanks for contributing twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Back when it was brand new (and before I ever saw it), I read somebody, I cannot recall who, describe the plot of the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas as follows: “A man tries […]

By no reasonable standard is Paul Blart: Mall Cop a good movie. It is perhaps even a very bad movie, and a largely unamusing comedy. That’s even adjusting for the already questionable comic standards of the “fatty fall down” genre, one of the loudest and most obnoxious of all possible subgenres. So it is bizarre […]

2012’s Think Like a Man is, by and large, not a very good movie. But it does an absolutely fantastic impression of one, thanks to a game cast of very talented comic actors who don’t get very much work in major movies owing to their unbankable skin color, all of them working double-time to flesh […]

With Leprechaun 3 in 1995, the franchise made its perhaps inevitable leap to the muggy swamps of direct-to-video horror, from whence it never returned. “And who would be able to tell?” I thought during every cheap-ass moment of Leprechaun and Leprechaun 2, assuming that the chintzy props and bargain basement supporting casts and tacky lighting […]

Insofar as remaking any given 1980s horror film can be rightly said to make sense, it still doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense to remake 1985’s Fright Night, a self-conscious throwback whose charms are largely a function of its position in history: it is an attempt to make an old-fashioned, embarrassingly so, […]

It is a fact undeniable that raunchy comedy works, as humiliating as it can be to admit this sometimes. Chaucer knew this; Shakespeare knew this. A great many contemporary filmmakers also know this, though it hardly needs to be mentioned that very few of them are working at a level comparable to Chaucer or Shakespeare. […]

Though only a fitfully entertaining romantic comedy and often not even that, What Happens in Vegas is better by a fair margin than anybody could have expected it to be. Which I use as code for “it stars Ashton Kutcher, yet it is not hopelessly bad.” Nor, for that matter, is Kutcher himself hopelessly bad. […]

It’s a bit of a pity that Zak Penn’s second feature as a director, The Grand, is getting only the smallest of releases, because it’s actually a pretty fun little movie. Probably not good enough to get particularly exercised about its release platform, though. There’s nothing under the surface of the comedy, although it’s rarely […]


There is no earthly reason that a film about gorgeous young people making vast sums of money in Vegas, spending it in the most conspicuous and glamorous ways possible, generally making a mockery of the story’s nominal moral about losing yourself to the dark lord Mammon, should be even a little bit tolerable. But damned […]