Category: film

8- Ghost Dad

We try to figure out what’s more important: Being a Ghost, Being a Dad, or Being a Ghost Dad? Spoiler Alert: It’s none of those things. And Jay Delta learns an important lesson about molestation and how his x-ray technician might be doing it to him.

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• Britney Spears is high school valedictorian

• Dan Aykroyd doing his best impression of Kurtwood Smith in Dead Poets Society

• Britney hides the fact she was dancing like she lives in Footloose

• “I wanna see the world…like California”

DONT DRIVE THE CAR

• Karaoke competition??? Where the audience pays money if they like them??? Was that even a thing???

• They think Ben is a murderer but continue to travel cross-country with him

• Pennsatucky’s earrings

• Ben’s absolute garbage back tattoo

• Dave (Gruber) Allen has one line yet gets higher billing than Dan Aykroyd and Kim Catrall

• They drive the car anyway

• Ben has a HUGE fuckin tantrum over not having enough “guy time” ????? Britney still thinks he’s a cute and good guy™ after this??????

• Lifetime-esque revelation that not only is Zoe Saldana’s college bf is cheating on her but is also Pennsatucky’s rapist all by the bottle of beer he happened to be drinking at the time

• Final Song’s lip sync completely out of sync

“’Cowboys & Aliens’ is an agreeable time-killer, but I’ll bet a couple of clever kids could make a livelier movie with a Woody puppet and a Predator doll.” –David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Reviewed by Kyle

French vanilla yogurt, an accountant from Branson, Missouri and Cowboys & Aliens – three things that take no risks. For the first two this trait is an asset, but for Jon Favreau’s 2011 film it is certainly to its detriment. Before its release I was sure audiences were in for a summertime treat. With the first two installments of the Iron Man franchise, Favreau had proven himself to be as entertaining behind the camera as he is in front. Old Hollywood muscle met new with the additions of both Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig as leading men. Mix these elements with an interesting sci-fi/western genre crossover concept, and the possibilities for an engrossing film seemed wider than the prairie sky.

Bling Bling

What viewers received instead is another safe studio tropefest. The film opens in an interesting fashion as Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakes in the wilderness with a technologically advanced metal bracelet. Lonegran is still as disorientated as the audience when he is discovered by some bounty hunters who quickly harass him into demonstrating those James Bond martial art moves we have all come to love. Lonergan steals some clothes and a horse and rides into the rural southwestern town of Stereotype…er… Absolution. There Lonegran meets the whiny, entitled character Paul Dano plays in every western. He soon is locked up with Dano after a warrant for Lonegran’s arrest is discovered.

At nightfall Lonergan is about to be sent to US Marshalls in Santa Fe when local hardass horsetrader (and Dano’s father) Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) attempts to capture Lonergan in revenge for stolen gold. But before that can happen, aliens enter in fighter planes and abduct minor characters we have no real emotional connection with. This leaves the rest to form a motley crew of clichés in order to save the day. Everybody makes the cut: the sexy stranger with a secret (Olivia Wilde), the common-sense barkeep (Sam Rockwell), the wise but disrespected Native American (Adam Beach), the gun-toting man of God (Clancy Brown), and the pure of heart child (Noah Ringer). After fighting bandits and indulging in drug-induced flashbacks with the local native tribe, Lonergan leads them to the final showdown with the computer generated menaces from beyond the stars.

“Quick, to the next cliché!”

Cowboys & Aliens opened second behind The Smurfs the weekend of July 29, 2011. In total the $163 million film made only $100 million domestically. International release allowed Paramount to essentially break even on the film, hardly the summer blockbuster they expected. Instead of being either a dark, engaging thriller about isolated people outmatched by superior beasts or a campy spin through two beloved genres, Cowboys & Aliens decides it will be the boring parts of both. Its PG-13 rating also ensures that whenever something has the potential to be disturbing, depressing, trippy, or mind-bending, it will instead never be fully developed or explored. Craig, Ford and the rest of the cast do well for the material as does Favreau with his direction. But the end result is mediocre, leaning neither toward good nor bad, but just simply there. This makes it perfect for sporadic cable syndication.

Two and a half stars.   

“’Cowboys & Aliens’ is an agreeable time-killer, but I’ll bet a couple of clever kids could make a livelier movie with a Woody puppet and a Predator doll.” –David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Reviewed by Kyle

French vanilla yogurt, an accountant from Branson, Missouri and Cowboys & Aliens – three things that take no risks. For the first two this trait is an asset, but for Jon Favreau’s 2011 film it is certainly to its detriment. Before its release I was sure audiences were in for a summertime treat. With the first two installments of the Iron Man franchise, Favreau had proven himself to be as entertaining behind the camera as he is in front. Old Hollywood muscle met new with the additions of both Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig as leading men. Mix these elements with an interesting sci-fi/western genre crossover concept, and the possibilities for an engrossing film seemed wider than the prairie sky.

Bling Bling

What viewers received instead is another safe studio tropefest. The film opens in an interesting fashion as Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakes in the wilderness with a technologically advanced metal bracelet. Lonegran is still as disorientated as the audience when he is discovered by some bounty hunters who quickly harass him into demonstrating those James Bond martial art moves we have all come to love. Lonergan steals some clothes and a horse and rides into the rural southwestern town of Stereotype…er… Absolution. There Lonegran meets the whiny, entitled character Paul Dano plays in every western. He soon is locked up with Dano after a warrant for Lonegran’s arrest is discovered.

At nightfall Lonergan is about to be sent to US Marshalls in Santa Fe when local hardass horsetrader (and Dano’s father) Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) attempts to capture Lonergan in revenge for stolen gold. But before that can happen, aliens enter in fighter planes and abduct minor characters we have no real emotional connection with. This leaves the rest to form a motley crew of clichés in order to save the day. Everybody makes the cut: the sexy stranger with a secret (Olivia Wilde), the common-sense barkeep (Sam Rockwell), the wise but disrespected Native American (Adam Beach), the gun-toting man of God (Clancy Brown), and the pure of heart child (Noah Ringer). After fighting bandits and indulging in drug-induced flashbacks with the local native tribe, Lonergan leads them to the final showdown with the computer generated menaces from beyond the stars.

“Quick, to the next cliché!”

Cowboys & Aliens opened second behind The Smurfs the weekend of July 29, 2011. In total the $163 million film made only $100 million domestically. International release allowed Paramount to essentially break even on the film, hardly the summer blockbuster they expected. Instead of being either a dark, engaging thriller about isolated people outmatched by superior beasts or a campy spin through two beloved genres, Cowboys & Aliens decides it will be the boring parts of both. Its PG-13 rating also ensures that whenever something has the potential to be disturbing, depressing, trippy, or mind-bending, it will instead never be fully developed or explored. Craig, Ford and the rest of the cast do well for the material as does Favreau with his direction. But the end result is mediocre, leaning neither toward good nor bad, but just simply there. This makes it perfect for sporadic cable syndication.

Two and a half stars.   

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“The dialogue consists largely of statements that are incomprehensible, often delivered with timing that is apparently intended to indicated they are witty. All of the actors seem to have generated back stories for their characters that have nothing to do with one another…The population of America consists entirely of character actors with funny names. I’m not sure that by the end of the movie they have all met one another, even the ones in the same scenes together.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Reviewed by David

Thus far, we here at Bad Movies Revisited have – at least in part – defended the films we’ve chosen to review. That ends this week with Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales, a movie which was critically panned, bombed at the box office and, in my opinion, still got off too easy. With a budget of seventeen million dollars, Southland Tales grossed a whopping $374,000 domestically. Those few people who did see the film in theaters must have been dumbstruck. How could a movie with a cast this large (and talented) be so bad? How could a film with a running time of nearly two and a half hours be about nothing? How can a film be simultaneously overly complex and contain no real plot to speak of? Cade has informed me that the film is actually missing its first act, which Richard Kelly released as a comic book to be read prior to seeing the film. That’s a nice bit of synergistic marketing – but that’s not what a movie is.

So what is the movie about? It is a general indicator that, if a film’s most basic premise cannot be summed up in a sentence or two, the plot is contrived or confusing. With that in mind, let’s see if we can sum up Southland Tales in a single, grammatically correct sentence. The film is about a movie star named Boxer (Dwayne Johnson) who has been kidnapped by Roland Taverner (Seann William Scott) who is working for a group of left-wing terrorists that hope to sway an election because Boxer is married to Mandy Moore – who is a Senator’s daughter – but he is secretly(?) having an affair with a porn star named Krista Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar) but none of that really matters because Boxer isn’t really Boxer, but rather his own future self who has traveled through a dimensional rift, but it may actually be Taverner (or his twin brother) who is the second coming of Christ (?) and needs to go through the portal in order to, I’m not sure, let’s say save humanity. Justin Timberlake narrates.

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Dwayne Johnson, upon seeing the film for the first time.

Forgive me for indulging in that experiment, but then that’s what the entire film feels like: A run-on sentence. My intentionally snarky tone aside, I think you can see what’s wrong with Southland Tales from the synopsis. It is simultaneously about everything and nothing. When a film is trying to jam in multidimensional rifts, heavy-handed political commentary, porn stars, and a futuristic hellscape which is only set in the year 2008, that film is juggling a bit too much. All of this is done in what is meant to be a comic tone, but there’s nothing funny about anything or anyone. People dress and act bizarrely, as if that is supposed to be a visual pun that can be substituted for actual humor. The film is meant to be social commentary, but I’m at a loss as to what that commentary is. If it’s a satire, that’s fine, but the target needs to be clear. Is the fact that Krista Now is a celebrity supposed to be a commentary on the mainstreaming of porn in American culture? Does the film think that is a good or bad thing? Are the left-wing terrorists a commentary on hardcore liberalism, or a parody of what conservatives view liberals as? Is the police state a critique of the Bush administration or a defense of it? One would assume the film is against a police state, but since the people fighting for it and the people fighting against it are equally grotesque and unlikable, whose side are we meant to be on?

The film has other problems aside from its plot. Several big stars like Scott and Timberlake come and go from scene to scene without an explanation for their motivations or purpose. Timberlake is the narrator, an Army veteran slash celebrity named Pilot Abilene. He also has a random musical number in which he does not sing or dance, despite the fact that he is Justin Timberlake. Several of the film’s supporting roles are filled with former cast members of Saturday Night Live. Why? Maybe Richard Kelly was just a big SNL fan, or maybe this, again, was supposed to be a commentary on something. The problem with stunt casting like this is how distracting it becomes. The film is complex enough without stopping every ten minutes and saying “Hey everyone, look, Jon Lovitz!” It also doesn’t help that these comedic actors seem to be doing the heavy lifting in terms of exposition and dramatic moments. They aren’t suited for such roles. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a deranged terrorist the image that comes to mind is not Cheri Oteri.

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Pictured: Dramatic Actors in Training

And so, Southland Tales is a Bad Movie, fully deserving of its failure. It is truly inexplicable, as Richard Kelly had previously made the very challenging and engaging Donnie Darko, and would go on to make the mediocre but entertaining The Box. When criticizing a film for lacking structure and not adhering to certain expectations, it is important not to seem dismissive. Donnie Darko pushed boundaries and was, for most audiences, pretty confusing. But that was a film with a purpose, one whose complicated nature was fun to go back and retrace in an attempt to understand it more completely. Southland Tales could, I suspect, be explained through a series of very complicated graphs, charts, and essays, but there’s nothing at the end of the maze to make the journey worthwhile.

One star.

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“The dialogue consists largely of statements that are incomprehensible, often delivered with timing that is apparently intended to indicated they are witty. All of the actors seem to have generated back stories for their characters that have nothing to do with one another…The population of America consists entirely of character actors with funny names. I’m not sure that by the end of the movie they have all met one another, even the ones in the same scenes together.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Reviewed by David

Thus far, we here at Bad Movies Revisited have – at least in part – defended the films we’ve chosen to review. That ends this week with Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales, a movie which was critically panned, bombed at the box office and, in my opinion, still got off too easy. With a budget of seventeen million dollars, Southland Tales grossed a whopping $374,000 domestically. Those few people who did see the film in theaters must have been dumbstruck. How could a movie with a cast this large (and talented) be so bad? How could a film with a running time of nearly two and a half hours be about nothing? How can a film be simultaneously overly complex and contain no real plot to speak of? Cade has informed me that the film is actually missing its first act, which Richard Kelly released as a comic book to be read prior to seeing the film. That’s a nice bit of synergistic marketing – but that’s not what a movie is.

So what is the movie about? It is a general indicator that, if a film’s most basic premise cannot be summed up in a sentence or two, the plot is contrived or confusing. With that in mind, let’s see if we can sum up Southland Tales in a single, grammatically correct sentence. The film is about a movie star named Boxer (Dwayne Johnson) who has been kidnapped by Roland Taverner (Seann William Scott) who is working for a group of left-wing terrorists that hope to sway an election because Boxer is married to Mandy Moore – who is a Senator’s daughter – but he is secretly(?) having an affair with a porn star named Krista Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar) but none of that really matters because Boxer isn’t really Boxer, but rather his own future self who has traveled through a dimensional rift, but it may actually be Taverner (or his twin brother) who is the second coming of Christ (?) and needs to go through the portal in order to, I’m not sure, let’s say save humanity. Justin Timberlake narrates.

image

Dwayne Johnson, upon seeing the film for the first time.

Forgive me for indulging in that experiment, but then that’s what the entire film feels like: A run-on sentence. My intentionally snarky tone aside, I think you can see what’s wrong with Southland Tales from the synopsis. It is simultaneously about everything and nothing. When a film is trying to jam in multidimensional rifts, heavy-handed political commentary, porn stars, and a futuristic hellscape which is only set in the year 2008, that film is juggling a bit too much. All of this is done in what is meant to be a comic tone, but there’s nothing funny about anything or anyone. People dress and act bizarrely, as if that is supposed to be a visual pun that can be substituted for actual humor. The film is meant to be social commentary, but I’m at a loss as to what that commentary is. If it’s a satire, that’s fine, but the target needs to be clear. Is the fact that Krista Now is a celebrity supposed to be a commentary on the mainstreaming of porn in American culture? Does the film think that is a good or bad thing? Are the left-wing terrorists a commentary on hardcore liberalism, or a parody of what conservatives view liberals as? Is the police state a critique of the Bush administration or a defense of it? One would assume the film is against a police state, but since the people fighting for it and the people fighting against it are equally grotesque and unlikable, whose side are we meant to be on?

The film has other problems aside from its plot. Several big stars like Scott and Timberlake come and go from scene to scene without an explanation for their motivations or purpose. Timberlake is the narrator, an Army veteran slash celebrity named Pilot Abilene. He also has a random musical number in which he does not sing or dance, despite the fact that he is Justin Timberlake. Several of the film’s supporting roles are filled with former cast members of Saturday Night Live. Why? Maybe Richard Kelly was just a big SNL fan, or maybe this, again, was supposed to be a commentary on something. The problem with stunt casting like this is how distracting it becomes. The film is complex enough without stopping every ten minutes and saying “Hey everyone, look, Jon Lovitz!” It also doesn’t help that these comedic actors seem to be doing the heavy lifting in terms of exposition and dramatic moments. They aren’t suited for such roles. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a deranged terrorist the image that comes to mind is not Cheri Oteri.

image

Pictured: Dramatic Actors in Training

And so, Southland Tales is a Bad Movie, fully deserving of its failure. It is truly inexplicable, as Richard Kelly had previously made the very challenging and engaging Donnie Darko, and would go on to make the mediocre but entertaining The Box. When criticizing a film for lacking structure and not adhering to certain expectations, it is important not to seem dismissive. Donnie Darko pushed boundaries and was, for most audiences, pretty confusing. But that was a film with a purpose, one whose complicated nature was fun to go back and retrace in an attempt to understand it more completely. Southland Tales could, I suspect, be explained through a series of very complicated graphs, charts, and essays, but there’s nothing at the end of the maze to make the journey worthwhile.

One star.

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“It is completely understandable why the distributor of Zadora’s debut film Butterfly refused to preview it for the press: It’s truly terrible…Matt Cimber’s listless direction wastes its perfect ingredients for campy fun. Butterfly is a creaky, lurid melodrama that culminates in a ludicrous trial judged by a florid, flamboyant Orson Welles.” – Keven Thomas, LA Times

Reviewed by David

Jess Tyler (Stacy Keach) lives alone on an abandoned silver mine. Years earlier, he worked in the mine, but once the Depression forced the company to close the mine, they kept him on as security against trespassers. Not that there’s much left to guard. Stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert, Jess is the only person around for miles. One immediately gets a sense of his isolation from the establishing shots of Butterfly. His tiny one-room house sits in the middle of the abandoned work site, surrounded by rusting equipment. His isolation comes to an abrupt end when he finds Kady (Pia Zadora) sitting on his front porch. She is young, attractive, and barely clothed. Jess refuses to acknowledge her at first – perhaps wary that she is a hallucination. Eventually they speak, and she immediately asks him questions about his past. Was he ever married? Why did his wife leave him? Jess comes out and asks her what she wants. She looks him up and down and uncrosses her legs: “How can I tell ‘till I know what you got?” Once he grows agitated, Kady admits that she is his daughter, and she’s come to stay with him. But their flirtatious first exchange is just the beginning of their attraction to one another.

Matt Cimber’s Butterfly was not merely panned when it premiered in 1982 – it was despised. Much of the vitriol expressed about Butterfly had to do with its star, Pia Zadora. It was her first feature film, bankrolled by her millionaire husband, Meshulam Riklis, who was 31 years her senior. Later, when Zadora won the Golden Globe for Best Newcomer, it was openly known that her husband had bribed the Hollywood Foreign Press for the award. Butterfly was a critical and box office failure, and was eventually nominated for ten Razzie Awards (Zadora won two). All of this behind-the-scenes drama may have been the source of the hostility toward the film. The film’s premise, however, about father-daughter incest certainly didn’t do it any favors at the box office. But what about the actual quality of the film? Is it truly as bad as its reviews would suggest?

It’s a relatively simplistic plot, but that serves the story well. For the majority of the film, Jess and Kady are alone in the middle of nowhere. Their urges grow stronger, and while Kady is willing to give into them, Jess attempts to remain an honest and virtuous man. A similar story could have been easily told without the incest element. Kady could have been the daughter of an old friend, or married, and that could have been the source of the tension. But the taboo nature of the story is, frankly, the only thing that makes Butterfly stand apart from other, more traditional films of the same nature. Incest in film has always been a delicate topic, specifically when it is not being used as a mere plot device. The great majority of incest in film is incorporated with the Surprise Incest plot twist. Refreshingly, that’s not the case with Butterfly, which is willing to be about what it’s about. To dismiss the film simply because the subject is uncomfortable is unfair and lazy as a viewer.

Stacy Keach gives a strong, conflicted performance. Indeed, he manages to make the audience feel more sympathy for his character’s situation than it probably should. The supporting performances are also strong, perhaps with the exception of the inexplicable casting of Ed McMahon as one of the prominent townspeople. The standout presence in the film belongs to Orson Welles, whose Judge Rauch presides over the eventual incest trial of Jess and Kady. Welles isn’t trying very hard here, he’s clearly cashing a paycheck. But he’s Orson Welles, and even when he’s going through the motions his presence dwarfs all others on screen. The film is visually engaging, well paced, and it’s not particularly shy about its subject matter. The primary problem with Butterfly lies in its screenplay, which falls back on a lazy third-act plot twist in an attempt to conveniently alter the fate of the protagonists. Indeed, the ludicrous nature of the twist, and the outright absurdity of its implementation, is enough to nearly ruin the film. But enough interesting things have happened up until that point to forgive the film’s stilted ending – just barely.

And then there is Pia Zadora. She was the central focus of the controversy, and the punching bag throughout most of the reviews of Butterfly. So, is she really that bad? Sort of. I haven’t seen any of her other films, but if she didn’t improve as an actress it would be understandable why her career never took off. I can see how people might have been distracted by her acting ability, although she is far from the worst I have ever seen. Her photogenic nature and earnestness make up for what she lacks dramatically. Her modern day equivalent would be someone like Megan Fox or Katherine Heigl, weak actresses but not show-stoppingly awful. And if an audience finds Zadora to be too flirtatious, too overtly breathy and sexual, then they must acknowledge the fact that it fits the character of Kady. Kady is very willing to engage in certain acts with Jess, mostly because she is a young girl trying to be a sexually mature woman. Zadora’s lay-it-on-thick performance, therefore, is not wholly out of place.

Butterfly certainly has its weak spots, and if it were out in theaters today I don’t think I could recommend anyone rush out and see it. But it’s certainly interesting and unique enough to hold one’s attention. Certainly, it is not the horrific train wreck it was made out to be, and as the insider animosity has been forgotten what we are left with is a strange but entertaining movie. What’s most surprising about Butterfly is that it was meant as a star-creating vehicle for Zadora. If a millionaire were trying today to make his wife into a star, he would most likely avoid anything like Butterfly, unless he was after the controversy. But if the film failed to made Zadora a star, that most likely had more to do with Zadora than with the quality of Butterfly.

Three Stars.

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“It is completely understandable why the distributor of Zadora’s debut film Butterfly refused to preview it for the press: It’s truly terrible…Matt Cimber’s listless direction wastes its perfect ingredients for campy fun. Butterfly is a creaky, lurid melodrama that culminates in a ludicrous trial judged by a florid, flamboyant Orson Welles.” – Keven Thomas, LA Times

Reviewed by David

Jess Tyler (Stacy Keach) lives alone on an abandoned silver mine. Years earlier, he worked in the mine, but once the Depression forced the company to close the mine, they kept him on as security against trespassers. Not that there’s much left to guard. Stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert, Jess is the only person around for miles. One immediately gets a sense of his isolation from the establishing shots of Butterfly. His tiny one-room house sits in the middle of the abandoned work site, surrounded by rusting equipment. His isolation comes to an abrupt end when he finds Kady (Pia Zadora) sitting on his front porch. She is young, attractive, and barely clothed. Jess refuses to acknowledge her at first – perhaps wary that she is a hallucination. Eventually they speak, and she immediately asks him questions about his past. Was he ever married? Why did his wife leave him? Jess comes out and asks her what she wants. She looks him up and down and uncrosses her legs: “How can I tell ‘till I know what you got?” Once he grows agitated, Kady admits that she is his daughter, and she’s come to stay with him. But their flirtatious first exchange is just the beginning of their attraction to one another.

Matt Cimber’s Butterfly was not merely panned when it premiered in 1982 – it was despised. Much of the vitriol expressed about Butterfly had to do with its star, Pia Zadora. It was her first feature film, bankrolled by her millionaire husband, Meshulam Riklis, who was 31 years her senior. Later, when Zadora won the Golden Globe for Best Newcomer, it was openly known that her husband had bribed the Hollywood Foreign Press for the award. Butterfly was a critical and box office failure, and was eventually nominated for ten Razzie Awards (Zadora won two). All of this behind-the-scenes drama may have been the source of the hostility toward the film. The film’s premise, however, about father-daughter incest certainly didn’t do it any favors at the box office. But what about the actual quality of the film? Is it truly as bad as its reviews would suggest?

It’s a relatively simplistic plot, but that serves the story well. For the majority of the film, Jess and Kady are alone in the middle of nowhere. Their urges grow stronger, and while Kady is willing to give into them, Jess attempts to remain an honest and virtuous man. A similar story could have been easily told without the incest element. Kady could have been the daughter of an old friend, or married, and that could have been the source of the tension. But the taboo nature of the story is, frankly, the only thing that makes Butterfly stand apart from other, more traditional films of the same nature. Incest in film has always been a delicate topic, specifically when it is not being used as a mere plot device. The great majority of incest in film is incorporated with the Surprise Incest plot twist. Refreshingly, that’s not the case with Butterfly, which is willing to be about what it’s about. To dismiss the film simply because the subject is uncomfortable is unfair and lazy as a viewer.

Stacy Keach gives a strong, conflicted performance. Indeed, he manages to make the audience feel more sympathy for his character’s situation than it probably should. The supporting performances are also strong, perhaps with the exception of the inexplicable casting of Ed McMahon as one of the prominent townspeople. The standout presence in the film belongs to Orson Welles, whose Judge Rauch presides over the eventual incest trial of Jess and Kady. Welles isn’t trying very hard here, he’s clearly cashing a paycheck. But he’s Orson Welles, and even when he’s going through the motions his presence dwarfs all others on screen. The film is visually engaging, well paced, and it’s not particularly shy about its subject matter. The primary problem with Butterfly lies in its screenplay, which falls back on a lazy third-act plot twist in an attempt to conveniently alter the fate of the protagonists. Indeed, the ludicrous nature of the twist, and the outright absurdity of its implementation, is enough to nearly ruin the film. But enough interesting things have happened up until that point to forgive the film’s stilted ending – just barely.

And then there is Pia Zadora. She was the central focus of the controversy, and the punching bag throughout most of the reviews of Butterfly. So, is she really that bad? Sort of. I haven’t seen any of her other films, but if she didn’t improve as an actress it would be understandable why her career never took off. I can see how people might have been distracted by her acting ability, although she is far from the worst I have ever seen. Her photogenic nature and earnestness make up for what she lacks dramatically. Her modern day equivalent would be someone like Megan Fox or Katherine Heigl, weak actresses but not show-stoppingly awful. And if an audience finds Zadora to be too flirtatious, too overtly breathy and sexual, then they must acknowledge the fact that it fits the character of Kady. Kady is very willing to engage in certain acts with Jess, mostly because she is a young girl trying to be a sexually mature woman. Zadora’s lay-it-on-thick performance, therefore, is not wholly out of place.

Butterfly certainly has its weak spots, and if it were out in theaters today I don’t think I could recommend anyone rush out and see it. But it’s certainly interesting and unique enough to hold one’s attention. Certainly, it is not the horrific train wreck it was made out to be, and as the insider animosity has been forgotten what we are left with is a strange but entertaining movie. What’s most surprising about Butterfly is that it was meant as a star-creating vehicle for Zadora. If a millionaire were trying today to make his wife into a star, he would most likely avoid anything like Butterfly, unless he was after the controversy. But if the film failed to made Zadora a star, that most likely had more to do with Zadora than with the quality of Butterfly.

Three Stars.

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The purpose of the site is not to beat up on bad movies – although we do reserve the right to do that. No, Bad Movies Revisited is an experiment of sorts, one which asks: do bad movies always remain bad? It’s a difficult question. When a movie is highly acclaimed and relegated to “classic” status, it is considered to exist in a state of perpetual greatness. But sometimes movies get a bad rap, are critically panned, or bomb so horribly at the box office that the stigma follows them forever. They are no longer merely flops or failures, they are and forever shall remain Bad Movies.

But what makes a Bad Movie? Sometimes it is a matter of expectation. When huge movie stars end up in a real clunker, the disappointment of their fans can turn to anger (see: Gigli). Sometimes the movie is bad in an inexplicable way, so that critics are baffled and can’t help but wonder aloud how such a train wreck was possible (see: Gigli). But sometimes critics and audiences allow outside factors to cloud their assessment, and are consequently harder on a mediocre movie than they should be (see: Gigli). We here at Bad Movies Revisited believe that time heals all wounds, and that some of the biggest critical and box office bombs deserve a second chance. This site will not mindlessly defend any and every Bad Movie we review. Rather, we will examine the films within their new contexts as Bad Movies, and see if whether or not they are truly deserving of that classification.

A new review will be posted by one of the authors (CadeDavid, or Kyle) every Saturday.

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The purpose of the site is not to beat up on bad movies – although we do reserve the right to do that. No, Bad Movies Revisited is an experiment of sorts, one which asks: do bad movies always remain bad? It’s a difficult question. When a movie is highly acclaimed and relegated to “classic” status, it is considered to exist in a state of perpetual greatness. But sometimes movies get a bad rap, are critically panned, or bomb so horribly at the box office that the stigma follows them forever. They are no longer merely flops or failures, they are and forever shall remain Bad Movies.

But what makes a Bad Movie? Sometimes it is a matter of expectation. When huge movie stars end up in a real clunker, the disappointment of their fans can turn to anger (see: Gigli). Sometimes the movie is bad in an inexplicable way, so that critics are baffled and can’t help but wonder aloud how such a train wreck was possible (see: Gigli). But sometimes critics and audiences allow outside factors to cloud their assessment, and are consequently harder on a mediocre movie than they should be (see: Gigli). We here at Bad Movies Revisited believe that time heals all wounds, and that some of the biggest critical and box office bombs deserve a second chance. This site will not mindlessly defend any and every Bad Movie we review. Rather, we will examine the films within their new contexts as Bad Movies, and see if whether or not they are truly deserving of that classification.

A new review will be posted by one of the authors (CadeDavid, or Kyle) every Saturday.