You can tell we’re really getting into the dregs; Ponty’s review this week is devastating.
As he notes below, it’s no fun going after an indie flick with a low budget. But there are plenty of low budget filmmakers that get it right, or at least grow as they hone their craft. Every major director started out doing tiny films on a shoestring.
But sometimes there’s an effort so bad, even the lack of a budget isn’t a valid excuse. Bad writing, bad acting, bad editing—these can kill a film faster than anything else. All the quid in the world can’t save a film with this dark triad.
It’s hard to believe that it’s the 150th edition of Lazy Sunday. Honestly, it felt like I’d already hit that milestone, but here we are.
I don’t have anything special to mark the occasion, just some more choice movie reviews for your reading delectation. These are the first reviews of 2022, from the cold, lonely months of January, when all I want to do is eat DiGiorno pizzas and watch crummy movies (but these are all quite good):
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Boys from County Hell (2020)” – Boys from County Hell (2020) is a comedic vampire movie that takes place in rural Ireland. It seems that international horror flicks are some of the best lately, as they aren’t quite as bound by the conventions of modern American horror, which just seems to be a bunch of jump scares and loud noises. The premise is straightforward: in the small, dying town of Six Mile Hill, there is a stone cairn in the middle of a farmer’s field. The cairn is said to be the grave of Abhartach, an ancient Irish vampire who is said to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Turns out local legend is true, and the residents wrestle with an ancient vampire.
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Nobody (2021)” – Nobody (2021) depicts Hutch Mansell (now one of my favorite movie protagonist names) going about his mundane daily routine, until two burglars break into his home. It begins a sequence of revenge that reveals there’s more to Hutch Mansell than meets the eye.
These are all winners this week. Watch them all if you can.
We’re cruising right along into the second half of the long countdown of worst films. The ball is back in Ponty’s court, and he’s picked a real doozy to mark the halfway point.
Is there anything wokery hasn’t poisoned with its foolishness? Apparently, Ponty’s pick for #5, 2021’s Jungle Cruise, suggests not. A movie based on a theme park ride worked before for Disney, but that was a bit of a fluke; taking an even more obscure ride, then adding in loads of anachronistic presentism, was hoping for too much, even for The Mouse.
One of our regular readers and commenters, Alys Williams, is always wanting me to review flicks with bonnets andBiedermeier,but even those films are jumping on the identity bandwagon. I have no problem with black people in movies—I mean, who doesn’t love Blade (1998)?—but a black English queen is too much. Why? Because it’s not historically accurate!
Sure, historical fiction can embellish some details here and there, but we’re really straining suspension of disbelief when a Nigerian portrays a Viking. Imagine casting Chris Hemsworth as an African Pygmy—he’d stick out like a sore giant.
But I digress. On with Ponty’s hilarious review of 2021’s Jungle Cruise:
We’re back at the movies again this Lazy Sunday with an interesting trio: a Christmas-themed horror flick; a 1970s exploitation film; and a Spanish-language historical drama. Guess which I enjoyed the best—the answer may surprise you!
“Monday Morning Movie Review: The Skin of the Wolf (Bajo la piel de lobo, 2018)” – Talk about a poignant and complex (thematically) film: 2018’s The Skin of the Wolf really grabbed me. A lonely hunter, living in isolation, desires a wife. His first, with whom he shares a soft-spoken love, dies from disease and the strenuous nature of mountain life. His second—the first wife’s sister—plots to undermine him in order to escape what she sees as a loveless, brutish marriage. Both are right, and both are wrong, for different reasons. A must-watch.
As Ponty and I have been rolling through our worst films, we encouraged Audre Myers to submit a review or two for the worst films. In true Audrean fashion, she slammed out this hilarious, insightful review in no time.
That put me in an extremely mild quandary—when to publish this gem? Ponty and I are about halfway through our back-and-forth countdown, but it’ll take us at least another eight weeks to finish the series. I thought briefly about holding off and publishing Audre’s pick for Worst Horror Movie as a surprise for loyal readers.
But how can I withhold Audre’s comedic genius for that long? More practically, I worried I might lose the e-mail thread—ha! So I decided to publish Audre’s post now. Think of it as a halfway point reward.
I won’t reveal the title of Audre’s pick yet. You’ll have to read on to see her choice (and, if you still want to after reading her review, to watch the film—she provides a link to the full thing on YouTube!):
After weeks of reblogging posts about my friends, both real-life and virtual, I’ve decided to go back to another well-trod road for Lazy Sunday posts: my many, many reviews.
Readers might ask why I title these “More Movies, Part [Insert Roman Numeral Here]: Movie Review, Part [Insert Same Roman Numeral Here]”—or, more likely, you didn’t notice until just now. Either way, I have to offer an explanation:
When I originally started reblogging movie reviews on Sundays, I thought I might end up featuring other posts related to films that were not movie reviews. Then I realized that pretty much the only times I write about flicks is in the context of movie reviews.
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Bell, Book, and Candle (1958)” – Audre Myers sent me this film on DVD last year, and months went by before I finally sat down to watch it. I wish I’d watched it sooner! It’s a real treat: a very fun romantic comedy about a witch, Gillian “Gil” Holroyd (Novak), who casts a love spell on publisher Shep Henderson (Stewart). Thus ensorcelled, Shep breaks off his engagement with the haughty Merle Kittridge (Janice Rule), becoming magically obsessed with Gil.
We’re back with another of Ponty’s picks for the worst films of all time. As always, Ponty delivers an interesting choice, this time for #6: the Christmas film Elf(2003).
Elf is one of those movies I’ve never seen in its entirety, but I know about all-too-well. It seems that every girl I’ve ever met loves this movie, but not just with some yuletide enthusiasm; they act like it’s the greatest Christmas film ever made.
I don’t know why that is. Is it because women are incredibly social creatures, and bandwagon about everything remotely popular? Is it because of the story about a son meeting his deadbeat dad and falling in love with a hipster? Or is it just harmlessly funny, the kind of non-edgy humor women tend to prefer?
Whatever the reason, it makes me dislike the movie more, perhaps channeling the contrarian curmudgeon inside of me.
According to Ponty, he’s already got several of his worst film reviews typed up. I wish I could claim to be so prepared. My methodology has been to watch a bunch of movies, and to select those that are particularly bad for review.
That might be a lackluster way to go about this process, but it’s how I picked this week’s film, The Pit (1981). I’ll strive for a more intentional approach as we get into the truly terrible stinkers, but I hope readers will still appreciate the badness of the movies selected.
The Ponty ‘n’ Portly Schlock-o-Rama rolls, on flipping back to Ponty’s countdown.
I can tell we’re really getting into the dregs already: Ponty’s review of 2006’s Hatchet makes it sound like the most predictable slasher film ever made, coupled with unsympathetic characters. The lead was apparently in Dodgeball(2004), but not Justin Long—the other nerdy guy. I read the review thinking it was Long, which was bad enough.
But enough of my yackin’. Let’s get on to Ponty’s review: