Movies we love to hate: the readers respond!


I’ve gotten lots of responses to my recent blogs about movies we love to hate. This is a wonderful thing, because I can just sit back and smoke my Virginia Slim and let other people do the writing for me.



And, my goodness, my friends and relatves and acquaintances certainly write well!



First: the redoubtable Apollonia, with two additions to the list:



“‘Airport 1975.’ This one has it all – Chuck Heston as the chauvinistic pilot-boyfriend of cross-eyed stewardess Karen Black; Helen Reddy as Sister Ruth and Linda Blair as a sick child en route to medical care; George Kennedy in a miscast leading man role as airport boss, Joe Patroni. This bomb is one of those “who’s in Hollywood and available for a cameo” movies. Myrna Loy and Gloria Swanson should be ashamed. There’s a yummy scene in which Karen Black ramps up the histrionics with a bit of tongue – just to show the level of her concentration – as she tries to grab hold of the tether attached to the pilot they are trying to lower midair into the damaged 747. Ecstasy to watch! The only thing saving this puff from being a complete waste of time is the comic relief of Larry Storch and Sid Caesar.”



[Editor’s comment: I’d forgotten Larry Storch was in it. Now I have to watch it again, if only to glory in His Storchness.]



Back to Apollonia:

No list would be complete without ‘The Conqueror.’ This one is on everyone’s ‘best of the worst’ list and has it all: John Wayne in a Fu Manchu ‘stache and Oriental makeup, Agnes Moorehead as his mother, and Susan Hayward as a flamingly redheaded Tartar princess. The ridiculous dialogue and Temujin’s lines are a howl – even more so delivered woodenly by Wayne to Hayward in his slow drawl: “Dance for me, Tartar woman!” If I remember correctly [Editor’s note: and she does!], in one scene Hayward threatens to decapitate Wayne with a sword. Of course, for a Mongol that’s a declaration of love and seals the deal for Temujin, who then utters the immortal line: “We-el, you’re beautiful in your wrath.” Good stuff . . . .”



[Editor’s note: I’m sorry I didn’t think of “The Conqueror” for my original list. The only important detail Apollonia left out was that, while the movie was being filmed in Utah, the military were conducting A-bomb tests nearby. And what do you know? Just about everybody involved with the film died of cancer over the next ten or fifteen years.]



Now to another correspondent: my nephew Bjorn in Oregon. Bjorn (what can I tell you? He’s part Swedish, and he looks just like me, if I were part-Swedish and six inches taller and fifteen years younger) contributes this:



Let’s Go To Prison.’ The concept of going to prison, learning how to make toilet wine, and turning it into a career . . . priceless! Also: ‘Idiocracy.’ As my former employee Ryan said: ‘Two hours I’ll never get back.’ This is a future world in which people have names like ‘Velveeta’ and ‘Frito’ and ‘Beef Supreme,’ and you can buy a law degree from Costco, or go to Starbucks and get a latte with full release. I mean: who wouldn’t want to live there?”



[Editor’s note: I had no idea my nephew Bjorn felt so strongly and deeply about the movies of Dax Shepard! As far as I’m concerned, however, “Idiocracy” is a pretty funny movie, and, as far as I’m concerned, a funny comedy is not a bad movie at all. “Let’s Go To Prison,” on the other hand . . . meh. I have an aversion to Will Arnett. He looks shiny and soulless, like the advanced-version Terminator played by Robert Patrick. For me, “Let’s Go To Prison” is a bad bad movie (toilet wine notwithstanding): not worth watching. Although Dax Shepard is sort of cute.]



Let me add one of my own favorites:



Casino Royale.” No, not the modern version, with Daniel Craig and his rippling abs; the 1967 version, with David Niven and Woody Allen and Peter Sellers and Orson Welles. They tried to do a James Bond movie as a comedy! And it’s funny for all the wrong reasons. It’s too long. It’s completely inexplicable.  It has the air of being made up as it goes along. It has some very funny performances, though: Deborah Kerr as a SMERSH agent masquerading as M’s widow in Scotland, with the worst Scottish accent you’ve ever heard, but who speaks excellent French (apparently her real name is “Mimi”); Woody Allen as Little Jimmy Bond, who ends up being the villain; and Peter Sellers as a schnook who ends up being James Bond.



As one of the drag queens in “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” says, standing on the top of Ayers Rock: It never ends, does it?



No, it never does.



Comments, as always, are welcome.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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