Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Talkback: When your heroes let you down

I'm going to have a shorter preamble to this question because I want to see if anyone brings up my picks without me mentioning them first.

This week's question: Can you remember the first time one of your favorite directors/writers/actors really let you down with their then-newest release? What was the film (or films) and your reaction to it?


  1. Well, I must mention something that happened just a few days ago...

    I was really let down by Stuart Bettie who actually wrote one of the best script of the past few years with Collateral.

    But GI. Joe? Come on, don't tell me that he's spent more than a day on this...that would hurt my feelings :)
    I couldn't even finish the movie, that was a bitter experience.
    I wasn't expecting much, but at least some good, funny entertaining stuff...well I should have knowm better I guess.

  2. 1994, Quiz Show still fresh in my mind, I found Disclosure to be abhorrent.

    The book was no Pulitzer shortlister, but it was a solid, fun, well crafted techno-tinged thriller. And it was turned into the end piece of the Michael Douglas gynophobic trilogy, providing shallow wank material for a watercooler pornversation du jour: "gender-reverse workplace sexual harassment - discuss."

    A prime example of the half-assed minutiae:

    Are you okay? You want a Prozac?

    It was pre-Wikipedia, I was fifteen, and I still laughed at the screen in contempt.

    (Dis)honorable mention:
    The Fifth Element. I just didn't expect it to be so damn silly, or stupid.

  3. Woody Allen, though it's kind of hard to remember the first time -- it seems to come so frequently. I've since taught myself to like anything he makes.

    In 2nd place, Todd Solondz's Palindrome. It was so gimmicky. I felt like I had one pulled over me.

  4. Just the other day, on a blog where someone was lusting over a Tarantino action-description excerpt, something that went like:

    "It was during the Los Angeles marijuana drought of 1994, but I had a connection."

    People who think that's so "cool" either

    1. have never smoked pot
    2. smoke too much of it, and think that inserting that into action is "cool".

  5. Tim Burton, "Batman" vs. "Planet of the Apes," comes to mind.

    ABSLOUTELY LOVED "Batman" (1989), me and my brother must have wathced that show over 20 times. It got to the point that me and brother could quote back the Joker's (Jack Nicholson's) lines ot each other. Some of the best antagonist one-liners in the history of cinema -- if you asked me.

    But 12 years later Tim Burton laid an egg with his version of "Planet of the Apes" (2001). The original is probably my favorite movie of all time. But Burton's version totally missed the mark. His biggest sin? Tone; "Planet of the Apes" (2001) really lacked a sci-fi edge akin with so many of the all-time greats ("12 Monkeys", "The Matrix," "Alien", "The Terminator"). The apes world Burton created was rather boring, as compared to what the original film had: storms in the desert, adobe compounds, chase scene in the cornfield, Statue of Liberty washed-up on the beach. And I mean were talkin' 1968 to 2001, that's 33 years worth of techology improvements Burton had at his disposal -- and he came up with THAT!!
    The original had Dr. Zaius, one of the coolest takes on an antatonist I can ever remember watching on the screen. No character even remotely resembled anything that cool in the 2001 version. Tim Roth "Thade" character, a cameo from Charlton Heston as an ape sage, and a comedy relief character Limbo (Paul Giammatti). Thade was so-so, everthing else was a misfire. Charlton Heston's "Taylor" to Mark Wahlberg's "Captain Leo Davidson?" Dude, that's fall-off-the-cliff bad.

    All of that YET Tim Burton's "Batman" was brilliant...

    - E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, wA

  6. Seconded, Brian.

    Tarantino tries to hard to seem cool.

    I loved Reservoir Dogs so much and really enjoyed Pulp Fiction, but then it became clear that he's style over substance much of the time.

    I guess my true moment of heartbreak came with Inglouriuzzz batredses, when he didn't even make the effort to proofread because fuck everybody else, he's Quentin fucking Tarantino and he doesn't have to take five minutes to spellcheck or even hire an intern to do it for him. His holier-than-thou attitude toward others in his profession really turned me off to him as a person.

  7. Who could have possibly let the universe down more than George Lucas with the second Star Wars trilogy? Not the first, but the biggest cinematic let down of my life

  8. Can anything really top Shyamalan's downward spiral into the pits of creative hell?

  9. Robert Rodriguez really got me with "Spy Kids", although now I realize the genius stroke of those movies. The guy can do anything he wants.

    The last Argento movie was so terrible I wanted to fly to Italy to see that they put him in a good home. Oh, and when Ang Lee did The Hulk. And Ronny Yu's Bride of Chucky. Come to think of it, any time a great foreign director did an American film chances are I was dissappointed.

  10. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tops the list for me and I'm shocked it hasn't been mentioned yet. MUCH bigger disappointment that the Star Wars prequels. I feel like there are things in the prequel trilogy that I can enjoy, despite their short-comings. Indy 4 has only a few of those moments and they're very isolated.

    Spielberg's A.I. was pretty bad too. And I had forgotten all about The Terminal until I looked Spielberg up on IMDB a few seconds ago.

    I'm totally with Ron on M. Night, starting with the last ten minutes of Signs.

    Other picks:

    Cameron Crowe - Elizabethtown and probably Vanilla Sky

    Richard Donner's Conspiracy Theory was bad, but I smell studio meddling all over that one. I didn't have the heart to sit through Timeline.

    Full Frontal convinced me everything by Soderbergh was not a must-see.

  11. Oh I know.

    Dude, Lions for Lambs.

    I really love Robert Redford, but that was one of the worst films I've ever seen. 88 minutes of boring preaching and no story.

  12. A.I. was bad, but Spielberg is always excessively sentimental so I saw that one coming. When he does something like Terminal or A.I. I just write it off and move on.

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was on my mind, but I am a bigger Star Wars fan so it topped my list. I wish Spielbarg would hand that series off to someone else completely and get out of the way

  13. i was disappointed by p.t. anderson's work after magnolia. but as i got older, i realized that i no longer liked magnolia either.

  14. I personally think Paul W.S. Anderson is one of the best examples of a let down in Hollywood.

    Event Horizon, while cult, is a damn good film in my book. Even Mortal Kombat was a fun slice of nonsense but ever since... just garbage like AvP, the Resident Evil films and Death Race.