The Top 20 Movies You Hate To Admit You Love: No's 10-6
10. No Holds Barred
What Is It?The first, but not last (unfortunately), starring vehicle for has-been 1980's wrestling star Hulk Hogan. For all intents and purposes we have No Holds Barred to thank for crap like The Marine, The Condemned and The Scorpion King. Thanks a bunch, Hulkster.
So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Hogan stars in No Holds Barred as "Rip" -- champion of the World Wrestling Federation. Hogan stretches his acting chops here playing the top face in the mostly-fictional movie version of the WWF, wearing blue and white (instead of his traditional yellow and red) and throwing fake punches that look real instead of fake punches that look fake.
The movie starts with "Rip" wanting to retire and lead a "normal" life away from the WWF. He's rich, happy, and he's got a bangin' hot wife. But there's one problem, a dude named Brell (played by Kurt Fuller) wants "Rip" to work for his new upstart promotion. "Rip" refuses his requests, noting that Brell is a real "slimeball".
To that end, Brell sets up his own wrestling promotion called, very cleverly, "The Battle of the Tough Guys". "The Battle Of The Tough Guys" is essentially WWF Shotgun Saturday Night, about twenty-years early. Basically "The Battle Of The Tough Guys" is a legalized barroom brawl, of sorts, pitting fat rednecks against other, fatter, rednecks. There's one really "clever" scene during an early competition that involves Brell's hot personal assistant having to use the bathroom in the back of a bar. This is where she sees two guys pissing into a big pig trough. Nasty...... Take that you college-educated, well-dressed, intelligent person, you!
But despite Brell's best efforts, "Rip" still won't allow himself to be drawn in. Despite being broadcast across the airwaves from every dirty hole in the wall bar and factory on the planet, "Rip" still won't go for it.
That is, until "Rip's" kid brother gets terribly injured. Brell, of course, manipulates him into fighting the biggest, baddest guy there; the one and only, Zeus (played by acting extraordinaire Tiny Lister) and he gets his skinny little ass kicked all across national television. When "Rip" finds out, he swears revenge on Zeus.
"Rip-A-Mania's" Gonna Run Wild on You, Brother........
From there the movie moves into a fairly predictable pattern of "Zeus fights somebody and beats him", ""Rip" trains". There's the predictable montage of fights. Bill Eadie (Smash from Demolition) has a cameo, as Bullet Billy. In all, the whole thing is reminiscent of a D-level Rocky rip-off, without The Penguin.
In the end, of course, "Rip" and Zeus have their big final face-off. They battle all around the arena, in the oddly octagonal ring, through the crowd, and even on the catwalk. Eventually, "Rip" is able to defeat Zeus by knocking him off a catwalk to the floor below. Zeus doesn't die, of course, a heroic man like "Rip" could never take another man's life.
But he can take ninety-three minutes of our lives without apology. Damn you Hogan........ I mean, "Rip".
I Should Feel Guilty, Why? Because this movie is a massive turd floating at the bottom of a diarrhea filled bucket of shit. If you can ignore the mess you might find a solid little nugget -- the fight scenes, while pedestrian, are solid -- everything else is basically an ugly mess. No Holds Barred is almost worth seeing for Hulk Hogan playing the ultimate "Gary Stu". He's so Hulk Hogan, he might as well call himself "Gary Hogan" -- and its hilarious to see him aggrandize himself for ninety-three minutes. Basically, if you'd feel guilty about watching wrestling right now, you'll feel guilty watching this.
9. From Dusk 'Till Dawn
What Is It? Essentially, Grindhouse before Grindhouse was cool. From Dusk 'Till Dawn is the brainchild of the dangerous duo of writer/director Quentin Tarantino and director Robert Rodriguez, and its equal parts cool, sexy, bloody, violent, and oftentimes downright hilarious.
Starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as two ruthless crooks, Seth Gecko and his brother Ritchie Gecko From Dusk 'Till Dawn starts out in a manner you might expect -- Seth and Richard are on the run from a bank robbery, they've got a hostage in the trunk, and they've got a gun to a liquor store clerk. In an attempt to thwart the attempted robbery, the clerk opens fire on the Geckos. In an impressive action scene Richard and Seth out gun the clerk and wind up using a combination of flammable liquor and paper towels to put an end to the shit (and wipe the store of the face of the Earth in the process).
During the shoot-out Ritchie winds up with a hole blown through the palm of his hand, and in a clever scene, its revealed by shooting Seth's reaction shot through it from the other side.
Knowing they need to escape Texas, the brothers head to a hotel to plan out their next move. In true Tarantino style there's a shot from inside the trunk of their car as they let their hostage out, she's a survivor (one of very few, apparently) from one of the Brothers' bank robberies. When Seth goes out to pick up some lunch he comes back to see her dead on his brother's bed. Uh-oh.... This scene is an indication of the relationship between Seth and Ritchie on the whole as the movie progresses; Ritchie is the sociopathic nutball prone to wanton murder and Seth is the cold, calculating career criminal -- who, incidentally, is also prone to wanton murder. Wait you ask, I'm discussing characterization in a movie like this? Yeah, but only insomuch as there is some. We're not supposed to derive too much depth from any one scene, but I felt it beared mentioning.
Oh, and I mentioned Seth bought lunch, right? Can you guess what he bought? That's right -- Big Kahuna burgers. In a clever nod to Pulp Fiction Seth walks in with a handful of Big Kahunas.
Anyway, back to the plot at hand; Seth and Ritchie need out of Texas in the worst way. And they're willing to use anyone or anything to get their way. Luckily for them a family is staying right next door. Father James Fuller (Harvey Keitel), his daughter Kate Fuller (stoner queen Julliette Lewis), and his adopted son Scott Fuller (Ernest Liu) even better, they have a huge RV. Sometimes the world's just too small, huh?
In a clever scene, Seth tricks the Fullers into opening their hotel room door and literally handing him a weapon. Remember kids, if a guy with a neck tattoo dressed in black leather ever asks you for your ice bucket, don't give it to him -- because he'll only use it to clobber you with. At gunpoint, Seth asks Jacob and Scott "if they're a couple of queers?" until Kate walks out of the bathroom and gets accosted as well.
With their escape vehicle all set all that's left for the Geckos is to get over the border and into Mexico.
Kate Fuller: "What's in Mexico?"
Seth Gecko: "Mexicans."
After a brief episode at the border, which includes border patrol agent walking in on Kate taking a piss as Ritchie hides in the shower next to her, they wind up being free to go.
Now this thing's gonna get really fun......
The group arrive at an out of the way little dive called the "Titty Twister", a bar later revealed to be built on some type of Aztec temple. From here the movie takes a completely different turn. Previously, From Dusk 'Till Dawn was a straight crime movie. Now its just sharpening its teeth for some real fun.
Inside, the Titty Twister is like some sort of adult playground. You can't look in any direction but at your feet and not see several hot naked women dancing around to bad mariachi music. Outside, Cheech Marin, in one of his three (!!!) roles, as Chet Pussy hypes up the debauchery to come. If you've seen From Dusk 'Till Dawn, you'll know what I mean; its the infamous "attention pussy lovers" rant -- and its probably the funniest thing in the movie. Hell, Quentin Tarantino even gets to reap the benefits of being friends with the director in the infamous Selma Hayek toe-sucking scene. (Personally, I would've written the scene for Julliete Lewis, myself.....)
What could possibly go wrong? Oh, I don't know, how about vampires? When Seth pisses off the wrong dude the whole damn bar goes kinda crazy. How crazy? Well, most of the patrons sprout fangs and begin attacking people.
From here From Dusk 'Till Dawn becomes your typical "group of survivors against a mounting group of enemies", type flick. The survivors take refuge in a storage room, digging up weapons including bottles of water and a couple lucky supersoakers -- which they use to make into death-dealing Holy Water shooters. And Seth finally says what we've all already realized; "They're vampires. They've been stealing from these truckers for years."
What a bright guy. No wonder you used to be a surgeon.....
Throughout the remainder of the film people get torn up, vampires get killed, and a lot of violent, bloody shit happens. In the end the only survivors of the night wind up being Seth Gecko and Kate Fuller. There's a few relatively poigant scenes within, including Seth ending his brother's life after he was turned into a vampire. But we're not here for emotional shit. So luckily not one scene skimps on the blood. This is a gore movie in the Dead Alive mold; the more blood the better, and realism be damned. There's even a great cameo by makeup effects legend Tom Savini as "Sex Machine", who's a literal sex machine with his stylish codpiece revolver (get yours this January...)
(Yes, I just used the phrase "codpiece revolver". No, I will not apologize for the use of the phrase "codpiece revolver".)
In the end we're left on a relatively happy note, well as happy as you'd expect after seeing your whole family slaughtered by a bunch of Mexican vampire bar-flys, as Seth and Kate ride off with the money into the sunset.
I Should Feel Guilty, Why? I just used the phrase "codpiece revolver" -- shouldn't that be enough? No? Well, lets put it this way; From Dusk 'Till Dawn is the kind of movie that should have a two drink minimum. Its ultimately a gore-fest with a couple good actors somehow roped into it. There's more nudity than you can shake your stick at. There's even toe-sucking, if that's what your into. Its a vulgar, entertaining romp through Hell and back. Its entertaining, but its damn sure not good.
8. Embrace Of The Vampire
What Is It? Has-been 80's sitcom actress Alyssa Milano's entree into an eventual softcore porn career. Starring Alyssa Milano (as Charlotte Wells), a virginal (yeah right, huh?) and innocent college freshman, Embrace Of The Vampire is a Cinemax "After Dark" movie under a different name.
The crux of the movie, as you'd probably gather from the title, is the pursuit of Alyssa Milano by a modern Dracula of sorts, played by -- uhh, some guy. Apparently, this dude thinks that Alyssa Milano's character is his reincarnated lover from the 12th century. He pursues her through her dreams, and in several scenes tries gettin' it on with her.
And that's essentially the plot. The main vampire dude tries to get in Alyssa Milano's pants (and can you blame him?), while she rebuffs him at every turn. Her boyfriend also tries getting in her pants -- predicatably she rebuffs him as well. Hell, some random lesbian chick tries to pop her cherry for the hell of it -- Alyssa, unfortunately, rebuffs her as well.
This movie is very much every twelve-year old boy's dream film. I can't count the number of Alyssa Milano tit-shots -- the bloodloss from my brain caused me to lose track. There's even an R-rated orgy scene that includes a lot of people basically pretending to do it for a few minutes. There's a bunch of naked chicks, boobs, butts, and even some foot shit thrown in for the hell of it.
I rented this movie for my nephew one night. Its ninety-three minutes long. It was playing in his room for five hours. Figure it out........
Embrace Of The Vampire's best moment comes near the end, with a Jennifer Tilly cameo. Apparently the vampire dude can also change himself into a vampire chick, as he (she?) tries to seduce Alyssa Milano's protective and loving boyfriend. Even in 1994, Jennifer Tilly looks like she's old enough to be that dude's mom. Luckily, he decides that throwing a flashlight down a hallway doesn't appeal to him, and refuses her/his advances.
Ultimately the end of this movie, with Milano and her boyfriend defeating the evil horny vampire guy is pretty meaningless. Embrace blows its load long before then. Really, no one is watching a movie like this for the plot/characters. They're here to see some skin, and Embrace has it in spades.
I Should Feel Guilty, Why? Admit it, you know why you're renting/buying/downloading this movie; its not for the terrible acting, the cliched story, the bad writing, or the goofy transgender, Lestat wannabe bad guy. You're here for Alyssa Milano and her two special friends. And you're going to get that -- and then some. You might not want to admit it, but deep-down you're like every twelve-year old in 1994. You want to see some boobies. Dont worry, I won't tell.
7. Jack Frost
What Is It?
The tender coming of age story between one boy and his loving musician father, who after a car accident gets turned into a snowman.
Wait, wrong movie..... Let's start over.
What Is It? Well, its not a sappy (and crappy) Michael Keaton shitbomb -- that's for sure. Starring God only knows who, Jack Frost tells the tale of one Jack Frost -- the most despicable killer the world has ever known (and really, aren't they all?) During a routine prison transport (on Christmas Eve -- time and a half FTW!) there's a terrible accident (and I don't just mean this movie), involving the escort vehicle and a truck carrying what appears to be gallons of some super toxic chemical. Frost, in the process, is thrown from the truck and is inundated with toxic chemicals.
Now here's where it really gets fun; his whole body vanishes, essentially getting burned into the snow. Somehow, this turns him into a Mutant Killer Snowman. 'Ya know, I could almost stop this entry right now. The titular Jack Frost, in snowman form at least, looks like three giant white foam balls stuck together in the form of something vaguely snowman- like. Those giant inflatable snowman people put out for Christmas look more menacing.
Anyway, Frost in all his glory, decides that his first target is going to be the cop that put him away. Well, there's the "killer" part, I suppose. To that end he heads back to the town where his flesh and blood arch-rival lives.
Of course, no good slasher movie would be complete without a bunch of miscellaneous killings, a bad "who dunnit?" sub-plot, and a formerly big TV star getting raped by a snowman. Wait, most movies don't have that last one, do they?
Predictably enough, for a movie this stupid, the kills are appropriately as stupid. And, because the movie is set in Christmas time, most of them are actually Holiday-themed in some way. Take for example, the poor women who winds up with a face full of balls -- as in those little green and red one's you hang on your tree, perv after being strangled by a rope of Christmas tree lights.
Eventually, after a trail of carnage a mile long (and too obvious for the supposed "crack sheriff" to ignore) the order comes down from the top for everyone to "stay in their homes and lock up tight". Way to go, Sheriff. When God was handing out common sense apparently you got extra, because I never would've thought of that on my own....
To be fair, Christopher Allport who plays Sheriff Sam isn't too bad. Honestly, he's the straight man in a farce. He's not given a lot to fuckin' work with, is he? In the land of the blind (or in this case, stupid) the one-eyed man is king. Christopher Allport may have both his contacts in one eye -- but he's still king damnit!
Skipping farther ahead, because reliving this movie for much longer is probably going to make my brain bleed out my nostrils, the townspeople rally behind Sheriff Sam to defeat the evil snowman. To accomplish this they lure Jack into their reaches and drive him into the town's church basesment using - wait for it - hair dryers.
Of course even the old, and potentially very dangerous, coal oven heater isn't enough to destroy Jack for good. As with any bad slasher flick it takes more than one try to put the killer on ice (oh God.... that was bad).
Eventually, after more idiocy, Jack's true weakness is discovered. It turns out to be anti-freeze. The discovery is somehow made even stupider in the way its made. You see, Sheriff Sam has a little boy. Now, I'm sure he's a great kid (and for the most part, he's not too bad as far as being an obnoxious little rat bastard- like most child actors) but he may or may not be partially retarded. To make a long story short, this dumb little shit decided that the best way to keep his dad from getting cold was to put Anti-Freeze in his coffee mug!!!
You know what? Fuck this movie......
Eventually, as you'd imagine, the townspeople and Sheriff Sam somehow find a way to kill Frost by drowing him in a kiddie pool full of anti-freeze. Christ almighty... What a way to go out....
Oh, and did I mention the lovely shower-rape scene? Probably not -- since I've attempted to block it out of my mind forever. Truly, despite all the stupidity I've highlighted above, this is Jack Frost's stand-out scene. I neglected to mention several characters earlier, mostly because I'm saving myself the pain, but also because, ultimately, very few of them wind up being anywhere near important. But, this just needs to mentioned. Shannon Elizabeth (yes, that Shannon Elizabeth) stars as some chick in Jack Frost. She and her boyfriend decide to shack up and get hot and heavy in a nice warm shower.
To that end Frost simply kills her boyfriend with an icicle through the brain. No big thing, right?
Then in a scene immortal in bad cinema, Frost enters the shower and, I'm not making this up, removes the carrot he'd been using for a nose and bangs Shannon Elizabeth to death with it.
I Should Feel Guilty, Why? Well now, if you can't figure it out just let me say I've got some coffee and anti-freeze in this thermos for you.
Let me reiterate the three words that should spring to mind whenever you hear about this movie: MUTANT KILLER SNOWMAN
Or alternatively, SHANNON ELIZABETH RAPED BY SNOWMAN
Jack Frost is
Michael Keaton's worst film a really bad movie. This movie should have a four drink minimum. Ignoring a few clever kills and some cute moments between Frost and Sheriff Sam, Jack Frost is another bottom shelf slasher that's ultimately a piece of shit. Its good for a laugh, but not much else.
6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
What Is It? The third film in the well-liked National Lampoon's Vacation series. For better or worse, in the post-SNL portion of his career, actor Chevy Chase has become known for two things; currently -- being a has-been who's dangerously nearing never-was territory. Before that however, Chase perhaps best known for being the front man for the National Lampoon's Vacation movies.
And with good reason. Chase plays Clark W. Griswold like he knows the man personally. And after two movies of zany antics and somewhat self-deprecating humor -- Chase should know him well. And its that level of familiarity, along with a high amount of enthusiasm that pulls Christmas Vacation's status up from "standard Christmas movie" comedy to "entertaining spectacle".
After two years of aborted (and hilarious) attempts at taking his family on an exciting vacation -- first to "Wally-World" and then to this crazy place called "Europe", family-man and all-around good guy, Clark W. Griswold decides that he and his family should stay home for the Holidays this year.
Why is the word "vacation" in the title if they all just stay home?
Clark, the good-natured oaf that he is, is also a man of great tradition. To that end he and his family head out to chop down what could conceivably be the largest pine tree in existence before Julliette Lewis' (playing daughter Audrey Griswold)- lips freeze. There's even a car chase involved in getting the tree back home.
And really, what would a "good old traditional family Christmas" be without... well.... family? With the exception of Chase, the Griswold's extended family is the highlight of the picture. Everyone has their own unique traits. That's to say, they've all got some kind of psychological issue of their own to deal with. And for Christ's sake how long has Doris Roberts been playing the same fucking character? She's here as one of the crazy relatives practically warming up to go bitch at Ray Romano.
And that's basically the movie. Christmas Vacation is every bad present (cat in a box- FTW!) and unpleasent, forced Christmas dinner conversation dialed up to eleven. If you've ever had a bad experience at Christmas, rest assured its brought to light and made fun of here.
In all reality Christmas Vacation doesn't have much of a plot. Its a series of unfortunate Holiday-themed mishaps. Chevy Chase holds the whole thing together with his unique brand of physical comedy and perfect timing. I've never seen someone putting up Christmas lights be funnier. Beverly D'Angelo (as wife Ellen Griswold), Johnny Galecki (as son "Rusty") and the aforementioned Julliete Lewis are all very much along for the ride. They have their moments. Beverly D'Angelo especially gets a few biting one-liners. But this thing is very much the Clark Griswold show.
That's not to say that Christmas Vacation lacks an emotional core. The Griswolds are a family. Three of them may be long-suffering and spiteful, but they're still a family. And every family, no matter how warm and loving, has their black sheep. And it doesn't get much blacker than this:
Meet Cousin Eddie - Clark's ill-respected brother and downright disgusting human being. In attempting to play his character as over the top as possible, Randy Quaid manages to become the sticking point of the whole film. You either love Eddie for being the poor affable goofball he is, or you hate him for it.
With all the guests here, invited or otherwise, its time to get down to the real festivities. What could be better than a Christmas meal with the family? How about Christmas grace recited by your insane Aunt Bethany? Yeah that'll do it. Aunt B. delivers a rousing rendition of the Pledge Of Allegiance as Cousin Eddie stands at attention and most everyone else just hangs their heads in shame.
With Christmas dinner ruined, partly because of the Pledge, but mostly because of the crappy food, all that's left is for Clark to reveal to his family the present he plans to buy them. Sure, it might seem a little off-season but Clark reveals his intentions to buy his family the beautiful in-ground pool they've always deserved. That is, until Clark finds out via a mail courrier (on Christmas eve?) that the bonuses have been nixed in favor of a subscription to the "Jelly Of The Month Club".
Needless to say, Clark goes more than a little insane as he launches into a tirade about... well... lets just let Clark say it himself: "Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?"
To make things right, that oaf Cousin Eddie decides to take Clark at his word. He kidnaps Clark's boss and drags him back to the Griswold home -- complete with a big red bow. Terrified, Frank decides on-the-spot to reinstate all the Holiday bonuses.
Its a Christmas miracle.
Appropriately enough, the movie ends with crazy Aunt Bethany singing the National Anthem.
I Should Feel Guilty, Why? Ultimately, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation isn't really all that good. Its a series of ridiculous moments strung together by a threadbare plot that's carried by the herculean efforts of Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid. Its funny, and an unintentional Holiday-favorite, but it never really reaches the level of being truly "good".