Avocado Weekly Movie Thread (9/3)

Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, where we talk about movies we’ve watched!

This week’s prompt (h/t AlanWilder): The first time you realized movies could be bad.

Making this particularly challenging is that AlanWilder specifically mentioned that there was a difference between realizing a movie is bad and just being disappointed. Otherwise, my answer would have easily been Muppets Take Manhattan. However, the puppetry on that movie is still quality. The story is not 100% terrible. It was just a disappointment, featuring not the earnest emotion of The Muppet Movie or the madcap craziness of The Great Muppet Caper. (We’re going to have more Muppet discussion next week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Muppet Movie, so put a pin in that.)

I also almost said Howard the Duck, but I don’t ever remember a time when that movie was never talked about as being a bad movie. Ultimately I landed on another comic book property from the Distinguished Competition, which combines both the “bad movie” and “disappointment” aspects into one. You see… I generally love the Superman movies. Even the “bad” ones. I think I led a spirited defense of Superman III in the comments for the Discount Spinner Rack. It turns out that there’s only really one Superman movie that I don’t really like, and the only one that I don’t particularly care to visit to this very day… and it’s the one featuring his superpowered cousin.

SUPERGIRL, Faye Dunaway, Helen Slater, 1984, © Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Happy 35th anniversary, Supergirl!

The other Superman movies at least reach some level of gonzo badness that swings back to enjoyable. I used to love repeating the “Destroy SUPERMAN” quote from Nuclear Man (done in Gene Hackman’s voice). I used to love to play Superman knocking out nuclear missiles WITH HIS FISTS from Superman III. Supergirl, though, gives you nothing to work with. The intro in Argo City is the sort of sterile, boring futuristic paradise that you desperately wanted to escape if it showed up on Star Trek. The quest to find an ill-defined magic MacGuffin (the Omegahedron) pales in comparison to … I dunno … stopping earthquakes or saving helicopters from falling from the sky. It’s not particularly super.

And Faye Dunaway plays a witch who has the power to cast terrible special effects. With Superman, you got a sense that the villains were the only ones Superman could stop. Faye Dunaway is the sort of villain that should be stopped by plucky neighborhood pre-teens, not the Girl of Steel. (Looking over the Wikipedia, I am reminded of the character of “Nigel,” and now my rage at this movie burns anew.)

The worst sin that this movie committed? It’s incredibly boring. I saw it on TV, and I nodded off in the middle of watching it. I remember waking up and seeing Supergirl talking to Peter O’Toole in the Phantom Zone, and I had no idea what was going on.

That’s when I realized that movies could be bad. I love superheroes! These were the days before comic book movies were a thrice-yearly thing and more like a once every three years thing if you were lucky. Every new installment was to be loved and cherished. Ultimately, I really did want to see a superhero movie featuring a female protagonist.

Shouldn’t I be riveted? Why was this so much more boring than the other Superman movies, especially since it was the same producers? (I didn’t even know what a producer was, but the Salkinds plastered their names at the beginning of their Superman movies.)

Thank you for showing me the way, Supergirl. Thank you for showing me that movies could be bad.

(Also… hey! It’s been almost one year since I wrote my first Weekly Movie Thread/Discussion!  From Crazy Rich Asians to Supergirl… what a journey.)


Building Entertainment: The Animated Films of the Walt Disney Studio. Live-action edition. Unidentified Flying Oddball

Steven Universe: The Movie

Succinct Cinema: Lethal Weapon 4 – Dangerous and Confused

The Paranoid Style in Cinema: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

Netflix Garage: Falling Inn Love Recap/Review

WTF ASIA 71: A Dirty Carnival (2006)