Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bomb To Bust Bad Movies

Since I'm a fan of Nathan Rabin's work for The Onion I'm looking forward to buying his new book My Year Of Flops despite a somewhat tepid review in the NY Times this morning. I'm giving you a few hundred words of the review here plus my favorite photo of John Wayne. As I've mentioned before, even as a kid I didn't like Wayne. He always seemed fake to me, more blowhard than Real Man. Like a few of my neighbors.

From Bomb to Bust
Published: October 22, 2010

There’s been lots of ink and oceans of pixels spilled on the question of whether the Internet has killed film criticism, but the very short answer is that serious (if unpaid) criticism has thrived on the Web. The problem is that it’s all too serious: you don’t have to strain your Google finger to find a knowledgeable enthusiast expending 8,000 words on Ozu or Leone. Locating someone who can write succinctly and intelligently on, say, the 1985 Christmasploitation extravaganza “Santa Claus: The Movie” is much harder.
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Everett Collection
John Wayne as Genghis Khan in “The Conqueror.”
The A.V. Club Presents One Man’s Journey Deep Into the Heart of Cinematic Failure
By Nathan Rabin
264 pp. Scribner. Paper, $15

Intentionally or not, that’s a gap that Nathan Rabin, the head writer for The Onion’s A.V. Club, filled by embarking on a yearlong blog project in 2007, the results of which — rounded out with a few extras — are collected in “My Year of Flops.” Rabin applied what he terms “three ­unyielding/slippery criteria” in choosing the films: Each had to be a critical and commercial failure upon its release. Each “had to have, at best, a marginal cult following.” “And,” he adds, gearing up for the zinger, each “had to facilitate an endless procession of facile observations and labored one-liners.”

“My Year of Flops” covers some 50 underappreciated pictures; every troubled orphan is assessed and deemed a Failure, a Fiasco or a Secret Success. Rabin scrutinizes stinker after stinker, from the 1956 Howard Hughes-produced anti-miscegenation screed “The Conqueror” (he refers to its central figure, played by John Wayne, as John Wayneghis Khan), to the dismal 2005 film version of “Rent” (which he describes, aptly, as starring “fake 20-somethings playing fake bohemians in a wholly inauthentic take on la vie bohème”), to Cameron Crowe’s woebegone 2005 “Elizabethtown” (which confounded Rabin so much he wrote about it twice).

for the rest go here:

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