A long time ago the Academy Awards used to be handed out in March. Not quite sure when or why the switch was made to give out the golden statuettes in February, but there it is.
The Oscars are awarded to the best in cinema. My stories today involve the worst of my personal experience with cinema.
These are those stories.
I have earlier written about the need to have a list of three of your favorites in any category so that you will be able to contribute to a conversation no matter what the topic. An optional corollary to this is to have – ready at your disposal – a list of your personal worst. If misery loves company, then you can always draw closer to someone by commiserating over a shared trauma.
Topping my personal list of movies I would pay to never see again is Can’t Buy Me Love. This 1987 disaster of a movie is my top pick for the worst example of the cinematic arts to ever be stamped onto celluloid. Starring Patrick Dempsey, this movie turned me off on all things with him in it up until Enchanted (which I only saw because it had Amy Adams in it). To this day, I have never seen an episode of Grey’s Anatomy because he is in it. I’m sure Mr. Dempsey is a lovely man who gives often to charity, but Can’t Buy Me Love still leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that the mere vision of him brings the bile back up.
Why is it a bad movie? It just simply is bad. From the writing to the acting to the train wreck of an ending, this movie is simply bad. To quote from my favorite negative review of all time, “This movie does for film what Jim Jones did for Kool-Aid.” Your mileage may vary and you may even like this movie, but this film is my personal worst.
The only saving grace to this movie is that I saw it at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood (formerly Grauman’s Chines Theater and now called TCL Chinese Theater). After this debacle of a film, at least I was able to console myself with nostalgia for the Golden Age of Cinema by looking at the handprints and footprints in cements of the greats who had gone before.
I have only walked out on one movie and demanded a refund.
This happened at the Cinedome in Orange County (which is no longer around…the Cinedome, that is…Orange County, California still exists as far as I can tell) in the year 1993.
I am fifteen minutes into watching The Last Action Hero and I start to question what I am doing with my life. It is a beautiful stereotypical Southern California day and I am choosing to spend it inside watching Arnold Schwarzenegger sleepwalk through this supposed send-up of his action films. Sure, the popcorn is buttery and tastes great, but my time on this Earth is limited and this is not how I want to spend it. So, I make my choice.
I walk out of the theater and go up to the cashier. I ask for my seven dollars back and he – much to my surprise – actually gives it to me.
Of all the times I have been in a movie theater, there is only a lone time when I was the lone person in the audience.
The time is 1990 and the place is Anaheim, California. I am at a theater to see a movie that has the claim to fame of having been filmed in Orange County. And, honestly, if that is your piece of art’s claim to fame, then you are a piece of art with issues. The other item of note for this flick is that it stars Joe Estevez, the brother of Martin Sheen.
The film is called Soultaker and it is a piece of film so wretched that I don’t even think the folks who ran Mystery Science Theater 3000 would touch this film…and they survived such horrors as Manos: The Hands of Fate and Santa Claus versus the Martians.
(Correction: MST3K did take on this film in Season 10. This is why one should do actual research before writing drafts of these stories.)
As I wrote above, I was the only person in the theater during the entire showing of this film. While at one point it can be slightly unnerving to be the sole occupant of a large space watching a “horror” film, but it can also be quite liberating to come to the realization that you can start talking back to the screen (just like Joel and the ‘bots on MST3K) and no one will silence you.
Those are my stories.
On a parting note, and in line with today’s cinematic theme, I would like to end with an original little ditty of mine. As I wrote before, I enjoy creating poetry that has some form of wordplay. Hand yourself an Oscar if you can catch the theme of this poem, I call…
A REEL SONNET (1944 – 1957)
Since you went away…
Tonight and every night…
Night and day…
The long night.
When my baby smiles at me,
Look for the silver lining
All about Eve,
“The African Queen”.
Because of you
All I desire
It should happen to you:
How to be very, very popular.
The ambassador’s daughter – –
An affair to remember!
P.S. There was one moment in college when some friends and I saw a horror movie and we laughed during the entire film making fun of how horrible it was. It is now considered a classic, but what that movie is would make an excellent story for another day.