Bad, Bad Movies

I'd forgotten how very bad a lot of the movies were when I was a teenager. Chickadee and I just caught the last hour of Gremlins, which came out the year I graduated from high school (Pop quiz: How old am I?). She thought it was cute, but I'm still reeling from the overall badness of it - bad script, bad acting, bad continuity ... Phoebe Cates sported a bruise that switched cheekbones at least twice that I spotted, and I wasn't watching very closely. Please note that I am not knocking the special effects (although the frozen, deserted streets looked awfully sound stage-y) - I know they did the best they could at the time. Still, breakdancing gremlins in legwarmers??? But you know a movie is pretty weak when an 8-year-old can poke holes in the plot.

I do remember being underwhelmed when I saw it back in '84, so at least I wasn't completely without taste back then. And Gremlins was just one of dozens of bad movies aimed at the tween and teen market - Goonies, European Vacation, Police Academy ... not that anything's changed, really. They're still cranking out dreck for the masses. But there are so many more crappy titles to choose from these days, which has to be progress, right?

Thank whomever you like for Pixar et al, for producing movies that kids like, and parents can watch 463 times without wanting to incinerate the entire entertainment unit. Much as I love the old Disney classics, they get pretty tired on the 3rd or 4th showing (and could someone ask them to stop messing with a good thing and leave the denizens of the 100 Acre Wood alone? Enough with the 3rd rate brand extensions already!). I much prefer Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc., as do my (admittedly exceptional and remarkably intelligent) children.

Of course, my parents didn't have to deal with repeated viewings of bad kids' shows. If you missed it in the theatres, you could wait 3 or 4 years and hope they showed it on Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. Otherwise, you were SOL, except for seasonal offerings like Sound of Music (for years I thought it ended when they got married, because that's when I had to go to bed. I was quite surprised to find out they didn't live happily ever after in their lovely yellow chateau.) and The Grinch (which I still love and can recite word for word - the book version, along with The Tale of Custard the Dragon, James James Morrison Morrison, and The Owl and the Pussycat).

Well, I'm tired, and I've completely forgotten where I was headed when I started this post, so I think I'll cut my losses and go to bed before this becomes a totally incoherent ramble.

I really should make notes before I start charging madly off in all directions ...