They are the movies that you hate to admit out loud that you love. They may be silly, unrelentingly bad or cheesy, but they've captured a special place in your movie memory that only you understand. Let me share some of mine to show you that you're not alone in your wacky choices. Maybe I'll make you a little less hesitant to admit your passion for your guilty pleasures, or perhaps I'll inspire to you watch some of my secret & inexplicable favorites.
One of my favorite guilty pleasure films of the early 80's, CAT PEOPLE is loaded with visual style, dark sexual undertones and terrific music that could only have been born in 1982.
Writer/Director Paul Schrader had just made "American Gigolo" and tackled his own dark take on a b-movie classic as his next film.
It would not receive the same response as his previous blockbuster hit.
Nastassia Kinski (Tess) stars as Irena, arriving in New Orleans as the film opens to meet her brother for the first time.
Her sibling Paul is perfectly played for creeps and loaded with inappropriate sexual desire by Malcolm McDowell (Time After Time, Blue Thunder).
Meanwhile, a wild, hungry black panther begins prowling the Big Easy, showing up in seedy hotel rooms to slaughter hookers.
Why is that every time the Panther appears, Paul goes missing? Hmmm...
We meet Zookeeper Oliver, well played by John Heard (Home Alone), his girlfriend Alice (Annette O'Toole) and their co-worker Joe (Ed Begley Jr.) as they track down and capture the panther.
Irena finds herself drawn to the zoo, Oliver falls for her and lust emerges from every corner. Oliver for Irena, Alice for Oliver, Paul for Irena and the panther for human blood.
When Schrader's story hits a wall, he just piles on nudity and gore or throws us back in time to an ancient world where huge sleek cats mate with beautiful natives, surrounded by the coolest fantasy sets of the 80's by Ferdinando Scarfiotti (The Last Emperor, Last Tango in Paris, Scarface). It makes virtually no sense, but is so beautiful to look at and hear, who cares?
Lather a rich, beat-heavy music score by Giorgio Morodor on top of the production design and throw in a David Bowie favorite made for the film "Putting Out the Fire with Gasoline" and you have one of the strangest films of the era.
I loved it from the first time I saw it, but if you cant roll with a film that's much more about visual grace and style than it is storytelling, run for the hills. It's way more David Lynch than Alfred Hitchcock.
There are violent animal attacks, buckets of artery pumping blood, graphic nudity and sex, along with layers of Schrader's patented vision of morality, sexual desire and human weakness.
It bombed at the box office but found new life in the early days of DVD as audiences discovered it and made it a cult favorite.
Tarantino loved it and used Bowie's song in the critical Nazi movie theatre sequence that serves as the finale for his brilliant "Inglorious Basterds".
This is one twisted, dark little adventure and I love its complete disregard for anything appropriate.
Revisiting it every few years, I'll give CAT PEOPLE a purrfectly revolting B.
Once in awhile you come across a film that was so ahead of its time, you can see why it bombed at the box office upon its release. Dropped into theatres as a big summer film back in 1984, Walter Hill’s STREETS OF FIRE was meant to be the first film in a trilogy, but its failure ended that vision.
80’s flash-in-the-pan Michael Pare stars as Tom Cody, a bad boy standing on the right side of the tracks and still in love with his ex, Rock and Roll star Ellen Aim. A very young Diane Lane plays Ellen and she is terrific. For once, you can understand why all the male characters are fighting over her; she’s a knockout.
When she is kidnapped after the her band’s great performance of “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young” by our nasty, strange villain Raven Shaddock, Tom begins a violent, action filled trek to get Ellen back to safety.
Shaddock is played by a very young Willem Dafoe, whose offbeat looks are exaggerated here into a very twisted persona.
Director Walter Hill (The Warriors, Extreme Prejudice, The Long Riders) delivers a very off kilter little work of genius here, creating what Universal dubbed “A Rock And Roll Fable” on all the promotions, which certainly didn’t help the film find an audience.
In reality, the entire affair is probably too offbeat for the mainstream audience of the 80’s, but its musical elements, its visual style that was so cutting edge then but imitated many times since, creates a really unique feel.
Amy Madigan is Cody’s rough & tumble sidekick, Rick Moranis is Ellen’s manager Billy Fish. Watch for Bill Paxton as a gap-toothed ally of Cody’s and Robert Townsend as one of the singing group, The Sorels.
Kudos to production designer John Vallone, who has created another world all unto its own, filmed 100% on soundstages at Universal Studios. Ry Cooder also gets a special nod for the terrific nearly constant music score that pushes the film forward without ever letting up.
If you’re in the mood for a very offbeat, primary color saturated action flick set in a very strange hybrid of the 50’s and the 80’s and peppered with some great songs from a mythical rock and roll band, these streets really are on FIRE and blaze to a solid B.
One of the strangest sci-fi/action thriller/horror hybrids ever made, LIFEFORCE is the definition of a "guilty pleasure"!
After his massive hit with "Poltergeist" in 1982, Director Tobe Hooper was looking for another potential blockbuster. Surrounding himself with a great cast including Patrick Stewart, Peter Firth and most of the great character actors in the UK, Hooper tells one very strange tale.
Starting off as science fiction, a space shuttle on a science mission to Halley's Comet discovers a huge, 150 mile long spaceship in the tale of the comet. Investigating via a spacewalk (really? that sounded like a good idea to anybody on board?) the crew discovers thousands of giant bat creatures inside the ship.
In addition, they find three human bodies, including the naked Mathilda May in her first film role. I can only imagine that audition: "Okay Mathilda, you are pretty much naked the entire movie and don't say much, but you get to walk around most of London nude". That being said, if that's the criteria, she's a brilliant choice.
SO.....they bring the three humans aboard the shuttle to bring back to Earth and that's when things pretty much get ugly.
The following ninety minutes turns into a vampire flick, a zombie movie and an end-of-the-world movie at such a breakneck speed that it's fascinating.
Steve Railsback is the head US Astronaut and brings so much of his performance as Charles Manson in the CBS TV miniseries "Helter Skelter" to the part, this could be Manson in Space.
This is one wild ride, assembled by some talented people, including special effects by John Dykstra (Star Wars), great photography by Alan Hume (many OO7 films), a screenplay by Dan O'Bannon (Alien) and a legendary music score by Henry Mancini.
But what a fantastic mess!
By the time London's streets are filled with fast paced zombies and Patrick Stewart is speaking in a woman's voice in a room filled with spiraling, levitating objects, I had no idea what the hell was going on, but damned if I didn't enjoy every minute of it.
A spaced out guilty pleasure I'll give a silly, breakneck speed B.
1974's Dirty Mary Crazy Larry is a classic 70's car chase flick. Peter Fonda is Larry, who robs a SaveMart grocery store with his partner Adam Roarke. His one night stand from the previous night, Mary, played by Susan George tags along as Sheriff Vic Morrow and many crashing California police cars give chase. If you are looking for great film making, look elsewhere, but for early 70's action on a very low budget, with lots of bad dialogue, overacting and laughs along with crashing vehicles, this is a fun guilty pleasure (especially to me when I was 13 and seeing this with my Dad!)
A hard driving, metal crunching B-.
BLUE THUNDER is a classic action flick from 1983, with Roy Scheider and Malcolm McDowell battling over the skies of downtown LA in police helicopters.
Scheider stars as Frank Murphy, a great pilot with a bad attitude and the requisite eighties flashbacks to Vietnam.
Even though he's constantly in hot water with his boss, Captain Braddock (played in great style and humor by the terrific Warren Oates) he is chosen to test pilot the new police surviellance helicopter dubbed Blue Thunder.
He and his co-pilot, played by a young, very good Daniel Stern, soon find themselves in over their heads in a conspiracy involving the copter and its use in urban neighborhoods.
Director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, WarGames) keeps things fast, action-packed and exciting throughout and baddie Malcolm McDowell is a lot of fun to hate in his role as Murphy's adversary with a lot riding on Blue Thunder.
Sit back, turn your brain off and have a good time with this early 80's hit. It thunders, peeks, shoots, listens and hovers its way to a solid B.
Steven Spielberg followed up Jaws and Close Encounters with 1979's "1941". Billed as a "comedy spectacular", it's like a Mad Mad World for the late 70's with a HUGE cast, millions of dollars splashed on the screen and more misses than hits in the laughs department. Weeks after Pearl Harbor, Los Angeles is on high alert for a potential Japanese attack. A huge cast of soldiers (John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Dan Aykroyd, Robert Stack) citizens (Ned Beatty, Murray Hamilton) and enemy commanders (Christopher Lee, Toshiro Mifune) converge on Santa Monica and Hollywood in this madcap farce. It starts off strong with a brilliant JAWS parody and then becomes pretty rough going for the next hour. Spielberg redeems himself in the last hour with everything clicking once the big dance kicks off. Spielberg apparently believes that BIGGER is better when it comes to comedy, because everything and ten kitchen sinks are thrown against the wall in the last half. This was a hugely expensive film and the money is there for all to see. The dogfight over Hollywood is excellent. The dance sequence and the ferris wheel attack are fantastic. However, the only adjective appropriate for the rest of the movie is LOUD. This movie is L O U D. I promise you one thing: LOUD does not equal funny. If it did, this would be the funniest movie ever made. What 1941 really is: proof that even Spielberg can have an off day, but his off days still have sequences that will knock your socks off. We'll blast 1941 with a VERY, VERY loud C, but enough really enjoyable and brilliantly directed scenes to make it a true guilty pleasure.
Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.....the summer of 1978 brought JAWS 2! I have such fond memories of seeing this with my cousins Tammy & Cindy Swogger in Ohio that summer, it will always have a special place in my movie memories. By FAR the best of the JAWS sequels (which is a hurdle an ant could jump over), Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton return from the original for another shark filled summer in Amity. Director Jeannot Szwarc is no Steven Spielberg and it shows, but he does a decent job with a few suspenseful scenes. The scene with Tina & Eddie (and the shark) in their boat is very good. The stunt work with the mechanical shark is pretty damn good and John WIlliams' music holds up very well in an all new music score featuring the classic JAWS theme. Most of the young actor's acting is so bad I found myself rooting for the shark, but all in all (and gilded with fond memories) JAWS 2 is a 70's summer classic. It's $209 million box office on a $20 million budget guaranteed we would see JAWS 3, and that's when things REALLY started to smell fishy. As for JAWS 2, we'll give it B as a fun, guilty pleasure!
I remember heading out on opening night with friends in 1982 to see the latest chapter of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 3D in all its blood-dripping-off-the-screen glory.
If you weren't part of the horror series fan base back in the early 80's, it would be easy to miss just how influential and huge these films were at the box office.
It certainly had nothing to do with the acting. Its horrible. It was more about how creative the B-movie creators were going to get with Jason killing horny campers.
This installment made $36 million on a $2m budget. Cash cow. It's also my favorite sequel to the original. Mindless, goofy and darkly fun as these things go.
Jason has basically recovered from his many stab wounds and injuries faster than Superman. He's more excited than Norman Bates when a new batch of teenagers arrive on what must be the lowest rated campground in Yelp history.
There's really no plot, just a bunch of jocks, stoners, nerds and bystanders that set themselves up to get slayed by the man in the mask. (This was the first film in which Jason wore the now legendary hockey gear)
3D was all the rage in the early 80's and this was one of the more successful films becuase they leveraged it well visually. When Jason shoots a harpoon in your eye, it comes right at your eye. Hatchets seem a little worse in the head when you can reach out and grab the handle and when Jason squeezes someone's head so tight their eye pops out, whoo hooo its practically in your lap!!
Henry Manfredini's music (chi-chi-chi, chaa-chaa-chaa) is still a hell of a lot of fun.
I'd be remiss if I didnt award a golden turkey worst acting hall of fame award to Paul Kratka as Rick. He's horrific. I've seen first graders emote more feeling in line readings at an assembly. Robots express more emotion than his flat delivery. It's laugh out loud funny when you're not wincing. He never made another film. I'm shocked.
Stupid fun, this guilty pleasure is perfect for Halloween viewing (without the kids) and gets a bloody B-
For me, the disaster movie genre reached its peak with 1974's THE TOWERING INFERNO. After The Poseidon Adventure in '72, producer Irwin Allen brought together two studios and a galaxy of stars to make one great movie. It's sad that this was the last good movie he made, as he followed it with horrible garbage like 'The Swarm" and "When Time Ran Out". But let's give the man his credit, he knocked this one out of the park. Paul Newman and Steve McQueen are great as the architect behind the world's tallest skyscraper and the Fire Chief arriving to battle the fire that breaks out during the grand opening celebration in San Francisco.
The special effects hold up remarkably well nearly 40 years later and Oscar winning photography and John Williams music score are are first rate. The screenplay is pretty bad, but who cares, the action sequences are good enough and plentiful enough to make you overlook the inane chatter. William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner and Robert Vaughn are all fun additions to the cast. At nearly three hours in length, the film never drags and remains a favorite to watch again and again, reminding me of seeing it with my Dad at the biggest auditorium at the Chris Town theatres on a cold Christmas week night in 1974. A great memory and a damn good disaster movie! A big tall, burning action flick to kickoff the new year with an A, it remains a guilty pleasure I love revisiting again and again.
Back in 1985, Sylvester Stallone had one of his biggest box office hits with RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II.
After the one man war he staged on law enforcement in the Pacific Northwest in 1982's "First Blood", this film opens three years later, with Rambo in prison.
He is released by the government and recruited by his lone friend in uniform Col. Trautman, well played by the always reliable Richard Crenna.
The mission takes him back to the jungles of Vietnam to rescue a newly discovered group of POWs.
Will Rambo resist the mission at first, not wanting to serve the government that imprisoned him?
Will Rambo inflict more damage on the jungle than a herd of Schwarzenegger battling Predator creatures?
Will some shady government operative double cross Rambo and cause Stallone to unleash a gargantuan can of whoop-ass in retaliation?
One doesn't watch Rambo for character development and interpersonal relationships.
You watch Rambo to see Stallone in full action mode, several hundred explosions and plenty of hand to hand combat.
On that mission front, this huge audience pleaser delivers the goods and then some.
Stallone is in fine action form from beginning to end, 80's stalwart Charles Napier has one of his best roles as Murdock, who crosses Rambo in cigar & scenery chewing style and Crenna is terrific in an entirely humorless role.
Jerry Goldsmith provides a rousing, full orchestra action music score that cranks up the action scenes to 12 and the entire film moves at a fast, fun full-on pace.
Nothing in the story will surprise you, except for how well it all comes together for summer action movie heaven.
Definitely a call back to the 80's in tone and story, RAMBO delivers the goods in one big, exploding, rocket launching, endless ammunition, body flying and Stallone grunting fest that we'll give a muscular B. My favorite Rambo guilty pleasure moments abound, all set to Goldsmith's pounding, excellent 80's action score.
Followed in 1988 by RAMBO III.
From its opening moments, STARSHIP TROOPERS screams that it's going to be full-on satire, funny, gory and action packed. There's nothing subtle about it.
But them subtle isn't a word often used in the same sentence as Director Paul Verhoeven. His best films, "Robocop", "Basic Instinct" and "Total Recall" are all over-the-top masterpieces of sex and violence, a model he keeps in play to great effect here.
It's the future and the countries of the World seems to have become one entity, with every high school kid constantly messaged to join the military and earn the right to be a citizen.
We meet Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien, our square jawed, likable hero) his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards displaying a stunning lack of acting talent, but encouraging laughs throughout due to her wooden line readings) Dizzy (Dina Meyer) and Ace (Jake Busey in a fun performance).
Their friend Carl (Neil Patrick Harris) joins as well, whisked into the intelligence services and guaranteeing you'll see him in a long black Gestapo-like jacket in short order.
Our enemy in the future is a massive planet of very big bugs. Like gigantic cockroaches, they are hard to kill and have begun launching massive meteors at the Earth, destroying one city at a time.
Our armed band of brothers and sisters head toward the bug planet, determined to wipe them out.
Verhoeven is having a ton of fun here and its contagious. He intersperses the film with laugh out loud news updates from the federation that send up WWII news reels, while foretelling the way we get our news on line today. Considering this was made twenty years ago, it's pretty spot on for our small attention spans of today.
It's a massive war film, with huge scale battles that are sometimes jaw dropping in the sheer number of vicious bugs. It's violent as hell and doesn't miss a moment of bloody mayhem.
It's also a science fiction flick, with tons of space action and stellar battles, mixed in with scenes of our troops prepping and bonding.
Verhoeven doesn't shy away from ample nudity either, bringing his European sensibility to our puritanical approach to battle.
With his tongue planted firmly in cheek, its a send up of every serious war/giant bug/propaganda film you've ever seen.
You've never had quite this much gory fun watching thousands of troops battle bugs.
90's movie stalwarts Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Top Gun), Clancy Brown (Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption) and Patrick Muldoon (Melrose Place, Stigmata) all deliver the goods.
Followed by two direct-to-video sequels of poor quality, STARSHIP TROOPERS is pure Verhoeven, throw everything in your face madness. I couldn't stop laughing and enjoying it long enough to be outraged.
It's a $100 million action flick/satire/social commentary disguised as a giant bug movie.
The humans and the bugs get a B.
It's not for the squeamish....
Universal Studios was turning out disaster movies at a rapid pace in 1975 when they released one of the more offbeat genre entrees, THE HINDENBURG.
Director Robert Wise (The Andromeda Strain, The Day the Earth Stood Still) takes a more serious tone with the film, merging historical fact with plenty of fiction as he spins one version of why the Nazi's most luxurious propaganda tool exploded in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
George C. Scott is very good as a German Colonel with a distaste for the fuhrer and the SS, but assigned to protect the airship on its maiden voyage to the USA. Scott takes the movie on his back and carries it effortlessly, he is that good.
Luckily, the story lines up an Agatha Christie style gallery of characters that all emerge as suspects with motives to destroy the ship.
Is it Anne Bancroft's Countess? Burgess Meredith's professional gambler, Crewman William Atherton, with plenty of attitude an a girlfriend with suspect political ties?
Since Wise knows that YOU know how the film ends, he weaves a clever little mystery that will keep you guessing. There are also enough action sequences to keep you engaged along the trip, including a great scene as Boerth (Atherton) climbs out on the huge fin of the airship to repair a tear.
The final 15 minutes intercut actual footage of the disaster with a black and white recreation of our main characters as the ship explodes.
The special effects throughout are very good and still hold up well. The final moments, as the true-life, original audio of a radio reporter on scene describes the event still packs a punch.
Solid entertainment with some badly dated moments (especially anytime a badly overacting Robert Clary is on-screen, literally bringing too much "Hogans Heroes" to the movie), The Hindenburg floats nicely to a B and remains a guilty pleasure from the seventies disaster movie era.
Back in 1984, the special effects of THE LAST STARFIGHTER were out of this world. 33 years later, they haven't held up very well, but the family-friendly story does just fine.
80's stalwart Lance Guest (Jaws: The Revenge) stars as Alex Rogan who lives in a Disney/Spielberg like trailer park, filled with friendly and eccentric characters. He longs to escape small town life and make something of himself. His girlfriend in the park Maggie, played by Catherine Mary Stewart (Weekend at Bernie's) has his back, assuring him they will escape together.
Alex's one escape at the park is the video game The Last Starfighter at their grocery store. He manages to achieve an all time high score, which is followed very quickly by a midnight visit from a visitor in a futuristic car beckoning Alex to join him.
That would be very creepy if that man Centauri wasn't played by the great Robert Preston (The Music Man, SOB) who manages to play an intergalactic Harold Hill rounding up space fighters instead of a marching band.
Alex finds himself dashed off to a universe far away courtesy of some very early computer graphics that you'd roll your eyes at if you saw them in a videogame today.
Alex meets his training officer, the lizard like Grig, perfectly played for a family audience by Dan O'Herlihy (Robocop, Fail Safe).
Bad actors DID sneak into the cast, Dan Mason's performance as the main villain Lord Krill would be over the top in the worst community theatre. I started laughing every time he read a line, its really, really bad.
Adventures abound, Alex goes through all the trials and challenges and triumphs that you'll see coming light years away, but its all so fun for all ages that it manages to be light popcorn entertainment in the best early 80's fashion.
Preston and O'Herlihy are true pros in any makeup. The music score by Craig Safan (Cheers, Nightmare on Elm Street) is one of his best, conveying the best sea/space adventure style music at all the right moments.
Pure mindless, family fun that defines the Universal films of the time, THE LAST STARFIGHTER gets a nostalgic B-movie B.
One of my favorite Brian De Palma films and my go to example of the potential of elevating junk into entertainment, 1978's THE FURY is an over-the-top horror thriller and a ton of fun.
Kirk Douglas stars as a government agent whose son Robin (Andrew Stevens) has an amazing psychic gift and powerful telekinesis.
When a mysterious government agency tries to kill Douglas, he goes on the run, where he eventually connects to a young Chicago woman named Gillian (Amy Irving) who shares the same ability to see the future and move objects as Robin.
As their paths intersect, the web of secret agencies, otherworldly powers and suspense collide in an enjoyable mashup.
De Palma swings for the fences with 9 minute long, dialogue free, slow motion, split screen sequences set to John Williams huge score and it all works for me.
John Cassavetes adds menacing class as our villain and Charles Durning is terrific as the head of the institute where Gillian is harnessing her powers.
The film gets darker and darker as it goes, moving from humor and lightness to a very disturbing conclusion.
The final three minutes are as over the top as films get, ending with a gory, graphic final shot that De Palma is so in love with he repeats it about 9 times from 9 different angles.
Look for Dennis Franz in a very early role and Jim Belushi as an extra strolling by Irving and her friend in Gillian's first appearance in the film.
Excessive, operatic in its violence and bloody action scenes, THE FURY is a fun, guilty pleasure that gets an exploding A.
A perfect popcorn movie with a great cast, 1977's CAPRICORN ONE spins a fast and enjoyable tale that never stops moving.
The film opens as Capricorn One, the first manned mission to Mars sits on the launch pad. The three man crew Brubaker (James Brolin), Willis (Sam Waterston) and Walker (OJ Simpson) are surprised when five minutes before the launch, they are secreted away from the capsule via lear jet to a secret location in the desert.
NASA lead Dr. Kellaway (Hal Holbrook at his intimidating best) shares with the crew that the life support system on the flight would not have kept them alive and rather than scrap the mission and jeopardize NASA's future, they are faking the mission.
What follows is a terrifically enjoyable summer flick for anytime of the year. As the crew plays along under threats, a NASA scientist with questions (Robert Walden) and his intrepid reporter friend Robert Caulfield (Elliot Gould) begin to sniff around something that isn't quite right with the mission.
The year long ruse around the mission is further complicated when the spacecraft experiences problems upon re-entry, making our three crewmen realize that their lives are now truly expendable.
Brolin, Waterston, Holbrook and Brenda Vaccaro are all terrific. James Karen as the Vice President, David Huddleston as a NASA leader and Telly Savalas as a desert crop duster pilot bear special mention for some great humor to even out the tension.
Director Peter Hyams spent the seventies and eighties cranking out reliable, lightweight, great nights at the movies, including "2010", "Running Scared" and "Outland".
Capricorn One is one of his best.
I don't know how The Juice kept getting movie parts, but this is one of his biggest and his acting talent is minuscule. Poor Waterston and Brolin, it's like playing off a cardboard cutout!
Jerry Goldsmith provides one of his best music scores from the opening frames to the final shot.
Like many great popcorn movies, you can't apply TOO much logic or the seams start showing, but when you are having this much fun, who cares!
Capricorn One blasts off with an A.
One of my favorite guilty pleasures from the 80's film vaults, David Lynch's bizarre, goofy, visually arresting and nearly incomprehensible DUNE is the cinematic equivalent of "everything but the kitchen sink".
Armed with a huge budget and his own strange style, Lynch wrote the screenplay, cramming Frank Herbert's dense, massive novel into about two hours and twenty minutes.
The film opens with a princess (Virginia Madsen) describing the basic story for about a minute, leaving you more confused then when you started.
In the opening 15 minutes, you meet time travelers that can bend space, but have mutated into 15 foot long giant blobs with heads like that giant brain guy in the original "Star Trek", three different royal houses battling for power and some serious eyebrow grooming problems, thanks to the ever over-acting Freddie Jones.
You can take one of two paths watching Lynch's only science fiction effort.
One, you can try to follow every bit of the story and the multitude of strange characters with difficult names, suspicious alliances and bizarre behavior.
Two, like with many Lynch masterpieces like "Blue Velvet" or "Twin Peaks", just let his style and excellent visuals roll over you and draw you in.
If I tried to explain the plot to you, you and I would both give up after about five minutes and my fingers would hurt from typing. Suffice to say there is a planet that produces 'Spice" that's become the most valuable substance in the universe and there are many planets and groups of people battling for control of the only planet with Spice, which is called Dune.
The cast is huge, from Max Von Sydow and Patrick Stewart to Sting.
It's superb to watch, never less than interesting in its special effects and Lynch's usual montage work.
Those same special effects can be pretty painful to watch now, thirty plus years later. What was "new computer effects cool" in 1984 looks like some horrible floppy disk video game now.
But like "Tron" the film retains some good will for being cutting edge back in the day.
By the time our hero and his warriors are riding giant worms the length of ten football fields through the desert, a baron with bubbling face acne is floating around the air and dripping in blood & oil and Sting is bugging out his eyes and walking around in some metal Speedo looking thing, you're either along for Lynch's ride or have turned off this long exercise in style over coherence.
I remember buying the VHS tape when it came out and it came with a little booklet about 15 pages long with definitions of the terms used in the film and a description of all the battling "houses". If your movie is that complicated, you might have an issue.
Folks that read the book generally hated this movie. People that had not read the book, pretty much hated this movie.
With a $40 million budget thirty years ago and box office of $27 million, this was a big bomb for Universal and Lynch.
Clearly I'm in the minority here, but I revisit this unique Lynch vision every few years and always enjoy its really stupid moments as much as its best passages.
It's one long, slow and strange trip, but one I never mind taking. I'll give it a B.
Do the Worm!!!
Those are a select group of my favorite guilty pleasures that I revisit again and again! You can click on the GUILTY PLEASURE tag below to see them all.
What are your guilty movie pleasures?