In an effort to be original, this week I’ll be presenting you with five terrible movies that happen to have a good scene. Well, as it turns out, there’s a ton of articles on that very thing, so instead, I’m going to double down and give you five terrible movies that have TWO good scenes instead of just one. A lifetime of watching Hollywood movies has taught me that true originality is putting a two in front of something that already exists. Presto, hundreds of millions of worldwide box office success.
So without further ado, here are five awful movies, and the two scenes that make them worth watching.
Street Fighter (1994) – This Jean-Claude Van Damme action opus is actually a hoot. One of the funniest films of the ’90s, this movie was one of the defining action flicks of my childhood, due in so small part to its relation to the excellent fighting game. The movie is actually a mess that mangles the story of the game, which was not exactly the toughest thing to adapt considering it’s a simple one-on-one tournament fighting game. It’s a silly disaster, and if you’ve never seen it, it is absolutely essential “so-bad-it’s-good viewing.”
There are two major scenes that really make this movie work. The first is when the evil M. Bison has taken Chun Li hostage and inexplicably starts seducing the journalist marital arts expert while wearing a Hugh Hefner robe as she’s tied up with an old school telephone curly cord. This movie makes exactly as much sense as that previous paragraph. This is the best example of the great balance that Julia struck between good acting and insanely camp hamminess.
It’s common knowledge that this film was Academy Award winning actor Raul Julia’s final film role, one he took in order to spend more time with his kids, who were big fans of the game. If you ever wanted to see an anti-climax for the ages, behold! Here you’ve got an in-his-prime, coked up Jean-Claude Van Damme doing battle with a man who is mere months from succumbing to cancer. You’re welcome.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – Oy Vey! This is a disaster for the ages. All the potential in the world is squandered with a nonsensical plot, 1995 era CGI effects, and boring pacing. Hugh Jackman does the best he can in his lowest moment as Wolverine. I generally like all the X-Men films outside of this garbage, but let’s just pretend this never happened. Ryan Reynolds’ already has.
The potential that is squandered here is put on full display in the opening credits as we follow Wolverine and Sabertooth (a completely wasted Liev Schrieber) as they do battle in every major American war from the 1800s onward, much like Liutenant Dan’s family in Forrest Gump. Just watch how awesome this is. This sequence would have made a great movie.
Also, let’s not forget the awesome sequence where Wolverine takes on a helicopter using just his brand new adamantium claws and a motorcycle. The rest of the movie never comes close to matching this scene for sheer action movie bravado.
Ghostbusters 2 (1989) – If you have fond memories of this movie, I urge you to never watch it again. This movie is a boring, uninteresting rehash of the first movie that strips away the enthusiastic humor in favor of mean spiritedness. It’s a lazy, schlocky mess. Watch Bill Murray’s face in any scene and behold the face of a man who would rather stick his balls in a bowl of fire ants than be on set for this movie.
Still… there are two pretty great scenes in the film, hence it’s placement on this list. The first is when the Ghostbusters are being put on trial. Right as they’re being declared guilty by the world’s most fire and brimstone judge who is throwing the book at them, a goopy slime that reacts to bad vibes around it is bubbling up, about to release evil into the court room. Combine the awesome performance of the judge with the actual palpable suspense of what’s to come, and you have a scene that goes against the dullness of the rest of the picture.
Finally, the film’s biggest laughs come towards the beginning of the film, as Bill Murray interviews some people who claim to be psychic on national television. The goofiness of these characters is only outdone by Murray’s deadpan delivery of his questions, proving that even when Billy doesn’t give a shit, he’s still the man.
Bad Boys II (2003) – There probably no other film I’ve ever seen that I go back and forth with my opinion on more than this trainwreck. On one hand, you’ve got your rampant misogyny, casual racism, bad taste, excessive violence, a ridiculous two and a half hour runtime, and headache inducing film techniques that fill most Michael Bay productions. On the other hand, you’ve got some great action sequences, witty banter from stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and some great supporting character actor performances from the likes of Joe Pantoliano and Peter Stormare. Consider it a wash, as there’s enough here for indiscriminate action fans to enjoy. All others steer clear.
When I get around to ranking the some of the greatest car chases of all time, expect this beauty to be on it.
This particular scene where Will Smith pretends to be drunk and is waving a loaded gun in a teenager’s face while Martin Lawrence grills him about having sex with his daughter before they go on their first date is so beyond the boundaries of good taste, but dammit if I don’t find it funny anyway.
Alien Resurrection (1997) – If you can give the Alien films credit for one thing, is that each one of them is vastly different from one another (each with a different director), and yet they all somehow feel like an essential component of the whole. This film is hyper-kinetically edited and directed by Amelie’s Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and written by a mostly pre-fame Joss Whedon. Despite the pedigree, this is a disaster that never lives up to its great cast or stunning production design. Even though this movie is bat-shit crazy nonsense that is neither as funny or as scary as it’s trying to be, I have a soft spot for it because I was certain this garbage was the greatest thing I’d ever seen when I was 12 years old. These two scenes go a long way to explaining my inexplicable love for this god-awful movie that only was only the tip of the shitty iceberg that the Alien franchise would stoop to afterwards.
The first scene is when we see a cloned Ripley showing off her new Alien DNA-enabled skills on the basketball court. Her and Ron Perlman show some real actor’s chemistry as they go at it on the court. Fun piece of trivia, Weaver actually sunk that behind the back shot for real, which had to be cut away very quickly because Perlman broke his character in his surprise!
Even though the movie really sucks, the underwater chase scene through a flooded kitchen is one of the greatest and most suspenseful sequences in the entire series. If you only ever watch these two scenes, you’ve seen most of what Resurrection has to offer.
Be sure to check back every Wednesday for new Musings on Pop Culture! What other terrible movies have some great scenes worth talking about? Let’s talk about it in the comments or on the SzteinCreative Facebook page!