Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Guilty Pleasures!

Guilty pleasures! Everybody has a few! Guilty pleasures! Me and we and even you!

Wikipedia states that "A Guilty Pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The "guilt" involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one's lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, such as campy styles of entertainment."  Or to simplify it to a laconic definition, Guilty Pleasures are the embodiment of "So Bad, It's Good" for certain people. Something that is just plain bad, you know it's bad, and you enjoy it because it's bad, or at least see the merits in it in spite of the badness. Contrast with Bile Fascination, where you don't particularly enjoy the badness, but you're drawn to it anyway out of intrigue of just how bad it can get (ie: a trainwreck.) The shit I'm about to list are the things I enjoy for being lame. That which is so awful that it's awesome, hilarious, and fun, and will always hold a place in my heart. Here they are!

-60's, 80's, and 90's Spider-Man Toons - They're all pretty darn lousy, especially when compared to "The Spectacular Spider-Man." But unlike "Ultimate Spider-Man", they're enjoyable. The 60's toon has terribly cheap, dated animation, and the voice acting, dialogue, and plots are all cheesier than the 60's Adam West Batman series. And yet it's silly fun to watch, and gave us the iconic Spider-Man themes song. The 80's toons were improved but still corny, yet equally enjoyable. The 90's toon...I think I've covered that one already. I guess the Spidey fan in me is easy to please.

-"The Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog" - It's one of the stupidest, weirdest, most cracktastic and poorly executed cartoons ever, let alone a Sonic cartoon. But though I acknowledge it's lack of effort, I also see the value in it and enjoy the heck out of the off-the-wall craziness. Jalil White is as great as Sonic here as he is elsewhere, and Tails is written and used better than he was in the SatAM series. But the standout is Long John Baldry as Dr. Robotnik. His voice is just perfect for how I'd imagine him to sound in the original games, and his performance is memorable and hilarious. He has perfect delivery every time. (PINGAS!) The show's not very good, but I can't call it truly bad either.

-BBC's "Chronicles Of Narnia" - I covered this one already.

-"Batman Forever" and "Batman And Robin" - Neither of these Batman movies by Joel Schumacker are really good. "Batman Forever" is average at best. It's biggest flaws are that it's undecided on whether or not it wants to be dark, psychological, or campy, and Tommy Lee Jones' gratingly over-the-top Joker character, who's called Two-Face for some reason. Oh yeah, and the Bat nipples. But there were several points of the film that I just enjoyed. Val Kilmer's actually really great portrayal of Bruce/Batman, Michael Gough's always excellent Alfred, the cool, updated Robin, Nicole Kidman's hilariously slutty and unprofessional "Dr" Chase Meridian, Jim Carrey's zany Ed Nygma/Riddler, the dark undertones of Gotham City and the villains' master plan, the psychology of Batman delved into for the first time on film (predating "Batman Begins") and the rerailment of Batman's character from the stone-cold killer he was in "Batman Returns." And the bad moments that don't work...are really funny for that exact reasons. Now "Batman and Robin" on the other hand is a movie where nothing works. It's a textbook example of how not to do a comic movie, since everything in it is a complete farce. Campier than the Adam West show and more of a cartoon than the animated series. And yet that's why it's so hilarious. It's such a "WTF were they thinking?" sort of movie that is just immensely entertaining to watch just to spot all that's wrong. There's George Clooney's wooden, gay portrayal of Batman, Robin's whininess, Barbara/Batgirl as the non-British niece of Alfred, who himself provides the only drama, the mindless brute Bane, John Glover's hammy role, and of course Uma Thurman's ridiculous Poison Ivy and Arnold Shwarzenegger's overacting, pun-spewing Mr. Freeze. It's all so wrong, almost painfully so, yet funny when viewed as a satirical spoof. A true comedy of errors.

-"Battlefield Earth" - It has John Travolta as an overacting alien villain with dreadlocks and nose hair. Need I say more? Apparently I do. Well it also had this: "A demon! A monster! A BEAST! RAAAHR!"

-"Ben 10: Alien Force" - The "sequel" series to Man Of Action's "Ben 10", run by Dwayne McDuffie and Glen Murakami. It's a complete betrayal of the original series, filled with needlessly grimmer tones, bad plots, stupid ideas, weak villains, retcons, intelligence insulting aliens, and characters derailed into unrecognizable idiots of their former selves! It's so bad and irritating, and yet that's what makes it fun to watch. I felt compelled to see how and what they'd screw up next. It's very silly and easy to poke fun at. Sadly, when the show got rebranded "Ultimate Alien", it ceased to be fun at all.

-"Beyblade V-Force" - The only "Beyblade" anime series I found myself enjoying. No idea why. Probably due to the strength of the antagonists, like the Saint Shields, Gideon, Dr. Zaggart, and Zeo. And Hilary was cool too. And in general "Beyblade" is one of the campiest kids' anime ever. It's about kids playing a sport with spinning tops while they scream the names of their bit-beasts. Some good entertainment can come from that in seeing just how off-the-wall goofy it can get, mainly here.

-"Bibleman Genesis" - This show really needs more love. At it's core, it's meant to teach kids about Christianity, the holy scriptures, and spiritual life lessons. How is it done? In a superhero show that feels like a Moral Guardian's substitute for "Power Rangers" in the style of the Adam West Batman. About a rich schmuck who one day lost it all but literally discovered the Holy Bible out of nowhere,
so that somehow gets him power from God and makes him a superhero who fights in the name of the Lord - Bibleman! This show just ran on being So Bad It's Good. It's lame, it's corny, it's goofy, but it's hilarious and fun to watch. It's clear that the Christian lessons are meant to be taken seriously, but the campy superhero stuff is not. The show's got a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and a self-awareness about itself that it keeps at all times, again much like Batman. Particularly enjoyable is the archnemesis Luxor Spawndroth. Brian Lemmons, the man who plays him, is so clearly having
a shitload of fun hamming it up as a spastic supervillain. His rotten teeth, New York accent, and maniacal laughs makes him a show-stealer every time he's onscreen. The show kinda got a bit uncomfortable to watch once he was replaced by a very Jewish Jerry Lewis-knock off villain, and
the show leaned towards being blatantly pro-Christian. And then Willie Aames left the series and it became "Bibleman Power Source", which killed it. But this era was one of the best Guilty Pleasures.

-"Bleach!" - A genuinely decent manga/anime series up until the Soul Society saga concluded. Afterwards, Tite Kubo showed us what a hack he could be, and that hasn't let up. While this isn't particularly a series I watch/read often, I do find some enjoyment in seeing all the strange and inventive ways that Kubo can ruin his own storyline, which is what keeps me checking back in from time to time. I wouldn't say Kubo's a troll, but he is a master of bullshit. It's so stupid, it's hysterical!

-"Captain Planet" - I don't think I even need to justify this one. Ted Turner's ridiculous environmental superhero cartoon has brought hilarity to many people who've viewed it. The celebrity voices, all of Captain Planet's corny puns, the heavy-handed messages and anvilicious plots, the mustache-twirling eco-villains who pollute for no real motivation, Ma-Ti and his lame power of "HEART!", and of course that catchy, rockin' theme song on the end credits. There's always some stupid shit to enjoy!

-"Care Bears" - Mainly the DIC series, the Nelvana series, the books, and the movies. They're strictly kiddy fare, but there's always something enjoyable and charming about them. Of particular enjoyment for me are the Nelvana series, "The Care Bears Family", and the first movie, which are very solid children's entertainment. Even the lesser products have their merits too. So...Care Bears!

-"Code Geass" - Ah yes. The unholy lovechild of "Death Note" and "Gundam", which had many solid ideas that were met with often less than successful execution, direction that was a clusterfucked mess of characters and concepts, and an overall narrative that shallow, pedantic, and up it's own ass. But it's also so...gloriously melodramatic, hammy, and bombastically over-the-top that it ends up being fun to watch. Just the world that the series creates, the conflicts, the characters, and the whole atmosphere has a lure to it that's irresistible. It's badly written more than often, but executed in an enjoyable way...well, for the first season, anyway. R2 was more on the Bile Fascination trainwreck side of things. Plus, it has a Byronic Hero protagonist who's a mix of Light Yagami, V, and Hamlet: what's not to love there? "Code Geass" is one of my top 30 anime/manga series for these reasons.

-Crappy Anime Dubs - Ranging from the old butcheries of "Speed Racer" and "Voltron", to the late 90's/2000 butcheries of "DragonBall Z" and "Sailor Moon", to the shoddy 4Kids dubs of "Yu-Gi-Oh!", "Shaman King", and yes, even "One Piece." They're all so, so embarrassingly but entertainingly bad, and with some genuinely good stuff in them. I do enjoy and value alot of things about these dubs, particularly a good many voices and a few Woolseyism script modifications. But that still doesn't offset all the pointless name changes, translation errors, script inaccuracies, voice misdirections, soundtrack replacements, editing problems, bad censorship, "the next dimension", "the Negaverse", "the Shadow Realm", etc. It's all so cheap and bad, and I just have to love it! "I am Prince Darien!"

-"Digimon: The Movie" - Yes, I'm talking about that "Digimon: The Movie." The terrible splicing together of three Digimon movies into one theatrical feature film by the US dubbers and FOX studio execs. It features almost all of the dubs' faults up to eleven, a ridiculous narration by Lara Jill Miller, 90's songs getting inserted into various places, and again, three separate Digimon movies were cut and pasted into this one film, leading to three completely different stories happening and a laughably bad attempt to make it a cohesive narrative by tying everything to Willis from the third one, only for this to backfire tremendously due to all the plot holes, minutes of film that got cut, and confusion. And yet it gives me joy to watch it. There are a few things it gets right, the dubbing of the second segment ("Our War Game") is particularly good, it's bursting with late 90's/2000 childhood nostalgia, and the things that are bad are just hilariously bad. It's as easy to make fun of as it is hard to follow.

-Disney's "The Sword In The Stone", "Robin Hood", and "The Black Cauldron." - Three less than successful and less than good Disney movies. I'd put "Hercules" here too if I wasn't convinced that it really was a good movie that just didn't find as wide an audience. But as for these three, I think that they're just utterly mediocre, not bad. And I still can get enjoyment out of watching them, particularly in certain aspects and characters of the films. Everything having to do with Merlin in "The Sword In The Stone" is just gold, the action and comedic sequences of "Robin Hood" are ridiculously fun, and "The Black Cauldron" actually does have a pretty solid plot and a fantastic villain in the Horned King. They're no Disney masterpieces, but I definitely like them better than Disney's other few bad movies.

-Disney Channel Original Movies - Or DCOMs, as they're called. Some of these TV movies are surprisingly good and legitimately enjoyable (Halloweentown and it's first sequel, ZenonAvalon HighLemonade Mouth, and Geek Charming come to mind). But most of the others are just LAME. But they're an enjoyable, endearingly kind of lame. Nice, silly little timekillers and nothing more. Personal 'favorites' I've seen include "Brink!", "Don't Look Under The Bed", "Up Up And Away", "The Color Of Friendship", "The Luck Of The Irish", "Stuck in the Suburbs", "Buffalo Dreams", "Life Is Ruff", "Twitches", "Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior", "Camp Rock", "Dadnapped", "Princess Protection Program", "16 Wishes", "Radio Rebel", "Cloud 9", and the "High School Musical" movies.

-Some Disney DTVs - I generally dislike most Disney DTVs, especially the "cheapquels." And yet
I find myself watching them whenever they're on or available, even the ones I don't like. Since the sequels are what most people think of when they think of Disney DTV, I'll name the ones among those that I do actually like: the "Aladdin" sequels, "Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Xmas", "The Lion King II", "The Lion King 1/2", "An Extremely Goofy Movie", "101 Dalmatians II", the "Stitch" sequels, "Kronk's New Groove", "Bambi II", and "Cinderella III." I'm also okay with the "Tinkerbell" movies too. And it doesn't just stop there: non-Disney DTV sequels to animated movies fall under the same category, even horrid ones like the "Land Before Time" sequels, "Swan Princess" sequels, and "Secret of NIMH 2". The sheer cheapness and absurdity of these things amuses me.

-"A Disney Christmas Gift" - I covered this one already.

-"Dragonball Evolution" - A truly awful attempt at a live action adaptation of "Dragonball." It's really cheap and hokey, as badly scripted as it is badly executed, and if you take out the Mythology Gags, it's pretty much Dragonball in name only. And I enjoy the heck out of it 'cause it's so hilariously bad. No, it's gloriously bad! From the moment the film opened with a bullshit prophecy concerning the Dragon balls and then soonafter we hear Randall Duk Kim hammily declaring "Prepare to EAT DIRT!", I was sold on this. And it just gets worse from there! We have a boring, dorky teenage Goku going to cliche High School, complete with him being unable to talk to the girl he has a crush on, and cardboard bullies who harass him and call him "Geeko". We have Bulma as this tech-wielding ninja who doesn't even get to do a whole bunch. We have an inappropriately young Master Roshi, a Lord Piccolo who is not as big a threat as he's made out to be, a serious and deadly Mai as Piccolo's main henchman, Yamcha as an ugly, surfer dude hobo with an out-of-nowhere romance with Bulma, and Goku being not a Saiyan, but a reincarnation of Piccolo's apelike servant, Oozaru, which is played as the film's big "twist." Cap it off with laughably bad special effects, a wasted Ernie Hudson cameo, and Justin Chatwin's atrocious overacting, and you have a ridiculously entertaining bad movie. And there are some genuine merits here, too. The Chi-Chi character, played by Jamie Chung, comes off as more likable than Chi-Chi from the series (possibly since she's a bit more Videl than Chi-Chi.) Emmy Rossum and Chow Yun-Fat are hilarious in their roles of Bulma and Master Roshi respectively, the latter being a marvelously hammy performance. And Jason Marsters is really good as the evil Piccolo, nailing the spirit of the original character and making him more than what he is in the script. While I may be a big fan of the series, I couldn't possibly hate this butchery. It's too fun.

-"Dragonball Z: The Legacy Of Goku" - Goku's dying scream whenever you lose in this game says it all: "Aaaaaaaaaah!" "Legacy of Goku?" More like "Legacy of Gopher!" But despite just how mind bogglingly awful this game is, I can't say that I don't enjoy messing around with it. It's one of the worst games based on the series ever made, yet it's at least still more fun than "Ultimate Battle 22."

-"Duel Masters" and "Yu-Gi-Oh GX!" - One is a spoof of "Yu-Gi-Oh!", the other is a "Yu-Gi-Oh!" spinoff that spoofs itself. Both are really lame, but really enjoyable in how self aware they are about it. At least up to a point. They both suffered in their last seasons. In the prior seasons, though, they were funny. The stories weren't strong, but the characters were. Seeing what situations and jokes could come from these casts of characters was the main joy here. And the silly card game duels.

-"Dungeons And Dragons" - The 200 movie. Based on an old geeky fantasy game. The one starring Jeremy Irons as Profion, who hams it up like a beast. How can you not enjoy this? It's epically bad!

- Ed Wood's Movies - Again, how can you NOT enjoy these films? These are some of the worst and most amatuerish movies ever made, and that makes them into fun entertainment and comedic gold. Ed Wood's early works are especially fun to watch: "Glen or Glenda?", "Bride Of The Monster", and of course, "Plan Nine From Outer Space." All things considered, this director really was a brilliant filmmaker: it takes a special sort of genius, or anti-genius, to make movies that are this terrible! He may have been something of a hack, but he had the spirit of a true artist, which is far from hackery. He had the muse, but not the gift: all passion, but no talent. And that gave audiences some of the most hilariously bad movies in the history of cinema. So I applaud Ed Wood, because regardless of the quality of his films, they are still, at their core, exactly what movies should be: entertainment.

-"Encyclopedia Brown" - As a kid, I loved these mini-mystery books. As a young adult, I now notice all the holes in the writing and what an amateur sleuth Encyclopedia really is...but I still love them. What can I say? It's fun trying to guess the solutions to these case and seeing how much smarter
I am than Encyclopedia, which really isn't hard to do at all. And so Bugs Meany is gonna walk!!!

-"Eragon" - Another bad fantasy film that features Jeremy Irons in a lead role, this time as a good guy giving one of the more subdued performances in the movie, whenever he's not hammily emoting. The book and series this movie is based on wasn't much good to start with, but this just takes it to new levels, taking a bad plot and making it dumber...how do you do that? It's badly paced, badly scripted, badly acted, and just sooo lame all around. But it's a fun kind of lame that I enjoy. There are other merits to be found here too. Aside from the awesomeness of Jeremy Irons, the film's landscape and settings are beautiful, Sapphira the CGI dragon gives the best performance, Ed Speleer's amusing underacting in his lead part, Garrett Hedlund's amusing overacting in his bit part, and the villains - Robert Carlyle's scenery-chewing Grima Wormtongue-esque shade Durza, and John Malkovich giving the hammiest wooden performance ever as King Galbatorix: his delivery is just hilarious. I crack up every time I hear it. And there's also a genuinely emotional moment when Iron's character dies, and the song that plays on the end credits is really catchy. All in all, it's quite an endearing bad movie.

-"The Electric Company" - The original, for Morgan Freeman and Spider-Man, and the revival for the Pranksters. Other than those stuff, the series in general is a lame "Sesame Street" wannabe.

-"Family Guy" (Seasons 1 through 5) - Pre-cancellation, it was okay. Post-cancellation, it got bad. But for the fourth and fifth seasons, it could still count as a Guilty Pleasure: something that I could turn on and enjoy for all it's hackery. It didn't get unwatchable until the sixth season and onward.

-"Goosebumps" - The book series by R.L. Stein, and the campy TV series based on it. Both of 'em.

-"The Grinch" - I covered this one already.

-"Happily Ever After" - An attrocious animated "sequel" to the story of Snow White. It's just so, so bad. I watched it quite a bit in my childhood without ever realizing just how bad it was until years later. But now that I do, I can enjoy spotting the amount of shit in this kiddy flick. My favorite parts are the bad guys: the evil queen's brother Lord Maliss, a long haired, green skinned, mustached Disney villain wannabe who can turn into a weird bat-dragon thing, voiced by an outrageously over-the-top Malcolm McDowell. His henchmen are a surly, cigar-smoking owl voiced by Ed Asner, and an airheaded, wishy-washy bat voiced by Frank Welker. They're easily the most enjoyable part of something that might've otherwise been a chore to sit through, if not for their silly line delivery alone!

-"Jake And The Neverland Pirates" - Captain Hook and Mr. Smee MAKE this show. That is all.

-"Jingle All The Way" - Again, I covered it already.

-"Judge Dredd" - In this quintessential guilty pleasure film, Slyvester Stalone is...THE LAW!!!

-"Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days" - It started off as an idea for a KH multiplayer game requested by Disney for the Nintendo DS. But Tetsuya Nomura turned it into a crappy part of his crappy original saga, featuring lacklaster gameplay, cheap PS1-style graphics, a lousy scenario written by Tomoko Kanemaki, a plot that feels like a watered-down Crisis Core (with a blander secondary character as the lead), uncompelling or Flanderized characters, a repetitive nature in both style and substance, little to no Disney magic to be found, convoluted pretense found in even the title alone, and Xion, seemingly a fanfiction Mary Sue come to life, but actually the first transgendered character to be featured in a Disney game. It's so mediocre: not a good KH game at all. But I still find something to enjoy in it, especially when compared to the other bad KH titles. Mission Mode is particularly fun, it's nice to play as the Organization XIII characters, and the plot can get so bad it's good, especially when it gives us such deep, heartfelt lines like "Who else will I have ice cream with?" in a serious emotional moment. Ice cream in general gets so overused in this game, which makes the line extra comical. It's such a strange game, but I enjoy it if I dissociate it from the KH story I truly love.

-"Last Action Hero" - A poorly done satire of action movies, starring the always funny action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. I enjoyed this movie for both him and Charles Dance's villain character.

-"The Last Airbender" - Hoooooh boy. The infamously bad live action film adaptation of "Avatar: The Last Airbender": the awful piece of cinematic trash that's pretty much killed it's hack director M. Night Shyamalan's career. But when I watch this movie, I ask myself...is it really THAT bad? I mean, it's not good...but I do believe that beneath all the clutter there's a decent film in here, and an inferior yet still enjoyable version of the "Avatar" story. It has it's merits: Noah Ringer is pretty good as the titular character and even performs some of his own martial arts stunts. Dev Petel and Shaun Toub are awesome in their roles of Prince Zuko and Uncle Iroh, as is Seychelle Gabriel as Princess Yue, and Cliff Curtis has a good voice for Fire Lord Ozai, even if he's no Mark Hamill. The effects are decent, in the final words of Sokka from "The Ember Island Players", the costume design is original but good, and the sets are downright excellent, replicating the show's word perfectly. So what went wrong? One word: Shyamalan. Everything wrong with this film can be traced to the man himself. The script is awful and the dialogue horrendous, actors are miscast, misdirected, or both (take your pic between Katara, Sokka, Zhao, etc), there are unfortunate implications of white supremacy due to the casting of the good guys and bad guys, the CGI Appa is badly used, bending is executed all wrong, the choreography for the fight scenes are terribly done with only one camera, the story's narrative, in adapting at least half the first season, jumps all over the place instead of flowing cohesively at all, the freaking Kyoshi Warriors got cut from the film at the last minute, and there are several moments that are so clunky that they fall flat and become downright Narmy. (Like the infamous pebble dance, or the water tribe howl). It's a very, very awkward production, and yet that does add to the enjoyment of watching. It's clear Shyamalan didn't really care about the source material: he only saw it as a way to rejuvinate his career, but ended up doing the opposite. He got so much wrong, killed all that could have gone right, so it's alot of fun to look at just how much of this badness you can find. A notably entertaining part of the movie is Aasif Mandvi as the villainous Admiral Zhao: he plays the part like a snooty, whiny-voiced jackass in a comedic performance, which is completely unlike Zhao from the show. And his dialogue gets so laughably repetitive, with many "as you know" or "it is my belief that..." lines, and constant talk of "the scrolls from the great library, that was thought not to exist!" The guy is just hilarious, though it's sad that Jason Isaacs couldn't have reprised his role. That sort of sums up the movie as a whole: it's sad to see such a waste of potential, but also really funny. So much like "Dragonball Evolution", I don't love this movie like I love the show, but I cannot hate it.

-"Metal Gear Solid 2" - Hideo Kojima wanted to end his "Metal Gear" saga with the cinematic-styled video game masterpiece "Metal Gear Solid." But that game was so popular, that the public demanded a sequel. Kojima did not want to make a sequel, but the execs forced him to in order to satisfy the fans. So as a way of coping, the sequel that Kojima ended up making was very deliberately bad. Featuring a cruel bait-and-switch between protagonists that many were unprepared for, the new protagonist being a whiny prettyboy, a convoluted-as-all-heck storyline about the most absurd government conspiracy, breakout villain Ocelot getting possessed by Liquid Snake's "magic hand", a third Snake clone named Solidus as the main villain, the indication that all this followed the "bad end" of MGS, and an AI Colonel Campbell going absolutely batshit insane at one point, which is both funny and terrifying at the same time. It's all so awful but Kojima makes it so enjoyably awful that I can't dislike the game's existence. Now I think Kojima wanted fans to get the memo that more MGS sequels was not a good idea, but unfortunately, he did this game so well that it backfired. F**k.

-"The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" - It's a Guilty Pleasure for being an edutainment kiddy show. However, I happen to think it's a good, fun edutainment kiddy show. The best, perhaps! It makes great use of the classic Disney characters and is a good way to introduce kids to them. Donald, Goofy, Pete, and Ludwig Von Drake in particular can be hilarious. So I enjoy it, despite it being out of my age demographic and somewhat intelligence insulting. 'Cause it's a swell Disney show! Hot dog!

- "Napolean Dynamite" - Another really, really stupid movie. But I enjoy it 'cause I feel like it, GOSH!

-"The Neverending Story III" and "North" - I'm lumping these two bad movies together because internet reviewer Doug Walker pretty much shared my thoughts on them. They are strange in that they're both Guilty Pleasures and Bile Fascination. There's just so much wrong with these films that cannot be covered in any single review. And it's actually fun and even fascinating to watch just how bad they get and how weird, confusing, and dumb the choices made by the filmmakers were.

-"Pokemon" anime - By this I mean the Johto seasons, "Advanced Generation", the better portions of "Diamond And Pearl", and even the worse portions of "Best Wishes." It's not a good anime, but I can't help but be drawn to it sometimes just to check out all the shit that goes on in it. How much does the show get wrong? And what does it get right? It's truly a case worth studying for adaptations.

-"Power Rangers" - Mainly "Mighty Morphin'" through "Wild Force." I barely even watch these shows, actually. I mainly know about them through Lewis Lovhaug's video retrospectives. But they are sooo stupid and campy that I get some enjoyment out of it. And some of them, particularly "In Space" and "Time Force" come close to being pretty damn good. They're not good by any means, but they're fun.

-"Quest For Camelot" - A really lame but enjoyable animated family film. Aside from it's badness, it's got some things to enjoy too. Cary Elwes' character, Gary Oldman's hammy performance, the music and songs (except Ruber's song), and that it has Steve Urkel and Balki voicing animal characters.

-Rankin/Bass Films - One of the hokiest kids' movie studios of all time. Aside from all the classic holiday specials, it's made films like "The Hobbit", "The Return Of The King", "The Last Unicorn", "The Winds And The Willows", and "The King And I", which pretty much killed their career. But all of these productions are enjoyable if you're in the right mind for them. So they're among my pleasures.

-"Rave Master" - The manga series was actually pretty good. The anime series, on the other hand, was clearly trying to be the next "One Piece", made particularly odd choices in how the content was handled, stretched out stories longer than they needed to be, and the whole thing ended on huge non-resolution! To top it all off, the US dub has an awful, butchered, pun-spewing script from hack writer Bob Bucholz, and included some bad voice acting performances and a really dumb theme song by Reel Big Fish. But all this is just kind of...awesomely stupid! While it lasted, it was fun to watch.

-"Rock-a-doodle" - You all know the type of movie you watch as a child and love, but then when you get older and re-watch it, you notice all the warts? Yeah, this is that movie. The first animated feature after "All Dogs Go To Heaven" to send Don Bluth's career really far downhill. This movie is a total mess. The story is weird, the characters are poorly defined, Phil Harris gives a BladeRunner-esque narration that's bland and intelligence insulting, Chanticleer is boring, Edmund is painful to listen to, the owl villains are gay, there are pointless songs at inopportune times, and the narrative is really, really rushed. It feels so far from the last couple of films Bluth made, but even now I still enjoy watching it. Part of it is nostalgia, part of it is seeing just how bad and weird it gets, and part of it is 'cause there was a potentially decent film here that just got terribly put together into a load of cock.

-"The Room" - Do you know this movie? You read this entry's title? Then THIS speaks for itself.

-"Scry-eD" - It's such a lousy anime, but it's got over-the-top X-Men style powers and action, a totally radical guy who can go really fast, a girl who's power of "Eternal Devote" is to pretty much violate you, a guy who's power revolves around his "balls", a guy who can summon a giant mecha hero called "the Super Pinch Crusher", a guy who can do just about anything as long as he holds melons ...need I go on after that last one? It's so stupid it's cool...well, at least in the first season. It kinda got boring afterwards. The manga was better, being like a strange X-Men/Gurren Lagann combo.

-"Sailor Moon Super S" - A classic anime for me at my childhood's end. Like with "Rock-a-doodle", it took a good few years before I revisited it and realized just how truly bad it was. The pacing was awful, the plot was set up and then virtually nonexistent for most of the series, most episodes were filler that followed the pattern of Serena and Rini helping a character/victim-of-the-day follow his or her dreams, the schmaltzy childish whimsy, girlyness, fairy tale imagery and subtext was all there, the characters were all massively Flanderized to imitations of their former selves by this point, Rini stole the spotlight more than she deserved, Darien continued to be useless even though he was prominent in the manga arc this was based on, the Outer Senshi was AWOL, and the series climax is up there with MaloMyotismon's defeat in corniness. But unlike "S", it's more consistently fun, and unlike "Stars", it's So Bad It's Good. It's still fun as heck to watch, and I always enjoy coming back to it and rediscovering it's badness. As I've mentioned before, the best part of the series is without a doubt the villains. They're legitimately enjoyable and well developed, can be legitimately frightening (especially Zirconina and Queen Nehelania), and unlike their manga counterparts, make good use of being a freaking circus! Very easily the most fun part of a crappy series that I still have fun watching.

-Scary/Slasher Movies - Yeah, I've seen lots of bad scary movies that I enjoy. That just about sums that up. As for the slasher "genre", it's pretty much bad by default, with only the original "Halloween" and the works of Wes Craven having my respect. Other such slashers like Jason, Leatherface, Chucky, Leprechaun, Hook-handed Fisherman, Jigsaw, and the like do nothing for me...except occasionally amuse me. I duuno why: I guess the inherent fun of these films is to turn off your brain and just start rooting for the slashers to take out the sex-starved dumbass victims. Particularly true of Jason's antics every 13th of Friday. It's all clearly just a movie, so who gives a shit? Not me!

-"Slayers TRY" - It's lame, it's dumb, it's mostly filler, it's got evil alien villains, a talking fox with an eye-patch and cockney accent, a dragon-man with a unicorn horn on his head, a tsundere dragon girl who borders on Sue-ishness, it's inferior to the previous two series'...but still better than "Revolution!"

-"Sofia The First" - Yeah, it's on here 'cause it's a Disney princess-themed little girl's show. But it's so goshdarn entertaining, particularly due to the characters voiced by Jess Harnell, Wayne Brady, and Travis Willingham. And the kid characters are great too: Amber especially has some good lines!

-"Space Jam" - This movie may have been the Looney Tunes' shark jumping, but damn if it isn't fun!

-"Spider-Man 3" - I like "Spider-Man 3." I barely consider it a Guilty Pleasure: I only put it on here to say this. Despite it's many glaring flaws, I still think of it as a very good movie. So there! Moving on!

-"Spy Kids" and "Sharkboy and Lavagirl" - Yeah, when you think about it, Robert Rodriguez made some pretty dumb kids movies. But they're fun, enjoyable, harmless, charmingly dumb kids movies.

-The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy - I think they're...okay. Yes, by any standards of quality, Episode I and Episode II are crappy, and even the much better Episode III had it's problems due to G. Lucas' screenplay and some certain awful performances. But they're mostly solid fun, and to me, that's OK!

-Stephen King Miniseries - Y'know, "IT", "The Langoliers", "The Tommyknockers", those ones. Though others like "The Stand", "Salem's Lot", and "The Shining" are actually pretty good. ^^

-"Street Fighter The Movie" - As Greg put it, "it knows it's a deeply stupid movie. It knows it sucks ass. But it's so cheesy and spends its time reveling in its horribleness that I'm laughing with it just as much as I am laughing at it." It's one of those self-aware bad films where everyone involved was in on the joke except for the director. And Raul Julia as M. Bison is indeed insanely fun to watch. It was his last role before his passing, and what a role to go out on. He OWNED the part. This sums it up.

-Syfy Channel Original Movies - They're so BAD. They're the very definition of enjoyable B-movies.

-"Tales Of Legendia" - The "Tales" JRPG series in general could own a spot here. They're just so generic, so silly and cliched, so amateurishly written...but they can also be pretty fun depending on where you look. "Tales Of Legendia" for the PS2 is the one I own, and let's just say it's not thought  of as one of the good ones. And I can see why: the plot is as cliche as it gets, the gameplay is really lackluster, the character graphics are not appropriate for it's time, the characters themselves are familiar archetypes, the writing is all over the place and when it's bad, it's piss poor, things often get convoluted and repetitive, especially the unimaginative terminology of the world. (Eres, Merines, Orerines, Ferines, Nerifres, Werites, Teriques, etc.) And don't get me started on the damn Character Quests in which characters "remember very important lessons." It's like pages of a self-help book! But the game is still fun despite, or even because of these things...save for that last part, of course. It's somewhat self aware, especially with the characters. They seem to know their own stereotypes and have alot of fun with them. The humor is also really solid, as is the development of the main cast. And hey, sometimes the story did take some genuine turns that I didn't expect, and made some damn impression subversions to the norm. Oh, and the soundtrack is just lovely. So while the game may be a very mediocre affair, the experience I get from it is pretty enjoyable and fun.

-"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" - Just that title alone is silly, so I guess the franchise as a whole could go here. But I was mainly referring to the first theatrical live action movie. It's so goofy fun!

-"Tenchi Muyo!", "Toradora", etc. - Basically, any anime that centers around relationship drama. ^^

-"The Thief And The Cobbler" - And yes, I'm talking about the butchery to Richard Williams' original vision for this animated film. It's dumb shit, it's a travesty, it's just so...strange to watch. But it still has Vincent Price as the voice of Zig-Zag, and Johnathan Winters doing the internal voice of the Thief is somehow enjoyable in an irritating way. Plus the songs, while stupid, are catchy as all heck.

-"Tom And Jerry: The Movie" - Okay, any toon movie that gives us THIS has to be enjoyably stupid!

-"Transformers" - Yes, I'm talking about the first live action film directed by Michael Bay. Now, I've stated before that I actually enjoy this movie, which I cannot say of the two abysmal sequels. I can realize how stupid it is and sometimes, the movie does too. Bay didn't have quite as tight a grip on this one, which meant a bit less creative freedom, and with this director, that can only be a good thing. The story was pretty well executed, the government and military characters were solid, there wasn't enough of Shia Lebeouf and Megan Fox for their characters to get really annoying, the titular robots were great, and the action is genuinely fun, thrilling action, even if a bit mindless. Best of all is that Optimus Prime wasn't a bloodthirsty dick in this one, which is why I'll always maintain that it's the best in the series. But it's still dumb. Yet I have fun watching it and it doesn't make me dumber.

-The Twilight movies - I said it before, I'll say it again: the book series by Stephanie Meyer is just awful. I can only ever read those books in doses before it becomes too hard to swallow the badness. But the movie adaptations are total Guilty Pleasures. They are hilarious, and a heck of alot of fun to watch. I enjoy the people involved, particularly the three leads (Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner) who bring their own semi-self loathing, self aware spins on badly written roles, Billy Burke as Charlie Swan, who reacts to the dumbass love saga with much needed surlyness and cynicism, and the fabulous Michael Sheen as Aro of the Volturi, who does things like this without giving a single fuck. Seeing how the actors, directors, and script writers translate Stephanie Meyer's material to the silver screen is comedic gold! To quote Doug Walker: these are beautifully bad films!

-"Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" - I share Lewis Louvhag's thoughts on this show. I LIKED "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" I watched and own both seasons (Season 1 was better!) and enjoyed them alot. It's the only reality show I ever liked because it's actually all about being a good person!    In fact, I don't see what makes it really "bad" at all. Is it 'cause it's campy? That was so obviously intentional! Is it the idea of people running around dressing and acting as superheroes in real life? They're preparing themselves to be immortalized in fiction, it wasn't about being real. Is it because
of Stan Lee's involvement? Don't you dare suggest that! To me this show was a winner, not a weiner.

-"The Wizard" - The movie that introduced "Super Mario Bros 3", and Lucas, to the world! It's so bad!

-"Yu-Gi-Oh The Movie" - A theatrical anime film for "Yu-Gi-Oh!" made by 4Kids, made as a cash-in to promote more cards. Gee, wonder how that'll turn out? It's got an overwrought, badly explained plot, cringe-worthy dialogue, overacting voicework, weird rock tracks, and blatant marketing of the damn children's card game taken up to eleven. And yet it's ridiculously entertaining in it's cheesy badness and action, and it does feature what is, all things considered, a pretty epic card duel.

Let me know what Guilty Pleasures you have, folks! Maybe I'll remember which ones I missed!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Favorite Creators?

Sorry for the lack of new entries recently! My birthday's coming up, so my Guilty Pleasures entry will probably be late. But I've got more entries planned after that. This one here is based on this. Just me listing my absolute favorite creators of fictional (or sometimes nonfictional) material. And there's quite a lot of them, because I'm pretty easy to please. It's not comprehensive and no set numbers. This one is done in alphabetical order by the creators' first names rather than their last names:

A.A Milne
Aaron Ehasz
Aaron Sparrow
Agatha Christie
Akira Toriyama
Akiyuki Shinbo
Alan Burnett
Alan Menken
Alan Moore
Alan Snow
Alex Hirsch
Alfred Hitchcock
Andrew Stanton
Bernard Goldberg
Bill Finger
Bill O'Reilly
Bob Kane
Brad Bird
Bram Stoker
Bruce Timm
Bryan Singer
C.S. Lewis
Carl Barks
Charles Dickens
Charles Schulz
Chiaki J. Konaka
Chris Columbus
Christopher Nolan
Chuck Dixon
Chuck Jones
Coen Bros.
Craig Bartlett
Craig McKracken
D.J. MacHale
Dan Povenmire
Daniel Handler
David Chase
David Lynch
Dennis O'Neil
Derek Drymon
Don Bluth
Don Rosa
Donald Sobol
Duane Capizi
Dr. Seuss
E.B. White
Ed Wood
Edgar Allen Poe
Elisabetta Gnone
Eric Radomski
Francis Ford Coppola
Frank Baum
Frank Capra
Franz Kafka
Fred Rogers
Gary Carlston
Gary Kurtz
Gary Truousdale
Gen Urobuchi
Geoffrey Chaucer
George R.R.Martin
George Perez
Glen Murakami
Grant Morrison
Greg Weisman
Guillermo Del Toro
H.P. Lovecraft
Hajime Kanzaka
Harlan Ellison
Harper Lee
Hayao Miyazaki
Hideaki Anno
Hideo Kojima
Hidenori Kusaka
Hironobu Sakaguchi
Hiroyuki Kakudo
Howard Ashman
Ichiro Okouchi
J. Michael Stracynski
J.M Barrie
J.K. Rowling
J.R.R. Tolkien
Jack Kirby
Jane Austen
Jeff "Swampy" Marsh
Jeff Matsuda
Jeff Nimoy
Jeff Smith
Jim Henson
Joan Ganz Cooney
John Favreau
John Lasseter
John Milton
John Musker
John Romita
Johnathan Landis
Jon Stewart
Joss Whedon
Julie Taymor
Jun Akiyama
Junichi Sato
Jymn Magon
Kathleen Kennedy
Kazuki Takahashi
Keiko Nobumoto
Ken Sugimori
Kenneth Branagh
Kentaro Miura
Kevin Lima
Kirk Wise
Lauren Faust
Lawrence Kasdan
Lewis Carroll
Lloyd Morrisett
Llyod Alexander
Louis Sachar
Marcia Lucas
Marc Brown
Mark Twain
Mark Zaslove
Martin Scorsese
Mary Shelley
Masaki Iwane
Matt Groening
Matt Stone
Matthew Vaughn
Maurice Sendak
Mel Brooks
Michael Curtiz
Michael Ende
Michael Piller
Michael Reaves
Mike Dante DiMartino
Milos Forman
Mitch Watson
Monty Python
Nagaru Tanigawa
Naoki Urasawa
Naoko Takeuchi
Neil Gaiman
Norton Juster
Orson Welles
Osamu Tezuka
Paul Dini
Pete Docter
Peter Jackson
Quentin Tarantino
Richard Donner
Richard Williams
Rick Berman
Riku Sanjo
Roald Dahl
Rob Reiner
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Mulligan
Robert Wise
Robert Zemeckis
Rod Sterling
Roger Stern
Ron Clements
Rudyard Kipling
Ryukishi07
R.L Stine
Sam Raimi
Satoru Iwata
Satoru Nishizono
Satoshi Tajiri
Scott Cawthon
Scott Gimple
Shane Black
Seiji Mizushima
Shigeru Miyamoto
Shinichi Watanabe
Shinichiro Watanabe
Shinji Hashimoto
Shusuke Kaneko
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sophocles
Stan Lee
Stanley Kubrick
Stephen Colbert
Stephen Hillenburg
Stephen King
Steve Ditko
Steven Spielberg
Sukehiro Tomita
Susan Cooper
Suzanne Collins
Takao Koyama
Takeshi Shudo
Tad Stones
Timothy Zahn
Tomm Moore
Tom Ruegger
Toshiki Inoue
Trey Parker
Uncle Remus
Victor Cook
Vince Gilligan
Walt Disney
Wes Craven
Washington Irving
William Goldman
William Shakespeare
Yoshihiro Togashi
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Yukiyoshi Ohashi

And hey, while I'm at it, I might as well bring out my Hall of Shame for my least favorite creators. Same rules apply:

Aaron Horvath
Adam Horowitz
Adam Sandler
Alfred Gough
Al Franken
Atsuhiro Tomioka
Baz Luhrmann
Ben Stiller
Bill Cosby
Bob Clark
Bob Kane
Brett Ratner
Brian Azarello
Brian Michael Bendis
Bruce Timm
Bryan Cogman
Bryan Konietzko
Butch Hartman
Cassandra Clare
Chiaki Morosawa
Chris Claremont
Chris Matthews
Chris Paolini
Damon Lidelof
Danny DiDio
Danny DeVito
David Benioff
David Jaffe
David Jones
Derek Savage
D.B. Weiss
D.W. Griffith
Eddie Kitsis
Eichiro Oda
E.L. James
Eric Kripke
Frank Miller
Gene Roddenberry
Gene Yang
George Lucas
Glenn Beck
Goro Taniguchi
Hideo Kojima
Houser Bros.
Ian Brill
Ian Flynn
Ingmar Bergman
J.J. Abrams
James Cameron
Jan de Bont
Jed Whedon
Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeph Loeb
Jodie Foster
Joe Quesada
Joel Shumacher
John Hughes
John Kricfalusi
John Semper
Josh Trank
Joss Whedon
Junichi Masuda
K.A. Applegate
Karen Traviss
Keith Olberman
Ken Penders
Kunihiko Ikuhara
Leni Riefenstahl
Linda Woolverton
M. Night Shyamalan
Marc Webb
Mark Millar
Marv Wolfman
Masashi Kishimoto
Maurissa Tancharoen
Meir Zarchi
Mel Gibson
Michael Bay
Michael Crichton
Michael Eisner
Michael Jelenic
Michael Moore
Miles Miller
Mike Dante DiMartino
Naoyuki Kageyama
Oliver Stone
Pedro Almodovar
Philip Pullman
P.L. Travers
Richard Dawkins
Ridley Scott
Rob Bucholz
Rob Zombie
Robert Jordan
Rod Amateau
Roman Polanski
Rumiko Takahashi
Rush Limbaugh
Ryoto Yamaguchi
Sean Cunningham
Seltzer & Friedberg
Seth Macfarlane
Stephanie Meyer
Steven Moffat
Takashi Miike
Takuya Igarashi
Ted Turner
Terri Tatchell
Terry Goodkind
Tetsuya Nomura
Tetsuro Araki
Tim Burton
Tim Story
Tite Kubo
Tom Shadyac
Tommy Wiseau
Tomoko Kanemaki
Tsugumi Ohba
Uwe Boll
Upton Sinclair
Vincent Waller
The Wachowskis
Warren Spector
William Shatner
Yoji Enokido
Yoshinori Kitase
Yoshiyuki Tomino
Yosuke Kuroda
Yukiru Sugisaki
Yuu Watase
Zack Synder

Anyone else I forgot to mention? Perhaps so. Please let me know! ^^