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My Favorite Awesomely Bad Disaster Movies

Let’s keep the month of October going with my favorite disaster movies! Disaster movies usually get their own category since they are so prevalent and pop up every handful of years using the same tropes, but I still think people tend to forget that they are technically horror films, even if they can lean more towards the action-adventure side than the scary side. I still think they’re worth taking a look at as we count down the days to Halloween, so let’s go.

Volcano (1997)

First off, are you noticing the trend yet? The 1990’s were just offering up terrible monster and disaster movies left and right, and I can’t thank them enough for it. Volcano is slightly more obscure than your average blockbuster movie like Twister or Armageddon, and for good reason. Like Anaconda on my movie monster list, it had the fatal flaw of taking itself completely seriously, and thus failed on every single level imaginable. It’s probably possible to make a horror movie about a volcano—not probable, but possible—but this is the exact way not to do it. But that also leads to big unintentional laughs for a sensible person like you and me.

Volcano is about an earthquake that basically awakens a volcano that was somehow lurking underneath the streets of Los Angeles.

I’ve already lost you, haven’t I?

Wait, come back. Just go with me on this one for a minute.

Tommy Lee Jones plays a city official trying to help with the disaster relief and Anne Heche plays a scientist (Sit down! Stop trying to leave while I’m talking to you!) advising him on what to do. And yes, it is a ludicrous as you think it is.

For me, the faulty science is what makes this movie noteworthy. I mean, wow. It gets so many things wrong and the fact that they’re trying to make a true blue disaster film out of incredibly slow moving lava is just comical. As I mentioned above, there might be a way to make this a horror film, but not in these circumstances. What you’d want to do is write about an island where a volcano erupts and let’s say the eruption takes out all the boats, so your survivors have to carefully navigate the island and get to a safe zone as they wait for help to arrive, and even then, you still can’t make the volcano the main villain. You’d probably need a secondary antagonist, like a selfish, cowardly member of the group who lets people die or tries to sabotage the survivors to ensure that he gets out alive.

Volcano fails on a stunning level to deliver thrills and chills because it’s just so stupid, but at the same time, it’s pretty spectacular in its failings. Tommy Lee looks generally annoyed by everything he sees and it’s enjoyable as hell. There’s stupid subplot about race relations that has one of the corniest pay offs I have ever seen. There is a scene where they knock over a bus to help “direct” the lava down another part of the street, and if you can’t find that funny, you need your head examined. It may kill a few of your brain cells, but I still think Volcano is worth a watch.

The Core (2003)

Speaking of awkwardly cast movies with terrible science and woefully miscast actors, The Core!

Let me tell you the ways of this facepalm-inducing attempt at a disaster movie.

As a result of unusual sun activity, the earth’s core stops spinning. Apparently, this causes catastrophic side effects, like a literal hole opening up in the ozone layer that proceeds to melt the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of opening some tequila and drinking to the end of the world, a group of scientists and the government decide that rather than accepting our inevitable demise, they should drill to the center of the earth and drop nukes in order to get the planet’s core spinning again.

You can’t make this shit up, man.

To be frank, The Core is a pretty blatant rip off of Armageddon. It’s incredibly obvious not only by concept alone, but by the hodge-podge “misfit team” the movie cobbles together. The strangest part is that the movie casts some damned great actors even though overall it’s a colossal failure at using them, including Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Bruce Greenwood, Stanley Tucci, Alfre Woodard, and Delroy Lindo. I am convinced that the writers’ room and director just hyped this movie (and its imaginary box office dollars) up so much that all these credible actors decided to say yes to such a rancid script. The dialogue is atrocious. Almost no one fits in their roles properly. Most of these actors are character actors who deliver excellent performances in dramas or sharp-witted comedies, and here they are generic rogue scientists trying to save the world.

As a whole, the movie is awkward, uninspired, and relies heavily on clichés. However, it’s another one where it’s so unbelievable that it has to be witnessed. It seems to misunderstand the movie it’s trying to emulate on its most basic level. Say what you want about Armageddon (I personally argue it is the only “good” film I’ve seen in Michael Bay’s inventory; I like Bad Boys and the first Transformers as well, but neither movie is “good,” merely entertaining), but it knew what it was going for: a misfit team of roughnecks saving the world from a terrifying threat. The actors in Armageddon were cast well and each of them fit in their roles and you genuinely cared about them. This group can be killed off or interchanged without consequence, but to be fair, the only person who seems to actually be trying is Stanley Tucci. Tucci’s snarky comments and uptight pretentiousness is by far the most entertaining thing aside from all the laughable science. He is 2000% done with everyone and everything in the movie and it actually brightens the film quite a bit.

The Core is a masterful train wreck of ineptitude, but I think it’s worth a watch if only because it just botches everything it attempts and is a lesson on what not to do in a disaster movie.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

The Day After Tomorrow puts the ‘disaster’ in ‘disaster movie.’

To be completely honest, I almost left it off the list because it greatly annoys me—now, granted, not as much as Emmerich’s other failure 2012, but TDAT has a reputation for its awfulness that cannot be ignored. For example, most of the time when movies do big budget blockbusters of this caliber, they ask for help. Michael Bay consulted with actual NASA for Armageddon, even though his premise was forced and not the correct way it would have been handled. It had enough basis in reality that NASA happily agreed.

The Day After Tomorrow is so scientifically false that NASA refused to consult with the film.

Yeah. It’s that bad.

The Day After Tomorrow is about the earth reaching its breaking point because of climate change and basically a chain reaction of cataclysmic events begin happening as a result, from hail the size of basketballs to tidal waves that put New York underwater. Dennis Quaid is a scientist trying to insist to the government that they need to take action to protect people, but he is summarily ignored as a crackpot until it starts happening. He finds out his son is trapped at the New York Library and sets out in the killer cold to rescue him and whoever else he can find that survived the tidal wave and ensuing blizzard.

To be frank, you’ll probably go comatose from all your brain cells exploding at once if you try to watch the movie without the help of Rifftrax. That’s the only way I can stomach it. The movie beats you over the head with its environmental message, even to the point of inserting a Dick Cheney look alike to scoff about climate change while the brave and noble Dennis Quaid proves him wrong. The sanctimonious tone of it all is insufferable, and then adding the bad science on top just makes it an exercise in going crazy.

However, there’s plenty to laugh at, from the miscast Jake Gyllenhaal (who is supposed to be a high school kid, but looks like a thirty year old with 90’s scruffy hair) to the hilarious scene of them literally out-running freezing cold air. Yes. Cold. Air. Is. The. Villain.

It’s almost hard to look away from this movie because it’s so staggeringly ignorant and it relies on some of Emmerich’s most tiring clichés, from the absentee father to the dumb self sacrifice to the cheesy redemption arc for the main lead. Everyone is sleep-walking through their performances and every weather-related catastrophe is done wrong. Even the title clues you in to how uninspired it is. Hell, there’s really not that much action when you put it together as a whole. They even had to shove in an improbable chase scenes with CGI wolves aboard an abandoned ship. Yes, you read that correctly. The movie is just spinning its wheels mostly, but at the same time, it makes it a lot of fun to riff and takes shots for. Just make sure you’re drinking the good stuff, or you’re liable to fall asleep.

The Happening (2008)

Remember when we talked about Lady in the Water being absolutely phenomenal because it’s the most bullshit horror story ever played completely straight?

Meet yet another one of M. Night Shyamalan’s mesmerizing pieces of crap that is played totally straight as a horror film and yet is the furthest thing from it.

The Happening is about a “mysterious” event occurring all over the United States where people start randomly killing themselves en masse, which is preceded by talking strangely and walking backwards. The whole country starts freaking out, and one of the people in the middle of the fray is Mark Wahlberg, who for some reason is playing a school teacher. He and his girlfriend Alma, played abysmally by the walking zombie cupie doll Zooey Deschanel, try to escape the path of the event and survive.

Oh, and the thing that’s killing everyone?

It’s plants.


Freaking. Plants.

Congratulations. That is the lamest villain of all time.

However, The Happening is overstuffed with bizarre things, much like Lady in the Water, so much so that it’s become a cult classic over the years because it does everything so wrong. Mark Wahlberg seems to have been given zero direction, so he’s basically mouth-breathing and panicked and clueless the entire time, whereas Zooey just stares blankly ahead like a bushbaby and emotes about as well as a sock puppet without a hand in it. The deaths are over the top and come across as silly rather than scary, and like most of his bad films, the side characters all consist of people with weirdly alien quirks that make no sense and don’t endear you to them. It’s like someone asked a Martian to write a script for a disaster movie. No one acts like a normal person would in the middle of a disaster. There are entire conversations that happen for no reason and characters come to idiotic conclusions with almost no evidence or prompting. For God’s sake, there is a scene where Mark Wahlberg tries to reason with a house plant that turns out to be made of plastic. This movie should be framed in the Smithsonian for a crowning achievement in failure to be a disaster movie, in that it is a complete disaster from start to finish.

But I guess that means it lived up to its genre, if only in the literal sense.

Birdemic (2010)

If you’re a nerd and you’ve already seen Birdemic, you’re probably giggling madly right now, and you’re not the only one, trust me.

For the non-nerds out there, let me introduce you to a movie that is so poorly done that most people don’t think it’s actually a real movie.

On the sunny non-descript streets of California, a software salesman falls in love with a newly hired Victoria’s Secret supermodel and then the city gets attacked by birds.

Again, I would like to repeat that I am not joking and I did not make this up.

I wish I could help you understand how incredible Birdemic is without visuals, but it’s hardly possible. By now, you might have heard of the infamous movie The Room by Tommy Wiseau, which is often hailed as one of the worst movies ever made.

Well, take The Room and multiply it by five, and you get Birdemic.

Birdemic was shot on a handheld camera, but not in the way that found-footage movies are shot. I mean the budget for this film is so nonexistent that filming was done by hand or on a tripod. The film also doesn’t have a sound editor, as there are huge audio spikes heard throughout the film as well as background wind noise that are inconsistent. The titular birds are not real birds, nor are they props.

They are literally graphic sprite .gifs of eagles flapping their wings.

And the eagles make seagull noises.

Oh, it gets better, friends.

The eagles dive bomb buildings and explode like kamikaze pilots. With plane sounds.

Think I’m done? No, friends.

The main actor in the movie is so bad that a case can be made that he is the first lobotomized actor.

The actor is so bad that he can’t even walk in a straight line like a human.

I’m not joking.

He literally even walks wrong.

Then add in the fact that lines are misread, repeated, or accidentally cut short due to the film’s lack of a professional editor, so you even get to enjoy movie mistakes as they happen in the film that were left in due to overall incompetence.

I know you’re thinking I’m crazy and I made this up, but look! Look! It’s real! It’s a real thing that exists!

Birdemic is beyond definition. Most people at first glance think it’s a parody, but I assure you, the “director” was dead serious and thought he made a real movie, much like Tommy Wiseau. The worst part is he was apparently “inspired” by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, even to the point of trying to get Tippi Hedren to cameo, but she understandably refused to accept the invitation.

And if you want to get your money’s worth, once more, I highly recommend the Rifftrax for it. It’s simply amazing. Either way, you need to witness the Birdemic. You will find yourself forever changed.

My Favorite Awesomely Bad Monster Movies

Guys! It’s October! Yay! Time to break out the pumpkin-flavored everything, sweater dresses, leggings, boots, and of course, horror movies of every size and kind!

Now, to be perfectly honest with you, I am a chicken. I can’t watch horror movies because I have an overactive imagination that manifests itself into vivid nightmares or insomnia if I watch them. However, I do admit that I like monster movies quite a lot. In celebration of the month of October, as we creep towards Halloween, I’ve decided to make a list of not just monsters movies that I like–terrible monster movies that I happen to like. Because, hey, it’s more fun that way. So kick back and enjoy!

Lake Placid (1999)

Don’t talk to me if you don’t like Lake Placid. It is by far one of the greatest blends of horror-comedies to ever exist and no one can ever convince me otherwise. I have to say I really appreciate movies that understand the tropes they’re using and not only use them well, but have fun along the way. Self-awareness, when done properly on film, can result in some of the most priceless moments possible, and Lake Placid is an excellent example.

In case you missed it, Lake Placid is about an insanely huge crocodile that is discovered in the titular lake. A team is sent out to confirm the sighting after someone was killed by it and after it’s discovered, the race is on to capture it before it munches everyone and everything on that lake.

Lake Placid could have been some dry attempt at making crocodiles scary, and to be fair they already are and don’t need any help from horror movies, but instead they decided to adopt a tongue-in-cheek tone that just sells the movie so much better than a straight horror film ever could. Easily, the movie’s best characters are Oliver Platt and Brendan Gleeson, who both enter into a gut-busting snark off contest for the entirety of the movie. Brendan Gleeson plays the straight-laced, grumpy, Harvey Bullock-style cop and Oliver Platt is a rich, crazy crocodile expert called in to consult. The two immediately hate each other and it’s comedy gold listening to them insult each other at every available moment in spite of the fact that they are hunting a literal killer croc. Plus, the movie is actually pretty creative and engrossing with its action sequences of hunting the crocodile, and there are not one but two genuinely awesome twists before it’s over. The fact that the characters are so aware of how ridiculous everything around them is makes it an absolute joy to watch. Special mention goes to Betty White, who knocks it out of the park in her small bit part of the foul-mouthed granny whose fault this pretty much all is.

Lake Placid is always in rotation on cable channels, and if you haven’t seen it, please do yourself a favor and enjoy it this Halloween season. Ignore the sequels, though. Those aren’t awesomely bad, those are just bad bad.

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Deep Blue Sea is an unforgettable experience, as it is somehow a mashup of like twelve different kinds of horror melded into one brainless mess of pure brilliance.

Deep Blue Sea tells the tale of a scientist who has been trying to cure Alzheimer’s disease using a protein that grows in the brain stem of the Mako shark. Her project hasn’t turned in results and is about to get axed, so she convinces the benefactor to visit the facility and see that she can produce the protein. She can’t grow enough protein by the 48-hour deadline, so she illegally tampers with the sharks and grows their brains twice the size to produce more, which makes the sharks smarter, and so the super smart sharks decide to kill everybody and destroy the compound so they can get out into the open water.

If you’re not laughing by the end of my description, there is something wrong with you.

Deep Blue Sea, like Lake Placid, is mostly a precious jewel of a movie because of the fact that the characters are aware of how ridiculous the premise is and so they make the experience unforgettable. The main credit goes to LL Cool J, who is the Lampshade Hanger of the movie, and snarks it up being one of the only two black men in a sinking compound overrun with super smart killer sharks. He delivers lines that will have you howling the entire time. The movie also has the audacity to give you some truly comical moments of failed science. Everything from sharks swimming backwards, which is physically impossible, to sharks figuring out what cameras are enough to take them out like they’re in a slasher movie, as well as appliances that shouldn’t be functioning in five feet of standing water and lighters being conjured out of literal nothingness to deliver improbable deaths to said super smart killer sharks.

While some of you might know the film for the infamous Samuel L. Jackson moment, the rest of the film really does warrant a watch. It’s mostly self aware, but there are other things to giggle at where the movie tried to Do a Thing and failed miserably, like trying to make Thomas Jane seem like a stoic badass except they didn’t write him any badass lines, nor did they have him do anything badass, nor did the director direct the poor actor to do anything other than “stare blankly ahead and say everything in monotone.” Plus, once you’re done, look up the unbelievable trivia about the movie’s re-written ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but it is quite satisfying, trust me.

Deep Rising (1998)

Several months ago, I was at my parents’ house hanging out for the day, and my clever thumbs scrolled past Deep Rising. I frowned as I saw the title, as it sounded vaguely familiar, and so I turned it on.

It was the best decision I made that weekend.

When I was a kid, I recall that there was some kind of awful D-list movie about a ship with people trapped inside being attacked by disgusting tentacles. At the time, I was repulsed by gore, and so decades went by before I ever recalled the movie again.

In short, Deep Rising is a movie about a luxury ship that gets attacked by a mutant octopus with sentient tentacles.

I am dead serious.

Complete with cheesy effects for when you finally see said mutant octopus in the flesh altogether.

Where do I even start?

First of all, it bears mentioning that this is a Stephen Sommers film, and so there is a certain amount of self aware campiness to the film, much like his far superior Mummy films (excluding the non-existent third one). However, for the most part, you’re actually supposed to be afraid of the somehow-sentient tentacles that illogically creep around the ship eating passengers and “mercenaries” (I say that because they are some of the stupidest people ever conceived on the silver screen.)

Second of all, the casting is dreadful. There’s just a random assortment of actors miscast in these roles, like Famke Janssen and Djimon Hounsou. My parents and I were sitting on the couch choking on our salad with laughter at the utterly moronic scenarios played completely straight, like a mercenary shooting up an empty room and then turning his back so that the tentacle gobbles him up when he turns around even though he had fair warning as the other people ran away from it. My personal favorite moment where I erupted into peals of laughter was part of the finale with the “hero” and Famke riding a wave runner through the ship running away from the tentacles while firing Endless Magazines at it and executing perfect hairpin turns through the ship’s hallways at about eighty miles per hour. Or the guy that gets shot out of one of the tentacles somehow standing up and trying to talk despite most of his body being digested already.

Deep Rising is often cited as a poorly executed Alien ripoff, and that’s probably true, but it’s so absurd that it begs to be watched. Your jaw will hang open in disbelief the entire time and there is no way you don’t end up with stomach cramps laughing at the cheesy late 90’s effects, the awful gore, and the corny dialogue.

Anaconda (1997)

Back when I was a youngster, I was one of those freaky kids who actually liked snakes and thought they were absurdly cool animals. I still do, actually. At the time it came out, I was pretty young and so Anaconda seemed a little scary to me even though I liked snakes.

Then I became an adult and the wonderful fellas at Rifftrax decided to do a live riff of Anaconda. I attended. And I have never been happier that I did.

Unlike the other films on my list, Anaconda is a poor, blessed little movie that actually takes itself seriously somehow. I mean, where do I even start describing where things go wrong? It was pretty much doomed from the very start trying to turn an animal like an anaconda into a giant killer monster that is so sadistic that it vomits up prey it just killed in order to try and eat more prey. The movie is even stupid enough to put that as a prelude at the beginning of the movie. Who is dumb enough to put a completely false fact in front of their horror movie? These folks, apparently.

Anaconda tells the baffling tale of a photographer and crew going on an expedition to film on a river. They are joined by a completely psychotic “snake expert” who derails the entire trip and essentially takes the crew hostage to go hunt a monster anaconda so he can capture it alive (somehow he thought he could fit that 40 foot snake on that tiny boat, but it is never directly discussed) and presumably sell it for a lot of money. This Card Carrying Villain is played unapologetically by Jon Voight, who for some reason puts on the worst “South African” accent to ever be committed to film. He’s so obviously evil that he just mugs the camera with an evil sneer and does things to this crew of morons that should have clued them in to the fact that he was a remorseless murdering fiend the second they laid eyes on him.

But Voight’s awful performance is pretty much the only other thing that sells this stupid movie.

Voight is just hamming it up to the point of absurdity, but the crew he’s terrorizing is so lacking in brain cells that you’re kind of fine with him sacrificing them to lure the anaconda into his clutches. There is even a scene where his big, fat, old butt gets into a fight with then-young Ice Cube (who is so woefully miscast I cannot to this day figure out who said yes to him and why unless he just donated a whole bunch of cash for production contingent on starring in the film, because the man can’t act his way out of a wet paper bag filled with live snakes) and Voight somehow wins. Yes. Jon Voight out-fights Ice Cube. Oh Lord. It’s just the most idiotic thing ever, but you can’t look away because it’s like a train wreck.

Voight aside, the other reason you need to witness Anaconda is the laugh-worthy anaconda itself. First of all, the CG will send you into hysterics. It hasn’t aged well, and even the practical effects can make you burst into giggles, particularly with two scenes: the “fight” between the anaconda and a jaguar, where the jaguar is so obviously a stuffed prop that it might as well have been a kid holding one of those rubber snakes and wrapping it around a Beanie Baby, and the scene where the anaconda literally breaks through the wooden hull of the boat’s main deck like the freaking Kool-Aid Man. Oh, and did I mention that the snake screams? Not hissing. Screaming. Like, shrieking screaming, when it attacks. I have no words for how hysterical it is, because snakes can’t make noises other than hissing, so the dummies in the editing room made it shriek and it’s so funny I can’t do it justice. Plus, the snake does other things that snakes can’t do like climbing up ladders at the speed of sound, busting through planks of wood, surviving being exploded and lit on fire, and even gunshots. The snake’s behavior is even more absurd, as they assert that this particular anaconda is some kind of reptilian serial killer that murders for the fun of it, and anyone who knows anything about reptiles can already tell you that’s a load of crock. (*rimshot*)

It’s an awful, awful movie that can provide you with an insane amount of entertainment because of its lack of self-awareness. It’s one of those times where they were trying so hard to make a horror flick that they ended up making a comedy instead.

Godzilla (1998)

Let me start by disclaiming something—I don’t like Roland Emmerich. In my entire life, I have liked exactly two of his movies: Independence Day and this. ID4 is pretty much self-explanatory, but I know I’m definitely one of the only people in the world who likes Godzilla ‘98. It’s partially because of my nostalgia goggles, as this was one of the big action films that my family and I really bonded with. I personally think this movie is hilarious. Whether it’s unintentional humor or pretty much all of Hank Azaria and Jean Reno’s lines, I have such a great time watching this idiotic and yet fascinating film.

Godzilla ’98 doesn’t appear to really be trying to remake or adapt any of Godzilla’s direct canon films in Japan, at least as far as I know. It’s sort of just cobbling together enough story for why the big thing is on our side of the pond. Blah blah blah, government experimentation with nuclear power created basically an iguana that walks on its hind legs and is the size of the Chrysler building. Matthew Broderick is a scientist advising the government because he’s an expert in genetic mutation, or some kind of science gobbledy-gook. Hank Azaria and White Bitch (I refuse to use her name, because she was a conniving, useless trifling bitch) are trying to report on the story and get caught in the crossfire, while Jean Reno is leading a covert team trying to wrap everything up and prevent people from learning the truth about who is responsible for Godzilla’s creation.

Godzilla’s mixture of humor interspersed with, come on, be honest, some pretty excellent chase and destruction sequences, are why I always have to recommend it for your monster movie viewings. It’s more action-adventure than horror, but they do add some horror moments in there towards the end. It blatantly rips off Jurassic Park in the final act—down to stealing actual iconic shots, for heaven’s sake—but the movie is another where it is clearly intended as tongue-in-cheek and can be enjoyed as a brainless popcorn flick because of it. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously, aside from maybe slipping in an environmentalist line here or there and then the “man is the real monster” moment in the last scene.

I know it’s a crime against humanity in some circles, but I liked the design of the Godzilla creature. I thought it was very interesting and it had such a massive scope because of the cinematography. He felt huge and dangerous and scary. And yes, I did see the 2014 Godzilla remake that was so dreadfully boring and only had a total of 11 minutes of Godzilla in it, and frankly, you can eat my shorts. I thought the 2014 Godzilla movie was a huge flop, with nothing but a boring, blank-faced Aaron Johnson and I’d take my cheesy ’98 Godzilla over it every single time. If nothing else, it had the balls to destroy Manhattan and show the big reptile the entire movie through, not for 11 freaking minutes. Say what you will, but if you came for a monster, you got a monster from start to finish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a gritty, “realistic” tone doesn’t immediately make your remake better than its counterpart. Write that down, Hollywood.

I say grab some popcorn and enjoy the cornball idiocy of ’98 Godzilla.

Lady in the Water (2006)

Wait, wait, don’t get up and leave! I promise I will justify the inclusion of one of M. Night Shyamalan’s many bombs as an awesomely bad monster movie.

Many people were fortunate enough to have skipped M. Night’s misguided, kooky, bizarre foray into the rare horror-fantasy genre, and the fact that it was universally panned by critics didn’t help matters. I mean, you have to have a pretty massive ego to take a “bedtime story” you allegedly told your children and turn it into a feature length film, but keep in mind that by this point critics had been telling M. Night he was the next Spielberg, so his ego was at maximum inflation at the time, despite the fact that his previous film The Village flopped. Well, it went about as good as you thought it would as a feature length movie about a stupid “fairytale” with made up names and badly told, nonsensical mythos.

Lady in the Water is about a water nymph called…are you ready for this…a narf (*cue 10,000 The Pinky and the Brain jokes*) that stumbles her way onto land via a pool in an apartment complex that is run by Paul “what in God’s name did they pay him to star in this farce” Giamatti. He finds her and takes her in and shortly after he is going to take her somewhere to get help, a grass-monster that looks like a wolf called a Scrunt (*barely suppressed laughter*) attacks them, so he takes her back to his place and starts to try to figure out how to get her back to her people. One of the tenants apparently knows the “story” of the nymph’s origin and tells him he basically has to identify a bunch of people with foretold roles that will help get her home.

Are you laughing yet? You should be laughing by now.

But let me get to the point. Lady in the Water technically counts as a monster movie because the Scrunt is in fact stalking the nymph the entire time and terrorizing the people in the apartment complex, even killing one of them by the end of the film. All of it is filmed completely seriously as a horror film, and so we’re going to treat it as such.

Why is it worth watching?

Because it is certifiably insane.

Not only do you have to listen to the word “narf” a bunch of times, you are expected to do so with a straight face. There are just so many things in this movie that make no sense and will have you rolling around on your couch with laughter because the entire thing from start to finish is played completely straight as if it’s some kind of amazing horror-fairytale fusion. I hate to break it to you, movie. You ain’t that. I’m not going to spoil all the truly insane moments in the film, but let me at least say this: there is a real, actual scene in this movie where a small child predicts the future…by reading cereal box labels.

I am dead serious.

It’s that kind of movie.

Plus, you need to witness the incredible pretentious metaphorical-handjob M. Night gives himself as he writes himself into the movie as a writer who is prophesized to write a book that will help elect a man president and said president ends up basically saving the world, but the writer’s “radical ideas” get him killed before that happens, so he is presented with the choice of not writing the book and living, or writing the book and sacrificing himself to save the world. Yes. I am not exaggerating any of that. It happens in the damn movie, and M. Night plays that character.

But let me add one drawback: most of it is long, boring talking with almost no musical score. If you have a short attention span, instead direct yourself to the Nostalgia Critic’s review of the film and he’ll give you all the gut-busting highlights of the movie in less than half the time. Hell, even if you do watch the movie, I still recommend that review because it is spot on describing what an unforgettable mess the film is. You’ve got to give it a go this October. You deserve it.

And what’s next week’s October list? Why, it’s my favorite awesomely bad disaster movies!

Kyoko’s Favorite Movies of 2016

So. This year has been an enormous, raging, uncontrollable garbage fire, but at least it gave us some good movies. Here’s my shortlist of the best movies for 2016 that have been released.


Captain America: Civil War: I don’t think anyone’s shocked at this being one of my first picks for the best of 2016. Like the Avengers, this movie gives me a massive rush of fangasm to see so many of our Marvel heroes in one story, and it’s great because not only do we know the core team, but we also get introduced to some new faces. Everyone went into this movie expecting to love the fight scenes—which were incredible—and yet we all came out with the same consensus: bump the main team, we need 1000000% more Black Panther and Spider-Man. I am truly blown away how much I liked those two. They were by far the biggest standout characters introduced into the MCU and I cannot wait for both of their solo films, because they have proven to be incredibly interesting. Still, I of course give the movie credit for being the most heart-wrenching film in the MCU canon. We were hit hard and often in the feels, from losing Peggy Carter to seeing Tony and Steve’s friendship fall apart to seeing poor Bucky being used against his will to murder the innocent. It’s a phenomenal film with all the right elements and it has a massive rewatch quality for that same reason.


Moana: Again, this is no surprise. I am a huge Disney fan, and I am especially a fan of Disney princess films and how they have evolved over the decades. Moana is exactly that: the natural progression of a Disney princess with modern day writing. Honestly, it’s like the movie had a checklist of “impossibly awesome things” and it just checked them off one by one. Likable, realistic protagonist? Check. Creative, visually-stunning environment? Check. Bechdel Test pass? Check. Hilarious lines? Check. Catchy-as-hell musical numbers? Check. Gripping story with plenty of action and adventure? Check. Open exploration of people of color, also portrayed by people of color? Check, check, check. This film is a dream. It’s just so exciting and wonderful and powerful that I’ve already seen it twice and I’m trying my hardest not to see it a third time before it leaves theaters. So few films understand that there is a difference between seeing a movie and experiencing a movie. Moana is an experience. I found myself tearing up at the oddest moments, at moments that weren’t even sad, because I was just so wrapped up in the adventure and how it made me feel like anything was possible and that I got to be on this journey with these wonderful characters. Call me petty, but I am so damned glad that Moana was the one to take the crown away from Frozen in terms of opening weekend. Every bit of praise this film has gotten is more than well-earned. It’s practically demanded.


Storks: This one sort of slipped by a lot of people due to when it was released, but Storks was just the quirky kids’ film that I was looking for and I really enjoyed it. Even though I want to say they marketed it as the makers of the Lego Movie, this film smacks a lot of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, in terms of 70% of the jokes being Lampshade Hanging. It could really be argued that it’s more for teens and adults than it is for kids’, and I think the box office and its critical reception reflect that. It’s certainly not a bad thing, either. I was howling. It’s extremely creative, the performances are hilarious, and the humor is spot on. I told my parents to rent it one day so they can crack up at all the great parenting jokes. I consider it a hidden gem among the 2016 films and it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.


Zootopia: Before Moana blew my mind, Zootopia was the other Disney film that completely made me fall head-over-heels in love with it, and I still am to this day. The last time I’ve watched a Disney film this many times, it was Tangled all the way back in 2010. I love Zootopia so much that I own two versions of it: the DVD and the Amazon streaming digital video, though to be fair, I didn’t know Netflix would add it to their library this fall. Zootopia is life. It’s such a well told story with an amazing examination of all kinds of prejudice, from basic sexism to complicated accidental reinforced stereotypes to obvious bigotry. I haven’t seen an animated film handle these concepts this well since Cats Don’t Dance. It’s so relevant now considering what’s been going on the past several years and yet even without the strongly worded, mature message, it’s just an enjoyable film with delightful characters.


The Legend of Tarzan: Oh, quit gaping at me. This movie was also pretty much panned by most people, but no one really disliked it moreso than they were just indifferent to it. Of the movies on my list, this is definitely at the bottom, but regardless, I actually really enjoyed this movie. To be clear, I didn’t expect to. The trailers were pretty generic and I really adore Disney’s take on Tarzan, so I wasn’t really in the market for a new interpretation, but once I saw that it wasn’t Disney remaking itself like it’s been doing in recent years, I decided to give it a try. (And half naked Alexander Skarsgaard is hard to say no to.) I discovered a surprisingly thoughtful film that paid respect to both sides of the fence in terms of nature and man. It doesn’t browbeat and it doesn’t have the same white savior problem that a lot of films similar to it tend to have. I really loved the flashback scenes of Tarzan’s early life. They were gripping and deeply emotional, and the performances were excellent, as was the cinematography and the soundtrack. I would argue it’s worth a watch or a rental for that same reason. I do admit that Margot Robbie is extremely damsel-y and useless, and Christoph Waltz is completely wasted on this script, but everything else about the film was good.


Deadpool: This needs no explanation. It was perfection. You know and I know it. Boom.


Kubo and the Two Strings: Like Storks, Kubo was sort of a niche marketed film, really only made for those who are really passionate about animated fairytales. Well, I am one of those people. I adore Laika productions, and Kubo is no exception. It’s a masterfully told, utterly moving, impressively beautiful film. It’s mature, but it still is palatable for children and young adults. If nothing else, Kubo needs to be seen for how rich and vibrant and detailed its cinematography is, and considering everything is stop-motion, it demands to be appreciated. The only downside is that unfortunately, the cast is not as diverse as it should have been. Don’t get me wrong: the voices chosen totally fit the characters and each actor did one hell of a job, but I still find myself disappointed that a movie set in feudal Japan has so few Japanese actors in it. The biggest casualty is George Takei, who had about three lines as a minor character. What the hell, Hollywood. It’s friggin’ George Takei and you didn’t give him a main role? Shame on you! Despite that shortcoming, Kubo is phenomenal and should not be missed.

I’ve got two more films on the docket for 2016: Rogue One and Passengers, so stay tuned for a possible update to this list in a couple of weeks. Have a happy!