I’ve walked out of only two movies in my life: Roman Polanski’s Macbeth and You’ve Got Mail. (I’ll just let that sink in for a minute.) Anyway, it’s not that I’ve endured that many bad movies; it’s just that, over the years, I’ve learned how to pick ’em. So before you make the popcorn, settle into your ass groove on the sofa and let iTunes scam you for another $4.99, here are seven ways (plus one) to tell if a movie is going to be crap.
DISCLAIMER: These are only guidelines. They work most of the time, but there are some exceptions.
The 4th Movie In A Franchise — By the time the studios get to #4, the stories are lame, the actors are tired, the directors are bored (if they’re even still there) and the FX is gratuitous and over the top. These are name recognition cash grabs; stay away from them! There are two notable exceptions: Star Trek: The Journey Home and Thunderball. (FYI, Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t count. It had a different cast.)
Movies Made From 60s/70s/80s TV Programs — Movie producers know Baby Boomers (and their adult children) have money, and they desperately want to get their mitts on it. So, they tap into the nostalgia of an aging population who think they’re still cool. They trot out a familiar name, rework the original story (with all the catch phrases) and hire some actors with little or no self respect. These movies are unadulterated trash, but the studios don’t care ’cause they’re guaranteed a couple of million profit on name recognition alone. (FYI, Star Trek doesn’t count. It had the same cast.)
Movies Made From Video Games — This is just a dumbass idea. The potential audience for these movies are gamers who — wait for it! — PLAY video games. They don’t watch video games play themselves. D’uh! The rest of us, non-gamers, have heard of the title, but we have no idea what’s going on, who the Lizard People are, what everybody’s fighting about and why all the nuns have machine guns.
Classic Remakes — There ought to be a law against taking wonderful old movies and ruining them with CGI.
Old Men — If a movie features an old megastar trying to be funny, chances are good he won’t be. What you’re going to get is Viagra jokes, some boobs, at least one reference to substance abuse and a weirdo relationship that’s a cross between necro- and pedo- philia. NEWS FLASH — Hot 20-something chicks don’t normally go for old men. Trust me! I know what I’m talking about.
Too Many Old Men — If the average age of your ensemble cast is over 70, this is a bad movie. I don’t care if the old buggers want to rob a bank, go on a road trip, look for their lost youth, skydive, hunt for treasure, find the girl of their dreams, take down an evil dictator, save the world, go to space …. God, just shoot me in the head! Doesn’t anybody in Hollywood retire anymore?
Bad Actors — Some actors make bad movies — all the time. For example, Ashton Kutcher has never made a good movie. (He hasn’t even come close.) Then there’s Kevin James, Megan Fox, Tyler Perry, Jai Courtney, Jessica Alba, etc., etc., etc. I’m sure there’s a list of these losers somewhere. Anyway, when you see any one of this worthless crew in a movie, save your money and go do a crossword puzzle.
Adam Sandler, Nicholas Cage and Johnny Depp — Adam Sandler movies are so bad they’re actually in a class of their own. Cage had his moments — ten years ago. And I have no idea what the hell happened to Johnny Depp.