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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: When was the last time you went to a summer blockbuster film even with the full knowledge said movie was going to suck?

Today’s question comes from reader Paul:

This came up between me and my friends waiting to watch The Last Airbender. This was late last night and a lot of the reviews and online complaints were in, so we knew it was going to be a pretty bad film. But it got us thinking: “When was the last time we went to a summer blockbuster film even with the full knowledge said movie was going to suck?”

Transformers 2 – word about how godawful it was had leaked too early for us – came up too quickly, so we made a disqualifier for that. I went back as far as the Americanized Godzilla film in 1998.

So: When was the last time you went to a summer blockbuster film even with the full knowledge said movie was going to suck?
If you’re actively looking to go see a bad movie that will entertain you with its awfulness — particularly if you’re in a position to riff on it with your friends without annoying fellow moviegoers (which I do not condone, of course; hey, some people still enjoy M. Night Shyamalan movies and want to hear his stilted dialogue!) then I cannot disrecommend (antirecommend?) The Last Airbender highly (lowly?) enough. Among other current North American releases, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is simply dreadful, in a way that invites lots of amusing ragging.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • …am I gonna have to spell my name out?

    There’s a Paul who posts, and there’s me PaulW who posts. Sigh. Next time I send a QOTD suggestion I’m using a nametag and Masonic handshake.

  • Magess

    Actually, fairly recently. Prince of Persia was the last blockbuster I went to see knowing that it had gotten pretty poor reviews all around. They were poor, though not hellishly awful, though. I mean, I expected uninspired filmmaking, not out and out travesty. But yeah, that was the last thing I saw where I didn’t allow all the negative reviews to keep me from trying it.

    I was convinced not to see Robin Hood, Jonah Hex, and Airbender, though.

  • surreyhill

    Probably for me and my movie-watching girlfriend (I only drag the hubby to movies I expect him to enjoy) it was Van Helsing. We had already been told by a cast member it was going to suck, but we went anyway, lured by the prospect of shirtless Hugh Jackman and because I’m a David Wenham fan since Sea Change.

    And then Jackman spent most of the flick wearing a HUGE duster and an ugly hat, and poor David Wenham had to scuttle around under a monk’s habit bent over like Smeagle.

    It was extremely disappointing.

    I’m glad that bad reviews kept me away from Robin Hood and Airbender. The last M.Night film I saw was Lady in the Water. The Devil trailer looks interesting….but I’m not biting again until I read some reviews.

  • iakobos

    This technically doesn’t count, because it was released in the Winter, but I saw the last Aliens Vs Predators at the theater. I only went because my teenage brother wanted to see it and even he was disappointed. I think the last Summer release I knew would stink was Fantastic Four 2. The only good part of the movie was when the gatekeepers wouldn’t allow Stan Lee into Read and Sue’s wedding.

  • Lisa

    Indiana Jones but it’s Indy y’know?

    I’ve been bitten too many times. What’s the Devil trailer?

  • Overflight

    I feel bad for posting this since not only is this a movie that came out in the Winter, but it’s a movie that MaryAnn liked: my friend called saying he had free tickets to see X-Files: I Want To Believe. I had heard VERY bad stuff about it, but I went to see it anyway out of morbid curiosity. Though my friend liked it I absolutely HATED IT. For me it was definitely the worst movie of that year. The story was terrible and pointless, there was very little action of any kind (most of the movie is people walking around in the snow), and the dialog was incredibly repetitive (most conversations between Scully and Mulder went along the lines of “I can’t do this anymore!” “Don’t give up!” “I can’t fight monsters anymore!”). At least I can’t say I didn’t get what I paid for.

  • Overflight

    No wait, it DID come out in the Summer here. Oops.

  • nyjm

    Never. I don’t spend money on a movie that I even think will suck. I don’t want to encourage the production of crap. If a flick is borderline – or so bad that it MUST be MST3K’d – then that’s what DVDs are for.

    Full disclosure – I did go to the first Transformers. But (perhaps foolishly) I didn’t think it was going to suck: I was going for cool transforming robots and explosions on a big screen with several geeky friends. As a movie, it was thoroughly mediocre. As an afternoon out, it was quite fun.

  • RyanT

    Does MacGruber count as a summer blockbuster film? If so, then that was the last time. I saw it because a friend of mine really really wanted to go and it was her birthday and her wishes were granted that day.

    Really, most summer blockbusters that suck, I usually see if a friend (or group of friends) really want to see it. In my head I’m not spending money on the money, I’m spending money to hang out with my friends, which sound odd in a way. But it’s a push and pull. I “force” them to see things like The Reader or The Hurt Locker or Slumdog Millionaire. Granted they usually thank me for dragging them, I rarely do that with their movies. Heh.

  • Once I was feeling down, so a friend got me very, very drunk, then said “Hey, it’s gonna be dumb, but let’s see G.I. JOE!” to which I agreed. In my condition, I would have agreed to light my own hair on fire. At first, I thought I was going to be able to MST3K my way through G.I. JOE and have fun, but 20 minutes in, I gave up and spent the rest of the movie cringing.

  • Becky

    Add another one to the G.I. Joe pile. Would it be bad for me to say that I *actually* quite enjoyed it?

    Christopher Eccleston looking utterly gazeworthy in a suit and with an accent that he must have nicked from John Barrowman (CE had a Glaswegian burr, just like Barrowman does when he’s not speaking with an American accent) was the main reason. As was Ray Park in a very tight shirt. Shallow? yup!

    If you want one that I *knew* would suck and did (like a hoover!) The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emporer (sp!) As much as lovelovelove Michelle Yeoh, not even she could save this drek!

  • JoshDM

    My wife is attending Sex in the City 2 with my cousin-in-law right as I type this.

  • CB

    I’ve never gone to see a movie at the theater, blockbuster or otherwise, that I was fully convinced was going to suck.

    I’ve gone to movies for which I wasn’t sure it would suck, but had very low expectations, and had them met (Day the Earth Stood Still), or vastly exceeded (Transformers). I’ve gone to movies that I did not think would suck, but they did (Alien Resurrection).

    But I don’t pay theater prices for movies I’m sure will suck. I enjoy watching the occasional crappy movie, but only if I’m paying little or nothing to see it, and I’m sitting on a comfy couch with beer in hand.

    Well okay, I take that back. I knew damn well that Twilight was going to suck in a very non-vampirish way, but I went anyway. But that was for love, and we all know love makes you do stupid things.

  • Drave

    Sometimes I will see a movie I expect to be terrible just out of curiosity. I try to wait a few weeks, though, so my curiosity doesn’t go toward the most important box office tallies.

  • bats :[

    Maybe the Twilight films, but only because we were so delightfully horrified by the books. Then again, for the first, we waited until it hit the dollar dive, and for the second, we got in at a really el-cheapo senior matinee in Las Vegas. (For the third? Waiting for the dollar dive again)

    Definitely for “Underworld: Evolution” — I only went to see Derek Jacobi, and when he cashed in his chips, I lost interest. Kate Beckinsale needs to kill her agent. A lot.

  • Brian

    I feared that Indy IV would suck, but I wasn’t sure of it until about halfway through. The last one I went to with full confidence of sucking was Revenge of the Sith.

    The moral? Lucas and Spielberg can get me to watch any old thing.

    (Truth be told, I fully expected Pirates of the Carribean to suck, so I have been pleasantly surprised before.)

  • PJK

    Battlefield Earth.

    I didn’t pay for it, me and my friends just bought tickets to a different movie and just sat down in the BE theater (there was, not surprising, plenty of room).

    Boy, did it suck!

  • t6

    A-Team and Avatar (the James Cameron one, not the Air Bender one).

    A-Team because a buddy of mine wanted to see it and I’d been ducking movie dates with him for a while.

    Avatar because as a cultural critic I figured I really should see it. It was everything I thought it would be (not in a good way), and the music was worse than I could have imagined.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    I usually don’t go into movies I expect to suck, although I’ve certainly gone to movies where I didn’t expect much out of them; like Indy 4 and the first Bay Transformers.

    The last movie I went to with the expectation that it would suck was Battlefield Earth, accompanied by some sarcastic friends and a big ol’ platter of hot-wings we smuggled in.

  • CB

    No way was I going to endorse the Church O Elron and their shitty shitty movie by buying a ticket.

    But much later, a friend of mine whose opinion I respected extremely highly and had introduced me to tons of awesome things convinced me to watch it on DVD. She said it was an amazing movie, like her favorite ever, and all the haters were idiots, and so I sat down to watch it with an open mind.

    Oh my god, so fucking awful. The worst part was that while I was fine with her knowing I wasn’t as impressed as she was, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by laughing out loud at all the stupidity on screen. So what little enjoyment I could have gotten out of the movie was voluntarily suppressed. T_T

  • markyd

    I see so few movies in the theater that I only go to ones pretty much guaranteed to be great. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to the theater knowing what I was about to see was going to suck.
    I’m willing to watch almost anything at home, and do. I’ve watched countless bad horror movies that I knew were going to suck, but didn’t care. The wife and I love our horror movies.

  • Boingo

    I went in to see “The Cave” thinking maybe it’s only
    50-60% on the suck-o-meter.Hot day-needed the air condish. After the first 5 min. Whoa boy-red flags
    went up. File under: “Didn’t wait till the end, left
    to see a repeat viewing next door-any repeat viewing
    would do.”

  • I generally don’t pay attention to reviews as 9 times out of 10. I’ll like the movie even if others don’t. Hitchhikers Guide got bad reviews but i own the DVD and like to watch it to this day. If I see something I think I may like I’ll go see it.

    I did see G.I. Joe though as I grew up with the cartoon and had a lot of the toys. It wasn’t great but it brought back a lot of memories.

  • Jurgan

    I went to see Airbender because I’m a fan of the show and I wanted to give it a fair chance. I tried to avoid hearing about it, but your red light and a few choice Ebert quotes slipped through my filter. So I expected it to suck, but I wanted to decide for myself anyway. Other than that, I rarely get a chance to see movies anymore, so I’m not going to waste an opportunity. I might, though, if a group of friends are all going- we saw Max Payne for a friend’s birthday. I was enjoying it on an MST level until my brother told me the riffing was annoying him (I was quiet enough that I don’t think anyone else heard). I honestly thought that’s why we went. Sigh… can’t win, I suppose.

  • Mel

    SATC2. Housemate wanted me to go.

    I kinda like going to movies that i have hideously low expectations for because i can usually come away thinking ‘well, i thought it was going to be *much* worse’ which, for me, is a better feeling than coming away let down, as the Harry Potter movies make me feel every. single. time.

  • nyjm

    It’s interesting to see how many of us go to the movies for things other than… the movies.

  • It’s tempting to cite the last movie in the second Star Wars trilogy–what was its name again?–but I have distinct memories of buying tickets to see The Proposal and All About Steve despite less-than-glowing reviews from our dear hostess. I probably would have seen more summer movies last year but a surprise change in my employment status last August interfered with that.

  • Sean Stangland

    I do this so often it’s depressing. I often can’t reconcile what I like about a film’s actors, premise or trailer with the critical response to said film.

    I thought “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” had a great trailer, and I like Nicolas Cage, so I went. It probably wasn’t worth seeing in the theater, but it wasn’t terrible. (“Prince of Persia,” on the other hand…)

    And I already know I’m going to pay to see a terrible movie next summer — I just have to see what Michael Bay does to my beloved Chicago in “Transformers 3.”

    As for “G.I. Joe,” I really wish I had seen it in the theater. I absolutely loved that movie. It was big dumb fun of the highest order. I imagine it would have been my favorite movie ever if I saw it when I was 6.

  • Bill

    Hmmmm…not sure when the last time was (maybe Waterworld…5 times – that boat completes me), but the next time will likely be the “He-Man” movie, the “Voltron” movie, or the “Thundercats” movie, whichever gets made first. By the power of Greyskull, the fates just don’t dig me enough to let these movies be any good at all. But there i’ll go, like a moth to the glow of a saturday morning cartoon…

  • Jolly

    Chronicles of Riddick, which, frankly, was no more trashy then Abram’s Star Trek. Apparently the standards of movie critics have fallen since 2004.

  • Lisa

    I didn’t go and see it in the cinema but I kinda liked Chronicles of Riddick!

  • TommyB

    When ‘Star Trek – Genesis’ came out, a friend of mine wanted to see it.
    I wanted to skip it, because I knew I wouldn’t like it.
    Well, I joined him anyway and while leaving the movie theater, I looked in his face and saw that he was just as pissed as me.

    When ‘Indy and the Crystal Meth’ (I forgot the title) came out, I was pretty sure I would be disappointed.
    And I was, despite my lowered expectations.
    But, hey, it’s Indy!

  • allochthon

    Clash of the Titans
    Liam Neeson* in shiny gold armor? Count me in! But then I had to spork out my eyes. You win some…

    (Truth be told, I fully expected Pirates of the Carribean to suck, so I have been pleasantly surprised before.)

    Yes, this. It’s sad that this happens so rarely…

    * speaking of the female gaze…

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