Category Archives: Bad Movies

Lowest Common Lit-ominator: Movie Novelizations

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I’ve never understood movie novelizations.

There’s some slight rationale when they’re aimed at children, since kids relish being told the same story over and over again. (Hence the Teletubbies forcing you to watch a forty-second clip of a boy playing basketball eight times in a row no matter how loudly you scream or how hard you punch the TV.) But adults seek novelty, generally speaking. Why would any self-respecting grown-up purchase a written description of a movie they’ve already seen?

The answer has less to do with closed-head injuries than you may expect. Setting aside the rabid fanboys who live only to spend their parents’ money on every single piece of 300 tie-in merchandise, functional human beings can derive some modicum of stimulation from licensed paperbacks because such novels are usually based on earlier versions of scripts. That means they contain scenes that were written out of subsequent drafts or left on the cutting room floor. Sometimes, this makes novelizations compelling.

More often, it makes them really shitty.

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I’ve spent the past several weeks reading not one, not two, but ten movie novelizations. Join me as I recount, in a two-part post, the quirks, caprices, delights, and assaults on human intellect contained in the tie-in novels for Star Wars, Home Alone, and many more.

This week: Back to the Future, Jumanji, The Cat in the Hat, Night at the Museum, and Suicide Squad. Continue reading

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Proud American: Film or Fever Dream?

Proud American, the movie

I am about to describe a movie that, to the best of my knowledge, no one but I, my husband, and a handful of film critics ever saw. This film has no online presence and received no DVD release. Its official website is long gone, though it does retain a Wikipedia article, which cites it as the lowest grossing film of all time.

Also, the trailer is still on YouTube.

When I sneaked into Proud American eight years ago as a joke, I had no idea my brain would one day become the primary record of its existence. At the time, I just wanted to have a giggle at the most naked, artless piece of propaganda to hit theaters since World War II. Produced by Hallmark and financed by Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, MasterCard, and American Airlines, Proud American is ostensibly five intertwining stories about Americans making good. In actuality, though, it’s a hyper-capitalist nightmare. If a corporate lobbyist and a Fox News commentator had a love child, and that love child had a wet dream, and the fluid products of that wet dream were pressed into celluloid and run through a film projector, this is what you would get.

Given the recent resurgence of nationalist feelings in the United States, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this lunacy. Keep in mind, however, that I saw it exactly once back in 2008 and am thus describing it from long-decayed memory. Keep in mind also that there are practically no screen shots online, so I’ve made some crappily Photoshopped approximations of what I think I saw all those summers ago. Continue reading