South Park Self

in praise of really stupid movies

We seem to have invented a Sunday Morning Popcorn-Movie club: the combination (early show so empty cinemas, choice of really bad movie with full knowledge of such and the manic intention of enjoying it anyway) worked really well for Apprenticed To Nic Cage's Hair last week, so we tried it with The A-Team this morning. Hee. As in, giddy giggling, because explosions and escapes and wisecracks and absolutely no brain, oh my.

I have to say upfront that the A-Team never formed part of my patchy and intermittent TV-watching in the 80s. I suspect my mother may have banned it, on the grounds of its extreme, if comic-book, violence. I don't think this matters at all: everyone else has seen it, and its set-up, characters and catch-phrases are inscribed on popular culture in letters of fire. I have no idea if this was a faithful rendition of the atmosphere of the original, but it sure as hell felt like a cheesy 80s show brought blinking into the light of the new millennium and given a really big budget to play with.

Random observations, in no particular order:
  • Physics? Of course physics is optional. Even movie physics is for boring people. We will thus fly helicopters upside-down indefinitely, fall great heights without injury, and do that thing with the tank that should have killed us all instantly. Enormous merriment will result from the Popcorn Club in the middle row of the theatre, who seems to have adopted a policy of acting drunk for the purposes of these movies even in the absence of alcohol. This is the secret of our success.
  • This movie had a far, far better cast than it deserved. Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Sharlto Copley are all very well cast, and clearly suspend all pretense at serious acting in order to enjoy the hell out of the raucous unreality of this film. They have good chemistry, they inhabit their characters well, they're bloody good fun to watch.
  • I really, really enjoyed Patrick Wilson's CIA agent, played just off-beat enough to be extremely entertaining. I never remember the actor's name, but he impressed me no end as Nite Owl in Watchmen, and was also a rather dreamy Raoul in Phantom of the Opera. Given that these three roles are overlapping on the Venn diagram only in the bit which says "Patrick Wilson" as opposed to any actual shared characteristics, I darkly suspect he may also be a good actor.
  • I decline to talk about the script and plot, on the grounds that I don't care. There was a script, it was pretty terrible, the plot was full of events and double-crosses and what have you, and after a while I stopped feeling obliged to follow it and simply enjoyed the mad action set-pieces. And the evil-minded German granny.
  • I am made ridiculously happy by watching any action hero fly things, drive things, crash things, fall out of things, rappel down things, shoot things, explode things, heist things, chase things, con things or make things out of other gadgety things and do creative things with them, as long as they do it with sufficient commitment and flair. Which they do. Gritty realism, so overrated.
  • This movie is watchable solely because it utterly fails to take itself seriously. It's brainless, explodey, actioney, warm-hearted, smart-arsey and proud of it. It's enjoyable if you allow it to simply be what it is.
I'll turn my notional academic dignity in at the door now, if you like. Without shame.
  • Current Mood: amused boom!
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My favourite bit was the container ship falling over, for all those times you've wondering what giants playing with containers like lego sounds like. A most impressive special effect that was worth the price of the movie for me.
It was a fairly epic incident, indeed, and fitted well into the movie's ethos of "when the last action sequence has gone as far as you possibly can with absurd excess, crank it up". I found myself wondering, though, who was shipping all the containers coincidentally packed with high explosive. Household contents, consumer goods and legions of Chinese plastic gadgets don't explode on impact. Usually.