Outside of the In-Crowd – The Anonymity Awards
Something that has always fascinated me is the ability for film to just completely incense people.
Of course I do not pass judgment on this. If you’ve been reading for the past few weeks, you know that I’ve been pushed to Ferigno-ian levels of COURT SMASH! rage by certain chick-flick-rom-com-dumbasss-rhymey-term movies. But when you think about it, that’s really strange. I mean, I’m rarely overcome with anger towards a book. Sure, those Twilight and Gossip Girl books may be contributing to the dumbing down of America, but hey, at least people are reading. And I cannot stand that “I Kissed a Girl” song and something about Katy Perry makes me want to flick things at her face, but I don’t wish her ill by any means. But some movies cause me to wish for studio fires.
I’m not one of those people outraged by remakes, by the way. I just want to get that out there right now. And I know that as a film lover and former student, I’m supposed to be fatwahing on all the infidels who dare lay their Mystic Tanned Hollywood finger on Let The Right One In or Suspiria. But I am physically unable to care. I mean, someone remaking (or reimagining) a good movie doesn’t somehow eliminate the older one from existence. I just probably won’t watch that new version (and if box office numbers for most horror remakes tell us anything, neither is anyone else).
(It should be noted that I am super stoked for the Let The Right One In remake because where goeth Drew Goddard, there goeth I.)
By the same token, something about film inspires pure, almost unconditional love. And I’m no stranger to this either, as evidenced by my whimpering defenses of Jersey Girl, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you talk smack about my dear sweet Kevin Smith. People love film like nothing else. I mean, no one has Grammy parties. Oscar parties, on the other hand, those are fun for everyone involved. And with last night’s Oscar telecast, it’s got me thinking; films can be loved more than a child and hated more than Hitler. But what about those movies we completely forget ever existed, even immediately following their release?
It’s such a strange phenomenon, but it’s the case more often than not. I had to be reminded that movies like Max Payne and that Dennis Quaid football movie ever even came out. I remember ads for them, I remember promotion on late night talk shows, but I do not remember an actual film ever happening.
People spent months, perhaps years, writing and planning and creating the props and effects and editing and doing sound design and craft servicing and for what? So that I have to be reminded that the fruit of their labors ever existed? Dude, that Dennis Quaid football movie was shot next door to my apartment and prevented me from getting home on time for an entire week. That movie was a big pain in my ass for a few hours, and yet I can’t even remember its actual name or plotline.
So I say we celebrate these movies. Forgettable movies that maybe flopped or just broke even (hell, even making money doesn’t ensure that the memory will last – I didn’t notice that Madagascar 2 came out and apparently it was the seventh highest grossing film of the year) deserve just as much attention as the accolades that the Oscars bestow or the emotional beatings of the Razzies.
I offer you this list of seventeen movies that you no doubt forgot ever got themselves a poster on the wall of your local cineplex, complete with reminders of the tiny bit of plot I can recall from the TV spots.
Untraceable, starring Diane Lane
This is the movie where Diane Lane’s GPS threatens to kill her and her brakes are removed and people are going to watch it online. I think. Sort of.
Over Her Dead Body, starring Paul Rudd and Eva Longoria
This is the movie in which Eva Longoria is dead and harasses that chick that looks kind of like a linebacker. Also, this is the movie that made me wonder just what dirt the director has on Paul Rudd, because there’s no way he took this movie willingly.
The Eye, starring Jessica Alba
This is the movie that I swear to Jesus never actually came out. I remember the picture of Jessica Alba being blind and screaming into her oven, but nothing else.
Fool’s Gold, starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey
This is the movie that restored my faith in womanity, because no one went and saw this shitshow.
Penelope, starring Christina Ricci
This is the Christina Ricci pignose movie.
Nim’s Island, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin
This is the movie where Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin do something apparently. I saw this movie and I still don’t remember it. In fairness, I saw it on a plane and I was listening to my iPod, not the movie, but what I saw was goofy and confusing. It was like the whole movie was childproofed and I couldn’t get it open.
88 Minutes, starring Al Pacino
This is the movie where Al Pacino has 88 minutes before they kill his wife and frame him or something but probably not. I forgot about this one and I actually really wanted to see it because Ben “Ryan Atwood” McKenzie was in it, so that’s pretty much all I got out of the trailer.
Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?, a doc by Morgan Spurlock
This is the movie where Spurlock obviously didn’t find Osama Bin Laden.
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2, starring America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Rory Gilmore and Serena Van Der Wootsen
This is the movie with the pants and the sisterhood. I’m not going to knock it though because I simply have to salute movies about female friendship what with that Bride War bullshit existing. I’m sure it’s no Steel Magnolias (unless Ugly Betty dies at the end, which would totally be a curveball) but cheers to it nonetheless.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johannsson
I stand alone on this, but I keep forgetting about this movie. Completely. Even now with Penny nominated for the Oscar, I literally cannot keep this film in my brain. Worst Woody Allen fan ever, but frankly all of his movies since Mighty Aphrodite have been like that for me. I think the Soon Yi thing was so traumatizing that I am unable to create new Woody Allen memories.
Surfer Dude, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson
This is the movie … wait, what? This movie actually never came out right? Zero recollection. At least with all the others I have some minor idea. This one actually stumps me.
The Women, starring Meg Ryan, Debra Messing, and Annette Benning
This is the movie with the ridiculously awesome cast that would have been an enormous hit before Meg boned Russell Crowe and fucked her face up so hard.
My Best Friend’s Girl, starring Dane Cook, Kate Hudson and Jason Biggs
This is the movie that all of us, including poor sweet Jason Biggs, are better off forgetting even more than we already have.
Blindness, starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo
This is the movie where everyone goes blind except Julianne Moore. This is also a movie that looked good, but you can sometimes never figure out exactly what constitutes a good movie apparently.
The Express, starring Dennis Quaid
THAT’S WHAT THAT FOOTBALL MOVIE WAS CALLED! Jesus Christ, that was going to drive me insane.
Soul Men, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes
This is the movie that still would have flopped even if two thirds of the cast hadn’t died really recently prior to its release, but it kind of bums me out that they did and it still flopped.
Cadillac Records, starring Adrian Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def and Beyonce
This is the movie that starred people I really like (and Beyonce) and all anyone knows about it is that Beyonce played Etta James and sang “At Last.”
Consider this your celebration, movies that just elicited an “oh yeahhhhh” out of everyone reading this (except you, Surfer Dude – seriously, does anyone remember this movie?!).
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at email@example.com.
I told you once that I doubted the Tribune would beat your door down to be a contributing movie critic, but I think you may have a chance if National Lampoon ever calls. Those were some very brief, very funny digs at some truly obscure movies. I must admit that while I only see a fraction of the movies that you do, I did actually see two of those. No way in Hell that I’ll ever tell you which two. Funny stuff that started the day off with a few hearty laughs and I thank you for that.
Courtney……are you surprised that the Dane Cook movie tanked? I know how much you love the Cookster (I actually sshare your distain for that hack).
honestly, I don’t remember that at least half of those movies were even released. Very good story.
Your columns affirm that critical thinkers do write on the web. Nice job, again.
Fool’s Gold was on TV the other day, and I actually watched some of it, Donald Sutherland had some crazy accent. And what ever happened to Max Payne? Didn’t we want to go see it? I could be wrong
Just discovered your blog – Fantastic! It’s always nice to find great writing and someone who shares my opinions on movies 😉 Especially Kevin Smith and the awfulness of chick flicks!
The whole time I was reading this column I was trying to remember what that Dennis Quaid football movie was called. Then I saw the title, and it still isn’t ringing a bell. Wait, is that the one about the first black player to win the Heisman? Inspirational football movies are starting to run together in my head.
And I too have never heard of “Surfer Dude.”
I work at a theatre where we got the vast majority of those movies. Forgetting is a valuable defense mechanism in times of stress.
Except for Untraceable; that may require actual long-term therapy (don’t you Chicagoans all have an analyst on call?).