Sunday, March 13, 2011

Matthew Henderson's Top 5 Sunday Morning Movies

Besides loving his ritual of the Sunday Morning Movie,
Matthew Henderson loves the occasional ritual
of something he calls The Burger Club.
This involves him eating hamburgers.
Security cameras picked up evidence
of him awaiting a burger which contained
grilled onions, jalapenos, BBQ sauce and lettuce.
(THE FUTURIST!'s stomach would find those club dues rather taxing)

Mr. Matthew Henderson, THE FUTURIST!'s domestic correspondent in the Washington, D.C. area, is the current guest star of the semi-occurring Top 5 List feature. Referring to Matthew as a domestic correspondent does not mean that he does housework for a Rent-a-Maid service ... no ... it refers to his being situated here in America ... though, he has spent a lot of time in Scotland, apparently, and seems to have left his sad heart there much like Tony Bennett's beating organ is in San Francisco. THE FUTURIST! "knows" Matthew in a distant sense, but feels quite an affinity for him in regard to his movie interests, his taste in finely written television programs, his sense of humor and his sad heart. Matthew has told THE FUTURIST! of an interesting ritual he has performed for years on end involving film. THE FUTURIST! loves rituals. He feels they keep us sane. He does not mean counting to 20 after locking your front door or always needing to put your right sock on before your left ... though that may keep some poor souls sane. THE FUTURIST! means the kind of rituals that don't involve possible psychiatric treatment. For instance, weekly dinner with a loved one, meeting a friend on Tuesday afternoons for a drink or something like THE FUTURIST!'s weekly ritual of a short, cartoon, movie serial chapter and a main feature in his Thimble Theater. Matthew does something similar ... THE FUTURIST! will let him explain in his OWN words in his introduction:


The Sunday Morning Movie started in 2001, with the general idea being to roll out of bed, hop in the car, put on The Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning" and drive to the video store to rent the biggest release of the week that I had absolutely no interest in seeing. This served three purposes, the first of which was to catch up on the cultural touchstones or at least what Hollywood wanted to be the cultural touchstones. The second was to ensure that I never became too stuck into arthouse, high-minded, or critically lauded films. Thirdly, it allowed me to justify to myself and my friends watching the mediocre rom-coms I loved (and love) so much. Most of the films I've watched are pretty bad, though some less-so and occasionally they venture into "decent" territory, so proper stand-out gems are hard to consider. Instead of that, here are five notable Sunday Morning Movies.

1.) Zoolander (2001)

This was screened within a month or two of starting the practice. It had flopped at the box office and seemed as though it would be relegated to a footnote in the history of bad Hollywood comedies, but lo and behold, it was not only amusing, it was actually funny. It's surrealist, off-the-wall humour would become more widespread in the coming decade, but it was a genuine surprise at the time. It gave a misplaced sense of justification for the Sunday Morning Movie for a long while.

2.) The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

I am not one to rush out to the theatre to see a horror film generally, and certainly wasn't interested at all in The Great Remake Run of the 00s. That said, one of the most pleasant surprises of the Sunday Morning Movie was to discover how generally watchable these bog-standard horror films are. My heart might sink when I put in the Lizzie McGuire Movie or A Man Apart, but I soon realised that I was actually looking forward to the horror entries. They rarely outstayed their welcome, they were usually self-aware to some degree, and they often included little moments of genuine cleverness or good filmmaking here and there. I chose this one to represent the whole because what really should have been one of the worst (they were really scraping the barrel for things to remake by this point) turned out to be pretty enjoyable. About two-thirds of the way through the horror genre is all but abandoned in favour of a remake of Straw Dogs, cracked glasses and all. The sequel should be avoided though.

3.) Gigli (2003)

Most of the bad movies were just uninspired and dreadfully dull genre retreads, but Gigli was something special. Virtually everything in this film is not only bad, but actively so. So many decisions were so wrong-headed it still boggles my mind to this day that nobody anywhere near this production thought to step in to say, "you know, there doesn't seem to be any good reason for Jennifer Lopez to be a lesbian", or "that bull speech really doesn't make any sense at all." Just when you can't imagine it could possibly get any worse, that ending comes along with the mentally challenged boy and the swimsuit models. Truly awe-inspiring.

4.) Basic (2003)

I was never bored during Basic, which in some ways should put it in the top 30th percentile of Sunday Morning Movies, but you can't look past that ending. People are (rightly) down on M. Night Shyamalan and his preposterous twist endings, but they've got absolutely nothing on this one. As soon as it ended, I had to restrain my friend from throwing the DVD across the room, so he settled for throwing a chair.

5.) Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004)

The little seen and even less remembered Brit-com Sex Lives of the Potato Men must hold the honour for absolute worst film the Sunday Morning Movie has ever screened. Not only is it stupid and painfully (PAINFULLY) unfunny, it is so disgusting that my friend threw up watching it. Twice.

Thank you, Matthew.
THE FUTURIST! wishes you well.


Darragh said...

You watched Sex Lives of Potato Men? I am sorry.

Interesting list, though!



THE FUTURIST! loves guest star Top 5 Lists! Even if it features a really bad movie.