30-Day Film Challenge: Least Favorite Film

Day 2
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Saving Private Ryan (1998) by El Bicho

Set during WWII, three Ryan brothers have died within days of each other. The higher-ups don't want this family to suffer any more so they order Capt. Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men behind enemy lines in France to find Private James Frances Ryan (Matt Damon) so he can return home.

Aside from the technically stellar sequence of the landing at Omaha Beach and a couple of compelling characters, Saving Private Ryan falls short in a number of areas that almost cause me to dislike the film more than I like it. Tom Hanks' Captain John Miller and Jeremy Davies' Technician Fifth Grade Timothy Upham are the most intrguing characters because they came across as authentic people and had the most interesting stories. Unfortunately, they are joined by wisecracking New Yorker, Private First Class Richard Reiben (Edward Burns), and crack-shot Texan, Private Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper), cliched characters seen in every war movie.  Spielberg's direction is questionable at times, from needless camera moves to undercutting the climax by having the most intense scene start the film.

The absolute worst element of Saving Private Ryan is the emotionally contrived ending. Screenwriter Richard Rodat goes for a big twist and tugs at the heart strings, a common tactic of Spielberg. While the viewer is caught off guard, the plot twist undercuts the weight of the story. The character in this scene would have no way of knowing all that occurred, yet his intense emotions reflect that he does. Also, for the scene to work, the dialogue needed to be memorable, and it's not.

Saving Private Ryan has a lot going for it. It's too bad it falls short so often.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) by Dusty Somers

I've certainly seen worse films than the second Transformers, but there's not a single one I wouldn't watch before getting around to Michael Bay's opus again. It took every ounce of professional commitment to keep me in my seat at the press screening I attended a few weeks before the film opened in 2009. The only thing that kept the experience slightly bearable were the howls of derisive laughter every 30 seconds from two guys sitting behind me, which probably would've been extremely irritating at any other time, but felt totally appropriate here.

The Hangover (2009) by Amanda Salazar

There really aren't that many films that I don't like but I simply could not get behind the hype or find any real enjoyment in the film The Hangover - and being that this film is so timely right now this will have to be my choice for my least favorite film.

So for those of you that have not heard the story, four friends take a road trip out to Vegas for a bachelor party and they end up losing the groom, not remembering a thing. Using different clues the friends have to work backwards through a series of strange encounters and events to find their friend and get him to his wedding. The film is set up perfectly, opening with the problem and working itself back through time and then it starts losing steam real fast.  Now I consider myself a huge fan of comedies, but The Hangover relies on low-brow humor, inconsistent gags, and ramblings of Zach Galifianakis (the only good thing about the film) for laughs.

In good comedies you can laugh at your characters as they make fun of themselves and their actions so outrageous that it becomes hilarious - take Billy Madison for example or even scenes from Superbad when the characters put themselves in awkward situations that they have to get out of. The Hangover removes itself from these scenarios, being that it is after the fact and plays up stereotypes, babies jacking off, used condoms, date rape, and drunk-driving jokes for laughs. Ultimately, a good comedy should lead to sympathy for the characters, but never do you feel a sense of camaraderie or brotherhood in The Hangover so you can't really care for the characters and therefore no real satisfaction. Every time that I tell people that I didn't like this movie I get some sort of negative reaction so thinking that I had missed something I even re-watched the film for this posting. Upon viewing it again it is just as crass, obnoxious and dry as the first time and like a bad hangover, something that I never want to revisit.

Quadrophenia (1979) by Shawn Bourdo

I like the title of this day - it's not the worst film or even a film that you hate. It's like someone asked me - "Of all the movies that are your favorites - which one is the lowest of those favorites?". So I searched my brain for the list of movie that border between "like it" and "indifference". I came up with this beautiful mess of a movie. I could recommend it for the superb soundtrack by The Who. But the music often seems to have nothing to do with what's happening in the film. And yet there's a real coolness about the Mods versus the Rockers and all the great scooters and motorcycles. Yet, the acting is dreadful and the story has a great allegorical set up that it can never seem to deliver on. Maybe this should have been called the most frustrating movie. The film lives on because of the great score and that's enough to make it my Least Favorite Film.

What's yours?

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