Robert Bork, Michael Dolan and me

When Judge Robert Bork was up for confirmation before the Senate for a seat on the Supreme Court, an enterprising reporter by  the name of Michael Dolan convinced the local rental place to give him a copy of the movies Bork had rented.  That bit of reportage became legendary in the annals of judicial confirmation sleaze.  It was also pretty funny.

Anyway, as I write this, I am thinking of Judge Bork and Mr.  Dolan.  Last night, I watched Battle Earth.  (“A squad of Canadian soldiers survive a helicopter crash deep behind enemy lines during an alien invasion of Earth, now they have to survive the night.”)

This is a film about the invasion of earth where the “squid” threaten to take over the world, most particularly Canada.  In my pantheon of worst movies ever, this one has risen to the top.  It has it all.  Canada defending the world.  Cinematography by Handicam.  Special effects that are not special like really bad fake helicopters.  Monsters suits that don’t fit.  And, the best cinematic device of all is the head-brain of all the squid, captured by our intrepid Canadian fighting men and lugged around in a tackle box.  I am absolutely certain that the brain was an American football covered in Saran wrap.

One critic put it perfectly, “this is barely filmmaking.”  So, if some summer evening you are worrying about the end of the earth, and desperately need to feel secure, rent and watch Battle Earth.  O Canada!

By the way, I am very interested in hearing from readers about their nominations for the worst currently rentable movie.   There may be a prize, perhaps your very own DVD of Battle Earth.


PS.  I’d sooner give out my DSM-IV diagnosis (yes, I know there is a DSM-V, but I am a conservative) than I would release a list of movies that I have rented.  You can see why.

5 responses

  1. I can assure you from the august heights of my 40-yr-old MS in Experimental Psychology (still brand new in-the-box unused) that the DSM-V is a puddle of sewage and sets the business back every one of those 40 years.

    My candidate for the worst movie is Princess of Mars. This John Carter of Mars (Edgar Rice Burroughs, for the peasants) wannabe fails utterly to capture the story, and Traci Lords is way past her prime and so…suboptimal…as the wondrous Dejah Thoris, a woman on whom I’ve had a deep and abiding crush since my early adolescence.

    Eric Hines

  2. Dear Mr. Hines,

    Truly, a worthy nomination. Any sci-fi movie with an aging born star as the heroine is surely in the running for the most awful.

    Here is a snippet from one critic:

    Filmed over 12 days (!) the movie stars ex-porn star Traci Lords as the titular princess of Mars and Antonio Sabato, Jr. as John Carter. The acting is rotten and at 42 Lords is way past her sell-by date as a believable Martian princess in need of rescue. (She instead reminds one of an embarrassing aunt who still wears the same trashy outfits she did as a teen.) The special effects and makeup are rubbish (no-one even bothered hiding the fact that the actors are wearing cheap rubber masks) . . . .

    All the best.


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  4. These nominations are from my 16-year old daughter, who has a deep appreciation for bad movies–

    “Lockout: a movie about criminals in space that defies all logic known about space. my personal favorite. featuring stereotypical characters and cheesy one liners.

    Pom Poko: like a 4 hour anime movie about raccoons doing it

    Ghost Rider: starring teen heartthrob nick cage, a movie about ghosts maybe? we just don’t know. I’ve seen that movie like 5 times I still have no idea what’s happening.”

  5. Dear Dazed and Confused,

    Profuse thanks to your 16-year old daughter. She has a great taste for the bad.

    I haven’t seen the first two, although they sound delicious. I have actually rented
    Ghost Rider. What a great bad movie.

    “Stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze [Nick Cage] gives up his soul to become a hellblazing vigilante, to fight against power hungry Blackheart,the son of the devil himself.” Sounds like a cage fight between Scalia and Posner.

    As for Nick Cage, and forgive the serious for a moment, go rent Leaving Las Vegas. The film was nominated for best actor, actress, director and screenplay. Cage won, and deserved to win. My wife says Cage is now trying to pay off a bunch of debt, so he does Ghost Rider stuff. Too bad.

    Back to Ghost Rider. Eva Mendes is in the movie, and, being a lech, that made the movie special. Unhappily, I am told that “Eva Mendes Won’t Do Ghost Rider 2.

    All the best (or worst).


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