I seem to have noticed over the years that when a person has a heightened interest in something that their peers will always apologize for merely dabbling in to the same arena. It’s as if your friends feel compelled to fall on the sword of amateurism deeming you the foremost expert of a particular field. Here’s an example: I love movies! My friends know this. Once in awhile someone who does not watch movies as much as I wishes to tell me about a light comedy they just saw and they really liked it. I’d say nine times out of ten that person will preface their story with, “I know you may consider this to be a dumb movie,” or, “I am no expert like you.”
While I appreciate the sentiment, I assure you I AM NO EXPERT! I was not educated in the art of cinema or filmmaking; I cannot wax intelligently about all of the different eras or movements of cinema; I am not 100% fluent in filmese; and I am certainly not above seeing a light comedy and enjoying it!!
All that being said, I can promise you the following: I will always try my best to get aligned with what (I think) the director is trying to convey. It is my opinion that what makes a movie or film good is if it accomplishes what it set out to do! But forget about that! Some times there are movies we just can’t help but love regardless of their artistic merit (or lack thereof). When seeing a film, I make a habit of applying the philosophy of my good friend Justin Bodary:
A man goes to a theater and sees a film, and forms his own opinion….
If I could, I would see every film ever made and (like I do now) I will always try to find the good qualities it possesses. I feel it is easier to be objective about a film when you try to see it through the director’s eyes.
SO….. with all that in mind, let’s talk about our favorite shitty flicks!
Best of the Best (1989) – This putrid litte gem of a Karate/Taekwondo movie is so wonderful because it combines those familiar sports film cliches we all love so much: Overcoming an old injury; black sheep team member changes attitude at right time; stubborn coach who is humbled through reason and emotion; bar fight scene displaying our heroes’ karate moves*; etc. etc. etc. etc. etc ETC……!!!
Set to a requisite crappy 80’s sondtrack, Best of the Best follows the National United States Taekwondo team all the way from tryouts to the big tournament in Korea against the Korean National Team who are far superior fighters than Team USA.
Along the way we see the aforementioned cliches and some really shotty subplots! For all of it flaws, the movie does actually contain four previous Oscar nominees: James Earl Jones, Eric Roberts, Sally Kirkland and Louise Fletcher who actually is an Oscar winner. Not that this really matters, but I feel it provides this weird and funny sort of symmetry to the whole thing!
But listen y’all, I LOVE THIS MOVIE! My friends and I use to rent it every weekend from Videomax! We watched it so often that we knew at which points in the movie where all the VHS glitches and scratches would show up! I know every line from the end speech that the bad ass Korean fighter (Dae Han) gives to the bad ass USA fighter (Tommy Lee – I swear to God!) and I even can do the Eric Roberts’ lines with his exact voice (COACH! HE”S GONNA KILL ‘EM!!)!!
And that’s the point – why be a film snob? Recognize this movie for exactly what it is: A martial arts vehicle! I imagine the producers of the film said something like this: “Throw some shitty dialogue together; let’s give the Asian guy a sad backstory and GOD DAMN IT can someone PLEASE get me Eric Roberts on the phone – we need him for the bar fight scene???!!!!”
So in that sense, the movie is a success! We get to suffer through these contrivances with some good looking actors, James Earl Jones’ awesome voice and Sally Kirkland’s legs! Oh, and don’t forget about the actual tournament: Some really kick ass martial arts on display! And as an added bonus, former NFL wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and former host of NBA’s ‘Inside Stuff’ Ahmad Rashad does the play-by-play commentating for the Taekwondo tournament scenes! Versatile guy, eh?!
This will not be the last entry I do about my favorite shitty flicks. This entry serves as an introduction of who I am as a film lover and entusiast and to have a little fun with it.
I would love to hear what some of your favorite movies are and if you think they fall under the category of shitty flicks.
See ya soon….
*This bar fight scene is so useless to the rest of the film, that I honestly think they shot it and kept it in the movie so its runtime would be over 90 minutes!