Friday, January 15, 2010

And She Changed Her Name To Carol...



Welcome back, Waye's World readers! A long time ago I said I would answer the question posed to The AV Club every Friday, something I may have done once, if that. Well, let's start it up again, shall we? This week's question is:

What’s your personal pop-culture cause, the thing people always scoff at you for liking and that you always try to convince naysayers to give a first (or second or third) chance to anyway?

This one's pretty easy, actually: Ishtar. Yes, I know it's not a great movie - the narrative is a mess and the leads are woefully miscast - but it never fails to entertain. The story of two inept songwriters so terrible that they can only find work in the Middle East, the film goes for broke many times and succeeds. The first ten minutes alone, with stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman composing many of their terrible songs, contain more laughs than many modern-day comedies have during their entire run-time. When it was released in 1987 many condemned the film before even seeing it, blaming its inflated budget for everything that was wrong with moviemaking at the time. In short order Ishtar became synonymous with crap, so much so that if you wanted to criticize a film that had gone over-budget or was out of control, all you had to do was name-drop Ishtar and everyone automatically knew what you were talking about. (Both Titanic and Waterworld were labeled Fishtar at one point.) Sony has never released the film on DVD, which has only furthered its reputation as the worst movie ever made. If only they would release it, then maybe people can judge it for themselves instead of assuming the movie is nothing but 100 minutes of wasted celluloid.

Also in this category I'd put the movie Xanadu which has to be one of the best bad movies of all-time. Yes, there's roller skating and bad acting, but the music more than makes up for it. The 80s band Men at Work would qualify as well. Remembered now by many people as a bland carbon copy of The Police, their music actually sounds nothing like Sting's band. And some of those songs on those first two records are actually better than anything Sting and company ever released. (And their videos are hilarious, too.) And, finally, let me give a shout-out to Dig Dug, the video game that, whenever I bring it up, always gets ridiculed. Call me crazy, but there is nothing more fun than blowing up a dragon with an air pump.