YouTube Hall of Fame: Movie Scenes We’d Like to Sue For
Inspired by the recent lawsuit against the makers of Drive — filed by a woman, who, not unreasonably expected the movie to feature more driving and fewer exploding heads — this week’s installment of YouTube Hall of Fame collects the movie scenes that were so bad we’d like to take someone to court.
Splice (Katie Baker): A few months ago I was spending a kickin’ Friday night all alone in a hotel room, idly flipping channels on one of those hotel TVs that has no “guide” and no HD. There was NOTHING on, so when one channel flashed Adrien Brody’s face I stopped there, trusting that anything with him had a potentially good chance of not being that bad. The unrecognizable movie was kind of weird, but compelling/confusing enough that I never felt like changing the channel.
I had missed the beginning, but basically it seemed like Adrien Brody and another lady scientist had created some sort of mutant life form in their lab that was part human but also part other things (for example, the life form, named “Dren”, had really wide-set eyes and a long rat-like tail and rabbit-type legs and spoke only in dolphin-like clicking noises) and were now secretly really attached to it, putting it in a dress and treating it like their child. Anyway, one of the characteristics of the mutant being was how rapidly she/it aged, and you could tell that this was going to present some problems down the road for the scientists as the being got bigger and more aggressive and stronger-willed and all that. Just your typical “I’ve created a monster!” fare, no big deal, nothing I couldn’t handle, and the movie was … kind of good?
Until it got to the end, in which, (um, spoiler alert?) “DREN” HAS HORRIFYING AND WING-SPREADING [NSFW] MUTANT-ON-TOP SEX WITH ADRIEN BRODY, WHO ALL ALONG HAS BASICALLY BEEN HER DAD!!!!!!!! AND THEN MORPHS INTO A MALE MUTANT AND RAPES THE SCIENTIST LADY IN THE WOODS!!!!!!!! AND BOTH SCENES LAST FOREVER AND IF YOU THOUGHT THAT THE SEX SCENE IN WATCHMEN WAS KIND OF DRAWN OUT AND UNCOMFORTABLE THIS IS LIKE THAT TIMES FIFTEEN MILLION (although, to be fair, without the cloying use of “Hallelujah,” which I appreciate) BUT STILL!!!! WTF, MOVIE???? WTF?????????????
“Lying here terrified that if I turn off the lights I will be killed/groped by an errant tailsticle,” I tweeted that night, after an emergency IMDb session revealed that the innocence-shattering movie I had just witnessed was called “Splice.” A few hours later, upon waking, I reported: “Had a series of vivid nightmares last night; woke up twice in a full sweat. I blame Splice.”
The next day I was obsessed. I read every review of Splice that has ever been written. My favorite one ended up being Manhola Dargis in the New York Times. “Mr. Natali [the director] loses his way in the last half-hour,” is all she had to say about thirty minutes that fundamentally changed me forever in ways that I don’t want to talk about. But one thing I will say, as I violently shudder at the memory: thank god that hotel room television didn’t have functioning HD.
Just Go With It (Michael Weinreb): It wasn’t my choice to purchase tickets for Just Go With It, a film that touches on all the archetypal motifs of the Sandler oeuvre. That call belonged to my 13-year-old nephew, which (while less than ideal) seemed all right, as long as it tickled his tasteless adolescent sensibilities. It was two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t expect La Dolce Vita. However, I also didn’t know I was going to see the most stultifying rock star of the last 25 years hoover a coconut with his sphincter while a grass-skirted, smack-talking Virginia Woolf crashes into him. There are five dominant ‘90s personalities in this scene, including four I would like to shove down a steep hill into obsolescence. You get away with a stern warning, Patrick.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (Daniel Silver): My inner child was slowly tortured and killed on May 19, 1999, sometime between 12 and 2:16 am as Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace unspooled before my naïve and hope-filled eyes. The exact time of death was when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn explained away “The Force” to a young Anakin Skywalker in some inane, pseudo-scientific way (Midi-chlorians!). Not even the great Liam Neeson could make this dialogue resonate. And at the midnight premiere, Neeson was speaking directly to the most accepting and forgiving of audiences (Jake Lloyd’s wooden performance didn’t help either). No longer was the mythical Force left to Star Wars lovers’ imaginations. No longer was there a reason to hang upside down on the monkey bars and try to get a can of root beer to shoot into your hand. So for this, I’d like to sue George Lucas — for wrongful death of millions of childhoods.
Seven Pounds (Lane Brown): The ending of this 2008 Will Smith organ-donation comedy is like something M. Night Shyamalan might have come up with if he’d eaten some bad clams and fallen asleep in the sun. In it, Smith plays
Jesus a guy who feels bad for killing his fiancee and six strangers in a car accident (he was texting). So he gives a kidney, bone marrow, part of his lung, a piece of his liver, and his house to five “good people” whose lives he decides are worthy of saving. Then, finally, he takes a fatal ice bath with his pet box jellyfish (see above), bequeathing his corneas to a kindly blind guy (Woody Harrelson) and his heart to a studio-approved love interest (Rosario Dawson) suffering from a rare cardiovascular disease. Pounds‘ marketing kept its whole premise a secret, by the way, so moviegoers had no idea what they were walking into. I Googled for spoilers before I saw it, but I still think I’m entitled to damages. Or at least new corneas.
Bamboozled (Patrice Evans): The opening scene for Spike Lee’s Bamboozled begins with a definition of the the term “satire”, a heavyhanded move that usually means you’re in terrible, terrible hands for readers of essays, blog posts, and emails, let alone the audience for cinematic features.
But as a Spike Lee Joint in 2000 you might have been prepared to forgive and forget a little overindulgence. Especially since had his sights set on making a nod to Paddy Chayevsky’s Network, and subtlety has never been his stock-in-trade. The movie could cut out fifteen minutes and is a bit mussy in the second half, but no decision sinks the film (a box-office dud) like Damon Wayans’ choice to play the lead character Pierre Delacroix/Peerless Donathan as an over-the-top uptight snooty black man with a fake accent. Wayans voice is so affected it almost comes across like patois and right from the gate it prevents the audience from ever actually immersing themselves in the cinematic experience. Feels more like a performance art experiment than acting. In hindsight, relative to what this movie could have been, Wayans may have well made the worst acting decision in the history of filmmaking. If Denzel played this role, Bamboozled might have become a classic. Instead me, Jada Pinkett Smith, Savion Glover, Tommy Davidson, Michael Rapaport, Paul Mooney, Terrence Blanchard, The Roots, Mos Def, Charli Baltimore, Mc Serch, Canibus are all filing class action for wasting a considerable amount of talent, and wonderful (some debut) performances on a conceit that should have been toned down in rehearsal.
X-Men (Molly Lambert): It didn’t ruin the movie but it stick out: this scene of Halle Berry as Storm in the first X-Men movie terminating Toad with the immortal non-joke “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? Same thing that happens to everything else.” Spiffy one-liners: more of a Wolverine thing?
Previously: The Deleted Scenes Hall of Fame
YouTube Hall of Fame: When Sitcoms Got Dark
YouTube Hall of Fame: Tom Hanks on Late Night, Pandas on a Slide, and Helen Hunt on Crank
YouTube Hall of Fame: Howard Cosell, R.E.M., and Two Men Hit With Footballs
YouTube Hall of Fame: Stevie Nicks Combs Her Hair, a Comedy Film From Nigeria, and the Least Sexy Video on the Internet