As Gregory “G-Beat” Beatty mentioned earlier on the Dog Blog, Talkies is here again. Tonight, Tuesday, July 29, Jayden Pfeifer and guest Credence McFadzean will be talking over, making fun of and generally trying to explain M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender at the Regina Public Library Film Theatre. From having seen this movie in theatres, I can say for sure –– this movie isn’t good. Not at all.
But now that we’ve at the point where Talkies has covered two Shyamalan movies, I think it’s worth looking back at what the series has covered, both at the RPL Film Theatre and its previous home, the Creative City Centre.
My ranking of the movies of Talkies, from best to worst, is after the jump. Talkies is happening tonight, Tuesday, July 29 at the RPL Film Theatre. Admission is free with a donation to the Regina Food Bank.
1. Crossroads; 2. Jumper; 3. Lady in the Water; 4. Grease 2; 5. Firewalker; 6. The Skulls; 7. 3 Ninjas Kick Back; 8. They Saved Hitler’s Brain; 9. Kick or Die; 10. Law Abiding Citizen; 11. Spaced Invaders; 12. Santa With Muscles; 13. Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe
I think I missed The Last Stand and Super Mario Bros. when they made appearances at Talkies –– Talkied, maybe? –– so they’re absent from the ranking. I say five of the bottom six are inarguable. Any movie that asks the audience to accept an alien Jesse Ventura sharing a bed with a kid even for a moment is a failure. Thanks for that, Abraxas. Lame ineptitude continues with Kick or Die, which Pfeifer recently reminded me ends with the villain dying of a gun shot to his arm.
Law Abiding Citizen, though? That movie had a budget and stars and a wide release. That doesn’t guarantee it’ll be good, but out-and-out awful? Maybe my mind’s filtered out anything good from that movie, but all I remember is a film that’s needlessly cruel to it’s characters, generally cynical and good at none of it.
Say what you will about Grease 2, but at least it’s trying to be fun, and that’s more of a noble pursuit than anything Law Abiding Citizen tries for. And Crossroads might feature Britney Spears and friends travelling across a country eerily empty of most other people, stopping at seemingly deserted gas stations along the way, but the script by Shonda Rhimes at least wants its female characters to be strong and support each other. That’s pretty cool! And Spears could’ve been a way worse actress, too.
Maybe that’s why I rank The Lady in the Water so highly among these movies. Shyamalan’s not being subtle. The film’s a parable about the power of storytelling that’s not so much thought-provoking as purely schlocky. Scott Weinberg had a huge Lucy-related Twitter rant the other day, featuring the line, “A movie cannot be ‘not as smart as it thinks it is,’ because a movie has no brain and cannot think”, so I’ll avoid that line of logic. But in Lady, there’s still a lead performance from Paul Giamatti, who plays frazzled and desperate so well that it’s hard not find enjoyment in this movie’s dumb, fumbling morass.
Even when the movie is a soul-sucking piece of trash, though, Talkies is around to make the shitty less shitty.