Friday Flix: Fatal Flaws
Sometimes they say something is so bad it’s good. Sometimes it is true that a movie is so campy and silly that it’s actually fun to watch. Other times, I enjoy a bad movie because while it didn’t work out, I respected it for what it tried to do. By that I mean sometimes the underlying concepts are good, but they get undone by the execution.
I thought of my pitiful DVD collection and the best example I can think of is Darkman. In it Liam Neeson (who probably hopes no one remembers this movie) plays a scientist who gets beat up, badly burnt, and then blown into the ocean by some Mafia types. Through vague comic book-type science, he develops super strength when doctors cut some nerves so he can’t feel pain. Then he decides to take revenge on those who ruined his life in flamboyant, impractical style. He does this by using the liquid skin he was trying to make to create masks of his enemies. That way he can infiltrate the organization and bring it down from the inside. Except the hitch is that the masks only work for 99 minutes in sunlight before melting.
There were a lot of logical problems with the movie. One: couldn’t you use rubber masks or other Hollywood makeup tricks? Two: if the masks melt in sunlight, why not go out at night? Three: how does listening to a tape over and over again allow you to imitate someone’s voice? (Especially when you haven’t established he has any kind of ventriloquist training.) Four: why at the end does he have a Bruce Campbell mask in his jacket to escape with? He just keeps a Bruce Campbell mask in his jacket for emergencies? Really? How’d he even get it in the first place? He just took Bruce Campbell’s picture and made one to keep as a spare? Seriously, that bugs me.
Anyway, the point is that despite those flaws and many others, I still like the underlying concept. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make masks of anyone you want and impersonate them? I think I’d go to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett’s house and sign a few checks to Cash.
It’s something that intrigues me and so when I watch the movie I think, “How could I fix this?” I mean, if I were doing a reboot, how would I do it so that it would actually work? So sometimes if you’re feeling a little out of juice creatively, maybe watch a bad movie or read a terrible book and think about how you’d fix it and then maybe it’ll give you some ideas.
Monday I’m going to muse about happy accidents…
PS: I think Darkman is fun just to watch for the carnival scene where he breaks the carnie’s finger for not giving him a pink elephant. The whole scene is just hilarious from how he goes nuts about the elephant to the cheesiness of the effects.