Friday, October 4, 2013

The Worst Movies of All Time, Or: What Were They Thinking?

1995, 1996 Citadel Press edition
Michael Sauter
The Worst Movies of All Time, Or: What Were They Thinking?
Bought new for $16.95
Worn paperback

This book somewhat overcomes its limitations.  First of all, Sauter sometimes seems to see watching a bad movie as some sort of macho endurance test, so you can say, "Yes, it was boring, poorly done, what have you, but dammit, I watched till the end!"  I can almost see doing that for the bragging rights, although it doesn't appeal to me personally.  (After all, I recently decided a book wasn't worth finishing just to blog about, although I do have fun ripping into the D+s.)  But why read about someone else doing it?  Also, Sauter obviously is following in the steps of not only the Medveds but Margulies and Rebello's then fairly recent (1993) Bad Movies We Love, not to mention the cheesier of the cult movies that Peary wrote about, so there's a great deal of de ja vu.  It doesn't help that many of his selections are identical to those covered by the other authors.

Still, I felt the book was reasonably well written (although wracked with typos) and it was nice that he devotes about four pages to each of his Bottom 50, all of them big-budget bombs (artistically and/or financially), like Cleopatra.  That's two-thirds of the book, and then there are another 33 movies that win in their category, ala the Medveds.  (But I think their pick for a Reagan movie, That Hagen Girl was one of the Medveds' 50 Worst but later beaten out by Hellcats of the Navy as the worst Reagan movie, since that had two Reagans.)  Then there are about 80 pages on "the baddest of the B's," primarily from the '50s and '60s.

The most recent movie in the book is Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992), the one with Tom Selleck, and surprisingly I can't accuse Sauter of what I accused the Medveds of, paying more attention to recent releases than earlier.  On the other hand, this doesn't cut down on the de ja vu.

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