The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 2014 Edition

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2014 Style.

It’s still the decade of the comic book movie, apparently, given that they’ve almost entirely taken over both the Good and Bad categories this year. On the plus side, I had more options for Good than Bad, though there also seemed to be a lot more movies I just couldn’t bring myself to care about one way or the other, which isn’t exactly an exciting sort of trend. But without further ado, on to the list all my twelve loyal fans have been waiting for.

The Good:

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Into the Woods

The Wolf. Remember, kids, never talk to strangers or Johnny Depp.

Once upon a time, etc. Okay, yes, I was kinda stuck for an opening line. I like fairy tale mash-ups, but I’m not much of a musical fan in general, so while I was mostly pleasantly surprised overall, I also went in with pretty low expectations. And while Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger) only really had one scene, thank goodness, I can’t remember it without cringing and I’m not sure I’ll ever get past that.

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The Lone Ranger

Silver & Tonto, with John Reid in the back. The horse is the smartest one.

I accidentally noticed that the reviews for this movie were very mixed — surprisingly, since I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to hear anything good about it at all — and now I know why, since I’m still making up my mind about it. It was definitely better than I expected, though I can’t decide if that actually puts it into the category of “good” or not.

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Public Enemies

The man with the large gun says you must like this movie.

It’s enemies plural because there are several of them — and you may even have heard of Pretty Boy Floyd, for instance, though you have to look fast to see him in this movie — but it’s really all about Public Enemy #1, of course, Mr. John Dillinger himself. You can tell he’s the important one, not to mention the charismatic one, because they got Johnny Depp to play him. (And let me just add here how incredibly relieved I am that they didn’t let Leonardo DiCaprio play him.
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The Top 5 Worst Dressed Movies

The official MCND Worst Dressed Top 5 logo. That grunge look is so 1980's.

Now, I have no fashion sense, I admit that freely. After all, I’m basically a geek and traditionally, geeks have no clue about how to dress. Forcing me to go clothes shopping is about the worst form of torture that anyone could inflict upon me, especially if said clothing store is in a mall. But sometimes, even I can’t help but gape at the screen and wonder why in the world anyone thought that particular fashion statement was actually a good idea. In other words, it’s time for the Top Five Worst Dressed Movies list.

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Dark Shadows

An apt but unfortunate coincidence, that this looks so much like the loser sign.

Dark Shadows is no longer a Dan Curtis Production, not by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s really a shame. I rented some of the original series on DVD from Netflix, and it was absolutely fun to watch. It was often melodramatic, sometimes the acting was so ridiculously over the top you wanted to giggle, and sometimes you would shake your head as a microphone drifted into the shot, or wince as someone struggled with a line. But somehow it still pulled you in, and while you didn’t quite forget all the rough edges, they just don’t seem especially important.

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The Tourist and Other Myths

Now, I while back, I read a novel called The Tourist, by Olen Steinhauer. What I had was known as an advance reader’s copy (it’s all right, I’m a professional), and it featured as a selling point the fact that the book had been optioned for a movie to star George Clooney. I cringed. The problem was that I liked the book; but I don’t like George Clooney. He also struck me as being all wrong for the lead role, and as I read, I would sometimes sigh to myself over how it would soon be ruined on the big screen.

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Alice in Wonderland

A shockingly red-haired, crazed, badly-dressed Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

As soon as the movie starts, you know you’re watching the work of Tim Burton and listening to the work of Danny Elfman. It almost looks ordinary to start with — it’s a proper Victorian setting, with only a little girl’s dream to give any hint of the weirdness ahead. But you can forget about the little girl, because things quickly move ahead thirteen years, since this movie is about the 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska, who’s apparently twenty but looks more like sixteen), who remembers her adventures down the rabbit hole only as a vague, recurring dream.

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