I really like Sci-Fi, but to be honest; you have to wade through a lot of bad stuff before you find the fantastic stuff. For example, I like to watch the Sci-Fi channel, but would not agree that everything on there is worth watching. I think Sci-Fi is like comedy improvisation (i.e. What’s My Line – with Drew Carey – or even Robin Williams stuff); it is either hysterical or its not. Sci-Fi is either fantastic or stinks like a diaper pail on a warm day.
Luckily, I think each film genre has built-in indicators that tell you the quality of the film. Just like those pop-up plastic things that come with turkeys that signal when the bird is done cooking, you have to look for certain things in films. While lame plots or storylines can kill any interest, it’s usually the actors in a film that really push the film in a bad direction.
Personally, I look for the following cast members on a film to let me know that the film is probably a waste
-Any Carradine brother
-Kirk Cameron/Alan Thicke/Tracy Gold/Joan
-Corey Haim/Corey Feldman/anyone named Corey
-Maria Conchita Alonzo
The only exception would be any film reviewed by Joe Bob Briggs. Those drive-in-esque films are SUPPOSED to be cheesy. These titles usually let you know right from the bat that the Oscar level of talent is not likely to be challenged (or reached, for that matter). “Assault Of The Killer Bimbos” and “Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity” are designed specifically to give employment options to ex-Playboy Playmates and those waiting tables at restaurants.These films are so bad that they are entertaining..to some extent,at least…. The next notch down, which typically feature no recognizable people in the cast, for Sci-Fi films usually follow the “Natasha Kinski Theory.” The theory (which I came up with) states that if you are unable to convey anything while attempting to act in front of a camera, remove your clothes.
Like I said, you have to wade through a lot of low budget films to get to the good stuff. It’s not that I have a problem with nudity. However, when I am in the mood to see a film; I want to see a film….plot, character development, the whole shebang.
Anyway, I have since updated my original theory (created in the 1980s). The updated version of this syndrome, I believe, is the “Angel Boris Theory.”
Angel Boris, featured in the Angel Boris Theory
I had recently saw a film called “Dragonstorm.” Basically, dragon eggs hurdled down from space during what appears to be the Middle Ages. These eggs hatch, and the dragons start destroying towns nearby. A brave and noble force is assembled to battle the dragons, but what turns out to be a potentially good story gets clogged with Velveeta-level acting. The acting is so bad that the “suspension of disbelief” in this film applies to the viewers thoughts about how these actors and actresses find employment. Angel Boris’s character was able to help defeat the dragons by not only helping aim a catapult-like device, but also be leisurely bathe herself in front of the camera for several minutes at a time. For some reason, I could only think of two reasons why she got the job.
I would recommend many other Sci-Fi film classics, if only just to give you an appreciate how far we have come with film technology. Lon Chaney Jr. & Bela Lugosi films that feature werewolves, mummies, vampires, or Frankenstein are a must see. I would also put any early Godzilla/Mothra/MechaGodzilla film in this category, too. We have come a long way from being able to see the strings from a Godzilla model swinging back-and-forth over a scale model of Tokyo. I would also recommend H.G. Well’s-based film “Time Machine.” ….maybe even “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.” There are many others, but these are just a few I can think of now.
Oh, I would recommend the movie “Chronicles of Narnia,” too.