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Monitor picks

Five films we're not ashamed to like.

The Core (PG-13)

This update of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" follows a group of "terranauts" who detonate a nuke in the planet's core to restore gravity. As cheesy as the melted-cheddar look of the magma, the film is also proof that Hilary Swank deserves her Oscars. Just watch her keep a straight face as she crash lands a space shuttle in Los Angeles at the start of the film.

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Hairspray (PG)

This classic from the always subversive John Waters is featherlight in its picture of a 1962 pleasantly plump teen who just has to get on a TV dance competition. But like a certain aerosol can, the story covers the important stuff – racism and sexism – with the glue of snap, crackle, and pop dance tunes.

A Night At The Roxbury (PG-13)

Not the first (or last) Saturday Night Live skit to go big-screen, this campy 1998 nightclub farce didn't deserve its skewering – "a long version of its poster," sniped CNN. Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan head-bob as the self-deluded, unhip Butabi brothers, obsessing over admission to the club in the title. Cue Haddaway's punchy single, "What is Love?"

Ishtar (PG-13)

Released in 1987, "Ishtar" was a spectacular bomb. We still don't understand why. Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman play the abysmal singers "Rogers and Clark" ("If you admit that you play the accordion, no one'll hire you in a rock 'n' roll band"), who survive desert adventures with a blind camel amid international intrigue. In other words, it has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Dude, Where's My Car? (PG-13)

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Most viewers were too enraptured by the thin plot of "Dude, Where's My Car?" – dudes lose car, dudes wonder where car went, dudes search for car – to realize that this flick is a deftly executed metaphor for the plight of modern man in the last gasps of the 20th century. OK, we kid. There is absolutely nothing right about the film, which is also the reason there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Has unintentional farce ever looked so good?


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