Speed Racer is the best live action anime film out there, for better and worse.
I am no hipster (how dare you). I’m applying for Medicare for cripes sakes. Speed Racer may have been called ‘Technicolor vomit’ by the formerly interesting Rex Reed, but it is the most visually original animated film of the last 20 years, with the possible exception of Into The Spiderverse. The performances by John Goodman and Susan Sarandon are genuinely moving, and the score is right up there with The Incredibles as one of Michael Giaccino’s best. Just watch it.
The ones I've seen listed here are all quite bad so that was my vote, but I do champion Ishtar and I wish there had been an "other" option.
HOOK ALL THE WAY!! I didn’t even know this was considered a “failure”... and a failure it is far from!!! How did I come to the understanding that being a callous workaholic was a bad thing? HOOK!! And come on the food fight feast scene is MAGICAL. RUFIO, RUFIO, RUFIO!!!
I actually cried when I watched Hook again after Robin William's died.. yes it's overly hammy, the sets look like they are about to fall apart and some of the child actor parts are.. well urr- hum. However, the scene when Peter starts believing is so magical.. he goes from being this stuck up grown up who takes everything seriously, to embodying a child like wonder as the empty table in front of him turns into a feast of different dishes and then an epic food fight proceeds.. childlike wonder and awe easily disappear into our computers, meetings and daily grind.. Williams seems to be having a blast and sincerely shows those of us who need to remember, the magic of being a child.. for that scene alone I am a great defender of Hook and Williams's legacy of being one of the greats.
Other was not an option on this poll but it turns out on rewatch that Marc Forster's Quantum of Solace is the best Bond film of the Craig years. At that stage, Forster had a wildly varied filmography, trending toward indie darling, and how can you get a more anticipated IP than 007?
Revisit with an open mind and an appreciation for editing.
Speed Racer. Speed Racer. Speed Racer. Bright, colourful, and yet so dark at the same time. The ways that the Wachowskis nailed the anime look in live action for this one continue to astound, and the cast is uniformly excellent. For a good chunk of my life I was a Dune apologist, but Lynch's intentions were left on the cutting room floor. John Carter is "fine", but came far too late, as the source material was repeatedly pillaged by the movie industry; Hulk is an interesting failure; Bonfire of the Vanities never grabbed me the way it should; and Hook is a dumpster fire with some interesting elements [Bob Hoskins' Smee and Glenn Close's drag cameo; everything else is so overwhelmingly mediocre as to anger this viewer].
Oof...seeing Hook winning this, so far, is so sadly expected, but it's just not good (speaking as one a part of the generation that loves it). Meanwhile, while there are some worthwhile films here (I quite enjoy John Carter), Speed Racer feels like a standout that has already been reevaluated since its initial debut, and for good reason. The Wachowskis delivered more live-action anime in a way that was thrilling, entertaining, and incredibly ambitious.
My answer: Alien 3. You may argue that it's silly to think of Fincher as an auteur on his first feature (and one which he famously disowned because of studio interference). But Fincher was an ICONIC music video director, and was chosen for a franchise famous for giving control to young directors because he was another young visionary director. While he may disavow Alien 3, his fingerprints are ALL OVER IT, and it is way better and way bolder than its reputation.
I love Hook, but it has plenty of people willing to go to bat for it already. Ang Lee's Hulk, on the other hand, might have been hugely disappointing on first viewing but far more satisfying on rewatch. It is truly an underappreciated gem.
All of these have interesting parts that work, but none are genuinely good films except for Hook and Dune. I'm not a '90s kid, just one that understands the struggle of trying not to let the kid inside you die...like Josh's apparently has. ;) But even though Hook has that going for it, Dune has so much more. The novel is probably impossible to fully adapt to the screen, but Lynch gave us a compelling version that may not have satisfied his ...unique... sensibilities but sure told a deep and fantastic story. There's so much Old Testament majesty mixed with Arthur Clarke futurism that I don't know how anyone couldn't be bowled over. I'm jealous that you guys get to watch this masterpiece for the first time!
I have to vote for Dune. I saw Dune with my new bride the day my wife and I were married (Dec 18, 1984). We didn't have much money but loved movies and Dune had just opened and was showing in 70mm (if I remember correctly). Maybe getting married colored how I saw Dune at that time. I refuse to go back and watch it so that it will always remain in that golden light. Yes, we're still married.
I'm surprised Miami Vice isn't on the list, considering the critical re-evaluation it's gotten over the last several years. 47% on RT yet I know of several major critics who consider it an underrated masterpiece and have published pieces to that effect recently.
Hey guys, long-time listener, first time commenter here. I love your show, but I'd like to point out that my favorite failed movie is richard kelly's southland tales. This mid-bush-era political science fiction film presesents not only a darkly satirical look at the end of the world (how timely nowadays...) but has the most astonishing performances from its ensemble-cast including the rock, justin timberlake and sarah michelle gellar. It also sports some of the best musical moments commited to film of the past decades. Is it over-stuffed and un-focused? Sure. Could it be edited down? Of corse. But, to be fair, these criticism could have been said about Mr Scorsese's last 10 films, and contrary to him, Mr Kelly is extremely inclusive and non-chalantly sex-positive, which is a refreshing thing to see in any american film. Who could resist Mrs Gellar's character singing that teen-horniness is, in fact, not a crime? Also, in this dark times in which we live in, sometimes one simply needs to swallow in a futuristic look drowned in mid-2000s nostalgia, a time, where the worst stuff happening in media was nipple-gate. So yes, southland tales gets my write-in vote any day of the week. Cheers to you guys and keep up the fight for good!
Really guys? Forcing me to choose between Dune and Hook!?!
Dune is the granddaddy of my sci-if fandom. It's the story that sparked my life long interest in the genre. While I love the books significantly more than the movie, the movie has a soft spot in my heart. I feel the production design and cast were amazing. Even the change they made from the book were acceptable. The script and the studio is what doomed it.
Hook. What can I say. I am decidedly not a Millennial but I'm on record as saying Hook is the best big screen Peter Pan adaptation and one of Robin Williams's best movies. I will die on the hill of defend this movie from you two. You're wrong. Way wrong. And Josh, given your streak of whimsy I'm surprised.
So Hook I voted since next year's Dune looks to surpass Lynch's as the definitive screen version.
I used to have a lot of love for David Lynch's Dune, and I am still grateful for that stylish introduction to Frank Herbert's amazing world, but for all that I think it achieves, there are some glaring failures and it doesn't feel like a David Lynch film in the slightest. I also love Hook but for the exact same reasons that people hate it - it is wildly sentimental, even for Steven Spielberg and it is very hammy. However, far and away my favorite "failure" on this list is Ang Lee's Hulk, which I still think never got anything close to the credit it deserved. It was the first movie I saw that actually attempted to re-create the effect of a comic book page on screen, an effect I admired for its stylistic boldness. It's exactly the kind of avant-garde style choice that helped make Soderbergh's Ocean's 11 just so cool and I still don't understand why it didn't work for folks. Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, and Sam Elliott are all on their game, the story is incredibly solid and in 2000, a massive departure from the previous cinematic superhero movies and a welcome one. The special effects weren't quite great, mostly I'm thinking of those dogs, but I still remember recognizing the thrill on Eric Bana's face, CG and all, as he runs free as the Hulk for the first time. As much as I love Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, the MCU still has not delivered a story that belongs to solely to the character, but that's ok because Ang Lee did and I love it.
Chappie! Did not know who Die Antwoord was before watching, and no idea why Blomkamp cast them, but holy cow every scene with Ninja and Yolandi (who play Ninja and Yolandi in the movie) was completely enthralling. Not great, or even good, actors, but just so incredibly interesting to watch. And genuinely funny. Did not enjoy the scenes with actors I love (Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, and Sigourney Weaver), just wanted Ninja, Yolandi, and Chappie! Incredibly fun watch
I was pretty passionate in my dislike of Ang Lee's Hulk upon initial release, but upon a rewatch last year I've found a great deal of love for it. I love the MCU and what it has accomplished, but I wish any of those movies had even half the style that Hulk does.
Full disclosure: Haven't seen Bonfire of the Vanities.
I have to go with Hook on this one. More than nostalgia, there is real Spielberg magic here.
John Carter is great! You just have to watch it for what it is, rather than what you want it to be. It's a perfect B level fantastical adventure movie for a kid. The acting was not super (ahem), but having leads who you do not recognize works to its advantage here. The ideas and characters were a lot of fun. (It stayed quite true to the original book.) There is a lot of creativity in the story. It looked wonderful on the screen. My guess is that it catches a lot of flack because it had a big budget and was directed by Andrew Stanton, who has made true masterpieces in his wider appealing Pixar work. As an adult it works well if you want some low stakes creativity and escapism. But think back to, say, yourself as a 12 year old. What movie could be better?
I voted Hook partially out of nostalgia, and partially because I think it's the only one on this list I've seen all the way through. But mostly I picked it to spite Josh for trashing 90's Spielberg. Put him in the Boo Box!
I think Dune, for its time, was ambitious, and it captured the weirdness that was inherent in that novel. I loved the novel, and I thought the movie was great! But, y'know, I was 16 when it came out. I loved the Lynchian aspect to it. The trailer for the new version looks like it is going to be an overwhelm of tech and CGI. I hope to God that it works, so I'm rooting for it.
I would like to add, in a totally different vein, that I loved the remake of Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley. I thought it was hilarious then, and I just watched it again this year, completely sober and un-stoned, and I thought it held up. I seem to be the only person on Earth that thinks that was a great comedy. Thank you for your time.
Dune was a thrill the first time I saw it as a 12 year old - mostly because I had heard such buildup regarding Sting's appearance. I was also excited because I had read the book front to back and was really eager to see how this looked on the screen. But I will admit that I didn't know what to make of it at the time. It felt like something that was meant to have been an 8 hour miniseries but then had been randomly edited down to its 2+ hour running time. The viewings I've had over the years had made me more and more fond of it. The most recent viewing of it was this summer and I officially love it. All the the things that had made it odd, weird or confusing over the years have become things I like the most. Lynch really gave it a go and was clearly overwhelmed. But while its not a great film it has stood the test of time in its own way and it deserves to be considered a film worth watching.
Heaven's Gate. Which seems like an obvious candidate for the list.
I am also pretty fond of One From The Heart which, given that's Coppola's form chart coming into it consisted of The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather II and Apocalypse Now, is arguably the the most one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others movie I can think of.
Dune rules. It's a disaster, but it rules.
Finally, a chance to avenge Josh's egregious ranking of Spielberg's 1990s decade! I loved Hook as a kid and still love it now.
I've never understood why everyone hated Hook so much. That being said, I haven't seen it since I was 5 or 6...
Like many boys that grew up in the age of Star Wars, I was obsessed with science fiction. When I watched Dune as a 10 year old, I was overwhelmed in a good way. It blew my mind. The other films on the list that I’ve seen II saw as an adult and all I can remember about watching them is being bored and checking the time to see if it was almost over. Hook was such a disappointment. It takes so long for the story to even get going. I tried rewatching it a few years ago and I couldn’t get passed the first 10 minutes.
Dune is a mess, but it’s an interesting watch.
I voted for Dune but I could have easily picked any movie on this list with two exceptions. the only two movies listed that I think are really that bad are Planet of the Apes and Bonfire of the Vanities.
Bangarang for HOOK! Sure, as a 90s kid there was a little bit of nostalgia that influenced my vote. But it wasn't nostalgia alone; I've rewatched it as an adult and found it to be a superbly directed, campy, and effervescent reimagining of a classic story. And as the father of a toddler, the part that really hit me on the rewatch was what Peter's wife Moira said to him after he snaps at his kids:
"Your children love you. They want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? Soon Jack may not even want you to come to his games. We have a few special years with our children, when they're the ones that want us around. After that you'll be running after them for a bit of attention. It's so fast, Peter. It's a few years, then it's over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it."
Don't miss this one, Filmspotting Nation.
Great cast. Great director. Solid concept. But what sets Hook apart and makes it the only correct answer to this quiz is the work of John Williams. His score for Hook is one of his best, ensuring that what the film lacks in story and pacing is made up for with a soaring emotional score.
Of course, Filmspotting Nation doesn't merely want some fanboy's opinion, so I brought evidence--data to back this up. I'll even give my metric a Chicago flare! Spielberg and Williams have 28 collaborations. When Williams conducted the Chicago Symphany Orchestra a couple years ago, the Hook theme was one of only seven pieces Williams chose from that body of work. That's the top quartile! The Maestro himself stood this soundtrack's theme alongside his work on Jaws, E.T., and Indiana Jones. John Williams doesn't want film lovers to forget this work. It's an amazing score. Heck, I'm going to stop typing and put that soundtrack on now.
Hook is a formative text for certain millennials like myself. It deserves to be in the lead, lost marbles and all!
I will defend Dune as a curiosity, but with the new version coming out soon, I'm happy to let that one go.
I think that Hook is wonderful on so many levels - often because of it's flaws. It's overconfidence on every level both helps us to understand Spielberg as a director at that point in his career, as well as the overconfidence that we had as a culture in the early 1990s. It's a fascinating film on so many levels!
Honorable mentions that aren't on the list:
AI: Artificial Intelligence,
The Black Cauldron,
The Black Hole,
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,
Eyes Wide Shut,
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas,
Howard the Duck,
The New World,
The Ninth Gate,
Pennies From Heaven,
Return to Oz,
Road to Perdition,
and so many more!
With no hesitation, I vote for Ang Lee's Hulk. It's an origin story that's well told and not overly complicated. I applaud Ang Lee's decision to make the film look like a comic book. Some people are critical of the special effects, but I love the look of the Hulk. On top of all that, you have a cast of Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Josh Lucas AND Sam Elliott. To borrow a phrase from Filmspotting: SVU, whenever someone asks a version of the question, "What film do you get that no one else does?", Hulk always comes to my mind.
My favorite Spielberg movie is 1941.
I like a few of these - Ang Lee's Hulk is more interesting than most other superhero movies and David Lynch's Dune is deeply flawed but also is weird and overly ambitious in a compelling way. Some others I'd suggest are Jane Campion's In the Cut, Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls & Starship Troopers, and Michael Mann's Miami Vice & Blackhat.
BUT I have to go with Speed Racer - it's the cinematic equivalent of staying up all night playing video games, watching movies, and eating copious amounts of candy and junk food with your friends, while also having an anti-capitalist message and an emotional journey. I love the Wachowskis and I think this film is them at their best.
John Carter is a GREAT MOVIE, the supporting cast voice and live action is great. The only problem is lead Taylor Kitsch as John Carter. So that is a problem but how can you not love a movie with a Giant Pug that has the speed of the Flash?
Anyone that likes Speed Racer is tripping on LSD. That movie looks cool but has terrible acting, dialogue and the worst tribute to the badly translated kid jokes.
Hulk, for no other reason than the joke, "You wouldn't like me when I'm Ang Lee."
As a 90s kid, it might just be nostalgia (it's most definitely nostalgia), but I will fight anyone who says Hook is bad.
Say it with me: Rufio! Rufio! Rufio! Rufio!
Of all the movies on your list, John Carter is the only one that is out and out good. Sure you can argue aspects of Lynch's Dune are redeemable or Lee's (too infrequent) use of comic panel like cuts is intriguing or Speed Racer's color scheme is eye popping (or gouging?) but only Carter is just, well, good. A victim of marketing, not a victim of quality.