Back before I abandoned MTV altogether, one of my favorite newscasters was Kurt Loder. You may recall Loder was one of the top reporters at the network during the era MTV helped Clinton win the election, and his reporting, and sharp, dry wit, were great to tune into.
Now Loder is back with The Good, the Bad, and the God-Awful, his compendium of movie reviews for MTV.com and Reason, and if you're a fan, it's pure Loder through and through.
It's also the kind of movie book I love, where you can open it to just about any page and find something hilarious to read. Sections include Schlockbusters, The Land That Laughs Forgot, Big Bang Boom (which is dedicated to action flicks of course), One More Time (dedicated to remakes), and Please Shoot Me, which Loder explains includes "movies that no one should ever had to sit through."
Just a few Loder bon mots, let's start with Ridley Scott's bloated remake of Robin Hood, featuring an equally bloated and pretentious Russell Crowe. "Robin Hood fans hoping for some of the dash and wit of the classic films that starred Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn should set their expectation meters to OFF…After two hours and twenty minutes of watching charmless characters slogging about in grim, mucky conflict, we're more than ready to celebrate the rolling of the end credits."
Speed Racer? "The picture looks great. In fact, it looks astonishing. But nonstop astonishment is exhausting – sometimes you want it to stop. Speed Racer kicks off in overdrive, but quickly runs out of places to go."
2012? "I was prepared to set my brain on spin cycle and just roll with it – who doesn't enjoy a good CGI soak now and then? Since the movie is more than two and a half hours long – and since we are a nation of very jaded FX gluttons by now – surely there are some who'll find much of it grindingly monotonous."
Yet there's also fun surprises you'll find within. Who'd think Loder would enjoy Piranha 3D of all movies? "Piranha 3D is a genre horror film that delivers exactly what you'd expect: gushers of blood, ripped flesh by the kilo, and acres of bare booty and boobs (some of them real). But the movie has been fashioned with considerable skill. The thrills here may be traditional, but they're still kind of thrilling."
And I'd love to see what the notoriously thin skinned Kevin Smith would think of Loder's review of Cop Out, which nobody else liked either. "The bad news about Cop Out, some will probably think, is that Kevin Smith didn't write it. He did direct it, but that's part of the bad news, too. The good news? There is no good news."
And that's barely diving into The Good, the Bad, and the God Awful. There's plenty more to enjoy in this book, and if you're a fan of Loder's sharply irreverent views, you'll be happy to read he's applied it very well here on a wide variety of movies.