Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When Bad Movies Happen To Good Casts - Episode One : Anaconda

[Editor's Note: If it seems like I'm straight jackin' my girl Thembi's steez, it's cause I am. And on that note, I present the first in a who-knows-how-often series called When Bad Movies Happen To Good Casts. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Enjoy.]

So, I'm flippin' channels the other night, and guess what movie's on TNT for the 193,239th time?

That's right, Anaconda.

For those without basic cable, this 1998 movie is about a documentary crew that travels down the Amazon searching for a long-lost Indian tribe, only to wind up in deep snake crap when they take in a stranded hunter who eventually hijacks the boat and leads them on a wild goose chase for a record-breaking 40-foot green anaconda.

Here's the trailer.

This movie, with the exception of the scene where Ice Cube got squeezed out by the snake was pretty lousy. The CGI effects were mad cheesy, the plot was predictable, it wasn't even intentionally campy. It pretty much just sucked.

But one thing I caught on my 182th involuntary viewing of this movie was just how loaded the cast was. You had pre-J-Lo Jennifer Lopez doing her usual combo of poorly recited lines and gratuitous butt shots. Ice Cube played a tough talking, yet bumbling ex-con photographer, but all I could see was Doughboy Goes To The Rainforest. You also had the serially underrated John Voight as the greedy villain, Luke Wilson in his now-typical slacker role, Eric Stoltz as J-Lo's token white boyfriend, and even Skinemax All-Star Kari Wuhrer as token bimbette.

I'm not sayin' all these folks are great actors, but when Owen Wilson is you're 5th stringer, it's fair the say the movie shouldn't suck as royally as it did.

For such an amazingly sucky movie, this film incredibly spawned a non-straight-to-DVD sequel, the equally lecherous Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. By the time the second installment rolled around in 2004, Lopez was at the height of her superstardom, Ice Cube had graduated to kiddie flicks, and Wilson was finally bigger than his brother. It goes without saying that all the aforementioned had better things to do than appear in this flop, which had arguably better CGI effects, but could do no better than chitlin' circuit leads like Salli Richardson and Morris Chesnut.

Just when you thought it was safe to head back to Blockbuster, there's some news. The Anacondas saga continues with not one, but two more straight-to-DVD installments in 2008 and 09', starring none other than David Hasselhoff.

I'm already loading up my Netflix queue.

Question: Did you think Anaconda blew chunks as much as I did, or was it borderline campy genius? Do you have any future nominees for When Bad Movies Happen To Good Casts?

Anaconda [Wiki]

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