I Have Come Here To Chew Bubblegum…


There are some movies that are so bad, they pass through the wormhole and come out at the other end of the Universe, where they are instead awesome.

For the record, I’m not including “They Live” in that category. Give me a second to get where I’m going. I couldn’t un-use that clip today, something in me cried out to keep it in this post.

There are also some characters that are so over-the-top, so Ever-So-Much-Moreso, that they make the same journey. I’m not just talking about acting or character personae, although that’s a big part of it in many cases. Larger-than-lifeness. Stupendous Competency. Or, in some cases, idiotic incompetency that still just works out (see #1 and #3 below). I want to offer unto The Readership a list of some of my favorite characters that fall into this mold.

Candidate One: Ash

Candidate Two: Snake Plisskin

Candidate Three: Jack Burton (Kurt gets on here twice)

Candidate Four: Everybody From This Show

Candidate Five: Emma Peel

Candidates Six: James T. Kirk & Khan

Candidate Seven: Tequila

Candidate Eight: Derek Flint

I know I’m missing lots of others. Post ’em if you got ’em in the comments.


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.


  1. Steve McQueen in Bullitt is the first one to come to mind. I’m sure there will be others.

  2. Both Clive Own and Paul Giamatti is Shoot Em Up, which for me might also fit into the so bad it’s awesome category.

    • Though my two favorite performances for this, now that I think about it, might be Jeffery Jones/Ed Rooney in Ferris, or Alan Rickman/Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

      • Hans Gruber is one of my favorite villains of all time.

        Oo! Villains! RTod gets a cookie for suggesting the topic of next Friday’s movie post.

  3. Years later, interviewers asked whether Steed and Mrs. Peel were doing it.

    Patrick MacNee: “Of course.”
    Diana Rigg: “Of course not.”

    My answer: “Hell no, Mrs. Peel was waiting for me to grow up.”

  4. So I’m reading reviews of “Conan”, and they’re almost all pretty bad.

    And the reviews all share the same sort of glaring weakness: the person that wrote the review obviously wasn’t going to like the movie anyway.

    C’mon, if you didn’t like the book, and you didn’t like the Arnold version, and you didn’t like 300, and you don’t like action movies, and you think **Conan** is supposed to have **stirring dialogue**… why did you spend $14 to go see this?


    • This is always the problem I have with reviewing anything.

      I always feel like I am merely saying “I like this” or “I don’t like this”. I suppose that that is somewhat useful to the reader if the reader knows where my taste aligns with his or hers, but if the reader doesn’t know this (and I usually have to assume that the reader doesn’t), it feels like I’m stuck giving away spoilers in an attempt to be usefully descriptive.

      When it comes to the Conan movie, my main concern would be whether the little speeches in the movie successfully encapsulate major cultural assumptions (for example: the exchange between Arnold and the thief in the first movie about Crom vs. The Four Winds).

      The books were chock full of eloquent speeches… I worry that the movie will merely be a dude hitting things and saying the barbarian equivalent of “boom! headshot!” rather than a minor point about the difference between Bronze Age thinking and Iron Age thinking.

      • Mebbee I’m misreading “stirring speeches”, but I’m reading that as, “I’m expecting a movie that would have been what Troy ought to have been.” Which was a fair criticism of Troy, which was crap. But I’m not expecting a good Troy here.

        I get your point about the little speeches and Bronze vs Iron Age thinking. But I still wouldn’t say that I would call Howard’s dialogue Homerian or anything.

        Maybe I’m reading too much into the reviews.

      • Food for thought:

        “Sword and sorcery represents what can still be imagined about the transition between a barter economy and a money economy.”

        The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, , by Samuel R. Delany

        • I agree with this 100%.

          I hate to get all meta- and start talking about how the best books have plots that are hundreds or thousands of years old (“boy meets girl”, “man learns a lesson”, “the little tailor”) but themes that explain how in the hell we got to where we are today… but the best books have plots that are hundreds or thousands of years old and themes that explain how we got here today.

      • Re-reading Conan (it’s been a good long while).

        The dialogue is better than I remember, but a goodly chunk of the best character bits are Howard talking to the audience, not a character talking to another character.

    • Amusingly, my tongue-in-cheek review upon seeing the trailer was that Conan talked too much!

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