9 Films Nerds Love to Hate (That Really Aren't That Bad)

By James Daniels in Daily Lists, Movies
Friday, March 4, 2011 at 8:05 am
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There's a number of films out there that have drawn the ire of the nerd community: Many quite deservedly... some, perhaps not so much. I maintain that there are movies out there which we despise more as a matter of "following the party line" than honest objective criticism. The result is there are more than a few nerd movies that have been a bit over-maligned. Now, by no means do I suggest all of these films are great, or even necessarily good; just that their reputation for wretchedness is more the product of hype and publicity than a well-considered, critical assessment.

So I've compiled a list of nine films I believe fit this bill. And yes: there ARE a disproportionately large number of sequels, prequels, remakes, and films based on pre-existing media on this list, as we tend to sharpen our knives for such movies as a matter of principle. Worry not, I'd never advocate that we, as nerds, abandon the time-honored tradition of venomous criticism -- I merely ask that we consider a modicum of discretion: There's all manner of truly heinous wastes of celluloid out there that are much more deserving of evisceration than any of these films.

(Also, I'm stepping out from behind the "we" device employed by most TR contributors. Why? Because I'm expecting a lot of you are going to disagree with this list, perhaps vehemently so. And to those of you who do I say: Here I am -- direct your slings and arrows my way. Rob and TR are innocent: This list is on my head and mine alone.)

9) Transformers
I know, Topless Robot is the world's largest natural source of Bayformers hate, and the idea of coming here and finding an opinion that could even be vaguely construed as positive concerning the works of Michael Bay seems beyond comprehension. And yet -- here it is! Now make no mistake: Revenge of the Fallen was and remains one of the most wretched excuses for a movie in history, but its predecessor? Well, if nothing else, ROTF proved just how awful it could have been (honestly, I really don't mind this film at all, but this is as nice as I could bring myself to be to a Bay movie while writing for TR).

8) Hulk
Ang Lee's vision of Marvel's signature green behemoth is near the bottom of this list for an odd reason: It's good! Really good... well, taken as a standalone movie anyway. Yes, I'm well aware that the plot has little or nothing to do with Marvel canon, and the CGI is rather weak, but the performances, the writing, and the cinematography stand up to these criticisms -- besides, one Jennifer Connely is worth ten Liv Tylers. There is probably no movie on this list I have been forced to defend more often and more virulently (almost to the point of blows).

7) Constantine
Constantine didn't inspire as much nerd rage as it could have, mostly because it's based on a lesser-known (outside of the comics world) Vertigo comic. I'll admit, I've never read Constantine, and didn't even realize it was a comic until after seeing the film, so I can't speak as to its accuracy (although I know Constantine is supposed to be blonde and British). But all in all, I like this movie: For one -- I'm a sucker for Judeo-Christian themed supernatural thrillers. Plus, Peter Stormare plays one of the coolest cinematic Satans I've ever seen -- right up there with Peter Cook and Viggo Mortensen. Even Shia LaBeouf manages to be not quite as obnoxious in this... and you get to watch the son of Lucifer kill him. That's entertainment.

6) Fantastic Four
A lukewarm comic book flick at best, F4 had a few decent points: Michael Chiklis was perfectly cast as The Thing, Julian McMahon had fun as Doom, and while I've always hated Jessica Alba as a blonde, she's undeniably appealing. Not a great deal to recommend here -- but not a lot to really hate, either. The film is a masterpiece of "4pm on Saturdays on FX" cinema. It's too benign to bother wasting perfectly good snark on.

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