Cowboys, aliens and the five worst "vs." movies of all time
Cowboys and Aliens, out today, tells the charming and classic story of what happens when cowboys meet aliens: They all shoot each other. It stars Daniel Craig, who's British, which makes sense because while Wyatt Earp was shooting dudes in Tombstone, the Brits were drinking crumpets or whatever and signing the Pretoria Convention peace treaty ending their war with the "Bores" [sic]. It also has Harrison Ford looking befuddled and wearing a hat, which is why we like him. We took away the pun referring back to Cowboys and Massacred Indigenous, and focused on the movie's premise: Cowboys vs. Aliens. And then we looked at other movies where a thing fights another thing. Five of them are pretty awful.
In an effort to scientificially prove the worst of the worst among these films, we'll be using a quantitative system. Films can be awarded 1-3 points of "maybe that was kind of okay" in the following categories:
The Contenders: The fighters.
The Opening Events: The circumstances in which these two find themselves engaged in battle.
The Color Commentary: The critical reception.
The KO: The worst moment from each film.
Alien vs. Predator/Alien vs. Predator 2 The Contenders: 3 points. The Xenomorph and the Predator. One, a killing machine with acid blood that roams the universe inseminating species through rape before being murder-born and killing everything. The other is an intergalactic rastafarian redneck that kills species far below its technological level like a dude blasting a deer with a rocket launcher.
The Opening Events: 1 point. A lot of stupid shit with annoying humans that flies in the face of the continuity that the previous movies establish. AVP 2 takes place in Colorado. I never watched Alien and thought, "Man, this movie would be truly scary if it was about the penis-monster let loose in modern day Denver." Lance Hendrikson gets a point.
The Color Commentary: 1 point. My 12 year old cousin liked it, though he still eats paste. Critics, not so much.
The KO: 0 points. The hero of AVP 2 yells "Get to the chopper!" with prime quotation placement, as though Arnold's slurring Austrian exclamation is the ironic high point of the cheesiness of Predator, which is not cheesy, and in fact really fucking great.
AVP TOTAL: 5 points.
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever The Contenders: 1 Point. Ecks and Sever. One is Antonio Banderas, one is Lucy Liu. I think Liu killed Antonio's family so he travels around Mexico with a guitar case full of guns. She has cute freckles. He has wonderful stubble.
The Opening Events: 1 Point. This movie is incoherent, which is why I don't know what the characters' motivations are. It's directed by a guy named KAOS. Ray Park does flips a couple of times.
The Color Commentary: 0 Points Zero percent at Rotten Tomatoes. Ecks vs. Severs is widely considered one of the Worst Movies of All Time.
The KO: 1 point. Ecks is an FBI agent. He and his fellow agents cause a lot of mayhem in the city that this movie takes place in. Which is Vancouver. Vancouver = NOT AMERICA. Are Canadians really that polite?
B:EVS TOTAL: 3 points.
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid The Contenders: 3 points. The Mega Python aka Debbie Gibson. The Gatoroid aka Tiffany. Both are rendered into their respective creatures via massive botox injections that make them look like the little girl from Poltergiest.
The Opening Events: 3 points. A masterwork for the Syphallis channel produced by low-budget schlock cinema assassins The Asylum. They're awful people, but they did make a DTDVD film called Death Racers starring the Insane Clown Posse in which there was no death-racing, which is worth all the points in the world.
The Color Commentary: 2 points. Critics don't watch these movies, so it's neutral.
The KO: 1 point.
MPVGR TOTAL: 9 points.
Freddy Vs. Jason The Contenders: 3 points. Freddy Kruger, immortal child molester and murderer turned one-liner-spewing boogey man pop-culture icon with knife fingers. Jason, a giant mentally-challenged redneck-turned-unkillable zombie-turned-robot-zombie-with-a-machete.
The Opening Events: 1 point. When the two actually fight in the climax, it's pretty awesome, though director Ronny Yu came from Hong Kong cinema and thus some people take offense to Freddy's jumping-monkey kung-fu-stabbing style. But until that happens, there's a whole movie of rote mediocre slasher sequel and boring "mythology" mystery uncovering. Useless.
The Color Commentary: 2 points. Like the movie, the critics are divided down the middle. Audiences seem to like it a bit more than the critics.
The KO: 2 points. Freddy possesses Jason Mewes by turning into a Alice in Wonderland style centipede and ramming his way down down the kid's throat. In the dream world Freddy controls. Why the theatricality of the centipede when time is of the essence? Just possess him! Also my dreams never look like awful CG effects, unless I recently watched The Matrix: Reloaded.
FVJ TOTAL: 8 points.
Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula The Contenders: 2 points. Billy the Kid, the greatest outlaw young gun of the West who redeemed himself by coaching peewee hockey, and Dracula, who glitters in the sun and can turn into fog.
The Opening Events: 3 points. John Carradine was in Grapes of Wrath.There's a scene in this where he, as Dracula, has to carry Billy's passed out fiance and he just cannot do it -- she's big, he's small and old. Everything about this movie is worth three points for the schadenfreude alone.
The Color Commentary: 1 point. Carradine called it his worst film. You can buy an awful print DVD from a distribution house called "Cheesy Films." Pauline Kael pry would've given it two thumbs up, though.
The KO: 3 points. The greatest finishing move in cinema history:
BTKVD TOTAL: 9 points.
That's right, our winner, with the least amount of "that part was kind of awesome" points, goes to Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, which I saw in the theater the day it came out, which is why sometimes I pee myself in public.
Go check out Cowboys and Aliens this weekend, unless you live in a place where Attack the Block is playing. Otherwise go see that, 'cause there's aliens and British people in that movie, too, and they don't have freaky blonde invisible eyebrows.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Denver art and theater scene.