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10 Good Movies With A Terrible Concept

05 June 2019 | Features, Film Lists | by Justin Gunterman

6. Crank

Crank

In 1994, Keanu Reeves starred in Speed, a movie about a bus that had to maintain a certain speed because it was armed with explosives that would detonate once it dipped below 50 miles per hour.

In 2006, Jason Statham starred in Crank, which felt a little bit like Speed’s trashy cousin. Statham took the role of the bus and instead of having to maintain a certain speed, he had to maintain a certain heart rate. Though not the worst idea on this list, there was too much potential for Crank to turn into a exploitative nightmare.

Luckily, everyone involved made the correct decision when they decided to keep things as ridiculous as possible. There isn’t a single minute of Crank that should be treated seriously. It’s 88 minutes of trashy, gleeful action scenes stitched together by some wild editing.

It’s hard to imagine a world where anybody considers Crank thought-provoking, but that’s not really the point. Viewers are likely to feel an adrenaline rush similar to that of Statham’s character.

 

7. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Nostalgia aside, critics actually weren’t too keen on the original Jumanji. It barely cracks 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and the Metacritic score is an embarassing 39. Bad reviews didn’t mean a darn thing in the long run though. It continues to be loved today thanks to its imagination and cast. It’s so beloved that people immediately dismissed its goofy-looking 2017 sequel.

Actually, it wasn’t just Jumanji purists who were unhappy about Welcome to the Jungle. The cast may have been halfway decent, but the decision to turn the titular game into a video game was not particularly well-received. The whole premise seemed to be pandering. Honestly, it felt like a bunch of grown men came together and tried their damndest to relate to the youth of today.

To the surprise of basically everyone, they succeeded. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was, as the cliché goes, fun for the whole family. The jokes landed more often than not, the cast was terrific, and the story was surprisingly heartfelt. It may have looked like an attempt to cash-in on a beloved property, but it genuinely surprised most of the people who watched it.

 

8. Piranha 3D

James Cameron, the man behind T2, Avatar, and Aliens once directed a movie about killer fish. It was panned because it had every right to be panned. Sharks are terrifying, sure, but could a piranha really have the same impact in a horror movie? In theory, the answer should be no, but Cameron’s atrocious movie was only one part of a series that actually has some well-regarded entries.

The first movie gets a pass because Joe Dante knows how to camp it up. If anybody could have pulled off a movie about killer piranhas, it would’ve been him. The 2010 movie, on the other hand, should have been a total disaster. Director Alexandre Aja didn’t have the same type of experience with camp. Frankly, his filmography was pretty lackluster up until that point. To add to that, everything about Piranha 3D felt reminiscent of a made-for-tv movie in the promotional materials. This cheap feeling is rounded out by a cast of d-listers.

Turns out Aja and company know a thing or two about making fun B-movies. Piranha 3D is just a bananas as Joe Dante’s original. In other words, it’s a much better movie compared to the James Cameron mess. It’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s fun, and that’s what matters.

 

9. Rubber

Rubber (2010)

The telekinetic tire movie mentioned in the intro was not a joke. Most people know that since Rubber has gained a mighty cult following, but just in case, everyone should know that the movie described earlier was not an exaggeration. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, and it totally is, but it works. It’s funny and violent and downright magical at times, even if the storytelling is ultimately flawed.

Twitch Film probably described it best when it called the movie “intellectual wankery of the highest order in the sheepskin of a B-film of the lowest order.” Rubber works because it takes its premise and throws an arthouse costume on it. It knows it’s ridiculous, but it pretends to be a pretentious movie with some kind of deeper meaning. This sounds like a criticism until you realize how many layers of irony work together.

The concept is nonsense and the execution appears to be nonsense, but everything kind of works. Is it flawed? Absolutely! At the same time, it’s the best movie about a psychic tire to ever exist, so what’s stopping you from giving it a look?

 

10. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Hollywood has never had the best reputation when it comes to video game adaptations. Movies that showed promise, like Warcraft and Prince of Persia, ended up falling flat on their face. This reputation has unfortunately made it hard to get excited about any video game movie, no matter how good they happen to look. That’s exactly why most people approached Pokemon: Detective Pikachu with extreme caution.

Leading up to its release, it’s easy to see how people could have felt conflicted. Trailers showed promise, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that a group of people decided to release a movie about a detective that also happens to be a talking electric mouse from a video game.

The decision to take such a wild premise and make it live action was even ballsier. It was hard to imagine Pokemon in a live action setting, and it was just as hard to believe that the script could satisfy the fans.

That being said, the movie was mostly successful. Detective Pikachu isn’t exactly a slam dunk, but it’s a rock solid movie nevertheless. The story is mostly forgettable, but Ryan Reynolds gives it his all and the fan service is a whole lot of fun. We still don’t have a great video game movie, but at long last we have a good one.

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