Member Rara Avis
This is fascinating and an indication, I guess, of why they make so many movies. It seem that no matter how bad a movie is, someone is going to like it, and no matter how good a movie is, someone is going to hate it. It at last answers a question I've had for years - as to why so many bad movies are made.
The worst movie of all time, the only one I literally could not sit through, was called The Toxic Avenger. That's all I remember, the name, and that might not even be totally accurate. The most amazing thing, though, was that years later I saw a sequel to it sitting on the shelf at my local video store. Go figure!
I do not and never have liked comedies. That's a little strange considering one of my favorite forms of entertainment is stand-up comedy, and perhaps an indication that more isn't always better. I saw Jim Carey in Vegas, long before he became famous, and thought he was a genius. I hate his movies. Of course, I'm probably also the only breathing male who thinks the Three Stooges sucked.
That's not to say, however, that I don't like funny movies, because I do. The difference between a funny movie and today's genre of comedies is story. The movies of Jim Carey, Leslie Neilson, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and far too many others to list, are little more than two hours of one-liners and sight gags, with no underlying story. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Other comedians, like Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy, sometimes have a minor story line (Golden Child comes to mind, and certainly Beverly Hills Cop), but the balance is often too heavily tilted toward funny and not enough toward story. And some few artists, like Billy Crystal, the early Richard Prior, Steve Martin (sometimes), Sally Fields, and Tom Hanks know how to make humor an intricate part of the story.
I am a total sucker for good romantic comedies.
Chris, while I haven't seen Battlefield Earth, another excellent example of what you described (along with The Stand) was Dune, based on the book by Frank Herbert. A masterful story, woven through a very complex society, that simply could NOT be translated to the screen successfully. More recently, Heinlein's Starship Troopers lost a LOT in the translation from page to screen. And do you remember the animated Hobbit? Yuck.
I disagree with you, however, about Star Wars, if only in a backhanded fashion. To concentrate too much on the visual effects, as outstanding as they were for that era, does the film a serious disservice. Lucas is a consummate story-teller and the SW trilogy represents the most condensed grab bag of writer's techniques I've ever seen. Parallel plots, character mirrors, you name it and Lucas used it. If I ever had the opportunity (or time) to teach a fiction class, Star Wars would be my textbook.
I don't watch a lot of movies, and haven't been in a theatre in at least six or seven years. I could fill a very long page with a list of the recent movies I would like to see when both opportunity and time present themselves. And, I'm sure, an even longer list of movies I wouldn't watch on a dare.