Terrible Names: The 10 Worst Movie Titles in History

In the world of the movies, what’s more important than a title? It aims to capture interest, make viewers want to go to see the film. Unfortunately, the history of celluloid names is riddled with poor choices, and most of the pictures given them have been abject failures. In an effort to memorialise these fiascos…

By Simon Hardy Butler
The Godfather flaws

Picture Imperfect: Flaws and Films from a Personal Perspective

When I was in college, I learned to like a painter I’d never much cared for previously: Paul Cézanne. I used to think—in my own deluded, chalk-it-up-to-youth way—his works trivial; those still lifes with mushy-looking fruit didn’t strike me as anything unusual, and I quite disliked his palette … it seemed limited, joyless, plain, without…

By Simon Hardy Butler
The Wild Bunch Sam Peckinpah

Women of The Wild Bunch: Peckinpah, Misogyny and a Credible Moral Code

You know you’ve got a good marriage when your wife agrees to watch The Wild Bunch (1969) with you. I must say, I was quite surprised that she made this decision in the first place. Trudi’s sole previous experience with the films of Sam Peckinpah was watching the disturbing, controversial Straw Dogs (1971) years ago—a…

By Simon Hardy Butler
The Terminator

The Terminator: The Problematic Naming of Dr. Silberman

The Terminator (1984) is anti-Semitic. That’s the thought that goes through my mind every time I sit down to watch this marvellous James Cameron science-fiction film, which features some of star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best work as a merciless cyborg out to prevent a rebellious future by dispatching its source preemptively. It’s an idea that bothers…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Fellini's Satyricon

Off the Halloween Path: 13 Non-Traditional Movies to Watch on All Hallows’ Eve

Come October 31, I’ll be watching a film that’s not in the horror genre. That’s right—despite the long-standing tradition of viewing scary movies on Halloween, I’ll be devoting myself to another pastime: seeing a flick that incites emotions other than fear. Granted, it’ll be hard to find one of those on the telly come month’s…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Robot Monster bad movie

Bad Movie Magic: Why the Junk of Yesteryear Tops the Junk of Today

Would you rather watch a bad movie made incompetently or a bad movie done well? Let me be more specific: Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) or 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)? I know which one I’d prefer. And it’s the sad state of crummy filmmaking that validates my decision. Once upon a time,…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Zeffirelli otello

Opera Onscreen: How to Resurrect a Dying Genre

Given the fact that Placido Domingo instinctively ruffled his fingers through my hair 30 years ago as I—then a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus—marched by him on stage during a production of Carmen, I can’t help but admit a personal bias toward the legendary singer … which includes admiration for his efforts in…

By Simon Hardy Butler