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Batman Returns

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Well if Die Hard is an Xmas Movie well so is this turd. Batman makes his debut on the show, yet manages to avoid being in the Batman movie. Catwoman is the un-sexy. Walkan doesn't Walkan out and Danny Devito gets thrown under the bus. Everything people think about this film is wrong.

First off, and here's you breaking point - BATMAN ISN'T IN THE BATMAN MOVIE!!! At the 1 hour mark, Batman has only been in the "Batman" movie for 123 seconds. 

Second off, Catwoman is sold hard to be sexy. But she's really really not. I mean there's a certain level of crazy that people will put up with if it's hot stuff but her nuttiness is over-the-top. She's boner-reducing. (see the "sexy" cat bath scene and then really analyze your definition of sexy)

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Predator 2

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In what appears to be a Predator version of a bar-mitzvah, Captain Murtaugh has to scratch his head and whisper to himself about things he sees in front of him to stop a bunch of gang-members with mega-guns and voodoo powers from getting their spines ripped out. Oh! AND Bill Paxton!

A movie with a 8 foot tall alien who rips people's spines out, Danny Glover, Bill Paxton and Gary Busey sounds like about the hottest thing that's ever existed. Sign me the hell up and lets get stupid!

Well hold on, kiddies. You've got the most destructive group in film you still have to account for. No, not The Asylum. The MFing MPAA. After extensive recuts (20 of them) to appease a group of soccer-moms with no knowledge of film study, Predator 2 is both lacking in imagination and luster. Its far too tame to work. Its like watching Volcano but with a Predator who's had his wings clipped by the MPAA. Its kinda just disappointingly boring.

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To Catch a Yeti

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We've got a monster-bud on our hands in the most notable work of Meatloaf's career. When the world's greatest hunter gets hired by a rich family to catch a yeti, he gets thwarted by a little girl whose clothes don't fit. Everyone is going to jail here.

One might go into this thinking that you're about to be tortured for an hour and a half, ala Mac and Me, or C.H.O.M.P.S., well you're sorta right. This movie is as expected godawful, but somehow it dodges being in the bottom of the barrel. It manages to stay on target throughout the whole thing. There's no scene where the little girl and the monster bud go to school and crummy hijinx ensue. There's no scene where the monster bud destroys the whole house while riding a vacuum and chasing the dog. It steers clear of all the usual pitfalls that monster-bud movies fall into.

Instead of where it typically could have gone, it is just a series of Meatloaf chasing a little girl holding the worst Furby prop for an hour and a half. There's a volley of crummy jokes here and there yet none are groin-worthy, they are just ignorable while you're riffing the film. It continually sets itself up throughout with some scattered big laugh moments (usually involving Meatloaf murdering a Francis (Pee Wee's Big Adventure) impersonator.

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The Rage: Carrie 2

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Once upon a time, a teenage girl got some tampooooons thrown at her and a British dessert poured on her. Twenty-three years later, a teenage girl gets caught up in a web of consensual teenage sex and becomes the most popular girl. Thankfully "Teen Witch" only ditched her friends when her powers manifested.

The Rage suffers from what we like to call "The Non-Existent Plot". The plot can't exist under the rules of the film itself - under scrutiny. At the same time, they manage to cram in the "Idiot Plot" as well. As one can predict the film attempts to follow the same lines of Carrie (1976) where a teenage girl with uncontrollable telekinesis is pushed to the edge and strikes back against those that are doing her harm. HOWEVER, this one falls flat on trying to make the audience identify and sympathize with the lead OR even the villains.

There's laws that don't exist. People don't know how phones work. People don't know how crime works. People don't know how dogs work. It's an atrocious script written by "I don't know how people work" alum - Rafael Moreu (Hackers) and a flaming pile of garbage.

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Space Jam

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The film that finally puts two things together that no one asked for, no previous commonality, no established universe, no real similarities, and no capability of accomplishing something someone might label "good". Cartoons and basketball just don't go together.

Hot off the success of Roger Rabbit, well ok, not hot off. More like many years later....someone decided to mashup our reality with the physics defying world of Bugs Bunny. Now that possibly could have worked, if they had chosen to focus on that. But Space Jam focuses on the life and times of Michael Jordan, which has nothing to do with cartoons. Nothing. So the Looney Tunes take a back seat to MJ. Sure he's the greatest (LeBron?) but he's not what is putting butts in seats here. Otherwise you'd just have a film starring Michael Jordan. Come on...

Beyond the idiocy that is the concept, the film is garbage. The most fatal flaw that Warner Bros. committed here is that they thought people came for Looney Tunes because of Bugs, Daffy, and Yosemite. Little did they understand, those characters were just the delivery vehicle for the shear brilliance that was Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc. THOSE guys are why we came. Proof required? Try watching a Merry Melodies after a Looney Tunes. Without Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc the WB crew is just another bland unmemorable troop of talking critters.

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Hackers

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Once again, we find ourselves "going into the internet" with the incredible speeds of a 28.8k connection. Yet the overt difference here is that there is a wet-t-shirt contest and a mash-up of snowboarder, 'alt' and irreverent fashion trends. It's the clear road-map of not understanding computers, the internet or anyone who surrounded themselves with both of those things. Yipes!

Hackers were never cool. They were never edgy or trendy or care about anything but computers. We were computer nerds in 1995. We only cared about putting Duke Nukem 3D on as many computers as we could find. The characterization of this film is so far from reality and its disconnect from what was actually going on that it's just unfathomable. That's even before we determine how much we hate the characters themselves....

Then there is the complete lack of knowledge of computers themselves. It fits perfectly in with Johnny Mnemonic and The Lawnmower Man in its ineptitude and complete lack of asking someone ANYTHING about computers just one time. However, within the former there is a lot more action that isn't computer-related and the latter has a good sci-fi story buried underneath it's awful film-making and lack of editing. Hackers reigns surpreme in its stupidity.

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Hey thanks for commenting! So yes, that "theory" of ph is in the DVD booklet for hackers. It's not some theory we came up with. I ... Read More
Friday, 02 March 2018 18:22
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Last Action Hero

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It was Schwaz' first box office flop and put up the current standard of spending way too much money on film marketing. It ranks high upon the worst returns of all film history. Yet there is a good film here and could have been a hidden gem -- had it not been for Danny and coming into "our world."

You may be among the hordes who avoided Last Action Hero. You should reconsider. It has that stigma of being a horrible film, but if you're a fan of this podcast then you will understand why we put it upon such a high platform with Hell Comes to Frogtown, Joe Vs The Volcano and UHF. While Joe is a far superior production and Hell is a far more efficient production, Last falls into bad movie legend with incredible amounts of money thrown at it, while clearly only going to work with a very small amount of movie goers. It's your classic case of men in ties making horrible decisions.

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Simon Sez

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Dennis Rodman returns in the form of a bumble-bee to plant the foundation of the XXX squad, by making Dane Cook the CEO. Its truly in the list of worst action movies ever made and could be the gold standard for enjoyably dumb action movies...if it wasn't for Dane Cook.

Dane Cook blows. You know this, so we aren't going to devote time here to review his schtick - what will do instead is warn you that he is truly at his least formed here, with the most "punch me" act ever captured on celluloid. He's worse than Jar Jar. 

Now the good - it's WAY OVER THE TOP in the action department. Imagine Jackie Chan kung-fu and stunts but performed on screen by people who should be hot dog vendors. Then tack all that on top of Pumaman level of rear projection effects. It's outlandishly fun when you aren't staring down the barrel of an unloaded Dane Cook. He blocks your vision from the good.

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Cliffhanger

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Stallone gives us further evidence he didn't write Rocky as this screenplay serves us up with some of the worst dialogue and biggest head-slapping action sequences we had in the 90s and THAT's really saying something. Also...there are 0 cliffhangers. 

Somehow critics have been quite pleased with Cliffhanger as evidenced by a 69% on RottenTomatoes and 60 Metacritic score. How that happened is one of the biggest surprises that this film offers up. Don't confuse yourself - this thing is enjoyable for sure but it is as dumb as anything. It's Roadhouse dumb. How any professional film critic could give this a positive review and put it alongside films that try to make statements and be true art and then look themselves in the mirror is confounding. So this falls right into our "Good Movie Debunked" category of film review.

The showcase is the dialog which comes to a head with the team of "expert" criminals. These guys are good enough at burglaring that they heist $100 million from the US Treasury Department. You'd likely get executed for this and at minimum sent to Gitmo and never heard from again. So they must be the best of the best right? Like Ocean's Eleven clever and Hans Grubber organized, right? Well that is clearly not the case. This team is just a bunch of 16 year old boys having a piss contest even if that means they fail in their mission. It's astounding how they even got into the car on the way to their big crime without killing each other. Astounding.

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Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time

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"Let's take the barbarian guy out of his world of fantasy and put him in our world of taxes and endless advertising," said a man in a tie once or twice. Unfortunately, for said tie guy, no fan of film has ever said, "Yes I want that." Yet this travesty of the genre still attempted to woo audiences by sending the Beastmaster into Los Angeles so we can watch what happens when he wants to get pizza. Hooray!

While the premise of this film is one that typically infuriates fans (see Masters of the Universe and Jason Takes Manhattan), Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time pleases from end to end. It has some sort of charm that doesn't make sense. The jokes are total crap. The acting is painful. There's no boobs. Yet somehow it all adds up to shenanigans that simple entertain lovers o' the stupid.

The true highlight is Wings Hauser's Arklon, who is arguably the lowest IQ villain in cinema history. His plan is seriously to blow up his world. He has already conquered the world, yet he thinks blowing it up will give him more power. There isn't some mystical element that blowing the world up turns him into a god or anything. He just wants a neutron bomb to blow the whole damn thing up, including himself. Ok, let's put that aside. In order to accomplish his goal of suicide and world-ending destruction, he decides to enlist the unwilling support of LA Girl, Jackie (Kari Wuhrer) who knows nothing of nuclear weapons but knows a lot about 90's fashion. Standing right next to Arklon is the witch Lyranna (Sarah Douglas) who has a great rack, wants to bang him, rule the world at his side, has superpowers, knows where the bomb is, has the means to get there and continually helps him without getting a single utterance of "thank you". Arklon's moronic antics culminate when he falls into a lake of fire and shouts his victory at Dar - and then burns up to death. Yup, you sure won buddy.

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Steel

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He's a blue-collar Batman, that comes loaded with super-strength and a compassionate, pacifistic outlook. Slap on a bunch of not-bulletproof metal armor and give him a hammer/gun and Oracle (from Batman) and you've got Shaq looking pretty doofy.

So it stinks, sure. But we think this film is abused a little too much. It's currently at a 2.8 on IMDB and a 1.4 on Letterboxd. That puts it below Batman & Robin, and Catwoman. It's not even close to that bad. By your standard movie goer rating scale, this is just a 4. By our standards, it's a little higher than that. We make no claim that it's awesome but in no way is as awful as Catwoman. It's just a shitty movie.

However, it does have it's moments. The action is filled with dumbness. Steel's powers and weapons look terrible on screen. Shaq himself, in Steel Armor, looks like he belongs in Flash Gordon and he's just too damn big to be taken seriously. It appears the film-makers may have realized this and crammed this jobber with loads of camp. 

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Jingle All the Way

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When you think of the holidays, you always think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe you just think of Arnold all the time. Which fits perfectly into the Xmas spirit theme for this film -- don't learn any lessons of Christmas, don't change how you feel about life and commit heinous crimes in the search of consumerism that you fail to accomplish.

Beyond how unbelievably bad it is overtly, I mostly want to talk about its failures for being a Christmas movie (as is tradition for our holiday specials). The primary problem here is that it can't even be an Xmas movie. It's a movie that takes place during Christmas (kiss my ass, all who say Die Hard is a Christmas movie), but it fails to achieve any Spirit of Christmas themes (hell, even The Star Wars Holiday Special manages that). 

Here's where people will say it makes a Christmas movie:

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Double Team

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Before he was the US Ambassador to Kim-Jong Un, Dennis Rodman had a dream of being a big Hollywood actor. The path to victory? A movie where he fights tigers, exploding babies, references that aren't related to basketball and U.N.C.L.E. Oh yeah, JCVD is there too.

Double Team is silly in the same vein as any Cannon/Chuck Norris joint. There's a reason that major action movies died for almost 20 years (thanks Fast & Furious franchise) and this movie may have been a huge part of that decline. JCVD led the 90's in super awesome punching bad guy films and here in 1997 film-goers were willing to say "I've had enough of that". A plot that doesn't make any sense, horrific editing, and too too too many basketball related jokes just put them over the edge.

The action sequences are about as "over the top" as you can get. There's truck jumping, tiger's packing heat, exploding babies, foot knives, a machine-gun toting, horse-mounted loon, Belloq as head of CONTROL, under-water lasers, combustible swimming pools, human basketballs, and death nannies. It's crammed pack with so much bonkers action that its hard to keep up.

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Phenomenon

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Here's a fun concept. Let's put together a film with heavy sci-fi elements and themes in the vein of Twilight Zone and mash it together with a poorly motivated romance and have John Travolta stare at trees for the majority of it. That sounds like punishment.

Guess what though? It killed it. The box office loved this film despite the critics apprehensions. Flocks of people wanting to see some feel goodie type jobbers fled to the theater thinking that John Travolta was making a huge comeback (it was over 2 years later) and that he was good at acting as he did great at looking confused in Pulp Fiction. 

That's neat and all but here's the deal with this film. It's a continuous set of missed opportunities to be something truly good. It seems that a writer had a fantastic concept in a man given super-powers and then can accomplish nothing with them but have his life ruined by them and a pariah to his former neighbors. That's good stuff. However, the studio clearly stuck their damn noses in and said, "Well we need to have an hour of it be taken up by a romance. That'll get the ladies involved." In this case they were right when it came to cash, but relegates this film to the folks at Stinker Madness to expose it's flaws.

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Sleepwalkers

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Cat people. It's a movie about cat people. Written by horror master, Stephen King, it's arguably the most comedic horror film ever made. You thought Dreamcatcher was rife with errors...buckle in, folks.

Sleepwalkers is absolutely bananas. We'll just say right now that this is a must-do film for fans of crummy movies. It's a laugh riot. For instance, let's just put it out there that the chief action star of this film is a house cat, named Clovis. Clovis rivals Chuck Norris, Schwaz, Stallone and Van Damme in the pantheon of 90s action stars. I'm not joking.

So the film is basically about these cat people-- Ancient Egyptian people that have no origin but all of the superpowers (teleportation, telekinesis, invisibility, shape-shifting, invulnerability, immortality) and one of the most dumb weakness of all, allergic to cats. They are cat-people (half-people, half-cat) and their one weakness is cats?!?! Right. So if you've got a plague of cat-people in your town, if you don't have a Clovis, supercop, you're screwed I guess.

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The Lawnmower Man

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Once again we try to "go into the internet" by revisiting a film from the early 90's where people didn't understand how computers worked. This one delivered to us by stinker-staples Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan in this NOT Stephen King adaptation.

The Lawnmower Man when it came out was beloved and believed to be a great film by 12-year-olds. It no longer holds that majesty. This movie stinks. From all angles, most notably the special-effects and its dubious knowledge of how servers work. But notably as well is the acting from Jeff, Pierce and Dean Norris (of Breaking Bad fame and one hell of a Twitter follow).

The plot (as usual with Stephen King related business) is pretty all over the place and doesn't make any sense. Toss in that it's not based on Stephen King's work at all and you've got people just trying to say a thousand different things and trying to achieve a thousand different film motifs. You've got cybernetic super-chimp Universal Soldiers, playing God with science, bullies, omnipotence, super-powers, magic just being a form of science, corporate greed, and war for profit. All those items get bungled together with the completely dumb story-telling. So nice try guys.

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Speed 2: Cruise Control

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Some brainiac from Fox at one point, thought that making a sequel to Speed, take out Keanu, make 1/3 of it about failed marriage proposals, toss in the "idiot plot", and ADR every horrible dad joke you could possibly come up with. Speed 2 is a horrible, terrible, not enjoyable film.

What a horrible awful experience. None, none, none of it works. The effects, the acting, the action, the comedy, the romance, the music, the writing, the directing...none of it. It has zero redeeming qualities. That's a rare thing were not one person does their job.

It is notable for how much money they stuffed in the toilet. They spent way too much making this movie. If you can find a way to make the scene more expensive, they did it. From the daily rental of the cruise ship, to the helicopter fly over shots, the explosions, the early CGI, the overly elaborate crash scene at the end....endless tossing of money on stupid ideas.

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Cool as Ice

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Kids, remember that period of time before Nirvana and post The Clash? Well that period was a dark time we like to call "The Ice Age" and Vanilla Ice, the mind-child of men in ties, led the charge against good art. This film is a horrifying reminder of those awful days.

It should be noted that we are not going to pick on Robert Van Winkle (Ice's real name). Any reference to how dumb Vanilla Ice is, will be reference to how stupid the men behind the image of Vanilla Ice were (record producers, MTV execs, publicists, etc.).

During this film, we are told that Vanilla Ice is a street tough, ripped with muscles, knows what we call "Ice-Qwon-Do", and the ladies love him. In reality, he might weight 150lbs, has a farmer's tan, is a misogynist, doesn't know martial arts and he likes to hump people while rapping, man OR woman. You know, I don't think I can buy into this guy.

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Days of Thunder

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When the people ask for a Top Gun sequel they get it! Only this one has NASCAR instead of fighter jets and Kelly McGillis gets to be replaced by the quite unhappy wife of the lead actor. Replace Tom Skeritt with a Robert Duvall and put him in a foot race with Tom Cruises and you've got Top Gun 2: Days of Thunder.

While it's just a sequel to arguably the buttest of all movies, Days of Thunder is a lot more fun. It's super dumb, of course, and fairly low on action, it's still a whole lot of fun to riff with how piss poor the script is. It's all fun and games here but if you really think about any single event of this movie you can start punching about fifty holes into each scene.

So while it stars Tom Cruises, who is despicable in 99% of his films, and Jerry Bruckheimer produced it (with Don Simpson), it's still a pretty fun time on the revisit. I would suggest getting some good riffers around you though when you do so. It's not great, but its clearly the best Jerry Bruckheimer movie we've reviewed.

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Face/Off

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When two men really don't like each other it's time to break the laws of medical science and do a face/off and then a face/on, while facing off. Inspiration demands much wiping of loved ones faces on, in case they get their faces blown off.

So let's start out with the science of said face/swap. Nope, can't work. The movie explicitly tells us that Cage and Travolta's characters (Troy and Archer, respectively) have two different blood types. So the face wouldn't even stay on. The body would reject the swap and then you'd really have a face off....onto the floor. Hey try not to step on your face. Then there's the height difference, hair lines and color, body hair amounts, eye color, dental structure, weight gain/loss, shoe size and the most damning of all differences -- the ding dong. Mrs. Archer must be only boning him when she's lit up like a X-mas tree because she can't tell that he husbands winky has gone from 4 inches and dropping left to 5 inches and constantly erect. Nice.

The sad thing about Face/Off is that there is really not as much action as people remember. There's only two sequences that are really actioney and they bookend an hour and half of not much happening action-wise. Good thing for the viewer is that during these slow points, Cage and Travolta are delivering some of the most outlandish acting we've seen this side of Wicker Man or Troll 2. They make a GREAT bad acting duo as they try to out over-the-top each other. It's chemistry, yes, and is the real draw for this film.

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