Lindsey Romain: Twister

Twister is a terrible movie and I love every goddamn second of it. Mad respect for a movie that apes the basic story beats of Jurassic Park but replaces dinosaurs with muthafuckin’ tornadoes! Nothing about the science of Twister makes a lick of sense, but that’s precisely why it’s so fun – tornadoes pop up all over the place, out of the blue, in whatever size the story demands. Sometimes there’s two of them! Sometimes there’s a cow! Although, and this may be contradictory to my point, I would argue that despite occasional corniness, Twister genuinely succeeds on a character level. Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are fantastic and believable as a sparring almost-divorced couple who rekindle their romance in the wind-battered Great Plains. The supporting cast is also bizarrely perfect. Did you know that Twister costars Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Todd Field, and Jeremy Davies? It’s great! It’s terrible and it’s great!

Matt Donato: Grind

Any reason to write about 2003’s Grind is a good one. Even the prompt “What’s your favorite ‘Unapologetically Stupid Movie You Truly Love?’” That still means I get to write about Grind – my favorite X-treme 2000s teen comedy – as I rip celebratory kickflips on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for N64 and chug Red Bulls. Soak in that slammin’ late-90s, early-00s nostalgia!

Directed by Casey La Scala – whose only other credit is a 2014 thriller called The Remaining – and written by Ralph Sall – his only feature writing credit – Grind is like radioactive-colored liquid cheese that slathers movie theater nachos. You understand there’s no nutritional value and wait for internal digestive corrosion, yet chow down anyways because goddamn that cheesiness is too good.

In the same way, Grind is comfort by way of alt-rock soundtracks and Bam Margera cameos. Dopiness conceived amid an era where daredevils and skateboarders were heralded as gods. Grind is the culmination of bloody-kneed trends and angsty lash-out feelings packed into an underdog roadtrip about broship, wicked trickage and chasin’ babes. Shreddin’ gnar, dudes!

In all seriousness, Grind is a movie that still makes me laugh harder than I should – flaws acknowledged. Every character is a backwards-hat stereotype, from Joey Kern’s lady-killing Sweet Lou to Vince Vieluf’s dunce of a human baboon, yet their companionship is real (Mike Vogel and Adam Brody round out team Super Duper). A van full of testosterone and dreams embarking on a silly quest that ends in skate squad glory.

Yet Sall’s message of failure and success rings truest when the wheels stop spinning. Life has different endings for all of us. Some will be the rockstar X-Games personality, others the successful graduate or family man. Grind is about doubling-down on happiness and discovering who we truly are. Something we deserve! It’s a sunshiny high that rises above expected – and delivered – immaturity.

Then again, you’re here for the comedy. Randy Quaid – a circus clown – reuniting with his son and the carnival-themed skate demo that follows afterwards. Sweet Lou being left at a party, his silhouette dancing suggestively as the camera pans to a colored window. A rival gang of wannabe posers who represent the fakeness that tries to pass as true scene heroes. It’s never as raunchy as American Pie or consistent as Out Cold, but still mixes MTV roguishness with a charismatic cast of social “rejects.” Tom Green cameo included.

I know what I’m defending and I stand by it. Grind has the moves and grooves teenage Donato dug, and that love hasn’t died. Let me cling on to my youth just a little big longer.

Jacob Hall: Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence May be the single stupidest movie released by a major studio in the past 30 years. It is ill-conceived on every level, filled with baffling character motivations, questionable creative decisions, and a tone that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon given platform shoes and a steroid injection. It is total lunacy and for most people, critics and audiences alike, it was unbearable. And that’s okay. That’s understandable. It is a bad movie. A bad, stupid, cringe-worthy, idiotic movie. I also love it.

As bad and dumb and preposterous as Independence Day: Resurgence is, as much as it discards the old school disaster movie charms that tethered the first movie to the ground, as much it keeps finding new ways to top itself when it comes to rampant stupidity, this movie’s got spirit to spare. There’s a grand sense of going all-in here: the weirdly detailed world-building, the combination of old and new cast members, the hilariously misguided attempt to set up a third movie, and the way the film desperately tries to top the destruction from the first entry only to feel more like a cartoon than a live-action film that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make.

Cartoon may be the key word here. Independence Day: Resurgence doesn’t feel like a movie. It feels like someone took a long lost (and thoroughly deranged) anime series from the ’80s and dropped it into the machine that translated it into live-action without taking nuance into account. It’s the big screen adaptation of the animated sequel series to the original movie that exists only in an alternate dimension. It’s such a weird thing, such a bizarre go-for-broke pivot from the first movie that I can’t help but admire it. Love it, even. It’s like an Irish Setter: dumb as a rock and probably going to ruin your shoes, but aww, it’s kind of adorable, right?


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