Could “The Core” Have A Rival…(Open Thread)

…as the worst science-fiction movie sweepstakes?

I had to take a serious hiatus from blogging, or really much of anything this week.  (Speaking of which, my feline Galtian Overlord is eyeing me with hunger and peculiar disdain just now.) So I’ve missed what seems to have been an eventful couple of days around here.  Given that my students just finished making documentaries about the fundamental and applied neurobiology of conflict resolution, I actually have a couple of PGOs to add to CommentGate (sic).  A hint:  in results you can in part track down to the level of neurons firing, power disparities really, really matter.   Those with power — even if it is illusory* — have an enormous difficulty grasping the experience of those without.  Y’all can probably guess how that kind of thing might frame what I might say at the hurt feelings of members of the dominant group when minor matters like the history of race relations in this country cut too deep.

But, as I say, too much time deep in the bunker with those same students, trying to take hours of pretty raw footage and within the week turn them into actual stories, so I haven’t grasped even a rumor of the ambient light for days.  And in that context, I have nothing right now to say about Balloon Juice bloggery; Mitt Romney’s dilemmas; OBL’s reading matter — or just about anything that requires more sophisticated cognition than the statement “pass the potatoes, please.”

Which is why this clip so filled me with joy that I just had to share it here:

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This is from the movie The Big Bang, in which Antonio Banderas plays a private detective hunting for a thug’s dead stripper girlfriend. (Do you think that they have numbers for this kind of plot point in Hollywood, just like that old line about the jokes in the prison yard reduced to numbers?)


Haven’t seen it yet (no real plans to…) but I learn from the invaluable Jen Luc Picard (Jennifer Oullette) over at Cocktail Party Physics of the subplot of truly delightful science wankery captured in the clip above, complete with (via the clip at the link to which J-L Picard connects) a wide-eyed invocation of “the God particle.**  (Warning, good stuff at Jen Luc’s link, but also an annoying self-starting preview for the Werner Herzog doc. on cave paintings in southern France)

What I love most about that clip?  The way that Banderas, attempting to look aloof and threatening, actually conveys almost as clearly as if he had spoken this one thought:

“Dear FSM, get me out of this movie.”

Open thread everyone.  We’ll have plenty of time to gnaw each other’s tendons in the morning.

*See, e.g., crab bucket syndrome, as to a partial explanation why so many of our fellow citizens seem willing to vote and act against their own interests.

*Is it just me, or does Leon Lederman have some serious ‘splainin to do?

24 replies
  1. 1
    Maude says:

    Some of the most vicious fights happen in an editing room.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    @Maude: Of course they’re vicious. The culture of the place is to have razor blades at hand. Those are primarily recreational these days.

  3. 3
    Nemo_N says:

    What about “Ultraviolet”?

    Never got the hate The Core gets. It’s bad but there are worse.

  4. 4
    Guster says:

    Well, I know I’m not racist*, but I agree it’s infuriating that those with power (ie, the power to ban me or close comments) can’t grasp the historical experience of we abused commoners.

    * I actually am. Jesus. I’ve never met a non-racist human.

  5. 5
    handy says:

    It looks like they shot that on green screen. I can faintly detect some compositing artifacts (in particular the last shot of Sam Elliott).

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    “Dear FSM, get me out of this movie.”

    No wonder he looks like he’s phoning it in. He must need the paycheck badly.

  7. 7
    k488 says:

    Oh, Sam Elliott, Sam Elliott! Lifeguard, Road House, the list goes on and on!

  8. 8
    thruppence says:

    I found The Core to be goofy fun. And we all owe respect to writer John “27% crazification” Rogers. But the list of worse sci-fi movies goes on for days. Pandorum? Pa-leez. Get me out of this movie.

  9. 9
    srv says:


    I think I was confused about 5 times during that 45 second clip.

  10. 10
    Delia says:

    Searching for the worst scifi flick ever made is like searching for peak wingnut.

  11. 11
    jake the snake says:

    Everyone has the own worst. However, Independence Day is the real worst S-F movie ever made. I loathe that movie almost as much as I loathe Grover Norquist.

    ID is truly Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (a much superior film) on steroids. The best antidote I have seen for it is
    Mars Attacks which is best described as Earth vs the Flying Saucers on acid.

  12. 12
    piratedan says:

    sorry, if it hasn’t been given the mst3k treatment, it simply doesn’t qualify

  13. 13
    Bruuuuce says:

    I’d probably vote for Cafe Flesh. Bad sf, bad pr0n, and not Z-grade enough to be funny. (It has Richard Belzer in a cameo, even.) Worst. SF. Flick. Evar.

    To counter it, I offer Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, which is Z-grade enough to be fun, not sleazy enough to be pr0n (but does have a nude scene, and many close to it), and not only Adrienne Barbeau, but perennial local favorite (FSVO “favorite”) Bill Maher. AND it was based (again, FSVO “based”) on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Fun all around.

  14. 14
    Aimai says:

    We just this minute finished watching Ed wood with our 12year old. A great evening since plan 9 was actually one of our first date movies.

    Now that is some serious theater.

  15. 15
    Groucho48 says:

    I thought the first third or so of The Core was pretty good. It went downhill (heh) once they started heading to the core, but that first third puts it well ahead of a similar movie…Fantastic Voyage.

  16. 16
    2liberal says:


    bad scify video. M-Fing Cats in M-Fing tanks !! via boing-boing

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    One could also completely trip out on something completely different. This actually isn’t bad except I think the translation might be too literal.

  18. 18
    Jay in Oregon says:

    I thought the first third or so of The Core was pretty good.

    John Rogers is on record as saying that he wanted to do a pulpy fun sci fi/action flick, but the studios saw it as another Independence Day or Armageddon and wanted it to be more serious.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, the magic metal that makes the plot work is called “unobtainium”. When I heard that line, I knew there was no way that movie was trying to take itself seriously.

  19. 19
    Ken J. says:

    I have an inner 12-year-old who loved The Core. “Quick, 75 people have just dropped dead on a Boston street!! Call a geologist!!”

    That same inner 12-year-old loved 10,000 B.C. Mammoth hunting? Slave uprisings lead by mammoths against pyramid builders? I am so there.

    Of course, my real 12-year-old self loved Around The World Under The Sea with Lloyd Bridge, David McCallum, and the woman from Goldfinger.

    I’m a real movie snob, but when it comes to science fiction and fantasy I’ll gulp down almost anything.

  20. 20
    mclaren says:

    You people are pikers. Bad science films? You want bad science fiction films?

    Try Octaman (1971).

    “Keep away from him, Steve, the fire ought to burn up all the oxygen around him!”

  21. 21
    Redwood Rhiadra says:

    @Bruuuuce: Oh, god, Cannibal Women. About 15-20 years ago my mom saw this movie listed in TV guide, and it became an instant in-joke in our family from the name alone. We’d joke about it being our favorite movie of all time, complain that we’d missed it the previous night, etc. We never, ever watched it.

  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    We are huge fans of The Devil Bat. Bela Lugosi plays a mad scientist who has trained bats to attack people wearing a certain aftershave.

    I mean, if you don’t love it from that, you don’t like bad science fiction movies.

  23. 23
    Stefan says:

    I loved The Core. So much fun. But I always had to wonder..when they were in ship tunneling through the Earth’s core and somehow in constant radio contact with their home base back which was back on the surface, were the radio waves really supposed to be traveling through hundreds of miles of solid rock and molten magma? Really?

  24. 24
    Mont D. Law says:

    Boa vs. Python

    I was watching this and it suddenly occurred to me -someone wrote a script for this and pitched it. There were meetings and discussions and more meetings.

    For Boa vs. Python.

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