Five Films You Thought Were Dumb, But Aren't

Remember at school there was always a kid who everyone thought was stupid and who got mocked mercilessly? Then, years later, they would show up on TV or in the news and it turns out they were actually a genius and have gone on to make fortunes, cure diseases and right wrongs in towns where'er they travelled, whilst you sat on your arse watching telly? Well, this post profiles the filmic equivalents of those kids, films which everyone dismisses for being dumb, when in fact they are quite the opposite.


You thought....it was a brainless, gung-ho, science-fiction flick with gratuitous violence, nudity and special effects.


But actually....it's a very sharp anti-war satire, which takes the piss out of fascism, imperialistic American foreign policy and the military. Watch it again and consider that the pretty, clean-cut humans might actually be the bad guys. It also takes time to poke fun at our fascination with war, as long as we can view from a safe distance on Fox News/Sky/CNN, whilst advertisements/propanganda roll alongside. Much smarter than you think. All this, and it features Doogie Howser MD in full Nazi regalia, the immortal line “They sucked his brains out!", and a bit where a cow gets ripped to bits. Would you like to know more?



You thought....it was a film where Rambo straps an entire arsenal to his body, kills everybody and blows the crap out of everything.


But actually....that's the three Rambo sequels you're thinking of. First Blood is a very low-key affair with little gore or extreme violence, in which Rambo kills no-one and is quite a sympathetic figure, rather than a one-man army psychotically taking on the entire Russian army. Furthermore, the much-mocked Sylvester Stallone is actually rather good in this film, especially during an emotional, although pretty much unintelligible, breakdown at one point. He does resort to blowing things up, admittedly, but only at the end.



You thought....it was a crude and crudely drawn feature-length episode of a silly, cartoon TV series.


But actually....it's a razor-sharp satire on censorship, which based its entire plot around the hysterical over-reaction and moral outrage to a profane movie, thereby pre-empting and effectively neutralizing the expected hysterical over-reaction and moral outrage about the profanity of the film itself. Brilliant! Not only that, but it also managed to be simultaneously a parody of big screen musicals and the most infectiously toe-tapping musical movie of recent years. Yes, it's very rude, but it's also very funny and very clever.




You thought....it's a stupid horror film in which Elvis battles with an Egyptian mummy.


But actually....it's a very funny horror film in which Elvis battles with an Egyptian mummy. But more than that, it also manages to be a surprisingly touching meditation on the indignities of growing old as Elvis also battles with loneliness, impotence and cancerous growths on his pecker. And in Bruce Campbell's aged Elvis, we get the best ever screen version of The King, striking just the right note between impersonation and parody. Never seen it? Then do so and you can thank me, thank me very much, afterwards.




You thought....it was an also-ran entry in the Bond franchise, only notable for being the one with George Lazenby in it, commonly regarded as the worst of all the Bonds.


But actually....it bravely tried to reinvent Bond long before the inferior Casino Royale got over-praised for doing so. In OHMSS, Bond shows his vulnerable side, falls in love and even gets married, but all this came too soon for audiences who just wanted to see him shag a lot of women and crack jokes. Even so, it's still one of the best Bond films, with a smart plot, the best Blofeld (Telly Savalas), great locations, superb action (the ski sequences inspired those in Inception) and a stonkingly good theme tune and song. Lazenby had a thankless job taking over the role from Connery and does lack a bit of screen presence, but this is a minor criticism of a very good film indeed, which gets extra kudos for having the balls to finish on a very downbeat note.

There you go. You probably think this is a stupid post, but it's not. You are. So there.


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