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The UnPopular Opinion: Battleship

Oct. 23, 2013by: Alex Maidy

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

When the idea was first floated to adapt the board game BATTLESHIP into a movie, I immediately drew my own conclusions and said f*ck you to everyone involved with the production. From the moment the TRANSFORMERS rip-off trailer hit the Internet, I wrote the film off as a piece of shit not worth my time. I read the reviews and none were anywhere near positive, so I ignored the movie entirely. Until last week. With 80% of my DVR filled with shows I needed to catch up on and feeling a bit under the weather, I threw on something brainless to fall asleep to. Lo and behold, BATTLESHIP was on. So I said, f*ck it, I will give it a go.

Believe it or not, I really liked it. BATTLESHIP will never be looked at in the annals of action movies as one of the all time classics, but it was a hell of a lot more fun than everyone let on. The special effects are top notch and the action scenes are aplenty. The movie feels like it could have been directed by Michael Bay, pre-TRANSFORMERS. Basically, it is a fun action movie that you can throw on at any time and just have fun. So, why the bad rap if it is not awful? Let's discuss.

REAL STEEL: The Naval Years

First off, there is criticism that the screenplay is awful. I am not going to say that Erich Hoeber and his brother Jon turned in a script that awards worthy but they did a pretty damn fine job for a movie based on a board game. And not even a board game with the semblance of a plot like Clue or Candyland but a literal strategy game with just ships and pegs. If you were anticipating something ground-shakingly good, then you probably were never going to like BATTLESHIP. To enjoy a movie like this you don't have to be crayons-up-your-nose-and-drool-on-the-floor stupid but you also need to step down from your high horse and let your suspension of disbelief explode.

Peter Berg has turned in some good directing work with the films HANCOCK, THE KINGDOM, and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Even his debut film VERY BAD THINGS had some good stuff going for it visually. Here, Berg doesn't get to do a whole lot outside of the run of the mill action but when he does he captures it clearly and lets you see every last detail. Some directors try to hide the shortcomings of their effects tools by using shaky camera movements or quick cuts, but BATTLESHIP lets you see the explosive carnage in all of it's PG-13 glory. Unlike Bay's TRANSFORMERS, BATTLESHIP wants to just blow shit up real good and screw the logic. Where TRANSFORMERS tries too hard to be great and fails miserably, BATTLESHIP is willing to wallow in its own crapulence.

Sir, their shields look like a giant umbrella, ella, ella, ella, ella.

So, what about the cast? Taylor Kitsch is in his normal kitschy mode (see what I did there?) and does just enough to progress the story. Rihanna is there as the relevant star to pull in the younger demographic and Brooklyn Decker is the necessary eye candy for the males who the movie is intended for. Plus you have Alexander Skarsgard and Liam Neeson, both of whom were hitting the peak of their popularity when BATTLESHIP was made. The whole group together plays like exactly the cast of ARMAGEDDON if it were made today. Just replace Kitsch for Ben Affleck, Neeson for Bruce Willis, Decker for Liv Tyler, and you have the same template. Sure, BATTLESHIP is cookie cutter, but even though you may be eating a cookie that isn't very good, I guarantee you will still finish it.

To complain that BATTLESHIP hits all of the right notes for a summer blockbuster and yet still sucks is like complaining about PACIFIC RIM. Guillermo Del Toro's monster movie is dumb fun that spews big words and scifi babbletalk to make it seem smarter than it is. In the end it is about humans beating the ever-loving shit out of aliens to save humanity. We don't flock to see these movies because they are the epitome of what movies are capable of being, we go to get a hard on for hot chicks and explosions.

How I imagine Brooklyn Decker would look after seeing me naked.

BATTLESHIP is military porn if anything. The movie plays like a commercial for joining the armed forces and fighting for not just America but everything America represents: truth, freedom, and what is right. When I stepped out of seeing INDEPENDENCE DAY, I wanted to be a fighter pilot like Will Smith. When I finished BATTLESHIP, I wanted to get behind a big ass gun and blow the shit out of some alien motherf*ckers. When a movie evokes a guttural reaction out of the viewer that doesn't involve wanting to punch the director in the face, that is a win.

Does BATTLESHIP have problems? Of course it does. After all, it is not exactly the best source material, but you cannot assign the same rating scale for a movie like this as you would for the films of Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. If one of those guys had directed BATTLESHIP, I would be right there lambasting them to hell and back. That is unless their intended purpose was to make a movie that was not trying to do anything but impress young men with Naval vessels shooting alien crafts out of the ocean. Because in that, BATTLESHIP succeeds.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!
 
Recent UnPopular Opinions:
THE INCREDIBLE HULK | SUCKER PUNCH | THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN | DAREDEVIL
DREDD | EVENT HORIZON | FANTASTIC FOUR
Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
11:36AM on 10/24/2013

i agree...

i said it before a while ago. the only thing that was wrong about this movie, was its release date. it was crushed by the wave of the avengers. it's a typical action packed, popcorn, summer blockbuster that didn't get it due because of the release date.
i said it before a while ago. the only thing that was wrong about this movie, was its release date. it was crushed by the wave of the avengers. it's a typical action packed, popcorn, summer blockbuster that didn't get it due because of the release date.
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10:07PM on 10/23/2013
No this movie sucked. Probably the worst offender is Berg, who you know could have made something better. I guess he made this film as a deal to get his new movie made, but that's no excuse to make something as awful like this, a bland Michael Bay knock-off. Heck, at least the Transformer movies had some cool scenes with Optimus Prime. I don't know what the appeal of Battleship is suppose to be.
No this movie sucked. Probably the worst offender is Berg, who you know could have made something better. I guess he made this film as a deal to get his new movie made, but that's no excuse to make something as awful like this, a bland Michael Bay knock-off. Heck, at least the Transformer movies had some cool scenes with Optimus Prime. I don't know what the appeal of Battleship is suppose to be.
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+2
7:35PM on 10/23/2013

While I expected pure crap

I walked away from the movie having enjoyed it. I have seen it 1 and a half times and it isn't bad. Is it great? No but it is not bad by any means.
I walked away from the movie having enjoyed it. I have seen it 1 and a half times and it isn't bad. Is it great? No but it is not bad by any means.
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7:29PM on 10/23/2013

No love for ''The Rundown'?

I'd seen worse that year, but it was doomed when they named the movie after a dull board game. Why they decided the movie needed aliens is a mystery. While I don't think it was as bad as some, it should have never been made.....period. Waste of everyone's time who was involved.
I'd seen worse that year, but it was doomed when they named the movie after a dull board game. Why they decided the movie needed aliens is a mystery. While I don't think it was as bad as some, it should have never been made.....period. Waste of everyone's time who was involved.
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+0
4:39PM on 10/23/2013

WHAT? SPIELBERG?

I absolutely loved WAR OF THE WORLDS, and I've liked a lot of mindless action movies, including PACIFIC RIM which you mentioned. That's no excuse to defend BATTLESHIP, which I consider to be one of the worst movies ever. No, really. The effects may be good, but the action isn't. There's too much noise and movement to understand what's happening. Also, since it takes mostly place in one location, they needed to do their best to make the action look as varied as possible. They didn't. One thing
I absolutely loved WAR OF THE WORLDS, and I've liked a lot of mindless action movies, including PACIFIC RIM which you mentioned. That's no excuse to defend BATTLESHIP, which I consider to be one of the worst movies ever. No, really. The effects may be good, but the action isn't. There's too much noise and movement to understand what's happening. Also, since it takes mostly place in one location, they needed to do their best to make the action look as varied as possible. They didn't. One thing is to be "mindless fun" and another is to be "Stupid and boring".

The whole "acting required for this kind of movie" is invalid. It's been proved that action movies can have good acting. Not necessarily deep and layered, but good. Kitsch's performance is plain terrible. And so is that paraplegic guy (the one who's not an actor but a real-life army guy). Rihanna is OK for her role, though. The worst part is that the navy attack first, and we never see why the aliens came to Earth. So it comes off as being the humans' fault.

"When a movie evokes a guttural reaction out of the viewer that doesn't involve wanting to punch the director in the face, that is a win".
Unless the movie uses propaganda. Then it's brainwash.
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+13
4:29PM on 10/23/2013

Popular Opinion: This Guy Sucks

Just so I'm clear: THUMBS DOWN TO 'GOODFELLAS' but 'Battle Ship' gets a pass...
This isn't a column its trolling...
Just so I'm clear: THUMBS DOWN TO 'GOODFELLAS' but 'Battle Ship' gets a pass...
This isn't a column its trolling...
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9:31AM on 10/24/2013
Another amazing response
Another amazing response
9:31AM on 10/24/2013
Another amazing response
Another amazing response
4:17PM on 10/23/2013
battleship is a truly horrible movie.
battleship is a truly horrible movie.
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-6
3:28PM on 10/23/2013
I never understood why poeple hate Battle ship and why love Pacific Rim. They both the same: mindless entertainment. Nothing more. But both of them are well made.
Wanna see something really bad? Check out any Asylum film! If you tell me that Asylum makes better movies than Battleship, you have a very different taste than mine!
I never understood why poeple hate Battle ship and why love Pacific Rim. They both the same: mindless entertainment. Nothing more. But both of them are well made.
Wanna see something really bad? Check out any Asylum film! If you tell me that Asylum makes better movies than Battleship, you have a very different taste than mine!
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-6
3:20PM on 10/23/2013
I also thought battleship was some good mindless fun, I've seen it a bunch of times, and usually stop if I see it while I'm surfing the guide. Really don't understand the hate for this movie, the scene where he meets Decker and gets her a burrito is absolutely hilarious lol
I also thought battleship was some good mindless fun, I've seen it a bunch of times, and usually stop if I see it while I'm surfing the guide. Really don't understand the hate for this movie, the scene where he meets Decker and gets her a burrito is absolutely hilarious lol
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1:35PM on 10/23/2013
This was my experience with Battleship. Walks out of theater of unrelated film. Battleship is currently playing. Walks in out of morbid curiosity. Sits down. Character employs comic relief about a paraplegic soldier looking like a cyborg. Immediately walks out of theater.
This was my experience with Battleship. Walks out of theater of unrelated film. Battleship is currently playing. Walks in out of morbid curiosity. Sits down. Character employs comic relief about a paraplegic soldier looking like a cyborg. Immediately walks out of theater.
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+3
1:25PM on 10/23/2013

Horrible

There is nothing positive about this movie. You're gonna tell me that you were able to sit through the abysmal acting of Rihanna. That's impossible.
There is nothing positive about this movie. You're gonna tell me that you were able to sit through the abysmal acting of Rihanna. That's impossible.
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1:17PM on 10/23/2013
This was my experience with Battleship. Walks out of theater of unrelated film. Battleship is currently playing. Walks in out of morbid curiosity. Sits down. Character employs comic relief about a paraplegic soldier looking like a cyborg. Immediately walks out of theater.
This was my experience with Battleship. Walks out of theater of unrelated film. Battleship is currently playing. Walks in out of morbid curiosity. Sits down. Character employs comic relief about a paraplegic soldier looking like a cyborg. Immediately walks out of theater.
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+10
12:56PM on 10/23/2013
No ....this was actually fucking stupid. Missouri, which is a museum, just so happens to have fuel and ammunition and is ready to sail a moments notice. Oh and lets not forget they actually drift the fucking thing. IT WAS STUPID!
No ....this was actually fucking stupid. Missouri, which is a museum, just so happens to have fuel and ammunition and is ready to sail a moments notice. Oh and lets not forget they actually drift the fucking thing. IT WAS STUPID!
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7:51PM on 10/23/2013
I laughed my ass off during that scene. It was a nice salute to the vets but so ridiculous, they had the ship ready to fight in less than 2 hours.
I laughed my ass off during that scene. It was a nice salute to the vets but so ridiculous, they had the ship ready to fight in less than 2 hours.
12:22PM on 10/23/2013

Loved it!

They had a man with no legs box an alien! Lets see transformers do that.
They had a man with no legs box an alien! Lets see transformers do that.
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-2
12:19PM on 10/23/2013
Battleship is as bad as you would expect it to be, and yet, strangely, still better than it had any right being.

It was entertaining even as you shook your head at how ridiculous it is. The actual "Battleship" sequence where they were tracking the alien ship on the grid is clever, and saving the day with the old farts from the USS Missouri is cheesy fun. But in the end the movie can't shake the fact that it is about aliens and has no business being so.
Battleship is as bad as you would expect it to be, and yet, strangely, still better than it had any right being.

It was entertaining even as you shook your head at how ridiculous it is. The actual "Battleship" sequence where they were tracking the alien ship on the grid is clever, and saving the day with the old farts from the USS Missouri is cheesy fun. But in the end the movie can't shake the fact that it is about aliens and has no business being so.
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11:25AM on 10/23/2013
Did you really just compare this to Pacific Rim? While Pac Rim deals in an absurd plot and cliched characters there is a streamlined narrative that doesn't waste any time and there is also a heart and soul to it. Battleship has no heart and soul. It's just as bloated and ugly as the Transformers sequels (I still like the first one).

P.S. This is STILL the guy who disliked The Avengers and Dredd but gives this and Fantastic 4 a pass?
Did you really just compare this to Pacific Rim? While Pac Rim deals in an absurd plot and cliched characters there is a streamlined narrative that doesn't waste any time and there is also a heart and soul to it. Battleship has no heart and soul. It's just as bloated and ugly as the Transformers sequels (I still like the first one).

P.S. This is STILL the guy who disliked The Avengers and Dredd but gives this and Fantastic 4 a pass?
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11:44AM on 10/23/2013
Amazing response!
Amazing response!
11:10AM on 10/23/2013

I saw this movie

Just in case, I sent my brain out of pizza and plied my suspension of disbelief with beer. They still said, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" around the 20-minute mark.

Actually, if they had made this a World War II thriller, it would have been much more fun. As it stood, it was a lousy INDEPENDENCE DAY remake. And Taylor Kitsch doesn't have what it takes to be a leading man: he proved it in JOHN CARTER and he proved it here.
Just in case, I sent my brain out of pizza and plied my suspension of disbelief with beer. They still said, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" around the 20-minute mark.

Actually, if they had made this a World War II thriller, it would have been much more fun. As it stood, it was a lousy INDEPENDENCE DAY remake. And Taylor Kitsch doesn't have what it takes to be a leading man: he proved it in JOHN CARTER and he proved it here.
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10:58AM on 10/23/2013
The only redeeming aspect of this movie was the subplot with the wounded Army vet Commander. And Brooklyn Decker's cans.
The only redeeming aspect of this movie was the subplot with the wounded Army vet Commander. And Brooklyn Decker's cans.
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11:18AM on 10/23/2013
Agreed, liked him.
Agreed, liked him.
10:14AM on 10/23/2013
I'm really glad you included Battleship in one if these columns. I enjoyed the hell out of it, am not afraid to admit it, don't understand why people seemed to hate on it so much. Cast was good for this type of movie, story was entertaining. Wonder if people wouldn't have bitched about it so much if title wasn't Battleship and wasn't based (very loosely) on a board game. I didn't give a shit what it was based on when I saw it and really liked it.
I'm really glad you included Battleship in one if these columns. I enjoyed the hell out of it, am not afraid to admit it, don't understand why people seemed to hate on it so much. Cast was good for this type of movie, story was entertaining. Wonder if people wouldn't have bitched about it so much if title wasn't Battleship and wasn't based (very loosely) on a board game. I didn't give a shit what it was based on when I saw it and really liked it.
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11:53AM on 10/23/2013
Exactly the same here!

Went into it as part of a cinema day with my mates, very surprised to find it as funny as it was. I think all the hate it got was simply because it was based on a board game.
But to it's credit the film has some craft to it which I think is helped by most of the people in it (crew and actors) are from Friday Night Lights and are use to an enviornment where you need to get things done quickly with high quality.
Exactly the same here!

Went into it as part of a cinema day with my mates, very surprised to find it as funny as it was. I think all the hate it got was simply because it was based on a board game.
But to it's credit the film has some craft to it which I think is helped by most of the people in it (crew and actors) are from Friday Night Lights and are use to an enviornment where you need to get things done quickly with high quality.
9:56AM on 10/23/2013
I'm going to agree with you. This movie is not nearly as bad as the critics made it out to be. I found it to be a fun little action flick that fits into the genre. Will I say it is great? Hell no. But I had a good enough time watching it with my 12 year old son on TV. I had a worse time with that crappy second Transformers movie that went on and on and found new ways to offend. Battleship is not as terrible as you think. Not great, but it gets a real bad rap. The screenplay may get
I'm going to agree with you. This movie is not nearly as bad as the critics made it out to be. I found it to be a fun little action flick that fits into the genre. Will I say it is great? Hell no. But I had a good enough time watching it with my 12 year old son on TV. I had a worse time with that crappy second Transformers movie that went on and on and found new ways to offend. Battleship is not as terrible as you think. Not great, but it gets a real bad rap. The screenplay may get crapped on, but at least they TRIED for a little story.
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9:45AM on 10/23/2013
Some of it just didnt make sense, they didnt even explain why the aliens never killed them face on, they just looked them over and saw a heart beat and then left them, it was stupid
Some of it just didnt make sense, they didnt even explain why the aliens never killed them face on, they just looked them over and saw a heart beat and then left them, it was stupid
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9:40AM on 10/23/2013
Look, it is what it is. Peter Berg's brief from the studio was "direct this the way Michael Bay would" and turned out the way it did. It's not completely horrible (the "badass grandpas" bit of the film is hilarious and kinda fun), but the big thing for me was that they completely wasted Liam Neeson. You have this badass guy on your cast, and you lock him outside the action speaking into a radio?! What's the logic behind that?
Look, it is what it is. Peter Berg's brief from the studio was "direct this the way Michael Bay would" and turned out the way it did. It's not completely horrible (the "badass grandpas" bit of the film is hilarious and kinda fun), but the big thing for me was that they completely wasted Liam Neeson. You have this badass guy on your cast, and you lock him outside the action speaking into a radio?! What's the logic behind that?
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-1
9:15AM on 10/23/2013

I liked it

Although in a film full of outrageous moments, I couldn't think of anything more unrealistic than team USA and team Japan making it to the final of a football (soccer) tournament that involved navys from all over the world. Surely USA, where soccer is not a national past-time would not get bast the Royal Navu, the French Navy, the Dutch Navy or the German Navy???
Although in a film full of outrageous moments, I couldn't think of anything more unrealistic than team USA and team Japan making it to the final of a football (soccer) tournament that involved navys from all over the world. Surely USA, where soccer is not a national past-time would not get bast the Royal Navu, the French Navy, the Dutch Navy or the German Navy???
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9:06AM on 10/23/2013
I actually enjoyed the movie as well. At first I was wondering how they're going to involve Battleship game play into the movie. The use of Tsunami buoys was brilliant.
I actually enjoyed the movie as well. At first I was wondering how they're going to involve Battleship game play into the movie. The use of Tsunami buoys was brilliant.
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9:00AM on 10/23/2013

This is coming from someone who loves dumb fun movies...

This movie was horrendous from start to finish in my opinion. Dumb lead characters, even dumber aliens and audience-insultingly stupid. It tried to be fun but started taking itself too seriously which was its ultimate downfall, wasn't fun at all. Other than some crazy action scenes, this movie has absolutely nothing to stand on.

Peter Berg (the director) couldn't even find an effective way to use Liam Fucking Neeson for crying out loud, he was cut off from the action for the entire movie.
This movie was horrendous from start to finish in my opinion. Dumb lead characters, even dumber aliens and audience-insultingly stupid. It tried to be fun but started taking itself too seriously which was its ultimate downfall, wasn't fun at all. Other than some crazy action scenes, this movie has absolutely nothing to stand on.

Peter Berg (the director) couldn't even find an effective way to use Liam Fucking Neeson for crying out loud, he was cut off from the action for the entire movie. Terrible dialogue, terrible chemistry of the actors, Rihanna etc, etc. For me though it was all about the last line of dialogue in the movie, for those who have seen it you know what I'm talking about it and it was the biggest WTF moment of the movie.

The biggest offense however when all is said and done is abso-fucking-lutely nobody in the movie saying "You sunk my battleship." Are you serious screenwriters?! You had one job.

If you or anyone else enjoyed it though, that's fine.
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9:21AM on 10/23/2013
Agree with everything said here, awful movie
Agree with everything said here, awful movie
9:00AM on 10/23/2013

I felt just like you..

..So many people shitting on it, I had very low expectations, so I ended up loving it. I watched it with my two boys, and we all thought it was great. Such a fun movie. Do you know how many people told me that it sucked that hadn't seen it. When I asked, how did they know it was bad, the reply was always the same, "Oh it got terrible reviews so I know its bad". That's why I don't listen to people or reviews. Most of the time it's bullshit.
..So many people shitting on it, I had very low expectations, so I ended up loving it. I watched it with my two boys, and we all thought it was great. Such a fun movie. Do you know how many people told me that it sucked that hadn't seen it. When I asked, how did they know it was bad, the reply was always the same, "Oh it got terrible reviews so I know its bad". That's why I don't listen to people or reviews. Most of the time it's bullshit.
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8:53AM on 10/23/2013

So bad it's good

I'll admit it, I've seen this more than once. I never saw it in theaters, only on HBO. To me, it's one of those movies where it's so bad I can't stop watching. I mean, let's face it, nothing could really save this movie, and yes it's really bad. But I think it's one of those movies that's so bad, it's good.
I'll admit it, I've seen this more than once. I never saw it in theaters, only on HBO. To me, it's one of those movies where it's so bad I can't stop watching. I mean, let's face it, nothing could really save this movie, and yes it's really bad. But I think it's one of those movies that's so bad, it's good.
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8:47AM on 10/23/2013
Still a dumb concept, still a dumb movie. Move on.
Still a dumb concept, still a dumb movie. Move on.
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8:43AM on 10/23/2013
Okay, now you're just trying to start fights.
Okay, now you're just trying to start fights.
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