I enjoy a good, brain dead action film every now and then as much as the next guy. There’s plenty of cathartic goodness to be had watching Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, or Steven Segal kick ass and blow things up.
But have you ever attempted to have a film conversation with someone whose cinematic knowledge (and/or preference) starts at DIE HARD and ends at THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS? You haven’t? Then count your blessings. Count ’em real hard.
And there’s one film in particular that led to my current irritation toward those who would rather die than watch a film with something more than a second grade plot level: 1998’s ARMAGEDDON. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s where I work during the day, or the fact that I rarely meet people outside of the Internet who know even an ant’s dick about film. But I seem to come into contact quite often with people who talk about ARMAGEDDON like it’s some kind of timeless masterpiece instead of the forgettable, error-infested, throw away piece of shit that it is.
There. I said it. ARMAGEDDON is a piece of shit. Even Steve Buscemi couldn’t rescue it. And what exactly do many find so great about this film? I wish I knew. I’ve been trying to figure it out since the first time I saw it, which was on cable TV shortly after its theatrical run. Sure, it has some dazzling special effects, action sequences and funny dialogue, but I couldn’t help but scratch my head over several issues, the least of which is the title itself.
This isn’t a film about Armageddon. “Armageddon” has become a word taken way out of its original meaning. According to the New Testament, Armageddon is basically the final world war before this whole she-bang is slated to end. It is a specific battle, in a specific place, at a specific time. It is NOT a generic term for the End of the World. And it’s taken from the Book of Revelation, NOT “The Book of Revelations” like so many like to call it. As a lapsed Protestant this still manages to drive me nuts. ARMAGEDDON the film has absolutely NOTHING to do with Armageddon! Imagine paying to see DEEP THROAT and no one gets a blow job. Wouldn’t you be pissed?
ARMAGEDDON is a literal disaster from the moment you read the title on its lame poster (or Netflix ad, or whatever technology you may be suckered into seeing it on). You can google the issues many film commentators (and myself) have with it, but for me, the misuse of the title alone was almost enough to write the whole thing off.
I’ve argued with people face to face who have sat through ARMAGEDDON upwards of 25 times and I can tell you this: It is easier to convince a parking meter that it’s really a tampon than to talk any kind of sense into a hardcore fan of this ridiculous film. There’s no problem liking a film for shits and giggles, but to attempt to tell me ARMAGEDDON is the greatest action film (and one gent, THE greatest film, period) only shows me, and anyone else with even the slightest appreciation for cinema, that you are an absolute asshole.
May everyone who has argued with me over this film find themselves, somehow, in the actual battle of Armageddon … or at least forced to recite the definition of the title 1,000 times (or until understood).
Bio: Nick Cato is the author of Don of the Dead: A Zombie Novel, five novellas, and a forthcoming book on grindhouse cinema. Visit him at nickyakcato.blogspot.com.