Photo: Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
Besides enabling Jackass 3D to convey fully how it feels to be showered with poo, 3-D has provided yet another reason for George Lucas to tinker with the Star Wars flicks. In honor of The Phantom Menace and the five sequels yet to come, here are times when a bonus dimension just provided extra room for weird.
1. Pardon My Backfire
The Three Stooges in 3-D is your dad’s idea of cinematic excellence. The near-perfect film is marred only by the presence of Shemp, and the fact that it’s not very good.
Best 3-D Moment: Any time Moe gets upset, it's magical.
2. Gorilla at Large
When asked to name a Raymond Burr murder mystery, people respond, “Rear Window!” or “Billions of episodes of Perry Mason!” or (incorrectly) “Regarding Henry!” But those aren’t in 3-D like Gorilla at Large, which features future Mel Brooks spouse Anne Bancroft and a primate that may or may not be a killer in a film that promises to take you inside “big time circus life.” The same promise Regarding Henry made...we think. (The 90’s were a blur of weird tag lines.)
Best 3-D Moment: When that ape suddenly reaches out...
3. Dial M for Murder in 3-D
Alfred Hitchcock made countless films featuring webs of deceit and unbearable suspense. Actually you can count them (it’s 67). This was the only one that required you to wear silly glasses. The result was fine--if in no way an improvement on the flat version--though it’s fun to speculate how Vertigo would have turned out in John Waters’ Odorama.
Best 3-D Moment: The murder (again, 3-D doesn't really add anything to the rest of the movie).
4. Gun Fury
This would be a keeper in 2-D -- it’s the rare Western to star Lee Marvin, Rock Hudson, and, er, Donna Reed -- with an added charm thanks to the unlikely directorial choice of Raoul Walsh. While a fine filmmaker -- see High Sierra -- Walsh had only one eye, suggesting some of the nuances of 3-D may have been lost on him.
Best 3-D Moment: Who wouldn't want to see a horse in 3-D?
5. The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy
When John Holmes died, the world lost a really big penis. Sure, you could still see pictures of it, but you’ll never know what it was like to having it really coming at you…unless you see this. Boasting exactly the level of acting and dialogue you’d expect from a 3-D 70s porn flick (the trailer includes Holmes attempting Yiddish), it reminds death to be not proud, for some wood is with us forever.
Best 3-D Moment: Any time the camera goes to John Holmes and pans...to his face (eyes really are the windows to the soul).
6. Jaws 3-D
The first Jaws was a Steven Spielberg classic that created the summer blockbuster. The second: something less than that. And so with the third effort -- yes, there is some clever word play going on in that title -- the series charted a course followed by countless other horror franchises: When in doubt, bust out the glasses and hire Dennis Quaid.
Best 3-D Moment: When the shark bites stuff (obviously).
7. Captain EO
Francis Ford Coppola: responsible for The Godfather and this 1980s attraction at Disney World, starring Michael Jackson in a tale of using “the power of dance, light, and music to turn a colorless planet into a world of color and happiness.” While it had stopped running years ago -- possibly because of a child abuse trial or two -- following Jacko’s death it started being screened at the parks again, suggesting it may eventually be reappraised by more sophisticated audiences ala Apocalypse Now (though probably not).
Best 3-D Moment: At the end the little creature thing with Michael flies out to the crowd, so close you feel like you can kick it but you can't no matter how much you'd like to.
8. The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D
Robert Rodriguez is a remarkably prolific director who refuses to accept limitations. For instance, may people believe films shouldn’t be written by seven-year-olds, but that didn’t stop him from collaborating with his child Racer Max Rodriguez and proving the naysayers were completely correct. Eh, Sin City’s still a delight.
Best 3-D Moment: There is no best moment.
9. Caves of Forgotten Dreams
Best 3-D Moment: First time you see the cave--though it's not nearly so magical as the first time you hear Werner utter the phrase “modern human soul”.
10. 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy
Decades have passed since Lollipop Girls, so it was time for smut makers again to burst off the screen. Tinto Brass -- director of the notorious Caligula as well as countless Italian films featuring the basic plot, “Get a load of this broad’s ass!” -- announced plans to go 3-D, only to fail to reach the screen before this Hong Kong production, which is a bit like House of Flying Daggers with more getting it on.
Best 3-D Moment: Have you seen what 3-D does to cleavage? It's interesting.