Author: Christopher Tookey
Date Published: February 2, 2015
Edition: Kindle edition (I got a digital ARC via Netgalley.com)
Tookey’s Turkeys identifies the worst 144 movies of the last 25 years.Christopher Tookey has seen at least 10,000 films. For eight years, he was TV and then film critic for the Sunday Telegraph. For twenty years, he was sole film critic for the Daily Mail and the world’s most popular internet newspaper, Mail Online. In 2013, he won the award Arts Reviewer of the Year from the London Press Club.
This is a book about 144 of Christopher’s least favourite movies. In his opinion, the movies we hate tell us as much about present-day culture as our favourites. All offer insights into the mindset of those who made or commissioned them. Virtually all make us aware of things we might rather not know about our “culture” and “values”, or lack thereof.
Technically, movies are more advanced than ever before; yet, paradoxically, seldom have so many wrongheaded movies been made. And never have they plumbed the depths of ineptitude, depravity and risibility that they have over the last 25 years. The choice of films Christopher has disliked over the past two and a half decades may be controversial. Some movies he finds ridiculous have achieved critical acclaim. A few have won Oscars. But the fact that The Da Vinci Code, The Hangover II and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith are among the most commercially successful movies of all time should not disguise the fact that they are also, in his opinion, bloody awful.
Tookey’s Turkeys will appeal greatly to the general reader and in particular to all film fans, including those who have followed Christopher’s reviews over the years. In a companion volume, Tookey’s Talkies, Christopher has written about the best 144 films that he has seen over the same period.
Featured in The Bookseller, March 2015 Non-Fiction picks, Film, TV & the Performing Arts.
Professional reviewers have reasons for their bad criticisms of a material. As this book is about movies that didn't please the author, he was bound to explain things. But on some reviews, they felt unnecessarily long as the way he expounded things had my head spinning. Like in his review of Pirate Radio (2009), I just thought that his writing's in shambles sometimes. There must be times when he was not able to reach his readers and that whatever his intentions were, his message just go down the drain...
He treats some films as if they're politically motivated or the filmmakers have some dark agenda. Why keep thinking like that? This view of mine has nothing to do with any review he wrote about Michael Moore's documentaries. In fact, I haven't watched any of Mike Moore's docus but I'm pretty much convinced by the author that I need not watch them.
Oh btw, just like Tookey, most critics would agree that M. Night Shyamalan has gone mad over the years with his eye-rolling and groanworthy films. Fans of the animation Avatar (and I mean the japanese anime, not the Nickelodeon series) could relate when he murdered that story in The Last Airbender (2010).
Sometimes, real history (in contrast with what is laid out in a film's plot) is not given shit when the focus is obviously on the romance aspect. If not, then on the rush of adrenaline aspect i.e. action. The author's too serious on the truthfulness of history... as if all written history is true.
The author was always so poorly pissed when British history is concerned (especially that of William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I and William Wallace). He treats everybody who does fictional stories (alternate history) as if they misconstrued real history and want to spread false history. Where's the artistic freedom now? And how gullible does he think most people are?
It is for this reason that some moviegoers (in the bowels of the internet) commend the Russians because as how they put it, they never whine when they're always portrayed as the bad guys.
Moreover, he criticized lots of films I wouldn't even think of criticizing badly. But I did enjoy his critique of Burlesque (2010). That was just very funny in his meanness even though I haven't watched the film.
Oftentimes, I felt offended in behalf of some young people by the assumption that they'd be misled by the film or they'd fall under extreme films' bad influence, as if the youth can be easily fooled.
On the other hand, I agree with his views about violence and filmmakers' parameters of social responsibility. As a young adult watching Kick-ass on its cinema release, I thought I was the only one disturbed with Hit-Girl's sexualization on-screen. Even 30-year-olds I talked to expressed how much they'd love to do so many depraved things to her.
Moreover, there are real cases where crimes are committed by people who'd claim that they were inspired by certain movies. Some people do easily get influenced badly especially those who are already morally-corrupt or any combination of these: they're damaged goods with bad childhood, they're uneducated, they don't have good upbringing, they're poor, they're neglected by their parents. Worse, some are just born with genes, depending on the trigger will express them as bloodlusty psychopaths.
Yes, some films are way too brutal and misogynistic that they can't be called art-film, much less tolerable for a C-18 certificate. Also, some movies are just too boring or pointless. This I understand too well like that of Adam Sandler's films and Alexander. I was not able to sit through with that latter film on 2004. I walked out before the 30th minute mark.