Skip to Content

The Worst Movie I Saw in 1987 Returns to the Big Screen This Week

Pretty much every movie you can catch in Twin Cities theaters this week.

Promotional stills|

Scenes from ‘My Demon Lover’ and ‘Saint Omer’

I saw many terrible movies in my senior year of high school, some of which have been completely forgotten, even by people who saw them. When's the last time anyone thought about Born American, a cold-warsploitation dud about some American boys visiting Finland who accidentally stray into the Soviet Union, where they are immediately arrested. (The first of many terrible movies directed by Renny Harlin!) Or Three for the Road, a movie so negligible that the best critic's blurb they could get for the VHS box was the non-committal "Charlie Sheen, in his first role since Platoon."

I mention this because the absolute worst movie I saw in 1987 is playing at Willow Creek this week. In My Demon Lover, Nick from Family Ties (it's OK if that phrase means nothing to you) plays a cursed homeless musician who turns into a grotesque monster whenever he gets horny. "A clever metaphor for toxic masculinity?" some overeager cultural studies undergrad out there offers. Don't even try it, bub. I was making $5/hr frying burgers at Roy Rogers and I wasted my money on this?!?!

The good news: You can also see Saint Omer (which made my top ten of 2023) at the Walker this weekend, a very rare documentary about Gaza at the U tonight, and (also tonight), Frogman, a found-footage horror flick about the search for the amphibious cryptid in Ohio.

Special Screenings

Thursday, February 22

Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family (1985)
Bell Auditorium
A special 16 mm screening of the first feature-length documentary shot in Gaza. Donations will be accepted and used to purchase feminine hygiene products for the women of Gaza. 6 p.m. More info here.

Frogman (2023)
Emagine Willow Creek
He's real! $6. 7:30 & 8:30 p.m. More info here.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2004)
Emagine Willow Creek
Just in case you thought you knew all there was to know about training dragons. $3. 12 p.m. More info here.

Harold and Maude (1971)
Grandview 1&2
The film that famously drew a protest from neighbors after the Westgate Theater in Edina showed it for more than two years. $12. 9:15 p.m. Saturday 11:59 p.m. More info here.

La Piscine (1969)
The Heights
Four hot people, one French swimming pool. $12. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Friday, February 23

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
Emagine Willow Creek
The student becomes the teacher. All week. $3. 12 p.m. More info here.

Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Minnesota classic. $8. 7 p.m. Saturday 3 & 5 & 9:15 p.m. Sunday 1 & 3 p.m. More info here.

Miss Congeniality (1979)
An FBI agent goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant? This I gotta see! $8. 9 p.m. Saturday 7 p.m. Sunday 5 p.m. More info here.

Saint Omer (2022)
Walker Art Center
Alice Diop’s courtroom drama features no lawyerly pyrotechnics, no surprise witnesses, no shocking admissions, just one young woman, a Senegalese immigrant, who has drowned her infant and faces the scrutiny of a French legal system incapable of understanding her motivations. Also Saturday. $12/$15. 7 p.m. More info here.

Saturday, February 24

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
Alamo Drafthouse
There's more to Laura Palmer than we knew. $10. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Hook (1991)
Every Robin Williams movie in the '90s was an annoying Boomer midlife crisis disguised as a delightful family comedy. $5-$10. 1 p.m. More info here.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Parkway Theater
Will you people keep it down? I’m trying to watch the movie! With live shadow cast performance by Transvestite Soup. $10/$15. Midnight. More info here.

Sunday, February 25

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Emagine Willow Creek
The Terminator's a good guy now? What??? Also Wednesday. $9. 2 & 6 p.m. More info here.

God and Country (2024)
A look at the terrifying rise of Christian nationalism. $5/$7. 5 p.m. More info here.

Breathless (1983)
Much better than the 1991 remake of La Chinoise with Demi Moore. $8. 7:15 p.m. Monday-Tuesday 7 & 9 p.m. More info here.

Monday, February 26

American Pie (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
Lol he fucked the pie. $10. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Problematista (2024)
Alamo Drafthouse
A sneak peek at the new Tilda Swinton pic directed by SNL writer Julio Torres. $13.50. 7 p.m. More info here.

My Demon Lover (1987)
Emagine Willow Creek
I know some of you are going to see this just to spite me. $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Tuesday, February 27

The Princess Bride (1987)
Never heard of it. $9/$12. Pre-show trivia at 7:30 p.m. Movie at 8 p.m. More info here.

Wednesday, February 28

Cruel Intentions (1999)
Alamo Drafthouse
A bet about the butt. $10. 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Coffy (1973)
Emagine Willow Creek
Pam Grier takes on the pimps and pushers. $6. 7:30 p.m. More info here.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Grandview 1&2
As Willie once sang, cowboys are frequently, secretly fond of each other. $12. 9:15 p.m. More info here.

The Black Box (La caja negra) (2021)
The Main
A young woman finds her grandmother's diary, written during the Cuban Revolution. Part of the Minnesota Cuban Film Festival. $7-$10. 7 p.m. More info here.

Interstellar (2014)
Showplace ICON
The answer to the mystery equation is... loooooooove. $7. 7 p.m. More info here.

The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived (1974)
How a feminist, guerrilla movement in Dhofar rose up against the Sultanate of Oman. $10. 7 & 9 p.m. More info here.

Opening This Week

Follow the links for showtimes.

An Indian sports movie.

Demon Slayer: To the Hashira Training
An animated adaptation of the popular manga.

Drive-Away Dolls
In Joel Coen’s first effort without his brother, his wife played Lady Macbeth. Ethan Coen responds by writing a trashy little lesbian road trip flick with his wife, Tricia Cooke, that someone talked them out of titling Drive-Away Dykes. Does this contrast offer some insight into the sensibility that each brother brings to the table? Maybe, maybe not. But while the former could be enjoyed apart from the Coens’ collective oeuvre, the latter all but begs for comparison: This is Coens lite, with all the frenetic energy and silly accents but little of the inspired zaniness. Two young Philly lesbians (a bit too broadly Texan Margaret Qualley and a pitch-perfectly uptight Geraldine Viswanathan) agree to drop a car off in Tallahassee. Is there something in the trunk they don’t know about? Oh, there sure is, sister. Are the goons dispatched after these ladies comically inept? Funny you should ask. Does the plot revolve around Matt Damon’s penis? OK, that I didn’t necessarily see coming. Drive-Away Dolls is brisk and harmless, with Coen trading in fatalism for friskiness. But while it’s nice to see him working with younger actors, a little Beanie Feldman goes a long way, and an unyouthful Bill Camp, as a sour car rental clerk, gives the best performance here. B 

Kiss the Future
U2 saves the Bosnians.

Les Miserables (2012)
Back in theaters, for some reason.

Masthu Shades Unnai Ra
A new Indian comedy.

Ordinary Angels
CW: Inspirational uplift.

Perfect Days
In Wim Wenders’s latest, Koji Yakusho is Hirayama, an elderly man who cleans public toilets in Tokyo with dutiful care. (Every American will leave this film envious of a city with such well-maintained public restrooms.) In his work and his free time, Hirayama hews to a routine so strict that every slight deviation over the course of the film feels seismic, to him and to us. He doesn’t exactly shrink from human contact—he bonds with his irritating young co-worker’s would-be girlfriend while listening to Patti Smith’s “Redondo Beach” and plays shadow tag with a dying man. But his existence is largely self-contained, and this is one of the rare films to show that a life lived alone is not necessarily lonely and certainly isn’t meaningless, though like any life it comes with its own regrets. Hirayama is open to beauty in every moment—during his breaks he photographs the way the sunlight hits the leaves—and so is Wenders. In fact, I would say that Perfect Days captures the unbearable joy of being alive if it didn’t make me sound like a pretentious sap. Fortunately, the closing sequence, as we watch an array of emotions flickering across Yakusho’s face, makes that point for me without using any words. A

Soul (2020)
Tina Fey takes over the body of a Black jazz musician.

The Teacher's Lounge
Not all is as it seems at a German middle school in director İlker Çatak’s darkly comic drama. Leonie Benesch plays a teacher who, offended by the racial profiling of an Arab student, goes poking into a series of unsolved thefts in the school. She runs afoul of a coworker, which embroils her in a clash of wills with that woman’s son, and soon all order crumbles around her. The Teachers’ Lounge does eventually teeter on the edge of the absurd, but Benesch grounds the story as a woman whose good intentions torpedo her goals, and it’s not like Çatak is exactly aiming for documentary realism here. B+

Make a blockbuster and Warner Bros.'ll put your movie back in theaters.

Ongoing in Local Theaters

Follow the links for showtimes.

American Fiction
Jeffrey Wright never misses (his brief turn as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was a highlight of last year's by-the-numbers Bayard Rustin biopic, Rustin) and he's reliably hilarious as an intellectual Black novelist who dumbs down to write a book in "realistic" hood style. Once My Pafology becomes a bestseller and a hit with the literati, Wright's Thelonious "Monk" Ellison has to get in character as its thug author to promote the book. Meanwhile, Monk has to live his real life: dating a neighbor, mourning his sister's death, dealing with his mother's dementia, and clashing with his newly out brother. Phew! The suggestion is that we, like the fans of Monk's Black stereotypes, will only watch a movie about an upper-middle-class Black family if we're hooked by a more sensational story. But for that clever bait-and-switch to work, you need to tell a much more interesting story about an upper-middle-class Black family. B+

Anyone But You

Doesn't Sam Rockwell have better things to do? Are the visual effects trash because the team got lazy or on purpose, for, like, camp reasons? Why didn't Henry Cavill and John Cena kiss? Doesn't Bryce Dallas Howard have better things to do? These are just a few of the questions with which I distracted myself while waiting for meta-hack Matthew Vaughn's latest manic foray into ridic spyjinks to end, and in fact, I'm still not sure that a part of me isn't still back at the Showplace ICON, where I will remain forever, grimacing through one self-referential post-credits scene after another. Winking so hard you hope he'll sprain his stupid face, Vaughn hustles Howard and Rockwell through a plot that's about as fun to untangle as an extension cord; BDH writes spy novels that are so good real spies want her dead, and it just gets weirder and more hectic from there in that "everything's a joke and nothing's funny" post-MCU way. Wait, did I hear someone say "I hope there's a shitty CGI cat in this!"? How could there not be? C

The Beekeeper (read the full review here)
The premise of The Beekeeper should be a slam dunk for a brainless action flick: Jason Statham is a (you guessed it) beekeeper who swears vengeance on scam artists that target the elderly—and he’s also a Beekeeper, a member of a secret government org of unstoppable killing machines. In his Carhartt jacket, ball cap, and rusty pickup, The Beekeeper is a working-class hero out to avenge us average poors against the slick elites, with Statham declaiming wonderfully moralistic lines like “Taking from an elderly person is just as bad as stealing from a child—maybe worse” in that iconically garbled deadpan of his as he fucks up evil phishing bros. But for all the heads ingeniously bashed in here, I couldn’t help but feel that a movie this dumb really should be a helluva lot more fun. Bee Minus

The Boy and the Heron (read the full review here)
I’m not the first to call this Miyazaki’s The Tempest, but it’s worth repeating. For this film, Miyazaki famously unretired, and it wasn’t his first time. (Characteristically, the 82-year-old called his decision to return to moviemaking “pathetic.”) His latest imagined world brims with fantastical species—ravenous human-sized parakeets and the shmoo-like warawara, who inflate after eating fish guts and rise up to the other world to become human souls—yet the filmmaker’s stand-in is an ancient wizard of sorts who regrets fashioning a crumbling alternate universe beset by unforeseen calamities. If its 2013 predecessor, The Wind Rises, felt like a finale, this feels like an encore, a coda, a curtain call, a monologue from a great artist assuring us that this time, really, he is leaving the stage for good. His charms are all o’erthrown. For now, at least. A-

The Boys in the Boat

The Chosen: Season 4 Episodes 4-6

The Iron Claw
Good acting, bad hair, not enough wrestling, and just one brother after another dying and the dad saying "You boys gotta get tougher!" B-

The Jungle Bunch: Operation Meltdown

Land of Bad

Lisa Frankenstein
Set in 1989, this snarky horror-comedy's heart is in 2009, when writer Diablo Cody’s zippy post-millennial Buffy/Heathers patter still felt fresh, or at least marketable. Kathryn Newton is Lisa Swallows (eh), who cowered in the next room while her mother was killed by an axe murderer during a home invasion. Her father remarries an uptight nurse (Carla Gugino, shoehorned into a nasty stepmom-shrew role), forcing Lisa to switch schools, and now she spends her time in an abandoned cemetery, mooning over the carved head of a boy who died in the late 19th century. (You 21st century goth kids might not be impressed, but in the '80s that was cutting edge moodiness.) A freak electrical storm reanimates the boy's corpse, and he happens to be Cole Sprouse. Bodies start to hit the floor, and Lisa and her zombie suitor find a way to supply his missing parts, stitching them on and zapping him with a short-circuiting tanning bed. Phew! That's a lot, and all that keeps it entertaining rather than totally exhausting is a gamely unhinged performance from Newton, who makes Lisa over from a weepy wallflower to a kind of Madonna Bonham Carter. C+

Madame Web
Ok, fine, I saw it. And no matter what you’ve heard, this lackluster mess is no camp classic.  In fact, before Dakota Johnson clocks out entirely and starts delivering her lines like she’s reading an eye chart, her aloof frustration is entertaining, albeit in a way I wouldn’t exactly call great acting. And there’s a fun rapport between the three “teens”—uptight Julia (Sydney Sweeney), bratty Mattie (Celeste O'Connor), and brainiac Anya (Isabela Merced)—that Johnson’s Cassie Webb has to protect after she has visions of their death. Still, a mess it is. We’re shown that the three girls will have superpowers—but only in the future. (We’ve had so many origin stories on film, now we’re doing pre-origin stories?) And writer/director S.J. Clarkson, with help from the screenwriting brain trust behind Morbius, decides to keep reminding us that Sony has the rights to all Spider-Man characters except the important one—not only is Ben Parker Cassie’s pal, but we watch Emma Roberts give birth to (an unnamed) Peter Parker. Oops, forgot to mention the villain, probably because he’s so forgettable. You can distract yourself from the dull goings-on by spotting weird incongruities (when Cassie returns from a trip to Peru, she’s still driving the cab she stole earlier in the movie?) but if you get more than a few snickers from this, you’re way more desperate for crap than I am.  C

Mean Girls (read the full review here)
The trailer promised that this wouldn't be "your mother’s Mean Girls,” but exactly whose Mean Girls it would be remained unclear. It also did its best to conceal the fact that it’s a musical by not featuring a big musical number, and that sure didn't bode well. Frankly, the very premise—a homeschooled American girl who grew up in Kenya as the daughter of a research zoologist not understanding how everyday U.S. teenage life works—feels misguided in 2024. In the real world, Cady would amass a huge online following after at least one video of a lion went viral, and then she’d get canceled when an old problematic tweet surfaced. Another big misstep is Reneé Rapp as the infamous Regina George. Now, obviously, in 2024, a PG-13 movie isn’t going to feature blatant homophobia or multiple uses of the R-slur, and I’m certainly not saying it should, but this film didn’t replace those examples of meanness with… well, anything. The new Mean Girls isn’t mean enough—and it isn’t good enough either.—Joel Swenson C+


Bob Marley: One Love
For me, the most forgivable music biopic cliché is the scene in the studio “where it all comes together,” usually after the genius has been struggling to articulate his vision to the band. At least in their clumsy way scenes like this try to understand where great music comes from. And so the best part of this rote retelling of the reggae great’s life, rigorously vetted by his family, comes during the Exodus sessions, where new guitarist Junior Murvin adds a rock tinge to the Wailers’ established sound. As for the rest, well, it’s not all as ridiculous as when Bob and his crew leave a Clash show and stroll blithely through London as riots break out behind them, or the singer’s flashbacks to his youth that occur while he’s performing on stage, but if you know anything about Bob Marley’s life, you’ll learn nothing new here. Lashana Lynch does what she can as Rita Marley, James Norton’s job as Chris Blackwell is to keep saying “I don’t know if that’ll work, Bob,” and Kingsley Ben-Adir has real screen presence but his charisma doesn’t suggest Bob’s own. Optimistically, I’ll take the movie’s success as a good sign that there’s real hunger to know more about one of the great international Black diasporan culture heroes, and I hope the curious don’t stop here. Read Chris Salewicz's Bob Marley: The Untold Story or Timothy White’s Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley or, hell, Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings, which fictionalizes Marley’s shooting. Watch any number of YouTube clips, including Marley’s 1977 set at the Rainbow. And definitely listen to the music—if you know Legend (which you probably do even if you’ve never listened to it on purpose) go back to Marley’s start at Island Records—Burnin’, Natty Dread, and Catch a Fire. Sample the earlier Studio One recordings. And don’t stop there. C+

2024 Oscar Nominated Short Films—Animation

2024 Oscar Nominated Short Films—Documentary

2024 Oscar Nominated Short Films—Live Action

Out of Darkness

Poor Things (read the full review here)
Yorgos Lanthimos is such a cheekily off-putting director it never occurred to me what his idea of crowd-pleaser might look like. But with Poor Things, he doesn’t just want to be admired, he wants to be loved. And in its own creepy, garish, oversexed, male-gazey way, Lanthimos’s arch fairy tale does have heart. An Eve who can’t wait to get the fuck outta Eden, Emma Stone’s Bella Baxter becomes Frankenstein’s monster as Candide in the world at large, indomitable because she has no shame. Bella’s sex-positivity is indubitably a man’s ideal of what it means to be a free woman, addressing fewer contradictions of femininity than Barbie does, but Stone inhabits her character so completely that you might even say she liberates Bella from her creator. A-

The Taste of Things
Trần Anh Hùng’s sumptuous tale of love in a rural French kitchen is a good old-fashioned movie—by which I mean, it could’ve been released by Miramax during the first Clinton Administration. And while I might have found it a bore back when similar dinosaurs ruled the Earth, now it’s nearly as charming as a baby triceratops. Benoît Magimel is late 19th century gourmet Dodin Bouffant and Juliette Binoche is Eugénie, his cook of 20 years (and lover when she’s in the mood); he repeatedly courts her, while she remains aloof. But the love story feels like an excuse to linger in the presence of these gourmets and, more to the point, the lavish meals they prepare. The deliberate, patient efficiency with which Eugénie works just highlights how thoroughly TV has conditioned us to think of cooking as a hectic, nervous affair—here even gutting a fish becomes an elegant task. Cinematographer Jonathan Ricquebourg shoots Binoche’s wonderful ass as lovingly as he does the dishes she cooks, and he goes for the gold in every scene. While Dodin may hold forth on the notion of balance in a meal, this film hardly shares his aesthetic—it’s suffused with the summer light that Eugénie cherishes. Bougie as hell, mais oui, but any class warriors who don’t salivate over the fare on offer here don’t deserve a share in the spoils of the revolution. B+

Even more unnecessary than most prequels, and I couldn't hum any of the tunes if you promised me a lifetime supply of chocolate as a reward. But the Dickens by way of Rowling characterizations and settings are distracting enough for a couple hours, and your kids have made you sit through worse. B

The Zone of Interest (read the full review here)
Jonathan Glazer's latest embeds itself in the quotidian routine of a Nazi family that lives on a gorgeous estate that just so happens to share a wall with a death camp. Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) have five children, including two younger kids who squabble and a perpetually wailing baby—they’re the exact sort of family Goebbels would want an Aryan Norman Rockwell to paint. Yet what do we accomplish by spending two hours in the company of these drab Nazis? After The Zone of Interest I knew what I was supposed to think about Herr and Frau Höss—Glazer’s forcedly aestheticized didacticism saw to that. But what was I supposed to feel, aside from horror at the systematic extermination of Jews, which, I hope, anyone going into this film already experiences? B-

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter