Feeds:
Posts
Comments

A Welcome Addition

So when I started doing this little experiment, I knew something would happen like this, but not quite in this way.

Honestly, I was pretty sure that by watching all these bad movies so quickly that I’d tire of them and not complete the challenge.  Now, whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but it hasn’t hit me like that quite yet.  No, instead what it’s doing is making me appreciate the goo movies I watch even more.  As getting some of these movies requires actually getting them shipped to my apartment, it’s really messing up my Netflix queue.  Like, badly.  But when I do finally get to a movie that I’m really excited for, it’s that much better now.

For instance, I have Never Let Me Go coming in today.  It was a small indie from last year that I missed in theaters, so I was pretty happy to see it finally get a release date a few weeks ago.  But, right when it was coming out, I had Space Mutiny to watch, and I can;t be letting the class down, now can I?

My point is this:  I wasn’t expecting these crappy movies to make me appreciate my other viewings more, but that’s what’s happening.  And it’s pretty cool.

Advertisements

No. 34: Space Mutiny


Space Mutiny (1988)

Dir: David Winters, Neal Sundstrom
Stars: Reb Brown, Cissy Cameron, John Phillip Law

 

This movie makes absolutely no sense.  I mean, none.  Zero.  At all.  But it sure was a great bad movie.

So on the surface of the story, everyone is on a ship, the Southern Sun, whose mission is to colonize a new planet.  The mission has taken literal lifetimes, so there are people on the ship who have never seen solid ground and there are others who will never see solid ground.  I was pretty sure this was the set-up of the movie, but I honestly had to look it up because I wasn’t sure.

The movie starts and almost immediately there’s a battle scene where a bunch of ships blow up, and while that’s happening a guy who looks like an authority figure is blowing up the hull.  This causes a spaceship that was supposed to land peacefully on the Southern Sun to crash instead, killing the passenger inside, “The Professor,” while the pilot is able to eject himself with more or less a teleportation device.  Also able to land were a group of “survivors” called ‘The Bellarians,’ but we’ll get to them later.

The surviving pilot is Dave Ryder (Reb Brown) who is still looked upon fondly by the ship’s commander and his second-in-command, but is scorned at by the commander’s daughter, Lea.  She’s mad at him for about an hour – tops, and in movie time – until he confronts her in her ‘safe place,’ which is a greenhouse-looking thing.  She’s furious at his killing her mentor in the crash, until he casually mentions that he also knew the professor and then she forgives him.

Then blah blah blah he saves the day; you know the drill.

But man, this was a good one.  I mean, it was awful in just about every way, but it was awful in the right amounts to make it just a fun bad movie.  On to the part of the post where I list the terrible stuff!

Firstly, there is just terrible overdubbing by the sound crew here.  When I say that I mean that there are more than a couple of times where the sound doesn’t match up to the mouth movements on screen.  It kind of looked like an old, dubbed kung fu movie.

Right there’s a nightclub on the ship.  In this nightclub, people dance in and with hula-hoops; it was hysterical. Also, because the movie is a product of the 80s, everyone in the club is decked out in 80s clothes making it all the more enjoyable.

And then there are the Bellarians, who I promised to touch back upon.  They are this group of women who are dressed in all black, some even wear veils (!), who come aboard the ship right after the initial attack.  They don’t speak, but can communicate through telekinesis.  They inexplicably can be in people’s dreams and, in the simplest terms possible, they don’t do anything.

These women could be completely removed from the movie and it would not make one bit of difference.  It’s explained about 40 minutes in that they give “truth,” although that isn’t explained either.  The biggest laugh though comes from their plasma balls, which are treated as a method of science, and not something you can get in a novelty store in the mall.

The biggest sign of this being a bad movie though are the sets that are used.  The “interior” of the ship is very clearly just a warehouse, and there are times where they show windows that very clearly lead outside, not to space.  There are times where it’s super obvious that the walls are cardboard, the… well, I don’t know what they are, but the car-type things they use to get around are cheaply made as well.  Oh, and you can see the pyrotechnics on the floor well before they go off, every time.

Seriously, what do you call these?

They shoot lasers as weapons, and have a laser bazooka.  As badmovies.org notes, “lasers explode when they hit something,” which happens roughly 1000 times in this movie.  This movie is also just one big chase scene.  There will be a few minutes of dialogue, then a pointless and non-engaging chase scene.  The sex scene is funny too, as all masterfully-shot movies have one funny sex scene – that’s a rule in the Academy’s handbook.

There are also little things like there’s just an old man sitting in the basement of the ship, who, when found, gives Dave and Lea all the information they need with no persuasion used and no repercussions either.  A bit character is killed, and then shows up as an extra a few scenes later. And the “garden” is full of AstroTurf worse than what used to be used in Veteran’s Stadium.  Did I say little things?  Right.  These are HUGE things.

There’s a reason why Space Mutiny is now infamous in bad movie circles; this one is epic.  But at the same time it’s funny.  It’s just so cheesy, so terribly acted and so terribly thrown together that it all works as a great piece of unintentional comedy.

Critique: 1 star out of 5

Bad Movie Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Notes:

  • Filmed in South Africa, during apartheid. (This had no affect on production, I just thought it was noteworthy)
  • Every bit of the film featuring exterior shots of the ship during battle are from the original Battlestar Gallactica
  • Used as comedic material in one of the most popular episodes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000
  • I figured out that plasma balls are called ‘plasma balls’ by typing “those electric balls that you touch and it focuses on where your fingers are” into Google.  God, I love Google.

No. 50: Surf School

Surf School (2006)

Dir: Joel Silverman
Stars: Corey Sevier, Laura Bundy Bell, Sisqo

 

Surf School, unlike our previous entry Battlefield Earth, is a bad movie (like a very bad movie), but it was bad enough that it was funny.  We’ll get to that a little later though.

Firstly, all you need to know about this movie is summed up within the first minute and twenty-five seconds. So let’s run through it shall we?

Surf School begins with a song you better get used to, most likely called ‘Surf School’ but I’m not going to look that up, because it will be played a minimum of five more times throughout the duration of the movie.  But then the title cards start, and it begins with “Righteous Dudes Productions presents,” followed by “In association with ‘Thongs R Us Entertainment.’”  Although it is quickly noted that – and I’m not making this up – ‘Thongs R Us Entertainment’ is “formerly known as ‘Pipeline In Your Pants Productions.’”  So that had me laughing right away.

Next comes a nice little screw up that played especially well for me, because of the proximity to where I go to school.  During the opening line of dialogue, which is “Lacrosse season is already over, and you have a scholarship to Maryland…” (That’s the school I’m doing this blog for!), we are informed that the main character is from “Silver Springs, Maryland,” which is, simply put, not a real place, while Silver Spring, Maryland is.  Just nice to know the producers were paying attention.

All this is fine, and pretty funny, but then at 1:25, the real bomb drops.

SISQO?!? SISQO IS IN THIS MOVIE???  LIKE ‘THONG SONG’ SISQO??? OMIGOD YES!

And he is.  Playing a high-schooler at the ripe young age of 28.  Oh yeah, this is going to be good. (As my friend Matt noted, “That’s his agent working really hard to find him work”)

So the general plot, as if that mattered, is that Jordan (Corey Sevier) moves from Silver Spring to Laguna Beach, where he is now an outcast and hangs out with the “loser” group, which is rounded out by a nerd, an overly-horny punky kid, a goth-ish girl and Sisqo.  Oh and he’s ridiculed by being taunted as ‘Mary.’  Like the state he’s from.  How clever.

To prove they are just as cool as the popular kids, the “losers” jet down to Costa Rica for a surfing competition but guess what?  None of them can surf!  So they recieve the help of a burn-out surfer (Harland Williams) and hilarity ensues.

But not the way the director wanted, I’m sure.  The movie is plenty funny, but only because of how bad the dialogue is.  And it’s dumb, really dumb.  Like sometimes to the point where it’s borderline insulting.

Besides being completely riddled with the classic high school clichés of jocks vs. nerds, there’s also the overly-sexual hippies, over-sexual foreign girls, an extremely flamboyant homosexual character as well as a whole bunch of poorly constructed Latin American stereotypes.   Also, the Swedish girls speak with what seems to be a German accent.  This bothered me.

And speaking of the Swedish girls – and girls in general in the movie – I’m not complaining, but this is not one for the feminists.  The majority of written jokes derive from some sort of sexual innuendo and as the movie is set on a beach, well, it looks like a sex comedy set on a beach.

Also, Harland Williams is a pretty funny dude, but he’s rubbish here, almost never being funny – intentionally or not.  This is a notice to future filmmakers: mahi mahi is not a funny word, it is not a funny concept, it’s not funny.  At all.

Ah and Sisqo.  Good old, Sisqo.  While they totally used him for a laugh once (I believe the quote was “I could totally write a song about that thong.”), the people running the show really missed the boat when they literally have him on a stage, in a bar, with a microphone and he doesn’t sing “The Thong Song.”  They teed it up and just missed by a mile on that one.

All in all, it wasn’t an awful experience.  Am I going to watch it again?  No.  But should you watch it?  Meh.  It’s on Netflix Streaming and, honestly, you’re going to laugh, so why not?  Again, it’s funny, just not in the ways it was supposed to be.

Critique: 1 star out of 5

Bad Movie Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Notes:

  • According to IMDb: “Harland Williams was asked why he didn’t list it in his film credits. His response, “You actually saw that piece of shit?”
  • The movie doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.  I think I’ll be changing that soon.
  • Laura Bell Bundy, who plays Doris in the movie, is now a country singer.  Her 2010 album Achin’ and Shakin’ hit number 5 on the US Country charts, and the single “Giddy On Up” from that album reached number 31 on the US Country Singles charts.

‘The Room’ Controversy

Just something to hold everyone over until I receive and review my next movie, (that would be 1988’s Space Mutiny, No. 34 on the list), I direct you attention to a few week-old post over at FilmDrunk detailing how one of the “best” worst-movies of the past decade may not have been directed by the guy we had originally thought.  It’s a quick read, but still an interesting one.

Tommy Wiseau May Not Have Directed ‘The Room’

No. 83: Battlefield Earth

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)

Dir: Roger Christian
Stars:  John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forrest Whitaker

 

So we start with number 83, Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000.

As this is my first film on the list, I won’t have any comparisons to make, but that’s alright. The real problem is, where do I start?

Actually let’s just begin by stating that this movie is based on a novel by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.  Right there is a caution sign, no?

But from that point I’ll hit my biggest pet peeve, the cinematography – if you could call it that.  The whole movie is shot diagonally, or on an “angled shot,” and by that I mean that almost every single frame of this film is shot with a titled camera.  That annoyed me to no end, but at least it shows that they were trying something new I suppose (?); it was still terrible.

Then there is one of my least favorite ideas that has completely permeated cinema, and that’s the notion that in the case of the end of the world that everyone would break down to a caveman-like existence.  The protagonists are dumb (seriously though, dumb.  As in that’s a major plot point), they wear what look like animals skins, believe in “the gods” and all have long scraggly hair.

In this film especially, there were supposed to be survivors of Earth’s apocalypse, and if that’s the case, those survivors could teach new people things, right?  Apparently not, because the characters here are literally dumbfounded about what stars are.  I look at a movie (but much better book) like The Road and how people in it are broken, but not dumb; but then again, this movie is dumb so I guess this makes sense.

Also, very basic plot points are not explained to us until almost an hour in.  For that first hour, sometimes the aliens are speaking a different language and sometimes they’re speaking English, but why?  Well it turns out, sometimes the filmmakers decided to have them speaking and put subtitles and sometimes just have it in English, but it turns out, in the movie world, they’re always speaking in that alien tongue.  Did that make sense when I explained it?  Of course not.  That’s because it doesn’t make sense.

Finally, there’s really no story to speak of.  Yes, I mean, it’s kind of about how the “human-animals” try to free themselves, but it’s a stretch.  The story is just a bunch of half-assed ideas strewn into one attempt at a cohesive narrative.  The world has ended and people are hunter-gatherers, but wait! There are also aliens that the people aren’t aware of.  So they’re prisoners now, but no! one of the aliens is going to teach the human their language and then, um… take him to a library! Yea!  A library! It is there that he’ll learn the secret of life.

But that’s not enough, no no, what else, let’s have them mine gold!  But because they’re smart they’ll just fly to… oh man, where is there gold?  Fort Knox!  They’ll get gold from Fort Knox and then heavy munitions and bombs and planes from Fort Hood!  That makes sense, right?

No.  No it doesn’t.  That sounds like a story I’d hear from a crazy guy on the Metro, not a pitch for movie — or a book for that matter.

And that description says nothing of the acting, which should be called atrocious at best.  I say that not trying to be funny, but because they deserve it.  This was supposed to be a serious movie; a serious drama.  Travolta called it Pulp Fiction for the year 3000.  These guys were really trying to act, and on a big budget.  And on that note, what was up with Travolta’s accent?  Was it British, or American bourgeois or what?

But that’s the thing about Battlefield Earth: it’s a bad bad movie.  There are movies that are so bad they’re enjoyable, perhaps they make you laugh, or there’s enough gore to entertain you, but this is not one of those movies.

It’s not funny, it’s not uber-violent; there are just no redeeming qualities to it.  The only reason to see this piece of garbage is if you’re winning a bet, or are on some dumb quest like I am.

What have I gotten myself in to?

Critique (review as a film): ½ star out of 5

Bad Movie Rating (Is it “bad movie” good?): 1 out of 5

Notes:

  • 2001 Razzie Award wins:  Worst Supporting Actress (Kelly Preston), Worst Supporting Actor (Barry Pepper), Worst Sreenplay, Worst Screen Couple (John Travolta “with anyone sharing the screen with him”), Worst Actor, Worst Director, Worst Picture.
  • 2005 Razzie Award Win: Worst ‘Drama’ of Our First 25 Years
  • 2010 Razzie Award Win: Worst Picture of the Decade
  • Roughly $65 mil. budget after marketing; grossed just under $30mil
  • Original screenwriter JD Shapiro left production halfway through, and later wrote a letter of apology to the LA Times for the final product

Introduction

So here we are.  What is this place?  What am I doing and why am I doing it?  All great questions, give me time.

I love movies.  I love reviewing movies, talking about movies and going to movies.  But I also have a special place in my heart for bad movies.  I mean, really bad movies.

Seeing bad movies has become somewhat of a popular thing in film circles in the past few years (read: The Room, Troll 2, etc.) so actually, chalk me up for jumping on that bandwagon; I like watching these terrible films.

Right, right, what I’m actually doing.  IMDb.com has a list of their top movies, which is frequently cited as a good barometer of what the current generation really thinks of movies.  They also have a list of the worst movies, and this is where I come in.

Julia Powell became famous tackling Julia Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking and Vince Mancini is at his best lambasting bad movies over at FilmDrunk so this is me bastardizing both of them and coming out with a sort of hybrid.

I will (attempt to) watch all 100 of IMDb’s “worst” movies.  Unlike Powell, there is no timeframe here.  There also will be no order.  I may start at number 48 (Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead) and maybe after that I hit number 73 (Uwe Boll’s Alone In the Dark).

And right now I’ll stop to look at that and laugh.  Both of those numbers I picked at random, and they happen to be the same director, so I need to point out how funny that is to me.  And that kind of sums up the site’s ambition better than my prepared statement can.

This is going to be laid-back – I am reviewing terrible movies after all – and it will be random at times.  I will not pretend that I am a professional, and you will rarely mistake me for one.

But, hey, we should have some fun with it, right?