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This week:
Best Worst Movie

Filthy says:
"Mediocre Best Worst Documentary."

Watching Best Worst Movie made me want to see Troll 2, the reportedly shitty flick this documentary is about. I want to see it not because Best Worst Movie makes it sound gloriously awful, like those videos of fat women shitting on county fair porta-potties. Although, school is still out on whether those are awful or art. It all depends on how the establishment scores Thomas Kinkade's work since they rank right next to each other. I want to see Troll 2 because I was so fucking mystified as to why it's being celebrated as so bad it's wonderful.

The problem is that Michael Stephenson, who was in Troll 2 and has made Best Worst Movie, assumes that Troll 2 is so bad that everyone loves it. Rather than justify that assumption through the movie, he hauls out the biggest load of asswipes this side of an Axe Deodorant convention to say that they love the movie, without ever getting at why in any interesting way. The discussion isn't thoughtful or reflective, it's just a collection of the easiest-to-reach dickwads who want to be on camera. That means fake hipsters who think that declaring love for a shitty movie somehow gives them personality or makes them interesting. They aren't. For example, the movie spends five minutes in the office of a Los Angeles PR firm having a Troll 2 "party". All we see are dullard douchebags--the kind you'd avoid in your own office--walking around telling people, "Oh, my god, it's so awesome." These people struck me as the same boring pricks who think bacon everything is still fucking hilarious, over and over. Bacon wallets and shirts, bacon-flavored ice cream. The caliber of their fandom was like that of people who buy T-shirts from web sites featuring pictures of cat with "funny" captions and videos of people bumping their heads. Not clever or original. Joiners in skinny jeans.

Maybe Troll 2 really is so bad it transcends crappiness and becomes a righteous experience (don't write to tell me it is, I'll decide for myself, thank you). Best Worst Movie isn't the way to find that out, though. The documentary doesn't attempt to tell the story of how or why it was made, or the likely unfortunate decisions that led to its shittiness. Those things are tangentially in there. The lousiness isn't quantified. Neither do we learn the public's initial reaction to the movie, or what the production company thought of it, or how they would either bury or salvage it. And, for a story about a movie so bad it's hilarious, there are very few laughs in here.

Instead Best Worst Movie tells how dickwads have turned it into a cult classic where they can go and be seen being ironic by other dickwads. It's as sloppy and meandering as a drunk gypsy. The travelogue of the stars of Troll 2 now. Some shun it and some show up at midnight screenings and sci-fi conventions to hear more dickwads express love for the movie. The main focus is George Hardy, who played the father and is today a dentist. The movie opens with a lot of Alabamans expressing what a wonderful guy he is. We'll have to take their word because beyond that all we see is him playing along with the movie's cult following. It's partially because he's a good sport, but it's mostly because he's desperate to be in the limelight. He travels overseas to appear at conventions where nobody recognizes him, and to repeat the same stale stories about making Troll 2. He smiles a lot, but so do the waitresses at Coco's and it doesn't make them interesting. Only in the end when he tires of the midnight-movie circuit do we get any sense that he understands he has hung on too long.

Others in Troll 2 include Best Worst Movie's maker, Michael Stephenson. He never turns the camera around and interviews himself so we know almost nothing about him and what's happened in his life that makes him so eager to revisit an twenty-year-old disaster. Troll 2's mother is Margo Prey. She is now trapped in a filthy house with her aging mother and some unseen demons who scream at her at night. She's a wack job, but that has nothing to do with Troll 2 and isn't explored in any sensical way here. Her presence in the movie is just exploitation. Don Packard was in the movie and claims he was high and on leave from a mental institute during production. The movie doesn't bother to look at where he's been in the meantime, either. He would have probably been a more interesting main character for the documentary, though.

Troll 2's director is an Italian named Claudio Fragasso. He's a direct-to-video hack who generated truckloads of schlock back in the day. When Troll 2 becomes a cult favorite, he is hauled back to the US. He thinks maybe real aficianados have discovered his masterpiece and only to grow bitter and sad when he finds out he's been dragged into the inside joke of some fake hipsters. Some of the little shits are so craven as to lie to his face upon meeting him, as though his feelings are less important than their hilarious ironic take on the movie. I don't feel bad for Fragasso; he seems like an asshole. I just hated wasted screen time on little fuckers with nothing to add to the world except their sorry snickering.

What is absent from Best Worst Movie is the story of how a movie becomes a cult classic. Nobody says who is paying to fly the stars of Troll 2 all over the world and what their compensation is for signing autographs and participating in panels. There is almost no time spent documenting the intervening twenty years. There is no discussion of the Italian production company that made the movie and is probably laughing all the way to the bank at the hipsters buying Blu-Ray copies of their cheap piece of shit. What about Fragasso? Is he participating monetarily? He deserves wealth the most since he's the only one who defends it. Without him, Troll 2 just isn't as deliciously ironic for the hipsters to enjoy. What's the fun in laughing at others if they laugh with you?

How does it feel to accept ironic money for something you made in earnest? What is a studio's responsibility to the people it hired to show respect for them when crowds are handing you gobs of cash to sell them out? And what happens when the gravy train pulls into its final stop? I would love for someone to research these questions. They are far more interesting than the lack of questions in Best Worst Movie. Two Fingers.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Pete Hammond of Boxoffice Magazine

The Switch is "One terrific comedy! You will love this movie! Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston are great together!"

Flipped is "A true gem!"

Filthy's Reading
Charles Portis - Norwood

Listening to
Devotchka - How it Ends


Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 3