Movie Review: Best Worst Movie
I finally got to view the documentary Best Worst Movie. Most film types had an opportunity to see it at various festivals last year, and now the movie is showing in limited engagements across the nation. If it comes to your town, see it, immediately.
Best Worst Movie is funny, poignant, awkward, endearing, and a tiny bit heartbreaking. Rarely do you find a documentary that encompasses all these emotions, this is a special treat for cinema fans.
In 1989, Italian Director Claudio collaborated with his screenwriter wife Rossella Drudi to make Troll 2, which has lovingly earned the moniker of “the worst movie ever made.”
The film was a spectacular failure on almost every level imaginable: acting, costumes, makeup, script, continuity, set pieces, the list goes on and on. The film’s pure awfulness attracted a legion of cult followers, and decades after the film was released (straight to VHS) the film has earned infamy as being a movie that is “so bad it is good.”
Fans started throwing Troll 2 watch parties, and word of mouth eventually warranted midnight screenings in hipster hotbeds throughout the country. The phenomenon grew.
Micheal Stephenson played one of the lead roles in the movie when he was just 10 years old, and now he steps behind the camera to revisit his old castmates and document the frenzied enthusiasm of fans at midnight showings. The result is pure magic.
At the heart of the story is George Hardy, who practices family dentistry in Alabama. George oozes charisma, and without his natural likability, this would be a far lessor film. Although he has a thriving dental practice and is absolutely adored by everyone in his community, George is quick to admit that he always wanted to be famous. He thrives off of making appearances at the screenings, where he is given the full rock-star treatment by adoring fans.
Soon Hardy is buying his own hype, signing autographs and endlessly reenacting his famous craptastic line, “YOU CAN”T PISS ON HOSPITALITY!” He seems so happy, but is quickly brought down to earth when he represents the movie at a few conventions, and no one knows, much less cares, who he is. He returns to his dental practice with his tail tucked between his legs.
Most of the cast members are delightfully self-deprecating and self-aware. The actress who played teenager Holly is hilarious when she explains how the film has haunted her entire acting career, and she divulges that she made the mistake of checking the comments about the film on IMDB.com.
A few cast members have less amusing segments. The actor who played the grandpa kind of breaks your heart when he confesses that he thinks that he has “frittered his life away” and the actress who played the mother is clearly mentally disturbed.
Her segment is very hard to watch. I didn’t find it exploitive as much as tragic. She is paranoid and reclusive, and is one of the only cast members who refuses to participate in a local screening. She compares Troll 2 to Casablanca, and other classic films, and you just can’t wait for Stephenson to leave her house.
The Troll 2 Director is oblivious to the film’s faults, which is utterly fascinating. He believes that he produced a great piece of art, and becomes agitated if anyone dare suggest otherwise. He’s also befuddled why people laugh at parts of the movie that were not meant to be funny.
Stephenson does a great job with the pacing of the film. The ninety minute running time flies by and I immediately wanted to see the film again. I ended up doing the next best thing, I watched Troll 2 on Hulu as soon as I got home. It was a blast to watch it after seeing the actors reminisce about the production. You can watch for all the little details like ill-fitting costumes and howl at a multitude of gaffes.
Best Worst Movie skillfully weaves the stories of the rise of the film’s cult status with the very real fallout of the movie on the various actors. It’s wonderful that such a great documentary came out of such a horrible movie.
To see a schedule of the film’s upcoming screenings visit the Best Worst Movie website.
Here is the trailer for Best Worst Movie.