Troll 2 (1990)

Running Time: 92 Minutes Troll-2-Poster

Director: Claudio Fragasso

Starring:

Michael Stephenson as Joshua

George Hardy as Michael

Margo Prey as Diana

Connie McFarland as Holly

Robert Ormsby as Seth

Jason Wright as Elliot

 

Synopsis:

After Joshua (Stephenson) receives a message from his dead grandfather Seth (Ormsby) warning him about the presence of evil goblins in a town called Nilbog, Joshua is dismayed to find out he is due to vacation there with his family the very next day. As the family, along with Holly (McFarland) and boyfriend Elliot (Wright), draw closer to certain doom, will Joshua be able to convince them in time?

Review:

So crude, so insanely stupid, so incredibly, mind-bogglingly inept is this film that I would venture it as the negative benchmark for all films made past, present and future. troll-goblin-1057297067

As with all things of great proportion, sometimes it’s best to begin at the end. Without revealing too much of a plot that often verges on the hallucinogenic, the crux of this film involves midgets in burlap sacks, a huge plastic rock and a double-decker bologna sandwich. Dramatic music plays. There are screams. Someone shouts ‘think of the cholesterol’.

But before we plunge further into the murky depths, a little background info. As Wikipedia will tell you, there were a number of issues in the production of Troll 2. To begin with, the title of the film implies that this film is a sequel to the 1986 Empire Films production Trolls. This is not the case. Not only does the film bear no relation to the original Trolls, but it also fails to feature any trolls of any kind. Next, the director Claudio Fragasso insisted on a verbatim translation of the original script from Italian to English. This would have been fine, had he not chosen to film in Utah using exclusively American actors, whilst retaining an exclusively Italian camera crew. It is not an exaggeration to say that the resulting camerawork would not be significantly altered had Fragasso simply tied the camera to a passing Labrador and kept his fingers crossed.

Much like the turd you can’t flush at your friend’s houseparty, let’s leave it as it is and move on.

concentrateDespite its massive conceptual flaws, terrible acting and downright embarrassing execution, it would be mean-spirited of me to condemn it to the Blockbuster shelf. This film contains innumerable redeeming features in terms of comic value. If there was one iota of evidence to suggest that Trolls 2 was not made in complete earnest, I would be totally convinced of its place as a masterful comedy. Sadly not. It does, however, have a kind of relentless, labrador-esque enthusiasm – giving it the kind of camp charm that you can’t fail to engage with.

Michael Stephenson’s tuneless rendition of ‘row, row, row your boat’ at the vehement request of Margo Prey, who bears a striking resemblance to a tazered Bichon-Frise, gave me chills I haven’t had since the first time I watched Silence of the Lambs. In a split second, my chuckles morphed seamlessly into whimpers of abject terror. Unintentional? Perhaps. But no one can deny the sheer emotive capacity of Trolls 2, even if those emotions are frequently anger and confusion.

Nonetheless, who among you doesn’t love low-budget costumes, special effects reminiscent of a Windows 95 screensaver and an overly long storyline featuring an improbable abundance of dwarfs? You know what I say? Sterling work.

I might venture a couple of points of constructive criticism, however. If the dawn of YouTube hadn’t occurred after the film was released, I would have questioned the resemblance of multiple action scenes to ‘Dramatic Chipmunk’. Zoom in, zoom in more. Have we zoomed enough? Just a bit more, maybe.

Secondly, Joshua’s dead uncle Seth seizes any opportunity to ohmygodappear to 10 year old Joshua whenever he alone or vulnerable. I am working under the assumption that the tone of menace induced by this was unintentional, but at this stage nothing would surprise me.

To give Troll 2 its due, it has evolved from the Magikarp of the cinematic world – splashing aimlessly at better films – to a towering, hulking Gyarados, quashing other shitty B movies the world over to claim its title as one of the worst films of all time. And for, that, Troll 2, I thank you.

 

Favourite Line:

[Joshua, attempting to stop his family from eating poisoned food]

“I must do it. I must do it. I must!”

[Stands on chair, unzips trousers, pees all over family dinner]

 

Favourite Scene:

As always, a real struggle to pick just a single scene from the writhing mass of glorious ineptitude, but here’s one that sums up pretty much everything wrong with this film.

 

Verdict:

Script: 4/10

Cast: 4/10

Camera Work: 6/10

Comedy Value: 8/10

Special Effects: 3/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6%

Overall: 4-stars-background

“The only film I’ve seen that could have been improved by including fewer midgets”

The Happening (2008)

the_happening01

Running Time: 90 minutes

Director: M Night Shymalan

Starring:

Mark Wahlberg as Elliot

Zooey Deschanel as Alma

John Leguizamo as Julian

Ashlyn Sanchez as Jess

 

Synopsis:

As a strange ‘global event’ sweeps through West Coast America, causing amnesia and mass suicides, high school teacher Elliot (Walhberg), his best friend Julian (Leguizamo) and his girlfriend Alma (Deschanel) must outrun this invisible force before it’s too late.

 

Review:

It is rare in a horror film to actively look forward to the protagonists being horribly mutilated, and so for that alone I feel The Happening should be commended. I was left mildly unhappy when both Wahlberg and Deschanel managed to evade the clutches of the villain who is, for all intensive purposes, the wind.  We’ll get to that.

Quite simply, sitting through this film felt like being a witness to a rape. Excruciating, distressing and emotionally painful, no holds are barred when this film gets down to business. It’s just a shame it’s for the wrong reasons.

Let’s start with the genre: horror. Every (not most, every) attempt at suspense is either misplaced, or laugh-inducingly poor. A man running himself over with a lawnmower, a woman stabbing herself in the neck with a knitting needle – these are relics of an age of slasher movies that simply don’t work when set to an ominous, inception-esque score.Mark6

Wahlberg’s stroke-victim impression doesn’t help thing, either. I had a weird sense of empathy as my face reflected Mark’s own, as if he were having an out-of-body experience, watching himself in this film, equally distressed and confused.

The real shame is, I love Wahlberg as an actor. I don’t know where he lives or anything, but I loved The Fighter and I’d put The Departed up there as one of my favourite films of all time. But this. This is nothing more than a fresh, steaming turd of a performance. And he’s not the only one. Remember that season of Friends where Matthew Perry was a cocaine addict? He would have hands down outshone every other actor in this beige monstrosity. Even Deschanel, known for her kooky, offbeat character in the critically acclaimed series New Girl, fails to add even a wisp of believably into this cloying shart of a film.

Back to the film itself. Devoid of personality and any meaningful attempt at storytelling, this soulless project rumbles through to its Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel The Happening movie imageconclusion without eliciting even a single gasp or shriek from any audience member that hasn’t just woken up from a coma. The lack of conviction is palpable from each of the characters. Walhberg is even quoted, post-production, as saying:

“The Happening. Fuck it. It is what it is. Fucking trees, man. The plants. Fuck it.

And who, I hear you ask, is to blame? I’ll give you a clue. It begins with ‘M’ and ends with ‘Night Shymalan’. Only his titanic directorial ego could begin to imagine that the screenplay for this film was worthy of entering production. The real question I have is – who is funding him?  Who is actually giving up their hard-earned cash to see this stuff made. Morons, that’s who. After The Sixth Sense, believe me, we all had high hopes for Shymalan’s career – but it’s over now. Let it go.

At best, the script is just boring. At worst, it is dangerously pseudoscientific. For example our protagonist Elliot, a high school teacher, discusses the disappearance of the global honey bee population with his class. After discussing some theories, he concludes that:

‘Science will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it’ll be just a theory. We fail to acknowledge that there are forces at work beyond our understanding.’

And some people paid to see this.

0F27CD7537The production does have some redeeming qualities, but there are so many aspects which are just plain boring. Cardboard cut-out, stereotype characters engaging in meaningless dialogue, waggling their limbs every now and then like re-animated corpses.

As the expression goes, it’s always darkest before the dawn. So before the actual credits roll and you are released from the coma-inducing boredom of this film, you must first suffer the climax. After spending the first 80 minutes avoiding ‘the wind’ at all costs (due to some ambiguous deadly quality) Elliot and Alma decide that, fuck it, they’re both gonna die anyway so why wait for, you know, the wind to die down. Tears in their eyes, they stoically walk into the deadly mild breeze while the string section of the cliché orchestra earn their paycheck. I must admit, I began to gleefully speculate in what twisted and bloody ways the film would end. But no. Instead, they walk back into the house unscathed and we hear Mark Wahlberg’s final line in the film.

‘The event must have ended before we went out there.’

It was like being promised some sort of delicious after-dinner treat by your parents and instead finding out that your puppy died. And you were adopted.

 

Favourite Line:

After speculating over the cause of the ‘event’, the protagonists conclude that it is something to do with the plants having a ‘defense mechanism’. Or something. Elliot, clocking a pot plant in the corner of the room, decides to introduce himself.

 

[Approaching plant]

“Hello. My name is Elliot Moore. I just wanted to talk in a very positive manner. Giving off good vibes.”

 

Favourite Scene:

I’ll let this one speak for itself.

 

 

Verdict:

Script: 2/10

Cast: 2/10

Camera Work: 7/10

Comedy Value: 6/10

Special Effects: 8/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 17%

 

Overall:  Rating-Christgau-two-star-honorable-mention

“Removing any four scenes from this film at random would have made it make more sense that it does currently.”

 

The Wicker Man (2006)

 

Running Time: 102 minutes Wicker-man-poster

Director: Neil LaBute

Starring:

Nicolas Cage as Edward

Kate Beahan as Willow

Erika Shaye Gair as Rowan

Leelee Sobieski as Sister Honey

 

Synopsis:

Haunted yet determined police officer Edward (Cage) receives a letter from his estranged ex-wife Willow (Beahan) asking him to investigate the disappearance of their daughter Rowan (Gair) on the remote island she inhabits. Things become more mysterious as Edwards begins to unravel the mysteries this insular beekeeping community, leading him towards a terrible secret.

 

Review:

Oh Nick, you silly fuck.

While this film received a miserly 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics describing it as ‘awful’, ‘laughable’ and ‘downright ridiculous’, Cage’s labrador-esque earnestness makes up for the majority of its defects in unintentionally hilarious moments.

wicker-man-2006-nicholas-cage-bear-suitTake, for example, the scene in which Nicolas Cage dons a bear suit* and right hooks a middle-aged woman into unconsciousness. Classic. Or perhaps the opening sequence, featuring Cage as a traffic policeman awkwardly negotiating the confines of what looks like the bottom half of a leather gimp outfit. In related news, I am putting together a lawsuit against director Niel LaBute for forcing me to imagine Nicolas Cage’s chafed, sweaty balls trapped inside a furnace of leather. I’ll keep you posted.

Hilarious scenes aside, this film has more defects than the Elephant Man’s incestuous children. Only Cage’s relentless, almost sexual, energy keeps it moving. From a misguided and absolutely farcical plot, involving ritual sacrifice, questionable police brutality and, of course, bees, to actors so devoid of any semblance of a believable character that I took a break from watching this film about 20 minutes in, in order to research the mating habits of narwhals.

The dialogue has a tendency to be at once both stale and very, very moist. Much like the contents of the aptly-named ‘fart jar’ that I kept as a child. I was trying to see if farts would eventually condense into drops of turd. They did not. Cage seems to lack a certain je ne se quoi when delivering his lines. As it turns out, it is the ability to act. However, had Cage been more convincing we might never have been blessed with the immortal scene below, which, much like the invention of Incognito mode, has since provided millions of internet users with endless pleasure.

Notice: If anyone’s lost a couple of thousand poorly-rendered CGI bees, I found them. maxresdefault

At multiple points in the film I just loudly droned the word ‘No’ at my computer as ever more ridiculous plot twists began to emerge. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ‘festival of rebirth’ touted by the homely-looking Amish girls contains a bit more fiery death than you might have anticipated. What’s worse is that although Cage is known an actor who fully commits to every role he’s cast in, his permanently creased brow tells me otherwise. His thoughts are almost audible as he quietly sits on his bed 15 minutes in. ‘What the fuck am I doing with my life?’ I feel you, bro.

The real trouble with this film is that it is billed as a ‘suspense horror thriller’. Relabel it to ‘comedy’ and you’ve got 4 or 5 Oscars in the bag, minimum. Lacking all but the mildest whiffs of terror, the film feels more like watching an ageing father run around a PGL holiday trying to find a couple of wayward tent pegs, occasionally resorting to the use of either aggressive, Tae Kwon Do-style violence or a handgun in order to ensure his demands are met. 9147105b-5133-4f1f-a15e-349a73da44f8.Large

However, it is entertaining to the last and solidified Cage’s unique style into the annals of film history. A beautiful monstrosity.

 

*Cage was actually nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Best Onscreen Couple (between him and the bear suit).

 

Favourite Line:

[Screaming at elderly women holding him down]

Edward: Bitches! You bitches! This is murder! Murder! You’ll all be guilty!

 

Favourite Scene:

One of the best of all time. It was my ringtone for a solid 6 months and I spent most of the film waiting to hear him speak these immortal words.

 

Verdict:

Script: 3/10

Cast: 5/10

Camera Work: 7/10

Comedy Value: 9/10

Special Effects: 4/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 15%

 

Overall: 4-stars-background

“It would surprise me little if Nicolas Cage developed a fetish for bees following this film”

 

Bonus Round:

Cage Rage:

Compilation of all scenes involving Cage running, kicking and punching:

Cage Fan Art:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/53618/12-weirdly-wonderful-pieces-nicolas-cage-fan-art

 

 

If you like reading this blog, please do me a favour and share it on whatever social media floats your boat. Maybe I’ll spare you when I take my Ak-47 and embark on a violent rampage. Thanks.

Howard the Duck (1987)

 

Running Time: 111 minutes Howard_the_Duck_(1986)

Director: Willard Huyk

Starring:

Chip Zien (voice) as Howard

Lea Thompson as Beverley

Tim Robbins as Phil

Jeffrey Jones as Dr Jennings

Paul Gilfoyle as Lt Welker

 

Synopsis:

Based on the comic book series of the same name, the story follows Howard (Zien), a wisecracking duck, as he is transported from his home on Duckworld to planet Earth by scientist Dr Jennings (Jones) and his assistant Phil (Robbins). Teaming up with musician Beverley (Thompson), they must save the world from the evil Dark Overlord and try and get Howard back to his home planet before it’s too late.

 

Review:

Firstly, this.

howard-the-duck-bath

I’ll just leave it here for you to think about.

Now, as you might have guessed, there are a few issues with this film. Quite a few. Even if you can ignore the grotesquely pornographic duck breasts* above, which alone reduce this film to the same level as that tentacle video on pornhub that we will all pretend not to have seen, there are deficiencies in writing, casting, dialogue, plot and tone that must also be dealt with. And my word are there some shockers.

The tone of this film is the most perplexing aspect. The best way to describe the look and feel of it is, in a word, gross. Howard looks like a Donald Duck-branded sex toy, patently plastic beak moving creepily in time with his enthusiastic voice actor’s dulcet tones. Howard’s exploits do nothing to combat this image either. From the opening scene, where he lasciviously eyes up the cover girl of ‘Playduck’ to a scene in which he joins a scantily-clad Lea Thompson in bed and gets close enough to having his way with her that I managed to achieve a satisfactory orgasm.

howard-the-duck-1986--05Now, time for a short game. What do the following films have in common – Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Shawkshank Redemption? Yes, they are all films that I have meticulously recreated, scene for scene, using nothing but hand puppets and my balls. That’s not the answer. The correct response would be they all feature actors that perform central roles in Howard the Duck. Lea Thompson plays Lorraine in BTTF, Jeffrey Jones is Edward Rooney (the Dean in Ferris Bueller) and Tim Robbins is Andy fucking Dufrasne. It’s actually a little bit degrading watching these well-respected actors humiliate themselves. But also kinda hilarious. The dingleberry on the shit sandwich, however, is the fact that Star Wars director George Lucas was a very heavy influence on this project. This film was his first after stepping down from LucasFilm and his company Industrial Light & Magic provided the special effects. He fucked up.

Next, the plot. In short, it is more contrived than OJ Simpson’s alibi. And, unlike him, doesn’t get away with it. Suspension of disbelief aside, there are some fantastically improbable Deus Ex Machina moments, such as the Dark Overlord’s willingness to help Howard out of a tight spot with an angry mob, no one dying in the multiple massive explosions that happen, the bullshit science fiction explanation for Howard being able to travel many millions of light years on his armchair without being totally destroyed and finally how no one really seems to give a shit that Howard is a fucking duck. Like a talking, anthropomorphised duck. No? No one? As a whole, the plot gave the impression of being written to a very tight deadline, perhaps at gunpoint. Why does Beverely happen to have a friend who’s an astrophysicist? Because fuck you, that’s why.Howard-the-Duck

Finally, comedy. The film intends to be funny. Like haha funny. Instead, the phrase ‘no more Mr Nice Duck’ passes for a witty quip and haggard clichés are turdishly squeezed out at every available opportunity. The script is littered with forced duck puns, no doubt thought up by some shitmunching intern at the production studio. Here’s one. Howard tries to get a job by turning up at the unemployment office:

[Stereotype fulfilling, overweight, black female unemployment officer talks to Howard]

Officer: I think you’ll take to this job like [pause] a duck to water.

 

Crude, unfunny and worse still, boring, Howard the Duck is a testament to how badly a big-budget production can go. Put it this way, I will readily sacrifice my firstborn in order to ensure that no sequels are made.

You know that dream you have where your Furby comes to life, heavy-lidded eyes opening and closing as it chuckles maniacally at your brutal murder? Give George Lucas a midget and $36 million. The result will be unsettlingly similar.

 

*I have a phobia of animals dressed as humans so this scene was particularly traumatic.

 

Favourite Line:

Phil: Look up in the sky. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a duck!

 

Favourite Scene:

As always, a tough choice. However, this scene nicely summed up the fucked up tone that pervaded the whole film. All is well until halfway through and then oh. Oh no. It’s not.

 

Verdict:

Script: 4/10

Cast: 2/10

Camera Work: 8/10

Comedy Value: 6/10

Special Effects: 5/10

 Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 14%

 

Overall: Rating-Christgau-two-star-honorable-mention

“Stuck between Barney and hardcore pornography with the benefits of neither”

 

Bonus Round:

Howard the Duck Wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_the_Duck_(film)

Infamous ‘Wallet Scene’

The Room (2003)

 

Running Time:  99 minutes TheRoomMovie

Director: Tommy Wiseau

Starring:

Tommy Wiseau as Johnny

Juliette Danielle as Lisa

Greg Sestero as Mark

Philip Haldiman as Denny

Carolyn Minnott as Claudette

 

Synopsis:

Successful banker Johnny (Wiseau) lives an idyllic life in San Francisco with his beautiful fianceé Lisa and local orphan Denny (Haldiman). However, Lisa becomes dissatisfied with their relationship and seduces Johnny’s best friend Mark (Sestero). Things get out of hand and Johnny starts to lose control.

 

Review:

Where to start.

The Room is a work of such monstrous and terrible genius that I feel Tommy Wiseau should receive some sort of dedicated Blue Peter badge, possibly brown, that he can place on his bedside table next to the pickled heads of murdered celebrity lookalikes that he no doubt keeps. the-room-4

All aspects of this film are permeated by his powerfully creepy persona. Even in scenes in which he does not appear, you can just feel him, standing behind the camera, sloping gaze mentally undressing the B movie actors he has hired to participate in this upsetting project. To add insult to injury, Wiseau looks like someone’s evil twin, produced in a cloning experiment gone wrong, and kept alive by the ritual sacrifice of owls.

Allow me to paint you a mental picture of the scriptwriting process. The year is 1998. Wiseau, naked, crouches atop a burned-out car on the outskirts of Eastern Europe. Silence. He slowly turns his large neanderthal head, surveying the surrounding area, soft chimp-noises escaping from his cracked lips. He sniffs. The acrid scent of woodsmoke drifts past his nose. A sharp crack in the distance. His neck snaps his head around to the source of the noise. His back hair stands on end. He waits. Another crack. Suddenly a zoo keeper emerges from a nearby building with a tranquilizer gun and a big net, eyes fixed on Wiseau. But he’s already gone, loping majestically into the woods on all fours.

Two years later, he emerges from those same woods with a suit and the 400 page manuscript for The Room. The things he must have seen.

There are a few standout aspects. Firstly, 5 of the most upsettingly awkward and lengthy sex scenes I, or anyone else, has ever experienced. Those involved in producing Crimewatch reconstructions could learn much from this film. I will never sleep again. Secondly, Lisa’s mother. She exits from almost every scene she’s in within a minute. In one scene she enters the house, apparently with the express purpose of seeing Lisa, talks to her for less than 30 seconds, and bails. I don’t blame her. Thirdly, oddly phrased, repetitive dialogue. More often than not, scenes end with one character simply saying ‘Don’t worry about it’. This is used to full effect early on, in a scene in which Lisa’s mother off-handedly reveals that she has breast cancer, to which Lisa responds: Look, don’t worry about it. Everything will be fine. What’s more, this revelation is never mentioned again.

This isn’t an isolated incident. There are literally dozens of storylines and sub-plots that remain unresolved or unexplored. In fact, so frequent were these surreal episodes that I half expected Johnny to wake up at the end of the film, realising it was all a horrible nightmare. Failing that, I hoped that I would wake up to a world in which I wasn’t haunted by memories of Wiseau’s leathery ballbag rubbing provocatively against Juliette Danielle, with slow R&B music pumping in the background. But it’s real. It’s all real.

Here’sThe-Guys-the-room-2003-32357276-394-262 one of my favourites, in which Johnny and friends throw an American football around in a alley behind his house, inexplicably dressed in tuxedos. Afterwards, I spent a long time wondering what I was doing with my life.

The only thing left to address is Wiseau’s acting itself. Enigmatic to a fault, Wiseau’s style falls somewhere between sexually repressed stroke victim and exuberant alcoholic. His trademark monotone laugh features prominently and inappropriately, along with his penchant for staring. As Wikipedia will tell you, Wiseau’s inability to remember his lines necessitated the re-dubbing of many of his scenes post-production, a feature gloriously evident in this flower shop scene. I couldn’t recommend it more.

You have to watch this film in full to really grasp the scope and scale of the narcissism involved, but know this: Wiseau put up $6 million of his own questionably-garnered funds for the production of this film. Six. Million. He is listed as the lead actor, writer, director and producer. The film was also distributed by ‘Wiseau Films’, set up for the sole purpose of distributing The Room. This film gives a penetrative insight into the mind of a man that is no doubt the answer to almost all the questions that the CIA has concerning unsolved murders in the state of California.

However, you must give Tommy his due.  He has created a cult classic like no other – one which most certainly would not have been possible without his perseverance, boundless ambition and personal investment.

Thank you, Mr Wiseau. Now get the fuck away from my children.

 

Favourite Line:

[Johnny puts a gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. Mark, hearing the shot, enters the room to discover Johnny’s lifeless body on the floor]

Mark: “Wake up Johnny!”

 

Favourite Scene:

In one way or another, every single scene, bar none, deserves a mention, but this one really caught my eye. Perfectly capturing the astonishing ineptitude of the whole project, Wiseau’s jarring and nonsensical script emerges from its fecal-stained crysalis in this beautiful and complex rooftop episode. Watch out for Wiseau’s mis-timed chuckle midway through.

 

Verdict:

Script: 1/10

Cast: 2/10

Camera Work: 8/10

Comedy Value: 7/10

Special Effects: 6/10

 

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 33%

 

Overall3_Stars7

“Like being in a greasy, masturbatory nightmare.”

 

 

 

Bonus Round:

Full film:

Dedicated website, featuring merchandise such as Tommy Wiseau-branded underwear:

http://www.theroommovie.com/

Hilarious sex scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVRfwTIyHf8

Birdemic

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)

Running Time: 92 minutes Birdemic

Director: James Nguyen

Starring:

Alan Bagh as Rod

Whitney Moore as Nathalie

Adam Sessa as Ramsey

Catherine Batcha as Becky

Rick Camp as Dr Jones

 

Synopsis:

A lingerie model and her computer engineer boyfriend take a pleasant trip to Northern California, only to discover that legions of malicious birds are descending on human kind. Soon, the couple’s dream vacation becomes a battle for humanity’s survival.

Review:

Well, fuck me.

This really is something. This film exists on a kind of higher plane of atrocity reserved for things like the Kardashian gene pool and whoever created LiveJasmine. Even worse, there is a kind of excruciating sincerity to every aspect of this film, a lot like watching someone you liked at school sing Johnny Nash’s 1972 classic ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ to room full of blind children. You feel their pain but you just…can’t…look…away.

But my god was it entertaining.

I literally don’t know where to begin. The most grossly obvious flaw of this monstrosity is the editing, sticking out like the thrusting ballbag of a Tour de France cyclist on one of the mountain stages. Sharp cuts, laughable dubbing and sound effects equivalent to the machine gun noise you used to make with your mouth in primary school. But even this could be forgiven were it for some compelling dialogue. Perhaps a scene in which the actors don’t look like they’re on an anti-sexual harassment infomercial. Instead, when computer engineer Rod and lingerie model Nathalie first meet, we are presented with this:

 

[Rod and Nathalie are concluding their conversation]

Nathalie: Well, I should really get going. I’ve got an audition for a modelling job. It was good talking to you.

Rod: Same here.

At this point, Nathalie begins to walk away from the camera. The camera remains stationary, fixed on her walking. This continues for a full 12 seconds. 12. Count it out aloud. Then, and only then, does Rod shout after her:

Rod: Nathalie!

[Nathalie turns]

Nathalie: Hi again.

Rod: I was wondering if we can keep in contact. Here’s my card.

 

Farcical.

I could lampoon the Sainsbury’s Basics actors all week, but the real crime here is not just against humanity, it is in the story itself. Meatspin.com has a more nuanced and complex storyline than Birdemic could dream of. And those guys got the sound editing spot on. The synopsis really doesn’t do it justice.

Firstly, the improbable relationship that flourishes between cardboard cut-out Rod and Victoria’s Secret covergirl Nathalie. Nope. I have literally done shits with more personality than Alan Bagh. Secondly, the birds. The fucking birds. Not only are they genuinely rendered using Microsoft Powerpoint (see clip below), but they explode upon hitting the ground, accompanied by the haggard B-movie staple, the plane-crashing sound effect. Thirdly, the convoluted environmental message. Ah, the killer birds were our fault all along. Global warming. Science. Fuck you.

Finally, the ending. After being repeatedly and systematically attacked by swarms of crazed and apparently diseased birds, our heroes decide that the best – nay, the only – course of action available to them is to crack out the Hovis, make ham sandwiches and have a picnic on the beach. I am not joking. Not only do they have the cheek to look shocked when killer birds arrive, but said birds are then chased away by a flock of doves in an entirely unexplained scene that is supposed to constitute a meaningful ending. Roll credits.

For around a week afterward I just kind of walked around with that semi-grimace you have when you’re trying really hard to hear whether your iPod is playing in your bag or not, feeling confused and emotional. However, on reflection, the failure of this movie was on such a titanic scale, it was actually 100% worth watching and ended up being massively enjoyable.

I can only conclude that this film is thoroughly deserving of its title as one of the official ‘Worst Films of All Time’ but, much like collecting the ‘Participant’ award at sports day, it still means you’re a loser.

 

Favourite Line:

“Ladies and gentlemen, I have some great news. Our board of directors has agreed to the acquisition of NCT Software by Oracle Corporation…FOR A BILLION DOLLARS!”

*58 second clapping montage*

 

Favourite Scene:

This was a really tricky one. I ended up being torn between this and a scene involving Nathalie’s mother in which she enthusiastically exclaims ‘That’s my girl!’ before giving a tortuously long thumbs-up that stretches on so long I actually had to skip it. This can be found at 26:25 in the link  at the bottom. However, the gem below really couldn’t be topped.

 

Verdict:

Script: 4/10
Cast: 2/10
Camera Work: 2/10
Comedy Value: 8.5/10
Special Effects: 0/10

 

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 20%

 

Overall: 3_Stars7

“Whilst I agree Birdemic is so bad it’s good, it is also bad.”

 

The full movie, if you’re interested, can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbykx7OKajI

 

Next Week: The Room (2003)

Sharknado_poster

Sharknado (2013)

Tagline: ‘Enough said!’ Sharknado_poster

Running Time: 88 minutes

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Starring:

Ian Ziering as Fin

Tara Reid as April

Jason Simmons as Baz

Cassie Scerbo as Nova

John Heard as George

Audrey Peeples as Claudia

 

Synopsis:

A freak hurricane hits Los Angeles causing man-eating sharks to be scooped up in water spouts, flooding the city with shark-infested seawater. Surfer and bar-owner Fin (Ziering) sets out with his friends, Baz (Simmons), George (Heard) and Nova (Scerbo), to rescue his estranged wife, April (Reid), and teenage daughter Claudia (Peeples).

 

Review:

Before I begin this review, I would like to say that Sharknado should hold a special place in film history. It is completely, totally and uncontroversially one of the worst films that has ever been made. It is also one of my favourites.

Riddled with more holes than Abraham Lincoln’s corpse, Sharknado’s central premise sounds like something dreamed up on a particularly potent acid trip. Combine this with a metric ton of ham, shaved from the acting abilities of Tara Reid, and you have yourself one of the best films of 2013. Every scene in this film carries with it the expectation of a central character being tackled by an airborne shark, and in at least 60% of scenes your expectations are spot on. To give you an idea, early on in the film a nonchalant bar scene is rudely interrupted by the intrusion of a massive Great White smashing through the bar window, promptly devouring its target. Although some may question its heavy-handed approach, to its credit, Sharknado certainly delivers on the two elements you might expect it to feature prominently – sharks and tornados.

Sharks aside, one of the most eyebrow-raising aspects of this monstrosity is its apparently high-budget CGI. I found myself shaking my head, staring wide-eyed as a decently-animated shark infested tornado rolled towards downtown Los Angeles. It is nothing short of a miracle that this film garnered the funding it did, even for The Asylum – a studio renowned for its cut-rate B movies. However, the film is let down technically in other ways. Many other ways.

A sizeable section of the script sounds like it it was written by Chewbacca, featuring three times as many extended vowel sounds as were necessary – ‘Aaaaaargggg!’ ‘Noooooooo!’ and ‘Shaaaaaaaarrkks!’ had become well-worn staples by the 88th minute. The remaining portion is what I imagine would happen if the pages of the scripts of all B-movie action films ever made were shuffled together like some sort of Takeshi’s Castle game. And then reassembled. By chimps. For example, Chuck Hittinger’s character Matt has all of about 20 lines, 15 of which are ‘Oh my god!’ (see clip below for three of these). To add insult to injury, take the obligatory Jaws reference – ‘We’re gonna need a bigger chopper!’ – but bear in mind this is crowbarred in while they’re in the process of defusing shark-ridden tornados by throwing bombs out of a helicopter. I shit you not.

Continuity is also not a strong point. The opening surfing sequence switches between overcast and sunny apparently at random and in the penultimate scene, two completely new characters are introduced without blinking an eye, and then never seen again. More jarring than that, however, is the fluctuating state of the storm itself. Anthony Ferrante assumes a Moses-esque ability to control the tides, with the weather oscillating between widespread flooding (deep enough to allow sharks to roam the streets at will) and the kind of light drizzle you’d expect of a British summer. At one point, Fin and co struggle to fend off a number of sharks inhabiting the flooded bottom floor of a house, before promptly running out of the front door. And of course, the house then explodes.

I can picture the scene. Ferrante, sitting in his office with his scriptwriter at 4am, the 9am deadline for script submission to SyFy looming, ideas racing through his brain. Slowly, he raises his head to meet the gaze of his companion, an unfathomable look upon his face. ‘Sharks’, he whispers, ‘Sharks…with tornados’. The rest is history.

 

Favourite Line:

‘Instead of letting live sharks rain down on us, we’re gonna get into that chopper and throw bombs into the tornados’

– Matt Shepherd (62 mins)

 

Favourite Scene:

While fighter pilot Matt succeeds in neutralising the tornados, his companion Nova is tragically lost to an airborne shark in the process. However, apparently there is still time for some gritty tension in the final scene of this epic battle…

Verdict:

Script: 3/10
Cast: 4/10
Special Effects: 7/10
Camera Work: 8/10
Comedy Value: 9/10

 

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%
No. Really. Look it up.

 

Overall: 4-stars

“Terrible acting, casting and script, but rarely have I laughed so hard during a film”

Sharknado 2: The Second One will be release on August 21st 2014