Best Worst Movie

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Move over “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, rumor has it you are not the best worst movie ever made.  At least not to a growing number of die-hard fans of a little known piece of cinematic failure known as “Troll 2.”  Don’t ask about “Troll”, it is pretty awful too, but it has absolutely nothing to do with “Troll 2.”  At least Sonny Bono can rest assured he dodged that bullet.  

But this isn’t a review about the 1989 movie filmed in Utah with an unknown and untalented cast and even more incompetent director.  This is a review of the 2009 documentary about that untalented cast and crew and what it’s like to be in a cult phenom hit twenty years later.

In an ironic twist, “Best Worst Movie” is just the opposite of the movie it is documenting. Written and directed by Michael Stephenson, the movie starts out with his own confession.  You see he was the child star in “Troll 2!”  He states that at the time of the movie’s filming he thought that the film would be his break out role to fame and fortune.  Unfortunately he (like the rest of the cast) didn’t get to see the film till some time after its release.   When he finally got to see it, his little heart and all his illusions of grandeur where beyond crushed because he saw how truly awful he was.  How outright embarrassingly awful the whole movie was.   

But flash forward 20 years and slowly, insidiously, a “Troll 2” revolution was brewing.  Stephenson found himself in the incredulous position of being a star in the worst way.  He decides to make a movie about the groundswell of fans, really fanatic fans and his fellow cast and crew mates.  The result is a movie that’s fresh, fascinating and ultimately almost as funny as the movie that inspired it! 

“Troll 2’s” male lead, George Hardy is now an Alabama dentist and provides the bulk of the documentary’s fodder.  He is sweet, charming but definitely no actor.  Not then.  Not now.  But for all the movie’s faults (“Troll 2” that is), after seeing “Best Worst Movie” it becomes apparent that Italian director Claudio Fragasso bares a huge responsibility for the movie’s stink factor.  Oh the whole cast was inept but Fragasso is outed as a clueless director.  At the time his English was so poor and his knowledge of American culture so misguided that it only confused his easily confused cast even more.  While his language skills have much improved since then, he appears defiantly clueless to this day.  His scenes at a fan screening and Q&A are uncomfortably confrontational.

I’ve seen plenty of bad movies in my day and go out of my way to see the worst because they are so much fun.  But I have not had the displeasure of seeing “Troll 2”.  After seeing “Best Worst Movie” my curiosity is at a fever pitch.  The surreal look back is a heartfelt valentine to Stephenson’s fellow cast and a fond salute to the fans that have turned a black moment in their lives into a shining star of glory for being in the “Best Worst Movie.”

Best Worst Movie finagles 3& 1/2 Red Vines for being a great reality show

A preview of this movie was provided to me by the studio but it in no way affects my unbiased review.