My name is Dan and I’ll be joining Nate here at Dodging Barrels. Our collective effort of swindling you, er, I mean helping bring insight and perspective on television, film, and video games that will hopefully provide some kind of entertainment for you, our readers. From the wayward, frustrated pessimists (my ears are NOT burning) to the most passive of participants who can’t operate a streaming service of any kind (more on this when we introduce our “Watching Movies at our Friend Bill’s Apartment” segment), it is our hope that we can help create humor and discourse of the media we all love. And hate. Which leads us to the introduction of one of our many scams, er, I mean weekly editions – The Search for the Best Worst Movie!
When I tell people that I love shitty films, there’s a scripted chunk of dialogue I immediately revert to and recite (recite means bumble over my words with intermittent pauses and “ummmms” while making motions with my hands to help mask my crippling dumb face syndrome) accordingly. And that script is what helps define how Nate, our friend Bill, and myself nominate films into the running for Best Worst Movie. An appropriately shitty film must not be OR include the following:
- Shameless marketing scams that siphon money out of audiences (Adam Sandler films define this better than anything else I can think of. We will most certainly break down the Adam Sandler money laundering scheme further, so stay tuned!)
- Big-budget special effects in place of a plot so hack directors can explode on their audiences faces with a boring story. And actual explosions! (Michael Bay films, Star Wars prequels)
- Seasonal/holiday A-list, large ensemble cast movies (New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day)
- Schindler’s List
- Rom-coms that were written specifically so they could be filmed in two weeks while actors were taking breaks between their Marvel, DC, or other franchise features. (think of Chris Evans in What’s Your Number?) Captain America, like most Americans needs the additional income wherever he can get it these days. Topical commentary! We’ve got it all here at Dodging Barrels, folks!
- Intentionally bad. Ok, so when an historic B-movie like Samurai Cop, which we’ll be mentioning around here a lot, gets rebooted twenty five years later with the hopes of capturing a similar type of unheralded success (disaster), that’s bullshit. A truly great bad movie must not be self-aware
With the carefully established criteria in place, the gang set forth on its quest of fumbling over deciding who’s apartment to watch each feature at (my place is OBVIOUSLY the best venue) and to then grade each film on a scale of one to ten. The grade is based on how entertaining the film is for whatever reason. For anyone who has not experienced watching an impossibly awful film with a group of friends, permit me to tell you what you’re missing.
Making a film is an enormous fucking undertaking. Forget the obvious necessities of screenplay, direction, editing, acting, cinematography, lighting, sound, all of which are amongst the most important contributions to a film’s success or failure, but there is so much unnoticed bullshit that crews need to put up with to propel filming forward. Shooting on location can be a disaster, particularly with regards to weather. Building sets, even the most modest ones require craftsmanship and time. Equipment issues arise. Permits need to be filed, unless crews decide to shoot the rodeo and not file permits for locations. Egos need to be checked and stroked. Budgets get absorbed quicker than expected. A well made, and fuck it, even a TERRIBLY made film is a combined effort of artists and artisans that requires dedication and often times, suffering. Even if you are not directly involved in the film or television industry, your brain has some understanding of how large this process is.
So, when a film fails so hard in genuinely trying to execute these things, it can result in cult classics of the B-movie landscape. Experiencing this horrible glory with a group of buddies is especially bonding. You turn to one another and desperately search for clarity only to find none. You ask your friend to help interpret what’s happening in the plot only to discover that you all have completely different understandings of what’s happened. Or that none of you do. The shared bewilderment is comical and honest. There’s no escaping the very obvious effort that each of you are trying to make in comprehending what’s happening to you, to all of you. The Best Worst Movies bring people together by tearing others art apart. And that’s what we will be reviewing here. Because we’re assholes.
Next Review: Troll 2
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