Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Battle of the Netflix Stars #11

Bout #11: Battle of the Bad Movie and Its Documentary


Troll 2

Best Worst Movie

Director:Drake Floyd (aka Claudio Fragasso)Michael Stephenson
Star Power:None, unless you count "the rich man's Craig T. Nelson"None, unless you count "the rich man's Craig T. Nelson"
Plot:The Waits family plans a summer house-swap with a family they've never met from the farming town of Nilbog. Little Joshua Waits is visited by the spirit of his dead Grandpa Seth, who warns him about vegetarian goblins who, instead of eating easy-to-come-by vegetables, magically turn people into plants and eat them. When the kid finally realizes that Nilbog spells Goblin backwards and that all the very strange local residents keep trying to feed them weird green food, he tries to convince his very stupid family that they're all in danger. Now an adult, the actor who played Troll 2's young Joshua Waits attempts to gather the cast of one of the worst movies ever made. Since the cast members are either no longer in the movie business (if they ever really were to begin with) or actors still trying to shake the ghost of this résumé killer, they're amazed by the huge cult following that has built around their little movie. As we follow cast members to midnight screenings and conventions to watch them get a taste of belated fame, we wonder...is being famous for something terrible better than not being famous at all?
Pros:Has nothing whatsoever to do with the original Troll; wonderfully campy and/or laughably terrible performances; ridiculous dialogue; a $10 special effects/costume budget; supposedly straight male characters who like to sleep naked together...I mean, what's not to love??Manages to poke fun at Troll 2 without being cruel; Stephenson's on-screen dad, George Hardy (the aforementioned "rich man's Craig T. Nelson"), is a completely charming "leading man"
Cons:Well, it IS a bad movie. Not everyone will love it. And viewing really requires a MST3K atmosphere; it's probably not as funny if you watch it alone. So if you're one of those people who doesn't like to crack wise to your friends during films, you should probably skip it.Over-the-top scene stealer Deborah Reed (The Goblin Queen) was nowhere to be found!
My Thoughts:Ever since I saw the infamous "OH MY GOD" clip on YouTube, I had been dying to see this movie, and it didn't disappoint. What a perfect storm of bad movie-making. As I later found out in the documentary, Claudio Fragasso barely spoke English, so the cast couldn't even understand his direction most of the time. Plus, he insisted that the actors (most of whom weren't really even actors—one was the local dentist and one was on a day release program from a mental hospital) read his awful dialogue verbatim. Hence, amazing lines like "Go away, monster!" and "You can't piss on hospitality...I won't allow it!" In the New York Times review of this doc, I discovered that Michael Stephenson and I share the same view of that annoying term, 'guilty pleasure', when he said, "If you like something, what are you guilty of? Either you like it or you don't." That's basically what his documentary is about: the people who made Troll 2, and the (long-delayed) throngs of people who unapologetically love it. It doesn't matter if they like it for the "right" or "wrong" reasons, although Fragasso makes it clear that his movie was good and anyone who thinks otherwise "knows nothing." While it's nice to see, thanks to B-movie lovers everywhere, underdogs finally having their day, not all of the newly-famous Troll 2 stars have happy endings: Stephenson's on-screen mom, Margo Prey, lives her off-screen life as a delusional recluse, while Robert Ormsby (Grandpa Seth) can be found slumped in a chair, defeatedly announcing that he's "frittered his life away." But overall, this award-winning doc is both an interesting look at how movies can bring people together and a commentary on the lure of celebrity.
Final Grade:B+A


tennysoneehemingway said...

Ah, Troll 2. Better than Citizen Kane. Still.

Some Guy said...

I saw the documentary before I saw the movie. Neither one disappointed.

ClevelandPoet said...

nothing better than seeing Troll 2 with a bunch of friends who can appreciate a bad movie, especially when they haven't seen it yet.

Recently it was part of the cult movie series we do here and was a lot of fun to see it on the big screen with a ton of people.

I've yet to see the Doc and that really needs to be remedied

Alice said...

i've been itching to see troll 2 for a WHILE now. i'm going to have to schedule a group showing one night. with wine.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Why have I never heard of either of these? Suddenly there is a gigantic void in my life. I must see them! Now!


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