Recently I made a list of the ten worst films of all time, which included stinkers like The Beast of Yucca Flats and The Creeping Terror. But, as odd as it sounds, I realized that I enjoyed watching some of these movies.
Let me get a chance to explain myself. I didn’t think that these movies were good (far from it actually), but that they were enjoyable to watch. These are movies that screw up so badly that it’s fun to see how awful the result is.
Take Troll 2, a film that pretty much fails every aspect of filmmaking. The story is terrible, the acting is dreadful, the direction is off, and the costumes look so fake that even little kids wouldn’t wear them for Halloween. By the first thirty seconds of the movie, you just know it’s awful.
But Troll 2 is a film that’s nearly impossible to not enjoy. The premise, which is about a family visiting a town inhabited by vegetarian goblins, is hilarious that it’s funny how the filmmakers want to take it seriously. Because the characters act so stupidly and the situations feel so unrealistic, it’s hilarious to watch.
Compare that to North, my most hated film of all time. On my 10 worst movie list, North ranked at number 9 while Troll 2 was second. So why is Troll 2 worse than North, but I had fun watching Troll 2 and loathed North.
The reason I hate North so much is that its attitude. The movie wants to be a warm family comedy but just feels so cold. The film is about a child named North who divorces himself from his parents and goes around the world looking for new ones. The message of North is the importance of family, but the movie does this so badly. It’s mean-spirited humor for a child to split up from his family and shop for new parents, who are unfunny and disgusting stereotypes. For example, the Eskimo family casts out older members out in sea because they have no further use in helping the community. What a great message for kids.
But the major reason why I hate it is that it comes from such talented people. The director Rob Reiner has made so many fantastic films such as This is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride. Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played North’s parents, are both great comic actors who starred in Seinfeld, one of the best shows ever made. And Elijah Wood, who plays North, is a likable star and fortunately came back with many great films later. We expect something that’s wonderful from these people, not a mess like North.
In comparison, Troll 2 was a small film made up of people who really had no idea how to make a movie. Expectations for North were much higher than Troll 2.
I really find myself hating more of the bigger studio films because of that. Junk like Transformers, The Green Hornet, 2012, and Grown-Ups all have enormous budgets but little effort comes in the actual story. These movies are made just to rake in cash instead of making the audience care for it. You can’t really say the same thing for Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Even still, Troll 2 is far worse than a movie like The Green Hornet, though I hate the latter much more. But that’s a different way in sorting bad films. I could probably watch Plan 9 again but skip a showing of Grown-Ups 2.