Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Documentary Day 2! The Art Of Trolling

A while ago I did a Documentary Day (Catfish, Exit Through The Gift Shop). Since then, besides Fahrenheit 9/11, I've hardly touched the genre here. So I thought I'd do it again! Documentary Day 2!

As this blog, every critical reviewer, every film fan, and... well... everyone can tell you, there are good films and there are bad films. Then there is the grey area. There are some films that are so bad they are good, if that is possible. How do these films make it into creation? How does something so bad become a cult favourite. Say, perhaps, The Room, or Troll 2. This documentary takes the latter and tries to find an answer. This is Best Worst Movie.

Troll 2 was, at the time the documentary was filmed, positioned at #1 on IMDb's bottom 100 films - essentially the worst film ever made. It has since moved up to #99, but that is still not a great deal. It has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is widely regarded as the worst film ever made. And yet it has screenings and parties dedicated to it across the USA. Why? Michael Stephenson (Joshua in Troll 2) sought to find an answer. Along with George Hardy (Michael in Troll 2), he travels around the country looking for Troll 2's fan base and is overwhelmed by the response. Hardy, almost completely unaware of the films fame, becomes an instant cult celebrity along with his co-stars, yelling about pissing on hospitality time and time again. Together, they look back at the film and where it went so wrong. The lack of English spoken by the crew? Perhaps. The lack of acting experience from the cast? Perhaps. The terrible, terrible script? Perhaps. Or perhaps all of these. Best Worst Movie aims to find out.

I really thinks this speaks for itself.
George Hardy, as the opening section emphasises, is the nicest guy, seemingly, ever. A dentist that helps those in need and provides entertainment in the community. We travel on his journey to minor stardom and see the true meaning of the phrase 'cult following'. As we go, George's chemistry with everyone he comes across would bring a smile to everyone's face as he finds out of his fame. We are also given a very good idea of the films flaws and how they happened as the cast attempt to act through a couple of scenes on the original set, all the while, director of Troll 2, Claudio Fragasso, yells at them to be sensible as they are 'actors'. The clear divide between a director proud of his work and actors who have seen the funny side is clear and is one part hilarious, and one part saddening. 

With Troll 2's success, Claudio had to ask, 'is it real?'

There is a real heart to the documentary. It is more than nostalgia; it is community. The communities built through love of the film and the community that was built in making the film. At parts, it is honestly touching - mostly involving Fragasso as he talks about his dedication to his work, and as fans tell him how much they adore the film, seeming totally unaware they are talking to the director. For the cast, primarily those who did not care for a career in acting, the film is a blip in their past. For Claudio, it is his impression left on the film world. Whilst seeing the inner workings of bad film-making is very interesting, the documentary is not without its flaws. We see several of the screenings which all end up being very similar. Whilst it is nice to see the cast loving their cult fame, it is dull once all the cast have been met. The film does not have enough material within it to lose those repetitive scenes, but it feels like too much of the film is taken up on it. The best moments are when we find out about the craziness of the past, not the normality of the present. 

Overall a fun documentary. A really interesting view into 'so-bad-it's-good' films and why you can never purposefully make one. There has to be passion and heart in the driving force and Best Worst Movie shows that passion in its joyful communities. 

Best Bit? Whenever the cast re-enact a scene from the film, they break down into contagious fits of laughter and it is impossible not to join in, even with Claudio calling them 'dog actors' from the side.

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