Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This week: Room 237 has us thinking about documentaries about movies.
Best Worst Movie (2009)
For most bad-movie aficionados and trash-culture lovers, 1990’s Troll 2 was a sequel in name only to 1986’s Troll, and was so unbelievably insane, campy, and misguided (for starters, there are no actual trolls to be found in Troll 2) that it has joins Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Room as the gold standard for so-bad-they’re-good B-movies. For Michael Stephenson, the film’s young child star, it represented a formative experience from his childhood. And it was an experience he was still trying to process when he decided to explore the Troll 2 phenomenon, this time as a first-time director, with the 2009 documentary Best Worst Movie.
Best Worst Movie indelibly chronicles a singularly bizarre production that brought together an Italian crew—that spoke precious little English and set out to make a strange, allegorical point about vegetarianism with a hilariously muddled horror film they didn’t seem to understand—and an inexperienced American cast that could use all the help they could get but were left stranded by a confused, mercurial and overwhelmed director. More than just an Ed Wood-style comedy of errors about loveable amateurs who aren’t about to let their complete lack of talent and resources get in the way of creating something memorably awful, Best Worst Movie is a trenchant exploration of the nature of camp. It’s also an unexpectedly moving study of the fragile, damaged crew who made Troll 2 and don’t quite seem to know what to make of its strange afterlife as a popular candidate for the worst film ever made. With Best Worst Movie, a talented young filmmaker uncovers not only his own curious past but also a tale of tormented would-be artists as strange, fascinating, and unexpectedly funny as the film whose making inspired it. Anyone who has seen even an excerpt from Troll 2 knows what a massive achievement that represents.
Availability: Available on Amazon Instant and DVD.