Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Troll 2: The worst movie?

I spent five hours in a theater last night. 

For the first hour and a half, we watched a film called Best Worst Movie which is a documentary about the (supposed) worst film of all time: Troll 2.  In the doc, the filmmaker examined the lives of the people who made this train wreck possible twenty years after it was made.  With this strange mix of people, it is no wonder that Troll 2 became a cult classic. 

The father was played by George Hardy who had no acting background whatsoever.  He is currently practicing dentistry in small town Alabama and obviously loves the attention that Troll 2 has given him.  He was at the screening last night and seemed like a genuinely nice (and very happy) guy.  If a sequel to Troll 2 rolls around, he says he won't hesitate to do it.  God bless this guy for thinking that such creative lightning can strike twice. 

Margo Prey played the mother.  In the documentary, she seemed a little lost, summing up her life by repeating "it's complicated".  She looks after her ailing mother and hopes one day to return to acting.  Hearing her describe her experiences on Troll 2, I got the impression she thought she was working on a true freakin' masterpiece.  The same goes for the Italian director.  I don't think he has embraced the fact that his film has the distinction of being the "world's worst" but at least he has recognized that his film has made an impression on people even if it wasn't the one he expected.   

Following the documentary, there was a Q&A with George Hardy and the filmmaker, Michael Stephenson, who played the boy in the film.  There were some interesting questions in there but I was getting a little antsy when the moderator, Jeff Goldsmith, dragged everything on for over an hour.  I wanted to ask, "When are you going to play the damn film?" but I just sat in my seat and kept quiet. 

And finally, they played TROLL 2. 

A couple of things about this film.  It's definitely NOT the worst film I have seen.  That distinction belongs to several indie dramas which I have seen over the years with titles I can't even remember.  However, it is certainly one of the most bizarre.  The synopsis alone gives you a hint at the strangeness of this little gem. 

A family goes on vacation to a small town called Nilbog.  The family doesn't realize that this town is full of vegetarian trolls (actually, they are called goblins in the film) who prey on humans after they get turned into plants.  The son, aided by the floating head of his dead grandfather, tries to convince his family that the local inhabitants aren't friendly after he discovers that NILBOG is actually GOBLIN spelled backwards.  There is a final showdown between the family and the goblins during which the son uses a double decker bologna sandwich as a weapon.  The baddies are defeated and the family returns to the safety of their hometown. 

Or do they? 

There were a couple of scenes that instantly elevate this movie to cult classic status.  One of my favorites was when the son realizes that his family should not eat the green food so he jumps up on the table and urinates all over the lunch.  This prompts the father (who doesn't understand why his son did this) to throw his son in bed and scream at him, "And you can't piss on hospitality!  I WON'T ALLOW IT!" 

My favorite scene, however, was when the sexy leader of the goblins seduces a teenager with a ... wait for it ... a corncob!  Yep.  You have to see this scene.  They slurp on the corncob together and suddenly, POPCORN starts flying everywhere.  This scene has no bearing on the film whatsoever but I, for one, am glad that they put it in. 

There were even lessons to be learned from this film: 

If a guy gets hit in the nuts, it will turn him into a "homo". 
If you tighten your belt loop, you won't get hunger pains. 
If you are feeling stressed, then try singing "Row, row, row your boat". 
If you're drinking coffee, then you're drinking the devil's drink. 
If you're a victim of nocturnal rapture, then you must release your lowest instincts with a woman. 

My overall thoughts?

The acting was bad but enthusiastic, the screenplay was awful but did try to make some sense, the soundtrack was inappropriate but attempted to echo the tone of the movie and you could tell the director was passionate about the project but could not overcome the monumental silliness. I suppose that's why Troll 2 is so entertaining; they tried hard for something great but failed on every level.

Troll 2 is definitely worth checking out but not by yourself. Get yourself a group of people, get lots of alcohol and enjoy the movie equivalent of a train wreck.

You won't be able to look away.

And don't forget about Best Worst Movie.  Support your filmmakers!

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