Best Worst Movie
Director: Michael Paul Stephenson
Cast: George Hardy, Claudio Fragasso, Michael Paul Stephenson
Review By Brian M. Sammons
Going over my top movies of 2010 I remembered this one and then I remembered that I didn’t cover it when it came out on DVD. So looking to rectify that grievous oversight, I present to you Best Worst Movie, a documentary about one of the lowest rated and most critically panned films ever. One that currently has a 2.2 out of 10 rating on IMDb and I believe that is up significantly since this doc has come out and sent some fans over there to pad out the score.
Fans, you ask?
Well yes, because as horrible as the movie is it has become a certifiable cult classic and for good reason. That movie in question is the infamous Troll 2 and if you’ve ever seen it then you know how awesomely fun-bad it is. There is a whole legion of fans out there, and I count myself among them, that love that movie for all the wrong reasons.
However it is one thing to watch a great bad movie, it’s quite another thing entirely to be an actor in it. That was the bitter lesson child actor Michael Paul Stephenson found out first hand after staring in this turkey and suddenly finding himself unemployed in Hollywood. So after wrestling with the Troll 2 fallout for years he did the most sensible thing imaginable; he decided to direct a documentary about the movie that has haunted him for most of his life.
So has that young man’s pain become something for us to point and laugh at? Most certainly, but it also has a surprising amount of heart, is very informative, and in all ways is entertaining as hell and here’s the biggest compliment: even to those who have never seen Troll 2. Yes, I’ve shown this to a number of friends who had no idea about any of the Troll movies and they still enjoyed this documentary. Now that’s saying something. I can’t think of another film about a film that does that.
So why is Best Worst Movie so darn good?
A large chunk of that credit goes to George Hardy who played the father in Troll 2. This dentist with dreams of Hollywood really comes off as a nice guy and seeing how this remarkably normal, everyday guy deals with the infamy for being in “the worst movie ever” is the heart of this film.
But George isn’t alone; virtually all of the surviving actors recount their tales of woe for being in this movie. In addition to the beleaguered and bemused cast, you get tons of fans relating their love for this very odd film, but for me the best parts were with Italian director Claudio Fragasso. There was a guy who just didn’t get it in every sense of the word. From truly believing that he made a great film with Troll 2, to being confused why audiences were laughing at it during screenings he attended, to calling the actors “dogs” repeatedly for not recognizing his genius and just how great his movie is. Rarely have I seen a man so self-deluded even in the face of overwhelming opinions contrary to his own. I guess good for him for being true to himself and remaining positive, but on the other hand the man desperately needs to get a clue.
The DVD of this fine film from Docuramafilms comes complete with a nice selection of extras. There are 15 short featurettes and interviews ranging from three to 13 minutes, an 82 minute audio track of a creative screenwriting Q&A, trailers, a filmmaker bio, and even a fan made music video that was pretty funny. Sadly there is no filmmaker’s commentary, but I guess Michael Paul Stephenson said all he had to say about Troll 2 once and for all in the documentary.
It might be trite to say that Best Worst Movie is one of the best movies of 2010, but it would also be true. If you have yet to see this movie then grab yourself a copy and do so. You won’t regret it and if it gets you to watch Troll 2 again, or better yet, for the first time, then consider that a nice, goofy bonus. BWM is charming, fun, funny, heartfelt, informative, entertaining, and just plain old good. Consider it a must have.