Friday, November 19, 2010

The Best Worst Movie Ever Made Of All Time

Look out, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE! You have a new contender for the title of Worst Movie Ever Made, and it’s Italian director Claudio Fragasso’s insane TROLL 2, which barely eked out a U.S. video release in 1990.

Filmed in Utah with amateur American actors by a largely Italian crew that spoke little English, TROLL 2 has earned itself quite a cult following since the 2000s. This documentary—directed by the child star of TROLL 2, Michael Stevenson—examines the movie’s bizarre following and its impact on the lives of its performers two decades after it was made and promptly forgotten.

It comes as little surprise to learn that the people who made TROLL 2 are as eccentric as the film itself. Stevenson focuses BEST WORST MOVIE on the one-shot actor who played his father, George Hardy, who genially tromps around the country, attending screenings filled with fans who laugh uproariously at TROLL 2’s amateurish acting, writing, and special effects. The Alabama dentist shows what a good sport he is about TROLL 2’s reputation by constantly honoring fans’ request to quote his dialogue. And often quoting it even when nobody asks him to.

As comfortable as Hardy is with his notorious mark in cinematic history—indeed, he seems so eager to be the center of attention that he embraces his “stardom” with an enthusiasm that teeters into embarrassment—TROLL 2 director Fragasso comes across as confused and frustrated. He believes TROLL 2 is a good movie, and his temper flares occasionally when his cast disparages it.

Stevenson manages to track down almost every actor with a significant role, and it’s interesting to note the directions their lives have gone. Some, like Connie Young, who played the daughter with bad dancing skills, accept TROLL 2’s fandom calmly but with bemusement (though she still doesn’t list TROLL 2 on her acting resume). At the other extreme is Margo Prey, who played Stevenson’s mother and now appears to be a weird shut-in with an invalid mother.

I couldn’t decide whether BEST WORST MOVIE was crazy, depressing, or hilarious. It’s all three, really, at various times, and I suppose that’s fitting for a documentary about TROLL 2, as schizophrenic a movie as ever was made.

No comments: