Tag Archives: imdb bottom 100

IMDb Bottom 100: The Maize

The Maize: The Movie

maize1

I am incredibly surprised that I had never heard anything about this movie before. Honestly, Dark Harvest 2: The Maize: The Movie (take your pick on the title) is the most poorly crafted movie I have come across on the IMDb Bottom 100. It has all of the technical and acting incompetence of Birdemic combined with all of the filmmaking laziness of Zombie Nation. It is an unbelievable spectacle. I mean, the opening credits are even horrible.

The story loosely follows two young girls as they get lost in a haunted corn maze, and their ambiguously psychic father as he tries to rescue them from his premonition of a mysterious local child murderer who is hunting them down in the maze. There are also ghosts poorly ripped out of The Shining.

The majority of the movie consists of the father character yelling the names of his children while aimlessly wandering in the corn maze. It becomes infinitely boring and nauseating very quickly. Oftentimes, the director chooses to “enhance” these meandering scenes with picture-in-picture effects, which look bad even when they are done with a high budget (Ang Lee’s Hulk). Here, the effect looks atrocious.

As mentioned briefly, the acting in this movie is unforgivably bad for anything outside of YouTube. However, the script doesn’t do anyone any favors. There is one sequence where the daughters are talking to each other while lost in the maze, and it may be the most unwatchable sequence I have even seen in a movie. Both children sound like they are stumbling through reading their lines, and the lines themselves sound like the most inhuman dialogue even put to paper. Even the simple shot looks bad, like it was a home video from someone’s dusty VHS collection. It was like watching a perfect maelstrom of utter incompetence.

I recommend that any bad movie fan attempt to watch through this movie. It is a chore, but it feels like something that must be done: A rite of passage of sorts. If you can sit through this film, then no movie will ever be able to hurt you again.

IMDb Bottom 100: Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark is yet another video game adaptation by infamous director Uwe Boll. I already covered another one of his films, House of the Dead, which also resides in the IMDb Bottom 100. I thought that House of the Dead had a little bit more redeeming value to it than Alone in the Dark though, and I loathe that movie immensely. That alone says a lot about my dark opinions of this film (sorry about that).

I honestly try to be a little charitable when talking about Uwe Boll movies, because I think his personality and unpopularity among critics has colored a lot of reviews of his works. That said, it is pretty hard to deny that his movies are terrible, and I’m certainly not going to be one to deny that here. Regardless, I’ll try to start with some positives about this movie.

The first (and, well, only) positive thing I have to say about this movie is possibly a bit backhanded, because it is also a major complaint. I was impressed with his use of lighting in how he used it to relatively cover up some of his cheap/poor CG effects. That actually felt like a pretty good move, given what I assume were imposed budgetary limitations on the movie. However, the CG monsters were a bit integral to the plot, so the whole movie winds up being incredibly dark with random flashes of light (Uwe Boll bargain bin bullet effects), which makes the whole thing a pretty blinding experience. At times Boll tries to make up for this by substituting the CG monsters on screen with off-screen noises that imply their presence, but it winds up being a bit obvious as to what he is doing. Good try though, I guess?

Most of the movie looks like this

The movie’s plot is pretty typical if you find yourself watching SyFy Original movies on a regular basis. It isn’t deep, and there certainly isn’t too much though put into it. If I remember correctly, the monsters are underground dwellers (aliens at one point maybe?) that have been around throughout human history, and the characters find evidence of them in mysterious archaeological findings. The lead character (Christian Slater) is a former member of a secret government organization that tries to conceal the existence of these creatures, like a more militaristic version of the Men in Black. He teams up with some archaeologists (including Sharknado‘s Tara Reid) to try to contain (I guess?) the resurrection of these poorly CG’d creatures.

The acting is all pretty sub-par, and there isn’t anyone playing up their roles to add entertainment value. Everyone seems to be taking this movie incredibly seriously, which is really a shame. I feel like this had some potential if any of the actors would have been able to really let go, but I feel like they were equally constrained by the screenplay and the directing.

The biggest problems with this movie all come down to the lighting. I mentioned previously that this was a good way to try to conceal iffy CGI, but the whole movie comes out as too dark as a result of it. Equally, the constant darkness emphasizes another classic Uwe Boll cheap trick: post-production gun flashes. Uwe Boll loves these cheesy, bright gun flashes that are added in after the fact (I mentioned their presence in House of the Dead as well). In his other movie they look bad, but in a film where the characters are constantly immersed in darkness, the jarring flashes constant, and undo all of the work of concealing the flaws of the poorly CG’d monsters. It doesn’t matter much that you can’t see the shitty details of the monster CG when you are using the cheapest gun effects you can get your hands on.

oh come on

Alone in the Dark is a boring and painful watch. There isn’t any entertainment value to leech out of this thing, and you will almost certainly regret watching it once the headache from the constant flashing sets in. Worse, Boll once again concludes his movie by ripping off a much better, cherished cult classic. This time around, it is Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead: Boll concludes the movie with the first-person camera crashing in on the characters from behind, straight out of the fantastic conclusion to the original Evil Dead. Worse yet, the effect wasn’t necessary. The movie was already essentially over, and it could easily have just cut to black with the monster noises and had the same effect. At this point, I suppose that is just what you can expect from Uwe Boll.

IMDb Bottom 100: The Gaul

The Gaul

To start off with, I am unashamed to admit that I do not hate Christopher Lambert’s acting. He is a one-trick pony for sure, but I always liked him in the otherwise abysmal Mortal Kombat and Highlander movies. He is usually just the right amount of hammy for a B-movie, and can overact with the best of them. So, I was actually really disappointed to see him in this “historical” drama snooze-fest. It just doesn’t suit him, and he doesn’t suit this movie.

Druids / The Gaul is an attempt to adapt bits of Julius Caesar’s tale of his campaign in Gaul, focusing specifically on his relationship and rivalry with the Gaul leader Vercingétorix (played by Lambert). For those unaware, Vercingetorix is a legendary figure in history for uniting the tribes of Gaul to fight against Julius Caesar. There are a number of statues in his image around France today, so it isn’t so far fetched for someone to take a stab at making a movie based on his exploits.

Unfortunately, the people who chose to make this movie did not have the money or skill to fulfill their vision for an epic based on the great Gaul. The entire movie feels like it is aspiring to the successes of movies like Gladiator, but falls far short of the mark. It is clear during the few battle scenes that the film-makers are trying their best to make a “realistic” battle on a budget. There is very little in the way of compelling injuries or fighting, and a lot of clearly improvised spears to the gut. Some reviewers have been particularly harsh towards the costuming in the movie, but that is something I would forgive if they could manufacture a compelling battle. I don’t think I can be so merciful about Lambert’s hair though.

druids2

Despite Lambert’s uninspired performance and the budgetary issues, this movie still might have been decent if there had been an impressive script beneath it all. Unfortunately, it is at best mediocre. The dialogue isn’t horrible, but it certainly isn’t good enough to impress or make up for the other issues in the movie. Worst of all, the pacing of the film is very slow. I’m not sure who to blame that on exactly, but I am tempted to say that in this case it was a cacophonous concert between the directing, writing, and editing. I assume that they all wanted and expected a long-ish run time, because this was supposed to be an epic tale on screen. Unfortunately, it just comes off as boring instead of grand, because there isn’t much sense of motion or driving force in the film.

Overall, this is just sort of a boring, under-performing film. There are nuggets of a potentially good movie here, but no aspect of the movie is done well enough for it to get there. Everything is just shy of average, from the acting to the directing. It is certainly more watchable that a lot of Bottom 100 fare, but it is a long-shot from a good movie. It also isn’t bad enough for there to be unintentional entertainment value, so there really isn’t much of a reason for anyone to watch this movie. In general, I would recommend that people skip this one and watch something else, either something better or something worse.

 

IMDb Bottom 100: Zombie Nation

Zombie Nation

Uli Lommel is to Uwe Boll what Michael Bay is to Stanley Kubrick. That isn’t to say that Uwe Boll is any kind of cinematic master: he is quite incompetent, without any doubt. However, Uli Lommel exists on an entirely different plane below Boll. Just like no one considers Michael Bay a comparable filmmaker to Kubrick, Lommel’s “films” aren’t even to be considered in the same class as lowly Boll works like House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark.

Zombie Nation is an astonishing testament to the human capacity for failure. I have previously cited Birdemic as an example of a movie that failed in every aspect of filmmaking, but at least Birdemic didn’t mess up any makeup. If there is anything that is absolutely essential for a zombie movie, it is convincing makeup and practical effects. Zombie Nation does not have them.

I could type pages upon pages about how poorly done this movie is. The poorly utilized warehouse that is used for every set, the abysmal acting, the disappearing characters and storylines, the bad editing, the shitty effects, the inappropriate and baffling soundtrack, the non-ending, the stupid zombie rules…there is just too much to burn through. I could spend days talking about this movie, but I want nothing more in this world than to forget about it.

That said, if you are interested in bad movies and how bad they can be, Zombie Nation is a must watch. I challenge you to find things in the movie that would be passable in any genuinely respectable film. If you are just curious as to the extent of the incompetence in this movie, check out the more in-depth review by Obscurus Lupa. She hits the highlights of the movie, and you don’t have to sit through the entirety of the movie if you go down that route.

I recently came across a bargain bin box set of Uli Lommel movies (this was not included), and all of the films come with a commentary track done by Lommel himself. I’m actually really curious to listen through a couple of these, because I am curious as to how this guy ticks. Just from seeing this movie and knowing his reputation, I am curious if he thinks there is some sort of method to his “art”, or if he has the same hatred for critics that Uwe Boll does. I’m curious if he is the sort of filmmaker who insists that all of his films are masterpieces without flaws, because that seems pretty indefensible when you are producing things like Zombie Nation.

In conclusion, I can only recommend this one to really dedicated bad movie fans. The only way to approach it is from the perspective of a dissection, or you are just going to have a miserable experience. I can’t imagine what casual viewers thought if they rented / bought this movie based on the cover art. If you aren’t prepared for this movie, it is going to be incredibly jarring. I wouldn’t spring this on a group of friends, anyway.

IMDb Bottom 100: Final Justice

Final Justice
finaljustice

For quite some time, Final Justice actually held the top slot in the IMDb Bottom 100. Personally, I don’t think this is anywhere near the worst movie in the Bottom 100. The plot is repetitive, Joe Don Baker is far from an inspiring lead, and there are some moments of really poor editing in the movie. All of that considered though, this is definitely a watchable movie. The pacing slows down quite a bit in the middle, but it doesn’t drag in the way in The Starfighters or Devil Fish do, and it isn’t as incompetently composed as Birdemic. I am at a loss as to how it was propelled to the #1 position for so long.

The writing for the movie isn’t good, but it didn’t stand out all that much. Something that definitely does stand out is the somewhat shoehorned setting of the movie in Malta. Honestly, I think that the Malta setting was written in as an excuse for the crew to film in an exotic location. It seems like an odd choice to me though, and not your typical fish-out-of-water setup. In any case, the audience gets to see quite a bit of Malta for better or worse.

The plot follows a Texas Sheriff named “Thomas Jefferson Geronimo” (Joe Don Baker) as he is escorting a captured criminal overseas. Do to some mistake, the criminal gets free during a stop over in Malta. Baker’s character then spends the rest of the movie trying to track down the criminal across the island, while repeatedly annoying the local Maltese police. That is pretty much the extent of the movie: it is unquestionably a Joe Don Baker vehicle, and none of the other actors stand out at all. I would go so far as to assume that a good number of the accessory cast members are local Maltese folk who were roped into the filming, but I haven’t been able to dig up much information on the movie at all to confirm any of my suspicions.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about Final Justice. The fish out of water concept works pretty well in a comedy setting, but throwing it into a crime drama just strikes me as odd. Beverly Hills Cop managed to use the concept in a hybrid crime drama/comedy, but it relied pretty heavily on Eddie Murphy’s abilities to make it work. Joe Don Baker doesn’t have the same wit or presence as Murphy, nor is the writing for Final Justice comparable to Beverly Hills Cop. Hell, it isn’t even comparable to The Golden Child. That said, this might have been an interesting movie if there had been a better comedic focus on the culture shock between Texas and Malta, or if they had just ignored it entirely. As it stands, the writing just half-heartedly pokes at the differences in the cultures. Doing it half-way just doesn’t cut it, and makes the movie less focused and distracted overall.

As mentioned previously, there were a number of editing goofs throughout the movie. I think the whole movie could have used a little more hacking from another set of eyes, but it may have been too much of a jumbled mess to save. Surprisingly, the editor of this movie is still working today in television and film alike, and has some pretty big credits to his name now (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Mighty Ducks). Color me surprised.

I’m not sure how strongly I can recommend Final Justice. There is a lot of repetitiveness in the plot, which really makes most of the movie a dull experience to sit through. Even the MST3K treatment does a bit of joke retreading, but it does improve the overall experience without any doubt. The only thing that I can strongly recommend about the movie is the awesome theme song. Give that a good listen and you are probably set for this one.

If you are interested in a Joe Don Baker shitty movie showcase, I’d recommend watching Mitchell instead of this. I think there is bit more enjoyment to get out of that movie, and his character is way more over the top than “Thomas Jefferson Geronimo”.

IMDb Bottom 100: The Atomic Brain

The Atomic Brain

The Atomic Brain isn’t a good movie by any stretch, but it certainly has some charm to it if you ask me. This is an older movie that was dug up by the MST3K bunch, and has gained quite a bit of popularity through the show.

The Atomic Brain is centered around the idea of using brain transplants as a way of prolonging death, which is fodder for some grade A shenanigans as the plot progresses. The mad scientist who is pioneering the process is recruited by a wealthy aging widow (who is hilariously over-the-top evil and cruel) in order to execute a scheme for her to live on in a more youthful body. They invite a number of young women to their mansion under false pretenses, and start a process to select which one will host the old widow’s brain. I don’t completely understand why they needed to go through this final selection process, unless the widow just happens to be highly particular about her host. In any case, things go awry. Animal brains get mixed with human brains on a few occasions to hilarious effect, and ultimately the evil plot fails horribly as the house burns to the ground.

I enjoyed this movie quite a bit more than I thought I would. I loved how horrible the old widow was throughout the film, and how cheesy all of the human/animal hybrid experiments wound up. The leads weren’t particularly enthralling or interesting, but a lot of the peripheral action and characters were entertaining and ridiculous enough to make the movie a pretty decent watch (as far as bad movies go). I think this movie’s MST3K riff is golden as well, and adds a lot of entertainment value to the movie. I believe that this is one of the handful of MST3K episodes available on Netflix, so I can definitely recommend checking it out there.

IMDb Bottom 100: Leonard Part 6

Leonard Part 6
leonard

Boy, is there a lot to say about Leonard Part 6. In general, failed comedies are some of the hardest movies to sit through. They have one primary purpose: to draw laughs. If they aren’t doing that, they aren’t going to be saved by any other aspect of the movie, such as how a bad action movie might be saved by an impressively hammy villain. Leonard Part 6 is a rare exception in my opinion: it absolutely fails to get the laughs it aims for, but I genuinely enjoyed sitting through it. The movie was incompetently written and executed in such a way that I was in a state of awe through most of the film, which is better state than I had expected. There were points that I laughed, but it was either at the absurdity of the plot, the overacting, or the low quality of the effects every time. Regardless, I was able to sit through the movie easier than most of the Bottom 100 films I’ve been through so far.

When people have asked me if I have run into any pleasant surprises in the IMDb Bottom 100, this is usually the one movie that I mention. I have described it as akin to Douglas Adams’ “Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, if Adams had been a moron. There is an absurd element to the movie that has potential, but none of it is ultimately clever or capable of producing genuine laughter. For example, there are a number of instances in which Leonard (Bill Cosby) attempts to reconnect with his ex-wife. During these segments, the wife oddly covers Cosby in food (spaghetti if I recall correctly). It isn’t funny and it doesn’t make sense, but for some reason the movie plays it off like it should be hilarious. The situation is strange and unexpected, as are most of the happenings in the plot, but they aren’t funny beyond their inherent oddness. I found myself spending most of the movie wondering “what the hell is happening here?”, but I will say that I was never tempted to turn it off. It was a strange ride, but not one that I particularly regret taking.

The acting throughout the movie is very much constrained by the poor writing, but there are a few stand-outs. Joe Don Baker has a role as Leonard’s former boss, but he only shows up occasionally throughout the movie. His character is mostly there to catalyze the plot, but he manages to pull off a pretty entertaining sleazeball G-man despite limited screen time. Bill Cosby, who plays the lead, is probably one of the most forgettable people in the movie. Despite being a producer 0n the film, it doesn’t seem like he really wants to be in it. Given that he later disavowed the movie in post-production and has actively prevented it from getting a television release, he clearly isn’t a fan after the fact either. The villains (extreme animal rights activists, by the way) are pretty memorably hammy, but my personal favorite performances are by Leonard’s unexplained Jeeves-like butler and his nonsensical, vaguely eastern-European psychic consult. Neither character is necessary in the film at all, and pretty much only exist to make the movie that much stranger.

The plot to this movie is a bit difficult to explain. The movie starts with an assassination carried out by a rainbow trout, which is later explained as the action of a terrorist organization that has discovered how to mind control animals. This gets more convoluted as the plot develops, because the terrorists are animal rights activists. Why would extreme animal rights activists enslave animals to do their bidding? They seem to imply that this is going to liberate the animals in some way, but that is some confused logic that I don’t want to delve into. What is more important and perplexing is that vegans apparently explode into sawdust when exposed to raw meat in this universe. Yeah.

In any case, Bill Cosby’s Leonard is a retired super-agent who has apparently become extremely wealthy from doing covert government missions. His former employers are forced to turn to him to deal with the terrorist threat, and hijinks ensue as we follow Leonard through his mission. There is unexpected ballet, CGI ostrich action, a car with a tank cannon, and some very poorly executed explosions along the way.

I honestly can’t recommend this movie enough. It is a strange experience, and a complete train-wreck failure of a movie that is hard to look away from. Some apparently haven’t been able to enjoy this movie, but I thought there was some real entertainment value in it as an academic example of how not to make a comedic movie. You really have to just turn off all of your thought processes and embrace the confusion for this one. Just ride the ostrich.

IMDb Bottom 100: Time Chasers

Time Chasers

Time Chasers, or Tangents, is yet another IMDb Bottom 100 movie that can attribute most of its popularity to Mystery Science Theater 3000. Personally, I don’t think it is nearly as bad as most of the other movies on the IMDB Bottom 100. I actually enjoy it as a movie pretty well, despite the film’s obvious shortcomings.

The biggest flaw in Time Chasers is that the film-makers clearly didn’t have the capability to execute the vision of the script. Ultimately, I think that almost entirely came down to a lack of funds. Overall, I am impressed at the product that they did manage to create given their limitations. It creates some humorous moments as they improvise a number of their sets, but they put more effort into it than some other similarly-cheap movies. I think that the film also falls victim to the times in retrospect, as the special effects that are used in the time travel sequences look incredibly cheesy now, not to mention the fashion.

The MST3k riff of the movie focuses a lot on what they see as a miscasting of the lead character. The actor certainly doesn’t strike as a typical film lead, but his character isn’t supposed to be an action hero. He is a physicist and a hobbyist pilot, so why would it be necessary for him to look like a movie star? I also imagine that the film couldn’t afford experienced actors anyway (I’m assuming that from the dialogue delivery), but that “flaw” isn’t something I hold against the movie. The fact that none of the actors deliver lines very well is another matter. Again, I think they were making due with what they had available. I’m impressed that the whole movie is as watchable as it is given the circumstances.

Despite the poor acting, mediocre (and over-reaching) script, and low budget, Tangents is a thoroughly watchable movie. It is by no means fantastic, but it did a pretty good job of keeping my attention. Their future segments come up very short due to their limitations, but bringing in American Revolution reenactors actually served them pretty well in creating their 1777 setting towards the conclusion.

As with any movie like this, a good hammy villain goes a long way in making the final product entertaining, and Tangents really lucked out there. The antagonist is a great corporate CEO bad guy, who seems to get progressively more evil as the movie goes on. The whole movie picks up whenever he is on screen, and he almost makes up for the dull romantic aspect of the plot.

In general, I can recommend this as an enjoyable “bad movie” watch. It isn’t on par with a legitimate release by any means, but it has enough going on to be both watchable and enjoyably incompetent, and the pacing never slows down to a crawl like many poorly made amateur films do. The incompetencies are mostly compartmentalized into areas that make the movie more entertaining, which is a pretty rare occurrence.  The MST3k riff is a pretty good one, but this is a case where I don’t think it is necessary to enjoy the movie. If you want a slightly more obscure pick for a bad movie night, this is a swell candidate.

For Castleton!

IMDb Bottom 100: Chairman of the Board

Chairman of the Board

“Chairman of the Board” is a movie starring the infamous prop comedian known as Carrot Top. It is exactly what you expect.

Do I need to keep writing? Yes? OK, fine.

This is a movie that had absolutely no chance of succeeding, because its fatal flaw lies in its premise: it is a movie that (I assume) was designed around Carrot Top. There are lots of reasons that can lead to a movie falling on its face, but typically there is at least the nugget of an interesting movie idea buried at the core of a bad movie. This is not one of those cases.

I would actually be interested to know more about the story of how this movie got made. Who pitched it? Who put their money into it? More importantly, who greenlit this script when the only other credit to the writing team at the time was the atrocious “Leprechaun 2”, the worst of all of the Leprechaun movies (an impressive feat)? From some cursory IMDb digging, I noticed that the director of the film has a screenplay writing credit, which makes me wonder if he may have had a heavy hand in some rewriting. It clearly didn’t help much, but maybe there was an attempt to fix the unfixable.

There is unfortunately not much information out there about this movie that I can find. Most of what is out there is related to a Conan interview in which comedian Norm Macdonald lambasted the film’s premise prior to the release, and correctly labeled it “box office poison”. Apart from conjecture, there isn’t much solid information to be found. The IMDb trivia solely mentions that this was Carrot Top’s only starring role in a movie. Thank goodness.

Let’s get started with the plot autopsy (Plotopsy?).

Carrot Top’s character is introduced to the audience as an irresponsible man-child who spends all of his money on funding moronic personal inventions (props) instead of paying his rent. He refuses to get / hold down a job because…reasons. He likes to use his infinite free time to surf, which he also incorporates his props into. If I recall correctly, he invents an emergency break for his surfboard. I’ll let someone else figure out the physics on that one.

The plot appears when it is made clear that Carrot Top’s character, Edison (ugh), is about to get rightfully evicted by his landlady. He fails to hold down a series of jobs over the course of a montage, during which I assume the audience is expected to laugh. He also has all of his useless inventions rightfully rejected by a representative of an invention firm of some sort. At this point, it seems like Edison is going to hit rock bottom, and may be forced to mature in order to start piecing his life together as an adult.

Instead, he serendipitously befriends the head of a major research and development company, who then promptly dies for the convenience of the plot. For the further convenience of the plot, this well-regarded and now-dead businessman decided to leave his legacy and the future direction of his company to the strange person he met at the beach recently, and decided to change his will to reflect this fact just before his death. And so, Edison gets a job as the head of a major corporation.

Most of the rest of the movie could be summarized as “Carrot Top won’t shut up, and shenanigans ensue.”

Through those various shenanigans, Edison acquires a love interest (one of his employees) and sews the seeds of his destruction through being massively incompetent and trusting someone who clearly despises him. He does have one “brilliant” invention: a frozen dinner that comes with a television screen and a feature program. Yeah, it is a TV dinner. Yeah, it is a bad idea. Yes, they play it off as a good idea that is wildly successful.

The next section of the movie can be summed up as “Sabotage and just desserts.”

In this section of the movie (my favorite), all of Edison’s incompetencies and his ill-placed trust come back to ruin him. He is ultimately betrayed, fired, evicted, and left unconscious on a beach. Unfortunately, the movie does not end here.

The movie ends with the corporate antagonist being exposed for his sabotage of Edison, the board overthrowing him, and Edison turning down the only job ever genuinely offered to him in his life. He recommends his love interest take over his position at the head of the company (the board does so), and instead of ethically deciding to find employment elsewhere or remain an unemployed dreamer indefinitely, takes a job underneath her in the R&D department, maintaining the dodgy nature of their professional/personal relationship. They joke about this in front of the entire board of the company, and everyone laughs and plays along.

In case you were curious, all of the writers of this movie still get work in television as of 2013, and the director is attached to the already much anticipated “Jingle All The Way 2” starring Larry the Cable Guy, which is slated to go straight to hell DVD next year.

I can’t recommend this movie. It is almost worth seeing just for the spectacle of its strange and unlikely existence, but not quite. This movie is actually out there in a bunch of “family fun” DVD compilations, so it is shockingly still getting circulation after all of this time. Unless you have a high tolerance for both bad movies and the constant, nail-on-chalkboard sound of Carrot Top’s voice spewing nonsense dialogue, when you should really never seek out this movie.

IMDb Bottom 100: I Accuse My Parents

I Accuse My Parents

I think that I have lost count of how many times I have watched this movie. Just to be clear, it isn’t because I like it. This is one of those movies that is so boring and forgettable that I keep forgetting about major aspects of the movie, so I wind up watching parts of it again. As I write this, I watched the movie most recently within the last week. However, I don’t recall a pretty important aspect of the ending. Still, I’ll do what I can to lay this one out for you all.

“I Accuse My Parents” is framed around a court case, in which a young man is on trial for a murder. We open with the judge prompting the accused to give testimony in his own defense, to which he dramatically claims, well, “I accuse my parents”. Then he poorly defends the claim through recollections, and that is our movie.

First off, the setting has the potential to be interesting. There are some great movies out there that use the progress of a court case to tell the story, and they often go to interesting places where they play with unreliable narrators as they are put on the stand. This movie missed a brilliant opportunity to play with the unreliable narrator concept in particular, because it is established relatively early on that the accused is accustomed to lying on a regular basis (he blames his parents for making him pick up that habit, more or less). Despite that, there is no reason given for the audience to be skeptical of any of his testimony, and no one speaks to counter his recollection of events. Basically, the entire courtroom takes the testimony of the accused, a self-admitted grandiose liar, as gospel recollection of all events. Admittedly, this is a simple message movie that isn’t going to delve too deep into anything, but this is one of the most ridiculous courtrooms I’ve seen in a film.

The characters are all very one-dimensional and flat, which contributes greatly to the difficultly of sitting through the movie. The lead character is the only one who really changes in any way, and even his developments are shallow. He goes from being an ace student to a charlatan quasi-gangster and back again over the course of what I believe was only a handful of days, and there is only one scene where we actually see him reconsider his actions. All of that said, the accessory cast are all similarly dull. It is possible that the poor portrayals should be a criticism aimed at the script and the director, because it almost seems like they were instructed and boxed in to acting like they were in a cheesy PSA (this was the 40s, I assume they didn’t know any better). Regardless of where the fault lies, the characters come off as very uninteresting and unconvincing. The only exceptions to this are the parents (the ones he “accuses”, if you recall). The mother character is an alcoholic party animal, who is played up to the maximum. I really wish she had more screen time, because the scene where she drunkenly crashes a PTA meeting is one of the only thoroughly watchable bits of the movie. There is also a great segment early in the movie where the mother and father bicker after coming home in the evening. The father character is a biting, sniping, sexist, miserable suit of some kind. He fires a few verbal darts at the mother, but he generally just blends into the background with the rest of the accessory cast outside of a select scene or two. In his case, the character is supposed to be generally absentee, so I can kind of understand him not standing out or getting a ton of time on screen. Still, I doubt it was a creative decision to make him particularly dull.

So, here comes the bit I don’t remember. As the plot progresses, the lead character gains a love interest while in the midst of one of his lying binges. She is connected to the owner(?) of the club where she performs (yeah, we get a musical number in this) semi-romantically, who also is into organized crime in one way or another. This mob dude recruits the protagonist into doing some sort of menial criminal work (you can tell how well I am remembering all of this, I’m sure). Mob dude connects that there is romantic shenanigans a-brewing between protagonist and the club singer, and decides to remove our “hero” from the equation. At this point, something happens. The love interest breaks off from the lead at the behest of the mobster, and other things happen. Protagonist-liar-pants runs away, and unsuccessfully attempts to rob a diner in one of the worst attempts at a criminal act ever played out on screen. The cook manages to talk him down (and subsequently hires him as an assistant) over the course of the attempted robbery. Good work there, ace.
After hanging around in the diner for some unclear amount of time, he returns home. Things happen, and he ultimately faces off against the mobster character. If I recall correctly, the mobster is killed over the course of the altercation, which is the reason for the trial.

That is the best I can recollect of this movie without looking anything up, and I have probably watched this 6 times, and 3 for sure within the last couple of months. This movie is painfully boring to watch, and the MST3k helps less than you would hope it would. It isn’t as bad of a film as “The Starfighters”, I could compare it more to “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies”, but without the cheesy effects and hammy acting that provided the few saving graces for it. “I Accuse My Parents” is really just a prime example of the message movies that were popular way back when. They weren’t deep, they weren’t artsy, and there was never much thought put into the acting or the plots in them. Like “The Starfighters” this movie is more like a historical tome than anything: it is an artifact of cinema, which I think would otherwise have been completely forgotten if not for the attention brought to it by MST3k. If watching this sort of cheesy message movie appeals to you ironically, or you enjoy cackling at the outdatedness of these sorts of films in general, then “Reefer Madness” is a much more famous and much more entertaining movie to check out. There are even some more recent edits of it that colorize the weed smoke to be a toxic green (IIRC), which makes the whole thing much more hilarious. That is a fun movie to sit through, “I Accuse My Parents” is not. However, if you are a MSTie, then this is a riff worth checking out. I think it is one of Joel’s best, but I am also firmly on Team Mike.

Oh, and here’s the musical number: