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IMDb Bottom 100: Miss Castaway and the Island Girls

Miss Castaway and the Island Girls

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I admittedly did no research ahead of watching “Miss Castaway and the Island Girls” for the first time, so I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect going in. I can say that the last thing that I anticipated was a low-budget “Movie Movie” with a plot involving Noah’s Ark, Michael Jackson, the Tim Burton “Planet of the Apes”, and a giant prehistoric bipedal pig.
castaway3I have talked and written at length before about the weaknesses of the “Movie Movie” genre in my reviews of “Epic Movie” and “Disaster Movie”, both also on the IMDb Bottom 100. I won’t retread that ground, other than to point out that this style of movie has no longevity for future audiences due to their reliance on references and current pop cultural references. “Miss Castaway” definitely suffers from this in a huge way, given most of the ‘humor’ is derived from lampooning movies like “Castaway” and “Miss Congeniality”, which are barely on the cultural radar nowadays. However, that is a weakness of all of these movies, and there are plenty of issues unique to “Miss Castaway” that the big budget sister films like “Epic Movie” and “Disaster Movie” were able to evade.

First off, “Miss Castaway” is a cheap movie, and that is a fact that shows itself at every turn. Any time CGI is used (which is far too often), it looks like it was scraped out of the bottom of a barrel. Check out this clip featuring “Jurassic Pork”, one of the handful of CGI creatures in the movie.

Also, check out this dodo bird / alien thing. Doesn’t it look fantastic?
castaway4As you would expect, all of the acting and writing is abysmal. The acting is about what you should expect from any spoof movie, but the line deliveries are particularly stilted and wooden. Then again, there is no way to seriously deliver half of the lines in this script. For most of the movie, I was wondering if the writers had ever heard a human being talk before. In some ways, “Miss Castaway” dialogue feels like an alien race is trying to communicate with the audience, but their only knowledge of our planet, culture, and language is through movies circa 2004.

The plot feels like a clumsy patchwork to drive the characters from one reference to the next. It progressively devolves into incoherence, and it doesn’t make much sense to start with. I believe there are secret agents from the Vatican on board the crashed airplane who were hunting for Noah’s Ark, and were charged with saving it from humanoid Ape creatures who want to destroy humanity? There are also aliens involved at some point? It lost me about halfway through. I think Michael Jackson was in league with the Pope though.

castaway1Honestly, there isn’t much else to say about “Miss Castaway”. It is a cheap spoof movie that fails to be funny on paper, and is executed incredibly poorly. It is hard to compare Movie Movies to other kinds of movies, as they are kind of unique beasts. In comparison to the other Movie Movies on the IMDb Bottom 100, I can at least say that “Miss Castaway” is less low-brow that “Epic Movie” and “Disaster Movie”. It is far from high-brow, but I don’t recall much. if any, poop or bodily fluid humor, which puts it a notch above “Epic” and “Disaster” at least. However, the incredibly poor effects work probably puts “Castaway” right back down on their level. So, I guess it is pretty close to a draw? That is actually saying something for a movie with a fraction of their budgets, though.

In general, I don’t see any reason to recommend this movie. The plot is bafflingly stupid, the acting and writing are bad, and the effects are horrendous. If there were any actual humor to be had in the writing, the effects, acting, and plot might have been overcome. However, that was not the case. I advise avoiding this one, unless you have a burning need to see miserable CGI.

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IMDb Bottom 100: Disaster Movie

Disaster Movie

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I would like to say that “Disaster Movie” is exactly what you would expect it to be. For the most part, it is. However, it manages to set itself apart from the typical pack of “Movie Movies” that has flooded theaters since the success of “Scary Movie” in 2000. Even compared to fellow Bottom 100 parody “Epic Movie”, “Disaster Movie” is abysmal. In the case of “Epic Movie”, the over-arching plot lampooning “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” at least more-or-less tied the lazy jokes and sequences together, however loosely.

In “Disaster Movie”, in contrast, the connecting plot isn’t itself a parody of anything at all. In a movie so bloated with dated and unnecessary references, the plot of the movie itself fails to lampoon any specific film, instead opting for a dull and generic apocalyptic scenario. Worse yet, the framing just barely manages to move the action along from joke to joke. Essentially, “Disaster Movie” just follows a group of characters as they aimlessly run from location to location. They have a final destination in mind, but the audience has no sense of how close/far from it the characters are at any given time. It drags down the pacing, and sucks all sense of urgency out of the story. Not that anyone actually cared about the story in “Disaster Movie” anyway, though.

Everything else about the movie is generally exactly what you should expect from a “Movie Movie”. Lazy, crass humor is as rampant as the (dated) pop cultural references as they intertwine and mingle throughout the film. Yet, even the references are lazier than you might expect: the central MacGuffin of the plot is a crystal skull from that “Indiana Jones” movie everyone has tried to forget about. At one point, a man clad in a cheap Iron Man Halloween costume suddenly appears on screen, and is subsequently crushed by a falling cow. As best as I can tell, this is a reference to 1996’s “Twister”, a blockbuster that was released well over a decade before this film. The target audience of “Disaster Movie” may not have even remembered “Twister” when this movie came out.

disaster3Perhaps worst of all, towards the end of the film there is a sequence that references the animated movie “Kung-Fu Panda”. In lieu of awkwardly integrating an animated character into the film, there is instead a man dressed in a panda costume who engages in a martial arts fight. Not only is it an unnecessary reference to a children’s movie in an “adult” comedy, but the lazy costume just looks bad (not unlike the previously mentioned Iron Man gag).

disaster2This sort of low quality is basically even across the board in this movie, but most notably in the effects and the writing. The one instance where the movie tries to actually criticize one of its targets winds up being massively hypocritical and jarring. One of the central characters is a very thinly veiled caricature of Juno, the pregnant teenage lead character in the hit movie of the same name. While she is mostly used to make jokes about pregnancy, the writers also attempt to skewer “Juno” by pointing out the laziness of the movie’s humor and pop culture laden dialogue. It should be pretty clear at this point how that criticism is massively hypocritical for a film that consists entirely of pop culture references.

disaster1It should go without saying that I do not recommend that anyone see this movie. There aren’t any laughs to be had here. The most that you can possibly get out of the experience of watching this movie is the feeling of traveling back in time to 2008, and you will immediately realize that it wasn’t worth the trip.