IMDb Bottom 100: The Quarter Mark, Part 1
Ah, Space Mutiny. Another B-movie that faced the tribulation of an MST3K spotlight. Something I noticed when I first looked through the bottom 100 is that there are consistently tons of MST3K victims inhabiting the list.
I think that the MST3K treatment is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to this particular list. The show brought a lot of eyes onto some really obscure movies, and for some people that is as far as they go into the land of B cinema. Given that the IMDb Bottom 100 is both a democratic list AND requires a quota of votes for a movie to qualify, the popularity of MST3K movies definitely seems to skew the list in favor of them.
Space Mutiny, for example, is a movie that I find completely watchable. It is super cheesy in regards to the effects and stunts, and Reb Brown howls his way through the leading role just as he does in any movie, but I don’t think it is anywhere near the realistic bottom of the barrel of movies. The MST3K crew did an awesome riff of the movie that was a bit harsh in my opinion, but still very funny. I think their skewering has greatly manipulated people’s opinions on this one, and is the only reason it is as low as it is (top 10) on the list. I’m honestly not sure if this legitimately belongs on the list as all, much less that high. It isn’t good, but like Manos, this is a plenty enjoyable B-movie that somehow redeems itself through charming incompetence. Even the hammy accessory cast and the pathetic sets and props have a sort of endearing quality to their over the top-ness that is hard to put down.
If you are a fan of MST3K or bad movies in general, their Space Mutiny riff is one of the finest of the Mike Nelson era, and I can’t recommend it enough. It is definitely a fun watch. In fact, I recommend just about anything from Reb Brown’s filmography. He is a blast to watch work and has an amazing quality to elevate bad movies, just like how Nic Cage can make an otherwise miserable movie watchable.
I had an odd thought about “Turks in Space” recently. The more I look back on the movie, the more it feels like a Shakespearean work.
That isn’t to say that the movie is good, of course. However, there are some very Bard-like things going on in this film. First off, there is a whole lot of focus on twins and mistaken identity (in the hopes of generating comedy out of confusion). Unlike in a Shakespearean comedy though, none of it actually comes out entertaining in the slightest. There are also a whole lot of almost entirely pointless comic relief characters revolving around the plot, acting as commoners who occasionally poke at current events through the fiction. All of their humor is low brow as well, which is consistent with their analogues in the comedies. It goes without saying that having the romantic interests tied into the mistaken identity subplot and throwing a diplomatically important marriage into the mix also calls back to the much finer works of the finest playwright in history.
As much as I hate the idea, I may actually give this movie a rewatch to see what else I can come up with. If there is more to find, then the making of this movie gets much stranger. It is already a very odd romantic comedy science / fiction concept, and throwing in a screenplay that is trying to imitate the Bard adds a whole extra layer of strangeness onto the making of this movie.
Maybe this is actually a lost work of Shakespeare. Maybe Shakespeare wrote an entire play about spaceships and bad Turkish social humor while he was incredibly intoxicated one night, and then promptly attempted to dispose of his abominable creation when he awoke to discover it. Sure he penned some less than great comedies, but I would wager that Shakespeare’s “Turks in Space” would have demolished his reputation. On the flip side, I would love to see someone try to turn this movie into a play and attempt to put it on. With some better dialogue and a lot of cutting from the script, it might actually not suck. Maybe.
Well, this was quite unexpected.
This movie does not belong in the Bottom 100. It is incredibly cliche in the story and writing, and the acting isn’t great, but it is overall a pretty run-of-the-mill sports movie. This does not have any business being on this list, especially not as low as #15. That is just ridiculous.
One thing that I expected to be horrible in this movie was Wayne Brady, who plays a sleazy bookie and former sports agent. Honestly? He was pretty believable. He probably did the best job in the film, which was quite unexpected. The rest of the cast was pretty bland, but the acting wasn’t so bad that it was excessively distracting.
There seems to be a lot of criticism of the stunt work in the basketball scenes, but I didn’t find it incredibly distracting. It was definitely beyond belief, but I will forgive that because it sets the tone of the games being played. It establishes the skill of the players involved, which is important for the story to get across. If it just looked like standard pick-up basketball, a lot of the character motivations wouldn’t make as much sense.
The story, as mentioned before, is pretty run-of-the-mill. You can probably call everything that is going to happen in the movie well ahead of time, but overall it isn’t necessarily bad. The predictability makes it a little boring in that it takes out the stakes, but it isn’t so bad that you can’t keep watching. It is the same story with the dialogue, in that it will never surprise or enthrall you. However, it gets the job done.
This seems like a movie that isn’t ideal for hard core basketball fans, though. The unrealistically cut games apparently turn people off from the reviews I’ve seen, which seems like an interesting version of nerd rage for sports movies. I would imagine that a casual sports movie fan would be ok with the movie, though.
All of that said, I’m not sure if there is anyone who would absolutely love this movie. There is no way that this is anyone’s favorite film. It is one of those movies that is likely to slip your memory after a little while, and you won’t have any cause to recall it after it has.
I hope I run into more movies on this list that are as surprisingly watchable as this.
Pledge This almost certainly deserves the very low slot (top 20) it has in the Bottom 100. That is almost entirely due to the script, which is a racist, shallow, mind-numbing pile of garbage. All of the acting is atrocious, but what the hell could they have done anyway with what was given to them? You could have the finest cast of actors here and this would still be a crap movie. As it so happens, they actually had the worst actors. So, it came out much worse than a crap movie.
I can’t think of any redeeming factors to this thing. There just aren’t any. The relationships make no sense, no characters are likable, there are idiotic cartoon sound effects inserted for no particular reason, the jokes are all flat, and there is no reason to be invested in what plot the movie bothers to have.
The one thing I can say for this movie is that it actually surprised me. I expected moronic dialogue and stupid hazing jokes. I did not expect Paris Hilton’s dog to blow a guy. I did not expect a toilet explosion. I did not expect a giant ball of used condoms. These were not good surprises, but they were certainly not expected.
Neither of the writers of this movie have written a movie since from what I can tell. That is reassuring to me. There should have been a notification of this fact post-credits, and I might have actually clapped.
I am deeply dreading the other National Lampoon movies that I have to watch on this list. I have to deal with Paris Hilton’s acting a few more times, and unfortunately one of them, “The Hottie and the Nottie”, is ranked even lower than this stinker. I really hope I have some watchable movies come up before then.