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Thursday, December 21, 2017

THE WORST MOVIE EVER + JUMANJI

I went to two films yesterday, a documentary-type remake, The Disaster Artist, of what some have termed the worst movie ever made, The Room, and the new edition on Jumanji.  Both were very entertaining.

But is The Room truly the worst ever?  Here are are a few other candidates:
  • 1936:  Reefer Madness (this is the complete and enhanced version at 1 hr 8 min)--anti-marijuana propaganda.
  • 1948:  The Babe Ruth Story (all 2 hr 23 min)--featuring William Bendix as the Babe, and said to be the worst sports film ever made.
  • 1953:  Glen or Glenda (all 1 hr 2 min)--about transvestism, with Bel Lugosi, directed by Edward D. Wood...what more do you want?
  • 1959:  Plan 9 from Outer Space (all 1 hr 18 min)--another Ed Wood film, Bela Lugosi's final appearance on screen (passed away during production), and labeled Worst Film Ever by The Golden Turkey Awards (Ed Wood was, of course, worst director, but there were other notables with "worst" awards, like Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, Gary Cooper, Vincent Price, Marlon Brando, Mary Tyler Moore, John Wayne, Tony Bennett and Paul Newman).
  • 1964:  Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (all 1 hr 21 min)--in color, with Pia Zadora, a favorite of Mystery Science Theater 3000. which picked as their worst of all time....
  • ....1965:  Monster a Go-Go (all 1 hr 9 min)--the whole cast agreed that this was the worst ever.
  • 1970:  Myra Breckinridge (all 1 hr 34 min)--book by Gore Vidal, starring Raquel Welch, Rex Reed, Mae West, John Huston and Farrah Fawcett, called by TIME magazine as "about as funny as a child molester."
  • 1973:  Bat Pussy (here is a trailer, but full movie not available)--a spoof of the Batman television series, and noted for being the worst pornographic film of all time.  It does have a cult following and gets shown here and there, now and then.
  • 1986:  Howard the Duck (10 most disturbing moments)--executive producer, George Lucas, of Star Wars fame, won seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including for Tim Robbins as Worst Supporting Actor.  Many of the cast found themselves unemployable after this exposure.
  • 1995:  Showgirls--a $45 million French-American production which won seven Razzies and and a record 13 nominations, a record that still stands.  TBS shows this film but digitally adds black underwear.

  • 2000:  Battlefield Earth (also has an ad for Jumanji):  written by L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology), starring John Travolta (Scientology), earned a 3% Rotten Tomatoes rating and earned seven Golden Raspberries.
  • 2013:  Movie 43 (I can't believe I went to see this film):  To quote me:  I just saw the most pornographic, shocking, funny and surprising film I've ever experienced.  Did you know that Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, Dennis Quaid, Halle Berry, Richard Gere, Emma Stone, Terrance Howard, Liev Schreiber, Uma Thurman, Jason Sudeikis, Gregg Kinnear, Seth MacFarlane, Naomi Watts Kate Winslet, three real NBA stars and others, are all in this same movie? 
I tried to view The Room and the first Jumanji, with Robin Williams, but couldn't get to see either one for free on Netflix and Amazon.  So I went to the recent productions.

                                          Rotten Tomatoes      My Rating
                                     Reviewers  Audiences

The Disaster Artist             92               90            B+

Jumanji                              77                87            B+

The Room was written, directed and produced by Tommy Wiseau, who also starred, and was mostly filmed in the same corner of a room.  He paid $6 million of his own money and theaters to show it.  No one knows how he got the funds or from where he came, although Poland sounds about right.  His co-star, Gregory Sestero, published his 2013 memoir The Disaster Artist on the making of The Room.  
James Franco directed and produced The Disaster Artist, and also starred.  His younger brother Dave Franco co-starred.  Add also Seth Rogen.  
If you can remember The Interview with James Franco (JF) and Seth Rogen about their attempt to assassinate Kim Jung-un, you got to be impressed with JF for what he did, including looking more like Frankenstein than Dave Skylark, but still resembling Tommy Wiseau.  Also, JF has earned degrees from UCLA and Columbia, and is currently still a PhD student at Yale.  He has taught at UCLA, USC and NYU.  He is said to be a noted a humanitarian, with a mysterious personal life.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, was a whole other kind of fun, mostly filmed in Hawaii.  I'm biased.  Any movie from Hawaii has a redeeming virtue.  What made the production so worthwhile was the creative writing.  Just when you thought they would coast, something new grabs you.  To begin, two decades apart, high school students get sucked into a video game, Jumanji.  The second set, four students representing a nerd (who becomes the Rock), a huge football star (shrinks into Kevin Hart), vain goddess (played by Jack Black--yes, female in male) and a detached bright prudish girl (played by gorgeous Karen Gilian) succeed in replacing the emerald eye of a jaguar rock (this blog does not pretend to be a movie review site), and in the process, find themselves.  The script missed a happier ending by not relieving the characters of their crime.  What does this mean?  Go see the film.

Will there be a Jumanji 3 in 2019?  Well, watch the teaser.

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