One of my hobbies is watching bad movies. I love watching crappy movies. Really crappy movies. The worse they are, the more I enjoy them. Like From Justin to Kelly. And Crossroads. And Illegal Aliens with Anna Nicole Smith. And The House Bunny. I love them all. The convenience store around the corner from my house rents crappy movies for 99 cents and I can indulge in them any time I want.
You know the movie is going to be bad going in, and it’s a little game to see just how bad, and in which style of bad. (is it a completely muddled patchwork quilt story? Bad dialogue? Paint by numbers plot? All of the above).
This past weekend I had the intense pleasure of watching Jessica Simpson in Blonde Ambition. It was…choice. According to imdb.com, it made about a thousand and change in it’s limited 8 screen release, and went straight to video. And deservedly so – although apparently it was a big hit in the Ukraine.
More often than not, the scripts of these movies make about as much sense as a computer manual translated from Japanese. It’s awesome and absolutely fascinating to see the crap that makes it up on to the screen. I spend most of the movie yelling at the screen – ‘What? Why? What are you doing? Why did they do that? Who are you? What? They said what?’ Thankfully I’m in the comfort of my own home where I can yell as much as I want. There was a lot of yelling during Blonde Ambition. Hee.
Time and time again, these craptacular movies seem to spend more time on the convoluted and much less time on actual, you know, story telling. (I know! We’ll have Jessica Simpson wrestling with a messenger bike! She’ll fall on the floor and she’ll make a face and it will be soooooo funny!) They spend more time figuring out the music montage rather than sit quietly for five minutes to answer the plethora of questions that leap to mind, that come screaming to mind, that a five year old would think of. It always amazes me – don’t they want to make a good movie? That makes sense? That answers the questions it puts forth?
I know, I know, yes I know. They don’t. I’m guessing there always a point in the editing process someone throws up their hands and says, ‘take it! Just take it! Don’t make me work on this piece of crap any more!’
Don’t get me wrong, I like unanswered questions. Have you read my plays? Read some of them and then make a list of all the unanswered questions. Go ahead. I’ll wait. It’ll take awhile.
But when the questions left on the table are so ludicrous they yank me by the hair out of the world I’m supposed to be fully engaged with and committed to, it’s just no good.
For example, here are a sampling of the questions left on the table by Blonde Ambition, all of which were asked in about a five minute span. I repeat, five minutes of movie:
- What does this company do? ( I never figured that out)
- Why don’t the VP and the President talk?
- Why is the President the only one managing all the accounts?
- How is it that the VPs secretary can get someone fired and hauled out by security?
- If said fired person was so important to the President, why doesn’t he fight for her, or at the least figure out why she was fired?
- How is it that Jessica Simpson is the only person up for the fired person’s job?
- And if the President hates Jessica Simpson so much, as he clearly states, and she shows not one ounce of credibility, of anything, why would he hire her?
- Why would anybody hire Jessica Simpson? Why? Why? Why?
And so on.
My favourite part of these experiences is that on the DVD there is often a ‘behind the scenes featurette. These are especially joyful to watch for crappy movies. It’s where actors have to lie, successfully and not so much, about how much fun they had making the movie. How great it was to work with the other actors. It’s a great project. Great character. Everything’s great. In The House Bunny featurette Colin Hanks looks like he can barely contain his contempt and loathing for the entire universe, and more specifically this movie. (It’s really awesome. )
Noticeable about the Blonde Ambition featurette is poor Jessica Simpson talking about how the movie is going to make people see that she can really act. (Wrong!) and the glaring absence of her leading man from the movie Luke Wilson. What? Doesn’t he want to tell the world how great it was to work with Jessica Simpson? Sometimes the things that are not said, are the best things of all….