Uwe Boll is an enigma. The filmmaker is best known for some of the worst films ever made, including BloodRayne and Alone in the Dark. And from the ashes of bad cinema rises a great behind-the-scenes story in the form of a documentary titled, Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story.
But how does one actually describe what made Uwe’s films so intolerably bad? I once attended a screening of Postal in 2007 and Uwe was there doing a Q&A. I actually found his sense of humor to be kind of endearing. It was way off, but endearing nonetheless. He ended the Q&A session by saying in his German accent, “Any final solutions?” I’m sure he meant to say, “Any final questions?” but his obliviousness was something that was undeniable. And if he meant it as a joke, it was a pretty bad one.
“I try to make the worst movie ever, so that the next one can only be better.”
Sean Patrick Shaul’s documentary follows the unusual career of Uwe Boll from his beginnings in schlock video game movie adaptations to his inauspicious end in which he retires from filmmaking to become a restauranteur. (A very successful restauranteur, by the way.)
Anyone who has experienced Uwe’s films knows the frustration of seeing all of the elements of what might make a fun, low budget movie, but the final result often misses the mark. For me, it’s not so much that Uwe’s films were bad as much as they were just sloppily made by someone who didn’t seem to care. Boll’s inattention to detail, especially for films from beloved video game franchises, is perhaps the thing that annoyed critics the most.
Shaul’s documentary features interviews with many of the people Boll worked with on various productions telling story after story and, no surprise, they are shocking and hilarious. It’s a miracle that any of these films were finished but you have to admire Boll’s, well, balls. Sometimes making three features at once, it was like he was in a race to make as many films as he could before he died from the attempt. One common thread with all of these stories was Uwe’s lack of care or attention to detail. In some cases, Boll was not even looking at the shot or actors when he would yell action. In other cases, Boll hadn’t even read much of the script for the movie he was directing and he’d often make things up as he went. (No surprise.) The way that people like Clint Howard said it, “He likes being the director, not so much doing the directing job.” Uwe seemed to care more about just getting films made rather than making one good film.
“I triggered this kind of bashing, because I bash back.”
While all of this is highly entertaining especially for someone like myself who watched his rise and “fall,” there is one thing that those who knew him well repeated over and over–he was a likable asshole. Boll’s passion and drive seemed to be the glue that kept him going. And that made his cast and crew love him as much as they hated him.
The highlights of Uwe’s career and his battle with critics and audiences are now the stuff of legend. In 2006 Boll challenged film critics to a boxing match. He flew four critics to Vancouver for an event he called “Raging Boll.” While the unsuspecting critics thought this would just be for fun, Uwe beat the shit out of them leaving writers like Jeff Sneider bruised and battered. Boll went on to win a Razzie Award for “Worst Achievement in Film” for, well, name any one of his movies. In 2008 a petition was started online to stop Uwe Boll from ever making movies. It went viral. If he got 1 million signatures, he would quit.
I happen to love documentaries about films and the filmmaking process, and Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story is one of the best I’ve ever seen in this category. While I never actually hated Uwe’s movies, I found his sense of humor to be, well, like a human explained to an extraterrestrial what humor is and that alien attempted to tell a joke. Boll’s sense of humor is, at best, kind of… off. But I admire him for the attempt. Boll’s video game movies just seemed to annoy audiences with their cheapness and inaccuracy. Thankfully, Shaul’s documentary is hysterically funny, a wildly entertaining ride and the best movie Uwe Boll has ever been a part of. Which is ironic, in and of itself. Long live Uwe.
Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story (2018) Written and directed by Sean Patrick Shaul. Produced by Kayvon Saremi andSean Patrick Shaul. Starring Uwe Boll, Clint Howard, Keith David, Michael Paré, Brendan Fletcher, Lindsay Hollister, Guinevere Turner, Shawn Williamson, Luke Y. Thompson, Jeffrey Sneider
9 out of 10