EXCESS HOLLYWOOD: THE SHRINE OF BAD

Whenever someone finds out I write for Film Threat, the question I’m always asked is, “What’s the worse movie you’ve ever seen?” My answer is always the same two words: Dick Baby.

My review of this atrocious film can found archived on this web site. If you haven’t read it, you have to trust me when I tell you that the film is possibly the worst movie to ever disgrace video, and I come from a society that produced Pauly Shore films.

When I tell people that Dick Baby almost made me pluck my eyeballs from their sockets, they always respond, “I’ve seen one that’s worse.” Then they tell me about some movie they saw on “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” I then ask them if they’ve seen Dick Baby and get a blank stare. Frankly, if they haven’t seen it, their opinions don’t really count.

I’m a fan of independent cinema — you have to be to write for Film Threat — but a bad movie is a bad movie. Independent films do get some slack from me (mainly due to budget constraints), but I’m not afraid to call shit as I see it. I’ll give any film a chance, but there are “film buffs” out there who aren’t as forgiving.

Some of the people I talk to can’t stand independent movies. Their reasons range from “they don’t make sense” to “I like big explosions.” (Note to Hollywood: If you want to sell tickets, have big explosions that make sense.)

These same people also tend to hate foreign films and widescreen DVDs and videos. They really don’t seem to realize what makes a movie, well, bad, and that’s what separates the trained eye from the popcorn gulper.

There are movies that are horrible, but they are horrible in a good way. Terror Firmer is one of those films that is awful, but that works for it. Then there are films that are just painful to watch, and that doesn’t make them enjoyable. A film like Dick Baby falls into that category. These sorts of films have plots that don’t make much sense, actors who aren’t very convincing and dialogue that falls flatter than a twelve-year-old girl’s chest (think of “Godzilla” with that guy who is married to that girl who has sex in that city). Bad movies that work play off that and understand their shortcomings. The other bad movies that fail, do so because they take themselves far too seriously.

What strikes me as odd is the fact that people dislike independent cinema because they feel the films just aren’t of the same quality that Hollywood produces. They don’t realize that there are far too many big budget Hollywood pictures that have all the same trappings of a truly disastrous independent film — and there’s no excuse for it! The ironic thing about that is that for all the money and work that goes into a Hollywood film, they should be damn near perfect. Film by committee will screw you every time, though.

When you sit in the audience of some summer blockbuster and realize that there are plot holes big enough to fly a star destroyer through, that’s a bad movie (unless, of course, that’s the producer’s intention). Audiences tend to forgive things like that in Hollywood productions, however, while denying independent features the same leeway. Hell, most of those people won’t even consider watching an independent film. (As if they are somehow “above” that.)

I can create a massive shrine of bad when it comes to film. The base of it would be littered with some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and audience favorites. Nearly all the “Saturday Night Live” films would be there, as would be the overrated American Pie. At the peak of the shrine, though, located between two perpetually burning candles would be Dick Baby. It pains me to give an independent film that dishonor, but to stay honest it has to be done. I realize it doesn’t help the cause of independent cinema any, but a turd is a turd is a turd. At least I can take comfort in the fact that if I did a shrine of good films, it would be comprised mostly of independent and foreign features. You’d find Hacks in there. I Stand Alone would be gilded in gold, and there’d be a special spot for Beth Ulrich due to her work in Life/Drawing. Few Hollywood pictures would make the cut because making a movie for focus groups and target audiences is not how you make art. It’s how you make products, and films should never be products. They should be labors of love and artistic endeavors meant to entertain and induce thought. Anything less than that is insulting, and Hollywood, if anything, is nothing but insulting.

Dick Baby may be the most horrendous film I’ve ever seen, but the worst thing I can say about it is that the producers and actors really seem to want to turn Hollywood one day. Consider yourselves warned.

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