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Sidewalk review: Best Worst Movie

September 25, 2009


Opening the Sidewalk Film Festival tonight is one of the best documentaries about one of the worst movies of all time. Best Worst Movie, directed by Michael Stephenson, takes us back to the making of Troll 2 and catches us up on what the stars and director are doing now. And what better choice to make the film than the child who starred in Troll 2. Michael was about 12-years-old when he starred as Joshua Waits.

If you haven’t seen Troll 2, well shame on you, but no one can blame you too much. The film has been rated on the Internet Movie Database as the #1 worst film of all time and yet has been become a cult classic with fans obsessively following the scenes by acting the film out, having Troll 2 parties and always, always, making sure there is bologna on hand.

Directed by Claudio Fragasso, an Italian filmmaker with little grasp of the English language, Troll 2 is about goblins. Yes. There are no trolls in the film. Nor does it ever really follow Troll.

Instead, Josh and his family take a trip to NILBOG, the kingdom of goblins. Now it’s up to Josh, magical time stopping Grandpa Seth, and a bologna sandwich to save the family from the evil Goblin Queen, who uses everything from magical rocks to an ear of corn, to destroy Josh’s family.

A highlight of the documentary is Alabama dentist, George Hardy, who played Stephenson’s father in Troll 2. Stephenson remains mostly off camera (although it would have been nice to see him a bit more) and focuses on Hardy. It doesn’t take long to figure out why. Quite the unique and charming character, Hardy’s dynamic character draws people to him.

While he embraces the celebrity of starring in a cult classic, others from the film tell the cameras that they still keep Troll 2 off of their resume. Still others, mostly Stephenson’s on-screen mother, has locked herself away. While at some moments we laugh, scenes like hers can elicit a tear or two.

As much as the film catches up with the cast of Troll 2, it also provides insight into the development of cult classics. How a film, no matter its inadequacies, can always say something to people — sometimes it just takes a decade or two to hit its stride.

Luckily, Best Worst Movie, won’t have to wait quite as long as Troll 2 to find its fan base. The film has been playing extremely well on the festival circuit and is one of my favorite documentaries this year.

I missed seeing this on the big screen with a crowd at SXSW but heard only good things about the experience of watching with the cast and crew. I can’t imagine just how great tonight will be, but way to go Sidewalk for picking a fun kick off to a great weekend.


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