Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010 by David Chen
I love Documentary Shorts programs because they’re fascinating little slices of life from around the world that I’d never otherwise be privy to (plus, the films are so short that if you don’t like one, all you need to do is wait 15 minutes for it to be over). Last night, I saw IFFBoston’sShorts 2: Docs package. We usually don’t write about short films here at /Film, but I thought that Keep Dancingand The Poodle Trainer were so great, I just had to throw out a quick word about them. After the jump, trailers for the films and my brief thoughts. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 by David Chen
The Independent Film Festival of Boston has begun! I’ll be here over the course of the next week providing coverage, hopefully in the form of interviews with exciting people from the indie film scene. Here are some of the movies I’m most looking forward to, and here’s a link where you can find all of our IFFboston coverage from this year and last year. Hit the jump for my brief chat with actor Kevin Kline, who was in town to receive a Career Achievement Award. In the meantime, if you have a movie you’re screening here and want to chat (or if you’re just a reader/listener in the area and want to say hi), feel free to e-mail me at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Read More »
Posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2010 by David Chen
I had an awesome time at last year’s Independent Film Festival of Boston, and this year, the festival promises to be even more exciting, with tons of indie directors and actors showing up to chill in the Bay State. The festival will quickly upon us (it begins thisWednesday), so if you’re in Boston or even New England, I’d urge you to check it out. After the jump, some of the movies I’m most looking forward to this year. [Note that I already saw a bunch of the movies that will be playing here when I was at Sundance this year; they won't show up on this list, but you can read our coverage of Sundance here]. Read More »
About a week ago, while drinking slushies on a beach, I attempted to brainstorm a hyperbolic-geek intro for this interview that was impossibly cheesy and awful, yet aptly expressed my sentiments about the subject. As follows: It would be very difficult indeed to find a dentist who has contributed to more smiles around the globe than would-be actor, Alabama dentist, and newly-championed cult icon George Hardy.
For those who don’t know, Hardy was one of the lead human stars of 1990′s Troll 2;over the last few years, the shittastic fantasy-horror movie has rocketed in cult status and is a viable contender for a next-gen Rocky Horror Picture Show. Made for MGM by a crew of non-English speaking Italians, Troll 2 ironically exists today as an innocent, warped time-capsule of 1980s’ American summers, American culture, and genre films. In the role of the movie’s aloof dad, Michael Waits, Hardy is renown for the silly parental anecdote, “You can’t piss on hospitality!!” His performance is regarded by a growing number of cult cineastes to be one of the worst and most cherished of all time. Patton Oswalt, the Alamo Drafthouse, and Edgar Wright are counted as huge fans. The basic storyline is that of a generic Vacation knockoff meets slime and plot holes worthy of a drug trip: Hardy hauls his family (and a grandfather’s ghost) in a van to spend a summer in a dusty, desolate town called Nilbog. Goblin spelled backwards, Nilbog is populated by devilish country-folk and vegan Druid non-Trolls. In the end, the Waits fam defeats them and their leader, an STD-plagued witch, using a mystical bologna sandwich. Or do they?
Best Worst Movie, the new documentary about the reunited cast of Troll 2 and its international fandom, is a 2009 favorite of the /Film and /Filmcast staff. Directed by Troll 2‘s former “child star,” Michael Stephenson, much of Best Worst follows Hardy as he temporarily leaves his life as a small-town dentist to encounter the ups and downs of modern fame and his performance’s excavated notoriety. Thanks to a compelling story and the sharp twists and turns of real life, Best Worst can be enjoyed with or without having viewed the flick that spawned it. George called me from his lake house to discuss all of this while eating a sandwich. For our interview with Michael Stephenson, click here.
About twenty years ago, director Claudio Fragasso and his wife, screenwriter Rossella Druti, ventured into the pleasant rural community of Morgan, Utah, to make a horror thriller that would be remembered forever. They unquestionably succeeded, but not in the way they had originally planned. Since its release, Troll 2 has frequently been regarded as the worst movie ever made. It’s difficult for those who have never seen the film to comprehend the sheer terribleness of filmmaking on display, so here’s a great montage of the film’s “best” moments for the uninitiated [WARNING: Video is NSFW]:
Normally, a film this bad would vanish into the ether (AKA your local Wal-Mart bargain bin) never to be seen or heard from again, but in the ensuing decades, Troll 2 has inexplicably found a devoted cult following. Director Michael Stephenson, who plays the painfully annoying lead boy character Joshua Waits in Troll 2, has spent most of his life trying to escape from the shadow of the film. But in Best Worst Movie, which recently screened at Independent Film Festival Boston (and will be screening tonight and this weekend at HotDocs in Toronto), Stephenson turns the camera on himself and tracks down the actors from the film to investigate the phenomenon of Troll 2. The results are exciting and funny, but also tinged with sadness. In any case, Best Worst Movie is a great documentary, a must-see for those who are Troll 2 fans (and if you’re not in the latter category, I would recommend you see Troll 2 first to truly grasp its greatness). In creating this film, Stephenson has truly broken out as an exciting new filmmaker. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by David Chen
It’s been a long few years since Rian Johnson’s first film Brick but Johnson’s follow-up, The Brothers Bloom, is finally about to hit theaters, with a limited release in NY/LA on May 15 and expanding wider in the weeks following. My full review of The Brothers Bloom won’t be published until the 15th, but in the meantime, I can tell you that I’ve seen the film and was completely blown away. Rian Johnson has successfully crafted what I would call a con film with a heart, and continues to live up to his promise as one of the most exciting directors working today. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 by David Chen
About two decades ago, Jack Rebney filmed a Winnebago commercial that would change the world of viral video forever. In the punishing heat of an Iowa summer, Rebney’s two-week Winnebago shoot made Rebney extremely irritable, which consequently made the entire video crew miserable. In fact, the crew got so incensed with Rebney’s oppressive treatment that they made a blooper reel of the shoot, which was then unleashed upon the world. The video shows middle-aged Rebney screaming profanities and other nonsensical statements. It is, in a word, remarkable. In the years before internet video, this reel was passed around from person to person using VHS tapes, but since the advent of Youtube, the clip has been seen by over 1 million people online. I could continue describing how funny it is, but instead, here it is for your viewing pleasure [Warning: THIS VIDEO IS EXTREMELY NSFW]:
Director Ben Steinbauer’s hilarious and powerful new documentary, Winnebago Man, asks the universal question that many of us have probably wondered about: What happens to people like Aleksey Vayner and Ghyslain Razaafter they became viral video sensations? Steinbauer was fascinated with Rebney’s video and became determined to track him down to find out how the video had changed his life, if at all. Along the way, he interviews people involved with the actual Winnebago shoot depicted in the video to find out exactly what happened that fateful summer that resulted in the creation of the blooper reel (the dissemination of the reel resulted in Rebney being fired). He also talks with people who have enjoyed Rebney’s video; if you’ve seen the video yourself, you know that there’s something cathartic, even therapeutic, about watching an old man completely lose his shit. In watching the film, I got the sense that there’s also something a little bit profound about sharing that experience with millions of other anonymous viewers out there in the world. Read More »