#3. The Room
First: If you still haven't seen The Room, for the love of all that is good and cheesy watch it now. No, I'm not kidding, I mean NOW. Come on, it's time, my friend. Do your duty and finally watch this thing. Go ahead, I'll wait.
And so will Tommy Wiseau.
There, now you've watched The Room. Welcome to the other side! I'm here with your complimentary cocktail of whiskey and vodka (mixed), football in hand, ready to say to you, Dear Reader: right?!?! Isn't that one of the weirdest, most inexplicable things you've ever seen? YES, you say. Of course you do!
But is it unintentionally funny? Oh hell yes, with a few disclaimers up front: The funny might be mixed with a fair amount of revulsion, especially at the scenes of star/writer/director/producer/ alien being Tommy Wiseau's stringy nakedness. He loves to show his gnarled beef-jerky-looking ass, and that is an unfortunate fact of the The Room experience. It's rough for all of us.
That football spent six months in therapy after shooting wrapped.
And yes, if you stop and think for too long that people -- real, carbon-based fellow human beings! -- actually assembled in a specific location on Earth for more than one day in a row to make this movie happen, a kind of existential despair can overtake you. We've all been there.
Beyond that, though, The Room is purely hilarious. We start with the obvious: watching everyone in the movie trying to pretend that the leading man (Wiseau) is NOT a non-specifically-Eastern-European-accented freakshow with unwashed rock-roadie hair. He is simply "Johnny," good ol' American Johnny, who works doing something profitable in a "bank." His mother-in-law loves him because he's a good provider, rendering her blind to the fact that he does not behave, or speak, like any person who ever existed. Even allowing for the strong accent, Wiseau's version of English seems to defy all linguistic rules and rhythms, making no simple sentence safe from druggy weirdness.
Nothing makes sense in this movie. Nothing, not a damned thing. An old woman announces to her beloved daughter that she has breast cancer and the daughter's reaction is casual annoyance. They literally replace an actor halfway through the movie with someone else, and we're not supposed to notice. Everyone flips the hells out when a creepy little bastard named Denny -- who I guess is supposed to be a sweet 13-year-old in the movie but looks more like a budding sexual offender in his mid-late 20s -- gets involved with a drug dealer. Then that story is dropped like a hot rock, and nobody gives a damn. Everyone throws a football around playing "catch," but only from distances of less than five feet. A terrible comic-relief actor is allowed to hijack an already terrible scene, babbling about "me underwears." Every single goddamned thing is wrong with this movie, and it is hilarious.
And looming over it all: Tommy Wiseau, a colossus of terrible movie making; a mystery to this very day; a man who made such an exquisitely awful movie that countless articles have been written about it AND THIS IS ONE MORE; a man who occasionally tries to hint that this was his intention all along -- to make a "comedy!" He is some sort of twisted marketing genius, and his money may well have come from selling Serbian children's kidneys on the black market. But no, The Room was not an intentional comedy. You cannot fake stuff this bad. It is a relationship melodrama gone unimaginably wrong, and one of the funniest movies you'll ever see.
Just don't stare directly into Tommy's eyes, lest you forfeit your soul.
#2. The Happening
With The Happening, M. Night Shyamalyanalayalan seals his place in movie firmament as the most prolifically and consistently unintentionally funny director since Ed Wood. The creepier he tries to be, the sillier he gets, so I nominate him to direct the relaunch of House of a Thousand Corpses.
Assuming his cameo involves getting skinned alive by Doctor Satan.
It's the future, I think, by maybe five minutes or so, when in New York City a mysterious wind carrying -- I dunno, pollen or leaf mold or something -- causes people to start stabbing themselves, blowing their own brains out, hurling themselves off buildings, eating at Arby's, just a big bunch of fun suicides.
Enter Markulus (E Markus) Wahlberg, an earnest, soft-spoken science teacher, who first shows his foolhardy courage in the face of insanity by being a friend to John Leguizamo. Mark's wife, an intelligent, nattering lemur played by Zooey Deschanel, tells them that there is a happening happening and that she has an old boyfriend, and they need to leave but she can't find her ukulele.
"If the whole world commits suicide, who will appreciate my quirkiness?"
Off they go, running from the evil Oak Wilt, or Corn Smut, or whatever the hell it is. Mr. E. Mark's odd whiny delivery perfectly complements his oversized block of a head, prominent in Shyamalan's many Spielbergian closeups. Ms. Deschanel's numb line delivery makes her sound like she's constantly telling her iPhone to order her tomato soup. John Leguizamo seems to spit all his lines in a continuous rubber-mouthed issue of saliva and incomprehension.
A cast of increasingly loony characters parade on screen and swiftly die, including two perfectly innocent kids, culminating with a star turn by the formerly dignified Betty Buckley, who delivers the movie's most memorable line: "Why you eyein' my lemon drink?"
Knowing Marky Mark, that's not all he was eying.
You'll see a man lie down in front of a self-propelled lawn mower and mow himself to death. You'll see extreme closeups of a deformed troglodyte obsess over hot dogs. And you'll see John Leguizamo crash into a tree in a Jeep. What's not to love?
It's no exaggeration to say that Birdemic delivers more laughs than Adam Sandler's last 15 movies combined (I realize that analogy lacks explanatory power because a typical grease fire delivers more laughs than Adam Sandler's last 15 movies, but you get the point). It's something you would not expect from a Hitchcock homage made by a Vietnamese immigrant, one whose female lead doubled as the film's makeup artist, whose male lead acts as though he'd just been through some unspeakable trauma and given a powerful sedative, and that, though shot in 2009, looks to have been done on a camera that would have been out of date the year that Doogie Howser, M.D. was in its second season.
And yet despite the bad writing, bad acting, bad sound, bad directing, bad casting, bad editing and bad craft services (I assume), it is one of the most sublime experiences you'll ever have at the cinema. This is mostly due to the fact that the reach of its director, James Nguyen, so exceeded his grasp that they really aren't even in the same plane of existence.
Taking his cue from the Hitchcock masterpiece The Birds, which is about a romance that takes place during an unexplained bird attack in Half Moon Bay, Nguyen weaves the tale of a romance that takes place during an unexplained bird attack in Half Moon Bay. Unlike Hitchcock, however, in lieu of actual birds, Nguyen substituted badly done animated GIFs of birds that look like they flew out of an e-card your great aunt Dora sent you in 1996.
Hilariously, the birds make sounds like dive-bombing planes -- and in fact they do appear to drop bombs of some sort, as well as, quite memorably, several buckets of caustic liquid. But not to worry, our heroes are able to fend them off easily enough with coat hangers borrowed from their cheap hotel.
It's positively Hitchcockian. Assuming Hitchcock went senile in his later years.
To describe it in any more detail would be to rob you of the joy of experiencing every exquisitely bad frame.
For more accidental humor, check out 4 Unintentionally Hilarious Guides for Depressing Situations and 5 Unintentionally Hilarious Soviet Versions of Good Ideas.