The 4 Best Moments in the Worst Movies Ever Made
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and even a stopped clock is more fun to watch for 90 minutes than most movies. For every cult classic there are a thousand abominations, and I've endured the comedy equivalent of A Clockwork Orange reprogramming just to bring you some fine comedy articles.
Every single one was worse than that film in The Ring.
But sometimes they reach a critical mass of failure and manage to screw up screwing up, shining through their own rivers of sewage with one accidental nugget of brilliance.
"It's a Good Day to Die!" (Starship Troopers 3: Marauder)
Starship Troopers is such an amazing satire most critics didn't even realize it was one. And when someone can't tell that Psychic Gestapo Doogie Howser isn't serious, they can't even be trusted to watch movies for a living.
"This is just one cheek of the size of the ass you would have to be to not get this."
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation "fixed" that by removing the satire and actually being a stupid action movie. So stupid they spent all their money on the "Starship Troopers" name, then couldn't actually afford many bugs, despite the entire point of the fight sequences being many, many bugs -- also despite being made by the company that originally made the damn bugs. Which is why they invented a new breed of alien, with the amazing power to mind-control Z-list actors while mainly avoiding cameras!
"Well, lady, you're a presumed-dead trooper recovered from behind alien enemy lines, you've been acting strange ever since, and now you want to get me alone. But I'm a guy in a horror-ish movie and therefore brain-damaged by tit proximity, so, sure!
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder could afford to bring back the original star, but that was due less to an increase of budget and more to significant depreciation in Casper Van Diem. This movie is what the Ghost of Casper Van Diem Future would show to make him change his ways.
"YOU WANT TO HAVE SELF-RESPECT FOREVER!?"
He returns to find that the solution to the bug problem is religion. Not a freaky bug cult, nor Matrix-style rave religion, but actual swear-to-God swearing-to-Roman-Catholic-God.
"Maybe I should just ask the bugs to stop. No! Maybe I should ask someone invisible to stop them for me!"
Jolene Blalock throws away her assault rifle and falls to her knees to shout out the "Our Father" in the heart of the alien base, blowing it up and realizing why most ex-Star Trek actors settle for taking signature money at conventions.
The exact moment she realized she'd rather wear fake ears for a sweaty queue of signatures for the rest of her life.
The evangelist character is rewarded for her faith (which takes the form of 80 solid minutes of whining about Jesus during an action movie) with an actual halo of incoming Federation drop-mechs, and they found a way to make that non-satirical.
I swear to the god she's evangelizing they found a way to play this straight.
By the way, this is just after the commander of the Federation forces sells out the human race for the privilege of being eaten by a vast xenogina.
"This is still a better idea than making this movie!"
A xenogina that patiently waits while the unarmed humans have a debate about faith in the heart of the bug fortress.
"No, I'll wait over here. You guys go ahead and shout about your spiritual differences. That'll be an awesome climax for an action movie!"
The big sell promised on the DVD box the movie was released straight into was the huge anti-bug mech suits. Mech suits, which appeared more on that box than in the movie. They are built up for the entire film, then lumbered into shots like they'd gotten lost on their way to a PlayStation One scene cut 10 years ago, fought for two seconds and self-destructed. They'd have had more screen time if they were grenades.
It'll look even better when they can afford the licensed version of MyFirstRenderer.
Through all this, there shines one moment of true Starship Troopers glory: "It's a Good Day to Die!" In this nightmarish military future, the Sky Marshal commanding the war effort is also a Pop Idol-style singer, and troops are motivated to lay down their lives so often the song been recorded and sold as a No. 1 hit single.
"Sing along at home, then sign up to become cannon fodder!"
They condensed an entire movie's worth of satire into one perfect frame.
A single so dumb it can't even keep its catchline of "Courage! Duty! Honor!" in the right order all the way through. It's glorious.
X Factor fans as Mobile Infantry cannon fodder. That's not just fantastic parody, that's a genuinely good idea, a boost to natural selection. And I guarantee record viewing numbers for the hit new series.
"A Little Anti-American Sentiment" (Gymkata)
Gymkata attempted to harness the celebrity of Olympic gold male gymnastics -- and probably succeeded. But measuring male gymnastic appeal in box office numbers is like measuring a kitten's meow in terms of astrophysical thermal output. You're wildly overestimating something's star power.
"Although we both cause a lot of interference in global communication systems."
The problem is that miniature besweatered Kurt Thomas looks like someone you'd see at a kid's slumber party. Until he inverts and thrusts his crotch directly at everyone's face for 90 minutes, becoming the exact opposite of what you'd want to see at a kid's slumber party, giving him precisely zero appeal to anyone.
Crotch so in-your-face you're now at third base.
He is a world champion athlete, but this was the Olympic version of taking Aquaman out of the sea and dumping him on a moonbase with alien gods.
And at least only octopii endured this from the Justice League.
In a script designed only to fill gaps in the male twirling, because you're not allowed to make a family movie centered only on centrifugal testicles ...
Exhibits A and B
... they accidentally struck comedy gold. Behold, as a special intelligence agent endures "a little anti-American sentiment":
I know most of you don't watch the videos. Please watch this one. I don't care if your workplace allows it or not -- if your job brought you as much joy as this clip can you wouldn't be avoiding doing it to read this. If infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters can generate the entire works of Shakespeare, the writers of Gymkata can manage one good moment. Which is a pretty accurate scaling of their skill level. If you didn't watch the video, a secret agent observes that there was just a little anti-American sentiment running around, and ARROW TO THE KIDNEY!
Immortalized in GIF form.
Decades before the Internet beat random violence humor into a horse sashimi pancake, this was so much glorious joy out of nowhere that it wasn't just a joke, it was a hilarious tribute to the Big Bang. One moment Kurt Thomas is being consoled like a whiny boy who got that sweater instead of what he really wanted for Christmas, then MEDIEVAL DIALYSIS! Comedic timing is one of the hardest things in the world. The rest of this movie has worse timing than the Doctor's TARDIS when he wants a peaceful holiday, more stilted lines than a moko jumbie DMV, actors blatantly waiting for their turn to speak then adding another second to make sure. And then, THUD! It shows that if you just flail at the camera for long enough something wonderful will happen. Unfortunately that was their plan for the entire movie, not just this single second.
Dead or Alive Volleyball (Dead or Alive)
Dead or Alive is the greatest video game movie ever made, which in no way qualifies it as an even remotely good movie. The Dead or Alive fighting games were hardcore combat under softcore graphics, and the movie blends both with insanity. It gives fewer fucks than a gelded monk and is aimed at the exact opposite demographic.
Unless he worships the very concept of gratuitousness.
It follows the game plot so easily and casually you'd swear they were taking the piss out of every other game movie. They organize a bizarre tournament of fighters from around the world by organizing a bizarre tournament of fighters from around the world. And just in case someone took that seriously, they sent the invites by globe-spanning, computer-guided LCD-shurikens.
They inject the characters with nanobots just so that their fight screens show real fighting game energy bars, and this actually becomes a vital plot point in the movie:
It goes without saying that she caught it in midair in her kimono-hang glider. Usually because viewers are too busy laughing and high-fiving the concept of cinema to say anything.
Which guys drinking Coke watch on computer monitors. A movie has NEVER been so true to its source material.
The bad guy's evil scheme involved cyber-shades that teach you karate, and the entire movie is gloriously committed to exactly that level of cool.
"I am so awesome."
Reveling in blatancy is the entire Dead or Alive franchise strategy, and this movie embraces it like a long-lost nymphomaniac in a cheerleader costume.
You'd swear the director was Chev Chelios directing a soft-core porno. Every time he gets bored, something happens.
Source material for this movie and thousands of puberties.
"I don't care about your 'up' bullshit. She hits him from THIS angle now."
The rules of the tournament are being explained on the flight to the island, and the first rule is, "The plane isn't landing. Jump out now!" The three heroes get the "We hate each other but must work together" arc over within the first 10 minutes. Every character has a story arc, advances the plot, and technically but physically beats the shit out of the Bechdel test.
And everyone and everything else involved.
Fights fix everything. Even though they already have a tournament, fights are used to introduce characters, ninja-attack advances romantic subplots, and an emotional daughter-father "I'm an adult and can make my own choices" struggle is also a professional-wrestling-on-a-lake struggle.
Beats the hell out of Maury.
The final fight features Captain Karate Glasses as a compass of kickass, leaping from ladders suspended over a pit of death by defeated lady enemies to the north and south, pulling in two more from east and west just to kick them back out again.
The best bit of this incredible indulgence is a gloriously mocking moment of self-awareness. The fighters need to distract the creepy guy who watches all of their fights, and they do it by staging a blatantly voyeurish volleyball contest on the beach, because the Dead or Alive game series knows for a fact that that works. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball has made millions of dollars, and that's a game where you can unlock a stripper pole to watch computer models grind around it (despite their breasts having less relation to human body mechanics than a Dyson hypersphere).
Pneumatically bouncing through the fourth wall.
This movie takes the piss out of its own reason for existing with real human bodies.
"Thanks for buying this, suckers!"
Obviously it doesn't end well for him.
Moments before exploding, he realizes that his karate shades and nubile tropical female fighting tournament was just the greatest mid-life crisis of all time.
Oh, and they were distracting him so that someone could break into his tropical island's secret karate lab. I'm not going to lie, this is one of my favorite movies.
The rarely attempted Sextuple-jumping-out-of-explosion!
Every Millisecond of Raul Julia (Street Fighter)
Street Fighter was the worst missed opportunity in cinema history. The game already had years of plot, and its very nature meant it didn't need any. Jean-Claude Van Damme could kick people, and Kylie Minogue had been hired to wear pigtails and a swimsuit. It is almost impossible to screw that up, and just this once the "one in a million chance to achieve the impossible" ruined the movie script instead of being its ending.
It had to happen sometime, but the chances against it were, well, you know.
This is the movie that Dead or Alive was taking the piss out of. (And the sequel with Chun Li was even worse). The script is so determined to destroy both the game and logic, it turns a man who could beat people up and breathe fire through the power of yoga into a scientist, which is the exact opposite of both of those things.
The best bit of the movie is Raul Julia, because one of the best bits of the human race is Raul Julia.
He was known for playing physically slight, foppishly demented lunatics, and was absolutely the worst physical casting choice for psychic crimelord, brick shithouse M. Bison. And he was the only person who knew that.
"Come now, old man. You couldn't have thought I was serious as a flying punchmonger?"
He realized that his very presence meant the whole movie was a pantomime, and thought it was so staggeringly obvious he didn't bother telling his fellow cast.
Some of those people thought this was professional.
This is not the build of someone who could beat you up. Sure, he could annihilate you with stentorian bombast from clear across the room, and you wouldn't even realize that he'd just proclaimed himself Emperor of the Moon with nothing but a spectacular speech until you'd carried him halfway there on your shoulders. But he's about as physically intimidating as a wet Chihuahua. And even funnier.
More ham and cheese than every sandwich IN THE WORLD!
The only combos he'd ever known were in fast food menus. He was only doing this movie for his children, and he leapt into it with all the energy and glory of a man leaping on a grenade for the same reason. The sets were so cheap because they had to be replaced after he had eaten them in their entirety with every take. While the other actors were realizing that "Third Tree in Nativity Play Once" hadn't quite prepared them for the camera, he was flicking off immortal villain lines like he'd found them clinging to his evil dressing gown.
The silken dressing gown and mixed fruit drinks OF WORLD DOMINATION!
All this with less convincing combat moves than the chicken in the background on Chun-Li's stage in the game.
He looks more like he's escorting Mrs. Van Damme to visit unpleasant in-laws.
The absolute high point comes when Chun-Li breaks out her Inigo Montoya speech, describing how Bison terrorized her village and murdered her father, and he absolutely blanks on it.
"For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday." That's why Dhalsim can't breathe fire in this movie. They needed all the burn for that line.
He tries to pay an arms dealer in off-brand Monopoly money, uses his evil scheming room to expand the food court in Bisonopolis, and genuinely says the line, "Why do they still call me a warlord? And mad? All I want to do is create the perfect genetic soldier!" And you can tell that the character absolutely believes the question and that the actor absolutely adores that fact.
This is a man who knew he was dying and decided to make his own eulogy by levitating 2 meters off the ground and firing lightning into Jean-Claude Van Damme, just so that his kids could watch. He was such a brilliant beacon of intensity that he made a wish for children when he was the one who was dying, and the result still brightens the world today.
Luke's teaming up with Seanbaby, Jeremy Parish, and an all-star "Best Video Game Writers Ever" Super-Squad with The RETRO Video Game Magazine Kickstarter. Go. Now. Later come back and find out Why Misogyny Is Unmanly.