My favorite podcast is Earwolf’s HOW DID THIS GET MADE. Every two weeks, Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane-Raphael take on another bad movie and walk us through the plot, the problems, and the ridiculous creative decisions that abound.
As you’ll see the films covered on HDTGM span a variety of categories. If I missed a category, please leave your suggestions and comments!
Here they are:
BALLS TO THE WALL – A glorious thrillride of insane ideas characterized by top talent operating at their most creatively unhinged. Fascinating, entertaining, and guaranteed inspire the words “I can’t fucking believe they did that!” and mean it in a GREAT way. The word “gratuitious” applies in more ways than one. At the very least, a terrific party movie. Examples: CRANK, THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, ROAD HOUSE, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, FAST FIVE SUGGESTION: KICK-ASS
BLOCKBUSTER FAIL!: The studio gambled up to $200 million on this misfire. Usually a sequel to a successful franchise, reboot, television show or comic book adaptation, we’ll find big stars, massive action sequences, and wildly conflicting ideas plucked from the various drafts of multiple top screenwriters. Creative talent is NOT in question here (there may be some fun ideas), but the final product sucks. Very likely to be boring. EXAMPLES: WILD WILD WEST, BATMAN & ROBIN, SPIDERMAN 3, GODZILLA, PLUTO NASH, CATWOMAN, THE GREEN LANTERN SUGGESTION: SPEED RACER
AUTEUR JUMPS THE SHARK – You’ll ask yourself “what the fuck was that?” This creative abortion is only possible with genius at the helm. These films run amok with creative freedom issued only to those who think they know exactly what they’re doing and are as confident in their approach as they are fucking ridiculous. Usually wildly entertaining in the wrong way. LaBute’s THE WICKER MAN, GIGLI SUGGESTION: Brian DePalma’s BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES and Barry Levinson’s TOYS.
PRODUCTION MADNESS! – A million ideas went into this movie, most of them having nothing to do with the essential building blocks of competent storytelling. The plus side of these movies tends to be outrageously lavish production design, the downside is massive genre confusion. Is it worth watching? These can go either way. The filmmakers don’t have the experience, talent, or competence of those we find in the Auteur Jumps the Shark category. Examples: SUPER MARIO BROS, BARB WIRE, NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. SUGGESTIONS: TANK GIRL, DEATH TO SMOOCHY
THE PAYCHECK MOVIE – Everyone here is going through the motions and almost definitely agreed to the movie for financial reasons or calculated career decisions but not because the script was great. Mildly entertaining at best, but usually a powerful alternative to Ambien. EXAMPLES: TRESSPASS, ABANDON, 88 MINUTES, THE BACK-UP PLAN, REINDEER GAMES SUGGESTIONS: Pick any bad movie with a big star whose heart wasn’t in it:)
INCOMPETENT – Here, the entertainment value of the episode revolves around the general incompetence of the filmmaking, story, acting, editing, and overall conceptual fail. Likely to feature confusing plot elements, terrible performances, and insane creative decisions (such as LIZ & DICK’s awful black box framing device). Examples: LIZ & DICK, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, JAWS 4, BIRDEMIC, THE ROOM