Today we embark upon a new weekly series entitled, Stuff That’s Awesome, where we’ll profile the lessor known things that make this here country of ours so dang great. Sure, freedom, liberty, electricity, Roomba’s and cheese are pretty sweet, but Stuff That’s Awesome will examine the things that truly make America, well, America. This week: bad movies and terrible television.
Oh the shame!
Last week, movie review site Rotten Tomatoes posted their Worst of the Worst list, detailing the 100 worst-reviewed movies over the last ten years. Cycling through the list, I discovered I’ve seen 31 of these duds, including Delta Farce, Boat Trip, Down to You, Because I Said So, and most shamefully, Swept Away. (I’m too ashamed to provide a direct link, but the image to the left should say it all.)
But fast-forward ten years and I’d be willing to bet that I’ll begrudgingly admit to having seen at least 30 percent of the worst-reviewed movies from 2010 to 2020. That’s the thing about Americans: we love our bad movies and terrible TV shows. It’s escapism at it’s finest/worst. However we might justify it at the time, when spend a Saturday watching Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous on TBS, what we’re really saying is, “Holy crap, this movie is awful. But at least I don’t have to think about MY problems for the next two hours.” And Hollywood knows this.
Now, I’ve never been a studio writer, but I’ve seen enough delightfully bad TV shows and movies in my time to understand how they’re made. The process all starts deep within the bowels of a Hollywood studio where a 63-person team of overworked, underpaid, malnourished writers throw out ideas, scenarios and dialogue like a [insert smart, witty simile here]. This process happens for about 48 seconds until, EUREKA! They come up with a loose premise for a movie—let’s say, middle-aged men who ride Harleys—and a studio exec loves it. Says things like “it’ll play well in middle America,” which would be insulting to all us backwoods Midwesterners if we weren’t all dumb as shit.
Next they churn out a script plagued with cliché and devoid of any story or character development. This proves to be a problem, as even Midwesterners can spot tired clichés. Thus, the solution lies in the cast. After all, everyone knows a decent cast can turn a pile of crap into box-office gold, right?
So they get William H. Macy on board, then Marisa Tomei, Peter Fonda and Ray Liotta.
“Wow! Must be a Coen Brothers movie! I can’t wait to see it!”
A lot CAN happen on the road to nowhere!
Then they sign on John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, John C. McGinley and the Sklar Brothers.
“Interesting cast. This could be a decent film.”
Dr. Drew and Ty Pennington agree to do cameos, and Lulu finds time in her schedule for an appearance.
“What kind of movie did you say this was again?”
Then the bad movie cherry on top: Tim Allen comes on to play one of the leads.
“Ah, I think I’ll just catch this on TBS one day.”
Add it all up and you have Wild Hogs, a hilariously bad, tour de farce that I spent two hours of my life watching last Saturday. Two hours I’ll never get back. Ever. But, frankly, I’m okay with that.
Sure, watching My Antonio or Dancing With the Stars might not be the best way to spend an hour of my time on a Tuesday night. But it sure beats figuring out how I’m going to get out of credit card debt, reading a book or caring about stuff any day of the week. And in my opinion, that’s why bad movies and terrible TV are just so awesome.