in town seem to have some deformities. There's a guy who
pimps out his sister, who has Downe's Syndrome. There's a
bald black midget. There are two kids who look like the
back-up banjoists from Deliverance. There are some obese
women who may also be retarded.
Where did they find all those ugly and
deformed looking people?
The people who aren't
deformed are living some kind of white-trash nightmare,
amid squalor, dirt, dirty bath water, child molesting,
incest, and killing cats for profit. Cat-killing, in
fact, is the running theme through the movie. In another
scene, uncouth drunks arm-wrestle each other
There is an optimistic
monologue delivered by an albino woman to the camera.
This speech reeks of sadness because of its optimism is
obviously baseless. There is also a stand-up comedy
monologue delivered by one of the retarded cat-killing
boys, who dreams of being a comedian. The emotional
impact again hinges on our awareness of his self-delusion.
There is also a boy
wearing a pink bunny hat. He creeps through most scenes,
and his great joy is to hang out on a pedestrian bridge
over the freeway, where he can piss and spit on the
Now if those things were
the backdrop for the movie, I guess there could still be
hope to salvage it with some trenchant insight, with a
satirical eye, or with a plot of devastating impact.
Unfortunately, those things are not the backdrop for the
movie. They ARE the movie. The movie simply consists of a
series of vignettes, and jumps from family to family. The
filming is mostly with hand-held cameras, and to make it
worse, some of the scenes are shot from moving bicycles
and such, making it impossible to get clear focus, or
even a stationary subject.
The one thing that saves
the movie from complete mindlessness is that some of the
individual scenes have a unmistakable power.
- The obese,
retarded, but somewhat pretty prostitute is about
to have sex with an ugly, deformed-looking,
possibly retarded cat killer who is smothered by
his momma. The scene between them achieves a
certain tenderness that I can't find the words
for. And when it does, it goes beyond simple
gross-out behavior and reaches for something deep
- There is another
scene of the same boy being bathed by his mother
in filthy water while he eats a plate of
spaghetti and drinks a milkshake. It is so
nauseating and so exaggerated that it achieves an
elemental level of grotesquerie, like one of
those Grand Guignol plays.
Apart from the visceral
impact of those scenes, and others, I frankly have no
clue what the point was, or why they made this movie. I
described it accurately and fairly, you determine if you
want to see it.
As for me, I now add
this to my list of the five most unwatchable films ever
made, but in the bottom slot, replacing "High
Strung". These are not necessarily the worst movies,
just the most unwatchable. Plan 9 may be a bad movie, but
it can be a hoot if you are in the tight mood, and
doesn't come close to this list. As I see it, these five
movies are nothing but complete wastes of your time in
every way, unless you like dead cats.
DVD info from Amazon.
there is a stills gallery
with director commentary, and some cast
unwatchable films ever made
||Gummo - silly
pretentious crap designed to shock, but with no
apparent thought process behind it. Made by an
adolescent mind. (5.4 at IMDb, but picked by many
critics as the worst film of the 1990's)
- the worst comedy I've ever seen. A movie so bad
that both Adam Sandler and his fans are ashamed
to admit he made it. (Rated 2.0 at IMDb)
||The Loss of
Sexual Innocence - artsy-fartsy in the extreme,
with no point, no coherence. (4.1 at IMDb).
Pseudo-arty crap usually scores absurdly high at
IMDb (see #2 below), so this must be truly
dreadful to score so low.
||Mother and Son
- the single most pretentious movie ever made,
from a Russian expressionist. A son watches his
dying mother for an hour. About four camera
set-ups, fish-eye lenses, faded colors. (Rated
8.3 at IMDb, but much harder to watch than the
lowbrow "Going Overboard")
||Glam - complete
non-stop gibberish and repetition, apparently the
work of a deranged mind, apparently improvised.
Directed by Ali McGraw's son. (3.0 at IMDb)
General consensus: no
stars. Maltin 0/4, This is London 0/3, NY
Times - "worst film of the
year", filmcritic.com - "if not
the worst single film of the decade, al
least the worst of the year",
Film.com 1/5 (lowest rating), Apollo
65/100. Heaven knows what Apollo was
summary. 0% positive.
- With their
votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters
score it 4.1, Apollo users 73/100 (????)
- With their
dollars ... it wasn't a smash hit, to say
the least. IMDB only shows the stats from
the opening weekend - $19,000 on three
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is an E. It could be
argued that it is an F, but the technical
incompetence is actually deliberate artistic
technique, so it made itself exempt from that