Have no fear, Gigli is coming soon but I figured I might as well get things kicked off with arguably the worst… I mean BEST… movie of all time. Before I begin though, here are the rules of Polish That Turd:
1. I have to justify a 10/10 score for the movie using specific examples
2. I cannot use sarcasm; everything must be presented as genuine
3. I have to portray the movie as legitimately good, not just “So-Bad-It’s-Good”
I can already tell you that it’s not going to be easy on this one. Oh well, let’s start polishing.
The Waits family is in need of a good vacation. For over six months, their son Joshua (Michael Stephenson) has been plagued by visions of his deceased grandfather, Grandpa Seth, and stories of human-eating goblins. In order to take their son’s mind off of things, his parents Michael (George Hardy) and Diana (Margot Prey) take him and his sister Holly (Connie Young) and swap houses with a family from the small, remote town of Nilbog. They are followed by Holly’s boyfriend Elliot, who is attempting to Holly that he cares about her more than he cares about his friends (who join him on the trip). What they do not realize, however, is that Nilbog is populated by goblins who have disguised themselves as humans. These goblins are vegetarians, however, and before they eat their prey they must get them to eat or drink a substance which turns their flesh into vegetable matter so they can be consumed. One by one, Elliot and his friends fall prey to the trickery of the goblins, and Joshua is left to save his family from the goblins and their witch-like leader, Creedence (Deborah Reed).
Many people will try to tell you what acting is “Good” and what is “So-Bad-You-Nearly-Crap-Yourself-Laughing”, but those people don’t realize the beauty in imperfection. Sure, your average critic might look at the cast of this film and declare them bad actors simply because they don’t look like George Clooney or sound like Morgan Freeman. The real strength of actors in a film, however, is to make the audience believe that they are real people. In this way, Troll 2 shines with characters that feel more real than any Best Picture Nominee of the past fifty years. Most actors study the performances of famous players and learn the work of classic writers, and because of the acting we see in movies is derived from the same basic roots. This turns acting into something that is taught, something with methods and formulas, and formula is the antithesis of art. The cast of Troll 2 breaks free of these chains by featuring a cast of people with no previous acting experience. Their ideas of acting aren’t formed by the same Shakespearean hand as your Daniel Day-Lewises and Dame Judi Denches. Their performances are a lay person’s interpretation of what acting is, and act as a mirror to traditional acting itself. Like a mirror, it is often disorienting and scary to see, but nevertheless it is real life in its truest form.
Directed, written and filmed by an all-Italian crew with a setting and characters of a more American persuasion, Troll 2 is a great example of how exotic or foreign influences can result in a great end product when combined with western material (I.e. Led Zeppelin combining elements of western rock and eastern influences to create “Kashmir”). When most people think of Italian films, they think of the cinematic equivalent of an open air Opera, with performances as bold, brash, and passionate as the Italian people themselves. Director Claudio Fragasso may have lacked the budget to support these sort of performances with the pageantry of Don Giovanni, but he makes up for it with innovative cinematography, great make-up and creatively managed digital effects. Modern special effects have allowed film makers to get lazy; why create an elaborate system of animatronics, make-up and selective staging when you can just say “let’s just throw a green-screen behind it and let the computer jockeys do all of the work.” Troll 2 is an echo of a time when directors had to put their creative back into achieving every shot, and that effort is what makes the end product so satisfying. It’s like the difference between your grandma buying you a sweater from Old Navy or knitting you one herself.
The Verdict: 10/10 Perfect
+ Breaks free of the acting status-quo
+ Creative premise that has not been replicated since
+ Visceral style of filming thanks to the imagination required by its low budget
+ Only about 90 minutes long
For those of you who have seen the movie, how do you think I did? For those of you who haven’t, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SEE THIS F#CKING FILM. It truly is a thing of Beauty.