The best ever golden turkeys

First published on (July 12th 2011) //

So Jean Luc Godard’s new film is a turkey apparently. But is it a golden turkey. One of those films that’s so bad it’s good?

Some movies are good, some movies are bad. And there are some movies that are good-bad.

So good-bad, in fact, that you get an unwelcome tickly feeling that’s confusing, urging you to fire up your trusty old video player for one more look at its faded VHS glory.

After the break we’ve compiled for your viewing pleasure, some of those golden turkeys adored by fans, and panned by critics, though loved by anyone who has had a moment to enjoy these demonstrations of the endless possibilities the wonderful world of film has to offer. That means you.

Here’s a look at Film Socialisme’s trailer. It’s only about a minute long and it still manages to both boring and pretentious.

We’ve decided Film Socialisme just plain sucks — now here’s 10 films that are awful, but also brilliant. Awfully brilliant. Enjoy.

Plan 9 From Outer Space
Pretty much every film by Ed Wood has potential for this list (‘Glen Or Glenda?’ anyone?), a man so dedicated to his obsession for film making that he couldn’t take a step back and see how magically ridiculous it all was. ‘Plan 9’, widely considered to be the Holy Grail of good bad movies with its line-everyone-up-in-front-of-the-camera-Nativity-play direction, garden furniture acting, and frankly outrageous script, had crawled to the top of a mountain of turds to plant its crappy flag at its peak…

The Room
… until this one came along. Few films have inspired its audience to regularly conceal plastic cutlery in their pockets before launching them at the screen at just the right moment, and few movies have had their viewers involuntarily scream blue anger at the silver screen, or demand monthly showings at grindhouse cinemas. But this one has managed all of it, pulling the pooey ‘Plan 9’ flag from its place and sinking in the stinkiest but also a transcendent piece of entertainment. Tommy Wiseau the man behind the camera (and unfortunately in front of it) has scored big, despite his earlier claims to making the most appallingly acted/written film of all time on purpose. Yes, he is a satirist. That’s why he has three sex scenes starring himself and a chubbed-up Britney Spears lookalike, all within the first 15 minutes.

Troll 2
Subject of a documentary (‘The Best Worst Movie’) filled with accounts of how awful everyone knew it was going to be (apart from the Italian director and his wife, who couldn’t speak English, though they had written a film in the language), starring a bunch of people who turned up to be extras and turned out to be the dubious stars. Its first 40 minutes are a work of art, with a mighty display of some of the worst acting you are ever likely to see (the mother being the main culprit), but to be honest, and unlike the others in the list, it gets a little tiresome as it wears on as every now and then, it crosses the invisible line, back and forth, between magnificently bad and just genuinely annoying (that Witch in particular).

Mannequin 2: On the Move
Sequel to the other film about a beguiling mannequin who out-acts everyone on screen, this one also has some of the most irritating performances ever committed to film, but in a good way. This one is hard to sit through. Even when the TV is off. It’s the memories that get you.

HP Lovecraft would probably have been horrified if he ever saw what was made of his work here. Or he would have been laughing his arse off like the rest of us, as we watch something that someone probably put way too much money into (look at those special effects!), for a result that must have been mildly disappointing to say the least. Highlights: the key character no one can understand, the acting, and the look on everyone’s faces.

Battlefield Earth
Yes. This is what Scientologists do for a living. They gather on studio lots and make films too shockingly awful to look directly into. Well, not everyone involved is a Scientologist but this one is a movie based on L. Ron Hubbard’s 1982 science fiction novel (he did a lot of those), about our beloved Earth brutally ruled over by vastly-foreheaded humanoid aliens called Psychlos, headed up by lead actor and director, John Travolta, who described it as “like Pulp Fiction for the year 3000”, even going as far as saying: “like Star Wars only better”. Clearly all of those things and much, much more.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
An immortal icon, a hero to millions, and a spokesperson for a generation: Jason Scott Lee would also go on to star in the live-action version of ‘The Jungle Book’, and be fondly remembered for his brief appearance as a hover-boarding hoodlum in ‘Back to the Future Part II’. It’s hard to say whether this film is just good, but it’s certainly got something of the guilty pleasure about it as, of course, there are constant laugh-out-loud moments (nod to the script and over-the-top performances), with the fight scenes being quotes galore. And you’ll feel great when Bruce Lee conquers racism (YAY!) if it doesn’t first make you cry (WAH!). And it also spawned a video game version on the Nintendo, where you can kick Hollywood in the nuts all from the comfort of your living room sofa.

The Last Starfighter
You may need a powerful memory to remember this one: a kid (who is clearly about 30 years old) plays on an arcade game and, guess what, it becomes REAL! Living out every boy’s childhood dream (to be unwillingly recruited into a brutally realistic intergalactic war with curly-hair fish-headed aliens as your sidekicks). The guy, Alex, with the nasally voice of a Judge Reinhold and the head of a Robocop before the op, has landed himself in every 80s movie memory.

Tommy and the Cool MuleWho knows where to find this one? This makes the list on trailer alone. It hits all the right notes in its few minutes of YouTube infamy; a talking donkey (voiced by Ice-T), a diminutive farmboy with big dreams, and a greedy (read: clichéd) land prospector.

The Films within ‘El Ambulante’ (The Peddler)
One of the actual highlights (no sarcasm) of last year’s documentary circuit, ‘The Peddler’ tells the story of a constantly compromising filmmaker, Daniel Burmeister, who drives around the countryside of Argentina with no crew, no camera and a single script that he re-uses over and over again. The films are actually great (in a beautifully bad way) considering what goes into making them, acted by the locals of any town he comes across, with any equipment available, and projected onto a white sheet for the film’s stars, their families and friends, bringing people together through Daniel’s work, making us look again at the whole good-bad movie genre from the perspective of those that it means something to. A real work of art.

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