Best Worst Movie

Tchoupitoulas boys

People often ask me where to find great documentaries outside of Netflix. Of course they mean easily and for free. Obviously there are tons of great nonfiction films not found in the Netflix Watch Instantly library, and maybe not even in the Netflix DVD library. Many of them are best found directly through the filmmakers, like the majority of Frederick Wiseman’s films, or through distributors like Icarus Films. But people don’t want to buy discs, especially for docs they haven’t yet seen; they want to stream them online or on their iPad. Preferably at no cost. I hear mostly from documentary fans regarding how slight the streaming division of Netflix is with quality docs now. For a while, the Watch Instantly service appeared to be actually creating many of those fans by giving movie lovers a way to discover great docs very easily. Today you can still find some necessary titles on NWI, such as The Thin Blue Line, Hoop Dreams, Sherman’s March and Ken Burns’s The Civil War, and many of the best new docs hit the service at least for a little while (I’m sure I could recommend you about 50 docs to watch right now), but a ton of crap has been flooding the library of late, stuff that either is or resembles the worst of nonfiction television.

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The American Scream Trailer

For tons of film geeks, Halloween is the best time of the year. We get to layer our movie weight under comfy sweaters, the squares suddenly show interest in makeup and demons and all sort of other strange stuff, and we can gorge on all of the cheesy horror movies we want without anyone thinking it’s weird. The new documentary from Best Worst Movie director Michael Stephenson follows subjects who feel much the same way about our calendar’s most Karo syrup-obsessed holiday. The American Scream is about three ordinary families who all share the same obsession: they take decorating their houses for Halloween way too seriously. If you’ve seen Best Worst Movie, you probably know what to expect here. The American Scream makes a group of weirdos its focus, and manages to milk their weirdness for some laughs, but it also clearly has a deep affection for them, so things never feel mean or exploitative, and you might even get some insight into the human condition. When he took it in at Fantastic Fest recently, our own Luke Mullen called the movie, “another captivating window into a world of passionate fans.”

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American Scream crew

With October on the horizon, as well as that glorious holiday there contained, many of us are gearing up for haunted house season. In many ways the last vestige of the roaming carnival days, companies come in every year, occupy some abandoned retail space, and commence with a nightly regimen of shrieks, jumps, and frights that carries us screaming into November. But what happens when those with the desire to create an effective spook house don’t have the benefit of such monstrous budgets? The more organic, love-labor-intensive community haunted houses are the results of an entire year’s worth of work by blue collar artists and their families. The process by which they transform their own homes into cathedrals to low-budget scares, called home haunts, is the subject of Michael Paul Stephenson’s (Best Worst Movie) latest documentary: The American Scream. A touching, fascinating, and deeply sincere testament to unflappable creative spark, The American Scream found easy purchase in the Fantastic Fest lineup this year. In fact, beside the theater, in what used to be a scooter retailer, the Alamo Drafthouse partnered with Manny Souza (a featured subject in the doc) to quickly, and with a MacGyver-like resourcefulness, build a miniature home haunt right next door. It was in this hallowed place that we were fortunate enough to sit down with Stephenson, producer Meyer Shwarzstein, and another featured home haunt artist Victor Bariteau to talk about the film. Even in the light of day, the appropriateness of this meeting place was not […]

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One of my favorite non-starters for articles is the very bland “as you may know.” There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve seen me use it in the past (I’m doing it again right now). So when I thought about how to begin this year’s top ten article, I wanted to begin by saying “as you may know, one of my great honors around here is to deliver my list of the ten best films of the year.” But you may not know how much of an honor that really is. In fact, it’s difficult for me to put into words how honored I feel to have anyone read this at all, let alone the scores of readers we see on a daily basis here at Film School Rejects. It’s safe to say that I speak for everyone here when I say that I am deeply honored by the opportunity just to write about film. You, the reader, offer that to us every day with your patronage. So my hope is that I can do you proud, dear reader, as I present my list of the ten best films of 2010. This year saw a great deal of personal turmoil for me, meaning some movie-watching blind spots. But some late-year scrambling has pushed my total films seen number well north of 200. And of those 200 or so eligible films, whittling it down to ten wasn’t quite as difficult as it’s been in recent years. Does that mean that […]

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Join us each week as Rob Hunter takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs. And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below. This week sees two titles worth buying, and they’re both Criterion releases. Also out and worthy of your time or dismissal are A Christmas Carol, RoboGeisha, Best Worst Movie, The Kids Are All Right, an even longer cut of Avatar, and more.

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This Week in Blu-ray

The winds of change are blowing here in Austin, Texas. With Fantastic Fest over, a tad-bit of emptiness has washed over the land and left me yearning for more great genre experiences. Which brings me to this week’s selection of Blu-ray releases — one that includes a few unique genre flicks and one lovable turd that reminds me of a documentary that was launched into the stratosphere by the film community here in Austin. Also, there’s this animated movie from the Mouse House that will absolutely blow your mind on Blu-ray. It’s as if the cosmos has looked down upon us in our post-Fantastic Fest haze and said “hey, here are some good movies to satiate your need for the good stuff.” It’s a week full of releases that are delivered right on time, just as the leaves start to change and Halloween begins to peek its head around the corner. Time to spray blood on the walls and fall in love again with a tale as old as time, or some other confused multi-metaphor. It’s another round of This Week in Blu-ray.

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Film School Rejects had the indescribably fortunate opportunity to speak to writer/director Michael Stephenson, and actors George Hardy and Jason Steadman about the documentary Best Worst Movie, which chronicles the cult phenomenon of Troll 2.

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The Losers Box Office

It’s another beautiful and sunny week here at The Reject Report. Alright, that’s a lie. It’s rather depressing. John Cairns is no longer writing this column, and it looks to be a drab week for Hollywood’s bean counters…

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Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to finally see Best Worst Movie, Michael Stephenson’s delightful documentary about the fan culture surrounding the “worst movie of all-time,” Troll 2. It was excellent. And now it’s invading Austin and the rest of the country in style…

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SXSW is less than two weeks away, so it’s only appropriate that one of the cinematic champions of SXSW 2009 is making noise. Best Worst Movie, the charming and hilarious documentary chronicling the cult phenomenon of the movie Troll 2, has been picked up by Area23A.

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The Troll 2 cult phenomenon is seemingly unexplainable. That didn’t stop Michael Paul Stephenson from directing a fascinating documentary, Best Worst Movie, about the transformation of the film from a movie mess to must see territory. We had the chance to talk to Stephenson, an incredibly gracious filmmaker, at SXSW about the chance to exorcise the goblins from his life.

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How do you combat the burden of being an actor attached to Troll 2, the worst film of all time? If you’re Michael Paul Stephenson, you film a stunning documentary, Best Worst Movie, that chronicles the unexplainable phenomenon that has turned Troll 2 from a bargain bin film into a cult classic.

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Between our own scouring of the schedule and the countless emails from publicists, producers and directors, we are confident that we’ve got a handle on which films you should absolutely see at all costs should you be coming here to Austin this weekend. So here’s a list of the must sees, from us to you.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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