Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at what makes Nothing But Trouble so bananas.
Gather round children for it is time to eulogize over one of cinema’s greatest monstrosities. And to be clear, I say that with the utmost praise.
Released in 1991, Nothing But Trouble tells the tale of an intolerable jerk (played by intolerable jerk Chevy Chase) who commits the unforgivable sin of running a stop sign. Along with his lady friend lawyer (Demi Moore), the jerkoff winds up in the courtroom/boobytrap labyrinth of a decrepit vengeful judge (Dan Aykroyd) with a bone to pick against the wealthy.
Inspired by both a real experience by writer-director Dan Aykroyd (who wound up in a rural courtroom after speeding through a small town) and a fortuitous trip to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, the 1991 film was panned by critics who could not deal with the film’s unapologetic embrace of the weird, whacky, and grotesque.
Legend has it that Roger Ebert refused to review the film because he hated it so much. It’s a good bet a film is in trouble when the highlight comes from seeing John Candy in drag,” wrote Variety, missing the point entirely. All told: Nothing But Trouble is one of Hollywood’s biggest flops, and quite possibly the reason we were robbed of more access to Aykroyd’s unshackled mind.
And yet, not despite but because of its strangeness, Nothing But Trouble is much, much more than its fun-hating critics would have you believe. From its maximalist set decoration to its wildly talented crew (Dean Cundey! Deborah Nadoolman! Michael Kamen!), Nothing But Trouble is a weird-ass movie that deserves more respect.
Release the Nothing But Trouble director’s cut, you cowards!
Be warned that this video essay contains both visual and story spoilers.
Watch “Nothing But Trouble is a Very Weird Movie”:
Who made this?
This video essay on why Nothing But Trouble is good, actually comes to us from In Praise of Shadows, a video essay channel is run by Zane Whitener and based in Asheville, North Carolina. The channel focuses on horror, history, and retrospectives. Under their “Anatomy of a Franchise” banner, they break down horror properties including Tremors, The Stepfather, and Re-Animator, in addition to The Hills Have Eyes. You can check out the series’ playlist here. And you can subscribe to the In Praise of Shadows YouTube channel here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.
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- Here’s another taste of In Praise of Shadows about the history of insane asylums in horror movies.
- And here they are discussing The Hills Have Eyes franchise.
- Here’s another video from them on the enigmatic impact of Kenneth Anger’s experimental Magick Lantern Cycle.
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- Finally, here’s In Praise of Shadows on how Return to Oz, Disney’s sequel to The Wizard of Oz, traumatized a lot of children and why that’s exactly what makes it such a remarkable adaptation.
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