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Worth the Risk
heathdavisspeed24 January 2010
Every year, Wellington has a film festival and puts out a brochure with brief synopses of the films that will be shown. Something about the idea of a guy trying to track down the cast which he shared a movie with many years earlier appealed. It took a while to convince my other half that we should go and see a film about a horror film which neither of us had seen and had atrocious reviews on IMDb.

It was a risk.

However, it was a risk that with the benefit of hindsight I was very glad that we both took. Knowledge of the erstwhile Troll 2 was not necessary as the film is interspersed with relevant sections of the original movie as and when required.

I can only imagine that the previous reviewer has no sense of humour or has something against this film, because what I saw was one of the funniest films I'd seen in years. Some of the comic timing is absolutely perfect, as, for example, one of the cast members of Troll 2 is indulging in some ego massage only for the film maker to capture a telling glance or bemused expression from an onlooker.

At the screening, the director was present and took part in a Q&A after the fact. A question was somewhat rudely asked as to whether the director felt it was right to degrade his former colleagues in such a way, by displaying their insecurities, idiosyncrasies and foibles on celluloid. I, however, give this critic short shrift. With the potential exception of the director of the original Troll 2, these people have volunteered to be part of this film, and I found myself laughing along with these people rather than at them.

All in all, you won't find a much more amusing documentary to watch than this. Whether you are interested in the subject matter or not is largely unimportant. If you see this film advertised at a cinema, in a rental shop on DVD or maybe in your TV listings then make sure you too take the risk to see it. It'll be worth it.
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A delightful surprise
ncoxny-114 May 2010
I saw the infamous "Troll 2" many years ago on Cinemax or HBO or somewhere. It was a prime example of the "so bad it's funny" category. Every now and then I'd describe the crazy ending and horrible acting to friends, but for the most part it stayed below my radar.

Then I read a review about "Best Worst Movie", co-directed by the actor who played the kid. I didn't know that "Troll 2" had such a furious following. The film is being four walled at the Village East Cinema this week, and I thought I'd check it out. I expected that I would be one of the few people there. Imagine my surprise when there was a line to get in!

I thought the movie was a delight! Most of the actors in the film have moved on and take there odd notoriety in stride. The woman who played the mother, however, thinks that "Troll 2" is on par with "Cassablanca". The director, who seems to think he's the heir to Fellini's throne, genuinely thinks he made a great film and a parable about modern society. Still, everyone seems to have had a great time making this film. Like "Ed Wood", "Best Worst Movie" celebrates the people who made the movie. They may not have made a great movie, or even a good movie, but they did SOMETHING that has endured.
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Very interesting, but more focused on the fandom than the movie
bpkellam6 August 2010
I'm a huge fan of bad movies and I'm particularly interested in the story behind these movies and how they got so bad. I've seen Troll 2 countless times and the narrative that has been developed about its production is incredible. So, I have been eager to see this documentary since I first heard about and went to a screening at the Music Box Theater recently.

Overall the movie was very interesting. However, it did exactly what I was afraid it would do and focus the documentary on the "midnight movie" cult phenomena aspect of Troll 2 rather than its back story. It primarily follows George Hardy, the father from Troll 2, as he explores this strange, sudden form of fame. He seems very humble and gregarious, so his experiences in going to conventions and trying to persuade country folk to see Troll 2 are a little amusing, but they take up a huge portion of the film. Similarly, we see lots and lots of footage of the cast at Troll 2 midnight showings which, while colorful, takes up way too much screen time. It seemed as though the film was developed to appeal more a wider audience who is totally unfamiliar with Troll 2 or the bad movie culture. Everyone who is in the know (which makes up a vast majority of the film's audience because it is a small release) won't be too captivated by scenes that just show a couple of random friends hanging out in an AV room and getting others to watch Troll 2 for the first time.

When the movie does explore the movie's origins and production history and interviews cast members, it is extremely entertaining. All of the story's rumors of unintelligible scripts and intended social commentary are all true. Many of the people involved with the movie are fascinating, if not heartbreaking, to see now. Grandpa Seth seems to realize he "frittered his life away," the general store owner relates that he was in a dementia/drug haze during production and was not quite aware he was in a movie, and Margo Prey (the mother) is a delusional, agoraphobic cat lady.

Most interesting of all is the segments with director Claudio Fragasso. He actually believes the movie is great and it takes him time to understand that the sudden revival of the movie is ridiculing it. Eventually, he comes to terms with the criticism all the while still berating its cast members and insisting on his skill as a filmmaker. The documentary would have been considerably more interesting had he been its main subject.

Overall, the film is definitely worth seeing, Troll 2 fan or not. However, it's frustrating to think would the movie could have been. Some scenes are amazing, but much of it is bogged down by footage of people in line for a Troll 2 showing screaming at the camera or George Hardy telling uninterested neighbors about his "piss on hospitality" scene.
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the cult around the "worst" movie loved by so many, and the people in the whirlpool of "fame"
Quinoa19846 July 2011
The actors just hoped for the best with Troll 2, at the time of shooting called Goblin (named for the name of the town in the film, 'Nilbog', get it?). The script was awkward, the creature effects shoddy, and most of the Italian crew, including director Claudio Fragasso, and nobody really knew what would happen with the movie. No theatrical release, straight to video and HBO, and when people saw it (save for the director, who still thinks it's a good movie, and the actress who played the mother, Margo Prey, who thought it was a solid "actors" movie) they knew how bad it was... and that included what is now the director of the documentary on Troll 2, Michael Stephenson, who played the lead kid/protagonist in Troll 2. He goes back to visit all the actors in the film, what they're up to, and then confront them with an astounding fact: Troll 2, in small-certain circles, is a big, big deal.

One of the main keys here is that the documentary works kind of like a cross between American Movie and Overnight, only it's all taking place many years after the fact. You have the 'characters' who are kind of nutty (the guy who was actually in a mental asylum and let out one day to play the store clerk in the film, Don Packard), and the ones who just tried to put it aside and get on with a career without Troll 2 (Connie Young as the daughter Waits in the film). And then there's George Hardy, who is like the anti Troy Duffy: instead of an obnoxious jerk, Hardy is the guy everybody likes (which could be to a fault, but who cares) and has that nice, sweet, all-American disposition working as a dentist and always with a smile or a laugh. And when he finds out Troll 2 is such a cult, he not only embraces it, he goes with it on tour!

This is also a wonderful treat for those film fans who know what it's like to find a movie so-bad-it's-fun like Troll 2. We see them here at the screenings that take place midnight all across the country, from New York to Los Angeles and cities in-between (most touching is the first screening that happens almost underground at a comedy club of all places and where the first real rise of Troll-mania happens). Stephenson gets what it's like for these people to be such fans, and that the cast (save for Prey who doesn't show up cause of her sick mother, and the director who is bitter about the guilty-pleasure love) gets what kind of audience loves Troll 2. As a cult you get the guy who tattoos Troll 2 on his arm. You get the people wearing their hand-made t-shirts. You get people who drive six hundred God-knows-how-many miles for a screening. And of course they all know all the words.

Stephenson captures what a phenomena like this is like, and at the same time the bittersweet coin of sudden "fame". Hardy goes all the way to Britain to promote Troll 2, and it's a little staggering to find out a) he didn't see if, you know, there were actual FANS of the film willing to go to conventions for it like they did the screenings in the states, and b) people don't seem to automatically find it cool all the time to be the "worst movie ever made" (smile). This also happens in Dallas at a convention we see, albeit the one time Hardy loses the admiration (at least from me) is when he slams the people who come to horror conventions, without realizing how horror audiences can be at such places, or that, you know, Troll 2 is still and always will be a big film for some, and for others they'll have a blank look on their faces.

Which, at the end of it all is fine for someone like Hardy, a genuine real-deal of a man who is fine with his dentist practice (albeit he is now acting in a few intentionally crappy movies like Ghost Shark 2), and for the director Fragasso and his co-writer wife who continue to berate the cast's friendly bashing of the film and the production, since, well, they think they did a good job with the movie (at one point, kind of unintentionally funny, Fragasso ponders why the audience laughs at the parts that "aren't meant to be funny", while also pointing out that the audience "saved" the movie from obscurity). Stephenson gets the human angle of everyone in the movie and understands them, even someone who could have been painted as a crazy like Margo Prey (who for some she may be anyway). And for such a movie like Troll 2 to get mainstream attention, if just for a little while, it's a swell treat for a movie so hilariously s***ty.

Moral of the story: You can't p*** on hospitality, I WONT ALLOW IT!
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Saw a screening of this in Boston tonight!
DjJazzyDeath25 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Best Worst Movie" is a very well done film and lives up to its hype. Nearly every actor from "Troll 2" makes an appearance, minus Deborah Reed, Troll 2's vegetarian villain from hell. But Michael Stephenson was there to answer questions and he said that she is in the DVD extras. If you had to say there's a "star" of the documentary would have to be the extremely likable Dr. George Hardy who played the role of the father in Troll 2. We were fortunate enough to also be graced by his presence at the screening as he too took questions from the audience. He was a great choice as the primary focus of the documentary. He comes off as very genuine as the sheltered Alabama Dentist he is today embracing the cult film hero he has become.

One thing I was surprised about was the movie doesn't show a lot of the "key" footage from Troll 2 that makes it so awfully great. For instance the infamous "Oh my gaaaaawwwwd!!!!" line wasn't featured or even mentioned once, yet the actor who plays that character, Darren Ewing, is featured in the documentary quite often. My guess is that maybe Stephenson thinks most of the documentary viewers haven't seen Troll 2 yet but will after the documentary's release and doesn't want the Troll 2 viewing experience completely spoiled. The scenes with Troll 2 director Claudio Fragasso are priceless. Still directing 20 years later and coming to terms that he has made one of the worst films ever. The man's got quite a chip on his shoulder to say the least and almost every minute of screen time he gets is a riot.

Overall, the documentary is very funny. Catching up with Robert Ormsby (haz-ah! Granda Seth is still alive!) was surprisingly a light-hearted scene, but easily could have been edited to come off as sad or depressing. However, when they find Margo Prey, better known as Joshua's mother in Troll 2, is slightly terrifying. There is no doubt the lady has some "complicated" issues in present day, but if you've seen Troll 2 does that really come as a surprise?. Still, Michael Stephenson was able to keep those scenes from being overtly sappy or gut-wrenching and thus prevents killing the pacing or overall theme of the film. Stephenson has really proved himself to be a good filmmaker with a lot potential. I highly recommend this film to all, even if you haven't seen Troll 2. There is mention of Claudio Fragasso's next film project that's in development at the end of the documentary: Troll 2, Part 2. Seriously. The theater roared and applauded at this notion which most assumed was a joke, but Stephenson and Hardy confirmed that it is being written but remained tight lipped beyond that. Even if it comes out as another "Lost Boys 2" I will be seeing it for sure. If you enjoy documentaries such as "King of Kong: Fist Full of Quarters" then you will love Best Worst Movie.
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for the Nintendo generation
VideoGameHollywood23 November 2010
The Best Worse Movie, is a look at the making of the film Troll 2 and its journey from being crowned the "worst film of all time" to a cherished cult classic. Troll 2 is a perfect example of the "so bad it's funny" category. Very few movies get everything, I mean everything so far from right, except for Troll 2.

The Best Worse Movie was made by the child actor from the film, he manages to find all of the cast and discusses with them how the movie changed there lives. It was funny to see the reaction from everyone involved who either wrote the film off as an embarrassment or just a good laugh. Except for the Italian director of Troll 2, who still regarded the film as a masterpiece.

I was very shocked how much I enjoyed this documentary. I enjoyed it as much as "King of Kong", and really enjoyed the story of how a film can go so wrong in every department. It goes to show how beloved some of these terrible campy 80's movies are today with the Nintendo generation.

Rating= A+

UPDATE: After watching this documentary, I went out and watched Troll 2, and yes, it was as bad as they say.
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Ignore Paul Kersey Jr., he's just trolling the reviews
andrewjunlee25 July 2010
Perhaps it was the build up for watching this documentary, but I found it to be the most enjoyable movie I've watched all year. I was reviewing the list of movies on display at the Sacramento Film Festival and I stumbled across the synopsis for this movie. I had vague recollections of Troll, but I couldn't really remember watching Troll 2. I recruited a few friends to watch the documentary since they'd heard of Troll 2 from some documentary about the worst movies ever filmed.

Three hours before the documentary was set to start, we gathered at my house with some chips and beers and set out to watch Troll 2. One friend had to switch to hard liquor to handle the outlandishly bad scenes in the movie, but the rest of us found the movie very watchable. It's like watching a train wreck at a high school talent show. You get a gut-wrenching feeling from watching these people make asses out of themselves, but you can't help but love their performance.

Anyway, we finished Troll 2 and we all agreed that there were several parts of the movie we'd love to have explained. That's where the documentary came in. It's like having an audio commentary extra from a special edition DVD, except you have to go to the local indie theater to watch it.

I don't know what the hell that one reviewer was writing about, but out of the 25 people who were in the small theater, at least 15 of them were constantly bursting into fits of laughter. The documentary is genuinely funny and I don't think people should watch it as a serious film... since it's about the worst movie ever. It'd make no sense.

One of my friends that went to the theater with us did so without watching Troll 2. After the documentary, he insisted that we watch the Troll 2 again that night, which we did. After watching the documentary, it's hard not to like Troll 2 since you now know the people that played the characters. It's comforting to know that they're as embarrassed about some of their scenes as you were for them.
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Where the heck is Creedence?
oowawa14 July 2012
Although I love Troll 2, I cannot concur with the general consensus that it is even close to the "worst movie ever made." (For that honor, you have to look at something that takes itself really seriously, with pretenses to high art, like a "film" by Godard). Troll 2 is a nutty little comedy with a ridiculous plot, silly dialog and amateurish costumes, and, as such, I really enjoyed it. It's fun.

IMHO, the main fault of this good-natured and generally excellent documentary is its failure to mention Deborah Reed, whose way over-the-top portrayal of veggie villainess and hippie druid Queen "Creedence Leonor Gielgud" is the wacky heart of the movie. She morphs from maniac priestess to gorgeous Elvira-like vamp whose hotness can literally pop corn (in the film's most overtly comic scene). Did Deborah Reed ask to be excluded from the documentary? (She does have an incomplete website). Was there a conflict between the documentary's creator and the actress? The documentary's failure to make any mention of Reed causes a real WTF moment. Anyway, Deborah was a doll, full of manic comic energy, and I was surprised to see that her career as a film actress seems to be limited to Troll 2. What happened to her? We want to know! But all-in-all, I am very grateful for Troll 2, and for Michael Stephenson's delightful documentary. Both of these films have made my life a marginally happier place. Bravo! And hang in there Margo! I really sympathize with your feelings about crappy neighbors!
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Hysterical documentary that celebrates a great "bad" movie.
PJoseph7318 October 2010
I had never seen Troll 2 before this film, but decided to watch it before viewing Best Worst Movie. After I saw it, I immediately watched the documentary as I was now hooked and had to know the story behind Troll 2.

Now, I liked Troll 2. As a connoisseur of "bad" movies, Troll 2 has it all. I keep putting "bad" in quotes because they are only labeled that, and in my mind are not REALLY bad. They are wonderful. And that's exactly why Best Worst Movie is wonderful. It celebrates with love the awesome earnestness of strange film making that is Troll 2.

It catches up with many of the film's stars and the highlight is George Hardy, the leading man in Troll 2. He's a living Ken Doll - you can't believe how sincere and likable he is. (I recently met George, and let me tell you, he is really the nice person he portrays.) At one point in the doc, George and the documentary's director (Michael Stevenson, who played the little boy in Troll 2) are on a mission to show the film to George's hometown. George, who is a dentist in his non-acting life, has known these people for years. But most them are not aware of this illustrious Hollywood moment he had in 1989. George goes door to door, handing out fliers, and acting out moments from the film. Even though many of his neighbors stare blankly as he repeats a classic line from Troll 2, he gives the moment his all - smiling and laughing the whole time. You know then that this is a man who loves to exist in a world where he can tell people to see a movie he starred in that most actors would remove from the IMDb page.

I can't do justice in this review the documentary's many great moments because the reality of those scenes have to be seen. But what you take away from this film is that the love true cinephiles have can breath life into films and give them meaning never meant by a filmmaker.

And this is the amazing magic of movies - like a good novel, they continually have new meaning. THAT is what makes "bad" movies - or any movie for that matter - a classic.
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How to Embrace a horrible experience and turn it into a positive one.
entrepreneurbytrade1 August 2010
I enjoyed watching this documentary. I think this was a good example of a situation where the original cast overcame a negative experience (endured 18 years ago). Described as embarrassing, depressing etc... which isn't a stretch I could imagine it must have been crushing to be cast in a movie you thought was going to be a legit movie, to than watch it and find out that it's not only a bad movie or a bomb it's so bad there isn't a category for it, other than a college film making 101 project. I could also imagine it must have been rough for the younger actors going to school after this aired (especially the girl… the dancing in the mirror scene, should I say anymore?). Thanks to the making of this documentary (the kid from Troll 2)… the movie resurfaced for the actors involved and they learned to embrace it and have fun with it. There's no better example of this then Dr. George Hardy (the father in Troll 2). He makes all of the various personalities of those involved comfortable, including the viewer. He is just an all around good guy. This guy is destined for something big... I don't know whether it's acting or what, spokesperson for something maybe, who knows? So it's no coincidence and definitely a smart move to have focused most of the attention on this guy. A few of the original cast members have continued to pursue acting. The sister from Troll explains, she would never put this on her resume… if it's found out she was in this movie, any chance of getting a call back is gone. I really think this documentary will change things for her if she learns how to embrace it. Think about it, if she tries out for a role, interview or whatever and embraces that experience… there isn't a better conversation piece or way to be remembered than that. I mean who else can say they were in the worst movie ever made? Do you think many of the various regularly seen actors on TV Shows , Movies, commercials etc. got to that point on talent alone? Probably not, at least not in the beginning… I'm sure something stood out or was remembered about them in those initial casting calls.

So how does one create the worst movie ever? This question is answered upon watching the director in this movie. Not speaking English (very little), having a big ego and possessing very little reasoning skills probably had a lot to do with it. So for me Troll 2 became even funnier upon learning that this wasn't an intentional dud or recognized as bad by the director even 18 years later. He doesn't understand the joke of the whole thing. It took him a while to catch on, that the reason everyone liked the movie so much was because it was so bad. I liked the part where the original cast was speaking in an auditorium about their experience when making the movie. I would have liked to have heard a little more about the movie making experience. Unfortunately we miss out on what some of them said because the director gets mad and throws a little tantrum.

By the way, I'm one of those people who thought Troll 2 was hilarious and entertaining. Basically because the movie is so poorly done and horribly acted. So the title of this documentary is perfectly fitted… "Best Worst Movie". One exception, the store owner in Troll 2 did a great acting job, plus he looked the part. It was the only moment where one may find a hint of eeriness in this movie. It's unfortunate this guy was never cast in another horror movie. There's still time… I can see him fitting well in some minor roles, since he would give the movie an eerie edge.
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A Funny, Touching, and Surprising Experience
scary-man14 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Just returned from seeing this at the Denver-Starz Film Festival and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.

First let me say that I went to see this movie on a whim as I was actually at the Metro State campus (where the film festival is located) for a live music event that took place later.

OK back to the film.

You don't need to see Troll 2 to appreciate this movie as enough (but not too much) of the original is contained in this documentary to give you an idea of how bad it is.

One of the elements that makes this movie good is that except for the beginning there is no off screen narrator. Titles let you know who is speaking and where the and the characters on screen are currently. The actors and dialog carry us almost seamlessly from place to place and fill us in on the minor phenomenon of the now cult status of Troll 2.

George Hardy who played the father in Troll 2 and who is the main focus of this film is a gem. He enjoys his time in the spotlight and appears to be a good man. We see him go from place to place promoting Troll 2 at first really amazed to see lines of people around the block waiting to see him and the movie. He then goes to various conventions where the film is only a sideshow and where he comes to the realization as to why he can't keep doing this. He admits to wanting to be an actor but was pushed into his current profession (which is portrayed with just the right balance between humor and seriousness).

We also meet other actors from Troll 2 including Robert Ormsby (who played Grandpa) and Margo Prey (who played the Mother) who have remained in Salt Lake City (where Troll 2 was filmed) and in the 20 years since the movie was made have led tragic lives and are quite touching to see today.

We also meet the director of Troll 2 who at times is confused and angry that people consider his film bad and funny.

The most unusual story is about the actor who played the store clerk in Troll 2. Apparently at the time of making the movie he was on release from a mental hospital and claims that he was not acting. What he was doing was real and he was considering violence to several of the cast members including the little kid (which when you see the movie will be quite funny).

There is much more which I won't go into here but if you get a chance to catch this at a film festival then you may get to meet George, the director, and his wife the producer. All are characters in themselves and they have made a minor work of art here.

To sum it up this is movie that doesn't take itself too seriously and never strays into the realm of ridicule which would have been so easy to do given the subject and the people involved. It is serious and touching without getting overtly sappy.

See this if you get a chance. Here is the web site here for information:

One last thing: NILBOG!
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Funny, Sad and quite depressing
john-duffy2115 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I saw Troll 2 years and years ago with my brother and we loved it (we were 10 and 8) then again about 3 years ago with a group of friends and we hated it, and when I checked I was not surprised that it is known as the worst film ever. So when I heard of a documentary about it, I sought out a copy and eagerly watched it, and I wasn't disappointed. Directed by the child "star" we meet the cast, director, writer, fans and super fans, which all range from comical, embarrassing, mentally unstable, deluded, egotistical and down right stupid. There are some really great moments in this film, especially when the father in the film realises the cult status of said movie and grabs his "fame" tightly with both hands clearly relishing from the devotion the 300 + fans in attendance at a special screening give him, only to come crashing down when he gets to wrapped up in it and believes himself/itself to be bigger than he/it is. The parts when they interview 3 of the "stars", the mother, the grandfather and the store owner, are the most compelling and depressing, showing 2 of them to be extremely mentally unwell and the other a sad lonely old man surrounded by his own junk. But Oscar for most deluded has to go to the "director" some Italian idiot who believes that he has made a masterpiece, and his writer wife who refers to it as a social statement about vegetarianism.

It is a great little doc with some standout moments, The Birmingham NEC memorabilia fair and Margot Prey recreating the noise her neighbours make, to a genuinely uncomfortable director and actor being the most. What starts out a homage/tongue in cheek look at the "worst movie ever" ends up being a sad and moving experience. Highly recommended
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Mainly about the people not the picture
Red-Barracuda29 March 2011
The film Troll 2 has become something of a cult item in the last five or six years. It's one of the movies that truly defines the term 'so bad it's good'. It's a consistently ridiculous film that is so very amusing because it so clearly never intentionally tries to be funny at any point. Its mixture of earnest endeavour, cinematic hopelessness and general strangeness aligns it alongside the much-loved yet utterly inept work of Ed Wood. It's really a very rare occasion for any film to achieve the very specific anti-brilliance of Troll 2. So with this in mind, it only seems right that a documentary has been made to celebrate its existence.

It focuses mainly on two things. The people involved in the making of the film and the audiences it has subsequently attracted. What it doesn't do – and this is a mistake in my opinion – is tell us how the movie came to be made in the first place. It doesn't even answer the question that many people find the most obvious – why is it called Troll 2 when there aren't any trolls in it? I think the story of Troll 2 warranted a little more historical context and background info, as much of the facts are fascinating in themselves.

That said I did enjoy Best Worst Movie and think it's great it was made at all. I remember back in 2005 Michael Stephenson the director and child star in the film frequented the IMDb boards with other cast members and he did say back then that he was planning on making this very documentary. I must say I thought it would never happen but fortunately I was incorrect. George Hardy, the father in the film, emerges as a real star; a very likable man who seems to have lapped up his bizarre fame. Although the real main man of the piece turns out to be director Claudio Fragasso. Every time he was on screen was gold. He was a living embodiment to what made Troll 2 so entertaining in the first place, i.e. committed artistic seriousness and a refreshing lack of irony. Fragasso truly believed that Troll 2 was loved so much because it was a complex family drama. Although he at least didn't go as far as to compare it with Casablanca as Margo Prey did without any sense of jest. Prey was clearly a disturbed woman. But then so was Don Packard, the man who played the drugstore owner, he in fact was an out-patient at a sanatorium when the film was made. So this is surely an example of fact being as strange as fiction. Well, almost.

Best Worst Movie is ultimately a perfect accompaniment to Troll 2 itself. The documentary somewhat strangely does not really focus on the content of the film itself. There are numerous clips of course but they're never commented on and many of the best parts are bizarrely not featured in the first place. This would perhaps be more of a problem if you didn't have the movie itself to enjoy afterwards. Ultimately Best Worst Movie is a look at a group of people who were inadvertently involved in making a movie that not one of them could have imagined in their wildest dreams would go on to become something of a cult classic. It's a strange story but one worth knowing about.
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loving and revealing, but disappointingly episodic
jonathan-57718 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In which the wholesome child actor at the fulcrum of the awesomely cruddy "Troll 2" constructs a documentary around the timeless question of how the hell the movie happened in the first place, and what cultural aftermath lay strewn in its wake. Repeated theatrical revivals of this direct-to-video nonpareil leave its jes-folks stars grinning in utter incomprehension at its rabid cult, and its asocial creep director wondering why everyone is laughing at the serious parts. There's a lot of fun to be had in watching the actors - who are basically normal everyday crazy people, two decades out of the limelight - engage with the phenomenon that this film has become, and starstruck dentist George Hardy is a nice focal point for the project. Unfortunately the film struggles to interweave his story with the other, equally endearing characters . Grandpa Robert Ormsby and the profoundly weird Don Packard could carry whole subplots by themselves, but their interjections are disappointingly episodic and incidental to Hardy's through line; surely the film could have provided a better balance. And whenever things list toward 'montage' the movie dies a little. But the subject matter carries it, and without giving away too much of the source material either; not that the magic of 'Troll 2' could ever be dissipated by a mere documentary.
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Far, far better than the original film...but not quite as wonderful as the overall score might indicate.
MartinHafer17 November 2010
This is a documentary about "Troll 2"--one of the worst movies ever made. It revisits the cast and shows that, inexplicably, this terrible film has become an odd cult phenomenon--though I cannot see why. It begins with meeting the star (now a divorced dentist) and then, slowly, cast members and the film creators are introduced and brought together for an odd road show--where they travel to various art houses for viewings with VERY enthusiastic crowds.

With an IMDb score of 8.1, you'd think that "Best Worst Movie" is one of the best documentaries ever made--the score is THAT high. And, while I did enjoy it, I think the cult-like lovers of "Troll 2" have unrealistically skewed the vote. For a cult member, it surely deserves a 10. For the rest of us, a 5 or 6 seems more in line with the documentary. The biggest problem with me is that the film is that although it starts off well, after a while it's obvious that film needed about 20 minutes trimmed as it completely loses its momentum at about the 40 minute mark. A good editing truly would have helped, as there were just too many moments that SHOULD have ended up on the cutting room floor. In other words, 'less is more'--and the bit actor who says he's pretty much wasted his life is just too maudlin and made me want to turn off the film. Plus, it just didn't fit the tempo of the rest of the film.

It's a shame, as you have to admire the film makers' enthusiasm for the topic and a crazy willingness to travel through North America AND Italy to assemble the film--now that's commitment--especially for a low-budget film. You gotta admire their chutzpah!
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Surprisingly dull
son_of_cheese_messiah24 April 2011
Michael Stephenson sets out to exorcise the ghost of his child performance in entertainingly bad classic Troll 2. In so doing he reacquaints himself with the cast and the small but dedicated fan base. Despite the cast being the strangest group of people you would ever meet the result is surprisingly conventional and boring. I'm not sure whether it is because Stephenson wished to spare his fellow cast members unnecessary embarrassment or (more likely) lack of their willingness to participate, but he chooses to focus his attention on George Hardy, the lead in Troll 2 who is now a dentist. Other members of the cast and crew are viewed only fleetingly so we find out very little about them or their stories. George comes across as a thoroughly nice chap if not the most interesting, but it is asking a lot for him to bear the weight of an entire documentary. He seems game enough, attempting to drum up business for certain Troll 2 events by going door to door, reciting his most famous lines from the film to all and sundry. But as he himself says "It gets old real quick".

One gets the impression that Stephenson had very much a "Spinal Tap" approach, inter cutting shots of the hapless hero with perplexed reactions, as in the scene where George is speaking at a sci-fi convention and the camera then pans the audience and we see about 6 not very interested people. This seemed a little unkind to George so perhaps the others were wise not to want more involvement.

But the real problem is the lack of material. George repeats the same line over and over again and a few fans repeatedly say "Wow Troll 2" This documentary runs out of legs a least half an hour before its end.
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Now I really want to see the worst movie ever made.
Mr-Fusion26 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Mismarketed as a documentary that seeks to deduce how bad movies get made, "Best Worst Movie" spotlights the cultural impact of "Troll 2", widely considered the worst movie ever made.

The principal cast of "Troll 2" were either too young or too inexperienced to realize they were making such a hilariously bad flick. And you can't help but feel sorry for these people as they describe having to come to grips with their involvement in said debacle, back in 1989. But that sympathy doesn't last ling, as they grow to embrace their ironic fame. The funniest parts of "Best Worst Movie" (aside from clips of "Troll 2") are the raucous crowds at the revival screenings, and the cast's own reenactments of the best (worst) scenes from the movie. What's staggering is that the director has no idea he made a terrifically terrible movie. To him, it's a parable that examines the important everyday issues (life, death, food, family). Even when attending a midnight screening, the guys has no idea the movie is celebrated for being so awful.

The documentary loses its way in the second half, as it focuses on the lead actor, George Hardy (a small-town dentist) and his time spent languishing at various fan and horror conventions where few have heard of "Troll 2". But the good definitely outweighs the bad here, as this is a thoroughly enjoyable film.

I have never seen "Troll 2", and we simply need to fix that.

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A wonderful examination of the horror movie industry, fans and dreams
cjmccracken6 May 2012
George Hardy is an incredibly likable man. He has a steady job at a successful dental surgery and is devoted to his children. He keeps fit and has a great sense of humour alongside an admired position amongst the rural community of his Alabama home. Hardy was never a famous man, but he did have one significant outing on the silver screen as part of Italian director Claudio Fragasso's (Zombi 3, Zombie Creeping Flesh) infamous Troll 2.

Best Worst Movie is a documentary about the legacy which Troll 2 left behind. Although, the actual depth and significance of this legacy may have been exaggerated slightly by the filmmaker Michael Stephenson, who was the child star of the feature. The documentary follows the reunited cast of Troll 2 as they relive the insanity of the shoot and wallow in the brief appreciation that arose out of the obsessive nostalgia of the fans.

Hardy is the first to be studied in depth and his amiability and small town charm ooze through the screen, as they hunt down the other stars the story starts to take a turn for the weird. It is worth noting at this point that none of the stars of Troll 2 were professional actors, they had all answered casting calls for extras and were given leading roles by Fragasso, who spoke very little English at the time. Fragasso also used an entirely Italian crew who also spoke very little English, all of which resulted in the bizarre farce that the movie became. This practice was not uncommon though, Lucio Fulci (who Fragasso shared directorial duties with at certain points of his career) adopted the same practice for his 'Trilogy' (The Beyond, House by the Cemetery and City of the Living Dead). The end result of the two directors couldn't be further removed, however, as were Fulci managed to inject a great deal of style and cinematic flare into his work. Fragasso does not.

Troll 2's infamy lies in the fact that it was voted the Worst Movie Ever on IMDb, a quote which is often mentioned in the subsequent promotion of the movie. The actors are all happy to admit that it is a terrible movie and have no problem playing along with the crowds who showcase the movie with the intention of having a good laugh at it all. Fragasso is not as pleased about it. One gets the impression that he is of the idea that his movies have been taken on board as classics and his smile drops very quickly when he realises that people are laughing at his 'art'.

There are actors who have since become damaged recluses and others who were quite literally on day release from mental institutions. Hardy gets swept up in the media furor, eager to lash out his catchphrase; 'You can't p*ss on hospitality, I won't allow it.' For anyone who will listen. He organises a charity event showing in his hometown and even attends a few conventions. The UK convention was a particularly sobering affair, with the attendance in single figures, it seems to be the moment when Hardy realises that the film industry isn't where he wants to be. His disgust and revulsion at the attendees of the horror con is kind of sad in many ways.

This is such a compelling and interesting documentary that it becomes very much about the individuals involved and less about the original subject matter (Troll 2). This is an absolute must see for any fan of horror, sci-fi or good documentaries as it offers a worthy insight into the machinations of the low budget movie industry.

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Fun, and more than fun
grnhair20013 May 2012
I liked this movie for many of the same reasons I liked Burton's Ed Wood. There is something about delusional filmmakers making bad movies but believing they aren't bad that touches me. I pity them, I have to laugh at them, I feel a little bad for laughing at them, and in the end, I think them more than a little noble for following their obsessions into delusionville.

I've seen Troll 2, and I have to say, it isn't the worst movie of all time. It's goofy, and it's badly acted from top to bottom, but it's not as bad as many movies that were made with 1000 times the budget. It's bad, but not the worst.

This documentary also helps us see into the fandom phenomenon, which is such a bizarre American (and beyond) practice, wherein people spend far too much time and energy keeping latched on to some mediocre to awful movie. Surely maturity eventually descends on such folks, and this record of their misspent youth will amaze them as it amazes us outsiders. Sociologists will be looking at the film 100 years from now, I imagine, for this alone.

It's hard to see the interviews the the Italian director and cast without concluding that at least some Italians are batpoop insane. Of course, so are some of the American actors and fans.

I enjoyed the recreations of the scenes from the movie--what a weird thing to decide to do. I probably laughed hardest at these. I laughed a lot, though I watched it at home by myself; like Troll2, this must be even more fun to watch with a crowd.
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"Best Worst Movie" is the best movie you'll find about one of the worst...
MaximumMadness31 January 2012
Oh, "Troll 2", how I love thee! Yes, the 1990 "horror" film that doesn't even have trolls in it is widely considered to be one of the worst films ever created. (Even holding the #1 worst spot on this site at one time) It's one of those "so-bad-that-it's-good" movies- the film is just so fundamentally flawed in every way that it becomes strangely watchable and enjoyable. It ranks up there with "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and "The Room" as some of the Best-Worst movies. (Hence, this hilarious documentary's title.)

"Best Worst Movie" is directed by the child "star" of "Troll 2", Michael Stephenson, as he analyzes the impact the film has made, and gives us glimpses at the lives of the principal actors involved.

And it is a heart-felt, nostalgic ride, filled with great real-life "characters" and some touching moments. We mainly follow George Hardy, who played Stephenson's father in the film. He is a decent, divorced father with a teenaged daughter, a nice house and a successful dentist office. He's your small-town, friendly guy. Everyone loves him- even his ex-wife, who appears in the movie to speak on his behalf. We also meet a good portion of the other actors, and learn about the troubled production of "Troll 2" (including shooting with a foreign crew that didn't speak English, and working with a director whom doesn't seem too open to criticism or suggestions), and how many of the actors tried to forget about it. Of course, films like these never die, and the film became a cult classic for its unintentional awfulness and hilarious acting. The YouTube generation especially has made it into a sort of Holy Bible of Bad Movies.

So we follow George and the others, as they slowly reclaim "Troll 2", and enjoy the success it has found. It's a lot of fun seeing George in particular, who you can tell actually enjoys acting, running around and giddily telling people about how he was in the "worst movie ever" with a smile. He's so happy to have been part in something so notable, and it's quite touching how much joy he can make out of it, when such a thing would jade most other people.

There isn't a whole lot that happens in this documentary, to be honest. No real underlying theme or message, per say. But it is still a fun analysis of a pop-culture, cult icon, and those involved with it. There is also some extremely unexpected emotion in a few key scenes, including a sequence where Stephenson and George track down the actress who portrayed the mother in the film- only to learn that she has become reclusive, delusional and is clearly "out of touch." It added a weight to the film that I quite admired.

I really enjoyed this. It's not the strongest documentary, but it's one of the "funnest" (I know that's not a word), and is a joy to watch. I give it a great 9 out of 10.
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A good documentary, but at times it does become "The George Hardy Show"
bazmitch2313 October 2015
We get nice interviews from the actors all admitting that they hated Troll 2 when they first saw it. But grew to love it after the movie gained a cult status.

Claudio is clearly a guy who cannot take criticism. When someone tries to correct him about anything, he gets annoyed. There's a scene near the end when the cast do a Q and A and he is in the audience. Anytime somebody says the movie is bad, he would shout at them and get angry. He's like a child who can't understand that you can't have everything you want.

He also gets annoyed when people laugh at the movie for how bad it is.

We have interviews with random people explaining why they love this movie and we have screenings of them showing the movie.

The biggest focus on this doc is George Hardy. Shot in his home town, everyone is like "George is so great" and "George is amazing".....

The focus is no longer on Troll 2, but about fecking George.

We see him go over the moon when he is at screenings of this movie. Not just in his hometown, but all around the States too.

He is on top of the world and nothing can spoil his enjoyment.

That is until he goes to a convention in Birmingham.

He's sitting by the stalls, wondering why the hell aren't people asking for his autograph.

"Hey, I was in Troll 2!"


You just want to say "Take that, George! Serves you right for your attention seeking."

But it get worse when he goes to the convention in Texas and the same thing happens again.

Also, he is not found of the other Horror movies being promoted.

"I don't know this movie. This one neither. Oh boy."

Despite his attention seeking, you do feel a tad bit sorry not just for him, but for the other actors who starred in movies about 20 years ago and haven't done anything since.

This is why being an actor or actress sucks big time.

But then George goes back to his hometown and it is all "George is so great" again.

You're famous in your hometown, but not everywhere.

Claudio also gets one last word. "I make movies that emote me and this movie emotes the audience too."

Yeah, cos I clearly remember how emotional this movie made me.

You poor bastard, Claudio.

Still, it is a nice doc and worth watching if you liked (or even didn't like) Troll 2.
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Uninformative and somewhat unpleasant
galensaysyes13 January 2011
Best Worst Movie isn't what I expected it to be. In publicizing it, its maker and its subject gave interviews in which they recounted their experiences as actors in the movie Troll 2 15 years ago, and I expected BWM to be an expansion on those accounts: a thorough history of T2's making. But BWM includes very little information on that, less than what was in the interviews, even though it had the director, the writer, and the entire cast to draw from. It doesn't, for example, tell how T2 came into being, how it was financed, its director--an Italian--came to shoot in Utah, how he assembled the cast, and so on. A viewer who didn't know T2 wouldn't be able to piece together the story from the evidence here. Instead BWM concentrates on one of the T2 actors--a one-shot actor--traveling around the country to make personal appearances in what appears to be a touring revival of T2, primarily for the benefit of the cult it has gained since its making. But apart from one fan's account of how his cell came into being, BWM is short on facts even about the cult.

So what does it show? It shows the one-shot actor telling people he once was in a bad movie and recapitulating his dialogue from it for the audiences at the revival showings. It also shows fans doing the kinds of things fans do: quoting lines from the movie, wearing homemade replicas of the costumes, and so on. A very little of this is entertaining--about enough for a five-minute feature on a TV magazine. But Best Worst Movie goes on for 18 times that length (30 times, if one counts the extras on the DVD). It's overkill. Worse yet, amidst all the repetition a somewhat unpleasant outlook comes to make itself felt.

BWM likes to stare and point at people. It doesn't have the sympathy to look beyond the obvious and perceive anything more in them, or the curiosity to find out. It's satisfied to stare. And it seems to divide the objects of its attention into two categories: Geeks and Freaks. The Geeks--the members of the fan cult--are Okay. The Freaks--those who don't like T2, or like it in the wrong way, or belong to some different cult--are Not Okay. Thus one of the actresses from T2, who gave the nearest thing to a successful performance in it but has now become, or perhaps always was, a jittery recluse, isn't given leisure to explain herself, and her invalid mother, who is in no way unusual for a person at her time of life in her state of health (and has nothing to do with anything except that she happened to be on scene), is treated as a freak, whereas the movie validates people who put on goblin get-ups, gobble down green-dyed cakes, and re-enact scenes from a 15-year-old bad movie. I submit that the life of that invalid mother, her reclusive daughter, or any of the other people the film shows as marginal--if someone had the interest and sensitivity to bring them out--could be shown to have more value than the adolescent nonsense BWM chooses to celebrate.

Consider the case: The moviemaker called on his hermitlike former castmate with no warning, she welcomed him into her house--and then he crapped on her. He lured the director of T2 to this country with a promise that he would see his movie appreciated at last--and then not only his appreciators but his former cast crapped on him. He's shown becoming quite testy about it, and no wonder; that kind of treatment is a betrayal. Hence, in the end the taste Best Worst Movie left in my mouth was more worst than best.
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angry1272 December 2010
This is a fun little documentary made by the child actor star of the film Troll 2. Not quite sure why the movie is getting all the praise that it is getting. I'm assuming this has to do with the cult following that Troll 2 has. Maybe people felt warmer feelings towards the father character in the Troll 2 than I did (or the director for that matter).

The best parts in this movie come in small chunks. My favorite being the interview with the shopkeeper (the extras on the DVD have some more here) and the interview with the mother from Troll 2. Regarding the former, he is a very strange man. But, he has a great narrative quality that makes it so you have to keep listening to him. His stories are very well spoken and what he says has a twinkle of a hidden meaning and a deeper truth. Its also refreshing to hear is uncompromising honesty about himself and his part in the film. Regarding the latter, she is a very troubled woman. She acted strange in the Troll 2 as well, but I thought that mainly had to do with the director's inadequacies. The movie clearly shows that is not the case. She claims she wants to get back in acting, but as you can see in her IMDb credits she hasn't. She seems very unhappy living alone with here very old mother (who is grumpy). This part of the movie I found really spooky and disturbing. Its kind of like one of the Goblins from Troll 2 being left in a small cave to wallow in its misery.

As for the rest of the movie, it takes on a meh blah mediocre sub par quality found in too many documentaries now a days. Still worth watching though. I don't think I would have been motivated to see Troll 2 without seeing this movie, and that's saying something.
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Kept the focus where it belongs
jack_gladney7810 August 2010
This is a fantastically compelling documentary. Like all good documentaries, it gives its subjects a chance to think about where they are and how they got there. The story behind the creation of Troll 2 and its belated reception by hipsters and ironists is interesting, but more fascinating is the journey through the memories and reactions of the cast and crew. I've never seen Troll 2, and perhaps that may be part of what held my attention, as I was constantly baffled by the clips from and references to Troll 2: I don't see how the clips shown could fit together at all. But all the same I loved this film, and it deserves a wider audience.
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I got really sick of the "hospitality" line
jfgibson7327 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Best Worst Movie is a documentary about the people who made the movie Troll 2, and the fans who love it. Troll 2 is a ridiculous movie and is considered one of the worst ever made. It is pointed out numerous times that every aspect of the film was poorly done--the story, the acting, the effects, not to mention that it is NOT an official sequel to the first movie, Troll, or that there are no Trolls in the movie.

The documentary was done by the actor who played the central character in the movie, Joshua. He connects with most of the cast members to discuss what directions their lives have taken, giving most of the screen time to the actor who played the dad (he has a successful dental practice). Friends and family continually praise this guy, George Hardy, as being one of the nicest people you'll ever meet and a pillar of his community, but over the course of the movie I got pretty sick of listening him talk about himself. The actress I was most interested in hearing from was the crazy lady who lived in the church, but they make no mention of her.

The documentary doesn't contain any making-of footage. Some of the actors share memories of filming, but most of the time is spent listening to fans talk about how much they enjoy Troll 2 and all the ways they pay tribute to it. Personally, I thought Troll 2 was kind of a depressing movie, but you will meet people who have found it to be a joyful, life-affirming experience.

There were some people you will definitely remember in this doc. The woman who played the mother, Margo Prey, comes off as a very troubled person. The director, Claudio, keeps insisting that the movie is not only good, but contains some deep allegory about the family unit. I couldn't decide if he was totally delusional or just had different cultural values. And the guy who played the store owner admits on camera that he was so wacked during the making of the movie that he contemplated killing the child actor he played opposite of (who is now the man that filmed the interview in which this was admitted).

I can't really fault this documentary for spending as much time as it did on the cult status of the movie, but I was hoping for more of the history behind its making. Also, I got really sick of hearing George repeat the line about p###ing on hospitality (and George got sick of saying it). 5 out of 10.
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