Ms. Silver Screen: Best Worst Movie

If you have never seen Troll 2 I whole-heartedly encourage you to do so. When the movie was initially brought to my attention I was honestly not at all interested. I finally caved and devoted 95 minutes of my time to watching this nonsensical botched film that wanted to be something that was so much more. The dialogue was atrocious. The acting was aggressively bad. The name of the movie has nothing to do with the film as there are never actually any trolls in the film. There are goblins… no trolls. What is the fundamental purpose of this film? I can’t answer that question. I have no idea. A family swaps homes with another family for a vacation. The Waits family travels to Nilbog – Goblin spelled backwards – and arrive at the stereotypical creepy old house. The family who occupy the house appear vacant and weird, but this doesn’t bother the Waits family. They’re just hungry. So the Waits family finds food and the audience waits for a plot to develop.

Possibly the most pivotal scene of the film arrives moments later. You see, the youngest of the family, Joshua, has a spiritual connection with his dead grandfather. Grandpa Seth communicates with Joshua and tells him that the people of Nilbog will eat his family if they eat the green food in the house. They will turn into plants and the goblins love to eat those plants, naturally. Joshua must stop the family from eating the feast of green before them. So what does he do? He urinates on the food. Dad Michael Waits is outraged and carries Joshua to his room and delivers possibly the most famous line of the film. “You can’t piss on hospitality! I won’t allow it!”

I won’t carry on about Troll 2 because this is really about Best Worst Movie. Also, one can’t sum up Troll 2 properly in words. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder here. Best Worst Movie is a documentary about Troll 2 directed by Michael Stephenson who played the young Joshua Waits. If you’ve watched Troll 2 and have mixed feelings about it, watch Best Worst Movie. It begins with an introduction to George Hardy who played the father Michael Waits. George Hardy is one of the most pleasant and likable guys on the planet. He runs a dental practice, loves his family and friends, has a boat named Troll 2, and his ex-wife still genuinely likes him. He comes across on-screen as this happy-go-lucky guy who lives in Alabama and has more southern charm in his pinky finger than all of the collective south put together.

George tells us where his life has taken him since Troll 2. We begin meeting the rest of the original cast and one by one we hear the stories of these people who made the film that earned a 2.2 out of 10 on IMDb, a 0% on the tomatometer on, and has been dubbed time and time again as the worst movie ever. Claudio Fragrasso – director and writer of Troll 2 – appears several times in the movie. He also appears to be out of his mind. I understand that different cultures hold different meanings for things, but when he said that this film was meaningful and even emotional I had to stifle a giant guffaw. He is upset by the reception the film got in America because – according to him, he knows what is American. Troll 2 is American.

Connie Young who played daughter Holly Waits seemed to be the most disturbed by the film. Margo Prey who played mom Diana Waits seemed to be the most disturbed. Period.

This documentary follows the eventual massive success of the film. When originally released, the film never made it to theaters. Stephenson said that he was so thrilled to receive his first real part in a film and couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen. That never came to be. One Christmas morning he opened his last gift. It was a VHS copy of Troll 2. Elated, he popped it in the VCR. Poor guy never saw it coming.

Years after the initial release of the film, people started recognizing just how bad Troll 2 really was. There was something about this movie that kept crowds coming back for more. Can a movie really be so bad that it is actually good? Yes. Troll 2 made audiences around the country gather outside of theaters for screenings that Hardy and Stephenson would attend. Laugh out loud moments brought the badness of the film out in such a way that it was turned into a positive. Troll 2 had miraculously turned into something of a cult classic.

Best Worst Movie is a touching documentary. The stories are real and the people are too. Watching George Hardy reenact his famous scene with Stephenson on stage years later was heartwarming. It was as though they took what some would call an embarrassment and owned up to it. And the great thing is that people loved them for it. Fans really love this movie and really love the people in it. It is only now, after watching this documentary, that I understand why. All of the stories aren’t happy ones, but they are honest. Best Worst Movie made me fall in love with Troll 2 and the characters who made it and I hope that it’ll do the same for anyone else who watches it.

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