I feel you. Now that you've fully absorbed the Cats trailer, you're primed to watch some bad movies. Really bad movies. Absolute ineptitude. Movies that turn the old conceptual corner from bad to good. This weekend's Time Warp Drive-In has got you covered with The Return of the Worst Movies Ever.
What makes a movie so bad it's good? This is a question that has plagued fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for two decades. I think it's impossible to intentionally make a film so bad it's good. You have to really believe in what you're doing, and have utter confidence in your creative vision. And no one had more misplaced confidence in his creative vision than George Lucas circa 1986.
And, hey, wouldn't you feel the same way? He'd just come off of changing the entire film industry with the original Star Wars trilogy and two Indiana Jones movies. He could do no wrong. Time to tee up a really daring project — an adaptation of a cult comic book by Marvel that took a semi-satirical look at the medium. In 2019, that's half the films greenlit in Hollywood. In 1986, that was Howard The Duck. Lucas produced and his friends Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who had written American Graffiti and punched up the dialog in A New Hope, directed and wrote. He cast Lea Thompson, who was so good in Back To The Future the year before. What could possibly go wrong?
Feeling the burn? You ain't seen nothing yet. In 1988, Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra Terrestrial had held the title of the top-grossing film of all time for six years. McDonald's, in their corporate wisdom, decided they needed to expand beyond just making TV ads and buying product placement segments, and produce their own feature film. What kind of movie did they want to make? One like E.T., of course. Everybody likes E.T. The result is Mac and Me, one of the most inept films ever made. There's a reason it was chosen as the lead film for the latest season of MST3K. And that reason is this scene, which you should not watch if you value your sanity.
Also, there's a four-and-a-half-minute long musical number, set — where else? — in a McDonald's.
I said earlier that it's not possible to make a truly bad/good movie if you set out to do so. But what if you know you're making a bad satire of Hollywood sexism and capitalist alienation, but no one else involved in the project does? That's what's claimed of Paul Verhooven's 1995 disasterpiece Showgirls. I'm not sure I buy that explanation for one of the most horrific and mean-spirited films ever made, but you can judge for yourself. The trailer oozes sleaze, and it only scratches the surface.
If you survive that long, you will be "rewarded" with Samurai Cop. Dig the magnificent mane on the titular character, who is...wait for it...a cop, trained as a samurai. Yeah.
Time Warp Drive-In starts at dusk on Saturday, July 20th at the Malco Summer Drive-In.