Whenever I see a really bad movie there is a bar against which I measure it: the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Now your average person might have a vague generalization in mind when saying worst movie ever. I do not. The phrase evokes something very specific. I can remember the general plot, the movie theatre, the minutes slowly dragging by, the periodic kicking of turkeys. Me and my sister refer to it as the unspeakably bad Turkish film. It is officially called My Only Sunshine and is the worst movie I have ever seen.
I went with my sister at CIFF a few years ago. We used to go crazy and try to see as many movies as possible in spite of fencing and school. This could mean three or four on a Saturday or Sunday — my family specializes in moderation. I blame my sister for picking the film and myself for trusting her.
It began like any other. There was the promise of a discernable plot, dialogue and characters worth paying attention to. A loose plot involving smuggling and lots of harbour shots was intermingled with shots of everyday life. There was almost no dialogue. At one point I thought the main character may have drowned. Ten minutes later I was devastated to learn she hadn’t and that the film would continue for another hour. The main character spent three or four minutes chasing and kicking an innocent turkey.
The other measure beyond the lack of characters, plot or dialogue of how truly horrible this film was is the number of people who walked out. By the end it had been about half of the twenty or so people who had been foolish enough to come.
There was a guy who had come alone and was a couple of rows in front of me. He spent twenty minutes shifting uncomfortably and pressing his arms into his legs. He wanted so badly to get his money’s worth and see the horrible film through to the end. It was very entertaining. Eventually he cracked, grabbed his jacket and left. I was very sad. Without his battle I was left to watch the film.
Yesterday I went to a very bad movie. I don’t know why festival directors do this but apparently a set of gruesome and unpleasant horror movies are a must for the last slot of the night. Trying to squeeze in an extra movie I decided to try a late night flick the CIFF website was plugging.
Not only was it slightly gruesome at times it was also terrible. Luckily I had purchased a cider so the weird kidnapping murder tale was slightly easier to get through.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a tremendously awful film. But I can say that it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen. Maybe just second.