A lot of people talk about the worst movie ever without knowing what they’re talking about. To them “the worst movie ever” is simply a long movie filmed in black-and- white, declaring every movie pre-1960s worthy of the title. I have heard people even say “Citizen Kane” was the worst movie ever. Now, I’m not here to judge tastes — you don’t have to like “Citizen Kane.” Hell, you can even hate it. But you aren’t cool, hip or rebellious by declaring it the worst movie ever. You just look like an idiot.
So how would you define the worst movie ever? For one thing, the idea of anything being the “worst” of some- thing is always going to be subjective to a certain extent. So what criteria am I going to use to define such a broad and damning expletive for a film? I’d say the “worst movie ever” needs a few things: 1) It needs to be incompetently made (and obviously so), meaning that the production values need to be sub-student film level — as in below preschool level; 2) the story needs to be ludicrous, incom- prehensible and boring, so much so that it doesn’t have a chance at all of being interesting, even ironically, and 3) it needs to be made by someone who truly believes he made pretentious art, so that there’s no sense of camp or fun.
For starters, I’m going to get this out of the way: “Batman & Robin: A Saga of the Year 3000” and Nicholas Cage’s “Wicker Man” do not count as the “worst movies ever,” nor will they ever. They look relatively good in terms of production value (the sets and costumes in “Batman & Robin” might be gaudy and ugly, but they’re intentionally made that way); have relatively decent acting — as in there is acting, period (John Travolta might have been awful in “Battlefield Earth,” but at least he looked like he made an attempt) — and, for the most part, these films have a sense of humor about themselves. And if not, like in the case of “Wicker Man,” they aren’t boring. Don’t get me wrong — these movies are terrible. They should only be viewed if you’re in hell for molesting babies, and even then that seems like a cruel punishment. The point is not to say these are good movies; just that they aren’t even close to the worst.
No, that honor belongs to a movie called “Birdemic: Shock and Terror.” If you haven’t heard of it, I envy you. This is a movie that does everything wrong. I’d say it is our generation’s “Plan 9 From Outerspace,” but that would be an insult to the esteemed Edward Wood. Literally nothing works, not even for kitsch value.
Let’s begin with the production values, which have to be seen to be believed. This film must have been shot on a camcorder circa 1980s. It has the production value of your average submission from America’s Funniest Home Videos “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” which is a dated but apt reference, since this film feels so dated despite being filmed last year. But
last year. But low produc- tion values are not a death knell to a movie. If you have a compelling, imaginative story and great acting, you still have hope. “Birdemic” has neither, and even ups the ante by trying to be a special effects extravaganza — without the effects or the extravaganza. Imagine a scene set in a tranquil neighborhood — shoddily framed, but consistent with the rest of the film — when it is suddenly invaded by 8-bit sprites of birds, crash- ing and exploding into everything with no notable damage to the scenery save for more 8-bit explosions superimposed and obvi- ously looped. Rinse and repeat for the last 45 minutes of the film.
But let’s talk about the “story.” It concerns a bor- ing “protagonist,” Ron, who looks like a human being but has the range of emotions of a Ken doll. He is a successful salesman despite having a mono- tone voice and zero facial expressions. Even when he makes a one-million dol- lar sale, his “woo” sounds less like someone who is on his way to early retire- ment and more like some- one who just ate Sir Robin’s minstrels. The first time we meet him, we see him go to a diner to stalk a beautiful blonde, Natalie.
Our hero begins the film by staring creepily at a girl in a diner, leaving as she leaves without ordering and follows her — twice — to her car as she tries to walk away from him. Instead of acting rationally and threatening to call the cops, she thinks this is cute and exchanges numbers, becoming his “love interest.” “Birdemic” Director James Nguyen describes this film as “romantic horror” in the trailer and promotional materials. If this is his idea of “romance” and “horror,” then it seems obvious he either a) doesn’t own a dic- tionary or b) has never seen another movie in his life.
The most egregious thing about this film is that it is a liberal propaganda piece. I am a liberal, but even I don’t like being preached to. When it is discovered that the bird epidemic started because of global warm- ing, I involuntarily groaned. After the film showed a hippie living alone in the woods as the model of enlightenment, I wanted to keep my car running 24/7 on fuel made of aero- sol cans and burning tires.
This brings me to my last point: Ngyuen doesn’t see his film as a farce like the similarly maligned director Tommy Wiseau of “The Room” sees his own, but rather a serious parable about the dangers of global warming — namely: If we don’t cut down on carbon emissions, then GIFs of poorly animated birds will attack us to death like a bad Hitchcock rip-off.
The worst part about this movie is that it’s available on Netflix streaming right now, meaning this piece of shit is actually getting dis- tributed. I’d rather be sent real shit than this movie. And there’s a sequel coming out next year! This is just more proof there is no God, or if there is, that he loves terrible, tasteless movies.