Wade on Birmingham

The summer of “Best Worst Movie”

Monday, May 24th, 2010

After a big opening night screening at the 2009 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, the documentary “Best Worst Movie” has moved up to theatrical screenings. Theaters around the country are showing the film in limited engagements through the summer.

The tour kicked off in April in Austin. While it isn’t scheduled to return to Alabama, it will screen July 23 at Atlanta’s Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.

The documentary catches up with the cast and crew of “Troll 2,” a horror movie many consider to be the worst movie ever released. The star of both movies is Alexander City dentist George Hardy. Birmingham brothers Alan and Hugh Hunter served as the doc’s executive producers.

[Read the review from Wade on Birmingham.]

Video: Interview with George Hardy at South by Southwest

Wade on September 2009

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

A look back at all things and people and events 2009 …

Video: Gov. Riley attends the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
closing film, “Alabama Moon.”

Sept. 11 | September in Birmingham means two things in downtown culture: Artwalk and Sidewalk. For Artwalk, we presented an hour-by-hour guide to the two-day art festival.

Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival | All eyes were on the 11th annual film festival with a new executive director in place and sizable debt to overcome. Our contributing reviewers watched 11(!) movies to size them up for you in advance, including the opening night documentary feature, “Best Worst Movie.” How do we do it? Volume, volume, volume.

See all of our September coverage.

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Haiku flashback

at the drive-in [Sept. 8]

I declared my love
over shakes and a burger,
hold the mushiness.

• • •

365 days of Birmingham’s best and worst: Wade on 2009

Wade on August 2009

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

A look back at all things and people and events 2009 …

Video: Bill Blount joins Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks
with a guilty plea.

Aug. 1 | We counted down the days to former mayor Larry Langford’s original Aug. 31 trial date with our greatest series ever, Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks. Seriously, look how many criminals we stuffed into one month …

Who didn’t make the list? Langford, convicted Oct. 28. And pipe maker McWane Inc., whose latest fine is $4 million.

Aug. 10 | A juicy morsel: Wade on Birmingham had the exclusive scoop on the exclusive screening of the documentary “Food, Inc.” P.S. We love our news tipsters.

Aug. 11 | The dirge continued as we presented the Birmingham Heritage Festival lineup and demise in the same day. P.S. Never piss off Ludacris. Ever.

Aug. 25 | Our Vote 2009 coverage kicked into high gear with our extensive look at the Birmingham city council and board of education races. Later, we had results from all 18 races, nine of which were headed to runoffs.

Aug. 27 | The end of August also means the start of our monthlong coverage of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, with an in-depth look at the local films plus the opening night documentary, “Best Worst Movie.”

See all of our August coverage.

• • •

Haiku flashback

football season: dear coach (Aug. 31)

Please take us to the
national championship
(or else, you’re fired).

• • •

365 days of Birmingham’s best and worst: Wade on 2009

Sidewalk 2009: Horror plus time equals comedy

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Movie review: ‘Best Worst Movie’

By Kenn McCracken

Review at a glance: The documentary “Best Worst Movie” provides a good look at how an unintentionally bad movie gets made.

Best Worst Movie

A scene from “Best Worst Movie.”

We’ve all seen bad movies. Once in a while, though, you’ll find a movie that takes bad to its logical conclusion, passes it, loops back on itself and becomes entertaining in its awfulness, like the horror flick “Troll 2.”

Wade on Birmingham - Sidewalk Moving Picture FestivalA documentary goes one step further. “Best Worst Movie” looks at the making of “Troll 2” and the camp celebrations and fandom that have sprung up around the unapologetically bad movie.

“Best Worst Movie” opens the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival tonight.

Director Michael Paul Stephenson, who played the lead role in “Troll 2,” focuses on the major players of the cast and crew, including director Claudio Fragasso, writer Rossella Drudi and Alexander City native George Hardy.

“Troll 2” — which, coincidentally, isn’t a sequel to “Troll” and doesn’t even feature any trolls — has spawned conventions, viewing parties and fan gatherings.

What emerges is a group of people best known for one of the worst movies ever made and their reactions to the growing fandom. (Novice filmmakers: Rejoice in the fact that you’ve probably made better movies for less money. There’s hope yet.)

Some of them have continued making movies or acting, while others have disappeared from the public eye altogether.

Most interesting, perhaps, is Hardy, the small-town dentist. Watching his earnest excitement grow and fall at being involved with “Troll 2” is somewhat charming, especially if you’ve ever known anyone who had a brief brush with fame.

Will he continue acting, or stick with his dental practice? Will fame go to his head, or can he remain an humble Alabama boy?

Watching “Best Worst Movie” is kind of meta. (I’m fairly certain that with some “Troll 2” cast and crew in attendance to watch themselves watching themselves, we will all fall through the rabbit hole that becomes an actual rip in the space-time continuum.)

Still, it’s a good look at what is becoming a cult classic, from the inside out, looking back.

Kenn McCrackenKenn McCracken (@insomniactive) is a director and an award-winning screenwriter (2005 Sidewalk Sidewrite grand prize, “Muckfuppet”).

He’s also a writer (Birmingham Weekly, Spin.com, mental_floss), a bassist for the Exhibit(s), an eight-time cat juggling champion for Malta and an ongoing experiment in sleep deprivation. He occasionally steals your best ideas to claim at his blog, Dairy of a Madman.

“Best Worst Movie” will screen at 8 tonight at the Alabama Theatre.

Video: Trailer for “Best Worst Movie”

Video: “Troll 2” director Claudio Fragasso
discusses the audience’s reaction.


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Action! Complete Sidewalk Festival coverage.

Sidewalk 2009: ‘Best Worst Movie’ to open festival

Friday, August 28th, 2009


A first: documentary on opening night

Wade on Birmingham - Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival“Best Worst Movie,” a documentary about the so-called worst movie of all time, will open the 2009 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. The selection marks the first time a documentary feature, rather than a narrative feature, has opened the 11-year-old event.

The festival announced the selection this morning on its site, along with e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and Fox 6.

The movie catches up with the stars of the much-maligned “Troll 2,” a horror movie made in 1989 in Utah that neither featured trolls nor was a sequel. The Italian director, as well as the crew, spoke no English, but worked with an American cast, including Alexander City’s George Hardy. (Organizers plan to show “Troll 2,” though the time and the location have not been announced.)

“Best Worst Movie” has won awards from various festivals, including South by Southwest.

In an interview with the Birmingham News earlier this year, Hardy discussed the unique aspects of “Troll 2,” saying with a laugh, “One of my lines is, ‘Go away, monster.'”

It screens at 8 p.m. Friday at the Alabama Theatre. Tickets are $12, $10 for members in advance. Scheduled to appear are director and producer Michael Paul Stephenson, producers Lindsay Stephenson, Brad Klopman and Jim Klopman, and stars Hardy and Jason Steadman.

Official site | Sidewalk page | IMDB

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Have you seen “Troll 2”? Will you be at Sidewalk on opening night?

Action! Complete Sidewalk Festival coverage.