One, Please: Angry Birds, Awesome Buttcheeks - Birdemic, The Room and Other Essential Outsider Films

One, Please: Angry Birds, Awesome Buttcheeks - Birdemic, The Room and Other Essential Outsider Films

Feb 25, 2011

Birdemic: Shock and Terror is, as of this week, available on Blu-Ray for your high definition enjoyment of its cheaply-made charms. No, it’s not a SyFy Channel original movie. Birdemic is a film by James Nguyen (self-billed as “The Master of The Romantic Thriller™”) and it’s The Birds meets explosions meets environmental awareness meets sexy lingerie meets a budget of 35¢. And it is urgently crazy in a way you may have never experienced before. These birds are upset, really upset, and when the digitally designed winged assassins fly into a building, they turn that building into a fireball. When the people in the film speak, they make those words into illogical sentences only the most avant-garde ears can hear. It’s already a big hit in the world of midnight movies, and so confidently created that it demands respect for that quality alone.

And if you haven’t had the pleasure of Birdemic yet, you almost certainly have seen or at least heard of its fellow mentally challenged colleague, 2003’s The Room. Created by mystery auteur Tommy Wiseau (a man unafraid to bare it all and horrify audiences with his big screen buttock-baring during the film’s multiple “lovemaking” moments), The Room is so popular, a Rocky Horror Picture Show-like phenomenon, that Entertainment Weekly provides regular updates on its still-unfolding pop culture saga (sell out crowds in major cities, celebrity fans, director credit disputes, action figures). One time with this modern masterpiece of awesome awfulness won’t be enough. It’s like if potato chips were a movie. And when Wiseau says, “Hi doggie,” he means it.

So when you get caught up on those two, and you’re not in the mood for another viewing of Troll 2 or Teen Witch, there’s a new crop to blow your mind. Check out…

Dreamkiller (Video)
Someone is killing people in ways that match their greatest fears. And a doctor using audio frequencies to cure patients of their phobias gets involved. So does a detective. So do random other people. And there are secret Nazi ties and erotic dalliances and chasing and… um… some other stuff that doesn’t make sense. There’s also a stone-faced commitment to utter seriousness that will pretty much guarantee laughter coming out of your mouth and dreams being killed in your head.

C Me Dance (Video)
You know you’ve got a Bizarro World cinematic event on your hands when you’ve made a Christian-themed film that actually offends Christian audiences. Maybe if they’d left well enough alone in this tale of a Christian teen ballerina dying of cancer who inspires others around her to discover God. But they didn’t. They went and added in a swirl of crazy frozen yogurt toppings: telepathic powers, Christmas-time death, explosions, mind control on behalf of Jesus and Buffy The Vampire Slayer-like butt-kicking matches with Satan and his minions. The trailer promises “a gentle art.” That’s a good one.

Acts of Violence (Video)
Writer/director/fight choreographer Il Lim stars as a man bent on revenge after his wife (Leelee Sobieski. LEELEE SOBIESKI?) is brutally attacked. So think Steven Seagal. But then think again. Think of odd set-ups involving a simple errand run that turns into a mission of random slaughter. Think of martial arts battle vengeance thoughtfully designed to include entertaining mid-air twirling. Think of weird, airless, awkward, baffling—yet oddly compelling—scenes of domestic tenderness. Think of a crazy twist you genuinely can’t see coming. Think bizarre confessional sequences with Father Ron Perlman. Think you’ve seen it all before, but know that all your thinks are about to be proven wrong. (Warning: Not for those who are squeamish about rape scenes. It happens.)

Standing Ovation (Video)
People used to the slickly competent production qualities of High School Musical will most likely feel a sense of creeping nausea when confronted with this dirt-cheap, all-tween-and-younger tribute to mass narcissism. Everyone else’s jaws will simply drop as their ears bleed Gummi Bears. It’s like what would happen if the kids from Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 aged a couple more years, decided that the world really needed to understand the beauty of their singing voices and dance moves, and then created a super-program that would spit out songs about what superstars they all are. Mind-blowing in the way that only a room full of overly enthusiastic, loud, grinning stage children can be. It reminded me of a moment that took place on American Idol a few years back. I’m paraphrasing here, but Simon Cowell said something along the lines of “I love to hear young children sing.”
Paula’s response: “Really?”
His answer: “No.”

Bonus bit of dementia: Executive produced by James Brolin, which has to mean that Barbra Streisand was forced to watch it at least once. Possibly three times.

N-Secure (Video)
Take The Room, replace the cast with African-American actors, including The Cosby Show’s Tempest Bledsoe, splice it together with Sleeping With The Enemy, toss in Diary of a Mad Black Woman and you have a cautionary tale of obsession with some good tips for women on how to spot the warning signs that their man is going to try to kill them. Here are a few: #1 He demands Swiss watch-style promptness. # 2 You’d better pick up the phone every time. #3 If, after each incident of increasingly terrifying violence, you receive a larger and larger apology-themed teddy bear, get out of the house immediately.

After Last Season (Video)
The most mystifying film on this mini-list is also the most mesmerizing. The sets are cardboard-based in a way that Michel Gondry would envy. Huge, spooky shadows follow the characters in every harshly-lit scene. Dialogue about non-specific locations of towns, rooms, printers and something called “Pineapple Club” are interspersed with computer animation from the early 1990s and incidents of furniture moving around by itself. Suddenly, there will appear a long static shot of a picture frame next to a door. Why? Is it a minimalist art prank? Is it full of secret mind-control messages? What is it even about? No one I know has any idea. I’m still not convinced this one isn’t a total hoax. I hope it’s not. I can’t stop looking at it.

Dangerous Men (Video)
The Holy Grail of outsider movies and the single most confusing, baffling, joy-making film I’ve ever watched, it’s difficult to find because it’s still not available on DVD. (It mysteriously popped up in a handful of Los Angeles theaters a few years ago and has since been screened over a series of sold-out midnight shows. Even bootlegs are difficult to come by.) This crime comedy set in the world of prostitutes, bikers, tormented lovers, killers, cops and drug dealers is a collage of styles, film stocks and sound engineering. It was also seemingly abandoned after an initial late-80s shoot and then picked up again and finished about 15 years later, because fashions, exteriors, cars, everything, is different from scene to scene. The few actors who came back have radically changed bodies and have clearly aged in the years of downtime. The rest of them were simply abandoned as characters. So you never find out what happens to the prostitute who kills “dangerous men” with the knife she carries around in her buttcheeks. You just have to assume she went on to live a happy life. You know, the same way you will after you watch every movie here.

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