Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Christmas Tradition

Most people have a special Christmas tradition. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas you probably have one. Perhaps you go out for Chinese food on Christmas Day. Maybe you wait for someone to wish you a "Merry Christmas" so you can get offended and say "How dare you wish me a Merry Christmas! I am not Christian!"

I know that's fun. I went to Canada last year on February 15th. Some moron wished me a "Happy 'National Flag of Canada' Day."

I'm not Canadian! Even if I was, I feel it would have been FAR more appropriate for him to say "Happy Holidays." I felt so persecuted.

So, my case is before the Canadian Supreme Court this coming spring.

Speaking of which, I like to SPRING into the new year with my Christmas tradition.

It started a few years ago by accident. My good friend Mr. Freeze handed me a nicely wrapped Christmas present.

"Oh, how nice of you! I have a gift for you too, I just forgot it at home." I said.

I was lying, and I was angry. How dare he buy me a gift! I didn't want to get him a gift and I HAD to. Well, at least I have an advantage since he gave me his first. Now I can look at it and buy him something in return that costs just a little more than his gift.

Then I opened the gift.

It was a VHS tape called "Celebrities Exposed." Whaaaaat? Why would I want this? Plus, even by looking at the box I could tell that nothing was going to be exposed in this tape. It seemed to be just random paparazzi footage.

Nothing was being exposed here except for the fact that Mr.Freeze PUT NO THOUGHT WHATSOEVER INTO HIS GIFT.

"I love it." I lied.

"I knew you would." He said. "It looks awful."


"I do like awful videos. Maybe this isn't a bad gift!" I thought.

But, to truly get the best enjoyment out of the tape I made him watch it with me. Right then, right there.

We laughed as photographers questioned Pam Anderson as to why she would go to a nightclub when she has a child. And we giggled at tediously long scenes of Rosie O'Donnell walking through an airport. We had a great time.

The next day I went to Suncoast to buy his gift. For just 99 cents I found an MTV produced tape about Dennis Rodman. That weekend we watched it laughing at how few of Dennis' words were intelligible. I am still confused to be honest with you.

We also agreed that my video, "Rodman" was worse.

The next year we did a bad video exchange and the year after that and do on and so on.

1. We must watch both films back to back after opening them. This means that the film has to be watchable.
2. No well-known bad films allowed. I always feared this would turn into a night of cliché bad flicks. I buy Gigli and he buys Waterworld. We also shy away from documentaries and such unless they look really fun. Let's face it "Roofing Made Simple" might be a bad video, but it's not really fun.
3. Tape/DVD must cost under $5. Usually I get 'em at the dollar store.

So, a cheap present provides a night of wacky entertainment. I look forward to it more than any other thing about Christmas.

1. Awkwardly composed video box. The cover usually reveals a whole lot. If they couldn't put together a decent poster they probably couldn't make a decent movie either.
2. Stars, stars, stars! The more the better. If you find a film that you have NEVER heard of, but it is full of big name actors it's a pretty good bet that it wasn't any good.
3. The 1980s. Older films are fun because they play as period pieces. And no period was more funny than the 1980s. The costumes and hair and background details are often HYSTERICAL.

Here are the match-ups we have had (including this years flicks):

1999- Celebrities Exposed (FREEZE) vs. Rodman (ME)
Rodman was the clear winner because of the strange way that MTV wasted all the stars in this film. Jenny McCarthy pretends to make out with Dennis, John Lovitz pretends to play tennis with Dennis and MTV pretends Dennis is worthy of 60 minutes of video tape.

2000- Get it Together (FREEZE) vs. Burt Reynolds Teaches Football (ME)
Burt Reynolds explaining a forward pass to a group of women was bad. Really bad. On any other year it could have been a winner. But on this year it had no chance.
Let me say this clearly: Get it Together is EASILY the worst film I have ever seen. It stars no one, but features a young Danny Devito in a couple scenes. It tells the story of a guy turning 30 and how depressing it is for him. We have yet to see anything else this bad.
ME: 1

2001- True Identity (FREEZE) vs. Deadline (ME)
Truly the darkest year of the trade. This year semi-quality films almost sucked the life out of the whole deal. True Identity was the more ludicrous of the two as it told the story of a black man who disguises himself as a white guy. Deadline was a good drama starring Christopher Walken. I couldn't think of any way to make fun of it then and I still can't.
ME: 1

2002- The Wrong Guys (FREEZE) vs. Murder on Flight 502 (ME)
The Wrong Guys is a stupid movie with a stupid cast Louie Anderson, Richard Lewis and Richard Belzer pretend to be Cub Scouts. It was an idiotic premise performed by idiots. Flight 502 was a pretty good dramatic film, but with Farrah Fawcett in the lead there were plenty of things to mock about it. We also got surprise appearances by Danny Bonaduce and Sonny Bono. A truly blessed year for bad movies, this almost ended as a tie.
Still, Murder on Flight 502 ended up the winner.
ME: 2

2003- Great Moments in History (ME) vs. Freedom (FREEZE)
This was a blowout. Freedom was a dopey action flick from some other country where they speak English with awful accents. It might have been Australia or Canada or Trenton, New Jersey. I can't recall.
It wasn't so much BAD as it was just boring.
Great Moments on the other hand had a group of puppets who spoke incessantly about Teddy Roosevelt. They sung about him too.
It must have been made by someone who was half "Jim Henson," half "an untalented hack who had no idea how to make a quality or even coherent puppet show."
ME: 3

2004- Copper Mountain (ME) vs. Mob Justice (FREEZE)
Mob Justice was a really good film. It starred Tony Danza as a hitman. It sounds hysterical, but sadly it's not. To our disappointment Tony is actually very good in the part. He seems to be a surprisingly good actor. Good for him, bad for us.
Copper Mountain was just AWFUL. I did a feature on it after we watched it last year. You can read that here.
If you don't want to read that here is a summary:
Jim Carrey does impressions of Colonel Potter from M*A*S*H and Sammy Davis Jr. as Alan Thicke mocks the overweight for 55 minutes at a ski resort.
ME: 4

2005- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (ME) vs. Whisperkill (FREEZE)
I went into this years exchange riding high on a two year winning streak. I was brash and cocky. That's why I bent the rules and picked out the notoriously bad Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
It was a mistake. The film was bad, but bad in a "we know we are making a schlocky flick, but we had a small budget" way. It wasn't the worst choice but it wasn't a winner either.
The winner would have to be Whisperkill. Starring Loni Anderson, this film tells the story of a person dressed as a ninja killing people in a small town. Loni is a reporter covering the murders and her partner is a some dork.
The dork was the highlight of the film, however, because he had a beard. Sometimes. Other times he had a 5 o'clock shadow. Then he might have a hairy 2 month old beard. It changed rapidly and often WITHIN a scene.
I should offer a "spoiler alert" here but is there really ANY CHANCE you would ever see this film?
Well spoiler alerts be damned because here is the ending: The ninja was really June Lockhart. Yup, the mom from Lassie. She was the murderer. Not a young June, either. Old lady ninja.
ME: 4

2006- Star Odyssey(ME) vs. Bail Out (FREEZE)
Bail Out was a fantasticly bad action flick where David Hasselhoff played a man named White Bread. Yup. White Bread. White Bread is a tennis playing bail bondsman. His partner is the great Tommy Rosales Jr.
You may remember Tommy as the guy who's head explodes at the beginning of The Running Man. Or maybe you remember him as the guy who gets sliced in half in Vampires. Either way, you saw him get killed. Tommy gets killed in almost every film I have seen him in. Except this film.
Star Odyssey was a laughably bizarre foreign film where aliens bid on the right to blow up other planets as they walked around in odd fright wigs.
And there was one guy who just did cartwheels the whole movie.
Cartwheels in outer space.
ME: 5

2007- Project Kill(ME) vs. Longshot (FREEZE)
Project Kill was an action flick without action. Starring a pre-Naked Gun Leslie Nielson, I found this 1970's era piece of junk in a Wal-Mart dollar section. I should have left it there. In the film Nielson plays a killing machine who is on the run from the government. Whille on the run he meets a girl named Lee Soup (I think) and has some run in with a dictator who has a giant lollipop on the wall of his office.
Longshot was a film from 2000 that featured a bunch of boy bands and a guy named "Tony DeCamillis." I don't know who Tony DeCamillis is, but he never did another movie after Longshot. A Google image search returns a picture of Tony Danza.
Anyway, Longshot just came off as bizarre due to an immense amount of cameos.
Wanna see a member of the band Take Five beat up The Rock? It's here.
Wanna see Gilbert Gottfried yell at Art Garfunkel? This is your film.
Wanna see Joey Fatone get hit in the head with a pizza tray? Yup... this film has it. Wanna see Kenny Rogers fly a plane? Oh yeah, it's Longshot.
Wanna see Betty White make out with Lance Bass? Actually, I may have dreamed that.
Anyway, it was a good night for Freeze... except for the fact that he had the hiccups and I had nothing to drink at my house but V8.
WINNER: Longshot
ME: 5

2008 Attack from Space (ME) vs. Atlantic City Jackpot (Freeze)
This year Freeze strutted in with a sure-fire winner. An unknown 1970s flick with Danny Devito playing a small part.
The film tells the story of guy who kidnaps a couple kids and holds them for ransom. It contains some subplot about a bad gambler and a some good footage of a 70s era McDonalds.
One problem... it's not that bad. Sure, there are bad mustaches and bad chest hair... but the movie... not that bad.
Attack from Space, on the other hand, was a wickedly bad campy Japanese film.
It tells the story of a superhero who punches bad guys in the face. Seriously, that's all I remember.
I win.
WINNER: Attack From Space
ME: 6

2009 Moving Target (ME) vs. The Swap (Freeze)
Moving Target had all the ingredients of a winner. It starred Jason Bateman and Chynna Phillips. It was made for TV and had a thread thin plot and lousy writing. It was bad.
The Swap, however, was the most gloriously rotten film I have seen in years. The story behind the making of this film is rather convoluted, but here is what I have been able to piece together from people on the IMDB's message board:
1. A film called Sam's Song was made in 1969 in NY. It starred a pre-fame Robert Deniro.
2. Ten years later a director shot a new film in L.A. and inserted about 30 minutes of Sam's Song into the film drastically changing the context and characters.
3. Syfyguy77 thinks that Robert Deniro is gay.

Anyway, this film is beyond stupid. The film jumps from coast to coast without ever explaining why and nothing really fits together. It was one of worst we have ever seen.

WINNER: The Swap
ME: 6

2010 Hip Hop Kidz (ME) vs. The Second Coming of Suzanne (Freeze)
This was a close one. Suzanne was dull as could be. It starred Richard Dreyfuss... if by starring you mean we occasionally saw him.
Hip Hop Kids was a saccharine, stupid kiddie film that showed the importance of hip hop.
WINNER: Hip Hop Kids
Me: 7

2011 The Final Goal (FREEZE) vs Unidentified Flying Oddball (ME)
This was a good year! Final goal was a dopey Erik Estrada soccer flick and Unidentified Flying oddball was a cheesy Disney film. Full write up here.
WINNER: The Final Goal
Me: 7
Freeze: 6

2012 The Last Song (FREEZE) vs Second Chance (ME)
I had trouble finding a good 'bad' movie this year. The dollar stores seemed to have less and less of the really bad junk and more overstocked mainstream pap. But, I did find a dvd with a wacky Arte Johnson dvd. It made me hopeful since he was in Great Moments In History and since they misspelled his named on the cover.
Jeff brought a Lynda Carter environmental thriller. His film started off with odd cuts and really weird edits, but settled down and played out well.
Second Chance just was all kinds of stupid. It was about a bunch of dudes who were turned into kids through a potion. It was too "adult" for kids and two dopey for adults.
When it came time for the two of us to vote, Freeze thought it was a toss up. I didn't. I really felt Second Chance was worse. No question. We eventually decided that was the case.
Interestingly, this could have tied things up, which was sorta what I was hoping for... just to keep things exciting!
Me: 8
Freeze: 6


  1. So do you have any traditions?

  2. Anonymous12/22/2005

    I have a tradition like this. I say "Crikey!"

    By the way, I often confuse "tradition" with "catch phrase."

  3. I don't have any traditions like that, but keeping in with the bad movies theme, last night I watched "Can't Stop The Music" starring The Village People, Valerie Perrine, Bruce Jenner, and Steve Guttenberg. If you have never seen this train wreck, you are really missing out. It's available on DVD for dirt cheap, so there's no excuses. Plus it was the only movie ever directed by Nancy Walker, from TV's "Rhoda" and Bounty paper towel commercials. Awesome!!!

  4. I have seen a lot of bad sci-fi, horror and fantasy movies. I thought about doing a second blog that would be dedicated to these films plus bad tv shows. However, I just don't think that I have the time to do a second blog.

  5. My tradition is starting blogs that I eventually lose interest in. Then I start a new one that I swear is going to work out. Seriously this time.

    It's also strange to see a post from Steve Irwin. I guess he found a new tradition, getting stung by stingrays. Although doing something once probably technically isn’t a tradition.

  6. I miss Steve Irwin. He was one of a kind.

  7. My new tradition is rereading this post.

  8. My new new tradition is adding a comment every year even though I don't have anything meaningful to add.

  9. I to have been a recipient of the "Hip Hop Kidz" and agree with your summation! Truly awful but watched it with a sly grin on my face