Good movies are overrated. Good comedies are more so. Sure, Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen may produce films that can make you think and laugh simultaneously, but where’s the fun in spoon-fed intellectual wit? Bad movies, on the other hand, even at their best (or worst), contain barrels of unintentional humor that will leave you with not only gut pains, but also feelings of superiority and intelligence for being smarter than the filmmakers. Instead of watching competent films by good directors, why not choose incompetent messes by full-of-themselves filmmakers who are so out of the joke that they are still holding out for that unattainable Oscar? These are movies made for bands of friends to revel together in their idiocy and hold as inside jokes to be forever mocked as a group.
“Trapped in the Closet”
As if the world of hip-hop and rap music doesn’t suffer from being ridiculous enough with its excessive levels of machismo and, at times, ludicrously misogynistic lyrics, R. Kelly raises the genre to new levels of absurdity with his hip-hopera “Trapped in the Closet.” In his attempt to create a serious piece of art, R. Kelly narrates in verse an insanity-filled day starting with his alter-ego Sylvester’s finding out that the woman he’s just slept with is married. This catalyzes a series of increasingly asinine events, leading to the revelations of six other cases of infidelity that start with a gay pastor and lead to an interracial relationship with an asthmatic midget stripper.
The ridiculous story becomes only half the fun as R. Kelly’s rhyme and narration take the film’s comedy to further depths of farce. R. Kelly obtusely narrates every action, creating hilarious moments of awkwardness during which simple gestures, such as a man opening a closet, are translated into redundant verses like: “He looks at the closet (closet)/He walks up to the closet (closet)/He goes up to the closet (closet)/Now he’s at the closet (closet)/Damn, he’s opening the closet (closet).”
The greatest part of the film remains in the laughably serious attitude that R. Kelly maintains during the whole farce. He is completely oblivious to any possibility that his nonsensical narrative is nothing less than a piece of Shakespearean brilliance. Adding another level to the humor of the production is his DVD commentary track, which shows R. Kelly sitting in front of a movie screen, smoking a cigar, and spouting whatever comes into his head while watching the film. He provides such insightful comments, such as how he rhymed the whole song and how the characters on screen are yelling at each other because they are, in fact, angry at one another.
Some superhero movies in recent years have been lauded for transcending their fan base and being able to be taken seriously by even the most highbrow of critics. This, however, is certainly not the case with “Thor” (2011), directed by Classics great Kenneth Branagh. Based on the Marvel Comics series, the story is centered on Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the god of thunder, who is so arrogant that his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), strips him of his powers and banishes him to Earth. There, a scientist (Natalie Portman) and her colleagues try to figure out who he is and from where he came, as well as teach him how to act and behave among humans.
Hemsworth’s performance, with his ridiculously out-of-place superhuman presence in ordinary human scenarios, adds to the silliness of the film. For instance, in one scene, he sips on coffee in a diner and says in his robust, godly voice, “This drink, I like it. Another!” He then casually smashes the cup on the ground. Additionally, seeing the veteran Hopkins, who is known for his serious, Oscar-nominated roles, play in a superhero movie meant for teens is amusing in itself.
Meanwhile, Thor’s god friends in his home realm of Asgard confront another god for doing nothing but binge-eating since Thor’s banishment, to which he loudly replies, “Do not mistake my appetite for apathy!” Though perhaps not intended to be so, this line is uproarious for its corniness in an otherwise serious situation.
The cheesy acting and even cheesier scriptwriting make “Thor” a hilarious, unintended joke of a movie. What’s funnier: reading critic Richard Roeper’s favorable review in which he praises the movie for its “Shakespearean overtones” and the cast for “elevat[ing] the material.”
Just about everyone has heard in some capacity of “The Room,” Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 independent, self-proclaimed “black comedy.” With a cult fan base that includes Alec Baldwin and Kevin Smith, the film is now touted in many circles as “the worst movie ever made,” and is often shown at midnight screenings across the country. It has even inspired a video game, a traveling stage show, and a book.
The film chronicles the ill-fated relationship of Lisa (Juliette Daniele) and Johnny (Wiseau, who also wrote and directed), who have taken in as a charity case Denny (Philip Haldiman), a seemingly challenged young man. The couple has lived together in San Francisco for five years and is soon to be married. Lisa means the world to Johnny, but she is ungrateful for his devotion and takes his best friend (Greg Sestero) for a lover. Wiseau manages to prolong this plot into 99 minutes through unrelated, unfinished subplots and elongated, soul-music-set sex scenes.
What ultimately makes the film worth the trip, though, is Wiseau. His accent, a mix between Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz’s, Forrest Gump’s, and anything Sacha Baron Cohen has ever done, paired with his odd laugh, horrid timing, and bizarre hair are what fill the midnight screenings year after year. The lines, ridiculous and sometimes offensive—“I used to know a girl who had a dozen guys. One of them found out about it; beat her up so bad she ended up in a hospital on Guerrero Street.” “(Laughing) What a story, Mark”—become hysterical with Wiseau’s odd delivery and general weirdness. As an added incentive to attend a midnight screening, Wiseau is said to be a frequent guest, often fraternizing with fans. It’s worth the trip; his knowledge of sonnets is said to be capacious.