the recent much-maligned Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez starrer has the
dubious distinction of being the lowest rated movie on the Internet Movie
Database (IMDB) by users.
Now, I'm not using
the term dubious distinction in the way you would think I am. There is
no way that Gigli (even though I haven't seen it) can be the worst
movie ever made. Anyone who makes that claim has obviously never seen
Manos - the Hands of Fate, the movie which it replaced as the
worst-voted movie . . .
There is no way
that Gigli can be worse than Manos - the Hands of Fate. At
the very least I suspect that this recent big Hollywood budget movie will
have decently framed shots and that most of the picture will actually be
in focus. Much of Manos for instance is out of focus and the shots
even properly framed.
People who think
that Gigli is the worst movie ever made are probably motivated out
of sheer spite and malice aimed at Hollywood couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben
Heck, I can dig
personal invective against the rich and famous as much as the next guy.
You don't want to get me started on the likes of Mark Shuttleworth (a
South African IT mogul who got mega-rich after a luck shot during the dot
com boom and blew millions on becoming the second so-called space
tourist), Princess Diana (she's dead, but that doesn't mean she's not fair
game), Mother Theresa (ditto) and so forth.
smug Hollywood couples? Hell, I just bloody hate
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas as much as the next guy. J-Lo?
She can't act or sing. See?
But much of the
vituperation aimed at Gigli was simply a media feeding frenzy. When
the blood rage is over one day, people will realize that there are worse
movies than Gigli and even long-standing favorites such as
Postman and Battlefield Earth out
Heck, we're not
just talking about the likes of Jaws
- the Revenge here, but the
likes of Eegah,
People and The Brain That
Wcouldn't Die here;
the sort of movies that make up the culinary diet of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K).
While I'm always
surprised at how few people outside the States are even aware of this
show, I?ve done my bit introducing this now defunct TV show here and here.
Suffice to say that MST3K is a hilariously funny show that pokes
fun at incredibly bad movies and is highly recommended. If you like The
Simpsons, South Park and Futurama
then you'll like this too.
And I do mean
incredibly bad movies. Manos (Spanish for ?hands? by the way
- so that'd be Hands - the Hands of
Fate then) was made by a Texan fertilizer magnate after taking a bet
with a friend that anyone could make a movie. No one
in this movie has ever acted in another movie before
and no one in it has ever appeared in another movie again. It was filmed
in the mid-1960s using a hand-held camera that couldn?t hold film stock
longer than 30 seconds.
IMDB users who gave
Gigli a lower rating than Manos ? the Hands of Fate either
hasn't seem Manos or they simply aren't being honest here.
I'm not just hyping the reputation of Manos here. It has for long
been infamous for being considered the worst movie ever featured on
MST3K by the show's makers. It has also replaced Ed Wood's famous
Plan 9 from Outer Space as the worst film ever on the IMDB. Manos
deserves its reputation even though it probably isn't the movie which I've
hated the most (there's a difference I think).
Unlike the other single episodes not bundled as a box set, Manos ? the
Hands of Fate is not included as a standalone movie. (Discs such as
The Brain That Wouldn't Die and Eegah!
gives one the option of viewing the movie with out the jokes and riffs ?
something for devout masochists!)
Manos has no
such option, but I couldn?t imagine why anyone would ever want to
do this. However, if you do want to maybe subject yourself or unsuspecting
guests to such torture, you can always get the standalone DVD at Amazon.
Psychiatric help would however be in order then, you sicko . . .
The only extra is a
30-minutes so-called Poopie feature consisting
of bloopers - the sort of thing that regular fans of the show would
appreciate more than newbies.
IT? The worse the movie, the funnier the episode of Mystery Science
Theater 3000 I've come to realize. As you might deduce with Manos
being so horrendously bad, this particular episode is extremely funny.
In fact, along with
Mystery Science Theater 3000 - the Movie and
Eegah! this one is definitely shaping up to be one of my all-time
Besides the movie,
there is also a second part of an old 1950s Chevrolet training movie that
is spoofed. Some of these shorts given the MST3K can be especially
hilarious and this is one of them.
Usually I don't
particularly like the so-called host sequences of MST3K (the bits
in which they don't watch the movie, but do stand-up
comic routines basically), but this episode is an exception. The hosting
sequences here are quite funny. All-round this is an excellent episode.
Very, very funny stuff.
Unfortunately all MST3K episodes are only available as Region 1
(U.S. & Canada only) DVDs. Fortunately
seems to have lifted its ban on selling Region 1 DVDs to customers falling
outside this zone. The discs themselves aren't too pricey, but
international postage is always a hassle. In this case it is however very
much worth it. Order Mystery Science Theater 3000: Eegah along with
it . . .
you'll need a region-derestricted DVD player, but you already knew that,
A site visitor sent me the
following e-mail: It would be news to Mary-Robin Redd that no one in
this movie has ever acted in another movie before and no one in it has
ever appeared in another movie again. She has appeared in The Group
(yes, along with Candice Bergen and Larry Hagman and Hal Holbrook) in the
same year as Manos and was in at least seven afterwards, including
Airplane II. (That's not even counting TV-movies, either.)
The part about the bet is mostly urban legend, as well. The actual origin
of the movie is more interesting: Stirling Silliphant (whose own
filmography is fascinating in its highs and lows) was scouting locations
for his TV series Route 66 and struck up an acquaintance with Hal
Warren; apparently everything that Silliphant told Warren about making
movies inspired Warren to make his own. Even more interesting is to
compare the premises of Route 66 and In The Heat Of The Night
(probably the high point of Silliphant's career) with the premise of
Manos: people who were just passing through a place get entangled in
the ongoing struggles of the permanent residents . . .
If you'd like more information about Manos (including the
dispelling of several of the persistent myths about it) there's an
excellent article available on the Web (and, I just discovered myself, a
http://jophan.org/mimosa/m30/brandt.htm, with first-hand information
from cast and crew.