The documentary Best Worst Movie focuses on Hardy, a charming Alabama dentist who flirted with the periphery of show business when he starred as Michael Waits in the notorious Utah-lensed horror clunker Troll 2.
A natural ham, as comfortable in the limelight as he is capping molars, Hardy is the focus of the documentary made by his Troll 2 co-star, Michael Stephenson, the self-described “obnoxious Mormon kid.”
Stephenson was the child star, who in the movie kept having tete-a-tetes with a beyond the grave grandpa. Hardy played the family patriarch in what he gleefully describes to bemused patients, the bulk of whom have never seen the film, as “the worst movie ever made.”
When Troll 2 revival screenings start to sell out across North America, Hardy delights audiences with his rendering of the film’s most infamous moment, comparable to Tommy Wiseau upturning Jimmy Dean in his grave with “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa.” In Troll 2, it’s “You can’t piss on hospitality!”
He’s soon doing the line again and again, and then like Bart Simpson the “‘I didn’t do it’ boy,” it all comes to a halt when he flies to a festival in Birmingham and meets total indifference. As Krusty the Klown put it, “That’s show business for you: one day you’re the most important guy that ever lived, the next day you’re some shmoe working in a box factory.”
Luckily this schmoe has something to fall back on – a career in dentistry.
While starring in a turd is a fun curiosity for an endearing dentist, it’s certainly not the case for one of the film’s stars, who found her Troll 2 resume bullet to be a professional hindrance.
For the lovely Connie Young (Holly Waits), it’s kinda the equivalent of having spinach between your teeth on a date. Here, Young describes the exact moment she knows she’s not getting a part. That is, when a casting director finds the Troll 2 bad movie skeleton in her closet.
For the most part though, the film’s stars are happy to finally get the recognition they (may or may not) deserve. Audiences overwhelmingly respond to Troll 2’s sincerity, which overrides its copious technical / aesthetic failures.
Best Worst Movie’s most discomfiting moments come from director Claudio Fragasso, the prickly Italian who’s contemptuous of actors and finds it difficult to come to terms with the film’s recent resurgence. Like Tommy Wiseau, he thinks audiences have misinterpreted his grand artistic vision. They haven’t, and we’re all the better for it.
***1/2 (out of 5)
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