This was originally written for the now-defunct website obnoxi.us. Re-presented here with some tweaks and added value tits.
Did you ever see the movie 8½? It's a supposedly classic film about this guy who wants to make a movie, so he wanders around daydreaming about it for two hours while absolutely nothing happens. I outed it as a piece of shit in my new book, The100 Best Movies Ever Made ...Mostly Suck, but it's far from the last movie to attempt to be all meta and fall flat on its dick. Here are four more movies about making movies that never should have been made:
1. Urban Legend 2: Final Cut (2000)
The Pitch: People making a movie about a serial killer who uses urban legends as his motif are suddenly being murdered for real. For those of you not familiar with the word "motif", I believe it's French.
Why It Probably Seemed Like a Good Idea: This exact same gimmick worked out great for Scream 2 (1997), and coming up with new ideas is hard.
Why It Fails: First off, it opens with an entire jet liner full off people being slaughtered, but then – Surprise! – it turns out that we're really watching someone making a movie about an entire jet liner etc. Amazing. Except that's not what we were watching before, unless all that action that was obviously going down on a real jetliner and not a movie set was meant to represent the cast and crew's particularly vivid imaginations or something. One bullshit fake out is bad enough, but then they go and pull the exact same thing again at the very end! Lying to the audience: Strike 1. (Oh, and spoiler warning, x 2.)
The vast majority of the murders don't have anything to do with any urban legend I've ever heard, and I've heard 'em all because my friends are gullible idiots. Which is why they're my friends. Ripping off the audience: Strike 2.
You know there's a killer after you, but you proceed with your plan to shoot a horror movie on location at an abandoned theme park, unsupervised, at night? And you send everyone else to lunch? Treating the audience like goddamned retards: Strike 3.
The actual murders aren't very inventive. Hell, eventually the killer just pulls out a gun and starts shooting everyone! It's pretty obvious he isn't even trying anymore. Not giving the audience what it wants: Strike 4.
And finally, a slasher movie with no tits in it? You better believe that's Strike 5. And as everyone who's ever played sandlot baseball knows, you never get five strikes, even if you're in the kid in the wheelchair and your dad just died.
2. Hi, Mom! (1970)
The Pitch: A Vietnam vet (played by the crazy fuck from Taxi Driver) comes home from the war, invests in a movie camera, and uses it to stalk women and cast them in amateur pornography without their knowledge.
Why It Probably Seemed Like a Good Idea: 1) It's the sequel to Greetings (1968), a movie that was actually pretty good. 2) It name-checks Vietnam, and even movies about Vietnam that weren't really about Vietnam – example: MASH – raked in assloads of cash in 1970. 3) Did someone say pornography?
Why It Fails: I think Rear Window (1954) milked the whole "spying on your neighbors" comedy for pretty much all it was worth. (Remember how he was in a wheelchair? Ha ha!) Besides, approximately 50% of your potential audience doesn't want to watch the creepy-ass fuck from Taxi Driver surreptitiously photograph chicks and participate in a near-rape, unless of course it's in the context of a Lifetime Original Movie where he's eventually exposed by Shannen Doherty and Crystal Bernard, based on a true story leading to new stalking legislation. As for those of us who do go for that sort of thing, we prefer a more, shall we say, hands-on approach. Seriously, if I could get my rocks off by just videotaping teenage runaways, I'd still be able to store shit in my crawlspace.
3. Bad Girls from Mars (1989)
The Pitch: Someone is murdering every actress who... okay, seriously, this again? I'm beginning to think that the people who make movies about making movies have some serious anger issues.
Why It Probably Seemed Like a Good Idea: Everyone with a non-gay penis who has ever seen this on the video store shelf has considered renting it at least once.
Why It Fails: A flick like this can go in one of two directions: it can be a hilarious, knowing satire of the porn industry, or tits.
The "jokes" consist mainly of goofy sound effects (Boing!) and people falling down, followed by a goofy sound effect (Aroo-gah!). In fact, the tone is so out-of-date and corny that there's even a rim shot at one point! (No, no, the kind you play on the drums. You're a pervert, you know that? Unless you're a girl, in which case I like the way you think.) Hey, the 1930's called and they want their material back. Also they said to go fuck yourself. Even when they do come up with a good bit (like when this one guy mixes Alka-Seltzer with Jack Daniels) they linger on the punchline for so long you'll start to think you're watching one of those movies that was done all in one take, like Rope (1948) or, my personal favorite, Mr. Satanism Finally Nails Kevin's Sister - Don't Erase! (1997). (Oh, and again in 2009. In your face, Kevin. And all over hers. Ha ha!) As for the nudity, well, every woman is beautiful in some way. Except the ones in this movie. They range from mediocre chicks with really bad fakes, to a broad I think plays cards with my grandmother, to my actual grandmother, showing off her really bad fakes. (Seriously, Maw-Maw, again?) If you're the type of guy who reads a lot of Golden Girls slash fiction you might see something you like. The rest of us, not so much. Oh, and as an extra "screw you" bonus, the VHS tape version (it was a dollar, okay?) is so badly manufactured that you can adjust it so that the picture is clear, or adjust it so that the sound is clear, but not both at the same time. So even if you're a gerontophiliac with really, really bad taste in movies, they still made it impossible for you to enjoy this flick.
4. Cecil B. Demented (2000)
The Pitch: Some kids kidnap an actress and force her to star in their underground movie/terrorist performance art. Because that would work.
Why It Probably Seemed Like a Good Idea: Ha ha, it's a pun! Never mind that these days almost nobody remembers who Cecil B. DeMille was. Also it's written and directed by noted gay homosexual John Waters, so, using Hollywood logic, 10% of the population will want to see it automatically. (Note: Exodus International ministries would like to point out that they refute this statistic - they insist it's 2%, tops. Also they asked me to inform you that everyone who watches John Waters movies or listens to Erasure is going to Hell. Especially that stupid EP of Abba covers.)
Why It Fails: When your most famous movie ends with a fat transvestite actually eating dog poop on camera, you've got a lot to live up to. People who make an informed decision to see this flick aren't going to stand for some low-key, pie-fucking, spooge-in-the-hair shenanigans; if your movie isn't foul enough to make GG Allin puke and then cry himself to sleep every day for a week then you've already failed. Well, this flick wouldn't even make the Fresh Beat Band's target audience puke. A hot redhead begging for sex? A cute, brunette Satanist drinking goat piss? Where I come from that's not shocking, that's foreplay. The only thing over-the-top about this movie are the awful, heavy-handed attempts to be clever. Really, jokes about high concession stand prices? A whole bit about how bad Patch Adams is? Seriously, Waters, that's the best you can come up with? Go back to China.