Best of the Fest: Best Worst Film at AIFF
The film starts pretty much in the dental chair of Alabama's Dr. George Hardy, whose first and--for a very long time--only movie role was playing Stephenson's father in Troll 2. Through Hardy's eyes we travel from VHS bargain bins shortly after Troll 2 premiered to packed-house screenings today.
Stephenson and other cast members are as astounded as anyone else that a nonsensical film directed by an Italian director who spoke little English and Italian screenwriter who spoke only a little more can be so beloved by so many. But, to Stephenson's credit, he keeps his camera rolling at times that show cult fame isn't all it's cracked up to be. Here's hoping Best Worst Film has an even longer shelf life than you-know-what.
Best Worst Film screens at 10:30 tonight (and 7 p.m. Sunday), preceded by Peter Meech's Best Short Film, a shortie about a filmmaker trying to impress a Hollywood producer by claiming to be a winner at a famous film festival.
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Also recommended at AIFF tonight:
Skeletons: Ed Gaughan and Andrew Buckley, who play off each other like a well-oiled Vaudeville duo, star as a pair of traveling servicemen who, by performing something known as "The Procedure," clean out what's buried in people's "closets." First-time director Nick Whitfield keeps viewers engaged with clever sets, set-ups and visuals in this gem from the UK. 7 tonight and 10 p.m. Saturday with Gavin Keane's Irish short Cold Turkey, which is about a Foley artist on a low-budget feature experimenting with poultry to create the authentic sounds for a fight scene.
UrFrenz: "Inspired by true events" and written and directed by veteran Hollywood screenwriter Jeff Phillips, this low-budget indie shot in Orange, Huntington Beach and other Orange County locales is about a nosy mom and two damaged teenage girls whose lives spin out of control following the spread of ugly gossip and malicious social networking. Gayla Goehl and Lily Holleman, in her feature debut as a troubled teen, give particularly strong performances. 7 tonight and 8 p.m. Sunday with Federico Santillana's Online, a short from Argentina about two young teens engaged in cyber-romance.
Phasma Ex Machina: Matt Osterman's compelling directorial debut is about a young man who builds a machine he hopes will bring his parents back from the dead. He gets more than he bargained for. The low-budget film is held together by Sasha Andreev, as the guy, Cody, and Max Hauser, as Cody's high-school age brother. Though they look noting alike, their performances are so strong they are believable as bros. Matthew Feeney as another lost soul also gives a natural turn in the piece. 10:30 tonight and Saturday.
Short Program #3: Cupid's Greatest Hits: Two shorts alone in this batch are worth the price of admission. Justin Tan's Karma's a Bitch, which is about a battle being waged by the karmas of a couple fixing to get it on. Jayne Clement and veteran character actor Erick Avari, who embody the guy and gal's respective karmas, chew up the scenery and obviously have a ball doing so, as will you. Luke Matheny's God of Love is a goofy, hipster, black-and-white valentine about a schmuck who croons jazz while hitting bull's-eyes on dartboards in what has to be the greatest lounge act ever. Thanks to a mysterious gift, he goes from being lovestruck to a love-striker. Slightly Cupid would be a fitting alternative title for this flick that pulls from its holster inventive visuals, writing and performances. 7 tonight.