Okay, so you’ve done all the holiday-themed parties you can think of: the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, the Organic Vegan Holiday Feast Party, the 1950s Office Party, and on and on. Time for something new.
Well, I’ve got just the idea: the Disaster Artist Party. The Disaster Artist, of course, is the new film from James Franco about the making of the movie The Room, which many consider the worst film ever made. Others have argued that 1966’s Manos: The Hands of Fate is worse, but that’s quibbling. They are both mind-bogglingly stupid and bad. Plus, Manos is mercifully unavailable just about anywhere. I saw it once late at night on a local TV station in Minneapolis, and stared slack-jawed at its stupidity,
So what, exactly, is a Disaster Artist Party? It is simplicity itself. Rent a really, truly, terrible, awful, very bad movie and show it to friends at a party. Obviously, beverages should be served, but a nice buffet with sturdy plates would also be nice, so people can sit on couches and comfy chairs and eat and provide commentary about the movie you all are watching.
I’ve done this kind of party, and let me tell you: nothing but fun! The key is to have just the right kind of movie. A mediocre movie, like, say, anything by Michael Bay, just isn’t going to work. His movies are just loud and dull. That’s no fun. What you need is a movie that has modestly serious aspirations but is done in such a ham-fisted manner that all you can do is yell at the screen. Here are my picks for your Disaster Artist Holiday Party.
This movie has been called “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” and for good reason. Tommy Wiseau pulled an Orson Welles and wrote, directed, produced, and starred in this completely terrible movie. I would try to summarize the plot, but that would be impossible because it doesn’t have a plot, really. Or believable characters. It’s just laugh-out-loud bad.
In 1979, an Israeli rock musician and his wife, Coby and Iris Hecht, pitched a Hebrew-language stage musical based on the Adam and Eve story to legendary B-movie director/producer Menahem Golan. No wait, he said, this should be a disco/rock musical in English and the lead characters should be named Alphie and Bibi and they should be from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and they should enter the Worldvision Song Contest but have their hopes dashed by a bad guy named Mr. Boogalow. (I am not making this up.) It’s so stupidly bad—and the music is just awful—you have to see this thing.
When we’re young, we all make mistakes. In fact, just about everything I wore from 1973-1976 was regrettable, especially the bright green slacks/hiking boots/large collared polyester disco shirt combo I wore much of my junior year of high school. Well, here’s a movie that Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly regrets. He was 22 and recently arrived from Austria. How could he possibly know that appearing in a movie in which he plays Hercules riding around Times Square in a chariot would be a bad move? Teehee. I giggle just thinking about this one.
Hoping to cash in on the tremendous interest in the results of the first season of “American Idol”, producers decided to make a musical about these two adorable kids making their way in the world while dancing and singing their way through some of the lamest movie musical numbers ever. This won the Golden Raspberry for the Worst Musical in 25 years. It deserves it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your friends at Christmas cringing at and mocking it.
Another legitimate contender for the title of Worst Movie Ever Made. This one is really funny—unintentionally, of course. I’m unsure whether it’s the wooden dialogue, the confusing story, the computer graphics that are roughly of the quality available to an 8 year-old kid on a Commodore 64 in 1988, or some combination of all three. It was directed by a very earnest John Nguyen, who says he was inspired to make the movie by watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. This movie suffers/soars from an inconvenient lack of talent in every aspect. Honestly, show this movie to your friends and you all will be howling of with laughter. My favorite scene: four characters use metal coat hangers to fend off an attack of a bunch of CGI (and I use that term in the broadest sense possible) eagles. Oh, and there’s a sequel, so if one Birdemic isn’t enough for you, there’s plenty more.
For some time now, I have argued that Ben Affleck is the Worst American Actor. Don’t believe me? I give you Gigli. This laughably bad movie was nominated for 9 Razzies the year it came out, and won six, and also won the Golden Razzie for Worst Comedy in 25 years. Settle into the couch with a bunch of friends with plates of meatballs on toothpicks, an array of cheese slices, mugs of eggnog and rum, and get ready to laugh when you shouldn’t. Good times, people. Good times.
David Raether is a veteran TV writer and essayist. He worked for 12 years as a television sitcom writer/producer, including a 111-episode run on the ground-breaking ABC comedy “Roseanne.” His essays have been published by Salon.com, The Times of London, and Longforms.org, and have been lauded by The Atlantic Magazine and the BBC World Service. His memoir, Homeless: A Picaresque Memoir from Our Times, is awaiting publication.