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Episode 120 - Curse of Chucky and Zombie Nation

This week everyone's favorite killer doll is back on the scene with Curse of Chucky. The movie opens with a middle-age woman receiving an unexpected package containing the titular Chucky. Soon enough her family is gathered at the house to mourn her passing. Will her family meet the same fate? 

Then in our bottom 100 movie we have Ulli Lommel's Zombie Nation (and yes, that's the same Ulli Lommel behind previous bottom 100 movie, Curse of the Zodiac, which we covered in episode 91). A cop with some issues is on a murderous rampage but his precinct is made up of people who are too corrupt or too stupid to do anything about it. Fortunately, one of his victims had an enchantment done and soon she and the other victims are back as zombies (zombies that talk, eat normal food and have some black eye shadow). It's pretty terrible. 

Direct download: Episode_120_-_Curse_of_Chucky_and_Zombie_Nation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Episode 119 - Reefer Madness and Troppo Belli

It's a double dose of madness this week. First, in Reefer Madness, we learn all about the dangers of the new drug that all the kids are talking about, "Marihuana." It turns out that the reefer is worse than opium, heroin or cocaine! Just one joint and you are soon on your way to violence, insanity and maybe even murder! But I'm sure things will turn out just fine for the Mary, Jimmy and Bill, right? Right? 

Then in our bottom 100 movie this week, it's a different kind of insanity with Troppo Belli (which, according to the internet, means "Too Beautiful"). Constantino and Daniele really want to make a go of it as actors but their agent is clearly scamming them. And to make matters worse, they are so hot that all the women they meet are about 2 seconds from going all Annie Wilkes on them. Woe is them!

Fun fact: Troppo Belli is an Italian film that hasn't been released in English and doesn't have any subtitles. And since neither Trevor nor Gabbie speak Italian, hilarity was bound to ensue!

Direct download: Episode_119_-_Reefer_Madness_and_Troppo_Belli.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Do What We Say - Moralizing in Films

Almost as long as there have been films, there has been moralizing in films. Heck, the entire Hays Code was pretty much created to make sure that everything happened the way was “supposed to.” There were lots of things that just straight-up weren't allowed and of the things that were allowed any actions that were deemed to be sinful or illegal had to be appropriately punished by the end of the movie. But some movies take this a step further and base their entire movie around openly teaching some moral lesson.

You can look at films like I Accuse My Parents or Reefer Madness (a film we will be covering in episode 119) and there’s no question that the movie exists for the sole purpose of teaching viewers a lesson. Educational shorts, religious films and kid’s shows often delve into this territory as well. Ironically though it seems like the more you focus on trying to force a message, the less likely your audience is to be receptive to it. You might satisfy people who agree with you already, but you are very unlikely to change anyone’s mind.

As someone who enjoys badly made movies, I have seen quite a few educational shorts and religious films over the years that are determined to teach a lesson. Rarely do they succeed in actually getting their message across.

Offhand I can think of only one religious film and one educational short that I thought were somewhat effective. For the educational short, it was a bizarre short from the 1970s called Drugs are Like That. This is a truly weird short that talks about how drugs are like not stepping on the lines on the sidewalk and jumping from a rope into a lake all while these two little kids build something out of Lego. Despite being hilariously strange, I thought it was actually more honest than most anti-drug shorts. It talks (in metaphor) about how sometimes drugs can be really fun, but that if you aren’t careful you can end up in terrible situation.

As for the religious film, Christmas with a Capital C also earns some respect from me. While the trailer makes it look like an over-the-top Christians good, atheists bad type situation, it actually produces a much more nuanced message. Yes it talks about how some atheists can be really anti-Christmas but it also shows that some Christians can get carried away and start using Christmas to attack people. Plus by the end of the movie you learn that atheists can be good people and even help celebrate Christmas if they want without giving up their atheism.

In both these cases we get a more balanced approach. Not only are you more likely to sway people’s opinion when they don’t feel like you are shoving your opinion down their throats but these movies even contain stuff for people who already think drugs are bad or that Christmas is good to think about.

Of course, if it weren’t for the wrong-headed approaches we would have missed out on so many classic So Bad, It’s Good movies and shorts so it’s not all bad. But if your mission is to convince people, balance (or at least the appearance of balance) seems to be key. 

Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

Episode 118 - Hell Baby and The Hillz.mp3

In Hell Baby, Jack and Vanessa are building a life together. They are moving in to the new house they just bought, they are expecting their first child and generally things are looking up. Unfortunately the house they bought may be just the tiniest bit haunted. And before you know it, Vanessa is a little bit possessed by a demon. But the Vatican has sent some priests, Vanessa's sister is going to bless the house and their new neighbour F'resnel knows a lot about the history of their new home so maybe things will work out. Or maybe they won't. Trevor and Gabbie share their thoughts and let you know if this is one worth checking out. 

Then for our bottom 100 movie we have The Hillz. The fact that is unironically titled The Hillz should be enough to explain its presence on the bottom 100 list. In this one Steve 5 is back in town to try to hook up with the love of his life, Heather (played really badly by none other than Paris Hilton). But it turns out that while he was away his high school buddies Duff and T started a gang (called Merge or something) and unsurprisingly Steve 5 gets tangled up in their hijinks. This movie isn't so good. 

Direct download: Episode_118_-_Hell_Baby_and_The_Hillz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Setting the Mood for Episode 118

Episode 118 is fast approaching. With that in mind, here's a short movie in a similar vein, The House that Drips Blood on Alex!

If you are wondering whether it is worth watching or not, it stars Tommy Wiseau. Whether that makes you more or less likely to watch is up to you I guess. 

The House That Drips Blood On Alex from Dos Rios on Vimeo.

PS - And no, we aren't going to be covering The Room in episode 118. It'll probably be on the show sooner or later though. 

Category:general -- posted at: 1:33pm EST

Episode 117 - Drive Angry and From Justin to Kelly

This week we have a lot of fun with 2011's Drive Angry. When a crazy cult leader murders John Milton (Nicholas Cage)'s daughter and kidnaps his infant granddaughter, he does what any good dad would do - He escapes from hell and goes on a crusade to avenge his daughter and save his granddaughter. But not only does Milton have to deal with a bloodthirsty cult, he is also being tracked by The Accountant and he manages to run afoul of an entire police force. Good times are had by all. 

Then in our bottom 100 movie, it turns out that after the huge popularity of the first season of American Idol, it was decided to make a movie starring the season one winner (Kelly Clarkson) and the runner-up (Justin Guarini) despite the fact that neither of them can act. To compensate for this fact, they cast a bunch of other people who can't act and gave them the most formulaic romantic comedy plot possible. That's From Justin to Kelly for you. 

Direct download: Episode_117_-_Drive_Angry_and_From_Justin_to_Kelly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Episode 116 - 4 More Movies for 2013

It's the end of another year and that means it's time for our 2nd annual "4 more movies for 201x" episode. This year, there's pretty much something for everyone. Gabbie tackles some more mainstream fare with two very different films, Lovelace and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Trevor sticks with the more TV movie side of things with Battledogs and The Dinosaur Project. Not all of these movies are good, but if you are a listener to this podcast, probably at least one of them will appeal to you.

Direct download: Episode_116_-_4_More_Movies_for_2013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Episode 115 - Silent Night Deadly Night and ZaAt.mp3

The holiday season is here and that means it's time for another Christmas-themed episode of Failing Grade. For our main feature we have Silent Night, Deadly Night. Christmas is a fun time of year for many but after his parents are brutally murdered by a guy dressed as Santa little Billy just doesn't seem to have the Christmas spirit. When little Billy grows up and is forced to play Santa at the store he works at, you just know things aren't going to end well for anyone. 

Sadly we used up all the Bottom 100 movies about Christmas already but that's not going to stop us from delving into ZaAt (also known as The Blood Waters of Dr. Z). Dr. Leopold dreams of remaking the world as a better place. How is he going to do that, you ask? Why by turning himself into a man/fish hybrid, mutating some walking catfish and overthrowing mankind, of course! What could be simpler? 

Direct download: Episode_115_-_Silent_Night_Deadly_Night_and_ZaAt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Episode 114 - Attack of the Beast Creatures and The Final Sacrifice

We here at Failing Grade kind of like to think of ourselves as treasure hunters. Sometimes when you go digging for treasure, you can find gems and gold. But other times, you end up with some old tin cans and discarded candy bars wrappers. And this week's more of an old tin cans kind of week. 

First up, we have Attack of the Beast Creatures. In 1920 (for some reason) survivors of a shipwreck end up stranded on a mysterious island. On this island they found water that turns out to be acid, killer doll things and some really bad acting. Will anyone make it out alive? Will anyone care?

Then in our bottom 100 movie, Troy is trying to uncover the truth behind his father's death. But the mysterious cult that Troy's father was investigating would rather he not do so much uncovering. Fortunately for Troy he befriends a drifter by by the name of Zap Rowsdower and the two of them work to uncover secrets and stop the evil cult. Will they be able to stop The Final Sacrifice? This one's a true Canadian classic.

Direct download: Episode_114_-_Attack_of_the_Beast_Creatures_and_The_Final_Sacrifice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Friday the 13th - Number Two

It's another Friday the 13th and you know what that means. That's right, it's time for another Friday the 13th movie! This time our Trevor and Gabbie tackle the second film in the franchise as Jason looks to follow in his mother's murderous footsteps.

Direct download: Friday_the_13th_-_Number_Two.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26am EST