This weekend, I went to go visit my family. It was a very quick trip, flying out on Saturday and flying back on Sunday, but sometimes with your family that’s what you do. It was like that movie Up in the Air, but without all the grown men crying, and with a lot more eating a celebratory dinner in honor of a special occasion. (Also: I have not actually watched Up in the Air, but I’m pretty sure I nailed it.) The reason I am sharing this fascinating story that I’m sure everyone wishes was a lot longer is to give you some understanding of where I was when I watched this week’s nominee, Nothing But Trouble. I was at my grandparents’ house in a small town in the midwest. It was 10PM. Everyone else was going to bed. The next morning I was going to wake up early for a family breakfast and then head right back to the airport for my return flight to New York. There was no alcohol in the house. The point is: I had literally NOTHING BETTER TO DO than watch this movie. And yet, it was one of the most difficult viewings in the history of the Hunt! Never have I so frequently checked the time to see how much movie was left. I checked every five minutes, no joke, and felt a great, painful disappointment to rediscover just how much of this misery was still to go. At one point, there were only 20 minutes left, and I got so mad. 20 FUCKING MINUTES?! Now, at first, I didn’t think this was really a Worst Movie. That’s not to say it was not Very Bad. As mentioned. But, at first I was thinking that it was a comedy, and comedy is subjective, and on top of that, it seemed like maybe it was an ambitious comedy that just went way off the rails, and it’s hard to get too mad at failed ambition. But the more I was watching it, and basically DYING INSIDE, the more that I decided that comedy isn’t THAT subjective, and that failed ambitions are a) part of what makes a bad movie a Worst Movie, and also b) I’m not even sure this was failed ambitions anyway, because I have absolutely NO IDEA WHAT THIS WAS.
Seriously. Someone. Preferably an adult. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THIS IS?!
So, Nothing But Trouble starts in the circular driveway of a fancy New York apartment building. Chevy Chase is a Fancy Billionaire, or whatever, who is so rich that he hates his friends. Actually, the first five minutes of the movie are pretty good! Like, you definitely GET the whole Chevy Chase thing. He was so handsome and sarcastic and WASP-y and cool! In the elevator, he meets Demi Moore who is carrying an espresso maker because 1991. She notices a financial prospectus in her hand and loses her mind and runs away, even though Chevy really wanted to get his cigar clipped, if you know what I mean. ANYWAY: Demi Moore is a lawyer, something something about one of her clients being a crook and also firing her? It’s all a little dull and also a little completely unimportant to the rest of the movie in a few minutes. She goes upstairs to Chevy Chase’s penthouse apartment and asks if she can borrow his car to go to Atlantic City to confront her former client. Haha, wait, what? Do strangers actually ask millionaires to borrow their cars? No, they don’t. On the one hand, I kind of like when comedies skip the pretense of making sense and just get the people where they need to go (on the road to Atlantic City) but I’d rather that they both just said “OK, we’re going to Atlantic City for [Insert Stupid Conceit]” rather than him insisting on driving because he doesn’t want to lend her his car which already huhhhhh? Meanwhile, two “Brazilians” invite themselves along. OK, so now we are all in the car heading to Atlantic City and making TON of super-clever New Jersey jokes. Oh, we should definitely pull off the road and have a picnic. This is going to go great. (SIDENOTE: Demi Moore looks like she’s in fucking Twilight 3: The Whitest, and also does she have Benjamin Button disease?)
So, they take a wrong turn in Deliverance Town, naturally, and they get into a high speed chase with the cops, which definitely seems like something a billionaire would do for sure. Why pull over? A fake Brazilian dude who you hate told you to outrun the cops from the backseat of your car where he was eating picnic food, and so you do it. IT’S CALLED REAL LIFE. They get pulled over by John Candy. Who forces them to follow him to Valkenvania, which is basically a dilapidated mansion in a garbage dump (don’t worry about it, it’s about to get way worse) surrounded by a poison moat. There is a “judge” (played by Dan Aykroyd, who also wrote the script and directed the movie, clearly getting high off his own supply of Crystal Skull Clown Vodka) in this “town” who hears their “case” and then HITS A BOOBY TRAP AND SENDS THEM INTO A STUFFED ANIMAL BASEMENT. And that’s about the point that you black out and wait for the angels to welcome you to your cloud mansion in Heaven City because you’re dead because what’s the point of living if you have to watch shit like this?
I’m honestly not really sure how to describe the rest of the movie. They spend an hour and 15 minutes trying to escape, but also making wisecracks? Some other people get arrested in the meantime and are MURDERED? At some point they realize that this “judge” has been killing people for years? [Insert wisecracks.] John Candy plays the town sheriff, yes, but he also plays his own mute twin sister, Eddie Murphy style, except NO FATSUIT NEEDED (R.I.P.).
It’s gross. And endless. And makes no sense. There is shit like this:
And OH RIGHT, THIS:
Good God! At some point they do escape, and hobo ride a train to the capital where they tell their story to, like, a Congressman? (Sure.) He takes them with him and a military envoy to shut down this terrible criminal, only to double-reverse-Sawyer cross them and it turns out this whole thing is sanctioned by the state because the “judge” gets rid of all the undesirables. SURE. UGH. GET RID OF ME NOW, PLEASE. FEED ME THROUGH A SHREDDER ROLLER-COASTER (long story) AND BURY MY BONES IN THE WALLS.
The movie actually ends with Chevy Chase getting so nervous and flustered that he runs through a wall Bugs Bunny style?
WHUUUUUUUUUUUUUT IS THIISSSSSSSSSSSS?!
The whole thing is so unlike anything that I’ve ever seen that I’m not sure how to criticize it other than to say that it’s miserable to watch and deeply unfunny and it certainly answers the question of what happened to Dan Aykroyd. Everyone is allowed to have mistakes in their career and overcome them and return to greatness, but I’m not sure this really counts as a mistake. This is where the ancient term EPIC FAIL comes from. Forget Hollywood, I’m surprised the VODKA INDUSTRY let him back in the door. “Look, Dan, we all love Crystal Skull Vodka, but unfortunately we’re going to have to pass. We’ve all seen the movie that you wrote, directed, and starred in, making it entirely your vision in a way that really says a lot about your vision. GOODNIGHT.” (That is a direct quote from the Board of Vodka Business.)
Of course, the most amazing part of the movie, which I have not mentioned yet because it is so incredible as to defy belief and if I were to have mentioned it to you earlier you would have called me a liar is this part (SPOILER ALERT: brace yourself for this part):
Just to clarify: three quarters of the way through an impossibly wretched “horror comedy” (which is not even a thing, for good reason) DIGITAL UNDERGROUND SHOWS UP AND PERFORMS A SONG, WITH MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT FROM DAN AYKROYD IN GARBAGE MAKEUP. Holy cow. Streets ahead, indeed. (Also: did you notice the part at the beginning of the clip when Demi Moore was locked in a cage playing cards with those two fat Hills Have Eyes babies, but talking to them in a baby voice? You know how it is when you’re trapped in a cage playing cards with two fat Hills Have Eyes babies. SO much baby voice, duh.)
I’m still hard-pressed to figure out where this falls on the spectrum of “All Time” that we have established for ourselves, but I’m going to say that this is definitely in the top 10. And if you create a new list for “Worst Comedies of All Time” then this is in the top 2 (before or after the cumulative work of the Wayans Brothers).
Next week: Couples Retreat. As always, please leave your suggestions in the comments or in an email. And if you haven’t done so already, please consult the Official Rules.