Up front: I was completely wasted by the end of writing my notes, and I think some of them are hilarious. I’ve put them below.
I knew I was already in trouble when I realized that I had never watched this movie without RiffTrax. I had to really be careful not to think of the jokes while watching this, because that might accidentally make this a fun experience. As it turns out, even without RiffTrax, this movie is definitely up there with The Room, Showgirls, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives! or Shark Attack 3: Megalodon in the “so awful, it’s awesome” hall of fame, so, unlike the other two bad movies I had done to this point, it wasn’t that bad. You can actually just go ahead and laugh directly at the movie.
Some background information on the film: This movie was written, directed, and produced by James Nguyen, who had made two prior films, one of which was never finished, the other of which was never watched. He attempted to finance the film with his own money, which apparently was a little under $10,000 over the course of four-and-a-half years. For perspective, this was 1/6th of the budget of the Blair Witch Project’s production, including post-production, and that movie’s 99% walking through the same woods and was shot in 8 days. So, given that there was literally no money for anyone in this film… pause for effect… it’s still bad. Really bad, in the kind of way that only someone who thought that their hard-core belief that they were a gifted artist was only matched by their complete lack of talent or basic directorial knowledge. I call this the Dunning-Kruger style of Filmmaking: You’re convinced you know what you’re doing only because you know literally nothing about what you’re doing.
So, the plot is that this guy and girl start dating, then, 30 minutes or so of that into the movie, Birds decide to spontaneously start attacking humans. Unlike the movie The Birds (which is on TV in one scene), these eagles don’t just claw at your face (although they do that, too), they apparently spit acid, poop fire, have razor wings, and occasionally explode when they dive-bomb the ground. The couple escapes, joins up with another couple, one of whom is a marine survivalist, rescue some kids, and generally try to escape the birdemic. The marine and his girlfriend end up dying hilariously, they meet up with a tree hugger and an ornithologist who explain that this is caused by global warming, and then they catch some fish and the birds leave. Yeah, that’s the plot.
Alright, so, this movie cannot really be described. It’s on Amazon Prime, so I recommend watching it both with and without the RiffTrax (they’re both on there).
Everything in this movie is wrong. The acting is bad. The dialogue is clearly written by someone who didn’t speak English as a first language. The special effects are literally cut-pasting clip-art graphics onto the shots. The sound-editing doesn’t really exist. Weirdly, even some of the parts where I would assume that the writer knew what he was talking about (mostly the parts involving software sales, which is what he did for a living) were completely illogical. The environmental message is so bizarrely inserted at random that it seems like a completely different movie script. Parts of the movie aren’t in focus, and I’m pretty sure it’s just because they didn’t know how to work the camera.
However, here’s the thing that really saves the movie: Almost everyone seems to really believe in it. Nobody in the movie, no matter how small their part, appears to be half-hearting this. They’re awkwardly delivering these terrible lines with all of their soul. The director didn’t shy away from putting any of this bad dialogue in, and clearly, wasn’t ashamed at all of his complete inability to do special effects. Even in Manos, the Hands of Fate, which is a terrible movie, sometimes some of the actors actually appear to realize that the scene is awful (except for Torgo, who’s going all out, and the Master, who is clearly immune to shame). This movie never has that. All of these people are really trying, which makes their blind failure all the more hilarious. Comedy is born from tragedy, and they clearly tragically misunderstood everything about this process, even the things that you would believe to be common sense.
And that’s really what makes this film beautiful, in its own way: Because everyone was really trying. They were really putting forth the effort and doing their best to make a good movie. Even though they didn’t, there’s still something inherently wonderful in people pursuing a passion project just because they can. Besides, unlike Iconoclast, this movie was constantly entertaining. I always did want to see the next scene just to see what the hell they could possibly think of next. I genuinely enjoyed the 90 minutes I spent watching this, which makes this officially better than 3 of the DCU films.
Okay, not really, but still pretty fun.
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Preliminary: 2 small drinks and 2 miles. Have rum and Diet Coke in hand. Bring it.
10:12 – Pretty sure this was filmed with my dad’s old VHS camcorder.
10:15 – Okay, so, we’re on minute 3 of Dutch tilt looking out the car window, and I don’t know if this is intentional, or if they just put the camera on the dash and didn’t check the viewfinder.
10:16 – Sound editing is not a thing in this film, and I love it.
10:17 – Main character dines and dashes to chase after hot girl. Oh my god, this dialogue is just the worst, and I love it. “I’ve got an audition for a modeling job.” It really makes me realize that the writer didn’t speak English as a first language.
10:18 – They both just ceremonially exchanged cards. We really need to steal that, as a culture.
10:20 – News anchor is definitely the first real actress.
10:22 – Shit, gas is $4.60 in Silicon Valley? In 2010? Or 2006, I guess?
10:24 – The main guy, Rod, just agreed to the buyer’s terms, then gave a 50% discount on top of that. The writer of this movie is a software salesman, he should know that’s not a thing.
10:25 – Greatest. Modeling. Montage. Ever. Victoria’s Secret should sue for being mentioned in this movie. Sound Editing is still not a thing. Refill.
10:28 – Given how much of the dialogue here is dependent on watching the other scenes in the movie, I’m assuming everyone in this is psychic. (Shit, I think RiffTrax said this).
10:29 – Who plays basketball in a tucked in Polo shirt? I feel like the answer is Mark Ruffalo, but I don’t know why.
10:31 – Every salesman in this knocks off huge amounts of money after the sale has been made. I don’t understand how the writer was ever employed.
10:35 – This is the best date in human history. All the awkwardness of being hit in the nuts by a car door crammed into 10 minutes. Now the parrots are flying overhead. Parrots. Why the fuck are there parrots in California? Do I just not know where birds are? Also, refill.
10:37 – The line was so badly dubbed, I feel like her mouth said “wham, bam, shang-a-lang and a sha-na-na”
10:41 – Do… They just have a print-out of a website taped to the wall above their bed? Should I get one of those? Is that what I’m doing wrong?
10:42 – Oracle Corporation should sue for their name being mentioned in this movie. Holy shit, they’re still applauding, like just looping the applause.
10:43 – My electric car gets 100 mpg. If it only gets 100 miles per gigajoule, your car sucks. Or does it? That’s like… 10 gallons of gas, I think, so… yeah, that’s pretty bad. Also, Al Gore should sue for An Inconvenient Truth being… eh, nevermind.
10:49 – This would actually be a pretty good tourist promo for wherever this was filmed. Half-moon bay, apparently. They have big pumpkins. Refill.
10:50 – You can’t edit sound in an enclosed room, and you decided to have a beach scene? Did you not realize the problem ahead of time?
10:51 – The presence of real seabirds only serves to make the CGI dead one all the more terrible looking.
10:52 – There are random wildfires, and all I can think of is the Canyonero song from the Simpsons “Unexplained fires are a matter for courts. Canyonero!!!!”
10:55 – This is the whitest dancing since Carlton from Fresh Prince. I love you Alfonso Ribeiro. Spell-magedon was underrated!!!
10:57 – Tippi Hedren should sue for being on TV in the background of this movie. (Edit: Holy shit, Tippi Hedren was in this director’s other movie. WHAT?) Also, these two people have never had sex, and clearly don’t want to now.
10:58 – Seriously, this town looks beautiful.
11:00 – I had forgotten how unbelievably fast the actual birdemic starts. It just went from 0 to all the birds pooping fire and gaining the strange ability to hover in like 5 seconds. Also, he put his pants and belt back on to sleep.
11:02 – The bird running into the door is the funniest thing in the history of film. If only Alex Karras could punch it…
11:05 – The keys are in the door, woman. This isn’t like one of those things where you’re fumbling. The hard part is done. Also, these birds are the greatest thing ever.
11:06 – That’s not how pistols work. Or guns.
11:07 – The child actors are somehow more believable than 2 of the corpses.
11:08 – They’ve reused the same bird getting shot scene 5 times. This is how you make movies people.
11:09 – I retract my statement on the child actors. They’re actually less believable than the copy-paste birds.
11:11 – I un-retract my statement on the child actors. The corpses are worse. The kids are still awful, but the corpses are way worse.
11:13 – So… the birds are a menace, but outdoor picnics are still fine? And leisurely walks in the middle of an open area?
11:14 – They have Bird Flu Virus? Do they also have Ham Sandwich Food?
11:15 – You just tested their blood? You’re standing in the middle of a bridge having just found them. When? Oh, wow, I forgot this whole insane global warming speech. I mean, this might be the movie that the President uses to disprove it.
11:16 – The random beachcomber in the background seems unaware of the birdemic and birdpocalypse, despite the huge number of birdsplosions.
11:17 – And the random line about the war in Iraq.
11:18 – Oh my god, I forgot the girl who randomly dies trying to poop on the side of the road. “I’ll cover you” well, no you f*cking didn’t. Refill.
11:21 – How does everyone have invisible megaphones? I need one!
11:22 – One of the guys has an Eazy-E shirt on, and he’s my favorite and now he’s dying painfully from Eagle acid blood and claws. Shit, I think they forgot to animate the eagles for this part. I feel like they’re still supposed to be there.
11:24 – All phones are dead from the Eagle Attack? Also, this is 2006 or 2010 or whatever, you should have a cell phone.
11:26 – The robber has the slowest draw in film history. And now he’s dead by eagle fly-by, and I love everything.
11:27 – You’re leaving the gun and the gas tank? It was your gas tank!You people all deserve to die. Although, guns apparently have infinibullets in this movie, so the gun might be pointless.
11:28 – This might have been too much alcohol.
11:30 – NEVER ASK THAT GUY IF YOU CAN PLAY IN HIS TREEHOUSE KIDS
11:32 – Unexplained fires are a matter for courts, Canyonero!!!!
11:34 – Mai lives in a lighthouse? I want to live in a lighthouse! Also, Mai’s dead, and wearing the shirt for the site that she was screwing under.
11:35 – Man, that sudden pointless cut was dramatic.
11:36 – These kids are adjusting well to their parents being dead. They’ve only complained about being hungry, not about being orphans. See Series of Unfortunate Events? Kids don’t miss their dead parents.
11:38 – The fish is clearly frozen.
11:39 – That’s right, girl, boil that seaweed you randomly picked up off the ground. Also, McDonalds should sue for… no, wait, this is probably their market.
11:40 – Weren’t even trying to animate the muzzle flash with the motion of the gun, I guess.
11:41 – Bird dive-bombing windshield is now my new favorite moment in film. Alex Karras needs to punch it.
11:42 – Why did the doves save them? Shouldn’t doves also be pissed? This movie might have some plot issues. Sad, it was so tight up until now.
11:46 – The birds have not actually gotten further away in the last few minutes of them flying off. And now, after just having the actors stand there through the credits, you freeze-frame.