Comment: Have you tried ‘Endurance Test Cinema’?

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With awards season upon us it is easy to get lost in the mad rush to see as many of the “must see”, award worthy films that are coming our way. And I, like many others I’m sure, take pride in seeing as many acclaimed films as I can so that I can feel somewhat intelligent and sophisticated. Or I guess you could say, so that I can feel a smug sense of self satisfaction because I’ve seen the big important films that I was supposed to. But it occurs to me that really, anyone could do that. Anyone can watch 12 Years a Slave and justify its artistic merit, or watch the latest Scorsese and revel in its stylish glory. But you know what takes strength Sitting through Movie 43, or watching the latest Kevin James… “comedy”.

Maybe I’m just being a pretentious ass (quite probably in fact) but I find there’s something special in knowing you managed to endure the worst of the worst. To know you made it when others gave up. Because frankly its harder to watch anything in Fred: The Movie than the most gruelling scenes of 12 Years a Slave. Naturally the whole thing takes it’s toll. I confess that I still wake up some nights after suffering Vietnam flashbacks of the time I bravely chose to subject myself to the entirety of Jack and Jill. Still I await the next Adam Sandler comedy with my usual “bring it on” mentality.

Trying to make it through these abominations has become a form of  endurance test for me. And a mark of pride.. The strange thing is that once you start watching the worst of the worst it’s hard to stop. Keith Lemon The Film isn’t enough, you have to know how things could possibly get any worse. And before you know it you’re embarking on some kind of self destructive quest to find something even more horrible. And the most frightening thing of all is that things seem to just keep getting worse. As if Hollywood have caught on to my pathetic, lonely mission and decided to make things even more painful.  I remember the simpler days when I maintained that the abysmal Disaster Movie was the worst thing to happen anywhere, ever. Now we have The Zookeeper, in which Kevin James takes relationship advice from the animals under his care at the zoo, to the point where he urinates in order to attract a female, because a wolf told him to….. yeah….. that happens.

A small pleasure (using the word very loosely) comes from trying to determine which of these human rights violations/”films” is actually the worst. For me its a neck and neck contest between Keith Lemon and Fred. It’s actually a horrifically tough call. One represents perhaps the most disgusting, juvenile, reprehensible and just plain unpleasant experiences ever put to film, the other features  Lucas Cruikshank just SCREAMING at the camera for what feels like an eternity. If I was forced to make a call, I’d have to give the most contemptible award to Keith Lemon, mainly because of it’s UK origins….. I don’t know if the rest of the world will ever truly forgive us for it… I wont. You could take some kind of national pride approach and favour Keith Lemon over Fred opting for a “better the devil you know” stance. I personally opt for a “better the devil separated from us by thousands of miles” stance, but that’s just me.

After finishing a truly bad film you will feel one of two things. Either A) total disillusionment with a society that allows such abominations to happen, or B) better about yourself, because you didn’t have any role in making Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2. In short there’s something uplifting once the awfullness stops. You can return to your life knowing you made it and then all the good films to come feel that much better. Maybe we need the really bad to remind us just how good the good can be. Having said that, if Brett Ratner, Tyler Perry and Rob Schneider could just stop, like now, that’d be really great.

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I have the enviable skill of making TV watching, Video-game playing and ranting about films appear to be a legitimate form of work. It's exhausting. Oh and I am the Culture Editor now... that too!

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