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Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made Paperback – January 19, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Michael Adams’ book is great fun! No one intends to make a truly bad movie, but when they do, Michael Adams will be there to watch it...and make it entertaining.” (John Landis, director of Trading Places and The Blues Brothers)

“Michael Adams is the Peter Biskind of really crappy movies. I thank him for watching these films so I didn’t have to claw my eyes out myself.” (A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically)

“Like many of the bad movies it celebrates, this book is addictive, mesmerizing and endlessly amusing.” (Harry Medved, co-author of The Golden Turkey Awards and The Fifty Worst Films of All Time)

“Reading Michael Adams’ entertaining and disturbingly comprehensive book is like being dragged through the fun parts of Hell in a flame-proof suit. Having had both hands in the cesspools of cinema for over twenty years, I can say with confidence that this book is the best of its kind: a joyously critical, deeply personal journey through a medium we love to hate almost as much as we love to love.” (Kevin Murphy, co-star/writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and author of A Year At the Movies)

From the Back Cover

Showgirls or Spice World?
Reefer Madness or Robot Monster?
battlefield Earth or The Black Gestapo?

One reviewer's relentless search for the most appalling abomination ever to disgrace the screen—at the rate of one movie a day . . . for a year!

For every cinematic classic the studios have released, there have been dozens of cheesy monstrosities, overpriced flops, and schlocky epics. Rampaging robots, bouncing bimbos, moronic martial artists, vapid vampires, troubled teens, barbaric bikers, and idiotic infants—all of these, and more, have been foisted on us in the name of "entertainment." And entertaining they are—for all the wrong reasons!

Featuring a cast of thousands, including A-listers like Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock in their Z-grade origins, and firsthand interviews with bad-movie aficionados, from Leonard Maltin and David Sedaris to John Waters and Eli Roth, this odyssey charts one intrepid critic's attempt to maintain a normal family life and two day jobs as he watches hundreds of dreadful tapes and DVDs in every conceivable genre. Even movie buffs will be surprised by what they can learn as they laugh out loud at the worst of the worst.

With a foreword by revered Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero, Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies is an unforgettable journey deep into film's forbidden vault of irredeemable crud. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061806293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061806292
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Carman on January 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are countless publications about bad and good-bad films (as a B- through Z-grade cinema enthusiast and co-creator of a zine called I Love Bad Movies, I've read my fair share). Many of them are very good, but Adams' book stands out by turning his adventure to find the worst-ever into a sort of narrative, weaving in little bits of personal anecdotes (hosting a movie review TV show; pushing a long-in-development script; fitting the time-consuming Quest into an otherwise normal life). He also brings in bits of conversations with luminaries like George Romero, John Waters, Razzies founder John Wilson, and Kevin Murphy of MST3K, as well as snippets from his extensive research to flesh out our knowledge and appreciation of these films.

But the part of Adams' structure that makes this book so interesting to me is his subdivision of all the candidate films into thoughtfully grouped (and quirkily named) categories such as "Eszterhas of Pain," "Gorilla Snore Fare," and "That's Travolting!" Each of these sections is a mini-chapter of its own, usually containing two to five films with a connecting star, filmmaker, character, plot, or theme. A lot of people can tell you their opinion of the worst movie ever made, but Adams can authoritatively identify the worst movie ever made about Bigfoot, or point out Bo Derek's cheesiest, nakedest performance. Breaking the book into these chunks was a smart move, making it easy to read as much or as little as I'd like before I go back to pretending to be a productive human being.
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Format: Paperback
Recommended for any fans of movies, any art and film school graduates with notions of grandeur, armchair critics, and Internet bloggers who professes a deep love of cinema in all its forms. All good and relevant critics have a finely honed yardstick from which to draw comparisons. Michael Adams has completely and totally established his bona fides with Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies. After all, anyone can watch The Godfather and get it. It takes a real film buff to watch Robot Monster and GET IT.

Written in an easy, conversational style that implies an ongoing conversation, Adams chooses to contextualize his experiences with his bingo hopper of doom (read the book) and his day job covering current blockbusters. This adds to the fun. Adams analysis is pretty spot on, as well (I have minor quibbles, but when he's right about Uwe Bolle, boy is he right. A great reference and a fun archive of one year of the best of the worst.
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Format: Paperback
This may be a book about the worst films ever made but this is one of the best books I've read about film.
Michael Adams entertainingly describes a year of watching one dreadful film a day, a game he calls Bad Movie Bingo. After extensive research, Adams, the reviews editor for the film magazine Empire, compiles a list of the worst films ever made and watches them in an order dictated by a toy bingo machine.
A book about bad films could be written in a negative way and result in a depressing read. But Adams' humour and knowledge results in a jolly and intelligent review of cinema's forgotten flops. His writing style is lively and funny - "My salary is about what Jennifer Aniston got for blinking in one episode of Friends", he quips when talking about his new television review job.
The famously bad films are included - such as Gigli, Showgirls and Shanghai Surprise. But Adams' homework means he's also uncovered gems such as Superbabies ("utterly reviled") The Incredible Melting Man ("an oddity") and Howard the Duck ("much less fun that it sounds").
Warning: Adams' enthusiasm for bad movies could encourage you to watch some (I'm off to hunt down Rhinestone, with a singing Dolly Parton and Sly Stallone).
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Format: Paperback
I immediately purchased this book after I heard the author on the South Florida radio show Paul and Young Ron. I love watching bad movies, so I was very excited to hear that someone else shared my interest. I love the story line as Michael Adams goes movie through movie - especially how he tries to get his family to watch some of them with him (I feel his pain!).

It's a great read for any movie buff. Everyone should watch bad movies just as much as good movies. It gives you a better perspective when someone does a good job.

Thanks for suffering Michael so we don't have to!
HippoJuiceMarie
[...]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ordinarily I ignore requests for reviews, because the whole idea of amateur reviews is silly. BUT, I'm a huge fan of crappy monster movies and movies involving breasts--sometimes all in the same movie. I salute Michael Adams for doing the research, helping us all to avoid the ones that are so bad, they're just bad. I'm giving his book only four stars because, with the huge data dump, the discussion of individual films is often too brief.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This gets a bit repetitious, but it's fun. I like the personal stuff he throws in about interviewing the actors, directors, and so on. I also like the personal stuff about his family and professional life. I was struck by how similar the movies (at least within a given genre like horror, sci fi, or disco) begin to sound -- as if there are few original ways to make a really bad movie. He also nicely pulls you into his somewhat obsessive search for the worst.
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