So you think you’ve seen “the worst movie ever made.” You’ve plumbed the depths of “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” You’ve sampled the sins of “Showgirls.”
You’ve marked time sitting through “The Room,” “Red State” and “Ishtar.”
But you don’t know from inept, you can’t really talk about cinema as an ordeal, until you’ve rolled up your sleeves for “Mike Boy,” a cult thriller destined for cult status unless it is mercifully dismissed and forgotten.
This badly-acted, incompetently written, clumsily directed and ineptly-edited fiasco is so awful that spelling the cast and crew’s names correctly in a review is an act of unblinking cruelty.
My jaw may be agape, but I’m not blinking.
A mother coos over her infant’s crib, only to be shot, right between the eyes in the film’s opening scene. Everybody in this — even those shot by people who have never picked up a gun before — gets it right between the eyes.
The mother’s last word? “Mike!”
Decades later, that same “orphan Mike” (Hugh Massey) is working at a Middle Eastern restaurant, where the pretty-enough-to-be-cruel head waitress (Aya Mukhtar) cheats him out of his tips.
But she’s not as bad as that last elderly customer of the night. He spies Mike Boy’s one reminder of Mama, a medallion of an Andalusian horse (never have guessed “Andalusian” myself) and yanks him by the neck and shouts at him.
Leaving him a big tip only gives Dina another chance to cheat Mike, and opens our ears to the stunningly alien (as in “English as a foreign language”) dialogue.
“Don’t question the generosity of the elderly. Money is more for the youth!”
Mike has been “made.” Next thing he knows, he’s waking up with a dagger at his throat, a one-eyed “Agent Chris” is describing some “prophecy” and giving him a series of tasks to complete before the night is through. Mike turns to his “just a friend,” Charlotte — who prefers to be called “Laura,” (Emily Killian) for help.
Since we’ve seen her give Mike “an original edition” of Dickens (he meant “first edition,” but it’s a paperback, so it’s neither), we know she’s a vintage bookseller’s daughter. Or a clueless screenwriter’s version of such offspring.
Through this long day and night, Mike and Laura will face threats and violence, hear more cryptic mumbo jumbo about two competing groups who can say “The government works for us,” they’ll kidnap a perky little girl and run afoul of the Russian mob and a swishy antiques dealer.
Mobsters walk the streets, dressed all in black, waving guns around. A rabbi, a priest and an imam play a game of backroom poker (or blackjack, I can’t decide, neither can they) with Mike for life-or-death stakes.
Not my experience of Pasadena, but hey.
And Mike and Laura acquire this box with “everything you will need” to complete the tasks contained within it.
Truly awful movies are not just characterized by a nonsensical plot, actors sleep-walking through it, static camera work that, like the actors, demands a retake that wasn’t offered and editing that slows everything to a crawl so that you notice each and every flaw as they’re magnified by the lack of pace.
There’s also the “I’ve never heard a real conversation in English” dialogue. And as much as Woody Allen makes me question if his recent experience of his Mother Tongue is collected only from old movies and the plays of Tennessee Williams, I truly believe whether writer/director Hamzah Tarzan (Why didn’t MY parents/agent think of that name?) hasn’t even that much connection with American English.
“I should’ve taken BOTH your eyes…not just one,” as if that last half of the thought wasn’t, oh, obvious.
“Fight me, man for man!” Is that anything like “man TO man?”
“The only time that Fred does not answer the phone is when he’s asleep, or dead. These are not his sleeping hours?”
“What are you trying to say?”
That last phrase is a character speaking for the audience, yelling to the filmmaker the rhetorical question to end all rhetorical questions. Which can only be answered with the following words of wisdom.
Just because you can get a movie made is no reason you should.
MPAA Rating: unrated, graphic gun violence
Credits: Written and directed by Hamzah Tarzan. An HT Films release.
Running time: 1:28