We can't all be Tommy Wiseau
April 8, 2014 7:35 PM   Subscribe

"I've watched a lot of terrible films over the years... And even by these standards, Driscoll's output is atrocious. But whereas directors like [German] Uwe Boll will happily revel in a 'worst film director ever' title, Richard has absolutely no sense of humour about it. He genuinely thinks he’s creating art." --- This is the story of British actor/director Richard Driscoll, his 2012 film "Eldorado" and how it all landed him in jail.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (39 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
So, it's apparently what this guy thinks that Quentin Tarantino's version of The Blues Brothers would be?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:15 PM on April 8, 2014

An heir to Sharknado, the article makes me want to watch it, just to see how bad it is.
posted by arcticseal at 8:17 PM on April 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think there's a special kind of movie nerd who will see this kind of write-up as an urgent call to gather some booze and friends and watch this thing immediately.

(I know I will.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:31 PM on April 8, 2014 [8 favorites]

VAT fraud. That was much more commonplace than I was expecting, considering the film was about cannibals and neo-Nazis.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:34 PM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

An heir to Sharknado, the article makes me want to watch it, just to see how bad it is.

Steve Guttenberg is no Ian Ziering.

Or is he?
posted by srboisvert at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2014

A Word From Richard Driscoll - we learn where Richard found inspiration for the story and how the idea developed into the film Eldorado [with excerpts].
posted by unliteral at 8:45 PM on April 8, 2014

This is very definitely going on my bad movie night list. The VAT fraud is just conversational icing on the cake.
posted by jaduncan at 8:49 PM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fascinating story. I can't wait to see this film.

A lot of people throw around terms like "worst movie ever," and rarely do they come anywhere near the mark. Look, I don't have any other way to say this than sound like some scarred and grizzled old veteran of bad films, but I've seen things, man. Films from all around the world that are so incoherent, so inept, so mind-breakingly bad it would make the entire series of MST3k look like a Criterion Greatest Hits Collection.

There's many kinds of 'bad' when it comes to films. Some are bad simply because of ineptness, some are bad simply because there is not the budget or time to care about quality, some intentionally try to be bad and often just end up being only irritating mugging for the camera, and some are earnest attempts at quality but fail in such an amazingly bad manner they attain their own bizarre form of greatness as an epic disaster.

There is one other kind though, and perhaps Eldorado may be in that final category. It's a kind of film that begins as a special blend of insanity, single minded devotion to an epically unattainable artistic ideal at all costs, the bullshitting skills and luck to get funding, talent, and a production that snowballs way beyond controllable levels, deception at every level of production and the skills to keep enough people in the dark while it's being made to prevent a mutiny by the cast, crew, or the producers. If somehow that project manages to survive the movie making process, there is a small chance that the whole thing ends up being a disaster so daring, so irrationally unique in its failure, that it goes beyond simple terms like 'bad,' 'horrible,' or 'atrocious'. It comes full circle and is in its own weird world.

Perhaps Eldorado could be that kind of film. Perhaps. On the other hand, it could just as easily be 90+ minutes of unwatchable crap. In any case, I plan on finding out which kind it is.
posted by chambers at 8:51 PM on April 8, 2014 [17 favorites]

This looks uncommonly bad. Unoriginal derivative to the nth degree tripe ^ past the prime, bored by most reckoning talent x angry disillusioned crew / ethical morass and shit be goin down legal wranglings. Good times.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 9:00 PM on April 8, 2014

Cool cool let's get him a fawning documentary and a cult tour where he plays it up for adoring audiences who shout out the lines to his piece of shit movie! Otherwise someone who dedicates their life to doing quality work might possibly be rewarded professionally or financially.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:10 PM on April 8, 2014 [6 favorites]

Yes, because The Room fans are clearly stealing bread crusts out of the mouths of the poor auteurs...
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:25 PM on April 8, 2014 [17 favorites]

I'm 15 minutes into this... this thing and it really is unlike any other bad movie I've ever watched. The closest tonal comparison that springs to mind is it's like a live action Food Fight. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Also, I seem to remember Steve Guttenberg proclaiming a number of years ago that he'd only make family films from then on out, yet 10 minutes into Highway to Hell and via the magic of spit-screen he's talking to a topless girl on the phone.
posted by item at 9:35 PM on April 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

So, it's apparently what this guy thinks that Quentin Tarantino's version of The Blues Brothers would be?

It sounds like what I think it would be like.

I also feel strangely compelled to watch this.
posted by bongo_x at 9:58 PM on April 8, 2014

I think there's a special kind of movie nerd who will see this kind of write-up as an urgent call to gather some booze and friends and watch this thing immediately.

You called?
posted by JHarris at 10:58 PM on April 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've seen the "classics" of bad film: Plan 9, The Room, Troll 2, Birdemic, Hands of Manos. I frequent The Bad Film Society. I've even been a juror at student film festivals. So it's not often that movies take me by surprise, but this one literally made my goddamn jaw drop open. It's like the cheesiest, low budget, locally made, mattress emporium commercial you've ever seen, stretched out to nearly two hours. Thanks, AlonzoMosleyFBI, for reminding a jaded old man that there are still wonders in this world.
posted by bstreep at 11:50 PM on April 8, 2014 [9 favorites]

I know that llama farm.
posted by biffa at 11:57 PM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: I know that llama farm.
posted by ill3 at 1:43 AM on April 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

this just reminded me I never finished Grizzly II: The Predator: The Concert. apropos of nothing, except it was the last bad movie I learned of via mefi. I think I passed out 40 minutes in -- an occupational hazard of bad moviegoing. I will have to atone by watching them back to back.

I didn't finish Sharnado. I felt like basically it would've been a fantastic College Humor short, but balked at the thought of watching the joke beat into the ground for another hour. It was no SA3: Megalodon is what I'm saying, basically.
posted by cj_ at 2:05 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

bstreep's post has me downloading it now.
posted by flippant at 2:25 AM on April 9, 2014

That Telegraph article made me wonder if this was what it was like to work with Ed Wood, if Wood had been reasonably financially successful, British, and of a larcenous frame of mind.
posted by ardgedee at 3:44 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cool cool let's get him a fawning documentary and a cult tour where he plays it up for adoring audiences who shout out the lines to his piece of shit movie!

How far does the argument "stop having fun because you're having fun wrong" get you, on a general basis?
posted by griphus at 4:05 AM on April 9, 2014 [10 favorites]

Y'all are so cynical. Hasn't it ever occurred to you that maybe drjimmy11 is being sincere? Maybe he really likes movies like The Room, but has had bad experiences with the narcissism and petty tyranny that comes with overachievers getting validated for their brutal treatment of colleagues and employees.
posted by Bugbread at 4:38 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

directors like [German] Uwe Boll will happily revel in a 'worst film director ever' title

Has he changed his mind? I remember when he was fighting people over that.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:11 AM on April 9, 2014

IMDb says this is a musical. Is that true?
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:12 AM on April 9, 2014

The film boasted a huge cast list of star performers – Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen and Steve Guttenberg

There is a difference between "people whose name I recognize" and "star."
posted by Chrysostom at 7:17 AM on April 9, 2014

May I recommend Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter to the list of all time bad movies? It's a musical.

posted by Billiken at 7:43 AM on April 9, 2014

The trailer says "Steve Guttenberg" like that's a thing.
posted by Cosine at 7:51 AM on April 9, 2014

Here's where The Room still comes out on top for me, it's wonderfully bad and Tommy clearly thought he was directing Citizen Kane. Sharknado and the like fall flat to me once it's clear that the whole point was deliberately bad film making.

In this case the production was just a front to steal money, so again it's not really interesting to me (though if anyone knows a theatre showing it...)
posted by Cosine at 7:54 AM on April 9, 2014

The trailer says "Steve Guttenberg" like that's a thing.

Maybe they were targeting Stonecutters?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:24 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chrysostom: "The film boasted a huge cast list of star performers – Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen and Steve Guttenberg

There is a difference between "people whose name I recognize" and "star."

Well, three out of those four actors were starring players in Kill Bill only a few short years before, so I think that counts for something. All I the same, I think we can agree that the fabled Tarantino career-bump for middle-aged actors certainly isn't what it used to be.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:13 AM on April 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

This film looks like it could rival a lot of good SOV movies for badness.

And its almost 2-hour running time is a nice mark of brutality. An 80/90 minute terrible film can never reach the heights of one gunning for length. I love the idea that there WASN'T thirty minutes of footage they could cut. It is all very necessary.

Thanks for the link! I'll be watching this one soon.
posted by wyndham at 9:37 AM on April 9, 2014

I like how a herd of llamas are his only visible source of income!
posted by Omnomnom at 2:06 PM on April 9, 2014

So, who's going to set up the 24/7 eternal Livestream of this one?
posted by JHarris at 9:22 PM on April 9, 2014

Am watching it now. Will report back.
posted by JHarris at 2:11 AM on April 10, 2014

Good luck! We're all counting on you!
posted by Mezentian at 3:39 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it killed him.
posted by ardgedee at 8:49 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

What happened was, it got too late and I had to call it a night. I'm about 25 minutes in, it's paused.
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on April 10, 2014

Have made it halfway through --

It's real bad, yeah. The writing is atrocious. No character is capable of opening his mouth without seeming mentally deficient. The story is just a sequence of events that happen one after another, not building anything, no character development, just random occurrences. The dialogue is written like this too; there's a sequence where a dentist flashes back to CG Vietnam (because why not), and his narration is just a string of cliches chained together, like the output of a Markov text generator fed by Rambo movies.

There are many lengthy choreographed, lip-synced musical sequences, except with no choreography, and terrible dancing. Much of the movie so far has been these sequences. They have served no visible narrative purpose, they're just there to pad out the (nearly two hour) running time. For example, the first such sequence has the Jews Brothers (ugh) lip syncing Rawhide to a car radio while driving through Las Vegas, established with long stock footage night shots of that city, but then nothing actually happens that requires Las Vegas. They established it just to throw it away! It's just something Driscoll threw in because he thought it would be cool. Most of the movie can be explained this way -- it's stuff put in without care for narrative economy, all because the director thought it would be cool to put on the screen. This is actually lampshaded by one of O'Toole's narrations, which tries to excuse a particular scene's presence because it contains a naked chick.

It's obvious watching it that the director has seen more than a few movies, and was determined to pay homage to them whether it makes sense or not. Hence, a farting scene around a campfire is lifted from Blazing Saddles, and a glowing briefcase straight from Pulp Fiction. But it's reference without purpose, and I wouldn't be surprised if Driscoll got the idea to throw those bits in during filming.

There are two different levels of metatextual commentary, one with Peter O'Toole poking in occasionally providing narration, and one of Darryl Hannah reading Poe in a fake desert, with CG intrusions by the demonic head of David Carradine, presumably to add atmosphere. Those desert scenes are fake to an amazing degree, and remind me of video game cutscenes.

It's been tough going, those musical sequences wear down on the soul. Going to need a break before the second half.
posted by JHarris at 3:40 PM on April 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Finished it. Okay....

So, remember how terrible Birdemic was? How the first half was purposeless, how the birds were just animated GIFs composited into the shot, how the acting was wooden, the story made no sense, the characters were unbelievable, it was filled with continuity errors, and how crazy impossible things, like birds exploding, would happen?

Well, James Nguyen made a sequel, Birdemic 2: The Resurrection. I haven't seen it yet, but while it seems to be about different characters it runs along similar lines, additionally throwing in a zombie attack scene.

Its existence is a mystery to me. When you make a first movie and have it turn out as terrible as Birdemic you have something of an excuse. But when you make a second, and it makes all the same mistakes as the first, how does that happen? Has Nguyen read any of the reactions to the first film? Does he somehow think that people liked it, that he's on the right track?

The only explanation I can come up with is that he confused the response to the first movie, which was mostly cheering by bad movie aficionados, for legitimate appreciation. And that's gotten me to worrying a bit, about people going and making purposely bad movies to try to court this audience. Because a movie that tries to be good but ends up being bad is sad but admirable, and can be funny for that, but a movie that tries to be bad is just sad.

I bring this up because I think that's what Eldorado might be, a movie that never pretended to quality in the first place, that was seeking to inspire the kind of late-night stage show presentation that's grown up around The Rocky Horror Picture Show (and hey, it contains songs too!) and The Room.

The tip off is the large amount of money that was obviously spent on it. In addition to a number of recognizable actors, song rights, a couple of expensive cars and 3D presentation, it has an overabundance of computer effects, and that couldn't have been cheap.

In addition, the movie isn't shy about using Peter O'Toole's narration to dryly mock itself. For example, at the end after the credits, Peter O'Toole's given the last word. "Ladies and gentlemen, that is the end." Then, with a stoic expression, he theatrically throws the sheet he's been reading from over his shoulder.

Whether that was scripted or not, it remains that it made it to the screen, and so by ridiculing his own story Driscoll signals a basic insincerity, effectively elbowing the audience looking up aghast at the screen to say "Look at that, isn't that stupid?" and trying to pretend that the thing they're laughing at isn't something he made.

Anyway, the second half of the movie is just as purposelessly song-filled as the first. In addition to previous homages the movie directly refers to Pirates of the Caribbean, Kill Bill and Laurel & Hardy. (The Pirates one is exceptionally blatant.) In one place a character says something that makes it seem like the screenwriter believes Eldorado to be in the "deep south," and the decorations for the 200th anniversary of the town of Eldorado make copious use of Confederate flags as decorations, even though all the places Eldorado could possibly be were either free or just territories during the Civil War.

I made notes through the picture, but many of them are too depressing to relate here. Here's just one example: A lady is looking for her friend Richard. One of the Jews Brothers (arg) says to the other, with a straight face: "Can I help that young lady find her Dick? Aw, you can't leave a young lady wanting a Dick, can you?" Even then, her own dialogue, while searching for her companion, continues the joke! Things like that, for me, push the movie away from The Room and Birdemic category, and towards Transformers 2, in the sense of being disgusting enough to make me want to turn it off.

But as for the question of if it's worse than Manos? I'm not sure that it is. Manos is truly difficult to get through without riffing, while Eldorado at least panders to its audience to try to keep it nominally watchable. And there is the sense of wanting to watch it to see how it'll screw up next.

And once in awhile it can be funny, although I don't know if intentionally or not. For example, briefly into the second half there's a scene where one character, I think an assassin, with a voice low and raspy enough to bring to mind Christian Bale in The Dark Knight, walks up to a bar and asks the bartender for a drink. But the bartender's voice is just as low and raspy as his! The two carry out a short conversation there on the screen, both speaking in Conversational Batman. I admit, I laughed aloud. I don't know if it was intentional or not; considering the film references the director makes later, I have to assume he knew what was happening there.

I still have pages of notes but I'm going to end this comment here, as it's getting long, and now nearly my whole day has now been taken up with this film. I'd like to go do something else for a while than think and write about Eldorado.
posted by JHarris at 6:53 PM on April 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

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