Hey there, Drinkers!
Tonight we reach for the stars in an attempt to create the worst BAAM of all time. But unlike some previous bad BAAM’s, today’s pairing was created with the exclusive goal of melting the brain and destroying the will to enjoy cinema. And so, in this spirit, I present to you BAAM’s Razzie edition featuring Shock Top’s Raspberry Wheat and the monumental failure of all cinematic failures, Battlefield Earth. For those of you who don’t know, the Razzies are the annual awards handed out the worst movies of the year. Battlefield Earth received the great distinction of Worst Movie in commemoration of the award’s 25th anniversary. Let’s get started, shall we?
(Apologies in advance: This post is wordy and ramble-y. Such are the side-effects of my anger with this film. Sorry!)
Released in 2000, Battlefield Earth is generally regarded as the worst movie every made. And not the lovable kind of worst-movie-ever that nerds like me label amazing films like The Room and Troll 2 (seriously, those two are classics). Battlefield Earth is just straight up bad. Based on the L. Ron Hubbard novel (yes, that L. Ron Hubbard) which falls outside of the Scientology canon, the film is ostensibly about a distant future in which humans revolt against their slave master aliens after a 1000 years of oppression. I use the word “ostensibly” for a reason though, because that logline is the very (very) frail frame on which this steaming pile of incomprehensible garbage rests. Setting aside many of the factors that contribute to this mess of a movie, including but not limited to the terrible acting, terrible effects, terrible costumes, terrible camera work and John Travolta, let’s just focus on how little sense this movie makes.
So let’s just talk about the plot and its execution (a word I use with both definitions in mind). I’m going to begin with a quick lesson in typical feature film structure. Most standard films have something known as a “page 15 moment” in which the status quo is disrupted, catapulting our hero into the events of the rest of the film. It’s labeled as such because it typically arrives 15 pages, or 15 minutes, into the story. Battlefield Earth, being the avant-garde masterpiece that it is, ignores this rule and a launches itself into the drama within the first 30 seconds without setup or explanation. Nothing really happens to send our hero Jonnie on his journey. Rather, he just yells at an old man in rags and rides off into the mountains. The remaining two hours of the film fumbles through artificial and forced narrative points that simultaneously over-explain and complicate the story. For example, there are a number of scenes in which our villain, John Travolta, explains his nefarious plan to have humans extract gold for…some reason. Anyway, a part of that plan involves setting them free and starving them in order to identify a human’s favorite food (rat). This part of the plan makes no sense but it gets worse: in order to train the humans how to mine gold, the aliens super-educate our hero with ALL OF THEIR SUPERIOR ALIEN KNOWLEDGE. Who thought that was a good idea? Maybe I’m not doing the stupidity justice here but that’s both a testament to how stupid this movie is and my own inability to translate stupidity into something coherent.
This brings me to my principle gripe with this film: the alien overlords, the Psychlos, are the WORST SLAVE MASTERS EVER. You’d think that an advanced alien race that has taken over a large swath of the universe would know the ins and outs of enslavement but apparently they’re nOObs. They regularly allow prisoners to escape (on purpose!), they leave them unsupervised and allow them access highly restricted security offices. John Travolta even teaches a band of humans how to a fly a spaceship, gives them a bunch of mining equipment and then JUST LEAVES THEM IN THE WILDERNESS. He says that he’s “watching them” to make sure they extract his gold, but never seems to notice that his merry band of miners are literally flying all over the former United States collecting weapons and training to fly harrier jets. Weapons, I might add, that they easily bring deep into the alien’s fortress. Including a convenient nuclear bomb they somehow know how to rig. Finally, our hero and our villain have numerous occasions to kill each other and have easier lives but since they have a movie to make, they keep giving each other second (or fifth) chances. Truly, I don’t have the time or mental capacity to continue enumerating the reasons this film is awful, so just believe me when I say it’s just terrible.
And our razzie beer for our Razzie winner? Well, it was pretty much what I expected. Shock Top’s Raspberry Wheat, an Aneuser-Busch brand, is pretty much just juice. Pouring a pale golden color, this beer has a strong nose of raspberry and little else. And that’s pretty much how the beer tastes too. It’s overpoweringly fruity with very little of that wheat flavor to back it up. I think I drank it in about five minutes because it was so light in both flavor and body. And given the movie, I probably could have drank a few more without ill effect. My assumption is that this beer is marketed as a fruity alternative to drinkers who don’t like “traditional” beers, hence why the beer only tastes nominally of beer. My suggestion? If you want a raspberry beer, grab Abita’s Purple Haze. Not only does it taste better, you’ll be supporting a smaller brewery.
So there you have it, folks. A raspberry of an evening. A terrible movie with a mediocre beer. Now someone cooler than I, someone with a normal social life, might say that this night was a wash but I disagree. I got to spend two hours with two friends yelling at John Travolta. And if that isn’t a good night, I don’t know what is.
Thanks for reading and as always keep drinking, my friends!
-Features the universe’s worst slave masters
-Plot makes zero sense
Bonus: Academy Award Winner Forest Whitacker!