Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and now it’s time to do it again.
ADAM WEST’S TALES FROM BEYOND (2004)
Starring: Adam West (who is secretly millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne)
Though the Worst of Netflix has taught us nothing if not that pretty much anyone can make a movie and get national distribution, the actual process can be a little more complicated than that. If a project is going to stick out in the pages of whatever catalog the people who program channels like Showtime Beyond use to pick out their late night fare, it needs to offer something other films don’t. It needs an edge.
Fortunately for the makers of this week’s Worst of Netflix entry, they had the good fortune to be making their movie right around the time that Family Guy got canceled and left plenty of incidental voice actors with spare time on their hands, and were able to get the biggest edge of all: former costumed vigilante Adam West.
An anthology of four stories that are loosely strung together by framing sequence with West that makes up a grand total of 8 minutes, this flick watches like someone went through a pile of rejected Tales From the Dark Side scripts to salvage the ones that were filmable, and then someone else went through the rejects of those, and then someone else went through the rejects ofthose. They’re boring and cliche to the point of self-parody, and each one comes complete with a twist ending that the viewer will inevitably find himself saying out loud about two minutes into it.
First up, it’s “Oh, He’s Actually Dead,” where a lead character with all the acting chops of a can of soup manages to set a new low even by Worst of Netflix standards. The vignette clearly fancies itself a tense psychological drama with a supernatural twist, but in practice, that translates into allegedly surreal dream sequences that are then recounted to an equally terrible actor playing a psychiatrist in scenes that are even longer than what’s being recounted.
On the bright side, though, it does manage to include a guy cosplaying as Jamie from Mythbusters:
Next, in “Oh, There’s A Nuclear War,” a Beamer-driving douchebag who pulls over to grab a bite to eat after saying he wishes the government would “push the button” finds himself in a strange place frequented by citizens of different eras, a chronal nexus that–of course–is located inside a Denny’s.
The time travelers that interrupt his turkey club are a cyberpunk, a victorian, a RenFaire highwayman, a Highlander-lookin’ dude with a battle-axe, and Cleopatra, which means that the scene is about one crossdressing Sailor Moon away from a bus to Comic-Con.
The third, “Oh, He Kills Himself,” takes the same premise as the movie Click–a guy with a remote control that lets him travel through time–and actually manages to be worse. The remote arrives in the mail for no reason and when its recipient, Joe, is screwing around with it, he catches a news story on his own upcoming murder. Thus, he calls a friend and they lay a trap for his murderer and if you don’t know how that ends, then you have never seen any story ever.
It is worth noting, however, that while the news report claims he was beaten to death, it actually goes down that he bumps his head once against a trash can. That’s it.
Finally, the Bataan death-march of supernatural “horror” comes to an end with “Oh, He’s a Ghost,” which finally answers the question of what Raging Bull would be like if it was a half-hour high school play performed on Halloween. Ostensibly a story of boxing, it’s more of a showcase the corner-man’s hilariously cartoonish faux-Irish accent with a ghost story lazily tacked on to fill a two-hour time-slot.
After that, it’s back to the framing sequence where West traps his customers souls in his books and then transports them to what might be his spaceship, adding a nice little incomprehensible footnote to the otherwise coma-inducing film.
So say what you want about Seth MacFarlane and his lazy, stupid, frequently racist cutaway gags, but at least they’re keeping actors out of projects like this.
A Special Note From The Editor: Caption contest is over!
|Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.|