Tag Archives: Birds


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DIRECTOR: James Nguyen

FEATURING: Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore

PLOT: A “romantic thriller” from writer/director James Nguyen, the film explores the impact of widespread eagle attacks on software salesman Rod (Alan Bagh) and up-and-coming model Nathalie (Whitney Moore), whose romance has just begun to blossom.  It all plays into writer/director Nguyen’s Tippi Hedren fandom.

Still from Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2008)

span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It’s so bad it’s good, and it’s a real hoot in a theater with an enthusiastic audience, but Birdemic isn’t actually all that weird.  The fusion of workplace drama, eager romance, and disaster movie is well-meaning but heavy-handed, and the strangest (and funniest) thing about the film is seeing grown men and women flailing around in fear of atrociously-animated birds, which end up resembling animated .GIFs.

COMMENTS: With production values worthy of a commercial for your local grocery store and a script riddled with non sequiturs, the story of our boring-as-hell heroes unfolds quite slowly.  Yes, it’s true that environmental degradation from humans has caused the area bird population to exact a feathery and surprisingly explosive revenge, but before the carnage hits the audience is treated to a large amount of Rod and Nathalie’s work-related endeavors and tepid early dates.  Luckily, their stilted performances and poorly-written conversations are enough to keep anyone laughing merrily along until the anticipated birdpocalypse, at which point the fun continues when they team up with a gun-crazy neighbor and two particularly useless children.

As a movie itself, Birdemic is just awful: the dialogue and acting are equally amateur and laughably awkward.  The script is poorly structured, thematically very blunt, and often nonsensical.  The effects are the lowest of the low, amounting to bird attackers that resemble animated .gif’s from 1997 and adorably tiny explosions popping up out of nowhere.  The score is suspiciously repetitive, there’s a host of randomly-appearing characters who serve little purpose in the story, the visual quality and camera work are noticeably sub-par… there’s quite a long list of negative elements.

Of course, it’s all those things and more that make Birdemic a wholly satisfying film-going experience.  The (presumably) unintended comedy of the characters and script are so engaging that the addition of horribly CG-ed birds flapping their way around real-life objects just heighten an already-entertaining movie.  There’s something terribly endearing about the whole affair, from Rod’s delayed reactions and extended shots of people driving, to uncoordinated camera movements, completely un-erotic sex scenes, and the most unrealistic forest fire I’ve ever seen.

It may be one of the worst movies ever made, but definitely in the most enjoyable way possible.  Plus it’s got an environmentalist message, so that’s heartening.  And an anti-bird message.  Screw those guys, you know?


“But no matter how many f***ed up viral videos we’ve collectively seen or how desensitized we’ve become to high weirdness, the rowdy New York midnight premiere of writer-director James Nguyen’s self-proclaimed ‘romantic thriller’ Birdemic: Shock and Terror proves that there’s room—alongside Ed Wood’s entire oeuvre—for one more in the pantheon of beloved trash-terpieces.”–Aaron Hill, The Village Voice (contemporaneous)

NOTE: This review is also published in a slightly different form at Film Forager.


DIRECTED BYRobert Altman

FEATURING: Bud Cort, , Michael Murhpy, Shelley Duvall, , , Margaret Hamilton, Jennifer Salt, William Baldwin

PLOT: An oddball genius constructs a one man flying device in the basement of the Houston Astrodome, assisted by a sexy but murderous guardian angel.

Still from Brewster McCloud (1970)

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: Robert Altman’s showman’s understanding and appreciation of the circus influenced the presentation of this surreal satire with its unconventional plot, eccentric characters, and eye-catching production design.  Watching this colorful odyssey is like exploring a side road on the cinematic highway to Oz.

COMMENTS:  Five out of five stars all the way for this gorgeous, pensive work of art. In this strange black comedy, Brewster McCloud (Cort -“Harold” from Harold and Maude) is a likable misfit who lives in the fallout shelter of the old Houston Astrodome. He endeavors to build a mechanical flying suit which will enable his escape from an incomprehensible world to some unknown imaginative utopia. An eccentric angel adeptly played by the quirky Sally Kellerman strangles anyone who opposes Brewster.

Brewster McCloud has a humorously heavy ornithological thesis with a narrative lecture provided by an off kilter science professor. The instructor’s recitation of facts about the social and mating habits of birds provides a funny comparative commentary on human nature. Avian themes glue the plot points together and furnish continuity between a sequence of strange events as Brewster struggles to achieve his goal.

There are three subplots: a coming of age story centered around McCloud, a social commentary stemming from the exposition of similarities and differences between humans and birds, and a murder investigation. While the police attempt to determine why the strangulation victims are found plastered with bird droppings, Brewster tries to beat the clock and perfect his flying machine before the authorities close in. He must stay Continue reading RECOMMENDED AS WEIRD: BREWSTER MCCLOUD (1970)