The race for the title ‘Worst Movie Ever Made’ is a competitive one. It’s a crowded field, even if you break it up into divisions; surely a movie made for a couple of grand by utter amateurs should not be up against a mega-million dollar film from supposed professionals, like Pluto Nash. And even when you take out the movies that are so bad they’re good – Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, for instance – you still have an almost unmanageable sea of dreck.
But a late entry in this sweepstakes of shit, The Informers, has emerged as a strong contender for the title. This film, an adaptation of a Bret Easton Ellis book of short stories, is one of the worst things I have ever seen, and I once saw the charred corpses of two people who had been burned alive in a horrific car crash. The idea of sitting through The Informers a second time makes me twitch; the only reason I made it through once was because I knew I had to suffer in order to warn you people away.
This is not a film that is so bad it’s good. It’s simply bad. There’s no humor to be found in The Informers, simply sheer, monotonous badness. It is scene after scene of characters you don’t care about doing things that are not interesting and saying things that are stupefying. And then, somewhere towards the end of the movie you realize that none of these characters and none of these scenes connect (although you’ll probably be disoriented from the sheer directionless meandering of the film, so you may not actually know how long has passed or whether or not the movie is drawing to a conclusion. And that’s not an exaggeration – it wasn’t until the credits came up that I was certain there wasn’t another hour of film to go). Not only that, but none of the individual, disconnected stories ever go anywhere. I’m not the kind of moviegoer who demands rigid plot in everything – I can enjoy a movie that takes the scenic route, or that is trying to build a mood or explore characters more than its trying to tell a thrilling story – but even my patience was destroyed by the way The Informers becomes a random look at the lives of a dozen shitty, hateful people, never getting near narrative, let alone drama or closure.
It’s hard to pick out the worst thread in the movie. Is it the one that has Amber Heard getting and dying from Fast Acting AIDS in three days? That’s a serious contender, as it manages to make the nearly constant nudity of Heard actually boring. Or is it the storyline about the English rock star who is doing something wildly uninteresting in LA before giving a concert? Another contender, for that one makes sleeping with a hot 15 year old seem tedious. Maybe the worst storyline is the one with Billy Bob Thornton as a movie executive who had an affair with Winona Ryder and now is engaged in a slumber-inducing struggle with his estranged wife. That’s a very strong contender, since its sudden ending makes the rest of the stories feel like tightly wrapped up Agatha Christie mysteries.
But no, the worst storyline must be the one where Brad Renfro and Mickey Rourke have kidnapped a child to sell to a group of vampires. At least that’s the story in Ellis’ book. The movie has, in its infinite lack of wisdom, simply cut the vampires out. I mean, I guess they’re still there, but they don’t do a single goddamned thing in the movie. This is the storyline that makes you want to retract Rourke’s comeback and that makes you feel jealous of Renfro: while he is in the movie at least he’s too dead to be forced to see it. (There are other storylines, but even thinking about them makes me want to kill myself, so let’s leave it at these)
Renfro does get singled out as giving the worst performance in a movie filled with bad turns. Where most of the other actors seem to be sleepwalking through the movie Renfro is going out of his mind the whole time, sweaty and broad and just plain awful. It’s actually often embarrassing to watch him in the film.
It’s hard to imagine that director Gregor Jordan ever made a movie before (perhaps it’s hard to even imagine that he’s ever seen a movie before), let alone one as modestly well-received as Buffalo Soldiers. It’s harder to believe that he’s making another movie right now; surely if any film called for Director Exile (fuck Director Jail. Send him to Director Siberia), it’s The Informers. This film shouldn’t just end careers, it should be immolating them. People involved in this film should be moving east and becoming Amish to atone. They should be flagellating themselves every single morning, crying tears of shame. I would say that The Informers is a travesty but even a travesty is watchable. Perhaps the only use this film has is to give philosophers who sit through it some way of experiencing what eternity truly means.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey