Not every weird/terrible movie is the product of someone’s personal vision, but when you find one that is it can be kind of fascinating. A lot of cult oddities are what they are because no one was paying attention, and things just sorta shook out that way. But once in a while you get one that was made by design, that was the product of someone’s demented vision, and finding movies like that and looking at he people behind them is kind of fascinating. This is the mindset behind Vice‘s new series Outsider, which looks at the minds behind some of the strangest cult films ever to grace the screen. It’s a cool idea, but one not without one significant potential pitfall, that being the impulse to canonize or praise, either ironically or not, people who just made bad movies. Let’s not conflate being some kind of outsider genius with just making a goofy b-movie. Tommy Wiseau is a funny guy to watch in action, but he’s a terrible, terrible filmmaker, and I think attaching words like “visionary” to him and schlockmeisters like him, is bordering on dangerous. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that a bad movie is a bad movie, is what I’m saying.
But that quibble aside, it’s still interesting to watch the first episode of Outsider, which looks at Y.K Kim, the driving mind behind recently cult discovery The Miami Connection. If you haven’t heard the story, it’s a good one. The Miami Connection is a 1987 martial arts/rock n’ roll mashup that was only recently discovered after a reel was bought on Ebay by a programmer at Alamo Drafthouse, and subsequently re-released. Kim is an accomplished, to say the very least, Taekwondo master and motivational speaker, and the film was largely made to get his teachings and message out to audiences. The Vice video, hosted by the programmer who made the discovery, is as much a look at him as the film itself and its history, and it’s an interesting watch for fans of the movie and schlockhounds in general. It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes next….aside from Wiseau, who I think we all know is gonna be the focus of a future episode.