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Originally published Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 3:03 PM

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Movie review

'Best Worst Movie': Great film about a very bad one

"Best Worst Movie," a sublimely entertaining documentary, explores the viral phenomenon that unpredictably turned the 1989 straight-to-video horror flick "Troll 2" into the "best worst movie" of all time.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 4 stars

'Best Worst Movie,' a documentary directed by Michael Paul Stephenson. 91 minutes. Not rated; contains profanity. Central Cinema. "Troll 2" star George Hardy will be in attendance Friday and Saturday.

"Best Worst Movie" is one of the best movies of 2010, so please indulge this personal appreciation: In 26 years as a film reviewer, I've never seen a film that so perfectly encapsulates the obsession Pauline Kael famously classified as Movie Love.

Lots of people love movies, but Movie Love is a fever that strikes only the most amorous. You know the type: Some of us devote careers to it.

The great thing about "Best Worst Movie" is that it's the Typhoid Mary of the Movie Love virus. Everyone who sees it will feel the same jubilation Movie Lovers too often claim exclusively for themselves.

Ironically, it also proves the irrelevance of film critics when faced with the runaway popularity of "bad" movies like "Troll 2" or "good" movies like "Avatar."

Michael Paul Stephenson was the child star of "Troll 2," the Italian-made, straight-to-video horror cheapie, shot in Utah in 1989, that gradually exploded into a cult phenomenon now cited as the "#1 Worst Movie" on the Internet Movie Database.

Twenty years later, Stephenson made this loving exploration of the "Troll 2" frenzy, and it sublimely chronicles a viral plague of Movie Love that nobody could have predicted — as Stephenson hysterically observes in a film filled with laugh-out-loud highlights.

If you're a Movie Lover, or even if you "just" love movies, seeing "Best Worst Movie" is mandatory.

The next step is obvious: You'll find a way to see "Troll 2" if you haven't already. Or even — make that especially — if you have.

Jeff Shannon:

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