For a couple of years now I’ve been reading Television Without Pity, a site which mercilessly skewers TV shows through in-depth scene by scene reviews (“recaps”). They ridicule the bad, and in rare cases, applaud the good. It’s also a good way to catch up on an episode you missed, or one from a couple of years ago that you’ve forgotten.
Last week I finally came across a site that does the same for movies. The Agony Booth, “an ongoing inquisition into some of the worst movies humanity has to offer”. Now, there’s no shortage of websites about bad movies out there. The number has got to be in the thousands. But the Agony Booth seems to be unique in adopting the TWoP style: tearing the movie apart in a scene-by-scene, sometimes even line-by-line, recap that stretches out to a dozen or more pages. The recaps take almost as long to read as the movies do to watch. And while a lot of bad movie sites only seem to go after B movies from an era long ago, Agony Booth is not afraid to take on modern big-budget stinkers like Armageddon and Batman & Robin. In fact, Armageddon was so bad, one person couldn’t stomach the task of recapping it. It took a team of writers, each tackling fifteen minutes and then passing it off, to get through that movie.
While the writing style on Agony Booth was obviously influenced by TWoP, their repertoire owes a great deal to Mystery Science Theater 3000. After all, if MST3K hadn’t riffed on Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, would any of us have ever again been subjected to the horrors of Raul Julia doing voice overs for a baboon? I think not. And the site does go after the classics, like Terror from the Year 5000 and “Manos” The Hands of Fate. In all, a rather well-blended mix of cinema throughout the years.
The site isn’t updated often enough to make it a daily visit, although it’s going to take me weeks to catch up with all the recaps already there. But from the looks of the twice-monthly schedule he’s been keeping this year, we should be due for another posting any day now. Can’t wait!