Favorite Worst Movie: Nothing But Trouble

The Morning News published a list of Favorite Worst Movies last Sunday, and I felt the need to throw my two cents in: Nothing But Trouble is my favorite bad movie of all time.

The 1991 film stars Chevy Chase and Demi Moore as go-go ’80s Wall Street types who wander off of their GPS map while driving through New Jersey, and are arrested in the town of Valkenvania by the local police officer, played by John Candy. Taken to appear before the judge, played by Aykroyd, things get weirder and weirder, driving Chase and Moore to attempt an escape from the law.

On the DVD commentary track for Ghostbusters, Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis & Joe Medjuck tell the story of how Dan Aykroyd turned in an unfilmable 600-page script set in the far future, and of how Harold Ramis helped him rework the material as the very funny, broadly accessible comedy it became.

By contrast, Aykroyd directed, co-wrote, and produced Nothing But Trouble. In other words, nobody existed who could have said “no” to him, or to help him rework his rough ideas into a form that others could appreciate. The resulting film is more or less a tour of the mind of Dan Aykroyd, and it’s an extremely unusual place to be.

But the badness of the film depends not only on Aykroyd’s fevered imagination: Demi Moore’s outfits might best be described as “catastrophe in white,” and what she lacks in comic timing she amplifies by taking her role far too seriously. The Digital Underground appears as another group of detainees, mostly so that Aykroyd can jam with them as they play.

Finally, the film contains repeated endings, one after another. More than once, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief and think that the worst is over, and the credits are about to roll. Then the next scene begins, eliciting another round of groans from the audience.