Monday, October 3, 2005


As some of you know, I was born and raised in New Braunfels, Texas. At the time New Braunfels was a small community which had successfully maintained its very strong German heritage. Over the years my hometown has grown exponentially, as has its signature annual celebration -- WURSTFEST.

The original Wurstfest was held in 1961, and it was dedicated to celebrating the time-honored German tradition of Octoberfest -- cold beer and, of course, wunderbar wurst. (As in knockwurst and bratwurst). What was once a simple two-day event has now exploded to a ten-day gala attracting over 155,000 people each year who consume 42 tons of sausage and who down enough beer to float the Bismark. It's good times for uber alles.

With this background in mind, I am thinking today about forming a new film festival which I would tentatively name WORSTFEST. The idea would be to identify and vilify the absolute worst filmmaking worldwide. Lord knows there are enough projects to choose from each year and 2005 is certainly no exception.

This year's winner would undoubtedly be MAYDAY, the CBS primetime movie that aired last night. In fact, I am afraid my Worstfest idea will never come to fruitition since I absolutely cannot conceive of a worse film than this (feature or movie-of-the-week). I know the year isn't over, but that matters little. MAYDAY is so wretchedly written, so dismally directed, so pathetically photographed, so abysmally acted and so phlegmatically produced it makes AIRPLANE! seem like a hard hitting, in-depth, factual documentary.

For example, do you know the best way to survive a complete decompression within the body of a commercial airliner at 65,000 feet? Yes, that's the altitude specified on several occasions. Well, according to Director/Co-Writer T. J. Scott the answer is to lock yourself in a bathroom unless, of course, you are petting your dogs in the cargo hold of a trans-pacific jetliner before the "weekend pilot" now at the controls engages the afterburners. Yes, the number of implausabilities within the MAYDAY screenplay rival the turnstile count at last year's Wurstfest.

I couldn't help but notice that one of Producer Judy Cairo's previous TV movies was VANISHED WITHOUT A TRACE. At first I thought both she and Mr. Scott should suffer that very same fate. In giving more thought, however, to this "three-bagger" (as in the minimum number of airsick bags one needs to sit through the 88-minute running time), I now would simply like this devoid duo to be perennially stuck in a TSA screening line. It's a totally appropriate punishment and one that would ensure they NEVER, EVER work again.

In closing, allow me to add that I have been told that nothing in this world is without at least one iota of merit (although MAYDAY comes perilously close to being the exception). So, as a public service I have chosen a photo of Kelly Hu to accompany this review. Ms. Hu plays the lovely flight attendant and was the only thing worth looking at during the shaky-cam excess of MAYDAY. And you thought THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was nauseating...