Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Anatomy of a Bad (Trainer) Movie

With this being the chilly season us endurance peeps have all been spending a lot of time on our indoor bike trainers and thus watching a ton of movies.  Selecting the perfect movie can sometimes be a difficult decision.  You do not want something that is too engaging because you'll become engrossed in the film and your workout will suffer.  You also do not want something that is boring because it can have the same effect and your focus will go right out the window.  Hard choices, right?  I tackle the difficult issues over here at the Carrot folks!

So Jeff, what type of movies do you want to watch while on the trainer?

Very simple:  THE BAD ONES.

Hear me out.  Certain movies are so bad that you can sit back and watch them and just laugh at the awfulness.  These movies have scenes that are so poorly acted and directed that you actually think to yourself "did that really just happen?"  You find yourself in such awe of the lack of any type of plot and/or screenplay that you sit on your saddle just pedaling away as the minutes seem to fly right by.  At some point in these movies you actually get angry that millions of dollars were spent to produce this shit-fest and the next thing you know you are in the middle of a spontaneous interval session.  And the best part is if you are doing an hour session and it is a two hour movie you can just turn it off when done and not feel compelled to watch the rest of it.  This movie sucks so you do not need to even waste the extra time to finish it - what is more perfect and efficient than that?

Now in recent years a ton of bad movies have been made. I'd say pretty much 7 out of 10 movies released suck ass.  But not every bad movie falls into the bad "trainer" movie category.  These particular movies all have a little something special and luckily for you I went ahead and made a checklist so you can pre-qualify the craptastic flick you will view during your next sufferfest.

 The Bad "Trainer" Movie Checklist:

- Usually a Colossal Box Office Failure - cost more to make than it earned.
- Has some Hollywood Stars in the cast. Can be current stars but usually are washed up has beens.
- You can tell from the first scene these "Stars" are mailing the performance in - Stars have mortgages too!
- The feel of the film is that it takes itself extremely serious - this eliminates most B-movies. (Sorry Sharktopus!)
- Bonus points if it falls under the Science Fiction category.
- Shitty special effects.
- Lack of a compelling story - this is key.  If the story is just dumb it leads to enhanced emotionally driven music and over-the-top speeches that try (but fail) to add some type of connection to the characters.  These poorly executed attempts lead to more anger intervals.
- It is so bad that you find humor in it thus making it re-watchable.  Some movies are just unwatchable. They do not fall into our category.  These movies are usually reserved for my wife and her friends and I refer to them as chick flicks.

Okay, now that I have gone over the categories you probably have a few movies in mind and have already started filling up your Netflix queue.   This is good and you next seasons bike splits can thank me later.  However, I have went ahead and found the perfect movie that takes the prize in the Bad "Trainer" Movie category. 

And the winner is ...

Battlefield Earth is a 2000 American science fiction film adapted from the novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard. It was directed by Roger Christian, and stars John Travolta, Forest Whitaker and Barry Pepper. The film depicts an Earth that has been under the rule of the alien Psychlos for 1,000 years and tells the story of the rebellion that develops when the Psychlos attempt to use the surviving humans as gold miners
This shitfest of a movie that was released in 2000 absolutely nails everyone of the about listed checklist points.  And it receives bonus points because it was recently voted the worst movie of the last decade - it is just awful but for some reason extremely rewatchable?  L. Ron Hubbard is the founder of Scientology so this adds to the humorous suckitude of the film.  If you haven't seen this movie consider yourself lucky.  If you have a 3hr sufferfest planned for Saturday morning go swing by Wal-Mart and pick this up in the $3.99 DVD bin.

Honorable Mentions:

1. Waterworld (1995) - This spectacular failure of a film starring Kevin Costner was at the time one of the most expensive films ever made. And, conversely, one of the largest Box Office failures ever. It is a post apocalyptic thriller in which all the ice caps melt and the world is underwater (hence the title) and Kevin Costner has gills.  Yep, I just typed that.

2. The Postman (1997) -  Kevin Costner is two-for-two in the honorable mention category.  This time he is once again in post apocalyptic America and he rallies what is left of the country by assembling refugees to deliver the mail.  I shit you not - this is the story.  This maybe my favorite re-watchable bad trainer movie.

3. Reign of Fire (2002) - This is once again a tale in a world that has gone to hell.  This time at the fury of fire breathing dragons.  The best part is that somehow both Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey read this script and thought it was a good idea to make this movie?  It once again hits all the major checkpoints - except special effects, they aren't too bad.  This one really makes you mash the pedals when you see Puff the Magic Dragon bearing down on our stars!

I am feeling a little embarrassed right now because I just typed out the three descriptions of the movies above from memory - wow.

Alright, there you have it. The sure fire solutions to finding the perfect bad trainer movies.  I highly recommend printing this checklist out, lamenting it, and taking it to the Red Box with you.

Thanks for Reading,


P.s. - Yes, I watched Battlefield Earth on Showtime last night.  I am not proud of this occurrence but I did get in one heck of a workout!


  1. Hmmm...I prefer getting caught up on tv when I'm on the trainer, but I do love a good chick flick to ride to!!

  2. This is awesome. SO FUNNY! I watched Waterworld the other night on the is kind of scary I think we may be a little alike. ha ha I need to add Battlefield Earth to my crappy movie trainer list, I actually never have seen that - and I didn't get the Hubbard connection until you pointed it out. Too funny.

  3. Nice. I would agree that the special effects can NOT be any good. Just explosions and nothing else is fine with me!

  4. What about trilogies that should have ended as sequels??? Case in point - T3: Rise of the Machines?

  5. BWAAAHAHAHAHAHA! Jeff—unbelievably, when I started reading this post and saw your criteria, I said ... well, Battlefield Earth is the worst block buster flop ever, and sure enough.... Oh man... great minds think alike brother!

    I have not done it yet, but I might just put in some of my Mystery Science Theater DVD's. Although, I am not sure laughing that hard on the trainer would be a good thing. Next up for me on Sunday's 2-hour ride: Resident Evil.

  6. Poor Kevin Costner! So funny that you watch this stuff on the trainer. I think it would make it all the more painful for me.

  7. this

    you and the Pita share the same affinity for sh*t movies.

    cracking up at this list. I know way to many of them.

  8. Pre Read Thought:

    Oh wow, you are giving us bad movie advice with all the movies you like to blog about, this should be good

    Post Read Thought:

    Ok I see your point, but since all Syfi channel movies are bad, how do you label one as bad

    I use good movies for my zone 2 pace rides, so I dont have to worry about intervals

    The OK movies are used with Spinervals

    I dont watch bad movies on the trainer, if I have nothing good, I pick one of the last 3 threes of Kona to watch

  9. Kevin - Rise of the machines was bad. Terminator: Salvation was pretty bad too ... but yet still rather rewatchable. hmmmm .... it fits a lot of the criteria .... might have my Sat ride movie picked out. AND Christian Bale is challenging Kevin Costner for shit movies.

    Mark - all the resident evils are perfect trainer rides. Especially Apocolypse, it is pure crap. We may have to make a list of ALL approved bad trainer movies? Like maybe they have to hit 5-of-7 of the criteria to make the list.

    EMZ - the PITA and I seem to have many simiarites, including being a PITA!

    BDD - queue up some Battlefield Earth this weekend during the long ride. You can thank me later.

    You should have seen my Wattage output during the scene when John Travolta and Forrest Whitaker were calling men, "Man-animals" and they hear our language like we hear monkeys? It was so gawd-awful that it was awesome. I was sitting there thinking who wrote this shit? And then remembered it was the scientologist dude and it added just another layer of comedy. Just try watching it will make you want to jumped on Oprah's couch and then call Matt Lauer "Glib" .... okay maybe not.

  10. There is some discussion that Hubbard actually didn't believe anything of what he preached or wrote but when the flocks came to follow, what could he do? (what any good capitalist would do)... write bad screen plays and start a church, I guess

  11. Based on titles alone I would have thought these shere sh*tty movies! :)

    We watched Social Network and Town this week. Both really good!

  12. Colleen , we liked Social Network too - very entertaining. Haven't seen Town yet!

    Bob - have you ever seen the South Park ep on Scientoloy? That is pretty the conclusion they came too

  13. i dont even know what to say.

  14. Lord I can not believe Sharktopus wasn't on your to-watch list! Well I think the last few Alien films, especially the one when the alien comes down to earth, are pretty dang bad.

  15. Have a 3 hr ride this weekend and it's supposed to be raining so off to Wal-Mart I go.

    Your advice lately has been perfect so I'm going to continue to listen and run, not walk, to get these movies.

  16. Jeff you need to add XXX with Vin Diesel to your rotation. I love that movie because of the special effects. The acting, not so much...

  17. AAHHHHHHH! Battlefield Earth????

    The original Clash of the Titans is kick ass, you should add that to your queue : )

  18. Hillarious = my hubby loves this brain candy crap. I just can't deal. Happy weekend!

  19. I need the uber engaging movies. If you are riding the computrainer in ergo mode and you start to become too engaged in the movie and you drift off into space, the computrainer is going to readjust the resistance to MAKE YOU push X watts. No hiding from that thing!

    I actually liked Water World...

  20. Got a few to add to the list.
    -Star Trek the Motion Picture (Voyager comes back to kill us all)
    -Highlander 2 (Worst sequel of all time)
    -Lifeforce (Haley's comet is really a space ship for space vampires)
    -Batman Forever (Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Alicia Silverstone, and Val Kilmer as Batman. When your star won't come back take the hint)
    -Stonehenge Apocalypse (Sci Fi Channel movie with Mischa Collins from Supernatural who my wife loves. Before it even came out Mischa appoligized for it)

  21. I am a tad embarrassed because we find all 3 of your honorable mentions as some of our favorites...mainly because I'm pretty sure Patrick has a man-crush on Kevin Costner, and I have a completely normal crush on Christian Bale (especially when he's all angsty rather than too skinny).

  22. Good Grief, I cannot even watch "a good" movie on the trainer. If I tried to watch one of those my workout would surely end early!

  23. Fabulously bad movies to watch on the trainer - old Star Trek - it is so bad it's good!

  24. Awesome!! This is my first season with a trainer and I'm loving all the advice. So far I've been happy with my iPod but I know for longer rides I'll need some visual aid. I was thinking some kick-your-ass fight movies... martial arts is a great genre for bad but compellingly watchable movies. Plus you get the "I wanna kick your ass" adrenaline that could help power through session.

  25. Yes, this is EXACTLY why I watch reality TV on the trainer/treadmill. The trashier the better...Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of Atlanta, etc etc. Because I find myself in just shock thinking "I can't believe the trainwreck I am watching" and before I know it, bam, 30 minutes have just passed! haha!