As you know, I did a guest spot on a special Big Trouble in Little China podcast with Stephen Escudero in the not-so-distant past. If you listened, you’ll know that I managed to go off on a wild tangent (crazy, I know) and mentioned The Land of Faraway (full title: Mio In The Land of Faraway). To be honest, I don’t know many people that have seen this shit show. It’s a Swedish/Norwegian/Russian hybrid from 1987. This movie is delightfully bad. It’s delicious. You will take joy in how bad it is. If that’s not enough, here are five reasons to go watch it on YouTube this weekend.
|This is craptacular. You simply MUST watch it.|
An orphan with the absolute worst foster family watches as his best friend and bestie’s dad bond in front of him. Then he goes home and gets verbally abused, then decides to run away. Then he gets taken to a magical land in the most batshit way possible, where he learns that he’s the long-lost prince, complete with a dad that looks just like his best friend’s dad back home. Within a few minutes of arrival, he finds out that he must defeat an evil knight that kidnaps children and turns them into birds (as one does). I swear, I’m not making this up. This is the actual plot. Which leads me to…
Christopher Lee is the evil knight. Timothy Bottoms is the king. Christian Bale – a very young Christian Bale – is the best friend. Come on, it’s got fucking Batman in it! Given, he’s like, ten, but it counts. Sounds decent enough on paper, right? WRONG. This is the very definition of phoning it in. This movie has horrific child acting and the most melodramatic adult performances since the soap poisoning scene of A Christmas Story. I gave up on trying to figure out if it was the script or the acting. I’m willing to pin it on the acting, as I don’t want to go near the script. Really, the kids have Swedish names that they have visible difficulty pronouncing. It reminds me of this scene from Girls Will Be Girls, except it’s actually taking itself seriously. It’s fucking glorious.
|I wouldn’t go putting this on my resume.|
That does not mean what you think it means. Our main character, Mio (Nicholas Pickard, who, god love him, he tries), gets to said Land of Faraway by means of hitching a ride on the beard attached to a giant disembodied head. Mind you, this beard floats all the way through downtown Stockholm and through the stars to said mystical wonderland with nary a cloaking device. Again, I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried. The sheer logistics of it will boggle your mind, like how in the hell does Mio’s head not explode when they get into outer space? And then there’s the quality of the beard itself. There’s something magical about staring at a film slack-jawed and uttering, “Am I really seeing this?” Yes. You are. Steer into the skid; it’s easier that way.
Hey, remember how I said that no one really cares about performance in this movie (I hesitate to call it a film)? Guess what? You not only get to see them not act in Sweden – they also show up for round two in the Land of Faraway. That’s right: you get to see the same actor totally kill TWO roles, not just one! Does anyone else hear sleigh bells? Because it’s Christmas!
I cackle when I see the special effects in this one. They’re just awful. Between the well that talks and the imploding castle, you have to see it to believe it. My personal favorite is the horse jumping over the gap in the bridge. The music that accompanies everything is the icing on the cake. You will revel in it. It’s just that amazing.
|This is as good as it gets.|