Episode 08 - Dangerous Men (2005?)
In 2005 a mysterious movie appeared in five LA movie theaters. There was no promotion, one known TV commercial, and no information even on IMDB. The movie would become urban legend and fall into obscurity, never to be seen again... until now.
The people at Drafthouse Films have done the world a favor. Digging this movie out of obscurity and putting it into the hands of the public should be considered an act of public service. Every aspect of this movie is so poorly made that it's truly a unique piece of art that belongs in the Smithsonian. Nobody could ever, and will ever, achieve the level of travesty that this film has achieved.
For this masterpiece we have one person to thank:
John Rad credits himself as: Director, "Screenplay Writer", Producer, Composer, Production Designer and Editor of this film. In that sense, he is a true auteur and this movie was his life's work. It took over two decades to complete and a mere two years after it's release he passed away tragically from a heart attack. At the time of his death the movie had fallen into obscurity and only a select few of us had the chance to witness the work he produced. John wouldn't have appreciated the new-found fame his film has achieved as a so-bad-it's-good type of movie; he personally thought it was perfect. It's best he never witnessed the aftermath of this film, he wouldn't have wanted it this way.
How do I know all this? Well, I met him once.
One day in 2005 I got a call from my dad, he claimed he had just heard a radio interview about a movie playing in LA that evening that we HAD to see. It was a midnight screening over at the Laemmle's Sunset 5. We immediately reserved our tickets and showed up for what we thought would be a packed house.
In it's initial run for seven days in those five Los Angeles theaters, Dangerous Men made a total box office draw of $70. It was later confirmed that John Rad had personally paid for the distribution himself - and is estimated at over $10,000. In that sense, Dangerous Men is probably the worst box office disaster in history. Barely anyone even knew it existed, there was only one commercial ever seen and there was literally no promotion whatsoever. Nobody had ever heard of John Rad.
Word had spread online about the few lucky people that caught a glimpse of the film. A small group of people were hungry for the chance to see it after missing it's initial run. Laemmle arranged for a midnight screening and John Rad had arranged to take the film on the road for a few select screenings around the country.
We showed up for the screening to find a packed movie theater - we even saw Adam Sandler there - and we were sure the film was about to explode in popularity. Or so we thought. We quickly found out that most of the other people waiting to see the film where actually there to see the Tommy Wiseau classic The Room. Our theater was only occupied by my friends and family and about two other patrons. Dangerous Men wouldn't find it's fame that night but what happened was something even more strange than I could have ever imagined.
The screening was amazing. I laughed so hard I cried. The lights came up and as I exited the theater I got the surprise of a lifetime, someone had come into the theater during the screening and sat right behind me. That person was John Rad and his wife. He had his signature goatee and sunglasses on. He didn't look at us, he looked very stoic and upset. I would later be referenced in an interview with John Rad:
He said in an interview, At a midnight screening he was able to attend before his death he referred to everyone laughing in the theater as "just a bunch of drunk people."
I was not drunk. I do understand his frustrations however. As an artist myself I can understand how people laughing at your work can be hurtful. If I had known he was sitting behind me the whole time would I have still laughed? I probably couldn't have helped myself.
For years I had described this movie to friends and family. I could never show them the film because it wasn't available. For 10 years I talked about my experience and how this was the greatest bad movie I had ever seen. I am happy to be able to share this film with everyone, thanks Drafthouse.