I recommend the podcast The Worst Idea Of All Time. It’s hosted by kiwi comics Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt, and could be described as ‘high concept’. Guy and Tim have decided to watch and review the Adam Sandler film Grown Ups 2 every week for 52 consecutive weeks. They may well have either succeeded or had simultaneous mental breakdowns by now, but I don’t know as I’m only on episode 16 and don’t want the surprise ruined.
While the polished and enthralling style of This American Life, 99% Invisible and Serial forms one end of the podcast spectrum, this is sitting at the other, with Me1 Vs Me2 Snooker as its only companion. In no other medium could such a brilliantly ludicrous show exist. The absurdity of the concept and their psychological compulsion to continue with it (watching the film 52 times has some significance or misguided sense of achievement attached to it) provides a lot of the humour, as do their witty, analytical and unhinged comments on the film.
Grown-Ups 2 is notoriously awful, but a very special type of awful. A type of awful that isn’t so bad that it’s good and can be viewed with an ironic distance, the kind of awful that eats away at your soul. Week on week Guy and Tim find new things to criticise, but this isn’t just a case of two men regularly ripping it out of a bad film. They start to develop a movie-blindness that clouds their critical judgement of films, they have a Stockholm syndrome affection for some elements, and have paranoid theories ranging from the plausible (Grown-Ups 2 being a tax dodge enterprise) to the insane (one of the characters is secretly a warlock.)
At times it’s difficult to work out what’s so entertaining about listening. It’s almost mental illness by proxy – I feel compelled to listen to every episode because doing so has some significance or misguided sense of achievement attached to it. It’s a pop culture take on endurance theatre, pushing the audience and participants into a peculiar state of mind. If Samuel Beckett had lived long enough to podcast, it would sound like this.
All that’s left to say is: listen to the show, and don’t watch the movie.