Even without the hilarious small edits and cuts made by “Everything is Terrible!,” their film comprised of clips and long montages of bizarre footage from news reports is so funny and bizarre, it warrants watching twice, and heavy analyses. When we look back at the VHS generation, we can look back at “Everything is Terrible! The Movie” and either remember that the generation was not all peaches and cream, or was maybe even better than we remember. It’s tough to believe that so much of the unusual, silly, and over the top infomercials and instructional videos were paid for, and made for the utmost sincerity of selling us something or teaching us something.
Imagine the absurdity of informercials but tripled in the idea that we are fairly incompetent animals that will buy in to just about anything, if it’s on tape and approached with a stern attitude. There’s a haunting look at a beauty mask that looks horrfyingly like a mask for a slasher film; one man also fails to convince his co-host that the ice cream he’s making on a machine is better than store bought. Oddly enough, the most bizarre clips involve the new wave of pseudo-celebrities the VHS wave produced. There’s the seven minute montage of news footage featuring people finding Jesus Christ in everyday objects, and the series of clips starring a man named Vincent who stands outside of a news station every morning simply to dance in what ever outrageous new suit he bought for the day.
The topper is the inside look at the life of a goofy vanilla pop band named Jump 5. “Everything is Terrible!” takes the time out to feature the majority of the pop group’s promotional video, as they take us through their everyday lives, which happens to be incredibly boring and ridiculous. One band mate brags about owning a sweet guitar and admits he can’t play it but hopes to someday. Another female band group member takes us through her room with over the top enthusiasm, even bragging about a random lamp, and in one obvious bit of product placement, a group member brags about how he was given almost a dozen XBox video games by Microsoft. Thanks, Microsoft! The video then ends with the group performing an obviously lip synched pop tune to a crowd of random extras. Thanks, Microsoft!
“Everything is Terrible!” lends something of an artistic gloss to the videos they feature, bending a lot of the scenes and edits to look like something out of “They Live.” There’s the heavy theme of blind consumerism, blatant celebrity worship, and our very easy agreeability with one another for the sake of pack mentality; especially in regards to footage from local news. One of the more disturbing videos involves the exploration of Hollywood’s desire for child actors, discussing how they want all kinds of kids. We then cut to a four year old girl who is scrutinized and criticized for missing her mark during an audition as an agent boasts that kids should be given direction and told what to say all the time. It’s hard to believe someone might have actually rented an instructional video like this at one time with intent to rocket their children in to fame.
Meanwhile there are segment injected for the hilarity of exploring a time before the digital age, including three whole instructional videos about that new fangled fad called “the internet” and “web surfing.” Yes, even you can go on Netscape and find information about embroidery and underground music by using your mouse. There’s an inherent value and social commentary behind “Everything is Terrible! The Movie” whether intentional, or not; it’s very much a niche comedy. But if you’re feeling bold and in the mood for something out of the ordinary, you might find a lot of comedic value out of an instructional video involving a magician teaching men how to win unsuspecting women with art of magic that ends with a group of sexy women practically fondling an underage boy in a pool.