Written by: Rob Van Winkle, CC2K Staff Writer
Some movies are so bad, you just want to walk away and never discuss it with anyone. However, OTHER movies are so much worse than that, your only recourse is to find the filmmaker and haul his ass to court. When Rob Van Winkle was forced to watch Cheerleader Ninjas as part of April Fools' Week, he chose the latter.
(The following is a transcript of a court case that took place on March 17, 2008, on the main campus of CC2K Headquarters)
Bailiff: All Rise. Court is now in session. The Honorable Judge Michael Swain presiding.
Judge Swain: Be seated.
(All take their seats)
Judge Swain: We are hear today for the case of the people of the world versus Kevin Campbell. Mr. Campbell, please rise.
Judge Swain: Kevin Campbell, you are hereby charged with being the writer/director/producer of a film called Cheerleader Ninjas, a movie completely and utterly devoid of even the slightest shred of integrity, humor, or watchability. You are also charged for what appears to be an egregious lack of remorse for creating such an atrocity, in that you appear to continue to this day to promote and sell this piece of crap to the unsuspecting masses. How do you plead?
Kevin Campbell, Writer/Director/Producer Cheerleader Ninjas: Not Guilty, your honor.
Judge Swain: Very well. Take your seat. We will begin with opening statements. The defense has requested that they go first. Counsel?
(Kevin Campbell sits. Alan Walnut rises.)
[Editor's note: The following is the actual justification that Alan Walnut gave for submitting this movie for April Fools' Week. Other such justifications will occur at the top of the resulting articles.]
Alan Walnut: “During my freshman year in college, some friends and I decided to have a guy’s night and watch some “guy” movies. I went to the local movie store and came across a movie called Cheerleader Ninjas. It was a VERY shitty movie, and yet we did enjoy the scenes devoted to showing as many breasts as possible…I mean that always should make a movie better, am I right? I confess that we watched a few scenes over again, laughing at how bad they were, and we marveled that someone actually thought this plot up and then MADE it.
Slowly, Cheerleader Ninjas became my favorite bad movie to talk about. I have long sought out the film that could be considered the “very worst,” and in Cheerleader Ninjas I felt I had found my Holy Grail. Since my first viewing, I have bought copies as gifts for people, and I even own one myself. Since buying it, I have only watched it ONE other time. This time it was with a friend of mine, and we combined the screening with A LOT of alcohol. This extra element greatly enhanced the experience, and I realized that being drunk off your ass is the crucial skeleton key to in any way appreciating this film.
I probably should have mentioned this when I suggested Cheerleader Ninjas for April Fools’ Week. Sorry to whoever got this pick!”
(Alan Walnut takes his seat.)
Judge Swain: Very…interesting. Mr. Prosecutor?
(Rob Van Winkle rises from the prosecutor’s chair. With a disgusted look at Kevin Campbell and his attorney, he begins speaking to the jury)
Rob Van Winkle: Bear with me here, but my mind inexplicably is drawn back to the later years of Growing Pains. During the final few seasons of that venerable sitcom, there was an episode in which Ben Seaver made a movie that he showed to the family, and this film was that week’s entire show. I remember little of that finished product, but two details stick out in my mind with crystal clarity to this day. First, it was revealed at the end of the episode that the entire film was conceived and undertaken by Mr. Seaver in an attempt to grope his girlfriend. And second, that film, no matter how shoddy and ramshackle, was still exponentially better than Cheerleader Ninjas.
In fact, I think the similarities between these two films go beyond their respective lack of quality. For, just as Ben Seaver picked up a camera in the hopes of getting to second base, so too does it seem that Mr. Kevin Campbell, the writer, director, AND producer of Cheerleader Ninjas, created this film entirely for the purpose of getting to hold a camera while women took off their shirts in his presence. But more on this in a minute.
The fact is that Cheerleader Ninjas is SO bad, even the 100% certainty of nudity is not enough to make it even slightly tolerable. Consider the following elements:
The “Characters” – In Cheerleader Ninjas, Writer/Director/Producer Kevin Campbell has the distinction of having created the most lifeless and annoying collection of stereotypes that anyone would ever have the misfortune to meet. One character, we are told right from the beginning is “gay,” which means he prances around in a skirt, simpers like a girl, and expresses a sincere desire to be sent to prison where he can be violated by prisoners. There are several guys in the picture who are “nerds,” which means that they wear Star Trek shirts, are good with computers, and are socially inept. Our hero “cheerleaders” are (get ready for this) stupid and shallow, which means they fail to grasp kindergarten-level thoughts, and discuss shoe shopping incessantly. I watched this film in its entirety, and can tell you not one character name, nor can I in any way distinguish one member of a specific group (the nerds, the cheerleaders, the…other cheerleaders) from the other. As each new character is introduced, they are so wholly interchangeable and uninteresting that they all combine in your head into one unlikeable amorphous blur.
The “Script” – Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this movie is that someone actually sat down at a computer and WROTE IT DOWN. This means that any attempt on the part of the viewer to pretend that Cheerleader Ninjas was the product of one gigantic coke-fueled film shoot falls woefully short. No, writer/director/producer Kevin Campbell dreamed up his “vision,” and used up actual time and effort and putting it down. I’ll let his results speak for themselves here. There’s the “story:” A group of repressed Catholic women, in an attempt to remove dirty pictures from the internet, hire a gay man to use rebellious Catholic girls to beat up local cheerleaders. A group of nerds become involved against their will, and it ends in a climactic fight between two gigantic robots hitting each other with dildos. If this is not enough, here is a transcript of one of the jokes, which occurs as the cheerleaders are in a fighting stance, prepared for their first battle scene:
CHEERLEADER 1: We can’t do this. We don’t know Kung Fu!
CHEERLEADER 2: Or even Kung Pao!
Laughing yet? Well then, perhaps this, clearly the most over-written section of the movie, will do the trick. This is a scene between the group of nerds, after one of them has expressed his love for one of the cheerleaders:
NERD 1: Face it, Maverick, like every other nerd out here, you’re riding the boloney pony.
NERD 2: I thought it was the sausage stick show.
NERD 3: You mean the ham-handed spam slammer with the frankfurter follow-through.
NERD 4: With a hot beef rejection.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury…as bad as these words look on paper, trust me when I tell you they are even worse when “performed” by the cast. In fact…you don’t have to trust me.
The “Acting” – When a good actor takes on even the least of roles, the character comes to life and leaps off the screen. Hell, even when a bad actor takes on a role, they might not succeed but the viewer can at least see an effort made on their part to do good work. However, every single performance in Cheerleader Ninjas is far less than even this. The quality of the performances is on par with what you might see if the “troubled” kids in middle school put on a mandatory play. It is abundantly clear that the “actors” have no idea what they’re saying; this movie could have gotten performances of completely equal quality from them had they done the entire thing in Sanskrit. If a person has been born who can watch these people act in this film and not want to punch each of them in the throat, then I have not met him yet.
Once again, please don’t take my word for any of this. Instead, I have brought in a clip. Your Honor, let me submit Prosecution Exhibit A: a scene from Cheerleader Ninjas in which the cheerleaders go to the “headquarters” of the nerds. It speaks for itself, I believe. Please pay special attention to the extended fart “joke.” By joke, I mean merely that we see a camera shot of a man’s ass while we hear the sounds of flatulence for five solid seconds. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the first of SEVENTEEN such jokes that appear throughout the film. (This is not an exaggeration. I took notes).
(At this point, Mr. Van Winkle ran the video for the jury. An online version of this scene can be found HERE)
Finally, this brings me back to the aforementioned nudity. There is no problem with nudity per se, and certainly no problem with movies that feature it. God knows that I love to see naked women on screen, though don’t tell my wife that!
(Mr. Van Winkle pauses for laughter. None comes.)
There might even have been a place, once upon a time, for a film that served no other purpose than to feature nudity interspersed intermittently between meaningless drivel. However, we do not live in those times anymore! The internet has freed up anyone with a computer with the ability to see whatever they want, whenever they want. For God’s sake, the woman who gets naked the most (and most often) in Cheerleader Ninjas is a soft-core porn actress whose titular website is advertised WITHIN THE MOVIE! Anyone watching this movie solely for the breasts will have to wait over thirteen minutes for them to appear, and while four other women will remove their tops before the end credits roll, four men will also expose their asses for “comedic effect,” and at least a full minute will be spent discussing excrement. What, then, is the point?
There is none. There is also no excuse. Mr. Kevin Campbell, writer/director/producer of Cheerleader Ninjas…you should be ashamed of yourself.
The prosecution rests.
Judge Swain: Okay. I think we’re ready for closing statements. Does the defense have anything to add?
(The Defense Attorney Rises)
Alan Walnut: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury…did my client make Gone with the Wind? Absolutely not. But, did he set out to make Gone with the Wind? Absolutely not. Cheerleader Ninjas is merely a B-movie, but as B-movies go, it is one of the best of its kind. It is a broad farce with something for everyone. It’s funny and profane, and it even features plenty of nudity to keep people sticking around until the end. If it were my client’s intention to create a Merchant Ivory film, then he would be unequivocally guilty of these charges. However, since he intended to create Cheerleader Ninjas, then he is only guilty of a job well done. Thank you.
(The Defense Attorney sits.)
Judge Swain: Mr. Van Winkle?
(Rob Van Winkle stands up once more. He slowly removes his glasses, walks toward the jury, and then walks past them to the table of the defense. He takes a deep breath, then kneels down slowly so he’s facing Cheerleader Ninjas writer/director/producer Kevin Campbell directly in the eye.)
Rob Van Winkle: Fuck…you.
(Rob Van Winkle sits back down.)
Judge Swain: The time then has come for the jury to deliberate.
Jury Foreman: There’s no need, your honor. Writer/director/producer Kevin Campbell is guilty on all charges.
Judge Swain: Thank you Mr. Foreman. Let this serve as a warning to all of us who go to the video store in search of a cheap thrill. Titles like Cheerleader Ninjas might look appealing on the shelf, but you rent or buy it at your own peril. Every penny that goes into the pocket of writer/director/producer Kevin Campbell is another piece of evidence in his shattered hull of a soul that this project was a success. Cheerleader Ninjas, and anyone who would suggest it to others (Judge Swain points a hard and pointed look at Alan Walnut) leads to other such films. Luckily, almost no one in this courtroom has had to endure this film. But what of the next one? If we don’t act now, then the next person to endure such a traumatic movie experience might be you (Judge Swain points to a member of the jury), or you (Judge Swain points to a member of the audience), or maybe even YOU. (Judge Swain points through the courtroom, through the paper, and through the computer screen, to offer a chilling moment of clarity to you, the reader.)