Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Froemming picked “Birdemic 2: The Resurrection.”
The Movie: “Birdemic 2: The Resurrection”
Starring: Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore, Thomas Favaloro
Director: James Nguyen
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) A platoon of eagles and vultures attack Hollywood, California. Why did the eagles and vultures attack? Who will survive?
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 26 percent
Froemming: We all know 2020 has been a rough year. COVID-19 has made everything suck, murder hornets were about, Kobe died in a helicopter crash, George Floyd was murdered on camera, the explosion in Beriut, Chadwick Boseman died at a shocking young age, Wilford Brimley dying shocked me as I was of the opinion he died decades ago, protests in the streets, and our president being a brain-damaged dolt certainly has not helped anything as well.
What could make this year any more insane?
A few years ago, Brown had us sit through “Birdemic,” a hilariously terrible film in every way imaginable about a borderline sociopath who stalks a woman and the two fall in love when birds start murdering people because of Global Warming.
So I decided it was time for us to visit James Nguyen’s follow-up to his cult classic. We needed comfort food in this awful year. Something familiar. Something like we were..
I was not prepared for what we sat through.
Brown, as I cue up YouTube for some Slayer during the CGI blood rain, why don’t you give us your first thoughts?
Brown: This movie has caveman sex. That’s the level of genius we’re dealing with here.
I honestly didn’t know “Birdemic” had a sequel; I thought it was something that was in production and not something that’s been out for, what, seven years now?
Now, I was scared when Froemming sent me the trailer for “Birdemic 2” because it looked like it became too self-aware and was just being bad for the sake of being a bad movie.
That… isn’t quite the case. Oh, it’s bad. For the most part, it’s not forced bad. If anything it’s basically the first movie with a new cyborg actor and a new random blonde actress. It’s like Hollywood’s Menudo.
Anyways, we had a TON to unpack, so I’ll let you walk us into this review for an uncomfortable amount of time.
Froemming: Oh yeah, this movie begins with one of our new leads, Bill, walking through Hollywood…for what feels like 5 straight minutes. Him. Just walking. With this jaunty tune playing.
Brown: I wrote down when the walking stopped: Five minutes, 25 seconds. The music video for “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve wasn’t that long and that music video is literally someone walking down the street!
Froemming: At one point, the cameraperson loses Bill, and we actually see the camera panning to find him again. He just walks and walks and at one point, he passes a strip club with the following tag: “1,000s of beautiful girls and three ugly ones.” Yikes.
Also, a lot of the signs are blurred out. Even when it comes to free advertising, some businesses wanted no part of this movie. Which, after I sat through it, I totally understood.
Brown: Nevermind that they picked the most quiet day ever in Hollywood (because few people were in these shots), I was getting motion sickness from the cameraman being unable to keep steady. Also, James Nguyen knows credits can go at the end of a movie, right?
Froemming: There are a lot of things with movie making Mr. Nguyen does not know, one being a recurring issue with sound. Like in the first movie.
Brown: Oh, the first six minutes, I wrote notes about the white balance being off and one of the characters being slightly out of focus in a conversation scene.
Froemming: And we get this when Bill finally stops all this walking and goes into this dive bar, where a waitress named Gloria is working, and we hear more of the background clutter of wind and dishes more than what our new leads actually say to one another.
So, Nguyen did upgrade the cameras for this movie, he just blanked on mics, booms or even ADR in post. Because white noise dominates the audio in this movie.
Bill orders a pitcher of beer and two glasses because he is meeting someone to discuss a movie he is making. Yet, just a few minutes later we see Rod and Nathalie at his table, where the three of them are enjoying this non-carbonated beer.
Yes, the script got the number of glasses needed here wrong. This…this is amazingly bad.
Brown: I honestly feel bad talking shit about these movies because, after watching a Vice mini-doc on James Nguyen and “Birdemic,” this is an earnest effort.
Froemming: As someone who sat through two of Nguyen’s movies, I do not feel anything at all anymore.
Brown: Were you thrown off like I was when Bill and Rod are having this expositional dialogue about being at last year’s Sundance and how the life of an independent moviemaker is something never explored in Hollywood? It’s why Bill is trying to finance and make the movie “Sunset Dreams.”
Two problems with this:
– From a believability perspective, Bill is a good enough moviemaker to get to Sundance but is forced to dine at a crappy Hollywood sports bar? I feel like he could afford somewhere that has cloth napkins.
– If there is one genre of movie that has not been neglected, it’s movies about movie making. Hell, here’s a list of 25 of them.
Froemming: OK, while that was baffling, I was more concerned about the events of the previous movie, because the main characters are back, and we don’t get a single reference to the first movie until way into this one, and it is one of the most (REDACTED) up callbacks I have ever seen.
WHERE ARE ALL THE BIRDS THAT WERE ATTACKING EVERYONE?
Nobody talks about it, like the first birdemic happened during a nationwide gas leak.
Brown: Right?! What is basically a northern California version of 9/11 is basically forgotten by everyone until the plot remembers “Oh wait, this is a sequel.”
Also, remember when “Birdemic” had a big environmental message? This movie is just about making independent movies with an “Oh yeah, global warming” excuse made with, like, 20 minutes left in the movie.
ANYWAYS… back to “Birdemic 2.”
Bill gives his pitch for “Sunset Dreams” and Rod decides to finance the movie for a million dollars. But, he wants to be an executive producer AND Natalie (I’m not calling her Nathalie) has to be given a role. She was a fashion model with Victoria’s Secret in the first movie and now she’s trying to break into acting. She won’t get the lead role, though; that’ll go to Gloria, whom Bill is lusting for to the point where I thought she’d go to the audition and we’d see a blank room with a casting couch like every porno ever on a free website.
Also wanna mention, between the bar scene and a board room scene later: SO MANY HIGH-FIVES in this movie.
Froemming: Natalie gets a role and so does their adoptive son. Which confused me because I remember the kids from the first movie, but this seems like it was even acknowledging that one at all.
Brown: The kid (which we can touch on later) is in this movie for ONE scene. This movie did not want to be made.
Should also mention that Bill (who looks like one of the yuppie friends Patrick Bateman would kill in “American Psycho”) sees a despondent Gloria out on the streets. She’s fed up with Hollywood and ready to go home. However, Bill offers her $1,000 to stay in town and audition for “Sunset Dreams.”
Prostitutes are cheaper, Bill.
Froemming: No, he says if she doesn’t get the lead role in the movie HE IS MAKING, he will give her $1,000 to get back home to wherever the (REDACTED) she is from.
So, to keep that money, he just needs to cast her. In his movie about making movies…
Look, there are a lot of Billy Wilder references and “Sunset Boulevard” references in this. James Nguyen made an even stranger and creepier version of David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” with “Birdemic 2.”
Brown: Poor Tippi Hedren gets dragged into this, too. Bill gives his “stay in Hollywood” speech to Gloria and points down to Tippi’s Hollywood star. New Ulm, Minnesota’s own Tippi Hedren was in Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” a movie about birds attacking people that has effects better than “Birdemic” despite being 40 years older. And it’s not like the effects in “The Birds” were good.
Froemming: We next revisit the Boardroom of the Strange Clapping from the first movie, where Rod’s old boss and a buddy are in talks to help finance Bill’s stupid movie. And they are baffled by the lack of boobs in the script. And the lack of violence. This might be the only realistic element of the whole movie, because people are truly awful.
Brown: They’re one step away from suggesting full penetration like Dennis Reynolds in “Always Sunny.”
So they say they’ll also finance “Sunset Dreams” for… … A MILLION DOLLARS!
And we get more awkward clapping and high fives.
… We’re sure we didn’t want the original “Birdemic,” right?
Froemming: At this point, I thought this was an “Evil Dead 2” situation where it is called a sequel, but really it is just a higher quality remake of the original.
And that was what I thought, until they reference the first movie later on. Which made me even more confused by *waves hands around wildly* everything about this franchise.
Now we go to the casting auditions, where the lighting and coloring were never considered, so some characters are overly lit, others not lit well at all, it was maddening.
James Nguyen understands movies are a visual medium, right?
Brown: Again, hate to shit on him for having an earnest dream. But no, he doesn’t understand that, Froemming.
Well, Gloria gets the lead role in “Sunset Dreams” because OF COURSE SHE DOES because Bill wants to (REDACTED) her
and chop her up afterwards because he’s clearly a serial killer. To celebrate, they have a “business” lunch with a bowl of pho at a Vietnamese restaurant.
Look, I really like pho. Hell, I took Froemming to get his first ever bowl of it. But that is a terrible food item for a business luncheon. It’s a lot of slurping and spilled broth. Nevermind that you can’t hear any dialogue in the damn restaurant due to the white noise
What do you do after a productive business lunch? ROMANTIC MONTAGE! In this movie’s case, driving in a BMW to knockoff Bonnie Tyler music.
Froemming: Green screen driving where our leads have sunglasses on, then practical outdoors shots where they are not wearing those sunglasses. So continuity is also a thing the director does not understand. And they are driving to this painful and strange Bonnie Tyler ripoff:
It is basically this song with different lyrics:
Brown: I was crying from laughter when they had to blur out the license plate for the BMW. THEN, they had a scene on a boardwalk where they had to blur out the faces of everyone else on the boardwalk.
THEN! They meet Rod and Natalie on the beach and have a double date, I think? I don’t know because the audio is knocked out by the wind.
THEN! THEN! We get a CGI jellyfish… I’ll mention that this is about 25 minutes into this movie and we’ve had NO birds.
I’ll let you take the lead on that one, Froemming, after you answer this question: We’re sure this movie isn’t a skit from “The Eric Andre Show,” right?
Froemming: This movie is somehow more insane than “The Eric Andre Show” and I had no idea that was even possible.
So we get this “Jaws” ripoff scene of a pair of legs in the water, but the water and jellyfish look like they are from “Super Mario 64,” and I was laughing so hard at this I was crying and probably upsetting my neighbors.
This CGI jellyfish attacks the legs, and by “attack” I mean the CGI jellyfish is just placed over the legs in this baffling scene.
Then this woman comes running out of the ocean with blood on her legs AND HER ARMS? That is not what happens when stung by a jellyfish for one, and two: Even if it were, why was she bleeding on her shoulders?
Brown: She looked like a 6-year-old drew on her with markers. As a woman is in agonizing pain over a jellyfish attack, our heroes have the urgency of someone who got asked for directions to the nearest high school.
Don’t worry, because this woman will get the medical care she needs when she’s hauled away in a CGI ambulance that drives right into the side of a mountain.
… I was laughing so (REDACTED) hard.
Look, here’s the scene in full. Just watch it yourself, dear reader.
Froemming: After this jarring scene, we get what is my favorite scene in the whole (REDACTED) movie.
The gang is now at a museum, with a child. Where he came from, it is not explained. And while looking at the bones of prehistoric birds, the boy looks at Natalie and Gloria and says: “I wish Susan could have been here to see this bird skeleton, but she got that disease from that fish that Rod cooked.”
Now, this is a callback to the first movie, this kid and Susan were the children Rod and Natalie saved. And at the end of that movie, Rod catches a fish and cooks it on the beach.
Rod cut poor Susan down with diseased fish. When I put all this together, I laughed nonstop for 10 straight minutes. Rod killed a child with undercooked fish.
Brown: Question: How many days does this movie take place in? Because the plan was to go straight from the beach to the La Brea Tar Pits. But everyone changes into nice clothes. To visit tar pits. Bill and Rod fail to tuck in their dress shirts, which distracted me to the point that I glossed over how Rod killed someone via poison fish in the last movie.
Outside the tar pits, the gang sees a man named Dr. Jones. The kid’s question to Dr. Jones: Do you have any birds I can play with? Because THAT’S a natural line of dialogue.
The good doctor then goes on to give a lecture about birds that no one asked for and immediately regrets asking the doc how he’s doing. But in the middle of all this, the movie randomly cuts to a cave man and woman raw-dogging in the middle of nature before fighting off killer birds with a bone before getting their throats sliced.
Did what I write make no goddamn sense? WELCOME TO MY (REDACTED) LIFE WATCHING THIS MOVIE.
This is where I called Froemming — at 1:30 a.m. on a Sunday night, mind you — because text would not convey the level of confusion and amazement I experienced due to caveman sex in a movie called “Birdemic 2.”
Froemming: This is followed by a solid 5 minutes of b-roll of boats in a bay, and our two couples on the beach talking. Because all that is audible here is the wind and waves crashing, I have no idea what they were talking about.
Brown: I wrote in my notes that I’m shocked they didn’t need to blur a pelican’s face out.
Also, I know why we’re here: It’s the (REDACTED) Catalina Wine Mixer!
Froemming: So let’s go to the nightclub that is, somehow, green? And we get a callback of our favorite singer from the first movie, doing a bizarre song in auto-tune for some (REDACTED) reason and, my favorite, MORE AWKWARD WHITE PEOPLE DANCING!
Brown: The look on the singer’s face screams “where is the nearest bank? I’m not having James Nguyen’s check bounce on me AGAIN!”
And hey man, don’t forget that Natalie’s mom shows up and goes from being a gentle soul to interrogating Rod about why she hasn’t gotten grandkids yet like she’s Amy Wong’s parents in “Futurama.”
Seriously, the mom’s change of tone was downright violent.
Froemming: This is followed by a love scene that is somehow more awkward than the four love scenes in “The Room.” I have no idea why this was included, but this is a movie that introduced a child character mentioning Rod murdered his sister with rotten fish and we never see that character again.
Brown: I was confused about how a woman gets talked into getting down to her bra and panties in a James Nguyen movie.
That was before I saw bare breasts later in the movie.
Froemming: I am convinced neither James Nguyen or Tommy Wiseau know what sex is.
After this, we get *checks notes* CGI BLOOD RAIN?
HELL YEAH BROTHER!
Brown: It took 42 minutes into a 79-minute movie, but we FINALLY got the birds!
Froemming: The CGI blood rain comes down, and out of the tar pits rise BIRDS!
Birds that randomly explode in the sky!
WHAT THE (REDACTED) WAS I WATCHING?
And not JUST birds, but cavepeople too! This movie kicks things up a notch now.
Brown: I was cackling while it’s raining blood and birds are running amok, there’s an aerial shot of a park where people are walking around calm and collected.
This is just the start of the insanity.
The birds fly into the studio where “Sunset Dreams” is being filmed. Natalie’s first response: “Grab a hanger! Birds hate hangers!”
Either the original birdemic was a fever dream for this world or Rod and Natalie retained NOTHING from that harrowing experience.
At least Rod and the men on set had the wherewithal to use an infinite ammo cheat because NO ONE reloads a gun through the rest of the movie.
Also, we get random bare breasts! There’s a horror movie being filmed at the studio, I think? I also think the guy chasing the near-naked women was Bill because he’s definitely a serial killer.
It’s seriously more jarring than the random boobs showing up in “Airplane!”
Froemming: Yeah, it comes out of nowhere and feels really gross. Then they are killed by CGI birds, which makes things worse.
Also, when our heroes are fighting the birds, Rod is doing these roundhouse kicks that would make Mac from “It’s Always Sunny” proud.
Brown: They’re also throwing random “Jaws” references in our faces since there’s a shark hanging from a dock and an Amity Beach sign straight from the movie. Did James Nguyen think “Birdemic 2” would do for vultures and eagles what “Jaws” did for great whites? If so, MASSIVE failure.
So with all this death and carnage left through this movie lot, you’d think our heroes would be panicked, right? NOPE. They react to death like someone getting a stubbed toe, like “Oh, that’s too bad.”
Froemming: Rod doesn’t emote, he is the Kristen Stewart of this franchise.
Brown: Then they come across two more survivors and start *checks notes* networking? Are you (REDACTED) serious, movie?!
Froemming: This is followed by them heading to the Old West set, where they come across a cabin and a woman and we get this brilliant dialog:
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Will, I am a screenwriter.”
Yeah, another scene where I burst out laughing for a solid five minutes.
And now we get one of the few references of the first movie. Natalie mentions this is all so weird, because this happened to her and Rod when they were in Halfmoon Bay.
Brown: I put in my notes that it took this movie 54 MINUTES to acknowledge the events of the first “Birdemic.”
Froemming: And then, right after, they bump into the tree hugger with the ridiculous wig from the first movie, where we get an environmental message on how people shouldn’t use TOILET PAPER!
(REDACTED) you, James Nguyen!
Brown: I’m not a man of wealthy means. I make enough to pay my bills. But the one thing I’ll spend money on is soft toilet paper. If I were this weird-haired hippie, I’d be incredulous at the world as well if I also always had a chapped asshole.
So again, the birds are attacking people due to global warming (or something), so our group hops into a gas-guzzling RV.
This movie is (REDACTED) stupid.
Froemming: They are on the isolated streets of Hollywood, where generic “They Live” music is playing, and they…head to a movie theater playing Billy Wilder’s classic “Sunset Boulevard.”
And the birds are attacking the people in the theater…somehow. And heroes take off again, and we get more CGI blood rain that causes the dead to walk the Earth once again!
Brown: I like how casual the zombies are dressed, like it’s fashionable for people in LA to bury their loved ones in jeans/blouse combinations and baseball T-shirts. The makeup for the zombies is also on par with the “I like turtles” kid.
Anyways, Jessica meets her maker after being chomped on by a zombie. That sucks, I guess?
After escaping the graveyard, the group goes to the zoo.
That’s a bad idea. You know what zoos normally have, guys? BIRDS! You are all goddamn clods.
Some zoo worker goes on about how the birds don’t attack the zoo because it’s eco-friendly. Seconds later, a nameless guy in the group gets his throat cut and dies (but not before he finds a comfy way to lay dead on a ledge).
And if you weren’t confused enough, the cave man and woman from before (you know, the ones who were banging) are wandering the streets…
Is this what drugs are like, Froemming?
Froemming: They walk the streets at night, they go where Eagles Dare, Brown!
Yeah, so our chuckleheads decide to see if these cavepeople need help, and immediately get their asses kicked and, again, I could not stop laughing at this. This was just so damn bonkers. Good thing Natalie saves them, well “good” being highly subjective in this instance.
Brown: Imagine being some resident of LA, walking down the street one day and seeing two blondes fending off cavepeople beating up their yuppie boyfriends. You’d think they put hallucinogens in the water supply or something.
Froemming: I would have reconsidered my life choices that brought me to that moment, Brown.
The RV runs out of gas, so they decide to get gas at a hotel? Because hotels, not gas stations, are known to supply gasoline in this cinematic universe.
Brown: They had a legit 30-second still shot of the Pasadena Inn for no damn reason!
Froemming: Maybe Nguyen was shaming this hotel for having Coke products in a Pepsi machine! The characters enjoy some sodas here, and one of them clearly has a Coca-Cola. I mean, the Pepsi machine at the Bemidji Pioneer had Diet Coke in it for some (REDACTED) reason, so this wasn’t something that shocked me. It was just baffling.
Brown: The birds attack again and take out Will, our screenwriter friend. As he’s dying, you can clearly see the cameraman in the reflection of the glass door, so this scene didn’t have the gravity they were hoping for.
And then… the birds just kind of leave. The Asian man is dead so their work is done?
This movie is an allegory for Hollywood killing James Nguyen’s dreams, isn’t it?
Froemming: Well, he killed my sense of sanity with these two movies, so fair is fair I say.
Brown, let’s drive our BMWs via green screen down to recommendations!
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Froemming: Oh God yes, this was one of the nuttiest things I have ever seen.Brown: I said no to the previous “Birdemic.” I’d like to retract that and say you should watch both of these movies back-to-back just to see if you can comprehend this lunacy.
Here is what’s coming up for the next Joe-Down: