With 'The Butler' in theaters we look back at some of the genre's messier moments
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9. 'Radio' (2003)
When I was working as a writer at Revolution Studios, Todd Garner called us into his office to show us the first trailer for the film "Radio," and my writing partner lit up as soon as the trailer started. He has a particular love for Hollywood's efforts at turning developmentally challenged people into saints, and Cuba Gooding Jr. does indeed, as Robert Downey Jr. warned in "Tropic Thunder" go "full retard." And it is glorious. Mike Rich is a good writer and I have no doubt he and director Michael Tolllin and Todd Garner and everyone working on the film all meant incredibly well, but this is so earnest, and so scientifically precise about being earnest, that I almost feel like it's an inside joke, a bet made that they could take an ostensibly true magazine article and make it feel like a Frankenstein Monster sewed together from the parts of a hundred afterschool specials. It is a special enthusiastic kind of bad film, the bad film that almost dares you to say something about how bad it is.