Lost, Lonely and Vicious - 1958

James Dean and a sportscar

The competition for "worst movie ever made" can be pretty intense when you lump together films that are shot competently enough but are excruciatingly poor on dramatics punctuated with obvious, in-your-face dialogue. In this area of "bad," Lost, Lonely and Vicious excels.

More or less a retelling of the death of James Dean, Lost, Lonely and Vicious is the story of "Johnnie Dennis," an actor who the film tells us is both famous and on the brink of super stardom. The trappings of this stardom are completely absent except for dialogue reminding us of the fact and his racing about in a sports car, otherwise he seems like just another screwed-up kid talking to other screwed-up kids in a malt-shop, all of whom dream of achieving movie acting stardom. He gets into fights featuring mostly under whelming stunt-work and is characterized as creepily obsessive about girls once he is on a first name basis with them. However much of this was intended or is just the unintentional result of the mawkish production handling is hard to say, the tale moves forward in spurts of activity then slows down again with bland dialogue, whatever pulpy exploitation that is possible from the subject matter completely larded over with a pedantic attitude that borders on becoming an instructional documentary if only a narrative voice would intrude and tell us how the youth of the 1950's should better behave and learn the rudiments of a functioning and polite society.

Well, we never get that, and we never get the other, which would have been a brazen rip-off of the James Dean "legend." Instead we do get to view a sort of Greta Garbo imitation, and a Jayne Mansfield imitation, and of course the James Dean imitation which is mostly unrecognizable if the film lost the speeding sports car and the obsessive (and rather hilarious) obsession with death which stretches a very simple metaphor to infinity when "Johnnie Dennis" races his sports car with a self-portrait of himself as a corpse in the passenger seat which he keeps looking over to as if he's going to ask for directions.

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Original Page January 8, 2017