Trying to find the biggest asshole in the film industry is like trying to find the greasiest guy at a KFC eating contest. Just when you think you’ve found your man, gnawing his way through a 40-piece family bucket, you see someone across the room with a Double Down in each hand and a face so oily it's a miracle America hasn't invaded.
The competition is thick. But documentarian Sean Patrick Shaul may have found a candidate in notorious raging asshole, Uwe Boll. Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story, release date TBC, follows the storied career of the titular Uwe Boll (pronounced Oo-Veh Bowl) a notoriously agro German filmmaker whose back catalogue of films are so bad they make Tommy Wissau look like Steven goddamned Spielberg.
Boll specialised in (poorly) adapting video games into film, with very low budgets and little adherence to any source material, pissing off gamers and baffling critics. Video game adaptations aren’t exactly high art, but still, Boll manages to plumb the depths of the genre, continually finding new ways to disappoint audiences. TIME magazine’s list of the Top Ten Worst Video Game Movies gave Boll the dubious honour of three spots. In fact, in many lists of the worst films of all time, Boll finds himself overrepresented. But unlike many “so-good-that-it’s-bad” films that become cult-classics, Boll consistently lost money on his cinematic endeavours.
BloodRayne, In the Name of the King, and House of the Dead are rated 4 percent on Rotten Tomatoes; Alone in the Dark has a 1 percent rating. In 2007, BloodRayne received Golden Raspberry Award nominations for worst director, worst picture, worst actress, worst supporting actor, worst supporting actress and worst screenplay. Two years later, Boll received a “Worst Career Achievement” Golden Raspberry Award.
This begs the question – how did the German auteur continue producing flop after flop in Hollywood, where one major loss can mean “you’ll never work in this town again”?
The answer is a bizarre tax loophole in his native country that allowed for film losses to be written off. It’s a complicated bit of creative accounting, but Boll is a savvy businessman. Taking advantage of generous German tax subsidies, he financed a slew of low-grade, zero-effort, flaming piles of horseshit, before turning to a failed Kickstarter campaign, and then finally, to the relief of film-lovers around the world, he called it quits and left the industry for good.
He claims to be a misunderstood artist, but we’re a little sceptical. He was playing the game, and – credit to him – he played it well. His larger-than-life personality helped him garner attention and infamy. When critics condemned his films as the dumpster fires they were, he bit back. More critics joined in the chorus driving him further into the spotlight, providing him the platform he needed to secure more (tax-free) investment and make more terrible films and more and more money.
He effectively conned the global film industry, from Germany all the way to LA. And he did a damned fine job of it too – according to online sources, today Boll is worth a tidy US$10 million, some of which surely comes from his current restaurant business (which is apparently pretty good), but most of which he would have made during his stint as the “world’s worst director”.
The stories floating around about Boll, combined with his brash reputation and his dubious exploitation of German tax law mean Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story should make for a fascinating documentary. At the very least, we’ll get a deep look into the mind of one of filmmaking’s most memorable assholes.