The Agony Booth

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The Agony Booth (named after a torture device on Star Trek) is a website that for most of its history has posted recaps of So Bad It's Good movies and TV shows. Sometimes, its recaps-cum-MSTs raise a work up to So Bad It's Good. The multipage, scene-by-scene recaps usually take longer to read than watching the movie, but that's a feature, not a bug.

Unlike many movie sites, Agony Booth isn't run by fanboys; most of the mods are older professionals (their ranks include a computer programmer, a teacher, a lawyer, a soldier, etc.), some of whom are (or have been) professional authors. The house style is therefore based around thoughtful criticisms of technical and storytelling faults as well as less tangible qualities. They are willing to mock anything, but will almost never do so without backing it up. As such, the Booth tends to have a "nothing is sacred" policy. (While it's become more apparent with the shift towards videos, it's actually always been the case, as bad films with sizable cult followings were ripe targets from the start.) The writers also have a tendency to use Troper terminology.

In recent years, in fact, the site's core mission -- while still fundamentally cynical -- has veered further and further into affectionate nostalgia, with a burgeoning TV-recap section that besides the Worst of Trek includes The A-Team, Degrassi Junior High, Jem and The Holograms and Knight Rider. These now make up the bulk of the site's postings, while films or TV shows that aren't being recapped regularly appear more occasionally then they once did.

A relentless dedication to nosing out the most offbeat and obscure hunks of pop culture cheese (Deafula, anyone?) also marks the site off from the Bad Movie mainstream. Over the years their article subjects have also included music videos (Heidi Montag's "Higher"), energy drinks (Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt), interviews (Lloyd Kaufman, Razzies founder John Wilson, etc.), and even the website of a presidential "candidate" (Lee L. Mercer, Jr.).

In July, 2010, they began a shift towards video recap series. These include:

The forums attached to the site have a reputation of exclusivity that is debatably deserved; the list of rules (and rationales for banning) are long and detailed, and intelligent argument on a par with the house style is expected whether for or against the subject in question. Likewise, poorly-handled comments can expect to receive the same treatment as any recap subject.

From the FAQ:

What's the point of this site?
The Agony Booth is primarily devoted to posting recaps of movies and TV episodes. These are not "reviews". Movies and TV episodes are thoroughly analyzed and dissected in excruciating detail to show what they do right and what they do wrong. But most important of all, the point of this site is to have fun mocking any and all kinds of movies and shows.
Tropes used in The Agony Booth include:

Ryan: "Then Malhavok shows up, so Batman tosses out a lame taunt to get him to break the dragon's chain. Somehow, I doubt this is going down as one of the great Batman Gambits." (Accompanied by a screen shot of that very page!)

Ryan: "Fanfiction writers, you have your new assignment. Don't let me down."

Mr. Mendo: No surprise, then, that they got their own motion picture with the catchy title of:
Subtitle: ピンク・レディーの活動大写真
Mr. Mendo: ...that.

Jordon Davis: (Repeatedly) "...I'm not gay."

Albert: Let's take a moment to appreciate the character of Myra. As far as I can tell, Rusty's only crime is being homophobic. Oh, and he also has the outrageous desire to actually get married and have children. So what does Myra do to him? She ties him down, rapes him, and then demands that he thank her afterwards. Ladies and gentleman, our hero.

Ryan: "This episode was making fun of Paris Hilton before Paris Hilton even existed!"

You know who else was a genocidal maniac? Hitler!

  • Hypocrisy Nod: To cap off a review of Rubber, a pointless, nonsensical film that is being watched from inside itself, Mr. Mendo and The Omega get into a pointless, nonsensical argument that is being watched from inside the review.

Mr. Mendo: "Trying to pick the worst Coleman Francis film is like deciding what kind of cancer you'd like to have." *Lights cigar*

Ryan: "After watching an episode like this, I laugh at anyone who accuses Michael Bay of raping their childhoods."
Mr. Mendo: "You know, in spite of everything mean I've said, a lot of people really like this show. A lot of people are quite clearly huffing spraypaint."
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Comes up so often it's practically a catchphrase.
    • Particularly notable regarding the notoriously bad Star Trek: Voyager episode "Threshold". Every recap starts with a synopsis of the episode's plot, but this one bails out partway though:, no, it's just too stupid. You'll never believe me if I just blurt it out like this.

Albert: Yeah, just take a second and stare at that line for a while. It's a beauty. Lines that insane only come along once every so often.

Although this has been parodied at least once.

Mr. Mendo: (Regarding Twilight: Eclipse)Stephenie Meyer is a lonely, unfulfilled woman. I think we may have finally found the perfect girl for Christian Chandler
Sofie: Oh, go read some Spider-Man comics, you big baby!

Mr. Mendo: Sure, throw in a Mantan impression, that's always cool!