Bad Ronald

1974 weird kid movie

Rating: 4/20

Plot: The titular high school outcast accidentally kills a girl. His protective mother decides that his best bet is to hide in a secret room in the center of the house. Unfortunately, mother dies, leaving Ronald to take care of himself. Oh, snap! It's just like The Diary of Anne Frank except with more psychotic behavior and a funny old lady with a funny old hat instead of the Gestapo.

There's a fatal flaw in this movie. Well, probably a few fatal flaws. Ronald is hiding out in a bathroom turned into a secret hiding room. Ostensibly, he uses the toilet. Wouldn't flushing the toilet give him away? And how do these people not know that the layout of this house just doesn't make sense? Seems like they'd know there was a big bunch of wasted space right in the middle. The Brady family must be the dumbest people on earth.

This is a fairly entertaining bad made-for-television movie that apparently a lot of people have fond memories of. There's an awful child actress (Angela Hoffman) who we get to see murdered. There's also an awful old lady actress who might have given my favorite performance of the year, an almost entirely silent role as a nosy neighbor with an audacious hat. It takes a special talent to act this badly without getting any lines. Linda Watkins is her name, and this was her last acting job before she passed away a couple years later, possibly of shame. I should also mention the real estate guy who reminded me of that high-talker on that Seinfeld episode. Or maybe Winnie the Pooh. The guy playing the title character, the great Scott Jacoby, actually did play Peter in a version of The Diary of Anne Frank. His performance is bad, but even Henry Winkler would look like a terrible actor when given lines like this gem after he kills the little girl: "My God! Why aren't you fooling?" I'm pretty sure Jacoby performed his own stunts in this movie, and the bicycle accident that eventually leads to manslaughter might be the best stunt I've ever seen. There's also a great scene where Jacoby eats an apple using only the side of his mouth. I've never seen an apple being eaten that way before, but I'll never not eat an apple like that again. Seriously, it's pretty awesome. You know what else is pretty awesome? The mother buying Ronald a tool kit for his birthday. Of course, the plot requires a tool kit later on, but this kid just doesn't look like the type who would have any idea what to do with a tool kit. Something else I love about this movie: Several times, the soundtrack is nothing more than a person whistling. Badly. It's faint and bad enough that I wondered if it was accidental, like the sound guy was cleaning up and didn't realize that he was recording himself or something. I did think the scene where Ronald's hiding spot is discovered was really well done. The rest of the movie? Not so well done. It's still a bit of fun though.

Not to be confused with Bad Boy Bubby.

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