The Time Machine (I Found at a Yardsale)
The Time Machine (I Found at a Yardsale) is a 2011 movie written and directed by Steven A. Sandt. The film follows Robert Moore, an ordinary man who buys what turns out to be a time machine at a yardsale. He then travels into the future and goes on an adventure.
The movie was made with a budget of just $3,500, and was released on YouTube in the hopes of receiving a wider release, which did not happen.
Robert Moore (Johnny James Gatyas) buys what he is told is a time machine at a yardsale. He uses it to travel far into the future, where he rescues a slave named Sheba (Amy Henry). Together, they find a spaceship, and go on an adventure in space.
Why It (Intentionally?) Sucks
- The filmmakers claim that this film is a tribute to sci-fi films from the 50's/60's, but nothing in the film itself indicates this at all for various reasons.
- The movie literally forgets the "time machine" in its name for most of the film. The characters only use it twice onscreen, and even they forget for a while that they can use it to get out of trouble.
- No coherent plot; the movie just a series of random events that occur after Robert travels into the future. There are two major plot threads, but the film tries to intertwine them both instead of picking one and sticking to it. The late Emer Prevost describes this as "the cinematic equivalent of ADHD".
- Robert does a number of morally-questionable things without hesitating, like stealing an apparently abandoned spaceship, or destroying an enemy ship.
- Terrible acting. The two main characters deliver their lines with no emotion at all. This is stark contrast to the films it claims to be a tribute to, in which the actors in those films overacted, and they hammed up their performances.
- On that note, the cast often spikes the camera lens when they are supposed to be theoretically speaking to someone behind the camera ("spiking" is when an actor looks directly into the lens in scenarios previously described).
- The movie frequently breaks the "show, don't tell" rule: the characters frequently talk about things that the audience cannot see onscreen.
- Most of the scenes are just the characters standing and talking against static backgrounds, with no camera movement to speak of.
- Speaking of static backgrounds, almost 90% of the scenes are shot against a green-screened background, which clashes horribly with the foreground and characters.
- A lot of the backgrounds are just stock images.
- Many of the scenes drag on for way too long. Infamously, there is a scene near the beginning where the camera lingers on Robert drinking a glass of orange juice for over a minute, and another scene where he spends two minutes aimlessly wandering through the woods.
- Speaking of editing, the sound mix is also dreadful; a good chunk of the dialogue is completely muffled by background noises, and even the actors themselves fumbling with everyday objects like paper bags and seat belts. This is not helped by the lack of a boom mic and clip-on microphones.
- Laughably bad CGI. Many of the objects are untextured, and the CGI dinosaurs on "Planet D" visibly slide instead of walking.
- As previously stated, the film is supposed to be a tribute to 50's/60 sci-fi films, but this one is 84 minutes long, whereas the films it claims to be a tribute to were usually around 60 minutes long, give or take 2 or 3 minutes. Combined with the lifeless acting, the claim that it is a tribute to sci-fi films of the past feels like a flimsy excuse to cover for the film's flaws.