Hot Bot (2016), a recap (part 1 of 8)

Synopsis: Imagine the dumbest idea you’ve ever had in the stupidest dream of your entire life, and then imagine a community center for at-risk 7th graders making a film about it. You have now imagined a better movie than Hot Bot.

Loyal followers of the Agony Booth will notice that I, Jordon Davis, have not done a full movie recap in eight months. You’ve probably invented very good explanations in your mind: Maybe he’s been sick; maybe he’s been in jail; maybe he was in jail and then he got sick from all the germs in that jail; maybe the jail germs mutated and the zombie apocalypse has started but it’s moving very slowly and nobody noticed because Bob Woodward is taking down yet another president; Maybe the president is a zombie but nobody noticed because being a mindless, ravenous corpse is actually a step up for him.

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The truth is a combination of all those things. But it’s also because I sent myself on a quest—a quest to find the absolute worst movie on Netflix. A fool’s errand, you say? The worst movie on Netflix is any movie on Netflix, you say? Well, except for that one Marvel movie they put first to make it look like you’re not throwing away $8.99 a month, you say?

T’Challa AND Lorelai Gilmore? Have I died and gone to heaven?

But after eight months of combing lists and watching clips, I finally succeeded. I found the worst movie on Netflix. Actually, I found it after three weeks. Watching it took me seven months. This is not a joke. The movie is 86 minutes long and there are 302,400 minutes in seven months. For every minute of this film, I had to rest for fifty-eight hours.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that a teenage romp about a sexbot that gains sentience sounds like a great idea. Stupid child. I was just like you once. I, too, watched Ex Machina and thought, “This movie would be ten times better if Jonah Hill and Michael Cera were trying to get the robot drunk.” I, too, watched American Pie and declared to nobody in particular, “Alyson Hannigan should be an android! I’m pretty sure Mena Suvari already is!”

Just to be sociable, let’s agree that artificial intelligence plus human sexuality is a fertile field in which to sow the seeds of a great story. Or we could just watch Emily Berrington on Humans and consider the question settled. I don’t mean to sound like a sci-fi snob, but I just made a Niska reference and I effing nailed it.

Seriously, though, Gemma Chan is still playing a synth in Crazy Rich Asians, right?

Hot Bot, however, is none of this. It’s so anti-any-of-this that it’s an offense to the very concept of this. It’s almost an offense to the very concept of pronouns in general.

I’ve managed to stall for five hundred words and one very solid Gilmore Girls joke. So, here we go:

The movie opens with some computer-like text that blinks out the words, “Sex with robots is a lot like reading famous quotes. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s authentic! – Abraham Lincoln – 1903.”

I get what they’re trying for, but this opening is baffling. Nowhere in the movie does anyone have any difficulty telling whether they’re having sex with a robot. In fact, it’s not at all clear that anybody in this movie ever actually has any sex at all. And what the hell is that exclamation point doing there? Were they so proud of their fake quote that they felt the need to exclaim it? This movie was made in 2016. Here’s a variation of the meme from 2014.

Also, the second “it’s” should be “they’re”. I told you this movie was an offense to pronouns.

Cut to a British newswoman introducing a TV segment for International Financial News. She says that the German-based Hot Bot Corporation is trying to get a foothold in the US with its new line of sex robots. According to her, they haven’t been able to get patent approval in the US, but are hoping to make their case to Congress in the coming months. That’s right, the Germans named something the “Hot Bot Corporation” because, I guess, Industrie-Werke Karlsruhe Augsburg Aktiengesellschaft was already taken.

They cut to a segment narrated by a British newsman (or “presenter”, as those lime-sucking Saxons call them). He says that the Hot Bot Corp is seeking to revolutionize sex with realistic and “hypoallergenic” robots. Well, I guess its nice to know they’re not building robots out of pet dander and peanuts.

The middle-aged presenter then attempts to interview the inventor of the robot, Dr. Heinrich Schafer. He has them wheel out a woman in a silver bikini on a dolly. They deposit her next to Dr. Schafer, and look, I understand they didn’t have a massive effects budget, but you can actually see the actress steady herself as they take the dolly away.

And I am just so very sorry to actress Chasty Ballesteros for what is about to happen. She actually has a really impressive resume on IMDb. The gig she had just before this movie was on NCIS: New Orleans and the one right after was iZombie. 

She has 104 acting credits. That’s 42 more than Jennifer Aniston.

Dr. Schafer offers to allow the presenter to interview the sex toy. He asks her what her job is. She says, “My job is to please you,” then grabs the presenter’s hand and pushes it against her breast. She then detects that his heart rate is increasing and that he is, in her words, “becoming erect.”

The reporter vehemently denies to the viewers and his wife “watching at home” that he feels any attraction to the robot. Chasty then grabs his crotch and declares that he is 92% erect. Well, who among us isn’t? She asks if he’d like to have sex. It was nice of Dr. Schafer to build in some sort of consent mechanism. It would have been better if the robot had deployed it before, you know, she sexually assaulted the guy, but whatever.

Ms. Ballesteros, the professional actress, then begins yanking on the reporter’s crank. During this, rather then yell, “Get your robot the fuck off me!”, the reporter attempts to ask Dr. Schafer about the economic recession. The robot then asks the reporter if he’d like to have oral sex. Before he can answer, she takes off her top, spits on her hand, gets on her knees, and starts fellating the dude. And he enjoys it. Standing with his cameraman and producer in the lobby of a tech company surrounded by scientists and other people just walking by, he allows a robot to use him like a flute.

And I just have so many questions. Why would you program your robot to rape people? How can she tell how erect he is down to the percentage point? Why does she have to spit on her hand? What substance is it that she’s spitting? Why is her voice double-dubbed so that she sounds like the computer from WarGames? How big is the market for completely articulated horny androids? Is it bigger than the market for, like, terminators?

It’s a miemtic polyalloy. Also, it can play the rusty trombone.

The clip is paused and we learn, via phone call, that the segment never made it to air because it was too dirty. So, if the piece was never aired then why did we see that newswoman in the beginning introduce it?

None of this matters because: a) the movie hasn’t really started yet; and b) the actor on the phone is about to make everything in this movie so, so much worse.

Larry Miller? I love that guy!

Next on Hot Bot: We finally meet the movie’s heroes. And you know what they say: You should never meet your heroes.

Jordon Davis

B.A. Political Science, SUNY Albany - 1991
Master of Public Administration, University of Georgia - 1993
Juris Doctorate, Emory University - 1996

State of Georgia - 1996
State of New York - 1997

Fields Medal (with Laurent Lafforgue and Vladimir Voevodsky) - 1998

Follow Jordon at @LossLeader on Twitter.

Multi-Part Article: Hot Bot: a recap

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  • As long as this recap doesn’t take 8 months as well, I am very much on board to see this train wreck.

  • Xander

    I’m enjoying it so far, as well. I just wish you’d given us more with this first installment, but I understand the need to pace yourself so you don’t … I can’t think of any idiom that doesn’t come across as euphemism, as well. So, yeah. I’ll just say I’m looking forward to the next installment.

    • Jordon Davis

      I realize this installment was short, but I had to get it submitted and up on the board in order to force myself to follow through with it.

  • muchsarcasm

    I remember there was an SNL sketch a few years ago where two actors on a movie called “Hot Robot” had an interview and everyone was treating it like it was Oscar-worthy. Now I’m wondering if whoever wrote it saw this movie, or if it was just coincidence.

  • Olaf_the_Lofty

    Congratulations on finding such a magnificently appalling film. It’s already plumbing new depths of crassness in the first instalment. There is a 1949 British film about a pretty girl robot, called “The Perfect Woman”, though given the time and place you don’t get the sex jokes.
    Incidentally, Voevodsky and Lafforgue won the Fields Medal in 2002. The recipients in 1998 were Borcherds, Gowers, Kontsevich and McMullen.

    • Jordon Davis

      Hey, I’m the one pretending to know about the Fields Medal so I think I should get to decide who won it.

  • Stuff like this is why I never search for anything on Netflix and content myself with watching season after season of NCIS.

  • The_Shadow_Knows

    “Why does she have to spit on her hand?”

    I know you probably aren’t sitting around night and day with a burning desire to have this answered, but I have known women who liked to “warm up” with some manual, probably to save wear and tear on the neck and jaw muscles. I don’t specifically recall spitting on hands, but that seems… almost strangely plausible? Perhaps the robot is programmed with this same technique, despite neck and jaw strain obviously not being an issue (I even idly wonder if Ms. Ballesteros employs this technique herself, and improvised the spitting).

    Or perhaps you watched a smutty comedy made by people who have never had sex.