Saturday, February 11, 2017

10 Worst Movies

Now that I've hit 10 years of movie reviewing (see previous post) I thought I'd try to sort out what were my 10 worst and 10 best movies.  After all, I did this last year with my book review list.

It's a bit harder to do it with movies, however, because movies require less engagement with books, and consequently are a lot easier to forget.
A lot of these movies I barely even remember.  Which makes it hard to accurately rate them 10 years later.

Just for fun, I'm going to make the attempt anyway, but keep my disclaimer in mind.  These movies are faded in my memory, and it's difficult to accurately rank things you can't remember.

But just for fun, here's my best stab at it.

(Also, just to be clear, this only includes the movies I've reviewed on my blog over the last ten years.  This is not a list of my 10 worst movies of all time.)

As with last year, instead of counting down, I'm going to count up.  So we'll start out with the absolute worst movie at number one, and then work backwards towards movies that aren't quite as bad.

1. Jackass Number 2

This movie has absolutely nothing to recommend it except gross out humor.  And when I say "gross out humor" I mean the kind of sense of humor that thinks something gross is inherently funny just because it's gross.  So if you think that there's something funny or clever about watching grown men eat shit, or drink horse semen, then this is the movie for you.
Me, though, I was decidedly not in the target audience.

2. Heaven Can Wait. Maybe...


These kind of sappy romantic love stories with tear-jerking sad endings are really popular in Japan (and in Asia in general).  But I absolutely can not stand them.  My own fault for renting this, I guess.

3. This Means War




To quote from my review at the time: Right from the beginning of this movie it’s painfully obvious that nobody involved in it really cared at all about the quality. I guess this is one of those movies whose soul purpose is just to make a quick buck. Very little money is spent on screen writing or directing. If the movie is lucky, it manages to suck in a few poor saps who didn’t read the reviews, and it manages to easily recoup its low production costs. And then it disappears into oblivion with all the other utterly forgettable movies. (5 years from now, no one will even remember this movie ever existed.)

4. Ma Dai


Hollywood gets a bad rap, but it's worth remembering that foreign films can often be just as bad, if not worse.  
Or I don't know--maybe I just notice it more because the films are foreign. 
But these characters are so shallow and despicable and selfish that I couldn't believe the movie expected me to have any sympathy with them at all.

5. Lucky Number Slevin



I like Quentin Tarantino, but unfortunately he's produced a lot of bad imitators.  There are a lot of filmmakers who want to imitate his style, but can't pull off the dialogue.  Instead all we get is the sadistic over-the-top violence, and some bad imitations of Quentin Tarantino dialogue.

6. Smokin' Aces



Actually this is going to be the exact same critique I had of Lucky Number Slevin.  Another bad Quentin Tarantino imitator.  (Actually, a lot of the movies on this list are bad Quentin Tarantino imitators.)

7. Barbarella: Queen of the Universe



This movie has a certain place in pop culture history, so it might be worth watching simply for historical value.  But whatever you do, do not go in expecting to find a good movie.

8.  Stargate


I never got around to seeing this movie back its day, but when I noticed it had spawned a whole television franchise, I thought it must be some sort of overlooked classic.  Instead, I find a bizarrely awful little movie where absolutely nothing made sense.

9. The Producers


Given how much publicity this got when it was a Broadway play, I was expecting great things from this.  But it was amazingly not funny.

10. Prometheus




I originally gave this movie a very generous 5 out of 10 stars.  But fellow blogger Cian Gill convinced me I was being way way too nice to it.  See his take-down: Prometheus Is A Bad Movie.  After reading his analysis, I've adopted it as my own.


Dishonorable Mentions:

And here's a long list of all the other movies I disliked.

 Domino

Another Quentin Tarantino rip-off that fails to capture Quentin Tarantino's brilliance.

Get On Up

A lazy, by the numbers bi-opic.

9

An interesting idea, but you need to give me at least some plot and characterization if I'm going to sit through 90 minutes of this stuff.

Always: Sunset on 3rd Street

Pure cheesy sap and emotional manipulation

A History of Violence

A pretentious movie that doesn't actually having anything intelligent to say.

Death Note and Death Note: The Last Name

Again, a pretentious movie that doesn't actually having anything intelligent to say.

Deception

I regret I couldn't find room for this movie in my top 10, because it is really awful writing.

Divergent

This whole movie made no sense at all.

The Expendables 2

When a movie is not even trying to be good, it's hard to really fault it for being bad.  Clearly it wanted to be bad, so you get what you paid for.  But, just for the record, this was bad.

Intermission

Another Quentin Tarantino rip-off.

In My Country

Leave it to Hollywood to take an interesting premise, and then completely ruin it by trying to turn it into a boring cheesy romantic story.

Scott Pilgrim Versus the World

I know I'm going to make Edgar Wright fans angry with this pick.  And for the record, I love Edgar Wright (see HERE and HERE).  But I didn't care for this particularly movie.  All the characters were awful people, and it was trying way too hard.  (Admittedly, the visual humor in this movie was clever though).

Stripes

I know this movie is a cult classic, and I'm going to make some people angry by putting it on this list.  But I just didn't find it funny.

Tootsie

Ditto.  I know this movie is a cult classic, and I'm going to make some people angry by putting it on this list.  But I just didn't find it funny.

The Kingdom

From my original review, I wrote: The dialogue in this movie is awful. Seriously, whoever wrote the dialogue should be dragged out into the streets and shot. Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh. They should at least get a good punch in the gut. The jokes are especially awful, but the whole movie has a corny cliched tone. I don't know how much Hollywood screen writers get paid, but it's too much.

Treasure Planet

One of Disney's worst animated films.

Underworld 

It beats me how this film spawned so many sequels, given that the original film doesn't give you a single character worth caring about.

WaterBoys

See, the joke is that they're boys, but they're competing in synchronized swimming competition.  Get it?

The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift

From my original review: I now have a whole new appreciation for “Crash” by J.G. Ballard. When I read his book about sexual eroticism and car crashes, I thought he was only being metaphorical about our society’s addiction to automobiles. 15 minutes into this movie, I realized that some people, like the target audience for these films, do seem to literally equate huge car crashes with pretty girls and sexual arousal.

Pacchigi! We Shall Overcome Someday!

A ridiculously over the top movie, which ruins any attempt it might have to get the audience to take its issue seriously.

Get Smart

Not a bad movie, but completely forgettable.  And not very funny.

Oz the Great and Powerful

As I wrote in my review: A peculiar little movie—it almost seems like this movie is deliberately trying to be terrible on purpose.

Aegis and Returner

These movies are both examples of what happens when the Japanese film industry tries to imitate Hollywood on a reduced budget.  All the corny cliches you would expect from a Hollywood movie, none of the production values.

Spectre

A disappointment.

Friday the 13th

From my original review: Man, does this movie represent 2 hours of my life that I’ll never get back again, or what? Forget all the moral reasons for or against watching these kind of slasher flicks, you’ve got to have an attention span of steel to even think about getting through this movie. I’d rather be locked in a room with a book of Sylvia Plath Poetry for two hours than have to watch this movie again.

Fuck

A potentially interesting subject. A very lazy documentary that doesn't tell you anything you didn't already know.

The Simpsons Movie

In its golden age, The Simpsons was the greatest TV show ever.  But they haven't been funny for a long time now, and this movie was long past the golden age.

Sukiyaki Western: Django

From my original review: Much of the humor seems to be based off the fact that it's an all Japanese cast slurring their way through American Cowboy slang and talking about Shakespeare. Which is kind of funny. But not 2 hours funny.

The United States of Leland

From my original review: I should probably give this film another watch and think about it a bit more, but off-hand I’d say the philosophy in this film struck me as shallow and fortune cookie-esque. And I’m not sure all of the events in this film entirely made sense.


From my original review: 
Another part of the Michael Bay trademark is:
*a plot which walks a thin line between asking the audience to suspend disbelief, and actively insulting the audience’s intelligence
In this case though, I think he’s outdone himself.
Really, the plot of this film is just ridiculous. The overarching concept story is bad enough, but none of the little twists along the way make a whole lot of sense either.

Vampire’s Kiss

From my original review: So, if a film has a reputation for being terrible, and you watch it anyway, I suppose you can’t really be too hard on it for living up to its reputation.

War, Inc

From my original review: Because a movie like "War, Inc." wasn't afraid to call these things out on face value, I really enjoyed the first 15 minutes of it.
The problem is that the movie really only has about 15 minutes of good material. Once you get the joke, it just gets repeated over and over again.

Zombieland

From my original review: Most of the things the characters did in this movie made no sense. And I could have put up with that if the movie had been just one cheap excuse for a laugh (ala "Shaun of the Dead"). But when the movie is trying too hard to make me care about these characters, then it really bugs how stupid those girls were. And how they kept getting in trouble by doing stupid things, and then having to be rescued.
(In that respect they were not so much real characters so much as plot devices. Which again, I could have put up with if this movie were all about cheap laughs. But we were also supposed to care about the relationships these characters had with each other, and that I just couldn't do).

The Hangover

Not a terrible movie, but nowhere good as everyone has been saying it is either.

Indochine

From my original review:  I thought this film was a ridiculous over-the-top melodrama.
            And the dialogue!  All the characters felt the need to constantly be telling everyone else about their emotions!
If the only way for the director to convey the characters' emotions is to have the characters constantly explicitly stating their emotions, then I consider this poor story-telling.

The Constant Gardner

This was marketed as an "issue film" but really it was just a sappy love story that used the topical issue to add in some cheap extra drama.

The Davinci Code

From my original review: A funny thing “The DaVinci Code”. When you’re reading through the fast paced car chases and Indiana Jones like romp through history, you think to yourself, “This has ‘Hollywood Movie Script’ written all over it.” But when you actually watch the movie, it feels remarkably like you’re reading a book. Yet one more example of a story that, for one reason or another, didn’t survive the jump between mediums very well.

The Departed

Not a terrible movie.  Worth watching perhaps.  But tons of plot holes and a lazy ending get it into my dishonorable mentions list

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

Despite all the hype this movie got, it is completely forgettable.

A Passage to India

At some point in my life, I really hope to read the original novel.  But the movie was not entertaining at all.  Nothing happened for the first 90 minutes, and it was a real slog to sit through.

Religulous

I really wanted to like this film, but unfortunately Bill Maher didn't bring anything new to the table.  It was just a cheap chance for smug secular liberals to laugh at what people believed.

Sing

Not funny, and too predictable

Tron Legacy

I really wanted to like this movie.  (I know the original Tron was a terrible movie, but I have childhood nostalgia for it nonetheless).  Unfortunately, Tron Legacy is just boring.


Wow, I've watched a lot of junk over the last 10 years, haven't I?  I'm not even sure this is a complete list of all the terrible movies I've reviewed.  (Like I said, my memory fades over the years, and I don't even remember all of these movies clearly.)  It may well be that if I went over my move review list a few more times, I'd dig up even more movies that I'd forgotten I hated.  But for now I'll just leave this list here.

Other Notes

I probably should include the Stray Cat Rock series on this list, because by any objective measure they are just horrible movies.  But I have a soft spot for cheesy youth exploitation movies from the late 60s and 70s, so I was fond of this series in spite of all it's flaws.

Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss ,
Stray Cat Rock: Machine Animal ,
Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter ,
Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo ,
Stray Cat Rock: Wild Measures '71 ,

Likewise, I probably should also include Latitude Zero, (a bad movie by any objective measure) but I also have a soft spot for cheesy Japanese science fiction films from the 1960s.

Link of the Day
A Conversation on Privacy of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald & Noam Chomsky

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