A quest for crap

Sometimes you get a notion in your head and you let it run you crazy. Such is my situation since last night, when I finished reading David Gilmour’s “The Film Club,” a memoir about three years he spent watching and discussing films with his teen-aged son, Jesse, for the university’s book club. There’s a paragraph of two in there where he spends more time describing “Showgirls” — that steaming crap-pile he christens The Worst Movie Ever Made — than many of the classics, like “Citizen Kane” or “Murmur of the Heart.” Which planted a dangerous idea nugget: What IS the worst movie ever made?

Given that so many of us hobby bloggers (me included) tend to watch only “great films” or ones we know we’ll like/love, this seemed like an intriguing challenge, bird-dogging bad movies. And not “bad in a good way” movies — the kind I’m talking about are the dregs, the ones that scrape the filthy, stinky bottom. Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • EVERYTHING Ulli Lommel has done or will do
  • “Showgirls”
  • “Asylum”
  • “Primeval”
  • “Sweet November”
  • “Death Race”
  • “Vantage Point”
  • “Hide and Seek”
  • “Chaos”
  • “The Smokers”

This is a quest that’s weeping for a little help. Pony up some suggestions, blog readers — what are some of the worst movies you’ve ever seen? Be not gentle in your choosing; give me the terrible, the awful, the so-damn-bad-I-wish-it-could-be-unmade worst of the worst.

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68 Responses

  1. If Jennifer Lopez is in the film and it’s not titled Selena or Out Of Sight, it’s terrible. You can add Beyonce to this list.

    I still claim Armageddon being one of the worst for me.

    Among the worst include:

    From Justin To Kelly-

    I think it’s still open to debate whether or not this actually qualifies as a film, as it was inspired to simply put $$$$$ in Fox’s pocketbook, and was successful it’s goal. However, it failed miserably at it’s attempt to put a movie together. I’d rather be caught watching Lifetime in my sweatpants with a bowl of Cool Whip and only my finger to scoop it out, than ever watch From Justin to Kelly again.

    Batman and Robin-

    This is universally referred to as one of the worst movies of all time. Clooney and ODonnell’s homo-erotic ambiguously gay duo theme meshed with the pathetic one liners seeping from a dead pan Schwarzenegger made this movie fall limp in every direction. Perhaps they should have spent more time on the script instead of the Batsuits nipples.

    I STILL know what you did last summer-

    Don’t you kinda get the feeling from the title that this can only go bad places? The original with Gellar, Freddie and Love was only “ok”, so why build a dynasty on a movie that was simply lucky to survive the horror flicks of that particular season? It’s baffling. What was more baffling was the lack of humour and lack of scary involved. And even more baffling was Brandy’s performance. *cringes* Stick to sitcoms Moesha!

    But the absolute worst of all time unfortunately has Harrison Ford in it and it breaks my heart-RANDOM HEARTS:

    This banal movie makes me want to claw my own eyes out. Kristen Scott Thomas and Harrison Ford discover their spouses have died in a plane crash. A plane they weren’t supposed to be on. It turns out the two had an affair. Those are the only points this movie makes and it’s TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Even Harrison Ford is dry and uncharismatic, and that’s against all the rules of physic’s and the universe. I seriously would PAY someone to not watch this movie. You will never get that time back, and you will have wilted a little inside from suffering it’s lameness.

    • OHDEARGOD I forgot about “Random Hearts.” Or maybe I simply repressed because I was so disappointed that Harrison Ford and Kristen Scott Thomas — both very fine actors — could make a movie so bad!

  2. Crossroads with Britney Spears. This is the absolute worst movie ever put on film. Everything about it is horrible. This is the film that I weigh every other bad film against.

    When I find that a movie is bad and it’s hurting my brain, I just remind myself that it’s not that Britney Spears movie and somehow everything seems to get a bit better!

    • You always bring that up Will, which literally has me petrified to even look at the coverbox.

      • Sheer terror is the best response to this film!

        Man, this list may just give me a whole new batch of movies to watch. Sometimes I just like something terrible.

      • Deep Blue Sea is another one.

        I always think of the Chappelle skit, “THE SHARK ATE ME”.

        Hilarious.

        When you say terror, I pay attention, because you sir, know about terror.

        I don’t mind bad when it makes you laugh, like Lake Placid, but when it hurts your soul, it should be revoked from movie stores of the world.

      • The sad truth is I OWN “Deep Blue Sea” on DVD … it was one of the first DVDs I ever bought! Yipes. For me it might be one of those so-bad-it’s-kinda-good … and yes I too remember fondly that skit. Which links to a memory about Samuel L. Jackson beer (“it’ll get ya drunk!”) … which connects “Deep Blue Sea” to positive thoughts … which might be why I don’t hate it.

    • That sounds like a great philosophy about life: “As bad as this is, at least it’s not that Britney Spears movie.” Can that be a bumper sticker for my car?

  3. Jaws: The Revenge. I have spent years trying to figure out why a shark comes out of the water, impales itself on a wooden plank, and explodes. One cannot find a reason for this.

  4. OUT OF SIGHT is not a horrible film…not even a little bit. But here are some that are…

    THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT 2
    STARSKY & HUTCH
    STEP-BROTHERS
    THE WIZARD
    OVER THE TOP
    PEARL HARBOR
    3000 MILES TO GRACELAND
    THE MUMMY RETURNS
    DRIVEN
    15 MINUTES

  5. good call on Jaws The Revenge, James D, really bad
    sorry Heather, but Batman and Robin is so bad its good and hagiblog, Crossroads is a good film.
    There, i said it.
    a few of my worst (not counting ones that are fun bad) off top of head:
    – Before The Devil Knows Youre Dead – great actors and a great director somehow give you 2hrs of pretentious muck
    – Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes – one of the worst experiences ive ever had in a cinema
    – Meet The Spartans – i cant even put into words how bad this is

    • What? I think a piece of my heart just died. “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but on principle I cannot dislike anything starring Ethan Hawke (not as sucky as he used to be), Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marissa Tomei.

      (I agree with you about “Batman and Robin,” though. I own the soundtrack.)

    • Oh no! Crossroads cannot be a good film! HAHA! You may be the first person I’ve ever heard who liked it. Wait, aside from myself, you may the only other person I’ve ever heard about who has seen it.

      Ya know, it’s quite possible that Batman and Robin may beat Crossroads just because I like Batman and that movie stank. I don’t like Britney Spears so her movie stinking didn’t hurt my soul like Batman and Robin did!

      • I will weigh in and say that although I did not LIKE “Crossroads,” it was way less sucky than I expected it to be.

    • I can’t with Batman and Robin. I…just…can’t.

      I didn’t think Planet Of The Apes was terrible, but definitely not Burtons most noteworthy piece of work.

      Meet The Spartans was one of the worst things I have ever seen.

  6. I must begin by disagreeing with Heather – OUT OF SIGHT is not crap (it’s pretty much the only movie with Jennifer Lopez in it that isn’t crap).

    As for some crap, here’s what I got…

    THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT 2
    STARSKY & HUTCH
    TWILIGHT
    PEARL HARBOR
    GONE IN 60 SECONDS (Nic Cage version)
    3000 MILES TO GRACELAND
    DRIVEN
    K-PAX
    THE LAST ACTION HERO

    …every one of which, I’m ashamed to admit, I saw in a theatre.

    • No no no Hatter! I said that Selena and Out Of Sight were her only two movies that WERENT crap. Silly Hatter.

      I kind of liked The Last Action Hero and Gone In 60 Seconds, but you are 100% right on Pearl Harbor and 300 Miles to Graceland.

      • @ Heather… My bad. I have to learn to be a bit more patient as I read. Sorry to have doubted your taste 😉

      • “Pearl Harbor” was sentimental, maudline Garbage (note the capital “G”). I’m consistently amazed at how many people profess to liking it and how many think I’m nuts because I don’t.

      • No worries Hatter. All is forgiven.

        Pearl Harbor never ceases to amaze me. I literally almost turned off the movie when Affleck died because I was certain that it wouldn’t get any better than that.

        I was right. I should have shut it off.

    • MH, THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU for hating “K-Pax” — I’ve had people argue with me that that was the best Kevin Spacey movie. Um, what? Do you have a dead trout where your brain should be?

      Good call with “Blair Witch 2” — way to take a stellar original and bastardize it beyond redemption in the follow-up, which was NOT REMOTELY NECESSARY.

      • I have no idea what stupid part of me thought PEARL HARBOR was going to be anything less than crap. This was back when Hollywood was in a post-TITANIC glow…so setting any love story against a tragic moment in history was considered a sure thing.

        As for BLAIR WITCH, I actually mentioned this anecdote in my Worst 5 Of The Decade post, but it bears repeating…

        When the movie ended, I turned to my date who begged me to take her to see it and said in all seriousness “You owe me twenty bucks”.

      • Hahahahahaha @ Do you have a dead trout where your brain should be?

    • You didn’t like Gone in 60 Sec? I mean its defenitely not one of the greatest films ever made but its fun to watch for sure.

      • Sorry to say it, Vanessa, but I hated “Gone in 60 Seconds” too. The Jolie-Cage combo was too much for me.

      • I agree with Vanessa. It was uber fun!

      • I’m in the “it was good fun camp”. A completely inoffensive movie that is well made (other than the many continuity errors), it looks good, sounds good and there is nothing wrong with most of the acting.

        Having said that the original is even more fun!

  7. I don’t think anyone is really trying hard enough. We haven’t even reached the depths of Edward D. Wood Jr. or Uwe Boll yet.

    A film that stuck in my mind as being really bad was Rancid Aluminium but I don’t think even that is the worst ever. A few suggestions of the worst I have seen: Alien Private Eye, Delta Force Commando and I know who killed me.

    And by the way Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead was a good film but what does McG know?

  8. being a big fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, I’ve seen some truly awful films. too many to name, made only bearable by the mst3k crew’s riffing.

    Manos: The Hans of Fate for example…

    Another movie i’ll mention, that i know some people liked, is Death at a Funeral. Man was that painful for me to finish watching…

    I’ve seen part of The Hottie and the Nottie, and that’s got to be right up there near the top of any bad movie list. This review of it is great: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWMSs09BldQ

    • that should read HANDS of fate, by the way…

    • I can’t figure out all this vitriol people seem to spew at “Death at a Funeral.” In my opinion Matthew Macfadyen is always a welcome face in a movie, as is Alan Tudyk, possibly one of the most underappreciated funny actors out there. Plus, it had Peter Dinklage! Granted, the part was a joke and an insult to his talent, but if it gets his name out there I’ll take it.

      The upcoming Chris Rock remake, however, I intend to see and butcher in a review.

  9. nice post – fandangogroovers suggested I read this following my post about being honest on ebay when selling DVDs – http://cinemascream.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/filmichonestyonebay/

    … I’m thinking The Condemned would be near the top of my list of bad films but i’m gonna keep checking back for inspiration

    …and I had completely forgotten about Rancid Aluminium

  10. but on principle I cannot dislike anything starring Ethan Hawke (not as sucky as he used to be: I am so with you there, a pox on your hatred of before the devil knows you’re dead ross.

    off the top of my head this movie called the nines was one of the worst films i have ever scene, i wouldnt wish that on hitler himself. DO NOT WATCH IT!!!!

  11. Consider me lucky I haven’t seen a lot that’s been mentioned here. Agree with Hatter about Twilight & Pearl Harbor. But on the top of my head right now, the one that takes the cake for me is Ghost Rider. Calling it ludicrous is putting it mildly, definitely a bottom-scrapping low for Nic Cage, and that’s saying something given his other duds. Another one not too far away from this is Lake House, goodness, if the two leads just jump in the lake at the end that’d make it a tad better!

    • I’m going out on a limb here when I say that any movie where Nicholas Cage a) wears a toupee or b) speaks with an accent (a la “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”) is crap.

  12. I will give you the granddaddy of them all, The Brown Bunny by Vincent Gallo. It’s barely a movie. It’s a wast of celluoid.

    I heard that “The Room” is atrcious. I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t want to subject my eyes to that ala Alex DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange”.

    I have some more suggestions: American Werewolf in Paris, The Happening, Twilight, The Wicker Man (Nic Cage version)… hell, any Nic Cage movie after “Matchstick Men”, Obsessed, Transformers 2 (I did not see nor will ever!), and The Ugly Truth. I know there is plenty more dreck. I’ll probably think of some more later.

    • “The Happening” seems to be a common thread here as well. Sure, it was the ruination of a great concept — what WOULD happen if Mother Nature turned on us? — but it was better than “Lady in the Water.” Or maybe “Lady in the Water” gets a pass because it had Paul Giamatti, which makes total dreck better.

      • The Happening was so bad that I thought it was a comedy. I laughed my ass off with this movie. Wahlberg “teacher tone” throughout the movie, Zooey acting like she was lobotomized. The scary elements were stupid. M. Night wanted a “R” rated movie. This movie is a light R. More PG-13.

        I wish that the actual trees came alive and killed everyone instead of the toxic pollen. Fox took this movie on when Paramount or Dreamworks thought it sucked. This shows that Fox doesn’t know shit about good films.

  13. […] some fun convo’s about worst movies ever @ M.Carter’s kick ass site I started thinking about movies that I find myself laughing hysterically at, or […]

  14. This all depends on what you’re looking for. If you consider no production values by amateurs to be the true worst, then stuff likes Manos: The Hands of Fate, The Room, Troll 2 and Ed Wood films would be your best bet. Yet those films all contain a delirious anti-charm, provoking an “aw…you” response as if receiving a shitty clay pot from your five-year old child who made it in art class. They don’t know what they’re doing, but damn it they want to make you happy so bad.

    On the other hand, I’ve always found the “real” movies (a condescending classification, to be sure) that fail to be way more offensive and repugnant. I would trash Transformers 2, Battlefield Earth, The Happening, Crash and so forth over Ed Wood any day.

    Having said that, anything Uwe Boll makes is a pile of shit that doesn’t even loop around into funny.

    • Uwe Boll is a director who is so talentless I wish he could be UNBORN. Another one I hate: Ulli Lommel. He lured me in with his movies about the Zodiac Killer AND the Green River Killer (a true crime buff like me can’t resist that kind of bait). Both were so awful, so tacky and cheaply done, that they are an abomination.

      • Ooh, that reminds me: THE UNBORN. Take The Exorcist, remove any aspects that would have made it scary even back when it was a fresh film, then serve cold with a side of jailbait.

    • Wow, I found Crash highly overrated but not necessarily crap. When it was over I was confused about what was so great about it.

      As Hagiblog says about The Happening, it’s just Mark Wahlberg walking around looking like he has to poop.

      • Yes, I love the Wahlberg poop face. He has it in every movie. I swear, I have to make a video of my version of The Happening just so I can do my best Marky Mark impression! HAHAHA!

      • Oh my lord you two are right about Wahlberg. He’s been wearing that look since his pants-dropping days. Somebody get that guy some Dulcolax.

  15. Jake: You need to be more specific when you say Crash. I am aware of two films of that name neither is amongst the worst movies ever. Cronenberg’s was misunderstood and most of it denouncers hadn’t even seen it. Paul Haggis’ Crash was good, a little preachy and not deserving of its Oscars but a good solid film none the less. As for your other suggestions Transformers 2 and The Happening where the most tedious mainstream movies ever, made worse by getting decent reviews. Now Battlefield Earth, I think you are onto something there, I had completely forgotten it but think it could well be a winner.

    • I’ve not seen Cronenberg’s Crash though I will probably like it because I’m becoming a big fan of his. But Paul Haggis’ version really was awful. Preachy is an understatement of British proportions to describe its odious condescension and misrepresentation of racism while trying to argue that “these are the sort of things that happen every day.” No character behaved with any sense of logic — so the black record producer manages to climb to the top of the heap in a ruthless business, yet he allows a cop to feel up his wife without suing the LAPD for millions? — and Haggis got career-worst performances out of almost everyone in the picture. His LA has no definition, and not in the intentional way of, say, Michael Mann’s Collateral. And it commits the cardinal sin of white guilt anti-racism movies: it resorts to racism and stereotyping for its characters. Nothing in it at all works.

      • So you a little disappointed in this one then?

        Go and see Cronenberg’s Crash, its weird and sick, in other words typical Cronenberg. I think it’s a brilliant film but I can’t find many people to agree with me!

  16. sorry folks, but Before The Devil Knows Youre Crap is total crap, up-its-own-bottom filmmaking of the highest order…

  17. right this bashing of The Happening just needs to stop as it is a fantastic film.

    re. crash v crash – i’ve got to say that crash is a classic piece of cinema whilst crash is utterly woeful. i hope that sorts it out.

    re. before the devil knows… i quite liked it but another one of my wife’s random hates is Phillip Seymour Hoff-n-stuff. suffice to say we took our seats, the film started and she tried to rip her own eyes out

  18. Eyes Wide Shut

    • Hey Mark! Welcome to this crazy corner of the Internets … have to say that I didn’t see “Eyes Wide Shut,” but it looked way out-there. Then again, duh, it’s a Kubrick movie, and although I can appreciate the technical genius of what he does — the visuals in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” etc. — I find his movies to be very cold and uninviting.

    • Mark obviously forgot to finish his post. What he intended to say was:

      “Eyes Wide Shut is a brilliant film, one of the best of the 90’s it has no place in this quest for crap”

      • Hooray!

        While I didn’t love it like you did Andy, I certainly didn’t feel like it deserved the bashing it got. It wasn’t fucking Showgirls, it was beautifully shot, and while what it had to say wasn’t Kubricks regular in depth hidden point of views, it was so beautifully shot, I didn’t give a s hit.

  19. yikes! i agree with Fandango. on eyes wide shut… its a great film, gets better every time you watch it.
    okay Fands, you got something right. for once.

  20. […] just for you. I mentioned yesterday that this fit in perfectly with a post I had read over at M.Carter at the Movies. I commented that the worst film I had ever seen was Crossroads with Britney Spears. I still stand […]

  21. Eye Wide Shut is a fantastic film – nuff said

    • I’d have to agree somewhat with Mark — if I’m going for a Kubrick film, this isn’t the first, the second or even the third one I’d pick. I can appreciate it, but still … not my favorite.

  22. I couldn’t watch more than 15 minutes of “Southland Tales” without shutting it off. Couldn’t believe my eyes when some online critics were naming it among the year’s best. Just truly awful.

    But if you want to go with the worst ever, but yet probably the most fun you will ever have watching a bad film, go with “Shark Attack 3: Megalodon”. I don’t think I ever watched it from start to finish, but we couldn’t go longer than a week at Blockbuster without popping that baby in after the customers left for the night. The movie is so hilarious, and it’s not supposed to be.

    Also, it probably has the greatest line in cinematic history…..just an example of how awful, yet hilarious, this film is.

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