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Friday, May 4, 2012

The Definitive Fantastically Terrible Films: 50-41

Scene from "They Live" courtesy of
For every classic film ever made, there are dozens...nay, hundreds...nay, thousands of films that are just not good. But, among those terrible, terrible movies are some that are so bad that they just have to be seen to be believed. Many of these have become cult films for that purpose alone, but many just get ignored until topics like this come up. These films are critically panned, some to the point that they are loved because of it. Some of the earlier ones on the list you can chalk up to my personal feelings, but most follow suit with other lists I've seen similar to this one. So, here are the definitive bad movies that I would recommend you see for pure spectacle. So, here we go with #50 through #41.

#50. Dune (1984)

Frank Herbert's Dune novels are incredibly layered, with more characters and plotlines stretching across this distant galaxy than you can imagine. In the early 80's, borderline psychopathic director David Lynch decided to take on the task of adapting some of the material into a sweeping, wholly ridiculous epic sci-fi tale starring Kyle McLachlan and Virginia Madsen. What he gives us is an overstuffed, confusing attempt to tell this extensive story in only 120 minutes.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Sting in a leotard doing God knows what and what I can only describe as a giant, fleshy genitalia in a jar. Trust me.

Memorable QuoteHe who controls the Spice, controls the universe!

#49. Southland Tales (2006)

After Richard Kelly's breakthrough film Donnie Darko formed an uncanny cult following, he wrote and directed this misguided follow-up, a complete train wreck of a story starring a surprisingly decent ensemble cast. The story makes almost no sense - set in futuristic Los Angeles, the world sits at the edge of total disaster. It touches on a bunch of characters but more or less settles on spectacle, rather than fascinating movie.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Justin Timberlake has some weirdly entertaining moments, including a strange lip sync performance to The Killers' "All These That I've Done."

Memorable Quote: You know, there'd be a lot less violence in the world if everyone just got a little more cardio.

#48. Road House (1989)

Preparing myself for a glorious backlash, I want you to think about this movie again. Think hard. We all love this film because of its ridiculous premise, it's "Swayze" charm, and it's silly late 80's violence. But, let's be honest: it's not well acted, it's horribly written, and it's pretty stupid. Swayze and Kelly Lynch are wooden throughout, but get to kick some teeth in along the way. No film will ever reach the pinnacle of this "bouncer movie," right?

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's a lot of fun. It's not good at all, but it's full of one liners, bar fights, and Sam Elliott.

Memorable QuoteCalling me sir is like putting an elevator in an outhouse. It don't belong.

#47. Dreamcatcher (2003)

Stephen King novels have given birth to some really good movies. But, they've also birthed some pretty bad ones. I went with this one because, with a cast like this, it should have come out much stronger. Friends go on a camping trip and realize the town they're in has an unfortunate alien problem. It tries to take cues from John Carpenter's The Thing, trying to create a sense of paranoia in cold weather, but falls flat. So, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, and Timothy Olyphant just do nothing really.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: The alien is pretty ridiculous looking. Plus, Jason Lee gives a pretty solid performance in a relatively small role.

Memorable QuoteHenry, if we die before you get back, promise you'll tell everybody she wasn't my date.

#46. Perfect Stranger (2007)

Halle Berry tanked pretty hard after her Oscar win, only finding solace in the X-Men series. In 2007, she jumped on the bandwagon of "the Internet is dangerous" movies, starring in this one alongside Bruce Willis and Giovanni Ribisi. She stars as a journalist who jumps into an online cat and mouse game (at first) with an ad exec. From there it tries to get twisty and fascinating, but more or less becomes another attempt to throw Berry some money and give her a starring role. 

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Ribisi is always fun to watch on screen. Plus, I take enjoyment in watching a movie try so hard to be thrilling and wind up with nothing good.

Memorable Quote: - And how long will that take? - Uh, 3 minutes and 14 seconds. But, that's just a guess.

#45. Waterworld (1995)

Kevin Costner's first jump into epic failures came in 1995, with this dystopic tale of people living on a water-covered planet and drinking their own pee. Starring and directed by Costner, this overdone adventure film also starred Jeanne Tripplehorn and Dennis Hopper. It's an interesting premise, but gets lost in the translation. Bravo for the valiant effort, but it would have taken quite a bit more to make this a critical and box office success.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Hopper is such a good villain in anything he does. And it's fun watching Costner drink his own urine.

Memorable QuoteIf I ever see him again, I'm going to cut open his head and eat his brain.

#44. Freddy Got Fingered (2001)

Tom Green will go down in history as one of the most self-involved, insane celebrities we've ever seen. He's very aware of his persona, does everything he can to exploit it, and ignores naysayers. He reached his unearned apex in 2001 with his own feature film, centering around his role as an unemployed cartoonist who spreads rumors that his father sexually abused him. It's a terrible idea, a terrible performance, and one of the worst attempts at a star-making movie ever conceived. The only reason this isn't higher on the list is because I'm not convinced this film was ever meant to be "good."

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: For those who tolerate Green, he does throw a few lightly entertaining sketches in here. Plus, Rip Torn plays his father, which is weirdly unsettling.

Memorable QuoteOh, look honey, our boy's a genius! He's rigged a pulley system so he can eat sausage and work on his stupid drawings.

#43. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)

The first on this list that has a title that explains just how insane it is. A number of deaths point to people and animals being eaten by, you guessed it, tomatoes. The government then gathers a team that includes a solider who always has a parachute on, a scuba diver who never takes his suit off, and an agent who disguises himself as a black Adolf Hitler. I'll leave it at that.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's a movie about evil tomatoes. I'm not sure what else you need to be at least oddly curious.

Memorable QuoteWe have to convince the little housewife out there that the tomato that ate the family pet is not dangerous!

#42. Rollerball (2002)

In 1975, James Caan starred in a futuristic parable centering on a brutally violent sport under a corporation controlled government. 27 years later, director John McTiernan (yes, the one who directed Die Hard) decided to remake the film, but removed the interesting aspects of the back story, cast some terrible actors, and hoped for the best. Starring LL Cool J, Chris Klein, and Rebecca Romijn, Rollerball gave a bad name to the original cult classic by turning it into a total joke.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's never bad to see Rebecca Romijn in skin tight leather. Some of the action scenes aren't too bad, either.

Memorable QuoteAnd the other rules...well, the other rules are Russian and complicated.

#41. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Another "are you kidding me?" title that is self-explanatory. Martians kidnap Santa because there is nobody on their planet to give kids presents. And the only way to fix it is to bring happiness to the lonely planet. It's a weird attempt at mixing wholesome family fun with misguided Ed Wood-style science fiction. That's it. Needless to say, it's insane.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Really? It's Santa and Martians. Game over.

Memorable QuoteIf we take them with us to Mars, Santa's disappearance will remain a mystery. No one on Earth will ever know that Santa Claus was kidnapped by Martians.

Whew...some stinkers up there, but all worth wasting some of your life to sit through for the sheer spectacle. Onward and upward to #40 through #31 next.

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