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Monday, May 7, 2012

The Definitive Fantastically Terrible Films: 40-31

Scene from "The Beast of Yucca Flats"
coutesy of
As we move forward, we start running into some of the more popular picks by critics for the worst movies of all time. I'll admit to being a fan of a few in this group when I was younger, but have since re-watched and just been flabbergasted at the stupidity of them. Still, I can't help but have a soft spot for a movie I barely remember but maintain a love for. So, here's #40 through #31 of the movies so bad that you have to see them.

#40. Heaven's Gate (1980)

In 1978, director Michael Cimino made The Deer Hunter, a brilliant take on pre and post war soldiers and the psychological effect it has on them. With the box office success and Oscar victory that film had, Cimino was given a big budget and some artistic freedom to bring Heaven's Gate to the screen, an overblown bleak Western starring Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Walken. In the 1970's, a move toward neo-realistic Westerns seemed to make space for Heaven's Gate, but all it did was expose it as an embarrassment as compared to movies like McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's a pretty solid cast - throw in Jeff Bridges, Isabelle Huppert, John Hurt, Joseph Cotten, and Sam Waterston with the above stars and here we are.

Memorable QuoteThey're an ignorant, degraded gang of paupers. Their only stock in trade consists of having large numbers of ragged kids.

#39. Mommie Dearest (1981)

Joan Crawford was a screen legend. Then, her adopted daughter Christine wrote a memoir detailing her nightmarish life in the home with the legend. In 1981, director Frank Perry brought the book to the screen with the help of camp-tacular Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest. An incredibly insane trip through what was supposed to be a "true story" of Crawford's life off-screen has to be seen to be believed, from every ridiculous shriek to overreaction. Dunaway delivers what may be the most overdone performance in the history of cinema, turning this supposed biographical film about the troubled actress into a bad horror story.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Dunaway is INSANE. It's actually just fun to watch her train fall off the cliff over and over again.

Memorable QuoteNo...wire...hangers. What's wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you: no wire hangers EVER!? I work and work 'till I'm half-dead, and I hear people saying, "She's getting old." And what do I get? A daughter who cares as much about the beautiful dresses I give her as she cares about me.

#38. Mannequin (1987)

That silly "brat pack" could do no wrong in the 80's, no matter how insanely idiotic the premise of the film was. Andrew McCarthy was one of the lovestruck boys of the pack and, in 1987, starred as an artist who builds a mannequin placed in a department store window and then, sure enough, it comes to life (it's inhabited by an ancient Egyptian mummy that looks and acts like Kim Cattrall). So, while McCarthy works as a stock boy at night, he and Emmy (the mannequin) work to redesign the window displays, much to the chagrin of store owners. And they fall in love. And that's it.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Well, McCarthy is really always a pretty charming actor, all doe-eyed and awe-struck. It's also nice to see Cattrall pre-Sex and the City, when she became completely intolerable.

Memorable QuoteI don't care if he puts a rubber glove on his head and runs naked around the store screaming, 'Hi! I'm a squid!'

#37. Zardoz (1974)

So, Sean Connery is a barbarian in a future Earth where the world is inhabited by uncivilized beings who worship a giant stone head named Zardoz who promises a life in the "vortex" after death. When Zed (Connery) learns how to read (seriously) and is taught the secrets of Zardoz, the "vortex," and the immortals that inhabit that world, he sets out to learn more about his world and the world after. Upon crossing over, the delicate balance of the world he knows is upset. The tagline: Into a world of eternal life, he brought the gift of death. Amazing.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Zardoz (the "character") is ridiculous - he looks like Olmec from "Legends of the Hidden Temple" and flies around.

Memorable QuoteI love to see them running. I love the moments of their deaths - when I am one with Zardoz.

#36. The Last Airbender (2010)

M. Night Shyamalan showed so much promise with his debut The Sixth Sense, only to slowly fall further and further down the crap hole. His most recent effort was probably his worst (though he has another entry later in this list), if only because he spit all over a beloved children's television show. Written and directed by Syamalan, the story of young Aang (Noah Ringer) and his Luke Skywalker-style rise to power is laughable. The special effects are horrid, the direction is lazy, and the 3-D is obscene.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Fans of the TV show may enjoy a few spots here and there, but when Syamalan fails, he fails miserably. It's amazing.

Memorable QuoteAgain, I offer my condolences on your nephew burning to death in that terrible accident.

#35. Super Mario Brothers (1993)

The first film based solely on a video game was this misguided adaptation of what is probably the most beloved game of all time (at least, the most beloved characters). Starring John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins as Luigi and Mario, the plumbers turned heroes, they battle the evil King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) as they try to rescue the beautiful princess Daisy (Samantha Mathis). This movie has three directors - three. None of them got it right. First of all, Luigi (Leguizamo) doesn't have a mustache, and that drives me nuts. Hoskins and Leguizamo claimed the filming process was so terrible that they eventually just started showing up to work drunk.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Look at that cast! In addition, Fisher Stevens, Richard Edson, and Fiona Shaw have roles. And, again, Hopper as a villain is fun.

Memorable Quote I'm a vegetarian, I don't eat anything with a face.

#34. Night of the Lepus (1972)

The horror genre has taken a step backwards in recent years, with all the torture porn and "found footage" films. But, long ago, true horror films had yet to freak out waves of audiences. The year before The Exorcist was released, a much, much scarier film was released called Night of the Lepus, centering around a group of mutant rabbits that attack people in the southwestern United States. After a farmer injects some rabbits with a serum meant to stop rapid reproduction, one escapes and unleashes a herd of dog-sized (maybe bigger) bunnies on the world.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Again...I'm not sure why I have to give you more reasons to search this one out. But, just in case, Janet Leigh is in it - yes, the one from Psycho.

Memorable Quote: Attention! Attention! Ladies and gentlemen, attention! There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way and we desperately need your help!

#33. North (1994)

Kids have it so tough - especially when their parents work all the time, blah, blah. In 1994, Rob Reiner directed North, focusing on a child (played by Elijah Wood) who decides he's had enough of his parents and files a lawsuit against them, forcing the judge to lay down a completely legitimate command: North must find new parents within two months or return to his current parents. So, he sets off on a journey to find parents who really care about him. I really liked this movie when I was eleven and I didn't have bad parents. Looking back, this is the most insane premise ever.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: The cast of this film is mind-blowing. Wood, Bruce Willis, Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkins, Jon Lovitz, and a young Scarlett Johansson. Not to mention the almost sacrilegious pairing of George Costanza and Elaine Benes (Jason Alexander and Julia Louise-Dreyfuss) as North's parents.

Memorable Quote: It's that six months of daylight thing. It throws everybody off. I myself only showered 12 times during the '70s.

#32. Drop Dead Fred (1991)

I didn't have an imaginary friend when I was a kid and I don't know anybody who did (or told me, anyway). But, apparently they ran rampant. Still attempting to make Phoebe Cates a legitimate star beyond the infamous pool scene in Fast Times, she was inserted into this awkward story of a woman whose childhood friend reappears to complicate her life in Drop Dead Fred. Starring a British alternative comedian named Rik Mayall, the film features plenty of cartoon-like graphics and a plot that preaches self-actualization in the face of a controlling mother and a womanizing husband...with the help of an imaginary friend. 

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Well, Cates isn't bad to look at. Plus, you get Tim Matheson, who isn't a bad addition to any cast.

Memorable QuoteWell why don't we harpoon Charles straight through the head, drag him back to the apartment, and hit him with a hammer until he agrees to come back? - Harpoon him through the head? That won't work Fred. - Why not? How many times have you tried it? 

#31. No Holds Barred (1989)

Before professional wrestling was more about sex than competition, it was AWESOME. The days of the Ultimate Warrior, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and the great Hulk Hogan in the late 80's and early 90's were a great time for the World Wrestling Federation. Its popularity led to this ill-fated film, starring Hulk Hogan as Rip, the WWF champion who is asked to wrestle for another network who purchases the company. When he refuses, he returns to his normal life, only to create a start-up federation of his own. Remember - this was when it was still disputable if wrestling was real or fake.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Come can't hate wrestling that much. It's fun, it's ridiculous, and Hulk Hogan is a terrible actor.

Memorable QuoteMean Gene, how DARE you criticize how I dress? I dress for the occasion. And this is a stupidous occasion and I dress of course, stupidously

These just keep getting better and better. Stay tuned for #30 through #21 next.


  1. Are you fucking kidding? Drop Dead Fred is a classic LOL