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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Definitive Fantastically Terrible Films: 10-1

Scene from "Disaster Movie" courtesy of
And here we are, at the end of our journey. These are the quintessential terrible movies that you still must see. Most of these were epic failures that the filmmakers took seriously.They were movies that weren't expected to be as bad as they are, which makes them all the more entertaining. So, if you have free time and just want to zone out during a movie, but be pleasantly surprised by the idiocy of the feature, these are your suggestions. Enjoy...or don't. Your call.

#10. Batman & Robin (1997) 

Tim Burton's Batman films took the comic books and amped up the style and added some dark humor to make for two good films. Then, Joel Schumacher took over the series with Batman Forever, plugging Val Kilmer in as the hero and throwing legitimacy away. Then, Schumacher went off the deep end. Sticking up-and-coming star George Clooney into the costume (and adding nipples to it), the biggest comic book movie misstep of all time was born. An atrocious casting job added Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl and it all went down the crapper.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: One-liners galore and a ridiculous comparison between this and the brilliance of Christopher Nolan's take on the comic book series should be all you need.

Memorable QuoteIn this universe, there's only one absolute... everything freezes!

#9. From Justin to Kelly (2003)

When American Idol started to take a hold of the world, Fox studios decided that it shouldn't end with TV and the music industry. They decided to put their big stars from the show into a terrible film, not factoring in that none of them could act. So, Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini star in this attempt to capture a market that was expected to be bigger...and stupider. Essentially, it's a sex-crazed summer camp story, but in a bubble gum pop way. Just atrocious. There's nothing good about this film. Nothing.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway:Well, if you like Kelly Clarkson, I guess it will work. There's a lot of good-looking folks, too.

Memorable QuoteThat's exactly what I'm talking about. And you accuse me of being a player. Well, you're the one playing games, Kelly. You know what? Game over.

#8. I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

She was a promising young actress who glowed on screen as a child. Then, she grew up on screen and seemed to have it together. Then it all went to Hell. Lindsey Lohan starred in the "thriller" I Know Who Killed Me, which really marked the grandiose end game of her long fall from glory, the worst of everything she was in. Lohan plays a girl who is thought to be dead, only to reappear and claim to be a different person. Sounds like it could be interesting, right? Well, a misguided script, bad direction, and a terrible performance from the lead all add up to garbage.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Julia Ormond is in it. I'm not sure what made her want to do this film, but there she is.

Memorable Quote: So my finger got cut off. But nobody did it. Who's going to believe that? Look at you. You don't even believe it.

#7. Mac and Me (1988)

Cheap knockoffs happen all the time in Hollywood. Take Piranha, an attempt to capture the same market that Jaws did. Take the Brendan Fraser Mummy films, which are essentially attempts to recapture the genius of Spielberg's Indiana Jones films (the first three - not the most recent). Five years after ET became one of the most beloved family films of all time, writer/director Stewart Raffill tried to create his own family film, centering around an alien coming to Earth. Mac is an extraterrestrial who befriends a wheelchair bound child while trying to escape from NASA. And Mac's family needs help, too. And there is only one cure. One lame, ridiculous cure.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: There has never been a more insane case of product placement than what is done in this movie. The magic elixir is Pepsi. Oh...spoiler alert...sorry. McDonald's plays a pretty important role, too.

Memorable Quote: I don't know. Just keep him dancing and they'll just think it's a teddy. 

#6. Howard the Duck (1986)

Speaking of aliens coming to Earth, the 80's science fiction wave hit a new low in 1986, with an adaptation of the cult comic book series by Steve Gerber with the same title. Howard the Duck is the story of a humanistic sarcastic talking duck who comes to Earth to stop an alien invader. Obviously, scientists want to get a hold of the talking mallard, but kids and a female rock musician played by Leah Thompson help him escape. Did I mention he's sarcastic? That makes him entertaining. I guess.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It's not on-screen, but it's implied that Howard has sex with Leah Thompson, which is an uncomfortable level of bestiality. Good times, though.

Memorable Quote: Every duck has his limit, and you scum have pushed me over the line!

#5. Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)

It's amazing how many horror films are about a family going on a road trip and getting lost. Or, at least, going to a remote location for whatever reason and being pulled into a subculture of which they were unaware. Writer/director Harold P. Warren's only film Manos: The Hands of Fate follows the same plot, involving a devil-worshiping cult led by the "Master" and his servant Torgo. Warren also stars in the film. The word "manos" is Spanish for "hands," so the title of the film is technically Hands: The Hands of Fate, so that's a good start. And the Master is a sort of polygamist, whose wives fight over who is the most important, all while Torgo tries to talk the Master into giving him one of his wives.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: It gets harder and harder as this list goes on to find reasons here, but this film is so ridiculous and low budget that it MUST be seen. It's only 74 minutes long, too.

Memorable Quote: The woman is all we want! The others must die! They ALL must die! We do not even want the woman!

#4. Troll 2 (1990)

Again - family goes on vacation and discovers an underbelly of society for which they aren't ready. They eventually uncover that the people of this small town are actually goblins in disguise, who are trying to please a queen by changing visitors into a weird green ooze. Number 1: this is not really a sequel to the movie Troll. Number 2: there are no trolls in the movie - they are goblins. Numbers 3: the town's name is Nilbog, which is "goblin" spelled backwards, and nobody figures this out until late in the film. Anyway, the kid in the photo above is the hero, helped out by the ghost of his grandfather. Don't watch it while you're eating - it's kind of gross, and not in a shock and awe way.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: A 2009 documentary about the making of this film called Best Worst Movie is fun to watch side by side with it. The dad in the family is a dentist in real life, apparently, and is pretty proud of this movie.

Memorable Quote: Do you see this writing? Do you know what it means? Hospitality. And you can't piss on hospitality! I WON'T ALLOW IT!

#3. Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)

Before Tom Cruise made Scientology "cool" (or whatever you call it), John Travolta was one of the lone high profile members of the "church." Church leader and Science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard wrote many novels relating to his teachings, one of which being this one, with the same title. Battlefield Earth tells the story of a dystopic world where a race of aliens called Psychlos rule the universe under the leadership of Terl (Travolta). When a young upstart human named Tyler (Barry Pepper) goes on a mission to find the truth behind the Psychlos, he is enslaved, only to begin fighting back and forms an uprising for the human race. I guess it's a metaphor.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: Wow - it's a doozie, it really is. Along with Travolta and Pepper, Forest Whitaker is in here, too. Watch it in preparation for Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming (non)Scientology film The Master.

Memorable Quote: I am going to make you as happy as a baby Psychlo on a straight diet of kerbango.

#2. Showgirls (1995)

Being provocative for the purpose of pushing some buttons is useless - it doesn't accomplish anything. If you're going to make a statement about a topic that you feel deserves some attention (i.e. sexuality), make sure you do it well. Director Paul Verhoeven's NC-17 rated fiasco Showgirls centers around Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) as she tries to make it as a Las Vegas dancer by essentially sleeping and fighting her way to the top. It also stars David Lynch muse Kyle McLachlan and the oft-terrible Gina Gershon. In a way, it's a misguided remake of All About Eve.  The film eventually just became a punchline - a way for 90's kids to see "Saved by the Bell's" Jessie Spano naked.  It's a shame - Verhoeven has proven himself as a decent director with other films, like Starship Troopers and Robocop.

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: As you'd expect, there's a whole lot of nudity and sex. It's not always good, but it sure is crazy. I grew up watching the crew from Bayside, so it's a weird experience.

Memorable Quote: You lose all of your money, honey? Do you wanna make some more? It won't take you any longer than 15 minutes. Sooner or later you're gonna have to sell it.

#1. The Room (2003)

When I began this list, I expected to come to the end with an older movie than this one. But, from all my viewing, research, and recollection, I can't think of a movie as terribly made, acted, and written as Tommy Wiseau's The Room, a self-indlugent, self-loathing train wreck of a coming-of-age dark comedy (or so they say). Johnny (Wiseau) is a banker who is "too trusting" and pays for it as all of his friends begin to betray him, one by one. It's slow, it's stupid, and it's so overdone. Watching friends betray Johnny one-by-one ends up being hilarious, as he dives further into a weird depression that would've just been avoided if he never trusted anyone! To quote "The Simpsons" - "You tried and you failed. The lesson is, never try."

Reasons to Watch It Anyway: This movie won the audience award at the New York International Film Festival. I'm hoping ironically. You really have to see how an an actor Wiseau is. It will shake you to your very core.

Memorable Quote: Thank you, honey, this is a beautiful party! You invited all my friends. Good thinking!

So, there you have it. The worst of the worst that you still have to see. Thanks for playing.

In case you disagree, here's the trailer for The Room:

1 comment:

  1. haha that was a great read. Not sure how I even stumbled across this page! Cheers