1.05.2006

Avoid like the PLAGUE.

As many movies as I've missed, I've certainly seen quite a few in my lifetime. According to Netflix, I've rated 1,222 DVDs on their site, although that includes television shows. I'd still say I've seen close to one thousand films though, and that number continues to increase. For the most part, I pick movies I think I'll like, and occasionally take chances based on recommendations. My system of judgment must be very generous, as there are few movies that have gotten less than 3 out of 5 stars from me. Every once in a while though, risks have turned into tragic mistakes, or high expectations were utterly dashed. Mister Snitch recently linked to MSN's worst movies of 2005. I liked Elektra but went in with low expectations. It wasn't a great movie, but it was fun and more enjoyable than I was prepared for it to be. Still, I can see how it's not for everyone, I wouldn't be quick to recommend it, and I understand how it made the list. The two biggest shockers on the list for me were Crash and War of the Worlds. Had the writer not elaborated on the reasoning for each inclusion, I might have wondered if he was confusing Crash with the 1996 film of the same name in which accident victims have a lot of graphic sex, often involving scars. I really had no interest in, or never heard of, most of the other films on the list save for Stealth, which I'd actually want to see.

I decided since I often give movies a chance, and look for redeeming factors, I should dig and examine how bad a movie has to be to get a mere 1 or 2 stars from me. Here now are some highlights, or perhaps “lowlights”, of the worst films I've ever seen. The following list may save you some money, assuming of course you'd be as stupid as I was with some of them.

The Brown Bunny:
I didn't rent it for the controversial oral sex scene, which frankly was available already online. I wanted to see if there was any more to the film, any substance, since all people talked about seemed to be three or four (surprisingly boring) minutes near the end. I probably could spoil the twist since I'm advocating avoidance, but some readers may have to find out for themselves. Let's just say that all is not as it seems, and while the subsequent revelation is marginally interesting and definitely tragic, it's not worth the hour or so spent getting there. Literally, the bulk of the movie was Vincent Gallo driving to music. Occasionally he'd stop in a town and speak to someone in hushed whispers that required subtitles, and dialogue a child could comprehend. Most of the movie is a camera looking out his windshield at a highway as music plays, sometimes for fifteen minute stretches. It's not worth renting or fastforwarding.

The Sweetest Thing:
Watching this last night actually inspired tonight's post. It seemed like it had potential, a trinity of gorgeous stars and offbeat occasionally gross comedy like that found in Farrelly Brothers movies. What usually happens with the Farrellys is I expect from the trailer a stupid comedy with no heart, and lots of sophomoric humor. Every time I've been surprised and often moved by their films. The Sweetest Thing attempts to merge a Farrelly Brothers movie with a chick flick, creating a hybrid of the WORST aspects of both genres. Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair should be embarrassed. I was embarrassed for them. They're all better than this. In one scene the trio inspires an entire restaurant to join them in a musical number about the lies they tell their boyfriends, a song that probably sets a record for the number of times the word “penis” is used. In another, Ms. Blair is embarrassed in front of her friends, firefighters, police and neighbors as she finds her tonsils caught on one of her boyfriend's body piercings. Where is this metal ring? You don't want to know, and you don't need to see this. Ever. I actually want to see the most recent Punisher now, because I'm 110% confident that THIS is the worst movie Thomas Jane has ever been in.

Joe Dirt:
I know. What was I thinking? All the warning signs were there, and the Stifleresque former coworker who once raved about the film could in no way be considered a credible critic. There have been times in David Spade's career that I've actually found him bearable. In small doses, such as his one minute bit on SNL's weekend update, his whiny sarcasm was great. I didn't mind him on Just Shoot Me and if Dennis Finch wasn't his best role, then it was certainly the title character in The Emperor's New Groove. Not long before seeing Joe Dirt I was pleasantly surprised by Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. I think what hooked me in that was the nostalgia for all the real former sitcom stars that had cameos. Joe Dirt was all Spade, all the time, playing an annoying character who, in possibly the most metaphorical moments of the film, drags around a wagon with a large sphere of petrified crap. You don't need me to tell you to stay away, but I'm doing so anyway.

Dogma:
Speaking of crap, I think the preceding review set up the perfect segue to possibly my most controversial inclusion, and in my opinion the worst thing Kevin Smith has ever done. I have a sense of humor. I know he is (or was) a fellow Catholic and I can see some of the serious and possibly valid criticisms he wove in between the garbage. But any message he's trying to convey is lost in such a setting, and vice versa. It just doesn't work. The acting is atrocious, and literally the characters face a sh*tmonster at one point. I can't even make that up. An ambulatory pile of feces challenges our heroes. And Alanis Morissette portrays the god of this film's reality, a god Jay is turned on by? What?! I can recommend everything Smith has ever done, even Jersey Girl, but I can't recommend this one.

Congo:
This is the perfect example of dashed high expectations. How can a movie based on a Crichton novel that includes Bruce Campbell and Tim Curry disappoint? What if Campbell isn't in the film for more than a cameo, and what if intelligent gorillas are the main adversaries in a quest to get diamonds out of a volcano or something equally ridiculous and forgettable? Did I mention the good guys' gorilla Amy, who can “speak” with a radio she wears around her neck and “says” things like “Amy good gorilla”? Between takes it was probably, “Amy fire agent”. I can't believe my college buddies and I actually caught this one in the theater.

King Kong (1976):
This is the single worst incarnation of this film. Jessica Lange spells her name D-W-A-N and proclaims that “[her] life was saved by Deep Throat.” Jeff Bridges cheers when Kong incinerates three innocent soldiers with flamethrowers, the kind of enthusiastic cheer one sees when a winning touchdown or goal is scored. The only other creature Kong “battles” on the island is a rubber snake he seems to be wrapping around himself. That pretty much sums it up. Again, this is the single worst incarnation of this film.

Batman & Robin
I can sum up how this was the final nail in the old quadrology with the following list: Schumacher, codpieces, rubber nipples, monotone lighting, Schwarzenegger as a Mr. Freeze who says things like “deee ahhs min cohmmeth, bahtmahn!”, Schumacher, Schumacher, Schumacher. The full list is much, much longer but I'm getting tired.

The Master of Disguise:
What happened to Dana Carvey? I remember a time when I considered him the star of Saturday Night Live, the most talented performer in the ensemble. Did he die sometime after Wayne's World 2? Was someone else playing “Pistachio Disguisey”? This is what I need to think to preserve my memory of Carvey from the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Maybe the real master of disguise, Rich Little, is impersonating Carvey. Maybe Carvey isn't dead at all, but in the same rehab center for less successful costars alongside the likes of Alex Winter and Peter Scolari.

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Those are some the worst movies I've seen. Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? And what can you add to the list?

6 Comments:

Blogger Kelly said...

Hey, I just watched Dogma a few days ago! Yep, it pretty much sucked and I had to fast forward through the part with the sh*tmonster. Yech. I thought some parts were funny (got a kick out of the buddy Jesus), but then again I'm not Catholic. I just don't see why Kevin Smith gets all this praise. I've now seen all of his movies, I believe, and the only one, IMO, that rises a little above mediocrity is Clerks.

I saw Congo because I loved the book. Boy, was it horrible. I don't even remember the Bruce Campbell cameo.

Ha! For B movie cheesiness, that version of King Kong sounds great.

I never saw Batman & Robin, but Dave got me hooked on this Ahhhnald quote: "There's only one absolute .... everything freeeeezes". Hehe.

Very good list of crappy movies. I'll make sure to stay away from the ones I have been lucky enough not to see.

1/06/2006 5:27 AM  
Blogger The Unseen One said...

Do NOT get me started on Kevin Smith! Don't do it!!! THAT'S IT!!! NOW YOU'VE DONE IT!!!!

Kevin Smith is nothing more than a pseudo-intellectual disaffected over-glorified spiritually bankrupt gen-x-er. Similar people love him because he shows the that they can attain more than their music store/comic book store/coffee shop minimum wage working slacker lives. I know many people like this, and they are sad. They think life owes them a living, but they won't work for it. Smith did work for it, and he found a market for his steaming pile of Pr0n-monkey crap... although I have to admit I found Mallrats mildly amusing.

Joe Dirt I would have to rate as one of the five worst movies I've ever seen.

Congo? That was also a steaming pile of monkey poo, ready to be flung. What annoyed me the most was the leftist bent message of the movie. A person's worth can be measured by the amount of liberal-ness they possess, something we also saw in the first two Jurassic Parks, also by Crichton. At the end, when self-righteous-liberal-bitch what's her face destroyed the satelite and dropped the crystal into the jungle, several capitalism-hating non-bathing hippies in the theater cheered. "YEAH!!! STICK IT TO THE MAN!!!" But who did she really stick it to? Joe Don Baker's character was a multi-millionaire. They destroyed his business. Big whoop. Whe still has all his money and he probably would retire after that. However, the 30,000 or so people he employed are the ones she stuck it to, many of whom had not only their lives, but the lives of their children destroyed! Once again, NH's second law of nature is proven: The defining characteristic of a leftist is one who does not understand the concept of cause and effect.

1/06/2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger Replicant said...

I completely agree about Kevin Smith! The guy is one of the biggest talentless frauds working in film.

You've picked out a selection of bad movies and I can't argue that any are good or even worth seeing unless you happen to like a particular actor. I should probably watch THE BROWN BUNNY just because everyone hates it so much. But Vincent Gallo should go hang out w/ Kevin Smith on some island and leave the rest of us in peace.

1/06/2006 3:50 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Yeah, Sweetest Thing is pretty horrible. I love Cameron Diaz, but I just can't stand to watch that movie.

My favorite Cameron Diaz movie is one that no one seems to have seen but me... Head Above Water. Very, very funny movie. If you like dark(ish) comedies, check it out.

1/06/2006 6:56 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I actually like the movie Joe Dirt.
Master of Disguise was absolutely horrid - I nearly died having to sit through that awful, awful movie.
I like most movies, but I find that most comedies aren't really that funny - usually only a few really funny parts and the rest is stupid. So, why did I like Joe Dirt? I have no idea.

My post tomorrow is using one of your questions. I hope you stop by and see what comments come from it. It should be fun. I will have it up for the weekend. Have a good one!

1/07/2006 12:07 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

You know, I used to feel much shame because I had rated 400 or so movies on Netlix. You and Kelly kick my butt. I'm totally impressed.

1/07/2006 3:33 PM  

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