The Critic’s Revenge – The Worst Movies I Have Ever Seen
Movies are so subjective; bad ones often create as much debate as good one. Before I embark on revealing my top 20, I want to punish those films that robbed me of two hours of my life.
I really cannot call this “The Worst Movies of All Time”, simply because I do not go out of my way to see bad films. That said, Roger Ebert has two books dedicated to awful movies and I have read reviews so scathing and juicy that I did search out the films to see just how bad they were. I was not disappointed.
Reviews of bad films are often more fun to read than reviews of good ones. My two all time favourite reviews are Roger Ebert panning Concorde: Airport ’79 and Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo. You can find them both on his site. They are brilliant.
Siskel and Ebert used to call this The Critics Revenge. James Berardinelli puts his annual “worst of the year” list out at Thanksgiving … The Turkey List.
Here, in rough order, is a list of the worst films I have ever seen with a brief description, because the less said about them, the better.
1. The Lonely Lady (1983)
An early 80s “Pay TV” classic. Pia Zadora plays a would-be screen writer whose caring loving husband in one scene turns into a cruel bastard the next for no reason. She eventually wins an Oscar (in this film, not in real life) and gives an acceptance speech so bad; it really has to be seen. This movie was made to get Pia Zadora naked and that’s not even worth watching.
2. Hello Again (1987)
Shelley Long chokes to death on Chinese food then is brought back to life by an incantation by her whacky sister. Easily the worst movie I ever paid to see at a theatre.
3. Jack Frost (1998)
Michael Keaton dies and returns from the dead as a snowman in what might be the worst special effect ever displayed on screen. This movie actually contains the line “You da man.” “No, I da SNOW man”.
4. Meteor (1979)
This falls into the “has to be seen to be believed” category. The special effects in the movie make me believe that they meant it to be a comedy, not a disaster movie. Disaster movie is actually quite an accurate label.
5. The Sicilian (1987)
John Tuturro as a bandit who is irresistible to women. Christopher Lambert as the legendary Turi Guiliani. Worst casting ever in this horrible adaptation of the excellent Mario Puzo novel. This is one of several disasters at the hands of Michael Cimino after his Oscar winning “The Deer Hunter”. Too bad because the source material is so good.
6. Dirty Dancing (1987)
This movie is not about dirty dancing. Its about recycled movie clichés and bad acting. It’s the ultimate Idiot Plot, a movie which only survives if every character is an idiot and says the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong people to ensure that the film stumbles along.
7. Cannonball Run 2 (1984)
Racist, sexist, unfunny, crappily written, poorly acted sequel that I actually paid to see, knowing how bad the original is. The was Gene Siskel’s vote for the worst film he reviewed while doing Siskel and Ebert.
8. Wired (1989)
A bizarre biopic about John Belushi. Its so bad it defies description like the scene where he watches his own autopsy. As I went in to this movie, a friend coming out of the earlier show told me not to see it. Shoulda listened.
9. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Three hours of indecipherable noise with no plot that made a billion dollars. I must quote Ebert here. “If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.” Well said, Roger. I mean look – even the poster is a mess.
10. Natural Born Killers (1994)
Some call this a classic. I call it a reprehensible vomitorium of film guising itself as a societal statement against violence. This film has some really good scenes but its tone and nature do not work. To me, it tries to rise above is sickening violence but instead wallows in it.
11. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
Yes its goofy and the movie “Ed Wood” brought this into a new light. But it’s a “has to be seen to be appreciated” awesomely bad film that deserves is place on this list, or any other list. Bela Lugosi died during the making of this film. Ed Wood’s chiropractor’s husband replaced him with a cape over his face.
Other noteworthy horrible films
Howard the Duck
I Am Curious: Yellow
Jaws IV: The Revenge
(Gotta quote Ebert again here: “ I believe the plot of this film. I really do. What shark would not want revenge against the men that killed it”)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Johnny B Good