Today I was inspred by Studio System News’ list of the top 10 worst book to film adaptations (http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz/2013/05/16/10-biggest-book-adaptation-flops/) to share this list of what some people consider are the worst movies ever made. I must stress that these are only movies I have personally watched. I can also stress that if the filmmakers read this, I want those hours of my life back.
But I’m not just being snarky, honest. What can we learn from this list of crimes against the imagination? That’s it darned hard to make a movie. Making a good movie is an acheivement on the scale of building the pyramids. And making a great one? Well, that’s almost always a happy accident.
In chronological order:
ROBOT MONSTER (1953)
Arguably the worst film dialogue of all time!
“PROFESSOR: He’s dead, and there’s nothing we can do!”
“RO-MAN: I cannot – yet I must. How do you calculate that? At what point on the graph do “must” and “cannot” meet? Yet I must – but I cannot!”
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959)
As if it wasn’t bad enough watching a morphene-addicted Bela Lugosi struggle to do a bad Dracula impersonation, the quality control of this production is so bad I’ve seen children create more convincing plane cockpits out of furniture. Forget this “classic” turd and watch the Johnny Depp biopic instead. It’s way more entertaining.
THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!? (1964)
This drive-in “cult classic” definitely does what it says on the tin. And that’s it. If you like shots of people pretending to eat chopped liver interspersed with forgettable song and dance numbers, this is your kind of movie.
JAWS 4: THE REVENGE
The original “Jaws” is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. This is not.
Featuring a rubber shark. An ending that copies Jaws 2. A whole film that is basically clips of the original. A shark that appears to have a personal dislike for the Brody family (maybe they have a shark grapevine). And my favourite, the roaring shark.
TROLL 2 (1990)
“Troll” was a daft but surprisingly entertaining film about a four foot troll that causes magical havoc by turning the inhabitants of a block of flats into monster-generating plants. The sequel bears little if no relvance to the original, is downright mean-spirited, contains some of the hammiest acting ever seen and dialogue that clunks louder than the chain-rattling ghost of its predecessor which can still be heard in the background.
BATTLEFIELD EARTH (2000)
This one is a humdinger, and one of the few terrible films that it’s worth watching just to see Travolta in “that” costume. A misfire on all levels. It has everything a bad movie needs: unintentionally funny scenes, awful dialogue, ridiculous plot twists (a caveman flying an F-16; aliens ignore the gold stored on Earth for centuries and resort to mining for it), bad SFX (said F-16s attacking in all their primitive CGI glory), and incomprehensible pseudo-alien babble like:
“CHIRK: I am going to make you as happy as a baby Psychlo on a straight diet of kerbango.”
Ah, the new milennium. So ripe with possibilities thanks to the wonderful filmmaker’s tool that is CGI. So many bad movies have been made using [insert CGI giant animal/weather effect here] that it is impossible to list them. May I suggest tuning into the SyFy channel any week night? This decade is noteworthy for filmmakers who just don’t give a damn about the end product.
Some noteworthy big budget disasers include…
Turned into part-cat (and all woman!) for some no good reason, Halle Berry wanders around in a bra and leather pants, ocassionally purring and eyeing up fish, while her CGI counterpart climbs tall buildings in stilettos. The script is such a mish-mash of rewrites that Berry’s cat changes from a “she” to a “he” during the movie. Berry later said, on collecting her Razzie award, “First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of shit, god-awful movie… It was just what my career needed.”
ANY SYFY CHANNEL CREATURE/DISASTER MOVIE (2000s)
Dire programing at its best (and worst). These monster/weather mash-ups are like a child’s attempt to imitate a remotely successful picture. Featuring CGI! Models-turned-actors. Dull dialogue. Boring plot twists. A nonsensical catalyst that sets the ludicrious “hi-concept” premise rolling. Stereotypical characters with no depth. And one out-of-work formerly decent actor who fails to keep the whole thing from descending into the gutter.
Examples abound. but take for instance… DINOCROC! SHARKTOPUS! BOA vs PYTHON! MEGA PIRANHA! DINOCROC vs SUPERGATOR! MEGA SHARK v GIANT OCTOPUS! MEGA SHARK vs CROCOSAURUS! MEGA PYTHON vs GATOROID! MEGAFAULT! GHOSTQUAKE! SNAKES ON A TRAIN! DINOSHARK! MAGMA: VOLCANIC DISASTER! VOLCANO IN NEW YORK! QUANTUM APOLCALYPSE! POLAR STORM!
The list goes on…
There are plenty more terrible movies out there. Movies that have cynicism ingrained in their pores. Movies that exist to make a quick buck and for no other reason. Movies that only a 13 year-old boy who has never seen movies and only plays the most retarded video games will enjoy. Movies like… ALONE IN THE DARK. SUPERBABIES 2. JACK AND JILL. EPIC MOVIE. DISASTER MOVIE. MEET THE SPARTANS.
There are also others that are not “bad” per se, just incompetent or botched or just down on their luck. Many of these movies go straight to DVD if we are lucky.
But what can we learn from the plethora of terrible CGI-driven creature/weather features?
1) A “hi-concept” is not always a good thing.
“It’s Jaws in Venice” might sound like a good movie. But it isn’t. Trust me.
2) Parodies and spoofs must go beyond simply reproducing scenes from original movies.
Unfortunately it appears that satire was killed off in the 19990s and has yet to make a return.
3) No amount of star power can save a turkey.
Consider “Movie 43”.
No go and rent some good movies!