Saturday, August 6, 2011

Worst of the Worst: Post-Mortem

Now that the quest to watch Rotten Tomatoes' worst-reviewed 100 movies of the decade is over, some wrap-up.

Since this was a list of the worst-reviewed movies, as determined by the films' percentage on the Tomatometer, it's not anything that I decided.  There were movies that, after watching them, I didn't think were among the worst movies I had seen recently.  Similarly, there were movies not on the list that I would have included, given the chance.  The two movies that come to mind immediately are Year One (about as funny as any of the Epic Movie-type movies, but after much higher expectations) and The Ugly Truth (just an abominable, stupid film).  I'd listen to arguments on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  The three movies I'd take out are Ben Affleck's Surviving Christmas, the Toby Keith vehicle Broken Bridges, and the slightly-funny Boat Trip.  Surviving Christmas is the best of the three, making it the "best" movie on this list.

Three acting performances need to called out as being noteworthy in a negative way.  There was a lot of bad acting, but some of it was either expected (people in the ___ Movie movies or Larry the Cable Guy or Eddie Griffin) or came in movies that nobody will ever know existed (Fascination).  The three I'm pointing out came from known movies or are known actors.  First is Max Beesley as the manager/love interest in Glitter.  It's not nearly as bad a movie overall as I thought it might be, but he stands out with his bad accent and makes all of his scenes awkward.  Second is Chris Klein as the street-wise Interpol agent in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.  His overacting needs to be seen to be believed.  I strongly suggest anyone who enjoys funny-bad movies watch this movie just for him.  Third is, of course, John Travolta in Battlefield Earth.  This is a legitimate, talented actor, who puts on a crap performance for the ages.  He is as bad in Battlefield Earth as Colin Firth is good in The King's Speech.

On the flip side, you have actors that outperform their movie.  A lot of big name people embarrassed themselves on this list, from Barry Levinson to Guy Ritchie to Al Pacino to Ben Stiller to Robert De Niro, but there were some bright spots.  I wrote earlier this week about Antonio Banderas in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, who does so by default.  Zoe Saldana is so good in Constellation that she seems like she's overacting because she even gives a damn.  Zooey Deschanel is great (and adorable) in The New Guy because, well, she's perfect.

Very soon, I'll be embarking on the next project and will explain the parameters in this space.  Until then, we'll leave off with the only three lists that really matter.

5 Worst-Made Movies: This has little to do with entertainment value, but with actual quality of the movie -- the concept, the execution.

  • 5. Dirty Love -- I have never seen a more disgusting movie.
  • 4. Fascination -- A perfect storm of bad acting, bad plot, and even bad music.
  • 3. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever -- I have seen more coherent YouTube videos.
  • 2. Battlefield Earth -- With the budget that went into it and the controversy that surrounded it, one must tip their cap to a movie this bad.
  • 1. Merci, Docteur Rey! -- It gives messes a bad name.
5 Most Entertaining Movies: They may be bad, but these are the ones I'd suggest someone watch if they felt like checking these movies out.
  • 5. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever -- I laughed and laughed and laughed.  If someone attempted to film an abstract concept like schadenfreude, it might come out looking like this one.
  • 4. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li -- Yes, Chris Klein is that gloriously bad.  Also, one of the Black Eyed Peas members plays a bad guy, has no lines, and is still somehow bad.
  • 3. House of the Dead -- Uwe Boll intersperses scenes from the original arcade game with the movie, but the original game was 8-Bit or so, so the pixelated frames do not quite match up with the live action.  Some of his choices on making the action artistic are so outrageous that they must be rewound and rewatched multiple times.
  • 2. Battlefield Earth -- There are a lot of parts that are funny, but mostly one just has to see this movie to understand how bad it truly is.
  • 1. Bloodrayne -- I've watched it twice.  I'd watch it again right now.  Michael Madsen's hair by itself would be funny enough to make this a classic, but the gore effects (think the end of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, but not meant to be wacky) are probably the most entertaining thing Boll has ever put on film.
5 Least Entertaining Movies: This is the final and biggest one.  If movies are made to be entertainment then a badly-made movie that is entertaining is at least accidentally successful.  Those movies that are least entertaining are the worst kind of movie I can think of.
  • 5. Dirty Love -- I didn't even feel bad for Jenny McCarthy.  After sitting through this sexist, racist, demeaning movie, I was glad that she had failed at movie-making and would be forced to go on to a career in trying to keep kids from getting medicine.
  • 4. All About Steve -- Sort of an upset because it was so low on the list (#96), but it is uncomfortably bad, especially given the stars (Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church).
  • 3. 3 Strikes -- I still clearly remember how angry I got when I watched this movie, in October of 2009.
  • 2. The Master of Disguise -- I was once with a group of friends and, upon hearing about how bad this movie was, they found the Turtle scene on YouTube and watched it.  I warned them against it.  They watched it and then turned to me with sick looks on their faces.  I warned them.
  • 1. Merci, Docteur Rey! -- I have nothing to say.  I'd prefer to forget I ever watched it.

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