The Search for the Truly Putrid
I feel ya, buddy
Every time a real stinker emerges at the cinema (GROWN UPS, I'm looking in your direction), the subject of worst movies ever inevitably comes up. So I thought it might be fun (but also perhaps suicidal) to compile a list of movies considered to be the worst of all time, watch or re-watch them as the case may be, and decide once and for all if their classification is justified.
So, obviously, the first question was what are the worst movies of all time? I scoured the Internet and looked at as many "worst of" lists as I could find. I tried to stick to consensus lists, ones that were voted on by a lot of people. I did stumble upon one guy's own list which included ANCHOR MAN. First of all, the movie is good and funny. Secondly, even if you didn't like it, hated it (for some odd reason) in fact, you still can't possibly put it on a list of the worst films of all time. That guy immediately lost all credibility with me.
I thought it would be easy to find a certain amount of commonalities but it proved much
harder than expected. A few films did appear on several lists, but there was often a wide range of titles. And I would see a list where one film was a 5 and then on another list it was a 15, so what does that make it, a 10? And then there'd be another list where that film was absent. So instead of just relying on lists, I consulted movie websites, articles, essays, and pretty much anything else I could find where the "worst movies of all time" was the subject.
Horrible, but not on the list
And aside from common films I had my own criteria:
1. No parody movies. EPIC MOVIE and similar films were frequently mentioned but to me these movies don't even seem like they're trying to be good. They're horribly stupid and utterly unfunny and perhaps they deserve their own place in the annals of terrible movies, but I couldn't in good faith include them on my list. The same goes for those silly teen sex movies that come out every two weeks or any Wayans Brothers films. Again, I don't really believe the writers/directors/producers are really trying to make quality movies.
2. No sequels or
prequels or reboots. I saw GODFATHER III and HIGHLANDER II on a few lists but it doesn't seem right to include them.
Not quite yet
3. No Eddie Murphy movies. NORBIT and THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH were often listed but does anyone think Murphy tries to make good films anymore?
4. No talking animal or baby movies. Though I saw BABY GENIUSES frequently, I just couldn't accept it.
5. And finally, the movie had to be at least five years old. Nowadays it seems as though we're so quick to immediately label something the "greatest" or the "worst." THE LOVE GURU and THE HAPPENING were mentioned repeatedly but let's slow down a little. It's very possible they'll wind up on a "worst of" list eventually (hell, Shamaylan's films might end up populating the whole list), but let's step back and give them some time to percolate.
Also, I decided to eliminate three films generally considered to be some of the worst of all time. The first is ISHTAR. I fully expected to put this on my list but in all my searches I just didn't see it very often. Maybe it's become such a cliché
that it goes without saying, but I didn't pick it.
Didn't quite make it
The second is HOWARD THE DUCK. Again, did they really think it was going to be a good movie? It's about a duck from outer space!
Finally, I decided not to use PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE though I saw it nearly everywhere I looked. Now, I haven't seen it or any other Ed Wood films (outside of the movie ED WOOD), but the budgets were so small and they just seem more fun/funny than anything else. Wood didn't look like he was trying to make bad movies but at the same time he didn't look like he was exactly trying to make good movies either.
So, after much consideration, I narrowed the list down to ten. Several will be familiar to most people but there could be a few surprises as well. I'm sure there'll be some disagreements, but isn't that the fun of movie debates? Plus I think it'd be funny for someone to say "Are you kidding? This movie's much worse than that one!" So in the upcoming weeks I'll be carefully watching all of these films -- a big, steaming pile of films -- and reporting my findings. God help me.
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Aug 27, 2010 7:54 AM
|If the movie has Will Ferrell in it I think it rates a stinkaroo rating. he's on my list of not-so-funny "funnymen". I'm not partial to Ben Stiller either. Good column.|
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Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.
Born to write (literally – much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.|
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