ThinkMovies: The five worst movies ever

ThinkMovies: The five worst movies ever

by Alan Grant
article from Monday 11, May, 2020

PERHAPS it’s because I’m circling my thirty-second birthday, or perhaps it’s the prolonged effects of this dratted lockdown, but I have felt a significant pain of late that I attribute to an over-abundance of bile in my system. To that end, and because I’m fully aware that my readers like me best when I’m either gushing about movies I love or giving a well-deserved kicking to some piece of crap that deserves it, this week’s lockdown list edition of ThinkMovies will comprise of the worst movies your humble critic has ever seen.

A few notes by way of a preface, as usual. 

To qualify for the unanaesthetised bowel surgery that I have in mind, a film can’t just be a bit rubbish; no, we’re talking the crème de la crap here! I have also excluded movies that succeed in what they do, even if what they tried to do is excruciating, boring, bland or pointless – hence, you won’t find dross like Booksmart or American Psycho 2 on this list. 

Nor will you find movies that, while being dreadful, have been made to appeal to the ‘so bad it’s good’ instinct that so many of us have, so don’t expect The Room or Piranha 3DD to make the cut. 

Finally, I’ve also excluded those pictures in which at least someone didn’t think they should ever see the light of day, hence the exclusion of The Birds IIHellraiser: Bloodline, and other works by Alan Smithee. 

So, as long as that’s understood, I invite you to pop on your hunting cap, grab a loaded shotgun, join me around this barrel, and let’s teach some fish who deserve it a lesson. 

Bad Teacher

The first entry on my least favourite movies list is an entirely personal one but I think it absolutely holds up. I saw Bad Teacher when it was released in UK theatres in 2011 with a good pal and fellow cinephile. During the movie’s meagre 97 minutes, I recall that my mate and I exchanged glances several times and could tell exactly what the other was thinking, “why on earth did we pay for this?” 

Ever since then, and this is what earns it its place on this list, when confronted with a bad movie we ask ourselves, “is it Bad Teacher bad?” 

Where to begin with this odious bucket of clichés and half-arsed dribble?

Thirteen years, and a spreading sadness in her eyes, after the excellent There’s Something About Mary, Cameron Diaz takes up the role of Elizabeth, an educator who isn’t very good at what she does – a ‘bad teacher’, if you will – opposite Justin Timberlake’s keen as mustered substitute teacher and Jason Segel as the P.E. teacher obsessed with her. Together, this band of one-note dullards follows Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupinsky’s offensively badly-written plot that centres around the titular character’s quest for breast implants. Seriously, this is the most literal example of a movie going tits-up I can think of!

Absolutely nothing about this film matters and none of it is presented very well or with any sort of care. It’s by-the-numbers, committee-produced, cynical, ‘this is enough for the popcorn chewers?’ garbage that appears to be going for American Pie-style humour at a time in which we all knew better. 

Boring, safe, dull, and with that especially obnoxious pretention towards ‘edginess’, that always comes across as a naughty child screaming for attention outside an ice cream shop, Bad Teacher represents the worst of modern factory line cinema and stands out as bad even among the other standard-bearers in that ignominious company. 

The Passion of the Christ

What do you get when you take the worst paranoia swimming around in the diseased minds of anti-Semitic YouTube commenters, add a healthy glug of massively repressed gay BDSM fantasy, drizzle it with $30million, and put it all in the hands of a once respected actor who has disgraced his legacy with both public gluttony and fundamentalist piety? 

Well, if you stuck it on film, you’d get Mel Gibson’s 2004 deity torture flick, The Passion of the Christ.

The late Christopher Hitchens referred to The Passion as “fascistic” and “anti-Semitic in intent” in his just tirade against this awful picture and there’s little grounds to squabble with that assessment. Squint hard enough and you can almost make out cartoonishly hooked noses, matzah cooked with children’s blood, and big bags of gold in the background of The Passion – the lack of subtlety is astounding. It is a vile and disgusting piece of anti-Jewish propaganda and that Icon Productions and Newmarket Films brought it to us should count as a black mark against both those companies’ future endeavours.

The Passion is a saintly snuff film. When I first saw it, I felt the discomfort that comes with stumbling across the niche pornography belonging to someone who I used to respect. I am no prude and have no objection to graphic violence in films but the fetish undertones, the focus on Jesus’ injuries and how they are inflicted by the Romans, who are depicted as the puppets of the Jews by the way, is as off-putting as anything I’ve seen on a screen.

Mel Gibson, like his mad dad, are members of a loopy, ultra-right Catholic schismatic sect, and every single awful minute of The Passion of The Christ offers evidence of this. It’s sinister, grotesque, mind-numbing, cloying, and an experience best replicated by listening to an audiobook of the Old Testament on fast forward while watching one of the lesser SAW films and wearing increasingly tightening underwear. Avoid!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

It would be easy, justifiable, but critically lazy to put the entire Twilight Saga on this list. Based on the book series by Stephanie Meyer, a prudish and pervy fanatic who seems to feel that racy yet chaste teen romance is the best way to spread her message which, I am sad to hear, is receiving another instalment soon, the Twilight series represents some of the laziest, most boring, and least imaginative film making of recent times. The palate is ghastly, writing is insipid, and not a single directing or design decision that could’ve gone wrong has not done so.
If you can strip back how ugly it is, and get through the layers of cynical product placement, you’ll find a cast without redemption. Kirsten Stewart is Bella, a blueprint for training young women to become another generation of subservient battered wives, who is fought over by vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) in the most boring tripe that has ever been attached to werewolves and vampires – in that, it’s almost impressive. Imagine the inverse talent it takes to take the ‘vampires fight werewolves over the fate of a human’ and make it boring? Incredible.

In this canon of garbage, however, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the basement scraping nadir. The creepy abstinence message that forms the moral core of the series up to that point morphs into an anti-abortion screed when Bella foolishly gives into her desires and has sex with her twinkly vampire husband – like nobody should do, apparently. 

She is, of course, instantly made pregnant and is nearly killed by the pregnancy. It’s as clumsy as it is ugly.

With another book on its way out, as if the literary sewer has been blocked for the past few years, the movies are surely be due a resurgence in popularity and the artless cretins behind them will doubtlessly make this so. This is inescapable. However, I beseech you, if you have a teenage or tween-age daughter then, while I would never encourage banning any books or movies from her possession, please talk to her before she ingests Twilight and this instalment in particular because there is real danger in that misused print and celluloid. Also, if she’s keen for something similar then you can recommend The Hunger Games series with a clear conscience, it’s much better and won’t try to teach her that stalking and love are the same thing, that her virginity is crucial to her worth, and that she should always be subservient to the nearest shirtless man… Twilight will.

The Matrix Revolutions

In contrast to the previous entry, which centres around a franchise that was always bad and got steadily worse, this picture features on this list of movies shown in my own personal drive-thru in hell because it represents an appalling asterisk that must be added to one of the best films of all time. 

I’ve gushed about The Matrix in a previous column on double features so I’ll spare my editor the chore of having to mop it up again. Suffice it to say, when what must forever be lamentably called the ‘first Matrix film’ first arrived it drove a sexy European sports car through the sci-fi genre and implemented technical and storytelling marvels that are still being used in mainstream cinema to this today.

From those halcyon days in 1999, we must fast forward to 2003 and the arrival of The Matrix Revolutions. Still wounded from the bad, until then, The Matrix Reloaded, we traipsed into cinemas and were confronted with a convoluted, bloated, bizarre mess of a film that had none of the original’s insightfulness and even fewer of its good decision choices.

Much of this is forgivable, just being a bad or unnecessary sequel isn’t enough to earn a place on this list but there is one crime committed by this abomination that lands it square in its cell on cinematic death row. 

Without going into the plot to a painful extent, The Matrix Revolutions introduces a plot point that makes not only the previous two movies completely pointless but also makes everything that happens after it totally without merit or interest. One can only suspect that the Wachowskis wanted to pull back the curtain to reveal a massive fireworks display when in fact, when the unveiling occurred, they found themselves standing there with nothing but unlit sparklers and a bunch of excuses. 

I’m fond of saying that there are only three Indiana Jones movies, that there was a fourth film under that name that very nearly made this list and is only not here because I had five choices to make, and I apply that to The Matrix. There is The Matrix and two other movies under that name… and I really wish there wasn’t.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

…and so, we arrive at the very pinnacle of the pile of flaming garbage.

At a time in which superhero movies are the hottest thing in cinema, the failure of Zach Snyder’s Batman fights Superman film would be impressive if it weren’t an insult to every single comic book fan, fan of the genre, or person with functioning eyes and the object permanence to remember a movie they’ve just watched.

This trainwreck is best described as an attempt to smash several of the DC universe’s biggest storylines into one picture, brought to you by a guy who thought Batman being “raped in prison” would’ve been something audiences wanted to see (thankfully, that seems to have been the only bad idea that didn’t make it into this cinematic crime scene), and all washed down with an off-his-game Ben Affleck and a man who plays the man of steel as if he’s literally made out of inanimate building materials.

The score, cinematography, direction, and writing are all utter garbage and our story takes over two hours to get to Batman actually fighting Superman… the clue being very much not being in the name. There’s just so much to hate about this that it could be an entry of Think Movies by itself but as I’m not that much of a hack, I’ll confine it to this one point on a list.

Put it this way, and I don’t care about spoilers – you shouldn’t waste your time with this guff – there are two main plot points around which the film revolves. One is a jar of Lex Luther’s, played by Jesse Eisenberg channelling Steve Jobs as a Thunderbirds villain, urine. The other is that our two titular beefcakes stop fighting because their mum’s have the same name… seriously! 

I’ve not pushed Think Scotland’s editorial line on blue language like this before but… fuck this movie! 

 

Ahhhhh…. That’s much better. I’m glad to have gotten that all out. Sometimes it’s good to have a bit of a rant and a rave – it certainly improves my mood. Maybe you should try it?

With that in mind, things are still pretty rough so please look out for yourselves and one another. We’ll get through this, one movie at a time. 

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @alangrantuk.

Until next time.
All the love,
Alan

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