The Ten Worst Films of All Time – Part One
“I have come to the conclusion that these are, without question, the worst movies I have ever seen”
The reactions to Sight & Sound’s most recent list of the greatest films of all time have been as frenetic and crazed as such a thing could reasonably be, which is to say: not very. There are many good reasons for that. It is not possible to argue with much passion about the things we love. “Yeah, that’s great, but you know what’s really great” is the most boring conversation in the world. Whether the best film is Citizen Kane or Vertigo is a pointless argument (particularly because the correct answer is Lawrence of Arabia). The fun argument is for the WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME.
After much consulting with myself, I have come to the conclusion that these are, without question, the worst movies I have ever seen and therefore must be the worst movies ever. They are all pretty recent releases. It isn’t that bad movies weren’t made before my lifetime. They were. But I tend to easily fall into “Well, by god, they tried their best.” The following films can’t say that. Is laziness a newer invention? Sure, why not. I can’t be bothered to look up everything. Here is the first half of my list, all opinions are solely my own and your responses, while almost certainly unintentionally hilarious, are wrong.
10 | Avatar
What a horrible, misguided, bone-headed, boring piece of shit. Cobbled together from easily identified previous films (Dances with Wolves, Fern Gully, assorted snuff films), it is a wildly lazy movie. It cost more to make than many nations’ GDP but writer/director James Cameron couldn’t be bothered to spend the twenty bucks it would have cost to do another draft of the script. The racial politics in the film are atrocious. The natives are clearly designed to resemble the actors who portray them. Which makes sense. But they are primarily played by African American and Native American actors. Uh oh. And the hero who shows them the error of their shitty battle plans? A really boring white dude.
Wait a second, did he just have sex with that alien? I know he sorta has an alien body, but he’s a human. He’s sexually attracted to a nine-foot tall blue thing with a tail and what are bound to be hideous genitals.
Environmental message? Millions of people drove decent distances in cars to see the fucking thing. They probably didn’t carpool or take group buses. You could have done the environment more good by not making the movie. I could go on but there is no point.
9 | Forrest Gump
“Whoa! Forrest Gump! That movie is great!” No, it’s not. Shut up. A masturbation epic for Baby Boomers who want to believe that just being there is enough to change the world. Fuck. You. A moron wandering the planet spouting horseshit. And he gets to bed the hottest woman in the movie purely because, eh, why not? She has already slept with everyone else. Then she dies of what is clearly meant to suggest AIDS. How did Forrest dodge that bullet? Clearly he wasn’t using protection, because they spawn a tiny moron from their terrible union. Anyone who has actually achieved things in their life through ingenuity and hard work should be offended by this movie. He’s a war hero because he runs around. He accidentally designs a famous graphic by wiping himself off. The movie should have ended with a group of laborers and thinkers beating him to death with buckets of shrimp.
8 | Saving Private Ryan
Here it comes. Here come the big protests. And what is my problem with Tom Hanks? I don’t have one. Bachelor Party? Hell yes. Big? Absolutely. Was he in Police Academy? Also awesome. But stick with me here.
How does that movie begin? Did you say with the D-Day invasion of Normandy? Watch it again. It starts with an old man and his progeny wandering through a cemetery looking for a certain grave. We are led to believe he then remembers the events of the movie as Tom Hanks. But it ain’t him. It’s Matt Damon’s character. How the hell does he remember what Hanks did at Normandy? The character is incredibly private with his thoughts and feelings. Does he share his shame and fear from that horrific battle? No way.
How does the movie end? First, an action movie scene. That whole bridge sequence is a spit in the eye of the brilliance of the Normandy sequence (and it is brilliant). But that isn’t the end of the movie. The end of the movie is in that same cemetery in, more or less, present day. The Damon character of the future is asking to be assured that he is worth their sacrifices. Is he? Really? How could he be? Did he end war? Solve disease? Who the fuck is this guy? And why is his granddaughter wearing the tightest sweater in the world right behind him in the frame? When they were framing the shot, someone placed some knockout young lady in the background so that her boobs are getting way more screen time than most of the soldiers who die in the film. The last shot? The American flag! “War is horrible, war must be ended, peace is the way, on and on!” I agree entirely. And then, the American flag? What are you trying to say? “War is awful. Unless it’s for the United States. That’s cool.”
7 | The entire Transformers Trilogy
I was so excited for the first movie. If someone had asked me as a kid what I wanted to see in a movie I would have said robots punching each other. It seemed like it couldn’t miss. But my god. What a horrible idiot I clearly was as a child. Michael Bay managed to take one of the easiest great ideas ever and insert a grating man-child into the lead role, a vapid pencil smudge into the love interest slot and the shakiest camera man in the world behind the lens. And it doesn’t make any damn sense. Did that robot just piss onto John Turturro? Why in the world can they piss? Don’t introduce logic and then shit on it.
Here’s what I mean: They learned English from keeping track of radio transmissions from space. Okay, I can buy that. But when Megatron is unfrozen from an ice coma he has been in for 10,000 years, the first thing he does is scream at everyone in English. How can they possibly sneak around a backyard? Skidmark and Mudflap, teaching children that racism is hilarious. Not only are they caricatures of black people, they are the dumbest characters in the film! And their names are also slang for shitty underwear and fat asses! They have gold teeth and Stepin Fetchit movements! Kids will love them! Michael Bay is an idiot.
Why doesn’t the camera stay still for one damn second? I’m not talking about being totally static, just don’t rattle like a seizure victim until no one can possibly tell what is actually happening. Why go on? They suck. And I watched all three anyway. Clearly, I am still a stupid child.
6 | Matrix Reloaded/Matrix Revolutions
Is there a theme emerging here? I am not against making money. Blatant cash grabs can occasionally be pretty great. I’m looking at you, Godfather Part II. But unnecessary sequels have to either make themselves necessary to the original and then enhance the original story (see above) or find some new story to tell (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Does anyone in the world think the original Matrix is improved by its sequels? No. It is ruined. All of those ideas that were cool and interesting are kung-fu’ed in the face and replaced by ideas the Wachowskis misunderstood from their tattered copies of Roland Barthes for Dummies and How to Pretend You Are Interesting at Crappy Cocktail Parties.
The original is great because you don’t really get a chance to think about how fucking stupid the whole conceit is. And that’s fine. But the sequels not only invite you to analyze them, they demand you analyze them and find them brilliant. They aren’t. Here’s a solution, machines. Don’t farm humans. Farm cows. They have more mass, less complicated diets and produce not only bio-electricity but also enormous amounts of clean burning methane. You know how complicated their matrix program needs to be? Eat grass. Poop. Repeat. There’s more to say about all of the Savior Jesus-y crap but to reflect on it further would only dignify them. It’s worth noting these two also made the masterpiece Bound, wrote the terrible Assassins, and made the terrible-but-better-than-it-should-have-been Speed Racer. Hopefully their next movie is good. Hope springs eternal.
Want to know who got Irving’s top spot for the Worst Movie of All Time? You’ll have to wait for Part Two – you know he just loves sequels!