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Five More Films that Should Have Never Been Made (Plus One That I Adore, Regardless)

October 30, 2011

According to chartsbin.com, the US produces approximately 520 film annually, with somewhere around 6,300 feature films total, from all major film producing countries. Of those six-thousand-some-odd films, here are five more that could have just as soon never been made.

Red Box, Leap Year, film review, movie critic, worst movie ever

Purveyor of many a god-awful film in recent years. But so, so convenient.

Bad Film #1 – Leap Year: This film was brought to my attention in the last installment of Five Films That Should Have Never Been Made. It was available via Redbox about a year ago, and might more accurately been titled “A Trifecta of Utter Suck.”

Let me state right off the bat that once again, I did not endure this entire film because I’m not a fucking moron.

To sum up: Amy Adams gets on a boat to go to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend, since it’s Leap Year and he is bound by law to accept, or something. There’s a storm, and I think the boat might sink, but that might just be my imagination revamping the story into something more tolerable; all I know is that she does not get eaten by sharks at this time.  Instead, she winds up in a town with a population of about seven, all of whom are whiling away the hours at the public house. Amy has to weather a night here because it’s the only inn in town. The owner is this surly asshole she’s obviously going to end up with by the end, so I was already questioning whether or not I would bother watching how that played out. Anyway, it’s hate at first site, road trips and hijinks ensue as she hires the guy to drive her to Dublin in time to propose to her boyfriend, blah blah blah, I reckon they’re head over heels by the end, but too stubborn and/or cranky to admit it, and then they live happily ever after. Feel free to either confirm or correct this information. As I said, I didn’t watch it, but I really, really don’t think I’m wrong.

Leap Year, movie review, worst movie ever
What fresh lunacy is this?

“Woman goes on a journey to find true love” is cinematic territory so well-trodden, it’s created an actual furrow in its genre so deep that producers, laden with their trite cliches, will never, ever be able to deviate from it, ever. The plot is awful, the dialogue is pathetic, the acting is uninspired, and this movie has been made one thousand times already. Do not see it it. Delete this movie from the planet, please.

Bad Film #2 – Bicentennial Man: What would happen if an intelligent robot wanted to become human, and so embarked on a journey to achieve this goal, encountering no obstacles whatsoever? Find out in the two-hour arc-less epic Bicentenial Man: Just a Bunch of Stuff That Happens to People We Don’t Care About.

movie review, bicentennial man, worst movie ever
C-3PO + Robin Williams = Fuck No.

For some unknowable reason, I watched this entire movie, even though penny for penny and pound for pound, it’s even worse than Leap Year. Within the first half hour of Leap Year, Amy Adams is (possibly) shipwrecked, bedraggled, stranded in a town with no cabs and no public transportation, is harrassed by a cranky innkeeper, is forced to endure a roadtrip with said innkeeper where they do nothing but fight, then drive the car into a ditch, has her luggage stolen, and has to walk to the next town. And it’s raining. Now, there is such a thing as overdoing it, and the reason this film failed is because the obstacles are so formulaic and have no impact on character development whatsoever. But, the same story, in the hands of the writers of Bicentennial Man would have been far, far worse. Behold:

Amy recalls a folk story about finding love in Ireland on Leap Year, and decides to check it out. She has a pleasant flight, and when she lands in Dublin, she checks into her Hotel without hassle. She discovers a quaint cafe where she meets the delightful locals, and falls in love with the owner. They get married. They buy a house, and have three children and a dog. Then the economy crashes and they don’t have a lot of money, but luckily they have been frugal and have saved up enough to tide them over until business picks up again. The children grow up and go to college. The couple grow old and die in their sleep, together, on the anniversary of the day they met, on Leap Year.

worst movies, bicentennial man, movie review
Quite possibly the worst movie of all time.

Bicentennial Man is exactly like this, with the added annoyance of Robin Williams talking in a robot voice. He overcomes every single obstacle with robotic aplomb. He wants a house: he builds a house. He wants to look human: he gets a rubber human-suit. He wants some organs, he invents organs. He wants some robot friends, he finds some robot friends. He want to marry the girl of his dreams; she marries him. He dies at the end, but only when he’s ready and not a moment sooner.

A friend once relayed a story of a classmate who queried “but why does a story need conflict? I think a normal life is just as fascinating. Couldn’t you tell a story without conflict?” Answer: Yes, you could do that.

stranger than fiction, movie review, worst movies

Yes. It's just outrageous and crazy.

Bad Film #3 –  Stranger Than Fiction: This film is so far up itself it’s nearly turned into a cinematic doughnut. It’s intentionally self-aware, very meta, and in order to pull that off, you have to be extremely clever. Stranger Than Fiction doesn’t hit that mark by half. If I had to sum it up in a single description, it would be: Zooey Deschenal. She’s not in this film, mind, she’s serving as an analogy. Zooey Deschenal embodies the overplayed, transparent, “oh-so-quirky, endearingly-different,” self-indulgent bollocks that underscores this entire film and makes me want to nail it with a shot gun. Next time Marc Forster wants to make a film like this, he needs to take his head out of his ass first, but since this is the talent that recently brought us Machine Gun Preacher, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, ever.

stardust, movie review, worst movies

This movie looked so right up my street it was practically in my bedroom. More fool me.

Bad Film #4 – Stardust: this wacky magical escapade was brought to us by the ever disappointing Neil Gaiman. I don’t care how revered he is in the comics world – this man needs to stay way the hell away from movies. He is a hack of the highest caliber; so deft you don’t even realize what he’s done until you’re drinking coffee the next day. Then you realize that the film did suck, but you can’t quite figure out why.

Gaiman without fail settles for the easiest and most obvious counter-tropes, constantly delivering the opposite of what you expect, in the most boring and uninspired way possible. Having become immune to his tricks, his thought process is now so visible it’s like he’s sitting next to me in the theater, dipping into my popcorn, rattling the ice in a 24oz Pepsi and slurping the dregs while delivering a running commentary throughout the entire film. It’s hard to get me to loathe a magical action adventure, but Gaiman did this flawlessly. What I can say for him is that it looks like in his own circles he probably has a blast. Not my cup of tea by a damn sight.

last airbender, movie reviews, worst movies

Doesn't matter how you look, it's just how you feel.

Bad Film #5 – The Last Airbender: Everyone knows this film should have never been made, including Shyamalan. This was the in-flight movie on last years ill-advised Christmas Journey to New Jersey, and I did watch a great deal of it before realizing I would be better off staring into the sun. I think Shyamalan thought we wouldn’t notice if he hired classically trained balletists instead of actual actors, but since this is an action movie and not Swan Lake, we did notice. This is America, buddy. We know what an action flick is supposed to look like.

I really don’t know why this adaptation proved so challenging. First of all, the original story was designed for television, so it’s not a huge leap to take it to the big screen. From what I understand, it had a rabid, established fan-base as well which, as the Harry Potter franchise can attest, means your margin for error is about as broad as the Mississippi river basin. I’m actually somewhat impressed this managed to tank like it did. This isn’t a film that should have never been made; it should just should have been made a lot better.

the last legion, movie reviews, worst movies

Action? Historic Drama? Porn? I don't care, just sign me up.

Bad Film +1  : The Last Legion: This film should have never been made, and I don’t care. You may have noticed that I have a penchant for epic geek flicks, which is why time and again I am suckered into watching movies like Percy Jackson, Stardust, or Eragon. I was discussing this phenomenon with Adam over at 31 Flavors of Terror, who suffers similarly for his love of horror movies. He quoted a writer who likened it to being so thirsty for something good, we’ll crawl through a desert towards a mirage just to drink the sand. Yeah, well, when it comes to faux-historic, action/magic dumb-fuckery, I’ll take the Big Gulp, please, with a straw.

The Last Legion was bad. It was tacky and facile, predictable in the parts when it wasn’t being completely nonsensical. The reason I liked it comes down to this: it had a lot of arrows. By my reckoning, the more arrows a movie has, the better it is. It also had dramatic landscapes and ruins, and if there’s one thing I love even more than arrows or these craptastic movies, it’s Ozymandianesque ruins.

The Last Legion tells the story of…some kid, who’s on the lam from the Roman army, along with Merlin and Colin Firth. By the time they reach England, magic sword or whatever in tow, there’s a lot of picturesque fog, trees, and especially arrows, so basically I just took all these elements, applied a strenuous double-think, and transformed this sink-hole of a movie into an inspiring work of majesty in my mind. Maybe it should have never been made.  I definitely don’t care.

Fess up:  What shitty movies do you secretly adore?  There is no shame here.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    October 31, 2011 5:37 am

    This could be the longest comment ever.

    Allow me to sum up the ending of Leap Year for you. (I don’t blame you if you don’t want to know, in which case you should probably skip to the next paragraph while you still can.) You probably shut it off when it starts raining while they’re waiting for the train, right? Jerkface goes up and looks at some ruins, and she foolishly follows him and then it starts raining and she rolls down the muddy mountain side and they miss the train. So then they go and stay with the train station guy and his wife at their bed and breakfast, but they have to pretend they’re married, because the old couple is very traditional, which means they have to share a bed, etc, and are made to kiss. Despite hating each other to this point, apparently this makes them change their minds about each other. So blah-dee-blah, things happen, and they eventually get to Dublin, where she meets up with her boyfriend and Douchebag goes off and is a douchebag somewhere, and somehow the girl (whose name I believe is Anna, by the way, which is just so sad for me) and her guy do get engaged, and they go back to New York or wherever the fuck they’re from, and he makes some asshole comment about how he decided to get engaged to her because it helped them get their amazing new apartment, and then she remembers something that Assface said, along the lines of “What would you bring with you if your house was going up in flames,” and mysteriously leaves her apartment and stupid fiance to go off to Ireland yet again and sort of propose to Dickhead, saying something along the lines of “Let’s have no plans together!” and he was like, “No.” And then she runs off and he catches up with her and is like, “I WANT to have plans with you, blah-dee-blah, ridiculous things.” Because sure, spending 3 days arguing is TOTALLY a great way to know that a person is right for you. It was the most ridiculous ending ever, and I’m not sure why I kept watching it. In fact, I even suffered through this movie TWICE. In my defense, I wasn’t really watching the second time. My mom was, and I was merely in the same room. (Surprisingly, she was watching it BY CHOICE for a second time, because she thinks the guy who plays Jackwagon is hot. Which he is. But still.) Anyway, there are no words to sum up the suckitude of this movie. I’m so glad you included it in your list.

    I just thought of more movies that should never have been made:

    How Do You Know, featuring Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson. Great big name cast. Horrible, horrible, horrible movie. HORRIBLE!!!! The characters were idiots! So much so that they were unrelatable, and honestly not believable as real people, engaging in dialogue no one would actually ever say in real life. Thankfully I’ve mostly blocked it out of my mind.

    Repo Man with Jude Law. Looked awesome, but I couldn’t make it past halfway. I may have even shut it off before then. Maybe it’s good to some people. It wasn’t good for me. At least I was smart for once and just said no.

    Closer. Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen. Some people love this film for reasons I cannot imagine. It’s horrible. Painful to watch.

    Duplicity. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts. I fell asleep in the theater watching this one. Enough said.

    As for my guilty pleasures, I have quite a few. Some may actually suck, and some may actually be good, but for whatever reason, I count these as guilty pleasures:
    The Fifth Element (Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Chris Rock, disgusting aliens)
    The Proposal (Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds)
    Zombieland (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin)
    Adventureland (Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart (aka Bitch Face))
    Enchanted (Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden)
    Hairspray (James Marsden, Zac Efron, etc etc)
    17 Again (Zac Efron, Chandler Bing)
    10th Kingdom (Not actually a movie but a miniseries. I still love it against better judgement.)
    Mean Girls (Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams)
    Easy A (Emma Stone, Penn Badgley)
    The Devil Wears Prada (Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway)
    The Holiday (Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black)
    I Love You Man (Paul Judd, Jason Segel)
    Anchorman (Will Ferrel, Steve Carell)
    Zoolander (Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson)
    Wanted (James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie)
    27 Dresses (Katherine Heigl, James Marsden)

    What can I say? I’m a bad movie lover. Though I think some of the above are actually fantastic. 😛

    • October 31, 2011 8:53 am

      JFC, that’s actually worse than I imagined. In fact, in a do-or-die situation, I think I would actually prefer the Bicentennial Man version of that movie.

      I haven’t seen any of those other movies that should have never been made, but I’m noticing a suspicious overlap in actors…

      The Fifth Element is a crazy sci-fi classic: you have nothing to worry about. I haven’t seen any of the others until 10th Kingdom, and then what can I say…against better judgement, yes, but I can’t say I blame you.

      Mean Girls is one of the best movies of all time, so I think you should take it off the “guilty pleasures” list. Same with Easy A. These movies are both extremely girly, but they’re smart and snappy, and are two of my favorite movies, period. The only other one I’ve seen is Zoolander, which is kind of like the good kind of crack. Basically your choices all seem pretty solid, except 17 Again sounds suspiciously bad… I’m not sure what it is, but I do know who Zac Effron is. It’s not on Neflix yet, but now I’m probably going to check it out. There’s no formula for a “good” movie, so who knows?

      • Anna permalink
        October 31, 2011 6:02 pm

        Yes, there is a suspicious overlap… Perhaps I should just avoid films these people are in, despite having enjoyed anything they’ve done in the past. Sigh.

        I think you should check out Zombieland. I recently rewatched it and have been reminded of its amazingness. It’s a mystery to me whether you will enjoy it as I have, but you should give it a shot.

        I think perhaps anything girly goes on the “guilty pleasure” list by default, simply because of its girly-ness, even if it’s a quality film, such as Mean Girls and Easy A. I think there’s a stigma against liking girly movies for some reason. This should be changed.

        They’re making a Zoolander sequel. I’m both excited and frightened. It could be as cracktastic and amazing as the first one, or it could suck major ass. I have high hopes. …Perhaps too high.

        17 Again did sound really horrible. I only watched it because I secretly have a crush on Zac Effron. (It shames me.) But it was actually pleasantly surprising and really hilarious at times. I mean, the premise is ridiculous. This guy is going through some kind of midlife crisis and things are not going well for him and his wife decides she wants a divorce. So he doesn’t know what to do. …Until the mysterious janitor at the high school transforms him back to a 17 year old again so he can figure out where he went wrong in life. But then wacky hijinks ensue and I just can’t resist. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s worth a shot. 😛

      • October 31, 2011 8:41 pm

        I have a hard time imagining Zoolander Two will be anything other than a paycheck movie for Stiller &Co., so I suggest everyone stays away from it. Hollywood is convinced that all the ideas have been used up and all that’s left is to cash in on II, III, IV, and V, and I don’t think we should support this mindset by giving them our money. (By thinking this way, an acceptably good sequel will come as a pleasant surprise! Ah, the power of pessimism.)

        I don’t think you have to avoid those actors, but sometimes an actor’s career takes a turn that earns him a steady side-long glance for years to come, or until he’s redeemed himself. My love, at least, is fickle. (Except for David Bowie and Elvis, but they’re long past tarnishing their careers at this point.)

        About “girly-films” – yeah, I think that does need to be changed. I was having a discussion on another blog about chick-flicks, and how Gone With the Wind is more or less the ultimate chick-flick of all time, but I had to actually make a case for that because the film is so highly regarded. A chick-flick couldn’t possibly be…gasp! Good?!

        And I am going to check out 17 Again. As I’ve proven with The Last Legion, a movie doesn’t have to be a life altering masterpiece for me to enjoy it, and sometimes wacky hijinks are exactly what I’m looking for.

      • November 2, 2011 4:45 pm

        And yea Mean Girls is a fantastic movie, not a guilty pleasure at all 🙂

  2. November 2, 2011 4:43 pm

    Leap Year is absolutely atrocious on nearly every aspect of filmmaking. The only reason it’s remotely watchable is Amy Adams who still does her best in a losing effort. However, I must disagree with Stranger than Fiction being a bad movie. I thought it was quite a blast actually.

    • November 2, 2011 8:34 pm

      Much like Hereafter and not at all like Leap Year, I can easily see the appeal of a movie like Stranger Than Fiction, even though it didn’t do it for me at all. At least some thought went into the screenplay, whereas for Leap Year you kind of start to wonder who on earth gave that the go ahead and if they even glanced at the synopsis beforehand.

      Also, I’m not above admitting an inexplicable bias against Will Farrell.

  3. November 9, 2011 1:32 pm

    I love Bicentennial Man! It’s so endearing to me.I have to watch it every time it airs. My not so sucky-sucky movie of choice is Click with Adam Sandler. I love it!
    This was a geat post.

    • November 9, 2011 3:07 pm

      Haha, you know, I have a cousin who’s favorite movie is Bicentennial Man, and she was really into Stranger Than Fiction too. Different spokes for different folks! I’ve never seen Click, but every once in awhile Sandler does something right, so maybe I’ll check it out.

  4. Gillian Colbert permalink
    November 11, 2011 5:40 am

    You had me on them all except Stranger than Fiction. What I loved about that movie was the juxtaposition between this story that she was writing that was so outlandishly weird and the fact that this man’s life was so outlandishly weird. Which was stranger? His life or the story? The fact that they are one and the same is the point.

    I thought the acting was awesome, but different strokes for different folks …

    Regards …

    • November 11, 2011 10:09 am

      You know, that’s two readers in Stranger Than Fiction’s corner, so I’m…considering reconsidering. Maybe the movie just caught me on a bad day, because I vaguely remember not entirely hating the first half. It may have been a combination of Will Farrell, who aggravates me for no real reason, and Maggie Gyllenhall, who also aggravates me for no real reason. (I’ve liked movies they’ve been in, I’ve liked their performances, but I just have some inexplicable aversion to them. Who knows?)

      Unlike Bicentennial Man – which I know for a fact is tremendously bad and I wouldn’t care if it won every award in every category for the rest of forever – Stranger Than Fiction did have some things going for it, so I wouldn’t mind revising that assessment if it really deserved it. Hm….*checks Netflicks.*

      • Gillian Colbert permalink
        November 11, 2011 12:07 pm

        If you do, I’m curious to know if you revise your opinion. There are just so many layers to it … it’s very much an author’s movie, in my opinion. The fact that she is the author, but he, the character is driving, the story. So many times, I sit down to write with a plot formulated in my mind and my characters take me somewhere else entirely.

        I think I’ll be watching this again tonight 😉

  5. November 12, 2011 3:32 pm

    Thats a great list of fully awful films. I had the misfortune of seeing Bicentenial Man in the theater. I have not seen Stranger Than Fiction but I have heard a few good things about it. I may now be forced to finally check it out.

    • November 13, 2011 8:25 pm

      I didn’t think Bicentennial Man could be any worse than it already is, but damn, being trapped with it in the theater for three hours…At least when I watched it, I could go to the fridge for a beer.

      I might have to re-check out Stranger Than Fiction, since everyone’s been saying such great things about it. We’ll see.

  6. Anna permalink
    November 12, 2011 6:27 pm

    So, due to all the flack you’re getting for not liking Stranger Than Fiction, I decided to give it a shot. While I did in fact love it, I can definitely understand the argument for the haters’ side too. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But I liked the whimsicality of it, the “what if characters WERE real” sort of thing. It was also nice to see Will Farrell in a serious role, and I thought he pulled it off well. It’s nice when an actor breaks out of his genre.

    Also, someone mentioned Click with Adam Sandler. It’s been a long time since I saw that, but I remember liking it too.

    • November 13, 2011 8:39 pm

      For some reason, I remember having a problem with the end of the movie, though I don’t remember what exactly. I was on the fence for the whole film, until the final straw. I’m going to have to take a look at it again, I think. Just have to get over the inexplicable anti-Gyllenhall sentiment, idk.

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