Bad cinema: A family quick poll and top ten list

August 19, 2012 – A family get together over the weekend provided a perfect opportunity to ask everyone to name the worst movie they ever saw. Here are our selections, in the form of a top ten list.

10. Night of the Living Dead. The cult classic from 1968, a small, independent horror film that cost only $114,000 to make, is my father’s selection. Since it’s gone on to make $18 million internationally, that original $114,000 seems like a rather good investment. Yet, the story is laughable; two teenagers drive to rural Pennsylvania to visit their father’s grave. They find something amiss at the cemetery; all of the corpses have come back to life with the sole purpose of killing every human in sight. I’m still puzzled by this, since the zombies moved slower than a snails’ pace. The humans could easily get away if they didn’t stop to scream hysterically and watch as the corpses got closer and closer. This is one of those movies that is truly bad, but in a fun way that makes you want to watch it for a few giggles every Halloween.

9. Love Me Tender. This Elvis vehicle is my mother’s pick for the worst movie she’s ever seen. It was his first movie role, which should explain volumes, and viewing it was a part of the first date for my mother and father. The 1956 black and white movie cast Elvis as a Civil War soldier, and a corny one at that. Although I’ve never seen it, Mom says that the death scene, where Elvis succumbs to whatever kills him, is quite ridiculous. But the title song was good, and Elvis went on to have a pretty lucrative movie career despite her poor review. And my parents went on to have four children and nine grandchildren, so things worked out pretty well for them, too.

The movie’s only saving grace may be the soundtrack.

8. Hot Tub Time Machine. I’ve never heard of this movie from 2010, but it’s my sister Linda’s pick for worst ever. I’m not surprised, just by the title alone. The premise doesn’t sound too bad: A malfunctioning hot tub (which also happens to be a time machine) at a ski resort takes a group of young men back to 1986 where they must relive a fateful night. It doesn’t sound too original, either, but the cast, which includes John Cusack (who I suppose was cast because he signifies the 1980s on film) and the current Mrs. Don Draper, Jessica Pare, doesn’t sound too bad. Alas, she tells me it is one really immature piece of film making, worse than “Freddie Got Fingered”.

7. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. I’m not too familiar with this film, selected as worst by Linda’s boyfriend, Roland, but at least I’ve heard of it. This British spy film from 1965 starred Richard Burton in the lead role and focused on espionage during – you guessed it – the cold war. Although it did get some good reviews, it’s definitely not a movie that you should expect a child to love. Roland admits he was young when he saw it, and it obviously left a terrible impression. Perhaps another viewing as an adult is in order to form a true opinion, but Roland decided to stick to his guns on this one.

6. Tree of Life. Despite its critical acclaim and award nominations, my brother David has named this movie the biggest piece of crap he’s ever seen in his life. While his opinion may seem harsh, I admit I didn’t like it either, mainly because I didn’t understand it. It also ended up on my 10 Films I Tried to Like But Failed Miserably” list. The film, nominated for the 2011 Best Picture, stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, so you’d think it would have great potential. However, it turns into a collection of scenes that never fit together and were not entertaining in the least. For me, this is a huge wasted effort on the part of Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and apparently for David, it is too.

Eeeekkk! It’s Jeffrey Jones…

5. Mom and Dad Save the World. My nephew, Rick’s pick as the worst movie he’s ever seen, is a stupid comedy from 1992 that defies all imaginable logic. I remember seeing this when it was out on video back in the day, and I agree with his assessment, especially since it stars Jeffrey Jones, the man who played the principal in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, and who just happens to totally freak me out in every role he plays. There are so many brilliant comedies out there, so why anyone would want to waste their time on this one is beyond me, and Rick too.

4. Titanic. Admittedly, my nephew Ryan isn’t a movie person. He considers it too much of an investment of his time to take two hours to watch anything, much less the three hours plus it would take to see this 1997 James Cameron classic. Therefore, he considers “Titanic” the worst movie ever made, and while I wasn’t a huge fan, I think it had some good moments, but I know plenty of people who would give him a high-five for his brave choice.

3. Constantine. My niece Leigh’s selection for the movie she ‘s loathed the most is the 2005 fantasy thriller “Constantine”. The film deals with your basic nightmare, and stars Keanu Reeves (hmm … stars and Keanu Reeves …  isn’t that an oxymoron) as the man who sees all and therefore must save the world from the evils of hell. I think Leigh and I both agree that the poor script and the casting is truly the devil’s work indeed.

2. The Green Lantern. Another recent film from 2011 that made our most despised list is this pick from my nephew, Macey. Strange, he’s the targeted age group for these super hero movies (he’s 19), yet he says it was the stupidest movie ever. This is another movie I haven’t seen, but I’m not really into the super hero thing, and I do agree it did look stupid. I think I could live the rest of my life comfortably if I skip this one altogether, and I can safely assume that Macey doesn’t ever want to see it again, either.

A still from Nothing But Trouble. I don’t even think I can explain.

1. Nothing But Trouble. This insane piece of celluloid is my selection for the Worst. Movie. Ever! You’d think a movie that starred Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy (all in their prime) and Demi Moore (fresh off her success in the mega hit “Ghost”) had a lot of potential. I certainly thought so when I went to see this so-called comedy in 1991. Turns out it was the scariest movie I ever saw, and not because it was supposed to be. It tells the story of a four people who get arrested for speeding in route from New York City to Atlantic City. They become prisoners of the kooky bunch of nut jobs who live in the small, quaint New Jersey town. Bad acting and a terrible script make this movie a real stinker if there ever was one.

My son, Charlie also selected “Nothing But Trouble” as his worst pick, too. It is my fault. I forced him to see this piece of monstrosity when he was a young, impressionable boy.

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to add your selections to the comments below so we can save other readers from selecting terrible movies to entertain them.

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4 thoughts on “Bad cinema: A family quick poll and top ten list

  1. “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” has to be my worst movie ever. It is supposed to be a romantic comedy imitating ” A Christmas Carol”. I found it to be not romantic nor funny. I was watching it during a turbulent flight and was horrified to think that this would be the last thing on my mind before I died in a plane crash.

  2. Pretty decent list. For bad movies that is. My vote would have to go to Pretty Woman just for the sole reason it is always listed as a favorite for romantic movies. She was a hooker for heaven’s sake. And she needed a rich guy to save her at the end. Woman are stronger than that!

    • Sometimes you have to just accept the movie as pure entertainment, and not look for a message. I agree with you SE, and it wasn’t my favorite movie, but this country loves its damsel in distress stories!

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