There are movies that most definitely deserve to be listed among the all-time worst. Movies like Battlefield Earth (starring John Travolta as himself), The Conqueror (John Wayne as Genghis Khan? Are you serious?!), Zardoz (A revolver-toting Sean Connery wearing a Speedo and hip waders? Someone claw my eyes out NOW!!!), or that steaming pile of you-know-what, Highlander 2 (perhaps the dumbest sequel ever conceived).
Now, I realize that when it comes to movies, “good” and “bad” are entirely subjective terms. Everyone’s tastes are different. For example, some movies I really like – Chariots of Fire, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, and Joe Versus the Volcano, to name a few – have been put forth by others as examples of terrible films. Conversely, there are plenty of popular favorites that I can’t stand.
With that in mind, I would like to share with you a couple of lists. One is a list of “bad” movies – films that either flopped at the box office or were violently panned by critics – that really weren’t as bad as everyone thought. The other is a list of “good” movies – films that were either box office hits or were enthusiastically praised by critics – that I just hated. (Note: I haven’t included movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space. That’s a classic example of a movie that’s so bad it’s good, I don’t care who you are.)
Five “bad” movies that are actually pretty good
5. Aeon Flux
I know. This movie doesn’t exactly showcase Charlize Theron’s ability as an actress, but I’ve always been a sucker for sci-fi flicks about futuristic totalitarian societies masquerading as utopian paradises. And while it certainly doesn’t rank up there with Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece, Brazil, it does have its moments. Definitely not quite as bad as the critics made it out to be.
Many people will tell you that this is one of the worst films ever made. But that’s only if you view the result after taking into consideration the all-star cast and huge Hollywood budget. As Amazon.com reviewer Rochelle O’Gorman put it, “If Abbott and Costello had made this flick, it might have worked.”
Dazzling special effects made this film watchable, but a talented, eclectic cast made it enjoyable. If you have no problem suspending disbelief for a couple of hours, you might like this one.
2. Independence Day
This is one of those gratuitously patriotic, flag-waving films. In a time when most Americans seem all too willing to give up their freedoms to a corrupt government bureaucracy, Independence Day made me feel good to know that we can count on everyone to pull together if we’re ever invaded by reptilian hordes from outer space.
1. Rocky V
Okay, okay. Rocky Balboa is getting old. But hey…it’s Rocky Balboa, one of the most beloved cinematic sports heroes of all-time! And I’m not ashamed to say that I’ll be going to see Rocky VI when it comes out.
Five “good” movies that I absolutely hated
While I can appreciate Clint Eastwood’s accidental study on the subject of total depravity, I like old-fashioned westerns – you know, good guys vs. bad guys. When you couldn’t care less about what happens to the main characters in a movie, there’s something wrong.
Sorry, ladies. I realize this is your favorite movie of all-time, but I thought it was poorly written, sappy, and self-indulgent. In a word: garbage. I sat through it once; that was more than enough.
3. Pulp Fiction
Despite having a stylish flare, Quentin Tarantino is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated directors in Hollywood history. This movie was especially bad. Even if you overlook the fact that virtually every scene contains elements that were lifted directly from other films, it’s still hard to get past the gratuitous violence. If there was a point to it, other than making sure the film lived up to its title, I missed it.
2. The English Patient
Seinfeld‘s Elaine said it best: “It’s too looooong! Quit telling your stupid story about the stupid desert and just die already! DIE!!”
1. The Crying Game
I have a confession to make: I have not seen this movie in its entirety. Dawn and I walked out halfway through it. Not only was this one of the most unbearable films I’ve ever seen, it is THE reason I now never go to a movie without first knowing something about it. And the big “surprise” everyone was talking about? Give me a break. Any blind idiot could tell that chick was a dude.
Do you have similar lists? Are there movies some of your friends like that have made you question whether or not you should remain associated with such undiscerning freaks? Perhaps there are movies that you are too embarrassed to admit having seen. Feel free to share your thoughts.