Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On bad movies

On Turner Classic Movies the other night, the theme was Biker Movies. Not my favorite, to be sure, but I can sit through "Easy Rider" and be entertained and, to a lesser degree "The Wild Ones". But I had never seen "The Born Losers" before, and I'm here to tell you that I don't think I've ever seen a worse movie - and I saw "Billy Jack" when it came out in theaters. I love movies, even bad movies, but "The Born Losers" is unwatchable - I had to keep switching it off, but I'd come back just out of sheer curiosity to see how bad it could really get. Some bad movies are bad in a good kind of way (think "Plan 9 From Outer Space") but this combination of a horrible script, cringeworthy acting and (no?) directing is just excruciating. I suspect that "Wild Angels", which came on later, might be another contender for Worst Movie of All Time, but by then I was bad-movied out. What's the worst movie you've ever seen? Gayle, you're already down for "Eraserhead"!

UPDATE: No post on bad movies is complete without a reference to the definitive guide:
Better Living Through Bad Movies.


capmconnundrum said...

Worst movie ever? As a fan of godzilla movies, and having gone through an Italian zombie movie phase, that's a tough one.

Probably either Shriek of the Mutilated, or The Fountainhead.

AnnPW said...

Cap! Glad to see you again -

The Fountainhead is definitely a contender. There might have to be a special category for bad movies with good actors.

Mike Thomas said...

Most of the really bad movies I have seen were through Mystery Science Theater 3000, so the sting of the bad acting and awful directing was mitigated by the constant barrage of hilarious wisecracking.
I think the first time I became aware of how truly bad a movie can be was when I caught part of Smokey and the Bandit III on HBO when I was in high school. I couldn’t believe how awful it was, and I had never even seen the first two Smokey and the Bandit movies. The movie didn’t have Burt Reynolds, so they had Jerry Reed dress up to look like Reynolds and it pretty much went downhill from there.
The only movie I have ever walked out of halfway through in the theater was Showgirls. It was THAT bad.
The worst movie I have paid to see in a theater (and sat all the way through) is a tie between Hudson Hawk and The Hunted. The latter was a huge disappointment because it had Tommy Lee Jones and Benecio del Toro, but was just badly edited and made no sense whatsoever.
Oh, I almost forgot, some friends took us to see the Twin Peaks movie years ago. (Shudder!) I have tried hard to block that one out of my memory.
I wasted good money renting the movie Hollywood Homicide with Harrison Ford. And the last X-Files movie was difficult for even a devoted X-Phile like me to stomach. And I’m not even going to go into how much I hated the last Star Trek movie.

AnnPW said...

I'm happy to say that I've seen none of the movies you mention, Mike, so I am hereby forewarned. Looks like I have some catching up to do in my bad-movie viewing - not sure I'm up to it...

Donna said...

Ann mentioned Billy Jack and pretty much blotted out my memory of any other bad movie. Here's all that's making it through -- Jonathan Living Seagull, soundtrack by Neil Diamond. No dialogue. I saw it in the movie theater.

Also -- Barbra Streisand's (and I'll admit it, I like her) version of A Star is Born.

Donna said...

Not Living -- Livingston, of course!

AnnPW said...

Yeah, that PTSD-type of reaction to Billy Jack is not too surprising.

JLS sounds like a contender! I didn't see it, but I knew the book and that was enough. The mention of Neil Diamond, though, reminds me of that great line in What About Bob? when Bill Murray's character responds to the doctor's question about why his marriage broke up by saying: "There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't." That cracks me up every time!

I've never understood the appeal of Barbara Streisand, though I can appreciate that she has a fine voice. I know people who just love her, but I'm not one of them.