Gigli was a very public, big budget critical and financial disaster. Unlike most movies in the IMDb Bottom 100, this is neither an old grindhouse picture from MST3K or an obscure foreign film. This movie was huge. The celebrity status of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez was at an all-time high, and their presence in the movie was almost sure to make it a financial success. However, someone forgot to make sure that the script was…socially acceptable. Or, y’know…good.
Apart from a couple of more or less unprompted and unnecessary cameos by Christopher Walken and Al Pacino, the movie is nearly unwatchable. The characters are incredibly unlikable, the story manages to be massively offensive to an astounding number of people, and Affleck / Lopez put in two of the most uninspired performances you can imagine. You can tell that it is supposed to be a dark mob comedy, but it doesn’t pull off the necessary banter or chemistry to make that sort of thing work. It also fails to keep any kind of consistent tone, which is astoundingly one of the lesser issues with the film. With a serious re-write by someone with the necessary skill and a more competent director, I think there might have been a decent movie made out of this premise. Maybe.
The fallout of this movie cost writer/director Martin Brest his career, and in conjunction with “Jersey Girl” and “Daredevil” almost ended Ban Affleck’s career in front of the camera. Likewise, Jennifer Lopez’s stock has never really recovered from the one-two punch of “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl”. The film managed to sweep the Razzies, and set a record for box office drop-off in the second week. The paychecks for Affleck and Lopez alone dwarfed the total revenue brought in by the film’s release.
“Gigli” is unarguably one of the biggest combined critical and financial flops of the century so far, which may be enough to keep it cemented in the Bottom 100 despite the film’s high production value. However, I can only recommend two scenes out of the movie:
Now you are good. There is nothing else in “Gigli” worth seeing, unless you really want to be bored and angry at the same time for some reason.
PasteMagazine.com recently published a list of the 100 “Best” B-movies of all time. In general, there are some great entries in the list, and it is a great starting point for someone new to the realm of bad movies. There are a few intentionally bad movies and Troma-style films that I’m not typically fond of due to their lack of earnestness, but that’s more of a personal preference. I still recommend checking out the whole list, but here are some particular selections from it that you can expect to see from me soon:
I’ve been holding off on this one, but it is coming. It has cemented itself in recent years as one of the modern paragons of bad cinema, and has built a phenomenal fan base. It has dropped in the Bottom 100 significantly, but it is still on there and I am definitely going to review it.
“Ben & Arthur”
I’ve never seen this one, but I have heard many comparisons of it to “The Room”, so I have high expectations. It is still hanging around in the Bottom 100, so you can expect this one sooner rather than later.
“Mac & Me”
You had better believe that this is coming. It isn’t in the Bottom 100 anymore, but it used to be. That’s enough of an excuse for me to check this out in the near future.
I have a pretty significant BibleMan DVD collection, and I can’t wait to dig into them. I’m focusing on the Bottom 100 first, but expect a bunch of these to show up in my (God)Awful Movies section in good time.
I don’t know much about this one, apart from the fact that I found it in a bargain bin and it is an alumni of the IMDb Bottom 100. Also, the monster looks hilarious.
This is an old MST3k classic with some of the worst puppeteering I have seen since “Elves”. I’ve already watched it for the Bottom 100, but I haven’t written up my review yet.
“Hercules in New York”
Another alumni of the IMDb Bottom 100, known for being The Governator’s hilariously bad film debut. I’m looking forward to checking out this dubbed mess pretty soon.
One of the few things that I disagree heavily with the list’s author on is the #1 selection, “Hard Ticket to Hawaii”. It was featured recently on Red Letter Media’s Best of the Worst, and came in 3rd behind “Deadly Prey” and “Miami Connection” there. I personally prefer both of those movies to “Hard Ticket” as well. I recently watched all three, and while “Hard Ticket” has great inexplicable moments (death Frisbee, the infamous snake), it also has a lot of down time. It is also a movie that was designed to be tongue-in-cheek and is intentionally low quality (it is just barely not a porno), which doesn’t always work for me when it comes to bad movies. Both “Miami Connection” and “Deadly Prey” are, in contrast, honestly made movies, and are even more entertaining for it. If you ask many B-movie fans, earnestness is a really important quality in enjoyably bad movies, and for any “#1 Bad Movie” to lack it would fail to represent a key trait of the nebulous genre.
It may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but I don’t actually make it to movie theaters particularly often. I spend most of my time digging around through used DVD bargain bins and looking for deep cuts online, and it tends to be a much cheaper way to find much worse movies in general. However, sometimes a movie will hit theaters that gets my attention. So far this year, one in particular caught my eye and got me out to the big screen.
This was the feature directorial debut for Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman, and is also the worst thing he has been involved in since he penned the pun-saturated script for “Batman & Robin”.
“Winter’s Tale” is a highly well-produced, visually striking, rambling assortment of nonsense. If I hadn’t known Akiva Goldman did the screenplay, I would have sworn that Deepak Chopra had a hand in writing the dialogue.
The story is as vapid in content as it is vague and enigmatic in details, which leaves viewers not familiar with the acclaimed source material very much out of the loop. There is a point early in the film where Russell Crowe’s antagonist character mentions in passing to a perplexed henchman that Colin Farrell’s magically-appearing (and flight-capable) horse is actually a dog. When the henchman inquires further, he is shot down by Crowe as if it were foolish to question the claim that the magic horse is actually a dog. That is kind of what sitting through the film is like: it sporadically spurts nonsense claims and dialogue, and doesn’t care if the audience is following along or not. As a general rule, you should aim for your film to make more sense to the casual observer than “Donnie Darko”, at least if you you are trying to sell it to a general audience.
I don’t want to spoil the many, many entertaining nonsensical occurrences in this movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I can guarantee that this is going to be a film that will be recalled for quite some time in discussions of big budget bad movies. It doesn’t even sound like it has the excuse that “47 Ronin” did of behind-the-scenes turmoil: this film is just the product of pure incompetence. Specifically, I think that incompetence on the part of the writing and directing is primarily to blame here. So, Akiva gets all the credit for this disasterpiece.
Without spoiling too much, let’s go through some highlights that actually happen over the course of “A Winter’s Tale”:
-inexplicable appearance of magical flying horse
-character orders a spotted owl in a fancy restaurant
-magical tuberculosis with no physical effects, not contagious
-magical horse is actually a dog
-Satan is a Jimi Hendrix enthusiast
-stars are actually dead people
-everyone gets exactly one (1) miracle
-Russell Crowe’s drunk Irish impression
-Colin Farrell’s ridiculous hair
-character turns into a snowman upon death
-cheap CGI monster effects to contort faces
-the tearing off of a man’s face, after which a character plays with his blood
-magical GPS jewels
-polite romantic conversation over tea with a home invader
-baby is abandoned in the ocean inside of a model boat
-death by sex
-uncredited, plot-important cameo by a famous actor who has no business doing a bit role in this movie
-riding a horse into space
The whole movie layers ridiculous dialogue onto preposterous premises, and fails to create the magical realism style that was needed for this story to work. It appears that all of the actors take their roles seriously, which enhances the unintentional comedic effect for the movie in my eyes. In particular, Russell Crowe’s performance is completely ridiculous. There are moments where he sounds like a drunk, evil leprechaun. Despite how poorly it comes off, I think he was actually trying at the role, but it winds up being a scenery-chewer through and through despite what I can’t help but assume was a serious effort.
The movie is going to be coming out on DVD in June, but in the meantime I recommend checking out the many reviews that have come out about the movie. How Did This Get Made? did a good episode on it, and The Cinema Snob’s Midnight Screening was a blast if you ask me. If I recall correctly, they both go into spoilers though, so be warned.
The Touch of Satan is yet another low budget horror movie that can credit its inclusion in the Bottom 100 to the folks from Mystery Science Theater 3000. This is one that I have watched a number of times, though it is nowhere near being one of my favorites. The movie is pretty unremarkable among MST3K features, in that it is neither as dull as something like The Starfighters not as off the wall as Future War. It is very much a middle-of-the-road film for the program, which means that it is both relatively watchable while being plenty forgettable. Despite how many times I’ve seen this one, I was having trouble remembering plot points as I was initially reviewing it. That generally doesn’t speak well for a movie.
One of the kickers to this movie is that it is pretty mislabeled and confused in concept. The movie features witchcraft and witches, which is conflated with satanism and devil-worship in this movie. In case you aren’t aware, those aren’t even sort of the same thing. One of the early promotions played it up as an exorcism movie, which it most certainly is not. It may have been in a situation like “Devil Fish”, where no one was quite sure how to market the movie effectively (leading to a number of alternate titles). Interestingly, none of the titles I have seen have referred to either witches or immortality, which are actually more central to the plot of the movie.
A pretty serious issue with the movie is the lack of a compelling villain. The killer in the movie is essentially just an old woman, which doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of an audience. Again, that sort of villain is hard to market, as you can tell from the advertisements for the film that I’ve featured here. She also isn’t particularly interesting to watch on screen, and there isn’t any tension built around here. There just don’t seem to be any stakes (har har) to the movie, or a drive to keep the plot moving. It drags the film on significantly, and certainly contributes to how forgettable it is.
The acting and chemistry between the leading couple is also not up to par, which is a significant focus of most of the movie. If they were a little more compelling or intriguing, the movie may have come out more watchable. As it is, the whole thing is just a chore to sit through without the MST3K treatment. Even with it, it isn’t a great bad movie watch. It is typically available on Netflix streaming though, and makes for decent background noise if you are doing something else (like writing a review of this movie, for instance). Just don’t expect to get a whole lot of laughs out of it.
This is the first of many reviews I will be doing on the “BibleMan” series of films in “(God)Awful Movies”. I have been collecting these DVDs out of bargain bins for years, and quickly learned that they are some of the worst religious movies that you will ever come across. There are also tons of these out there in circulation, and I do my damnedest to pull as many of them out as I can. Originally played by Willie Aames of “Charles in Charge” fame, the “BibleMan” series was sporadically produced throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. The quality is pretty far from consistent, which is clear from just looking at the costumes used over the years:
The origin story of BibleMan is…vague. As the astoundingly annoying theme song tells us, he used to be rich and powerful. Eventually, he lost everything, which led him to somehow becoming a superhero with the help of Jesus. That doesn’t answer much about the laser sword, the armor, or the super-strength (?) that he apparently acquired, but we aren’t supposed to question anything during BibleMan. It all just is.
There are a few regular villains and some rotating sidekicks that occasionally show up throughout the “BibleMan” series. In this episode, “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”, sidekicks BibleGirl and Cypher are both present, and the villain is a mostly forgettable regular who seems to use different aliases with each episode. There will be more on him later, though.
In “BibleMan: Lead Us Not Into Temptation”, the plot starts off as BibleMan tries to save a young, newly-converted Christian child by helping her overcome the bullying she faces from her non-Christian friends. Because, in our Christian-dominated society, that is totally a thing that actually happens. In any case, she becomes tempted by the evil magic of computers and the internet via peer pressure. Satanic forces take over her mind via the internet (a website called “Hackemup.com”) and try to make her to leave her new religion and hang out with her non-Christian bullies. It is…amazing.
The amount of luddite, imaginary computer magic going on in this episode is hilarious, and the misunderstanding of how computers and the internet function is baffling. Go figure that the folks behind “BibleMan” wouldn’t totally grasp the latest technology, given their top-notch mastery of computer generated effects. There are a lot of computer-ish terms thrown around without context in this episode, like this line in reference to the demonic website / game / vaguely evil internet thing (HackEmUp.com):
I went to the site. It was pretty cool. Well designed, lots of fail-safes and duplicate firewalls. Very high security for something like this…
That sounds like they read the back of the box for Norton Antivirus, and figured that’s all they needed to know to write this episode about the evil internet. As you would expect with any BibleMan episode, the special effects are hilariously pathetic. None of the websites look like anything that is actually on the internet, and the sets are as colorfully cartoonish as ever. There are predictably a lot of lasers and vaguely technological effects going on, including a bizarre force-field effect used to indicate that someone’s mind is being controlled by satanic computer magic. As with a number of the BibleMan features I’ve seen, there are a lot of winks to the camera that are played off as gags in “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”. They are clearly aware of the low quality of what they are making, and I suppose they are trying to excuse it by not taking the project overly seriously. However, the jokes are never really funny (despite the attempts), and the offensive portrayals of non-Christians and the very intention of the film to evangelize to children aren’t lost just because they lazily break the fourth wall every now and then. I’m tempted (heh) to say that they would have been better off just accepting what they were doing and playing it straight, because the whole deal is almost guaranteed to be hilariously bad once completed no matter what. Worse yet, the same annoying, jarring jingle is used after every instance of fourth wall humor, which winds up just being grating after a while.
One of the trademarks of the BibleMan franchise is that the heroes will quote bible verses while in combat, or in an attempt to make points in dialogue. This episode has an astoundingly shoe-horned instance of this, even when compared to other instances within the series:
BibleGirl: I’m worried about him (Cypher), and Riley
BibleMan: Me too.
BibleGirl: What can we do?
BibleMan: Well, the Bible says that we shouldn’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for anything you need.
BibleGirl: I know this one! Phillipians 4:6!
BibleMan: That’s right! Then, we need to find out who is really behind this website!
Just to recap that dialogue, BibleMan says to pray about the issue and do nothing else. Then, he says to specifically do something about it. Was that scripture even sort of necessary or relevant there? Even better, the very next scene is BibleGirl spying on Cypher and reporting his activities to BibleMan, after which they confront him. Is that not the opposite of what he (and the bible) said to do? The villains of this episode are unfortunately not standouts in the series. Whereas many of the others are built on horrible stereotypes of scientists, jewish people, russians, etc; these villains are pretty run-of-the-mill cyborgs. I suppose that is because they were hackers? In any case, they don’t have any particularly memorable lines. However, they both manage to suffer pretty gruesome laser deaths at the hands of the Bible gang. If I recall correctly, that isn’t particularly unusual for BibleMan. They usually straight-up kill their antagonists, because that’s what children should be exposed to. The B-villain in this one even has a slow motion gun-drop as he is dying. I guess they want to get the point across that if you aren’t Christian or willing to convert, BibleMan may very well murder you with lasers.
As you can probably gather without me stating it, there is a not-so-vague nefariousness to the BibleMan movies. They are clearly and unashamedly aimed at converting children (specifically younger than 9) into becoming Christian, and encourage the children to pressure their families into converting as well. Worse, the films actively and consistently disparage other religions and lifestyles to reach their ends. This episode in particular recommends that Christians (children and adults) should distance themselves from any non-Christian friends they have, and paints all non-Christians as evil, demonic, or bullies. It is beyond offensive, and is clearly trying to turn children into bigots at the earliest possible age. Even if all of the non-Christians in the episode were as horrible as they are depicted, the lesson should have been to not be friends with them because they are assholes, not because they aren’t Christian. I know some people who won’t watch these films because of how infuriating and offensive they are, but I still get a kick out of how colossally bad their film-making abilities are. These are certainly some of the most incompetent children’s videos out there, to the point that they make “3 Ninjas” movies look downright spectacular. In general, “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” I think is a pretty good introduction to the franchise for bad movie aficionados. This is one of the later ones, so the production value is a bit higher than you might expect. However, the computer / internet plot-line will have most nerds either rolling with laughter or tearing their hair out with frustration, which I suppose can be seen as good or bad. I do wish the villains were better in this one though, but that is a pretty minor gripe in the face of demonic computer magic. At least the bad guys get brutally murdered in the name of the lord!
Here is an abbreviated version of the episode from YouTube:
I highly recommend not paying money for a new copy, but these do show up in used bargain bins pretty often. That is where I usually get them myself, and going that route supports your local video stores and doesn’t support the “BibleMan” creators.
When you think of Huey Lewis and Roger Daltrey being involved in a movie, you should probably be picturing a pretty rocking soundtrack. Huey Lewis and The News are famously intertwined in the soundtracks of “Back to the Future” and “American Psycho”, and The Who are rightfully regarded as one of the best rock bands of all time. Daltrey was even pretty good in the cult classic theatrical release of “Tommy”, but that was a musical. “.com For Murder”, among its many flaws, features both Daltrey and Lewis as primary characters. They don’t a horrible job, but their presence is a little distracting, and I couldn’t help but expect that they would share screen time at some point (they don’t). They were just very peculiar casting choices that didn’t ultimately contribute to the movie in any way, and are two among a number of curious choices made while creating this film.
The entire premise of the film relies on the evil magic that is computers, something that the creators clearly knew/know absolutely nothing about. It is akin to someone making a movie about mountain climbing who has never seen a hill. The misunderstanding and vilifying of both the internet and technology in this movie is so over the top that any scenes involving either the internet dating site or the super-intelligent house (yeah, really) wind up being either cringe- or laugh-worthy, to the detriment of the movie. There is actually the nugget of interesting plot buried in this thing, but the execution is just inexcusable.
The idea of a web-based dating site killer who broadcasts his murders via a portable webcam is remotely interesting, and seems like the sort of thing that might get a mediocre October release in theaters nowadays. Somehow, this film manages to turn that semi-promising plot into something astoundingly boring with a mixture of bad cinematography, a neo-luddite screenplay without any believable dialogue, and incredibly slow pacing. The acting is pretty mediocre, but it seemed to be that both Nastassja Kinski and Nicollette Sheridan (the actual leads of the movie) were being directed strangely. Both are familiar faces in bad movies (the “Cat People” remake and “Beverly Hills Ninja” respectively, for example), but I can’t help but think that they were capable of better here. The fact that writer / director Nico Mastorakis sort of dropped off the face of the earth after this film might support that theory. He certainly hasn’t been able to find any work since this film, anyway.
In general, “.com For Murder” didn’t have the knowledge, financial capability, or talent to be quite what it needed to be. I think that with a serious (second?) re-write, a larger budget, and a more competent director this could have been a half-decent thriller movie. Of course, it would absolutely need a better title. “.com For Murder” sort of implies that this movie would be about a killer-for-hire if you ask me. Nowadays, you could more easily use internet dating and streaming webcams as the framing of the movie, as I’m sure that wasn’t nearly as common or in the public knowledge back in 2002. I would think a title like “The Match-Maker” or “Kill Stream” might work better for this kind of flick today, and the audience would be far more familiar with the premise and the terminologies.
I think that this movie can be easily compared to the Sandra Bullock movie “The Net”, which, despite being made a number of years before this flick, had a better grasp on technology. It still used plenty of “computer magic” and was certainly far from good, but it clearly did at least enough preliminary homework to make the computers quasi-believable to the casual observer of the time. I highly recommend checking out the We Hate Movies episode on “The Net” by the way, it is a pretty good listen.
In any case, this is far from the worst movie in the Bottom 100. I’m tempted to say that this has been one of the best foreign films in the ranking so far, and I was generally pretty pleased with how ridiculous and dated it was. The pacing is a bit slow for it to be a great watch, but I can still generally recommend it to B-movie fans. There are enough highlights to justify it, such as the lethal electric back door on the genius computer house and the effortless rip-offs from “Silence of the Lambs” and “Rear Window”.
Hulk Hogan has one of the most baffling careers in movie history. I’m a little surprised that he only has two appearances in the IMDb Bottom 100 to be honest. One of those select features is the vapid children’s flick “3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain”. For those that don’t recall, “3 Ninjas” was a franchise of children’s martial arts movies in the 1990’s. All of the movies featured atrocious child acting, boring plots, and abysmal fight choreography. Of course, that’s all mostly what you should expect from a 90’s children’s movie franchise. We had the Power Rangers movies around this same time too, after all. “High Noon at Mega Mountain”, the fourth in the “3 Ninjas” series, managed to make a particular name for itself by both featuring Hulk Hogan and for having exceptionally low quality, even for a children’s franchise.
It is hard to be excessively harsh towards a children’s movie, given the bar is already set pretty low. However, “High Noon at Mega Mountain” makes some errors that just aren’t forgivable. Primarily, it appears that the filmmakers failed to reserve the “Mega Mountain” (actually Denver, CO’s Elitch Gardens) amusement park for filming, as there are are people in the background casually enjoying themselves during what is supposed to be a terrorist hostage situation. That is indicative of the laziness going on behind the scenes of this movie, and what makes it stand out in the franchise. The bad fight choreography, acting, and writing all seems pretty much par for the course for this sort of movie, so it is hardly worth a mention. Appropriately, the writer/director of this flick has been put in charge of the upcoming straight-to-video “Baby Geniuses” sequels. Honestly, I was having flashbacks to “Baby Geniuses 2” repeatedly throughout this movie, particularly during the fight sequences. Admittedly, that movie is far worse than this one, but they are comparably lack-luster in many ways.
The thing that most bothered me about this movie is related to how it was marketed. Check out this image, which is widely featured on the movie’s VHS and DVD releases:
I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume from that image that Hulk Hogan is going to be an antagonist to a trio of children in this movie. That would mean that Hulk Hogan is likely to fight and be defeated by young children at some point in the film. That, to me, sounds hilariously awesome. However, that cover is quite deceiving.
In the movie, Hulk Hogan is the star of a failing television show along the lines of “Power Rangers”. His presence is essentially the excuse for why the ninja children show up at the park, and has nothing to do with the overarching plot as a whole. He tries to contribute as a good guy, but is typically thwarted by the actual villain of the movie played by Loni Anderson (weird casting there). She actually does a pretty hammy job as the villain, but when you are expecting a massive, grunting bad guy Hulkster; anything else is going to be disappointing. Jim Verney (of the Ernest franchise) does his damnedest as the B-villain though, and his over-the-top performance is one of the most watchable things in the movie.
Another specifically abysmal aspect of the movie is the shoehorning in of computer magic. There is a character introduced who primarily exists to hack things with her laptop, which is apparently capable of absolutely anything. All of the computer effects are CG’d, and look absolutely horrendous. I thought for a moment that I had started watching “.com For Murder” again they were so bad.
“High Noon at Mega Mountain” is right on the edge of falling out of the IMDb Bottom 100 at the moment, and I’m not really surprised by that. The bar is set really low for children’s movies as is, which doesn’t do it any favors in this forum. While this flick does manage to limbo below par for kids movies of the time, the other movies in the Bottom 100 of this genre blow it out of the water. Both “Baby Geniuses” movies and both animated “Titanic” films (more on that soon) are on an entirely different level than “High Noon at Mega Mountain”, for instance. There isn’t any reason to recommend this movie, it is generally just a pretty boring watch. The few upsides are far outweighed by the boring, cliched plot and dialogue. There might be a decent YouTube compilation of ridiculous moments that would be worth a few minutes of your time, but I wouldn’t advise sitting through the entire movie.
Reviews/Trivia of B-Movies, Bad Movies, and Cult Movies.