Subjectivity abounds in this piece. I’ve no doubt that whatever I cite as my 10 most prominent cinematic pieces of chaff, there will be those who will cite at least 11 I have missed. You are more than welcome to point out the error of my judgement.
The 80s were a time of bad music, bad fashions and truly cringe-making hairstyles, but also a breeding ground for trash movies. I often wonder if the entire decade was invented just to provide something on which the middle classes of the 00s could base their kitschy parties.
With this in mind, and the fact that the past couple of years alone have produced some monumentally bad efforts at film-making, I present to you my ‘top’ 10 hide-behind-the-sofa-but-not-for-the-right-reason list. I think it would be unfair to give any one of these top billing, so the list is presented in no particular order.
Battlefield Earth (2000) At around $60-70m, a very expensive mess indeed. So much wrong with John Travolta’s adaptation of part one of L. Ron Hubbard’s housebrick-sized novel, it’s tough to know where to begin. That’s what you get for basing a story on the teachings of your spiritual leader – although it didn’t seem to do Mel Gibson any harm.
Catwoman (2004) Not even lightly greasing Halle Berry and sliding her into a skin-tight latex suit could save this film. The only plus point for Ms Berry is that she had the good grace to collect her Golden Raspberry (Razzie) award for Worst Actress in person.
Dirty Dancing (1987) OK, it misses the deadline by a year, and I just know that people are going to disagree. I don’t care – it was and remains utter rubbish. Flimsy storyline, hammy acting and some of the worst lines ever to (dis)grace our screens.
The Hottie and the Nottie (2008) I’ll admit I haven’t even seen the DVD case for this, but it has Paris Hilton in a starring role. The official figures show that only around 30 people saw this film on its opening weekend in the US.
The Bodyguard (1992) This one’s for James, who admitted to me he liked this film. It may have been late night in a bar somewhere, but he definitely did. Wooden acting, unbelievable dialogue and the dubious pleasure of Whitney ‘never sing one note when fifteen will do’ Houston warbling all over the place. Made me wish he’d turned up for work late and the villain had done her in.
Batman and Robin (1997) Wooh! George Clooney, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even Alicia Silverstone for eye candy – what could possibly be wrong with this? As a life-long Batman fan I can say, without fear of contradiction, that pretty much everything about this was a celluloid travesty.
Lost in Translation (2003) I know I tend to go on about this, but really – what a waste of time and effort. A pair of unlikeable, whining Americans feel alienated for a variety of non-engaging reasons and swan around in Japan bitching about how terrible their lot is. This screenplay won an Oscar – a fact which remains a complete mystery to me. Described by the critics as “hilarious” and by almost everyone else as a pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys (with apologies to Douglas Adams for stealing his line).
Pearl Harbor (2001) So awful they couldn’t even spell ‘harbour’ properly. An historical dramatization of the inconsequential actions of some Japanese people against some American people in something called ‘World War 2′ set against the backdrop of two really interesting school chums who grow up and go off to war. Or something like that.
The Stepford Wives (2004) No, not the original one. Regular readers will know what a huge fan of remakes I am – especially when they’re as superbly executed as this. Take a very well-made and creepy 1975 movie with Nanette Newman (who I used to have a bit of thing about when I was younger, but that’s another story) and rip out all but the basic premise of it. Add the customary lacklustre performance by Bette Midler and chuck in Nicole Kidman so the chaps don’t fall asleep. What could possibly go wrong?
Brother Bear (2003) Crap. I took my son to see this (we have a deal, he gets to choose and so do I). When we left the cinema, I said to him “did you like it?” To which he replied “meh.” An apparently heart-warming story of a young Native American boy magically turned into a bear, who learns how to be one with the forest and have a greater respect for nature. Pass the bucket. Cloying, saccharine-sweet nonsense, voiced by Joaquin Phoenix who presumably had a large gas bill that quarter. Top it off with unmemorable songs written and performed by the least talented pop star ever, Phil Collins, and you’re onto a loser.
Wow. You will not believe how much I enjoyed that. Bile and vitriol in the comments, please.