Often, “bad” movies become as ingrained in popular culture as good ones, inspiring cult followings, later films, teaching filmmakers what to avoid or simply providing a good laugh. The following is a list of the worst films that everyone should see:
1. Spider-Man 3 / X-Men: The Last Stand
For many of the same reasons, these two installments of their respective superhero series are the worst in existence. Ongoing superhero film series are the biggest industry of the moment, raking in tons of cash for studios and building actors into top-earning film stars. However, these films both show what can go wrong. Mostly, they try to tell too many comics plots in one film. Spider-Man 3 introduces viewers to the competing storylines of Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin, and Sandman, among others. Instead of focusing on a solid, psychologically-compelling plotline – Batman vs. Heath Ledger’s Joker – these films reach too far.
2. Dragonball Evolution
This film is so bad that it could be titled “How Not to Translate a Gem of a Foreign Culture into American Cinema.” The film also commits the sin of taking a concept that was originally animated and making it live-action. More than everything, it’s a tragedy of lots of wasted potential. Chow Yun-Fat does his best in a leading role. However, the film’s villain, “Lord Piccolo” – played by James Marsters covered in latex – is far from engaging: he appears on screen for a few minutes, during which he can barely move or speak. This film, ultimately, did a disservice to the original manga series, even distorting its plot.
3. The Lovely Bones
Book-to-film adaptations can be tricky. Sometimes, they are true to the original, or even improve on it, adding new dimensions. Other times – as in the case of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones – film adaptations simply fall short. The film’s plot – about a girl coming face to face with horrible truths, through the lens of dreams – lacks real horror or even a counterweight to make the evil in the film feel evil. The film’s masterful use of CG makes it visually appealing, perhaps at the expense of the storyline: giant butterflies do not make up for weak cinematography.
4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The Star Wars prequel, tantamount to the Second Coming for legions of Star Wars fans, was a colossal failure. The annoying thing is that, if you have any interest in Star Wars, you simply MUST see this film. The plotline, crucial to the saga as a whole (you cannot talk about Star Wars without learning this movie) was surrounded by sub-par acting and unimpressive digital effects. Critics were so negative about this film that the internet abounds with analyses, frame by frame, of its poor quality.
5. The Core
This film follows in a long tradition of “sensational science” movies that tempt with their semi-plausible plots and then shock with gigantic disaster.
The plot of The Core finds a group of scientists travelling to the earth’s core in order to rehabilitate the mechanism that creates earth’s vital magnetic field by…shocking it with a nuclear bomb. While at the center of the earth, they incidentally happen upon a stash of dinosaur-sized diamonds. The concept is so ridiculous that no cast, even one including the talented Hillary Swank, could save it. While good for a laugh, it’s shocking that this film was really made.
There are, apparently, things which can make an awful film a success. In the case of Maleficent, a box office hit, it might be the name and talent of Angelina Jolie and the compelling development of her character. However, overall, this film is a farce – it destroys the previously-iconic legacy of a Disney villain, brings connotations of rape into a Disney backstory, and underwhelms in terms of storyline. And…what can you call Sharlto Copley’s performance, except embarrassing for everyone involved?
7. Maximum Overdrive
Stephen King can be proud of more than a few great film adaptations under his belt. His directorial debut, however, isn’t one of them. His short story, “Truckers,” becomes an onscreen tale of objects which start to think like humans, after a galactic anomaly. The acting is bad. The directing is bad. This movie, although loveable, is a testimony to the idea that a writer should stick to what he does best and leave the films to the professionals.
8. Lawnmower Man
This film – which fooled many people into thinking that it was terribly contemporary in 1992 – is actually embarrassing in retrospect. The story consists of a scientist who attempts to transform the guy who takes care of his house’s lawn, using virtual reality technology and some chemical substances. Again, somewhat entertaining CGI visual effects put a lipstick on this pig of a nonsensical plotline – a mistake that many respected filmmakers have made before and after the CGI advances of the 1990s (Avatar, anyone?).