Johnny Depp as Ed Wood
Have you ever seen the movie Ed Wood? I’ll tell you now it’s a fine film, one full of Hollywood nostalgia. It also contains a fabulous performance by Martin Landau playing Bela Lugosi. The reason that I bring it up is because of what the movie is actually about: a filmmaker who, although he is at the absolute bottom of the Hollywood barrel, loves what he’s doing. The real-life Wood made some of the worst pictures ever conceived (Glen or Glenda, Plan 9 From Outer Space), but he absolutely loved every moment of doing them. I imagine that’s true of most filmmakers. Making a movie is a labor of love and even when it turns out hideously bad, the filmmaker had to love making the film. Or, he’s a hack who just makes terrible movies.
In any case, I decided to look back at what have been considered the worst movies for each year I’ve been alive, starting with 1968, the year of my birth. These listings all come from Flickchart, so if you strongly disagree, take it up with them.
1968: Hollywood After Dark
I never saw (or even heard of) this one, so I can’t really comment on it. Apparently it’s a T&A fest that stars Golden Girl Rue McClanahan. It’s also known by the title Walk the Angry Beach. So, there’s that.
1969: Night of the Bloody Apes
Another one I’m unfamiliar with. I thought I’d seen every stinker ever made, but clearly I’m an amateur because I’ve not seen this foreign-made piece of crap. From the looks of the poster, it’s unclear whether they were ripping off Planet of the Apes or King Kong. Maybe both.
1970: Hercules in New York
Now we’re talkin’! I’ve seen this piece of plop. It’s interesting that in Schwarzenegger’s early career the things producers thought would work against him were his accent and the spelling of his name. Now they’re probably his biggest draw. That didn’t stop them from dubbing his voice in this flick with Joe Radio Pipes being his voice stand-in. That, by the way, is probably the best thing that can be said about this movie. In short, it sucks.
So, no I haven’t seen this one either. It stars Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn, however, two actors who are known to make a stinker now and again. Beatty, after all, made Dick Tracy, and Goldie was proudly in Overboard, a movie that my mom just loves. I’m in no rush to see it.
1972: Something Evil
This one is bad. Maybe it should get a pass because it was actually made for television… nah. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and he’s had enough kudos over the years to remind him that nobody’s perfect.
Oh yes, you read that right. The 70s gave us hordes of “blacksploitation” movies with titles like Cleopatra Jones and The Brother From Another Planet, but this has got to be one of the worst. Building on the dubious popularity of Blackula, this one gives us the story of Frankenstein’s monster… but he’s black!
1974:The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
I actually liked this one, but… it’s on the list. Our hero Fritz tells a few different stories. Most memorable of them is Fritz teaching his diaper wearing son the finer points of masturbation and Fritz’s meeting with Adolph Hitler who insists that they shower together and that Fritz drops the soap. Keep this one away from the kiddies, something we learned the hard way when my sister Lisa was about six years old and thought the copy of Fritz the Cat was for her to watch. it wasn’t.
1975: The Giant Spider Invasion
Yeah it’s a big bug movie. This one features lots of regular sized spiders, invading en masse, but one particular “giant” spider that looks a lot like and old school VW Beetle just barely made up to be spider-y. It’s easy to confuse this one with Kingdom of the Spiders, another particularly bad one from the same time frame starring William Shatner (Captain Kirk FTW), but that’s a different film. Still bad, but different.
1976: Track of the Moon Beast
Interestingly, I’ve never seen or heard of this one either. We’re getting into the years of my childhood that I remember pretty well too. It does look pretty bad though, so I’m gonna go with it.
1977:The Billion Dollar Hobo
It’s funnyman Tim Conway, proving that he’s not funny away from Carol Burnette. This doesn’t quite reach the level of bad that Conway is capable of, those Dorf videos (mail order in the 90’s) have that handeled.
1978 Puff the Magic Dragon
Remember how this was a beloved children’s song from the 1960’s? Yeah, in the late 70’s they turned it into a cartoon and fucked it all up. This tells the story of little Jackie Paper, a seemingly autistic boy who has no friends. One day he meets Puff the Dragon and they go off on an adventure. When he returns, he’s all better. This proves that a healthy dose of imagination can even cure autism. Spoiler alert: no it can’t.
1979: Captain America
Remember in 1990 something when X-Men hit pretty big at the box office and Hollywood started putting actual money into superhero films? This piece of crap came long before that. This Cap rides a motorcycle and isn’t particularly strong, a far cry from The Avengers this guy was. I never saw it til it was featured on television, but I was enough of a geek that I would have had I the chance. I don’t think it was ever released in theaters near me.
1980: Heaven’s Gate
Everybody remembers this one, right? The film by Michael Cimino that cost millions to make but wouldn’t earn half of it back? This one is just plain terrible. There’s no saving it.
1981: Faces of Death Part II
I remember this all too well. It lacked the sensationalism of the first one, and a lot of the gore for which the series was famous. Honestly it’s hard to remember just what bits were in each movie. Did Part II feature the boxer who was killed in the ring? Or was that in III? Maybe Part II had the phony police shooting? Or the electrocution? Who remembers? I just remembered these movies were a big deal on home video in the mid eighties.
1982: Grease 2
What a piece of shit! I know I’m in a club all by myself in that I didn’t like the original Grease. In fact, I thought I was the only one until I met Lisa. But this one… wow. I don’t know if it’s the thirty five year old high school kids or the fact that Lorenzo Lamas has a supporting role or both. Watch it and tell me you don’t find the singing antics of Adrian Zmed laughable. Then punch yourself in the mouth for watching this turd.
1983: The Sting 2
Take a well respected flick of the late seventies, subtract it’s star power but add Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis (of all people), shake well, and shove it all right up your asshole. Shit it back out and you’ll have something close to this piece of poop. I was, I think, about thirteen when I saw this on cable (I want my MTV!) and I still remember the horror quite clearly.
1984: Best Defense
It’s got Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy! How could it be bad? Trust me, it is. Moore is no Arthur in this one, and Murphy is no Axel Foley.
1985: Wizards of the Lost Kingdom
Another one I haven’t seen, but I assume that it’s a run of the mill sword and sorcery flick. Those are rarely good.
1986: Heathcliff: The Movie
What’s worse than a CGI Garfield voiced by Bill Murray? A cartoon of Heathcliff, the Garfield wannabe. Don’t find yourself watching this ever. You can tell them I warned you.
1987: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
So Supes decides unilaterally to disarm the world, relieving us of all our nuclear weapons and shoving them into deep space. Oh and Lex Luthor digs up a bizzarro Superman guy with nicer hair and a cooler suit and gets them to fight. Or something. I really don’t know because I’d given up on this piece of crap before I ever bought a ticket.
1988: Mac and Me
I wish I could say I hadn’t seen this one. It’s easily the worst rip off of Spielberg’s E.T. imaginable. It’s also a ninety minute commercial for McDonald’s. No amount of Schezuan McNugget dipping sauce will save this one.
1989: Going Overboard
File this under “embarrassing early work” for it’s stars Billy Zane and Adam Sandler. There’s really no other way to classify it. It just sucks.
1990: Problem Child
John Ritter adopts the kid from Hell. Isn’t that funny? Why would you need another joke? Or a script? Kick him in the nuts and dump stuff on his head. Really, this one writes itself. Or you’ll swear it did.
Another one I haven’t seen. Doesn’t it look fantastic though? Someone needs to tell these people that a movie doesn’t have to be a piece of shit in order for kids to enjoy it.
1992: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
Sly Stallone can’t make a bad movie, right? Well, unless you count at least five of the Rocky films, Rambo, Rhinestone, Demolition Man, and a host of others. Including this painful to watch effort. Estelle Getty from The Golden Girls is Sly’s mom! And he’s a cop or something.
1993: Mr. Nanny
The Hulkster, brother! He’s gonna be a nanny to all these precocious little kids! When will they realize that this formula doesn’t work? Apparently this didn’t teach them because they still made The Tooth Fairy starring Dwayne Johnson years later.
1994: How the West Was Fun
How did these little girls ever get famous? To me they always looked like troll dolls. Troll dolls with SAG cards is exactly what they are. So, in all honesty I’ve not seen this film, but I’m none too surprised that it turned up on the top of the list for 1994.
1995: Problem Child 3
Kick him in the nuts again! Dump more stuff on his head! Even John Ritter was smart enough to stay away from this one and they got William Katt instead.
1996: Mr. Wrong
I liked this movie and didn’t think it was bad at all. Maybe I just like Ellen. On a side note, were you really that surprised when she came out as gay? I was more surprised when Portia DeRossi was her spouse. None of that has to do with the movie though. I thought it was pretty funny. So, there’s that.
1997: Speed 2: Cruise Control
Keanau Reeves split for the Speed sequel. Sandra Bullock was there though, because I am convinced that in the darkest corner of Hell, there is a contract, inked in blood, with her name signed at the bottom. That’s the only reason a person can release shitty movie after shitty movie and remain as popular as she has, Think about it. This woman appeared in Demolition Man, Practical Magic, Hope Floats, 28 Days, and on & on. Sure she also made Crash and The Blind Side, but those were accidents.
1998: Barney’s Great Adventure
What a shock that this wasn’t an Oscar winner! Surely everyone loves the adventures of a purple singing dinosaur, right? Okay. maybe not so much.
1999: Baby Geniuses
You know you haven’t seen this, but you knew about it and you’ve always wondered, “is it really that bad?” It is.
2000: Pay it Forward
This actually had the top slot on Rolling Stone’s list of the worst movies of the decade of the 2000’s. A bit surprising since so many people loved this flick. I was one of them, actually, but reading what Rolling Stone had to say about the movie made me agree. Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt scrape the career dregs in a toxic piece of Hollywood swill that exploits the death of a child for cheap tears and then pretends it’s about the triumph of the human spirit. True enough. Still makes me weepy though.
Remember when Mariah Carey was singing at New Year’s Eve and she forgot the words and then just walked off stage? This movie is a bit like that uncomfortable moment, for an hour and a half. It’s bad.
2002: Mr. Deeds
Adam Sandler has always been hit or miss for me. Every so often he makes a good movie like Happy Gilmore or 50 First Dates. The rest of the time it’s crap like Billy Madison or Mr. Deeds. You take what you can get, I suppose.
2003: Phone Booth
The movie that just a few years later would have been impossible to make. Because all the phone booths disappeared by 2008 or so. It turns out that watching a movie about some guy talking on a pay phone is about as exciting as watching a guy on a pay phone in real life. In other words, not at all,
2004: White Chicks
Putting a guy in a dress is rarely funny anymore. Milton Berle did it in 1953 and it’s used up. Coloring that guy’s skin and making race-based jokes with him is downright offensive. Don’t agree with me? Imagine it was Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in blackface and dresses. Not so funny anymore, is it? Still, it did give the two least funny Wayans some work. That’s got to count for something.
2005: Alone in the Dark
Remember Super Mario Bros.? How about Silent Hill? Resident Evil? Those films. along with Alone in the Dark all serve to prove a point: movies based on video games almost always suck. I keep watching them though. Guess I’m a glutton for punishment.
2006: Date Movie
The most hilarious romp since Scary Movie! It makes Disaster Movie look like Not Another Teen Movie! Allison Hannigan’s finest work since Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Oh, and it’s not funny. At all.
Apparently black guys dressed up like overweight women is hilarious. Oh, wait no it isn’t.
2008: Meet Dave
Eddie Murphy? Again?! Maybe he should just stop making movies… oh, wait…. I think he has. Too bad it wasn’t before he did this one.
I don’t care, I liked Bruno. Sure, it wasn’t as good as Borat, but Sascha Baron Cohen can’t make them all winners, can he?
2010: Grown Ups
What do you get when you combine the work of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schnider, Kevin James, and David Spade? Apparently one of the worst films ever made. Watch it and you just might wind up numb.
2011: Jack and Jill
Even more Adam Sandler! I dare say that he may appear on this list more than anyone else. In this flick he plays main character Jack and Jack’s sister Jill. Isn’t that hilarious?
2012: That’s My Boy
Adam Sandler FTW! Even Andy Samberg couldn’t save this piece of shit. Thing is, the premise could be kind of funny. Sandler’s character got a girl pregnant as a teenager and winds up raising the child as a child himself. The bad parenting jokes are just bad though and the movie is just awful.
2013: Grown Ups 2
Oh god! It’s back again! Even more Adam Sandler. That guy really knows how to churn out the stinkers, doesn’t he?
2014: Child of God
The directorial debut from James Franco. This guy was stellar in Howl and 127 Hours and even Pineapple Express, but it’s apparent that he can’t direct his way out of a paper bag.
2015: Fantastic Four
How many times is this movie going to be attempted? While a number of comic book purists were probably crying out that Johnny Blaze can’t be played by a black man, I’m more modern day on the issue. Sure a black guy can play Johnny Blaze or James Bond or Doctor Who or whoever. But if that character has a sibling, shouldn’t that sibling be the same race? I’ll admit that I haven’t seen this one, but it certainly appeared to be no Avengers. And Sue Storm is in the poster, on the left. She looks like a white girl to me.
2016: Office Christmas Party
Sure, it looks funny. It’s got Jennifer Anniston and T.J. Miller and everything about it should be hysterical. Except it’s not.
So there you have it. A bad movie from every year there’s been a me. Maybe next time I’ll talk about the good ones.