This will be my last week of posting to this blog; it’s simply become too exhausting and time-consuming to produce content every weekday about film while keeping it relevant to current events in the industry. This isn’t to say that I’ll stop for good, but it won’t be with any more regularity by any means, and, so, I’ll spend our final week together compiling my definitive “Top Ten” lists. This list was difficult to limit to ten – I so want to take the torch to Brad Anderson’s The Call (2014), Christopher B. Landon’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), and Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us from Evil (2014) – but I did my best (which is more than can be said for the makers of these films).
Here are ten of my most hated movies.
- Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014)
This movie isn’t “terrible” so much as it is “overrated,” but it’s so overrated that I just have to prove y’all wrong every chance I get. It’s a major disappointment, coming from a director’s filmography that includes Memento (2000), The Dark Knight (2008), and Inception (2010), movies which are intelligent without being pretentious, entertaining without “the-special-effects-look-good-so-the-movie-itself-must-be-good” claptrappery. Interstellar fails at what Nolan normally gets right, but, it’s a “mind f*ck,” so it’s automatically “brilliant” (even though a “mind f*ck” can be as easy as throwing scientific concepts at a popcorn-chewing audience until you trick them into believing they’re watching your “masterpiece”).
- Frank Perry’s Mommie Dearest (1981)
Don’t get me wrong – I love me some Mommie Dearest, as a (very) guilty pleasure. Perry singlehandedly makes a laughingstock out of Christina Crawford’s controversial claims in her memoir that her adoptive mother, “Old Hollywood” superstar Joan Crawford, was a psychotically abusive monster. Faye Dunaway’s career-ending performance as Joan lights up the mise-en-scène in a way like you’ve never seen either screen queen before, Dunaway or Crawford, in between long and boring drags of Christina’s childhood (Joan is the only interesting thing about any of it), but one transcendent acting job in an entire cast of characters does not a good movie make, especially when the filmmaker relies so much on that transcendence that Dunaway becomes the crown jewel of unintentional hilarity in this less-than-mediocre picture.
- Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013)
Along with Interstellar, this Christopher Nolan-produced Superman flick raises concerns that this talented artist peaked with Inception and is now becoming a self-serious parody of himself. Henry Cavill’s interpretation of Clark Kent features all the humanity of Christian Bale’s Batman in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, but, maybe, the lightning in a bottle that is “comic book superheroes with a dark side” isn’t meant to strike twice. The Dark Knight Trilogy is epic and watchable, but Man of Steel is overlong and morally opposed to having any fun whatsoever.
- Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Third installments are bound to stumble when a series peaks halfway through – the same thing happened between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). However, Spider-Man 3 does far worse than fall short of its genius predecessor, Spider-Man 2 (2004). It’s not “disappointing;” it’s objectively “awful,” whether it exists in a state of state of constant comparison or on its own.
- Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder (2008)
THIS MOVIE ISN’T FUNNY. I know the rest of my generation thinks so, but they’re wrong. Also, Robert Downey Junior really got an Academy Awards nomination for playing blackface?
- Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994)
Stylistically unwatchable and moralistically self-important, this movie is so horrible that it played a role in the Columbine High School massacre. You’re not satirizing media violence when you glamorize media violence. The only reason this thing got any hype at all is because it goes against the grain, therefore, it must be “deep;” if only Quentin Tarantino had done more with it than write the story…
- James DeMonaco’s The Purge (2013)
Unless you’re making Alien, you can only be “sci-fi” or “horror,” not both. When the year 2022 comes and goes and The Purge doesn’t happen, it’ll become instantly dated. It depends so much on its outlandish premise that it’s inaccessible.
- Johannes Roberts’s F (or The Expelled, 2010)
My roommate and I made the mistake of renting this British horror film from Redbox one Friday evening. All it’s good for is an accidental laugh. It tries so hard to be “dark” and “mysterious” that key plot points go unresolved and the characters are even more unlikable than the people who off them.
- John Wayne, Ray Kellogg, and Mervyn LeRoy’s The Green Berets (1968)
This one ranks as high as it does because of its moral reprehensibility. It is a pro-Vietnam War propaganda piece that was made at a time when Americans needed then more than ever before to know the truth about the conflict. Unlike Leni Riefenstahl’s pro-Nazi Triumph of the Will (1935), which finds its only redeeming quality in the fact that it’s well-crafted cinema, or D.W. Griffith’s pro-Ku Klux Klan The Birth of a Nation (1915), The Green Berets isn’t even passable moviemaking.
- Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003)
How could I possibly choose anything else for the top spot? The Citizen Kane of bad movies, this is the worst movie ever made, which makes it the best movie ever made. Don’t watch it by yourself – just like soldiers bond after serving in the trenches together, moviegoers connect after witnessing The Room together (what even is the room that the title is referring to? The world may never know…).