Genre/subject matter that makes universally bad films (and their exceptions)

So here’s how it goes. There are certain genres or subjects that universally seem to make terrible films/shows. Kind of like the opposite of how it’s hard find a bad gangster or heist film. But then every now and again, you do have an exception that disproves the rule.

For example:

Genre: **Film about Mars. **
Examples: Red Planet, Mission to Mars, Ghosts of Mars, John Carter (of Mars)

Critically Acclaimed Exception: The Martian
Fun Exception: Total Recall (original)

Genre: Biblical apocalypse / Book of Revelations films
Examples: Legion, Prince of Darkness, End of Days, Constantine, Lost Souls, The Seventh Sign, Dogma, The Prophecy series (except maybe the original), any incarnation of Left Behind

Critically Acclaimed Exception: The Leftovers (HBO series)
Fun Exception: This is the End. Also possibly the original Prophecy film, thanks to Christopher Walken

Movies about pirates:
Yellowbeard, Cutthroat Island, Hook, The Pirates of Penzance, The Pirate Movie, Blackbeard’s Ghost, Pan,

Critically Acclaimed Exception: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!
Fun Exception: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

Political dramas. The novels can be gripping, but unless the movie ends with an armed rebeliion and lots of shooting, you’re doomed to watching scene after scene of two or three people talking, with long stretches of exposition.

Example: Seven Days in May

Fantasy. Anything can and will happen, so who cares?

Genre: Superhero movies

Exception: None*

*Maybe Hellboy 2

Right. And this is why movies about wizards and jedi and superheroes have all been such financial disasters lately.

Let’s not conflate your personal taste with the taste of the moviegoing public.

Well known histories. I was pretty certain *Titanic *was gonna sink.

All of these, except the Left Behind series, are great movies. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t make them not great.

The worst genre is gangster/heist films. Example: all of them.

Next worse is westerns.

Example: all of them except Back to the Future 3, A million ways to Die in The West, and Django Unchained.

Not to pick on you, but that’s a ridiculous criticism. Of course you knew Titanic was going to sink. And if you didn’t, the filmmakers told you that in the first 5 minutes of the film… and in fact, precisely how it was going to sink, in forensic detail.

The main suspense of Titanic is not “what’s going to happen to this boat”, it’s “what’s going to happen to these two characters”, and the fact that we know Titanic is going to sink makes that story more interesting, because it’s hanging like a doom over everything that happens on the ship.

In addition, the fact that we know these are real events makes the gripping visual spectacle all the more compelling, while at the same time making us feel slightly voyeuristic and guilty for enjoying it.

*Titanic *was a terrible movie. So there!

Video Game adaptations.

Examples: yep, every single one.
Exceptions: none.

“Serious” Science Fiction. Anything based on a story by Heinlin, Asimov, or any other classic sci-fi author. They simply do not translate well to a movie format, at least not without a complete rewrite.

And before someone mentions it, no 2001: A Space Odyssey is not an exeption. It’s boring as hell, despite the fact that the major plot line involves a psychotic computer, and if you’re not familiar with the source material you won’t have the slightest clue what the ending means.

Genre: Sports movies
Examples: Escape to Victory, Space Jam, Wimbledon, The Fan, The Mighty Ducks

Critically acclaimed exception: Million Dollar Baby
Fun exception: Bend It Like Beckham

I know that’s the fashionable opinion to have. But when the movie first came out, before it became TITANIC, before everyone got really really sick of Leo for a while (before realizing that he and Kate Winslet were two of the finest actors of their generation), before it won all the academy awards and the backlash started, it received incredibly critical acclaim.

For instance, here’s the original review from the New York Times, a publication not noticed for its lowbrow tastes.
I mean, if you didn’t like it, hey, you didn’t like it. Whatevs. But that’s not what you originally claimed.

Genre: Movies based on television shows
Examples: Get Smart, Dark Shadows, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Brady Bunch Movie, etc.

Critically Acclaimed Exception: The Fugitive
Fun Exception: The Addams Family

I’ve seen people dismiss all fiction with the same logic.

Mortal Kombat is the exception that proves the rule. Mortal Kombat Annihilation reaffirmed the rule.

Subject: the making of human centipedes
Examples: the Human Centipede films

Exceptions: none

I was gonna say, Mortal Kombat for the fun exception. Could try and squeeze Wreck-it Ralph for a critically acclaimed exception, though it’s not based on any pre-existing franchise.

I’m not sure if you’re being intentionally ironic or not.