Name some completely "unremarkable" movies

A friend and I were trying to think of the most middle-of-the-road, “unremarkable” movies of all time. Here’s the definition we came up with:

  • Neither a very good or bad film

  • Nothing in particular stands out about the performances, story, cinematography etc.

  • It wasn’t offensive, surprising, or terribly memorable

  • You never hear anyone regularly referring to it, or quoting from it

  • You’d be surprised, but not appalled, to learn that a friend owns it on DVD

I found it disconcertingly difficult to think of such a film, given that they probably come out all the time. We came up with two: Turner & Hooch and The Legend of Bagger Vance

I think I skip a lot of these sorts of films, so I suspect that you could find many more in the oeuvres of Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, and Keanu Reeves, but here’s a few I’ve seen:

I Am Legend
War of the Worlds
The Last Samurai
Mercury Rising
Cop Out
Point Break

Evolution is one of those movies that’s perfectly okay. It was funny, but not particularly so. It was good, but not great. It did fine in the box office, but it never hit cult status, so it doesn’t get quoted.

As far as James Bond movies go, I’d say FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is pretty unremarkable: it doesn’t introduce a cool new villain; our hero doesn’t drive a cool new car, or use a cool new gadget; the evil scheme he’s investigating isn’t especially memorable; I don’t recall an interesting fistfight, or 007 quitting the service, or whatever; and I just now pulled up list ranking dozens of Bond girls, and this one didn’t appear on it. Like, they had bad things to say about Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones, and good things to say about Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp, but this one – pfft.

I’m not saying it’s a bad movie; I’m saying, if you’d asked me to list the Bond movies, this is the one I would’ve been most likely to forget on my first try.

That is perfect. It was mildly amusing, but not that memorable.

Kevin Kline has been in a number of good to mediocre films that are oft forgotten:

*Grand Canyon
Dave
The Ice Storm
In & Out
Orange County
*

Marvin’s Room
Bee Movie
Up Close and Personal
Dangerous Minds
Murder at 1600

Well there’s one I saw this year: Black Mass. I have absolutely no memory of any of it, other than Johnny Depp in his Bulger costume.

How about Consenting Adults. Featuring Kevin Spacey as the bad guy with blonde hair, and Madeline Stowe was in it. IIRC Spacey was a neighbor from Hell and it was some sort of Thriller. A bet you could ask 1,000 people “who was in Consenting Adults” and you’d get one right answer.

Can the movie be dated and still count?

Fairly recently, I was visiting friends at their vacation cabin, and we had bad weather and the DVD player broke. They had an old VCR in a closet, but no tapes. Then my friend remembered she saw some VHS tapes in a junk box in the closet, so she dug those out and one of them was the movie Gung Ho from 1986. It’s really dated – the entire comedic premise is the culture clash when a Japanese company buys an American factory, and while it does rely on stereotypes, it’s so bland that it’s hard to feel too offended.

We were marveling that this was a movie we barely recalled even existing, although it stars Michael Keaton, and was directed by Ron Howard (after Splash and Coccoon, and before Willow and Parenthood, which are all iconic 80s movies) So now it’s my go-to “so random, so bland, so absolutely unremarkable in any way” movie.

A few for the Academy’s consideration:

Most unremarkable Rom-Com: Along Came Polly (2004) – Ben Stiller, Jennifer Anniston, a ferret, and nothing much worth caring about. I remember this one mainly for being so very forgettable, if that makes any sense.

Most unremarkable crime drama/thriller: The First Deadly Sin (1980) – Supposedly on the trail of a serial killer, Frank Sinatra’s retirement-age detective seemingly spends most of the movie staring morosely at his wife (Faye Dunaway) lying in a hospital bed, where she is wasting away from some sort of fatal disease.

Most unremarkable horror film: Terror Train (1980) – Roger Spottiswoode’s (hey! Turner and Hooch) first film is a series of reasonably well-staged but utterly predictable ‘shock’ scenes on board a train full of expendable college students.

Most unremarkable action film: Invasion U.S.A. (1985) – Stars Chuck Norris as a one-man army resisting a Russian plot to overthrow the US government. The producers apparently made a conscious decision to edit out much of the plot, reducing the whole affair to a series of disconnected scenes in which Norris shows up somewhere, wastes a few baddies in colorful fashion, then moves on to the next spasm of violence.

I actually rather like this one, but I’d be hard-pressed to explain why. Maybe it’s the grimly humorous bits. Or maybe it’s just something like Stockholm Syndrome for movies–I first saw it while stuck on a remote military base where the only entertainment was some guy’s really limited DVD collection looping on one channel of the base cable. (The other channel was devoted to 24/7 hazardous weather information.) It was better than listening to the wind howl…which in turn was better than the Danish alleged comedy that followed it.

I was going to list one, but damn! If I can’t even remember the name of the movie, it was so unremarkable!

Sarah Polly as the sole survivor of a bus crash. Some lawyer poking around. Started nowhere, went nowhere.

Boring. Boring. Boring. But had “mood” that kept you wondering why you were still watching this piece of shit. Much like Winter’s Bone. Junk.

Ah. Just remembered. Sweet Hereafter. What a waste of time.

For whatever reason my freshman dorm was obsessed with that movie. It was screened several times in the common room. Kids especially loved Kevin Spacey’s completely over-the-top “He’s my puppet!” speech. Someone even set it to music as I recall. So it was a cult classic on exactly one college campus.

Oblivion comes to mind - a Tom Cruise vehicle from only a few years ago. Not a bad film, as such, but … eminently forgettable.

The first movie Pen and Teller were in. “My Chauffeur” or something like that. Very forgettable, billed as a comedy, not many laughs, a lot of stuff that was truly unfunny. But not so bad as to be memorably bad. (I just watched it because…I couldn’t remember having watched it before. Until the bit where Penn and Teller came in. Which was at least halfway through the movie.

Still it is not bad enough for me to throw this tape in the trash. Sooner or late none of the VCR things will work anymore anyway.

There are a few RomComs like that.
Kate and Leopold (Hugh Jackman, Meg Ryan)
Just Like Heaven (Mark Ruffalo, Reese Witherspoon)
Dan In Real Life (Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche)
The Proposal (Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds)

I rented a batch of movies on DVD and one of them was American Pie, years after its release. I had heard that it was funny but had no great expectations. Now admittedly I was distracted while watching it, doing other things at the same time (but I often do for lesser movies), and would pay full attention for some scenes. At some point towards the end I realized that I didn’t really care about any of the characters and that I hadn’t laughed out loud once. This, I instantly realized, made it arguably the worst comedy I have ever seen so naturally I was unable to laugh at the remainder of the movie.

The strange thing about my response to it was that it was just like the OP said: Neither a very good or bad film, nothing in particular stood out except some annoying character traits. It wasn’t offensive, surprising, or terribly memorable. It was as though it was a undramatic drama because it just failed me (or I failed it) as a comedy. It was an odd sensation. However I seem to be alone in my disregard for it because it was no failure.

“Gung Ho” is exactly the type of ('80s) movie that came to mind when I read the original post.

Other forgettable '80s movies that give me the same vibe are “Micki & Maude”, “Another Stakeout” (who thought the movie “Stakeout” was dying for a sequel?), “F/X 2” (ditto for “F/X”?) and “Legal Eagles”.

Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. What a boring boring movie. Couldn’t wait for it to be over.

How can you mention “Turner & Hooch” and forget about “K9” (with Jim Belushi)?

That’s like mentioning “Dante’s Peak” and forgetting about “Volcano”!

I would like to see Johnny Depp dressed like a bowl of rehydrated cracked wheat. Wait…no…hmmm.

I thought this was a fantastic movie and absolutely riveting. I’ve seen it several times.