Oh, The Bad Movies I Have Seen (On Airplanes)

This week I had to fly to San Francisco, then to Honolulu, then home to Toronto via San Francisco again; in effect, four 5-hour flights. The week before I flew to Seattle. So I have had the opportunity to see a lot of in flight movies. And let me tell you, these movies were pretty awful. Somehow, I managed to see five in flight moviers and every one of them sucked.

In order from least bad to worst, they were:

  1. She’s the Man, starring Amanda Bynes as a girl who pretends to be a boy to play varsity soccer.

According to the credits, “She’s the Man” is based on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Now, I have read “Twelfth Night” and seen it performed, and I don’t seem to remember Viola playing a lot of soccer. The nice thing about Shakespeare is that he wrote a play about almost everything, so you can claim almost any movie is based on Shakespeare. Chick doesn’t get along well with her Dad? Why, that’s based on “King Lear.” Girlfriend’s giving you problems? “Antony and Cleopatra.” Fighting a war? “Henry V.” You’re on drugs? “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Amanda Bynes plays the cross-dressing character. The movie was impossible to enjoy because it is impossible to imagine anyone believing she was a boy. She basically turned herself from a reasonably pretty young woman into the drum major for the Toronto Pride Weekend Dyke March. Ms. Bynes is also the second worst actress* I’ve ever seen; she apparently attended the Twitchy Facial Expression School of Acting, the one (frequented by many young actors today) where they teach you to react to everything with incredible exagerrated eye-twiches, lip-twitches, and generally look like you got a good dose of what Michael J. Fox has, except only in the face. Equally distracting was that everyone in the movie playing a high school student looks like they’re 27 years old.

What was interesting about this movie was that I saw it twice; it was playing on the Air Canada flight out to SF, and again on the United flight to Honolulu. The first time I didn’t even bother to listen to the soundtrack; I just watched, and figured I had it straight. The seocnd time I was bored of listening to MP3s, and listened to the soundtrack, and you know what? Not only did I have it straight, I could have written the fucking dialogue myself and probably gotten it exactly correct within 10, 12 words.

  1. Firewall, starring Harrison Ford.

In this film, Harrison Ford plays an IT security expert at a bank whose family is kidnapped to force him to help thieves rob the bank.

This is a pretty conventional caper flick, which one notable exception; the criminals are retarded. Honestly. RETARDED. They should be wearing hockey helmets, eating from pudding cups, and wearing retard shoes. To have a good ordinary-guy-against-the-criminals movie you need some smart criminals, but this batch doesn’t look like they could steal a sideways glance.

The other irritating thing about this movie is that it featured Harrison Ford, who is 64, being married to Virginia Madsen, who is 44. Enough already, for fuck’s sake, with the card-carrying AARP members and the younger women, okay?

  1. Failure to Launch. Holy flying fuck, Sarah Jessica Parker is ugly. Holy flying fuck, Matthew McConaughey is irritating. Holy flying fuck, Terry Bradshaw is stupid.

If you saw the trailers for this movie, you saw the movie. There’s this guy and he’s a slacker who lives at home and this chick comes along. Woo, hilarious.

What kills me is that Kathy Bates was in this movie. I guess she needed the money.

  1. Take the Lead, starring Antonio Banderas.

This is your standard inner-city school movie where an idealistic teacher (Banderas) inspires a bunch of tough inner city kids to do great things - in this case, ballroom and salsa dancing, that being something Antonio Banderas can actually do. From that, you can probably write it yourself. The kids become professional-level dancers in about two weeks and win a trophy or something, I think; by the end of the movie I was getting pretty drunk. I love first class.

These movies are all exactly the same, and it’s been done really well exactly once (“Stand and Deliver.”) This one is only marginally better than that made-for-TV one I see almost every week where Ted Danson teaches a bunch of inner city kids to play chess. And it’s only marginally better than that because Ted Danson isn’t in it. Or was it that the chess one was marginally better because Antonio Banderas isn’t in it?

The chess one, at least, had WAAAAAAAALT in it, whereas the Banderas one has Alfre Woodward.

Who, I assume, needed the money.

  1. The Pink Panther, starring Steve Martin.

Jesus Fucking Christ.

I’m not saying “The Pink Panther” was bad; I’m saying it was criminally bad. Halfway through, me and some of the passengers were seriously considering charging the cockpit and crashing the plane so as to stop the anguish.

I cannot even tell you in words how bad this movie was. It was more than just bad in the sense of being a poorly made movie; it was disgraceful, a blot on the career of everyone involved. It insulted the audience.

Steve Martin is especially unfunny. I know Inspector Clouseau is supposed to be a parody of French, but Martin’s “French” accent sounded more like a horrible cross between Mexican and Russian and a harelip.

This is how bad it was; halfway though I was so sick of it, I had to get up to go to the lavatory. I was sitting pretty far forward and the shitter in the front of the plane was in use, so I had to walk past almost everyone on the plane. Not one person was laughing. Not one was even smiling. Normally, among 200 people, you’ll find at least sixty or seventy special ed types who will laugh at even the worst comedy. But not “The Pink Panther.” Every person on the plane looked like they were attending their own funeral. Some were so pained by the horror they were watching they were trying to commit suicide (they were eating airplane food.)

To my absolute amazement, the producers of this movie convinced Kevin Kline, Jean Reno, Henry Czerny, and Emily Mortimer to be in it. I guess they all needed the money.

    • Rebecca Pidgeon.

Yet somehow, The Pink Panther did pretty good box office. I’m guessing that was the teenage market, kids who hadn’t a clue who Peter Sellers was.

My last flight, it was another bad remake, The Longest Yard. Long flight.

Just wanted to pop in and say this was a great OP. Please feel free to review more bad movies; I like your style.

"…but this batch doesn’t look like they could steal a sideways glance. "



I have to admit, though, that Rebecca Pidgeon is kinda hot.

My wife travels a lot and is frustrated that all the good movies she misses in the theaters manage to elude her, but she never fails to be showered with cinematic crap on the plane.

Which is why, when I’m done at work today, I have to go rent 8 Below, because it’s the first movie in ages she saw on the plane that she was really enjoying, but they cut the movie off when they arrived early to their destination. I can’t speak for any of the actors (she didn’t seem to notice them), but she’s been raving about the wonderful dogs since she returned, so I’m spousally obliged at this point.

I was on a flight where the movie was Patch Adams.

I was praying we would hit some turbulence so the airsickness would take my mind off the movie.

The Transporter 2.


The one that jumps out at me was the flight from Frankfurt showing Titanic. I really want to see a travel disaster movie when I am travelling. I watched half of it before I gave up.

Otherwise I have managed to block most of the shitty movies out. Now they have those screens on the chair in front of yours so you can at least pick which shitty movie you want.

I was on a flight once when the airline was showing an Olsen twins movie. Not being an eight-year-old girl, I declined the offer to rent the headphones (for five bucks) to listen to the movie. I took a nap instead. Another time, the film was followed by a Mr. Bean short, which was great, as there is little, if any, conversation in them.

Once the film was one of the Bond films starring Pierce Brosnan and one of the action scenes showed him in a small plane that was taken down by a missile. The airlines don’t want to frighten their customers, so all we saw was him in the air, and then on the ground. The lesson is that the airlines should avoid films which prominently feature aircraft in peril. On the other hand, once I was on a JetBlue flight (JetBlue has seatback displays for each passenger to watch live TV) watching the episode of Mythbusters where Adam and Jamie tested whether an airliner would suffer explosive decompression if a bullet were shot through the fuselage. I kept waiting for the flight attendant to tell me to change the channel, so as not to freak out everyone else.


Not a flight, but I took a one of those megabus trips from Chicago to St. Louis a few weeks ago. Very cheap.

But, there were in-travel movies. There were eight or so little screens descending from the bus roof, and I was sitting right behind one, never thinking they’d be used (I’ve been on buses with those before, but they weren’t used). The problem with bus travel, though, is that there aren’t headphone jacks or headsets to rent. Nope, there were instead speakers placed periodically through the bus. And I happened to be right under one, and there weren’t any available seats to move to. The speakers were loud, too.

The first movie was Starsky and Hutch, which I had never seen and decided to watch out of curiousity. It wasn’t so bad. But the next movie, unfortunately, was Mission Impossible: III. Oh god, the pain.

I turned my mp3 player headphones on really loud but it was nearly impossible to drown out effectively. The only good thing is that the vcr or whatever was totally unreliable and kept going out when the road surface was rough. So I’d have brief respites of peace.

I will probably take the bus again because it was so very cheap, but at least this time I’ll know where to sit.

They had MI3 on a bus? It hasn’t even left theaters yet! At the time you saw it, it’d been barely out 2 months. :dubious:

I travel a lot for work, I get the WORST movies on planes, the worst.

Madonna’s Swept Away on a flight from Amsterdam to Mumbai. I was so tired, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t read…and I watched it. It was awful, really one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

More recently, Rumor Has It. Terrible terrible terrible movie. What a horrible premise, Jennifer Anniston’s character sleeps with a man she thinks MAY be her dad?

And on a flight when I was a kid - The Pope Must Die(t). I remember thinking…what the hell?

On an airplane?!? Holy shit…

I was subjected to Herbie- Fully Loaded on a recent flight. Gah. Even with the sound off, it sucked.

Somebody needs to start a charity for Michael Keaton so he can stop doing this garbage.

I’ve seen a number of rather bloody and disgusting movies on planes. The logic of these choices escapes me. Now I just curl up with my little ipod and don’t open my eyes.

Is that, like, some sort of sequel? :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:


Holy crap, I meant MI2. So sorry about that, I mean the kid changing the tapes was sketchy, but not that sketchy.

Are you ready for this one?

Don’t say yes if you don’t mean it.

Ok, I warned you:
It’s a movie starring that black actor who was famous in the 70s/80s. The plot: He is killed by a crazy taxi driver and, as a ghost, try to help his family.-
I won’t look it up in the IMDB and if you want to remain sane, neither will you.-
The worst thing is that I watched it this year in a bus trip from Punta del Este to Buenos Aires. THE WORST BUS RIDE OF MY LIFE.-
I could probably write an horror novel with it. The opening chapter would be the passengers first reaction to that horrible film. That book would be better than Dracula.-

I almost forgot: On the Seattle trip I had to go to Denver. The inflight was “The Shaggy Dog,” starring Tim Allen.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Hey, Rick. What did you expect? Surely you didn’t think a movie about Tim Allen turning into a dog was going to be a good movie?” No, I did not. But incredibly, it was actually worse than I had expected.

Danny Glover and Robert Downey Jr. were in it. I guess they… oh, you know.

Cheeper by the Dozen.
I hated all the kids in that family and I wanted the plane to fly over them and drop blocks of bathroom ice on their heads.

I saw Guarding Tess on a plane once. I think they were giving the headphones away at the time, I don’t think I would’ve paid to see this movie. If you don’t remember it, it starred Nicholas Cage as a secret service agent assigned to protect a widowed ex-first-lady played by Shirley MacLaine until she died. It was boring as hell.

On a recent flight, I had a choice of channels, only one showing a movie, and the movie was Aeon Flux. I tried, really tried, for about ten minutes, then switched over to, I think, a rerun of Yes Dear or something. Flying sucks.