'Worst Movie EVER!' Hyperbole

There is a current thread that adds “Dark Water” to the list of movies rated by various Dopers as the worst movies they’ve ever seen. This list includes “Titanic,” “Armageddon,” “Independence Day,” “Showgirls,” and a host of other movies that may not be great (“Showgirls” is, in fact, really lousy but it has full frontal going for it) but are far from the true bottom of the barrel, having, as they do, casts that can deliver (well, pronounce, at least) their lines and take direction, writers who can write a script that travel from Point A to Point Z and hit most points in between in the correct order (that the scripts manage to do it with few sidetrips into other alphabets and no more than a dozen gaping holes in logic and plot is icing on the cake), directors who have apparently directed a movie before, and, in all those cases, excellent production values (sets don’t fall over, cameras are in focus, none of the crew is visible in the background eating donuts). I’m afraid that hyperbolic claims reflect more on the limited film-viewing experience of the claimant than it does those moview and I expect better from The Straight Dope. C’mon, kids, there are some REALLY bad movies out there. Make some effort to see them before you make fools of yourselves again.

Well, it’s more a question of ellipsis than anything else. “Worst movie evar!” is usually shorthand for “Worst mass-marketed movie where they clearly intended the result to be watchable evar!”, “Worst movie that ever became a popular blockbuster despite its suckiness”, “Worst movie with a budget over $10 million where the director wasn’t doing PCP and LSD” or even “Worst movie in the sense that I expected to really enjoy it and it sucked.”

I finally saw Manos: Hands of Fate last weekend.

'Nuff said.

I think movies can be roughly sorted into two broad categories. Those that were made by people with some sort of talent and resources who should have done better, and those that were clearly made by people who had no idea what they were doing, but had the monster suit, and thought that making a movie might be fun, and make them a quick buck, to boot.

When the first group gets messed up, it’s easier to criticize, and more fun, too. Plus, the marketing campaigns are so full of hyperbole that, even when you know it couldn’t possibly be that good, you aren’t always prepared for how bad it is.

“Batman and Robin” comes in for harsher treatment than “Bride of the Monster” because we already know that, with the best intentions, Ed Wood couldn’t direct his way out of a cardboard box.

Well, you’ll note that the Dark Water thread you mention does not call it the worst movie ever in the title, it calls it “The worst movie I’ve ever seen.” Slight difference there.

Smeg, compare my hyperbolic title with my accurate first sentence.

Going by criteria set by h. sapiens may I humbly nominate “Missouri Breaks?”

Cast: Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Randy Quaid.

Director: Arthur Penn

It’s a sad waste of good actors.

Dropzone may demand you see it before having an opinion. I say, rent it if you dare.

Some young people have a tendency to rate recently-viewed movies as “the best” or “the worst,” while seemingly forgetting about movies they saw several years back. Young folks also sometimes go for shock value by attacking movies that they know are beloved by many. If you visit the messageboards at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), you’ll find large numbers of posts saying that certain hugely successful, widely acclaimed movies suck.

It isn’t only the young who do this, of course, but it has been my observation that movie iconoclasm is more pronounced among those who are under 40.

House of the Dead fits H.Sapien’s second category the best, imo. So much potential, too. Sadly, I would have had more fun watching someone play the game, badly. Totally bereft of any redeeming qualities, even camp value.

I don’t buy into your criteria. These things are not factors in my judgment of “worst movie ever!” because I expect, at a minimum that these professional qualities will be present. When I judge a movie, it’s not based on a scale at which Manos: The Hands of Fate is at the bottom. That kind of bad movie is not even on my scale.

drop, the particular formulation “Worst XX ever” is a quote from the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. The character is a total loser whose only joy in life is by lording it over the kids in his store and putting down the creative efforts of others who, while they may not achieve greatness, have done something that CBG has never done, will never do, and will never even try to do. Ergo, the use of the phrase is, in fact, a self- aware acknowledgement that the thing so described, while vastly disappointing is by no means the worst of its kind, and is a damn sight better than the speaker could do.


When you are an inexperienced filmmaker making a movie with little money, not-very-talented actors, and no access to better resources, a bad movie is to be expected. It doesn’t even reflect badly on the filmmaker- hey, at least she tried.

But when you have lots of money, when you could choose a well-written script, direct good actors in a good performance, when you have access to everything you need to create a good movie, and instead you create a terrible one- well, then it’s probably because you just can’t tell the difference. And your shame is great.

Nah, the trailer was more than enough to inform ones opinion.

I agree with one of h. sapiens’ (yo! there’s a ChiDope a-comin’ and I don’t see you on the list!) criteria, a “wasted opportunity,” to define a disappointingly bad movie (Missouri Breaks) but there is an entire catagory she left out, the “what were they thinking?” movie. One of these has a large enough budget that there is no excuse for its crappiness but a coked-up chimp should recognize that with its concept, cast, script, and director it could not possibly be a good flick. Xanadu is lovely example and Showgirls does meet exceed that standard except the considerable nudity bumps it up a notch. If Elizabeth Berkeley looked a little less like a lizard it might’ve been bumped up two notches.

I enjoyed that movie. In fact it was a weekly favourite during my third year at university.
I enjoyed the pacing and the strange oddness it had about it.

It had Brando wearing a dress while riding a horse. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Which is why I used it in my title rather than the ACCURATE quote.

[Comic Book Guy*]

Most obvious explanation EVER!

[/Comic Book Guy] :wink:

I don’t agree that is its usual usage. I believe pinkfreud is correct, that the users are typically young, inexperienced, forgetful, incapable of self-awareness, and prone to disparage the popular for being popular.

    • A couple years ago I decided to grow a Van Dyke beard. In support of my decision I listed some other fat men with Van Dykes who were cool, like Al Hirt and the guy from the Fifth Dimension. Wife countered with Comic Book Guy and I remained cleanshaven.

The film found it’s audience and it is you.

I wanted my 2 hours and 6 minutes back. Let’s agree to disagree.

Me too. There is no worse movie than that. And continuing in the MST3K tradition, I watched **“Eeegah!” **(“Watch out for snakes!”) yesterday. Easily the second worst movie I’ve ever seen. But at least it had enough goofiness to entertain. Manos was just bad. Very bad. No redeeming qualities at all.

As for more recent movies, I still stand by the bad movie that’s been at the top of my Bad Movie list for the past 10 years: The Chase. I am still annoyed at my husband for making me sit through that one.

Me and him. I loved The Missouri Breaks. Marlon Brando’s eccentric assassin is hilarious and on the more sober side Harry Dean Stanton is as solid as ever. Nicholson wasn’t bad ( but I admit the actress playing opposite him was ). The biggest black mark on the film is actually its deplorable real life treatment of the animals on set, including the drowning of a horse or two ( Cecil discussed this briefly in a column ).

Fresh meat!

  • Tamerlane

No, wait…I think it was actually:

Smoked Meat!

Speak for yourself, hot-blooder. :stuck_out_tongue: