This week’s nominee, Domino, is loosely based on the life of an actual human being named Domino Harvey (sure, very real name, yes), who was the daughter of an Oscar-nominated actor named Laurence Harvey. Domino shunned (SHUNNED!) her wealthy Hollywood background to become a bounty hunter in South Central, Los Angeles. Fair enough. That is a perfectly reasonable idea for a movie, I guess. They’ve certainly made movies about worse subjects. Although they have rarely made worse movies. Tragically, she died before the movie was released of a methamphetamine overdose. The only silver lining to her death is that she never had to actually see this thing. Unless they have movie theaters in heaven, but we can’t know that for sure, and one would hope that the angel manager would make better decisions about what to screen. “Where am I, a movie theater in hell?” That is what an angel would ask if they showed this movie in heaven. What I’m trying to say is: YIKES.

Anyway, in the movie, Domino (Keira Knightly, AKA Strike One!) has been arrested by the FBI, or whatever it is called when the FBI takes you in. Is it still called being arrested? Abducted? Contained? Anyway, Lucy Liu is interrogating her about the disappearance of 10 million dollars from an armored truck, and the rest of the movie is basically Domino’s story from how she got involved with bounty hunting in the first place to what she knows about the money’s disappearance. And it is also where the whole movie starts to fall apart. Because right from the start, the movie is filled with the voice over narration that is supposed to be her story to the FBI, but she keeps saying stuff like “This is my friend Choco.” That is not how you tell someone a story, because when you are telling a story you do not have epileptic-seizure-inducing jumpcuts with knock-off Tarantino freeze-frames w/ subtitles. Sometimes they even combine their lazy, borrowed pop culture references with actual racism!

They call this Afghani man “ALF” because they can’t pronounce his name. LOL?

Domino used to be a model (except even in real life that may not be true? Which makes it double untrue in a movie adaptation of a real life?) but she hated 90210? The show? So she decided to become a bounty hunter? Because one time at the pool she was goofing with some nunchucks? OK, now she is a bounty hunter, because when you throw a knife through Mickey Rourke’s windshield he makes you a bounty hunter. It’s called Career Path.

Not a real thing that has ever existed.

Here’s the thing: starting in 2004, the entertainment world went on a bit of a bounty hunter kick. There was Family Bonds on HBO, which was great btw, and Dog: The Bounty Hunter on A&E, both of which premiered in 2004. But this movie came out in 2005. What I’m saying is that by the time this movie came out, we already knew how bounty hunters worked. That veil had been lifted. So how are you going to have a gang of bounty hunters SEVERING PEOPLE’S ARMS and GIVING DRUG DEALERS LAP DANCES and SHOOTING GUNS LIKE CRAZY? There are still laws in this world, and bounty hunters are subject to those laws. So basically within the first five minutes we already know that we are dealing with a movie built entirely of garbage violent fantasies ripped off from other movies (see knock-off Tarantino freeze-frames w/ subtitles).

At one point, a woman gets revenge on the bounty hunters by putting scoops (SCOOPS!) of mescaline into a thermos of coffee. But this is not a message about the dangers of violence, or severing people’s arms for no reason, or the consequences of mescaline abuse. It’s just an opportunity for the movie to have a trip-sequence that ends with the RV flipping over in the air:

without causing any injuries whatsoever, followed by A GRAPHIC SEX SCENE…

capped off by A VISIT FROM TOM WAITS!

I hope they paid Mr. Waits enough money to drill some new hobo holes into the bottoms of his trash shoes, because COME ON, EVERYONE INVOLVED.

I’m not even going to dignify this movie with a thoughtful and complete synopsis of the movie’s plot, because the movie’s plot is an asshole. Let’s just say that they never let the 90210 thing go, even though it never really made sense in the first place? And I know that director Tony Scott thought he was making some kind of CULTURAL COMMENTARY by having Brian Austen Green and Ian Ziering in the movie, but he wasn’t.

After a firefight in a Las Vegas hotel, which includes people firing automatic weapons into bags loaded with bombs (don’t ask) without setting those bombs off (I’m not a bomb expert, but I guess I am a bomb expert, because even I know that NO) Domino Harvey escapes to safety (remember: guns everywhere) IN AN ELEVATOR. Going down? At one point, Domino tells Lucy Liu, who is a professional FBI agent, that Lucy Liu is just jealous of her because she is coming into her own, while Lucy Liu is stuck in her boring office job. What? Her boring office job of being AN FBI AGENT in charge of INTERROGATING SUSPECTS? I know that we all hate The Man, but we know that The Man is not jealous of us, right? The Man is doing great. He is in charge. Of everything.

Then she says “tonight it will be my pussy you are dreaming of.” GET OUT THE GRAVESTONE ETCHER, BECAUSE I AM DEAD (FROM SUICIDE) AND I KNOW WHAT I WANT IT TO SAY NOW.

Ugh. The movie’s entire emotional core revolves around how when Domino was a kid she had a goldfish and it died and that’s how she learned never to get attached to anything. Right. Not only is that obviously just junior high caliber bullcrap, it’s NOT EVEN TRUE IN THE MOVIE. She always travels with a goldfish (normal) and has a goldfish tattoo on her neck. To remind her that she doesn’t care about goldfish/human beings? Or is that she cares too much? Is that the point of the whole movie? Oh my gosh, I think I just realized that–oh wait, no, nope. It was nothing.

Domino also features an entire subplot about reality TV? Of course it does. Reality TV! So hot right now! This movie clearly wishes it was an important movie full of interesting ideas about The Way We Live Now, which makes sense, because it was written by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, The Box) who has a college-freshman-after-eating-his-first-pot-brownie’s concept of what makes things interesting. His movies are subpar O’Henry short stories, but not even the award winning ones. He is an O’Henry runner-up. Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a guy wearing a scary bunny mask on the other side of a mirror you could touch? I don’t know, would it, DOCTOR HIGHTIMES? Oh, wait, no, I just got a call from Earth, and everyone except confused high school students with too much time to update their MySpace Interests agreed that it was not.

Oh look, Jerry Springer! Very topical!

This movie also puts Mickey Rourke and M’onique’s careers back into perspective.

Enjoy your Serious Town credibility now, you guys. The line that you are walking between Great and Awful is razor-thin. Almost as thin as the line that Kiera Knightly is walking between looking like a man and looking like a woman!

In two weeks: Serendipity. As always, please leave your suggestions in the comments or in an email. And if you haven’t done so already, please consult the Official Rules.

Comments (85)
  1. Dear Videogum Staff: I once again nominate Amelia, the 2009 film starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere about the doomed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. It’ll be available on Netflix as of February 2.
    While no one can truly express how bad this movie is, I think I can come close to explaining HOW awful this film is via my favorite medium, the gif. Imagine, if you will, that director Mira Nair is the child in this gif. Equate successfully kicking the ball with successfully creating a film of artistry, enjoyment, and not-embarrassing-awfulness.

    Thank you for your time. I shall be here again next week and every week to re-nominate this film till its inclusion is secure.

  2. “Tonight, it will be my comic-deconstruction-of-a-terrible-film you are dreaming of”
    ~ Gabe, to Videogum

  3. oh man. i had no idea tom waits was in this movie. seeing as how i’ve never seen this movie. mr. waits. for shame. i for one have shelled out way too much money to go to your concerts and buy your albums, so this could not have been done for the money. which leaves artistic merit. now i know you did a lot of acid and cocaine back in the 80s and 90s, so maybe that’s an excuse, but mostly i have to say here and now before the word, jesus fucking christ, between this and the greenlight on that scarlett johannson cover album you are on some thin ice with me, mister.

  4. I always had a problem with the “tonight it will be my pussy you are dreaming of” line because in my mind it should be “tonight it will be my pussy of which you are dreaming.” I guess it’s Richard Kelly’s world and being a part of it is what we dream of.

  5. O, this GIF made me laugh in a totally chicken-sounding way due to its awesomeness combined with a staggeringly impressive jetlag. Kock-a-kock-a-kooo.

  6. I think I had my first college pot-brownie the night I watched this. I remember it being boring for an “action” movie, and then the “tripping” scene happened and I instantly realized that I was sober. This movie is a literal buzz-kill.
    While Domino bums me out big time, it makes me think about (I’m revealing my love for audio commentary here) how Edgar Wright used Tony Scott-inspired overexposed jump-cuts for the police paperwork scenes in Hot Fuzz; I love Hot Fuzz.

  7. i dont care about the stupid plot or what deeper meaning is supposed to be embedded in this movie (if it even carries one) – it was fun and fast. i liked the music and my god – EDGAR RAMIREZ – so beautiful.

    i dont know how to make a gif, but someone (werttrew) should pay homage to choco

  8. It pains me to nominate this mainly due to all the wasted talent in this movie but I would like to nominate Run fat boy run for the worst movie. I love Simon Pegg but that movie was so cheesy it gave me gas.

    • you know, I also know quite a few people who didn’t like this movie, which I get. Yeah, it was very conventional re: movies/comedy etc. (double ugh, re: the Indian landlord), but it was also kind of really cute and funny? And Simon Pegg, obviously, and Dylan Moran (!!!). It wasn’t anywhere near the level of Pegg’s other work, but I can single out so many worse romantic comedies (though many of which I also love? this does not help my case)

    • While I agree with your sentiments because I love Michael Ian Black and Simon Pegg and hated that movie (I blame director David Schwimmer, because David Schwimmer), I don’t think it is bad enough for the hunt. Disappointing considering the talent, but not over-the-top horrible.

    • That movie wasn’t so hot, but you have to dig a lot deeper to hit ‘Worst’ status.

    • Seconded, Lizardo. Only got 20mins into that garbage movie.

  9. When this first came out, and even up until a minute ago, I was ranging from very interested to still sort of interested in seeing this film. Then you said that Richard Kelly wrote it, and all of that flew out the window.

    Although personally, I like Keira Knightly a lot, even if its partially because she walks that line so well, and I couldn’t care either way.

    • In fact, do you think we could round out his “body of work” or whatever and nominate Donnie Darko? I certainly don’t consider it the worst movie of all time, but I’d put its ridiculous cult following in the exact same boat as Boondock Saints.

      • I saw that movie for the FIRST time not a month ago. It was alright. Not WMOAT hunt-status-worthy by any means though.

  10. They drive a truck off a cliff?
    Then have sex?
    Then Tom Waits?

    I am trying to piece this scene together in my mind.
    It is not working.

  11. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  12. The goldfish thing? Clearly, right after her goldfish died, she saw A Fish Called Wanda, which further alienated Dominoes from the cardboard crust that is her soul. It’s called allusion? Intertextuality? Resonancia?

    Where are my elbow patches?

    • Your elbow patches are over here, by this copy of Catcher in the Rye, which also features a soul-proving goldfish. Domino is the female, gun-toting older brother of Holden Caulfield.

  13. Running with Scissors. Awful, awful movie.

    • Ah, that reminds me. I nominate Thumbsucker. In my haste I haven’t checked the rules for its eligibility… but my fervour is overcoming me. Thumbsucker. Thumbsucker.
      Frikkin’ Thumbsucker

      • I don’t remember anything about that movie, except that Vincent D’Onofrio and Tilda Swinton would be the most amazing suburban middle-aged couple ever.

  14. I would like to nominate the film adaptation of the book Ethan Frome, where two of the characters’ idea of suicide is riding a sled into an elm tree.

    • Bookgum? Bookgum would not be a resounding success. Unless Babbage had built his thing and we had Internets in 1895. Then maybe. “Red Badge of Courage? More like Red Badge of Words, you fellows. Solemnly. This book, Mr Crane, shall we talk respectfully? And by ‘shall we talk’ I mean to indicate let us not talk quite so much.” Zing.

  15. “The movie’s entire emotional core revolves around how when Domino was a kid she had a goldfish and it died and that’s how she learned never to get attached to anything.”

    This is why Hollywood is an asshole… how for the love of God could you see that on paper and think “OK, great. Sounds good.” unless you were making a movie FOR LITTLE CHILDREN!!?!

  16. In a strange and unfathomable coincidence, I ALSO had a goldfish die on me when I was a child.

    That is where my similarities with Domino ends.

    • Well, you’re probably hollow on the inside.

    • Why aren’t there 7 billion bounty hunters?
      FACT: Every kid had the equivalent of a gold fish die on them.
      FACT: Every kid hit themselves in the crotch with nun-chucks at some point.

    • I had three successive hamsters die on me as a child so naturally I got a hamster tattoo and always carry a hamster with me wherever I go to remind myself of the inevitability of death.

  17. I nominate Beyond the Law. It’s Charlie Sheen as an undercover narcotics agent in a biker gang, what’s not to hate?

  18. Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

  19. Wow Mickey Rourke looks a lot more normal with that mustache. All he needs is, like, eight more mustaches.

  20. This WMOAT entry is Gabe’s equivalent to Conan’s last week on the Tonight Show. ON FIRE! Can’t wait till Serendipity. Burn it to the ground, Gabe.

  21. Why didn’t you talk about the worst part (there are way too many worst parts to talk about them all) when the narration is remixed “I’m Domino Harvey… Domino Harvey, Domino Harvey”?

  22. I would like to nominate The Prime Gig. Its a horrible movie starring Vince Vaughn caught up in the world of HIGH STAKES TELEMARKETING. I rest my case.

  23. im excited about serendipity! it is the harold and kumar go to white castle of romantic comedies (in that the titular eating establishment is regional enough to seem made up to most of the audience)! i just wrote a bunch of stuff about it in a word document in preparation for next week. next week better drumline.

  24. im excited about serendipity! it is the harold and kumar go to white castle of romantic comedies (in that the titular eating establishment is regional enough to seem made up to most of the audience)! i just wrote a bunch of stuff about it in a word document in preparation for next week. next week better drumline.

    • im double excited!! this is the internet version of what it is like to know me in real life and hear me tell the same story five times.

  25. “It’s called career path.”
    Tidy little entry into my lolK fund today…

  26. There should be a medal issued to those of us who have endured this “movie.” Seriously, a mishmash of stuff does not a movie make, Richard Kelly/Tony Scott!

    This is the worst kind of bad movie. At least many bad movies have the decency to have something fun or entertaining in them, even if it’s unintentional.

    This is just punishing. It’s the definition of unwatchable. Also falling into this category: Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2. Yes, it’s worse than his remake… yes, apparently this was possible.

  27. gifs are SO 2009/THE FUTURE?

  28. I can’t believe nobody has corrected Gabe that it’s O. Henry, not O’Henry. (Downvote if you must)

  29. This WMOAT doesn’t even begin to describe how bad this movie really is. Though it did pioneer the “lap dance yourself out of a jam” move:

  30. I would like to nominate the abomination that is Flakes.
    I miss the halcyon days when I thought Gigli & I Am Sam were the worst pieces of crap ever filmed, because now I know better. THIS MOVIE, YOU GUYS.

    a) Zooey Deschanel as her manic pixie dreamgirliest playing a character named “Miss Pussy Katz”
    b) It’s a movie about a cereal restaurant
    c) anti-corporate “message” with zero logic or foundation
    d) The guy who played Pyro in the X-Men movies is the star/hero/worst asshole alive
    e) Christopher Lloyd, for some reason.
    f) It’s not even bad in the fun way that Gigli is (I just said Gigli was fun, that is how bad this movie is in comparison). You can’t even enjoy laughing at it’s badness because your soul is dead.

  31. Oof, this movie. I saw it in the theater on my third or fourth date with a fellow who (miraculously, considering I picked the movie) is still with me. Not only is he still with me, but he is so kind that the following conversation happens only about once per year:

    Him: Will you refill my water?
    Me: But you’re closer to the kitchen.
    Him: Remember when we saw Domino?
    Me: Dammit.

  32. I wish this movie was 30 minutes or less…

  33. Oh goodie, Serendipity! That one brought the stupid big time. I’d like to nominate 10,000 BC – now that was clusterfuck and a half, yo!

  34. Tom Waits, you are better than this, shame on you!

  35. Can’t wait for the skewering of Serendipity. You know what the demon manager would play in hell’s movie theater on chick flick double feature day along with Serendipity? Catch and Release.

  36. I don’t understand how this movie isn’t Smokin’ Aces.

  37. Gabe, let’s do Love Actually. I have never seen this movie, and from the plot descriptions I have read, it sounds absurd and fairly terrible. Yet people I know and respect claim to like it. Kinda like Rachel Getting Married, which was an interesting selection since we didn’t really KNOW if it was terrible or not going in. I would like you to do the same with Love Actually and report back. If you say it’s not terrible, I may even watch it. But not before that.

  38. Say it with me TI – TAN – IC !!

    Also I CAN”T WAIT for serendipity!!

  39. I came home drunk in the middle of the night last night and tried to read this, but gave up because it was confusing. I just tried to read it again and this movie still seems really confusing. What’s also weird is that I’m sure I saw this movie, but I’m still confused.

  40. may i suggest 8mm starring nicholas cage?? truly mind-shatteringly awesomely tremendously horrible.

  41. I would like to suggest that The Toxic Avenger be considered for The Worst Movie of All Time – You’re welcome.

  42. Choco and the goldfish is what I want to rename this movie. Oh and also: “This is the girl you guys just nominated for an Oscar for starring in the like 24th adaptation of a not-as-complex-as-you-think-it-is Jane Austen book, Academy”. But mostly the thing about Choco because – despite the fact that he shot people’s arms off (which I now totally believe is possible) just because some voice on the other end of the receiver told him to – he was snacktacular. SNACK. TACULAR.

  43. Looking at these screen grabs suddenly reminds me of the rant I read yesterday about Hollywood’s latest obsession: Teal and Orange Color Grading.

  44. Creativity (making a movie) – analysis (of a movie) = this excellent blog

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