Remember JT Leroy? He was a teenage novelist who wrote about being a transgendered truck-stop prostitute and everyone loved his books and was very into the whole transgendered teenage truck-stop prostitute thing, like, Elijah Wood wore a raccoon penis bone on a necklace to a party or something–just to give you a sense of how big JT Leroy was. Also, he didn’t exist. His books were written by some lady (an artist, I’m sure) and when JT Leroy appeared at book signings and readings and famously at Sundance one year, always wearing his Andy Warhol wig or whatever, that was actually an actor. (The wigs were really wigs, though. I think?) The lady who made all of this stuff up got in trouble, kind of, I mean, as much trouble as you can get in for something that doesn’t matter. Gus Van Sant yelled at her on the op-ed page of Portland’s second largest newspaper, or something to that effect. Of course, the reason that the liar was so successful is that her lie was pretty good. The writing was unique, the story about a transgendered teenage truck-stop prostitute was dark and compelling, and Andy Warhol wigs have a historical precedent of success. Now, imagine a story about a teenager that is supposed to be dark and is supposed to have a compelling hook, but it isn’t, and imagine that it was written on a pair of jeans with a Sharpie by a 45-year-old who assumes it can’t be that hard to figure out what makes kids tick these days, throw in a bottle of prescription pain-killers, a very lazy twist-ending, zero lights whatsoever, and Edie Falco and you begin to understand what The Quiet is like.

The Quiet is about a “perfect” suburban family that turns out to be ANYTHING BUT lolol. (Incidentally, they don’t actually seem perfect at all. Even from the beginning they seem like kind of a mess? But we’re supposed to believe they are perfect because, like, a woman at the pharmacy will say to the dad, “Oh, Mr. Deer, you’re not only a brilliant architect but also a great man.” That is a for real actual line of dialog in the movie.) They have just taken in their teenage goddaughter after her father was hit by a truck (her mother died when she was young), and she is deaf and mute. OR IS SHE? No, she is. OR IS SHE?! Well, OK, not really, no, but hold on, we’re not there yet. The Deers already have one teenage daughter and she is a cheerleader and very popular and she hates this stupid new deaf and mute girl so much for some reason. Mrs. Deer is addicted to painkillers. Mr. Deer is a brilliant architect, but he’s also a great man, and he is also fucking his daughter. OH BOY, HERE WE GO. So, like, I guess the daughter sort of figures out that the deaf and mute girl isn’t deaf or mute at all, and so she starts telling the deaf and mute girl all her plans to kill her father as some kind of test to see if she is really listening? But she never actually goes through with the murder. I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be suspenseful and creepy, but, uh, it’s not. Who cares? Just kill him. He’s a creep. Or don’t. I honestly don’t care what happens to any of you. Meanwhile, she has sex with a basketball player next to the swimming pool. A high school with a swimming pool always seems so luxurious! That’s probably the intended takeaway from this movie, I’m sure. Eventually, the deaf and mute girl murders the father with a piano string right before the big dance and at first the cheerleader is mad because TEENAGERS HAVE COMPLICATED FEELINGS but then they…uh…go to the dance anyway? Like, they leave the dead body on the floor of the bedroom and go to the dance? The dance seems fun enough, I guess. When they come home, the police are there and the mom has turned herself in to save the girls, and now the girls just live in this big empty house together and play piano all the time, like some kind of fucked up boxcar children 2.0. Party of 2 this fall on FOX.

Now, there are a lot of bad things about this movie. Like, the aforementioned dialog. We might as well just give all the actors a free pass on this one, because I’m not sure how they could have done a better job having to say all of this nonsense. And it is nonsense. Not just the words they use, but what they are trying to express. Like, at one point the mom, Edie Falco, goes on this out-of-nowhere rant about how the deaf girl’s mom was “a slut.” Really? Is that how you talk to ANY TEENAGER much less an impaired teenager who was recently orphaned? No it is not. Even on all the pills it is not. Meanwhile, when the cheerleader tells her dad that she is pregnant with their Chinatown baby in order to bilk him for $1000, his response is “What are you going to do about [the baby]?” REALLY? Just going to see how this one plays out? “As your father, I will fuck you, but I don’t want to mess with your fragile self-actualization, so far be it from me to tell you what to do with your body (other than to tell you to fuck me with it).” Sure. My favorite line of dialog in the movie is when the basketball player boyfriend finds out she isn’t deaf or mute and he gets angry and says “but I said all that stuff about my dick.” Hahha. You know, I can understand how it would be a weird breach of trust to find out that the girl you were whispering stuff to about your dick could actually hear you, but it’s even weirder, like by a lot, that you were whispering stuff about your dick to the back of a deaf girl’s head. This might be a you problem more than a deaf girl problem, dude.

Also, she’s deaf and mute, not retarded. WHY IS SHE TASTING HER DAD’S ASHES?

Eat something more sensible, girl. Like this:

The eating ashes scene is hilarious not just because she is tasting her dad’s ashes but also because she explains in a voice-over how upset she is with humanity because right before her dad was hit by a truck, no one tried to help him. Huh? You mean no strangers ran out into the middle of a busy street where it was very easy to get hit by trucks to save your dad from getting hit by a truck? What a coarse and unfair world of monsters we live in, I’m sure.

But easily the worst part of the entire movie is the lighting. What is this lighting?

Everything is single-source lighting through a window with some kind of ugly blinds on it. But also this diner? Just too normal of a diner, probably.

And here’s a quick question: if you are a high school and you are hosting a basketball game in your gymnasium, do you turn on some lights or do you leave all the lights off? All off? OK.

I guess it’s just school policy (see above photo of high school bathroom with no lights on at all) to not have any lights ever.

This movie is very very bad. It wishes that it was arty and it wishes that it was suspenseful and it wishes that it was sexy but it is none of those things. What it is is just HARD TO SEE. Ugh. I wish I could burn it in the face with an iron.

Next week: Eat, Pray, Love. 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 (153)
  1. Once again, I would like to nominate SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK for WMOAT.

    For the record, I actually really like this film! In fact, I lurve it. However, not everyone agrees and I think a “hot debate” (NEVER FORGET) such as this would be great for Videogum. Also, note that it meets all of the WMOAT qualifications.

    • Synecdoche, New York was my high school play within a play within a play within a play.

    • I nominate Synecdoche, NY to get the Amelia treatment. This needs to be a WMOAT nominee — again, not even because it’s awful, but because I just don’t know!

    • I also love this movie (so much), but I completely agree. If this movie was a person it would wear a scarf and talk about how it’s better than everyone else because it’s in this totally great band with some people from his community college and they are, like, totally going places man. (For this same reason I would also like to nominate one of my other favorite movies, Magnolia.)

    • Am I the only one who’s like, “No, let’s save the WMOAT for arguably legitimate contenders, thus helping it fulfill its search for the actual WMOAT and not a movie that we all know is not the WMOAT but just really like and want Gabe to write about”?

    • I have to disagree, mostly on the principle that Synecdoche is sort of about, and was partly filmed in Schenectady, NY, and I live in Albany, right next door. It’s a pretty accurate representation of growing old in Schenectady, even if PSH’s character eventually moves to NYC.

  2. Elisha Cuthbert must have something seriously wrong with her because she’s so pretty, and seems really cool, but her career choices are like yikes 90% of the time

  3. Charlie St. Cloud. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but seriously. It is pretty much Nicholas Sparks presents The Sixth Sense starring Zac Effron. Barf.

    • I hope you’re not saying barf because you hate Zac Efron, because he was good in 17 Again and Me and Orson Welles, barf at Charlie St. Cloud all you’d like though

    • Yes, this is exactly the sort of movie I want Gabe to watch so that I can insult it in a more informed way without actually having to endure it myself.

    • YES. My mom wanted to see that and so I went along (other movies I have willingly sat through with my mother: Obsessed, Sex and the City 2, and The Tourist), as I have a little thing for Zefron, I’m not ashamed to admit. He’s just so dreamy! But GOOD LORD was it terrible! Mind-bogglingly dumb. But the Zeffers was dreamy, and also James Franco’s brother was in it, I think? So that was okay.

  4. It must not have been that bad if you are watching it again next week.

  5. The same lighting team worked on “Margot at the Wedding,” a scene of which I posted below.

  6. I sort of think that whoever lit “The Quiet” is sort of a hero for protecting us from having to see the whole thing any clearer than absolutely had to.

  7. This movie holds a FLW personal record of being the only movie I’ve ever walked out out.

    Side note: I went with friends and didn’t want to ditch them, so I found a laundromat a couple of blocks away that had a NARC arcade game.

    I guess my point is. I avoided watching a terrible movie, connected with some old childhood memories and learned a valuable lesson that day:

  8. I liked this movie the first time, when it was called “The Miracle Worker”

  9. I forgot all about the whispering sweet dick talk to the deaf girl and then the disappointment in the discovery she’s not really deaf. Talk about a “psyche out”. Move over Usual Suspects multiplied by the square root of the Crying Game, you just got psyched

  10. Gabe wrote an entire review of The Quiet and at no point did he write “Hush, The Quiet”?? I don’t even…

  11. Once again, I ask you to consider

  12. For what it is worth (it is worth little) in my high school the lights were always off in the hallways during the basketball games. That this fact springs to my mind does not indicate that I have any sexy stories to tell, though.

  13. Once again, I nominate The Expendables:

    • …which is sad because anything and everything with Cordelia Chase in it should automatically be great :(

    • Please note for the record: this is the romantic lead in this movie. …And Pearl rests her case. She’ll take her settlement in the form of Happy Hips Turkey Strips.

  14. Is it weird that Gabe’s reviews of WMOAT make me want to see them? Why do I feel the need to punish myself like this?!

    • Right? And with Elisha Cuthbert, it has to be at least as good as season one of 24, right?? And the other girl looks like Selma Blair! So it’s 24 meets Hellboy! My reasoning is foolproof! I’m in!

      However, all the actual jpgs from the movie make me suspect that by Minute 20 I would end up hoping to be killed with piano wire by a Selma Blair lookalike, and that my last thought would be I deserve no better, Movie. Have fun at the dance.

    • i made this mistake with Christmas with the Kranks. it was on tv, i was dog sitting, and i was like “oh! this will be a fun thing!” no. so wrong. don’t do it. just move along.

    • I watched Zardoz based on WMOAT, so I get what your saying.

      I just want to say though that Zardoz, despite being staggeringly, apologetically, insanely stupid its also hilarious beyond what simple words can say. I would highly recommend watching at least once, high or not (though I would imagine being high would help)

  15. Hold on a second, What was Chinatown about?

    • Jack Nicholson plays Harry Mendelbaum, a retired super-spy with just 48 hours to save his family from the very people he once trusted with his life. As I recall.

    • Some case-study on urban policy in LA….I think…I watched it in a city-planning class, but i was high so i don’t remember….forget about it, Royal Swine

  16. Totally my diet for too much of my young life.

  17. Oh Hi, just me the fair weather commenter.

    I feel like this movie is especially notable for how like, literally no one in the movie is sympathetic in the slightest. It’s like a weird shockfest of who can be the worst. And the dad? Ewww. So much eww with that guy. I saw this in the theaters! It is clearly trying to be interesting and surprising or edgy or something, and the only way it succeeds in that respect was with the out-of-nowhere Edie Falco nude scene, which had even me going, “Touche, the Quiet, touche.”

  18. For screenwriters of films such as these, I’ve realized that “Rape” is merely the preferred shorthand for situations in which something “Bad” needs to happen to a character. American Beauty (Fantasized), Towelhead (Actual), Lovely Bones (Coupled with murder), and now this. ENOUGH ALREADY. There are other ways to traumatize young characters.

  19. In the spirit of thisismynightmare’s nomination of Citizen Kane, I would like to nominate this thing:

    because I HATE IT SO MUCH! I had to read the book, and watch the movie twice in school, which is so inhumane. And honestly, isn’t this the original BEING WHITE IS HARD movie? Make it happen, Gabe.

  20. camilla belle is in weird movies… i’m looking at you “the ballad of jack and rose”

    • I actually liked The Ballad of Jack and Rose (when I was 16), but Camilla Belle is a terrible actress and in SO MANY MOVIES THAT SHOULD BE NOMINATED, especially:

      -Push (which features screaming Asians, dancing guns, and a drunk, sassy Dakota Fanning)
      -The Chumscrubber (a star-studded indie flick about a video game or something that is OBSESSED WITH DOLPHINS!!!)

  21. I nominate Vice. It was the worst.

    • You calling Dennis Hopper a liar? You have to honor the dead

    • Two members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in a flashy action movie? If there’s anyone director guy was not thinking of when he thought this up, it is definitely Quentin Tarantino, amirite?

  22. The next generation of art movies is gonna be all garish colors and sun lamps in every room.

  23. Tideland is, without a doubt, worse than any of the movies that have been reviewed in the hunt. MUCH MUCH WORSE:

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      • I haven’t seen this movie, but can some one explain to me how Emma Stone got a Golden Globe nomination for this? I mean, I know Anne Hathaway got one for Love and Other Drugs, which had to have been terrible, but really? Easy A? This film did not seem to have any interest in taking itself seriously, so how did anyone even think of that being a nomination? In summary: WHA?
        I’m sorry, these are just a series of questions that have been floating around in the ‘ol cabeza since the GG noms were announced.

        • This is an honest question for people who have seen it. I actually want answers! You’re allowed to set me straight, downvoters! I just have confusion about why the acting in a breezy teen comedy was nominated for a big award. I like Emma Stone, but this seems like seeing an acting nod for Bring It On or something. But maybe the previews led me to believe there was much less substance to this movie than there actually was?

      • It got good reviews because it was adorable! I mean, it’s no The Quiet, but it’s still a fun, enjoyable teen comedy with sharp dialogue and also Stanley Tucci.

    • I disagree very much so

    • Yeah, Easy A could’ve done without the forced Hawthorne referencing, but it was still a pretty great little movie. As good as a movie about 80s teen films can be, but still. We don’t have nearly enough strong female protagonists, and Ms. Stone was charming as hell.

      • Agreed about the lack strong female characters. She was pretty awesome and didn’t seem too cliched. Also, I like that they made her actually seem genuinely intelligent (like, actually using big words in the dialogue!).

    • Totally agree. One of the most annoying movies in a long time. What was the deal with Emma Stone’s parents? The snarkiest couple in the history of the world. I don’t think either of them had a line of dialogue that wasn’t a joke.

  25. Just saw this one! it was (surprisingly?) very, very BAD!

    Bleuuuuuch!

    • wow are you off base on this. Trois Couleurs is pretty amazing, and Bleu is the best one. I mean just Zbiginew Preisner’s MUSIC exempts it!

  26. Has this already been nominated? I haven’t seen it, but I really don’t think I need to:

  27. I can’t express how satisfied I am that ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is being reviewed next, cutting in front of a large chunk of history’s worst because calm down past bad movies, THIS MOVIE IS SOO SOOO SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH WORSE THAN YOU ARE.

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  30. I’m not going to stop:

    LITERALLY THE WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. I am in no way exaggerating or joking.

    “This movie was full of entitled, stupid women that should really shut up and go away forever.” -Sarah Palin. SERIOUSLY.

  31. I nominate Sunshine Cleaning. It is a turd wrapped in celluloid. Horrible, horrible movie.

  32. This is, honestly, the funniest thing I have ever read much like Fear is actually the worst movie of all time.

  33. I have to nominate either of the My Big Fat Greek Lady’s masterpieces My Life in Ruins, or I Hate Valentine’s Day. Two of the worst romantic comedies ever made. They’re on cable all the time and I can’t tear myself away from their horribleness. That woman’s whole performance consists of showing her teeth.

  34. I want to nominate UNSTOPPABLE because of all the pre-hate Gabe piled on it, but I worked on it and was surprised that it was better than I thought it was going to be, but even I had low expectations, because how good can a movie about a runaway train starring Captain Kirk and that creepy dude who keeps popping up in creepy roles (Kevin Corrigan) and the dad from TRANSFORMERS be? It’s on dvd next month.

  35. I have read a lot of these reviews. And some of these movies I liked. Does that mean that I am 1) Insane? 2) Stupid, 3) Without taste or class, 4) Mentally challenged, you know, stupid?

  36. This needs to happen, people.

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