There are a number of ways that you can tell a movie is bad. For example, if it features a famous actor portraying the mentally retarded, or if the emotional core is built around the soundtrack instead of the thinly drawn characters, or if Robin Williams is in it. Another way that you can usually tell a movie is bad is if the title of the movie is spoken in the dialogue (example: “We’ve got to get away from these Pirates of the Caribbean!”), and another way that you can usually tell a movie is bad is if the opening credits inform you that it’s “based on articles from Rolling Stone.” Both of these things happen in the 1985 movie, Perfect, starring John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Rolling Stone founder JANN WENNER? What?

Perfect centers around journalist Adam Lawrence (John Travolta) who writes obituaries for a local paper in New Jersey for a couple minutes before the opening credits, and then after the opening credits is a reporter for Rolling Stone. (?) OK. He is in the midst of an important article about a businessman who something something computers Russia drug dealer? It’s not important, because he’s simultaneously working on another article exposing a Los Angeles gym as just being a replacement for the singles bars of the ’70s. Whoa. What a scandal. That’s where he meets Jamie Lee Curtis, who is the most successful aerobics instructor in the tri-state area. She’s cautious around Adam at first because she hates interviewers because of the Olympics, because that’s a thing, “hating interviewers” is a thing, but then they have sex and then they are lovers but then she remembers that she hates interviewers and she calls him “a sphincter muscle,” and she deletes his article. Then Jann Wenner sends John Travolta to Morocco so that he can secretly print a story about gang bangs in the Fitness Center parking lot under Adam’s name, and then Adam smashes Jann Wenner’s office with a baseball bat. Then he goes to court because the government wants the audiotapes of his interview with the computer drug dealer Russian but he is all Judy Miller and won’t release his tapes to the government, and that’s how Jamie Lee Curtis knows he’s telling the truth (?) and they go home and do it. Probably he won the Pulitzer Prize, too, for being the best aerobics reporter in the game.

Now, I could go on all day about the hows and whys of what makes this movie so terrible, or I could just present you with 5 of the most insane and hilarious minutes from any movie ever.

Whoops, that exists.

It’s comforting to think that this movie is just a curiosity of the ’80s, tucked away on a dusty shelf of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium to be gently laughed at from the elevated perch of our highly evolved cultural awareness. But that’s unrealistic. I could totally see this being made now, with like Will Ferrell playing the ace reporter, Ben Stiller as the gym owner, and Elizabeth Banks as the world’s greatest aerobics instructor. It would be really cheap to make, too, because they could cast all their extras by laying out glue traps baited with Pabst in Williamsburg.

Then again, it would be a comedy, which this is not. What this is is an animated GIF factory. Wall to wall animated GIFS.


That’s aerobics? I’ve totally done aerobics. With a bunch of girls you don’t know. From Canada.

Did I mention Jann Wenner’s in this?

What? Why is Jann Wenner in this? And if Jan Wenner is in this, which he is, and he plays the editor in chief of Rolling Stone magazine, which he does, THEN WHY IS HIS CHARACTER NAMED MARK? But it’s really a sign of just how bad a movie is when Jann Wenner is far from the worst actor. This lady, though, is very close to the worst actor, by living inside the worst actor’s body.

This is a very bad movie!

Next week: we break from our normal schedule to talk about Family Stone, in a special CHRISTMAS EDITION of TWOAT. 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 (52)
  1. y  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +3

    Yikes, those aerobic outfits leave nothing to the imagination.

  2. kell  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +1

    ytmndgum. those gifs are golden.

  3. hey yooo  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +5

    It’s amazing that even while pelvic thrusting in the most blatantly suggestive manner, they still manage to have zero sex appeal.

  4. Jake  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 -1

    Eric Prydz’s “Call on Me” is a spoof on Travolta’s weird creep eyes aerobics sessions.

  5. jc  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +2

    that clip is simultaneously repulsive and mesmerizing.

    also: as one of many readers who has been clamoring for The Family Stone, I just about peed my pants (Hugh Jackman style) when you announced next week’s nominee.

  6. Eww, those shorts! I don’t want to think about Travolta’s junk. But yay for getting me to imagine Will Farrell in the part. That helped make it better.

    I think Generation Kill disproves the article in Rolling Stone rule, but it is a TV show so maybe not?

  7. the only way that computer gif could be better is if they replaced “fuck” with “cyber.”

  8. I can’t wait for the Christmas edition.

    Oh and I kinda wanna see the remake you mentioned.

  9. Most every time a movie’s title is spoken during the movie, I repeat it aloud to the person sitting next to me and look at them. They normally look back like, “Yes? What.”

    The Family Stone next, huh? That one’s gonna hurt, my bf Luke Wilson is in it. I’ve forgiven him several indiscretions (“My Super Ex-Gf”, “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde”, “TFS”). The slapstick scene at the end is the worst. But it has Craig T. Nelson in it!

  10. Patch Hater  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +2

    Patch Adams?

  11. K  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +2

    Oh man, I’m scared for Family Stone. I liked it! It’s not a good movie, but it’s watchable and kinda funny. It’s like Law and Order: I’ll watch it if it’s on. Also, quit hating on John Travolta’s junk; it’s probably amazing. What? You were all thinking it. The guy was Vinnie Barbarino!

  12. courtney  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 0

    If you wanted to do a Christmas special, how could you have not picked ‘Deck the Halls’ one of the worst Chirstmas movies I’ve ever seen. ‘Family Stone’ isn’t that bad compared to that piece of shit. You would’ve done better with ‘Fred Claus.’

  13. oktiger  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +1

    we showed this movie at my work with the sole purpose (i thought) being to find movies that are good for drinking games. the next day i witnessed a very real argument between two co-workers about the merits of perfect. i don’t remember the details, but the point is this: at least one person, who went to film school and now works in the industry, sincerely thinks this is one of the BEST movies of all time.

  14. oktiger  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 0

    also, “i guess i’ll go see if i can scare up a gang bang”

  15. the man behind travolta is missing half his tank top! who took it?

  16. sonokrug  |   Posted on Dec 16th, 2008 0

    are you sure this movie isn’t intentionally bad?

    nomination: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    • Seconded! That was BEYOND AWFUL. What about Oscar Nominatd Actor John Hurt having to say “They’re not from space… but… the space between spaces”

    • gol  |   Posted on Dec 16th, 2008 0

      come on, guys. it’s already on the to-watch list. you gotta keep up.

  17. Nomination: AUSTRAILIA with flimsy bladder Jackman

  18. Why is John Travolta flirting with that dude?

    *thrusts junk*

  19. That aerobics scene would have been “perfect” (aha, get it?) if one of the guys had a boner.

  20. spectator  |   Posted on Dec 16th, 2008 +4

    but it’s the pelvic thrust, that really drives you insay-yay-yay-yay-yane.

  21. whoops  |   Posted on Dec 17th, 2008 0

    is john travolta getting a boner around 2:45 of that horrifying video? i really think he is…

  22. hehapimani  |   Posted on Dec 17th, 2008 0

    A) i think thats how the immaculate conception took place..
    B) this movie reminds me of another 80′s cinematic gem:

  23. mcluskyist  |   Posted on Dec 18th, 2008 0

    my heart swells with pride every time i see a post that suggests the family stone. if it makes this list i’ll be as happy as diane keaton in gloves & a turtleneck.

  24. I think you missed the “point” of this movie, which was to show lots of gratuitous shaking of tits ‘n’ asses, including John Travolta’s landing gear.

    Jamie Lee Curtis was hot in this, silly outfits or no.

  25. Jack  |   Posted on Dec 19th, 2008 -3

    is jamie lynn curtis getting a boner around 2:45 of that horrifying video? i really think she is… silly hermaphrodites.

  26. Michelle Ebanks  |   Posted on Dec 21st, 2008 +1

    Lost in Translation.I dont care what anyone says its crappy and boring. Breakfast at Tiffanys.Mickey Rooneys china man impersonation isn’t funny even for my tiny mr grinch heart.

    • Rooney was playing a “Japan-man”, (Mr Yunioshi) not a Chinaman. 1961 sure was a long time ago! Weird thing is, first time I saw “Breakfast at Tiffany” I didn’t realize that Rooney was supposed to be Japanese, I thought he was just some weird white guy acting like an asshole. Still, that’s a big black mark on that short, Irish, racist, douchebag fireplug’s career.

  27. joker's lady  |   Posted on Dec 21st, 2008 0

    I don’t know if anyone has suggested this but what about “Toys” with Robin Williams and directed by Barry Levinson.

  28. dd  |   Posted on Dec 21st, 2008 -1

    I posted this in the wrong section, but what about The Beautician and the Beast…that’s a fun one. :D

    two words-Fran Drescher

  29. Gabe, great series. I think a shot-by-shot remake (similar to Gus Van Sant and Psycho) of Perfect with Will Ferrell as lead is an absolutely brilliant idea. My vote is for next up is Simon Sez. Not sure if Dennis Rodman is even on the B-list celebrity scale (not sure if any scale goes down that far), but this one is notable for Dane Cook’s worst performance which really is saying something.

  30. I dare you to watch this movie and then try to argue the point that John Travolta could possibly be straight

  31. VanJobber  |   Posted on Jan 13th, 2009 +1

    …and I thought Bobby Brown was the worst thing Whitney Houston ever associated herself with.

  32. Are you kidding? Perfect might be one of the best movies ever. Travolta before Scientology and gay scandals. Jamie Lee Curtis before yogurt commercials and rumors of her being an hermaphrodite. And a soundtrack you still cant find on DVD which has duets from Whitney Houston and Jermaine Jackson, like “Shock Me!”

  33. I’m just so tired of all these Star Wars.

  34. You know what really grinds my gears? This 80s John Travolta. 80s John Travolta with all those little outfits, jumping around there on camera, half-naked with your little outfits. Ya know? You’re a… You’re out there jumping around and I’m just sitting here with my beer. So, what am I supposed to do? What do you want? You know, are we gonna go out? Is that what you’re trying to – why, why are you leaping around there, swinging that thing all up in my, over there in my face? What do you want, 80s John? Tell me what you want!

  35. I actually remember watching this movie on AMC or some other rerun channel when I was home visiting my parents and being completely enthralled. Wasn’t there a jealous lover scenario or something? The plot doesn’t even matter. It was the costumes and dancing that blew my mind. How can you go wrong with sweat stained pastel leotards?

  36. He’s made some dumb choices but this is just, erm, wow it’s bad!

  37. Worst movie of all time? Let me quote myself, long ago and far away, and yet, still, after all this time, irrefutably and objectively correct:

    “Hot off the fax machine comes this novel query from someone calling themselves The Great Rotundo, who asks: “Is SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE simply the greatest movie of all time, or would you only put it in the top three? And if so, what would you list as the other two?”

    While we must confess that we would actually honestly rather go camping in a piranha filled lagoon after rolling around naked for half an hour in a pit full of broken beer bottles than ever watch so much as five minutes of SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE again, we have to admit that in point of fact, we would list this film as being without a doubt the greatest movie of all time, if by ‘greatest movie’ you mean ‘the one most likely to cause entire South Sea Island populations to commit mass suicide by choking themselves to death on uncooked popcorn kernels rather than watch this film for so much as another full minute’.

    There is no doubt that it holds some sort of all time, universe wide, unchallengeable award for sheer unrelenting awfulness, and while we ourselves would be more inclined to describe that title with words like ‘horrifying’, ‘mindwrenching’, ‘stench-laden’, and/or ‘OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT IT OFF SHUT IT OFF YEEEAAAUUURRRRGHHHRRRR THE PAIN’, still, if one wishes to insist on calling it ‘the greatest movie of all time’, we shall ungrudgingly accept that phrasing, provided, of course, that we acknowledge that what this film is actually great AT has far more to do with inducing explosive diarrhea and geysers of vomit than actual entertainment.

    As for listing another two movies in remotely the same category of ‘greatness’ as SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE, frankly, we are humbled and stymied by the very concept, as even the most differently abled productions of Ed Wood, or anything with Rodney Dangerfield in it, fail to roughly approximate the ‘greatness’ of this particular piece of celluloid detritus. Badly dubbed Italian demigod flicks assume the stature of a Bergman masterpiece when stacked up next to SUPERMAN IV, while ten minute shorts filmed by 9 year olds with their uncle’s stolen camcorder about baloney vampires fighting towel monsters in lightless hampers couldn’t come close to stinking this badly. In short, SUPERMAN IV is indeed the greatest movie ever made, or that ever could possibly be made, although this isn’t a type or level of greatness that any sane person would ever aspire to emulate. “

  38. No, but seriously. I think we found the father of “Call On Me.”

    And he’s fucking ugly.

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