Yesterday, I launched The Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time and I can tell already that it is going to be a long, and painful search. You have suggested so many awful, awful movies to choose from. Unlike most journeys which I’ve heard are not about the destination, this one is only about the destination, because the destination means I won’t have to watch this shit anymore.

The initial rules are simple:

  1. It cannot be intentionally horrible.
  2. It must have at least one A- or B-list movie star in it. (no “outsider art.”)
  3. It cannot be Glitter.
  4. It has to have had a theatrical release.

And here are the first round movies in competition, starting next week:

  • Battlefield Earth
  • Baby Geniuses
  • Lady In The Water
  • The Fountain
  • Southland Tales

With the television season coming to an end, we have basically until the new season of Lost starts to find TWMOAT. As always, please continue to nominate films in the comments, or send them to me. Some more detailed thoughts on what constitutes a horrible movie, and how the selection process will be conducted, after the jump.

No matter how horrible the actual movie, if it is enjoyable to watch it cannot be considered the worst (ex: Showgirls.) Furthermore, a movie will be awarded (or deducted) extra Awful Points if it thinks highly of itself or has pretensions of greatness (ex: The Hours.) A horrible movie is, by definition, considered to be something it is not. Of course, sometimes a movie will fulfill one horrible requirement, while simultaneously disqualifying itself by another. Neil LaBute’s remake of The Wicker Man, a popular suggestion, is a terrible film that laughably thinks it is a commentary on gender relations and the erosion of patriarchal domination when in reality it is a comprehensive argument for why Nicholas Cage should not be allowed in movies. But it’s so retarded that it’s great, and therefore not the worst. While I will consider movies like Baby Geniuses in this survey, obvious cash grabs and mediocre market manipulators seem, at least to me, to be very upfront about their intentions and to strive no higher than their callous greed. In this sense, they are more annoying than horrible. Besides, people clearly liked Baby Geniuses enough to warrant SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2. That’s on us, America. And finally, all nominees and their potential to be the Worst Movie Of All Time are subject to my discretion, as the boss of this.

That was a long paragraph. To summarize: the movies should be painful to watch, and the winner will probably be a surprisingly miserable failure, rather than as horrible as you might expect. And I am the boss of this.

Next week: Battlefield Earth.

Comments (75)
  1. Clown Coffee  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 -4

    “Lost in Translation”

  2. Juno was insufferable. I don’t care how much indie music you pack into a film, it does not justify or successfully veil how absolutely retarded the plot, characters, and dialogue are. It certainly doesn’t make it right for everyone and their daughter to praise it and hand the horrible writer an Oscar for ‘being real’.

  3. A Life Less Ordinary.

  4. Stella  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 -2

    “In The Bedroom” That one gets pretentiousness points up the wazoo. How many cigarettes can Sissy Spacek smoke in two hours and why the hell should we care?

  5. In keeping with a Kevin Bacon theme: Hollow Man

  6. Does your no Glitter rule imply no Crossroads (starring Britney Spears) as well?

  7. Chadams  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 +1

    I think the release of Baby Geniuses 2 wasn’t on us, as much as it was on the movie executives that don’t have offspring/lil’ test audiences to bounce that kind of material off of.

  8. uio  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 -1

    Anything by Richard Linklatter (yes, that includes Dazed and Confused)

  9. vicarhelmet  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 +1

    Sadness @ The Fountain. That’s one needlessly abused, much misunderstood film, in my book.

    Wristcutters should be on here. It was mind-numbingly boring, unbearably pretentious, excruciatingly maudlin and insultingly glib. Of course, this means it has a devoted following of pale, sad-sack suburban indie teens convinced it means, like, something.

  10. ricky  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 +1

    DELTA FARCE!!!

  11. ricky  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 +2

    catwoman

  12. There is a movie called “A Murder of Crows” with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Berenger which is perhaps THE worst movie ever made. It definitely contains the worst sex scene featuring Cuba Gooding, Jr. ever made.

  13. Jeff  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 0

    The Fountain was absolutely brilliant. don’t even.

  14. First of all, you can’t say “Delta Farce” unless you’ve actually seen Delta Farce. And no one saw Delta Farce.

    Here are some movies that took a huge, unforgivable shit in my eyes:
    - Catwoman
    - Breakfast of Champions
    - Norbit
    - A Beautiful Mind
    - 8MM
    - Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
    - Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (special mention for being directed by someone named “Kaos”)
    - Deliver Us from Eva
    - Nothing But Trouble
    - Bram Stoker’s Frankenstein
    - Very Bad Things
    - Kangaroo Jack
    - Death to Smoochy

    And, in the special “tardsploitation” genre:
    - The Other Sister (Juliette Lewis’ tard turn)
    - Radio (seriously, see this)
    - Sam I Am
    - The Butterfly Effect (he was supposed to be retarded, right?)

    And I know it’s sort of a matter of opinion, but if there were a way to objectively determine the worst movie of all time, I think it would have to be John Frankenheimer’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. This movie is like the real-life RING, except instead of dying one week after viewing it, you end up completely dead inside one hour into watching it.

  15. Look, you’re never going to find anything worse than The Lady in the Water. Why keep pretending to search for anything else?

    • I actually read and enjoyed an entire book about the making of Lady In the Water called “The Man Who Heard Voices: How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career On A Fairy Tale And Lost,” but every time I’ve tried to watch the movie I’ve made it only five minutes in before turning it off.

  16. Jase  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 0

    No contest.

    Freddy Got Fingered.

  17. No contest:

    Freddy Got Fingered

  18. Freedomland, Beowulf and Grendel, and Ghost Dog come to mind.

  19. Keely  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 +1

    Catwoman, Daddy Day Camp, Stop or My Mom will Shoot, and, most recently, August Rush

  20. Nate  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 0

    Take “The Fountain” off the list. It’s a great film.

  21. Nate  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 0

    Take “The Fountain” off the list. It’s a great film.

  22. Bethany  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 +1

    Pay it forward
    A-I
    actually pretty much anything with that osmend kid but those two for me were the most insufferable to watch

  23. Steve  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 +1

    Christmas with the Kranks, or Meet the Fokkers.

  24. AE  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 0

    The Fountain was misunderstood

    JOHNNY MNEMONIC (Keanu Reeves, natch) is hands down the worst movie of all time. Southland Tales and Lady in the Water are very close behind.

  25. steve  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 -2

    The Ninth Gate

    • Andrew  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 +2

      I love “The Ninth Gate.” The score is brilliant and I dig the fact that nothing happens. It’s a “walking around” movie.

  26. maude  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 -1

    “The Fountain” shouldn’t be on here. “The Avengers,” on the other hand…

  27. asatwice  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 0

    absolutely, without a doubt, it is “darjeeling limited.” wes anderson is the most pretentious, pompous prat making movies today. it is painful and nauseating at the same time and is supposed to be the highest of high art in cinema. blech.

  28. dijonbray  |   Posted on May 13th, 2008 -1

    I’m with vicarhelmet when it comes to “The Fountain” and “Wristcutters”.

    “The Doom Generation”, anyone? Rose McGowan’s dicknotyzing boobs couldn’t even save that pile of dog-shit.

  29. David  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    road house?

  30. Mommkf  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Picnic at Hanging Rock! It must have been 25 years ago but I’ve never seen anything worse… Except for maybe Alexander.

    • Stella  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

      Ooh, I’m with you on Alexander. When even insane amounts of gorgeous half-naked men can’t save a movie, there are issues.

  31. JB  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Congo has got to be in the running. Event movie of the early summer of…1995? Fantastic and creepy book (one of Crichton’s pretty-good ones), and the movie itself was incredibly unwatchable.

  32. That’s a good list, but you’ve got the wrong Shyamalamadingdong movie. The Village was far, far worse than Lady in the Water.

    Also, the worst movie of all time, based on the star power to suck ratio has (HAS) to be Batman and Robin. Clooney, Schwarzenegger, Uma, Silverstone, and O’Donnell… plus it was directed by a former A-lister in Schumacher. Yet it was awful and managed to put the previously strong Batman franchise in suspended animation for almost a decade.

  33. sephtical  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    2nd JOHNNY MNEMONIC

    And one for SPUN

  34. HoopersX  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 +5

    The Hottie and the Nottie?

    Crash. It should get extra suck points for the fact it won the best picture award. Hands down the most overrated movie of all time and has to be in the running for worst movie.

  35. “I Accidentally Domed Your Son” is the worst movie I’ve ever seen. (IMDB here to prove it’s real: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0353545/)

    My friends were looking to rent an awful movie a few years ago, and we stumbled upon this at blockbuster. It stars rap artist Kurupt, who probably doesn’t even rate as C list, and has the worst “special” effects and continuity imaginable.

    This film was so bad, that immediately after watching it, my roommate took out the dvd, scratched it repeatedly with a car key, took it into the bathroom, pissed on it, cleaned it off, and returned it to blockbuster.

  36. HLM  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 +2

    Pretty much anything starring Robin Williams, but I’ll settle for Mrs. Doubtfire.

    A film so bad, everyone connected with it, including the children, should have gone (and should still go) to prison; with the possible exception of Pierce Brosnan who at least had the grace to look faintly embarrassed by the proceedings.

  37. Nick  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    The Stepford Wives starring Nicole Kidman. Awful!

  38. Bea  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    A View From The Top
    The Sweetest Thing
    I Heart Huckabees

  39. carrie  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    The Loss of Sexual Innocence. Aw.ful.

  40. Poopster  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    How about Junior? (The one where the governator pretends to be a pregnant doctor.) It’s got DeVito and Emma Thompson, too.

  41. hiphopatotamus  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Rocky V? IV was too campy not to be fun, but V was just intolerable.

  42. Liza  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    YES on Alexander, for sure.
    Road House is terrible, but it’s good terrible.
    I can’t stand Tombstone. Every time it’s on, I wince. Also: Silent Hill … I’m still confused.

  43. Sauce  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 +1

    Chevy Chase in Nothing But Trouble. Dan Aykroyd directs and co-stars wearing a penis as his nose. It is a troubling movie.

  44. Michael  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Alexander

  45. Brian  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 -3

    TRANSFORMERS
    PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN, II & III
    AMERICAN GANGSTER
    THE MIST
    MICHAEL CLAYTON
    SUPERMAN (any of them)
    STAR WARS, I, II & III
    FUN WITH DICK AND JANE (Jim Carey)
    ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY
    SILENT HILL
    THE LADYKILLERS (Tom Hanks)
    THE STEPFORD WIVES (Nicole Kidman)
    ALFIE (Jude Law — or any movie with Jude Law)
    - AI
    - COLD MOUNTAIN (you get the idea)
    THE MATRIX II & III
    MYSTIC RIVER
    THE HULK (just hearsay never really watched it)
    OPEN RANGE (Man! I HATED that movie!)
    VANILLA SKY
    PLANET OF THE APES (Tim Burton)
    ALEXANDER

    And the winner is — STEPFORD WIVES!

  46. Trev  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 -3

    Rocket Science, No Country for Old Men — though Rocket Science is worse.

    OMG. The movies have no payoff. Thanks for spending your $4.99 on the DVD/$10.00 on the ticket and wasting two+ hours of your life.

    Yes life sucks, so why not movies!

    Yay!

  47. I Drink Your Milkshake  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Yentl!
    Barbara Streisand put’s on a stupid little hat and becomes a young boy. Huh?

  48. TyTy  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 +1

    Sleeping With the Enemy
    The Cable Guy
    Mars Attacks
    Sky Captain and the World of Tommorrow

    if you only pick one of these, then surely Sleeping With the Enemy stinks the worst.

  49. Charles  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Highlander 2. Actually Highlander 5: The Source is much, much worse, but I don’t think that it counts by the rules.

  50. Citizen Kane 2: Citizen Kane on Patrol

  51. mona  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Judge Dredd–even watching the trailers were horrible, Body Shots–TARA REID playing a rape victim!! give me a break!!!!!, and Planet of the Apes–Tim Burton’s AWFUL remake–just thinking about it makes me mad.

  52. thakid28  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    wicker man

  53. mandy  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Return to Me or spiderman III

  54. Paul  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Very Bad Things seconded.

  55. 1. August Rush. Even though its a fairly recent release, it easily qualifies. This movie says, “hey – come see a cutesy formula movie with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who’s cute and has an accent.” Okay, I guess. Then you get there and BAM! Surprise supporting role by Robin Williams. A: I didn’t fucking sign up for that. B: Fuck you.

    I don’t know how many times a guy walks into Irving Plaza with a guitar and wins over the stage manager with “let me just play you one song. If you don’t like it, you’ll never see me again.” Oh wait, I DO know how many times. NEVER. Especially when that one song is douchey.

    Also, how in the years between 1995 and 2005 do two people desperate to find each other lose each other? Seriously? Ever heard of Google? MySpace? A Fucking Email Address? Figure it out.

    Oh, and maybe in 1920 your dad could walk up to an adoption agency and sign over your baby, but I’m pretty sure that in 1995 there would have been some required paperwork, counseling… you’d at least have to be conscious. I know its stupid to watch this movie in the first place, but take an IQ test before and after you see it, and I’m pretty positive you’ll lose points.

    2. Elizabethtown. If you broke the DVD in half and shoved the broken shards into your eyeballs it would be less painful than watching that movie.

    3. Crash (the one that won the Oscar, not the one about sexy auto accidents). This one is made worse by how much its overrated. CRASH really opened your eyes about racism? Yes, well I’m sure Space Jam really opened your eyes about basketball.

  56. godhelpusall  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    An Unfinished Mind.

    Redford.

    Freeman.

    Lopez.

    Shite.

  57. dogstar90291  |   Posted on May 14th, 2008 0

    Lady in the Water gets my vote for the worst, with Stepford Wives and Attack of the Clones close behind.

    However…if you want vintage awful, check out Song of Norway, which is three and a half hours of pure waterboarding torture starring Florence Henderson

  58. Stazzah  |   Posted on May 15th, 2008 0

    The obvious candidate is “Gigli.” What could possibly be worse?

    And maybe this is just on my mind because I saw it last night, but “Lions for Lambs” is simultaneously pretentious, unbearably earnest, and completely terrible.

  59. cambridge18  |   Posted on May 16th, 2008 0

    PAY IT FORWARD
    THE UPSIDE OF ANGER
    PROBLEM CHILD (I KNOW BUT STILL)
    LITTLE NICKY
    LOVE ACTUALLY

  60. Clifford…Martin Short plays an annoying ten year-old kid (filmed while he was pushing mid-40′s) who is sent off to his uncle, Charles Grodin,

    I was about seven when I first watched it and its memorable is only because it was also the first time I experienced the gag reflex.

  61. Kerri  |   Posted on Jun 24th, 2008 0

    Two come immediately to mind:

    Blue City (Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy) and Invasion (Nicole Kidman). I managed not to walk out/turn off either one, but I was in awe of just how awful they were.

  62. Owen  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2008 0

    Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel is a truly terrible film.
    I used to run a University film society, a fairly pretentious lot prepared to sit through just about any film. By the end of Bad Lieutenant the theatre (which sat about 200-300 people) was empty except for the organisers ? we were only still there because we had to be!

  63. EB  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2008 0

    Constantine was god awful. I can’t believe it became a movie instead of Transmetropolitan!

  64. fearlessweaver  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2008 0

    I could understand not liking “Lost in Translation,” “The Fountain,” “Darjeeling Limited,” etc., but to even consider them for something like “worst movie ever” (like anyone could even know that!) is absurd. No one could argue that those are not well-crafted films even if they were poorly conceived. And anyone who nominate a film based on the presence of one actor has no business discussing (or even watching) films.

    I would humbly suggest Godzilla, Batman and Robin, Wired, or Stay Tuned for the title.

  65. seagull  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2008 0

    Consider August Rush (though I haven’t confirmed it had a theatrical release; the film should have been rushed directly to an open fire). It was breathtakingly bad. The number of holes in its plot exceeded the number of minutes in its running time, and that’s the least of its problems. A kid figures out double-hand tapping style the instant he picks up a guitar? He masters the pipe organ on first sitting? So desperately does Rush want to be a tear-jerker it becomes a laugh inducer. To a point. After about 30 minutes it just makes you uncomfortable and embarrased.

  66. paco  |   Posted on Aug 16th, 2008 0

    I nominate Piece of April.

    Can I have an Amen?

  67. Mamma Mia! The reviews on it were “great”. So much so that I actually watched it only to find it to be absolutely horendous. Luckily I didn’t pay the 7 bucks to see it in the theatre and I downloaded the camera version illegally so I was able to fast foward most of it. The acting was horrible, and they bursted out in song every 5 minutes. Not to mention that “James Bond” needs singing lessons.

  68. The Fountain doesn’t deserve to be on the list, but I’d second someones suggestion of Hollow Man.

    Others to consider:
    Gymkata
    Krull
    Doom
    Revenge of the Nerds part 2
    Meatballs 3
    Barbwire
    Traffic
    Bio-Dome
    Battlefield Earth

    so many bad movies to choose from!

  69. Duck H8tr  |   Posted on Feb 11th, 2009 0

    Howard the Duck cira 1986. I challange you to sit through the entire movie. Def. #1

    • God, I did that three weeks ago. My retarded half cousin saw it on cable on-demand, He couldn’t resist, cried when I said no and turned that shit off, then I got smacked by my aunt and my mom.
      FML

  70. Wow I love these lists. Some I agree with and feel vindicated by (American Beauty and Boondock Saints come to mind). Others I disagree with, but to each his own. I know that Robin Williams movies have been banned, but I wish an exception could be made for Patch Adams. I know that he has made some reviled movies, however I really thik that Patch Adams is so bad that, even compared with William’s awful opus, that it should be pilloried at every possible oppurtunity.

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