In retrospect, it’s actually kind of funny how much I disliked M. Night Shyamalan without having seen Lady in the Water. Let’s just say that the way that I hated him before was like a racist who’d never heard of BET, and the way I hate him now is like a racist just watched BET on Friday. A whole world of hatred has opened itself up to me. I’m pretty sure if I had the time to write everything there is to be written about this, it would fill up the internet and there would be no more room for your ivillage blog.

The story behind Splash 2 Lady in the Water is that it started as a fairy tale Shyamalan was telling to his daughters about what happened in their pool at night while the family was asleep, which is really relatable. When I was little, my mom told me made up stories all the time about who flew our solid gold helicopter when we were busy on our private island, and who was responsible for leaving the thousand dollar bills under my pillow every night. So I understand the desire of a parent to entertain his children. And in doing so it’s easy to make up stupid little names and mysteries for the story, because they’re children, and you just want them to pass out so you can go to bed and not have sex with your wife. But when you decide to translate that magic to the big screen, PUNCH IT THE FUCK UP. There is no rougher draft then the one you write off the top of your head in your children’s bedroom, but M. Night Shyamalan was like “Perfect. There’s no improving upon this. Even Will Smith couldn’t write a movie this good.” Which is a fair point, insofar as it’s so bad that the only revisions he could have made to improve it would have been the revisions of setting it on fire and walking away.

The plot is that Paul Giammati plays a custodian at an apartment complex full of wacky characters, and then there is a girl living underneath the pool who will be a queen if she can just see her human soulmate in person and then an eagle will pick her up and take her to the ocean but first dogs made of grass will try and hurt her unless the evil monkeys made of grass can protect her and if she doesn’t get back to the ocean to become a queen in time she will die and then the humans won’t get the magic wisdom of the ocean people, which they lost when they moved to a rundown apartment building in Philadelphia. You know, simple kids’ stuff.

The movie deals with themes like destiny and faith and the interconnectedness of the world. It also deals with themes like shittiness, racist caricatures of Asians, and navel gazing. As if the whole movie couldn’t possibly be bad enough based on shitty plot, shitty red herrings, and the shittiest waste of Paul Giamatti doing a shitty stutter, M. Night Shyamalan himself has A MAJOR ROLE? Supposedly he tried casting the part, but it was impossible because all the other actors in the world ever were busy so he decided to play it himself. To make matters worse, his character is a revolutionary author whose recently finished book is going to change the world. The only thing believable about this storyline is that someone might want to assassinate him.

This movie famously destroyed Shyamalan’s relationship with Disney, who funded his previous movies. The reason it destroyed the relationship is because someone at Disney READ THE SCRIPT. I mean, look, I’m no uncritical fan of the studio system or Hollywood executives, but I’m pretty sure a thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years would, in their infinite monkey wisdom, not be bothered randomly generating this masterpiece and move on to accidentally typing Baseketball. Shyamalan’s head is so far up his own ass (sexually) that I’m pretty sure his next movie (which after The Happening will probably be filmed on a Flip) is going to just be a spooky panning shot of his choker collection.

Admittedly, it did have one of my favorite moments from all of the M. Night Shyamalan movies, which I refer to as “Spooky Pool Filter”:

Something’s making this pool dirty (SPOILER ALERT: it’s stupidity.) Lady in the Water is definitely making it into the finals for Worst Movie of All Time, but regardless of if it wins or not, M. Night Shyamalan has earned himself the league championship title Best Masturbator.

Next time: The Fountain.

As always make your suggestions for TWMOAT in the comments or in an email. If you have not before, please consult the Official Rules.

Comments (43)
  1. Alfred  |   Posted on Jun 2nd, 2008 -9

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • BET doesn’t have anything to do with making you racist, but if you’re already racist and you watch BET it’s definitely not going to change your mind.

      Speaking of racism, have you seen Under One Roof?

    • No, it’s that if you hated black people, finding a channel featuring mostly black people would make you go “Oh nooo!!!! I hate those guys!!!!”

      Like if you hated Jews and you discovered Jet, a Jewish entertainment magazine, you’d be like “Get it away from me!!!”

      …Is one way to read it. The other way is that Gabe thinks the actual programming and content on BET would fuel racism, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

      • okay, back on topic….
        is the lady in the water a mermaid?

        • E  |   Posted on Jun 2nd, 2008 +2

          No, she’s just a lady (Bryce Dallas Howard) with legs and a vacant expression. The kind of empty face and eyes that movie people use when they want someone to look creepy and wise and futuristic.

  2. Haha this whole time I thought “Lady in the Water” was referring to the movie actually titled “What Lies Beneath”.

    Anyway I nominate “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”.

  3. The Fountain is ridiculous but it does not belong in this competition.

  4. joseph childers  |   Posted on Jun 2nd, 2008 0

    How has the 2002 remake of Rollerball not been mentioned once in this series?
    An oversight that borders on – dare I say – egregious.

  5. benchwarmers benchwarmers benchwarmers………. IT WAS. SO. FUCKING. BAD. COME. ON. so bad that nobody even actually watched it but me?????


    btw 1st commenter you are a .. fucking.. idiot.. jesus. you guys shouldnt have to spell the jokes out for people.

    final note: i fucking loved the fountain. (does that make everything i just said completely unreliable????)

  6. Emily  |   Posted on Jun 2nd, 2008 +1

    I would like to nominate Swimfan.

  7. lol Baseketball. What a ridiculous movie. I’m so glad I never saw Lady in the Water. I can’t believe you’re putting yourself through all this.

  8. Sara  |   Posted on Jun 3rd, 2008 0

    Oh, please, include Stigmata in this list. The absolute most horrible celluloid waste of intriguing, highly filmable Catholic symbolism EVER. And I love Patricia Arquette! And Gabriel Byrne! But not in this shitshow of a movie.

  9. The Fountain was actually pretty cool. Did you watch it on drugs? Cause there’s your problem right there.

    • studly roberts  |   Posted on Jun 3rd, 2008 +2

      Lunch buffets are pretty cool when I’m on drugs. The ‘visualization’ thing on Windows Media Player is pretty cool when I’m on drugs. The Fountain is an awful movie.

  10. Clarissa  |   Posted on Jun 3rd, 2008 +1

    Baby’s on the half tip!! I didn’t hate the film. It wasn’t a great movie, but I don’t see how it can ignite such rage. Then again, I’m biased because I love James Newton Howard.

    But, seriously, what does M. Night Shyamalan have against stutterers?

  11. Kebert Xela  |   Posted on Jun 4th, 2008 0

    I was going to suggest The Number 23 but I see thats already on the list…the only movie I have paid to rent and not watch all the way through. As a runner up I suggest Ultraviolet

  12. Kebert Xela  |   Posted on Jun 4th, 2008 0

    And as a side note: seriously people, unclench. All he is saying is that BET is a horrible representation of the African American culture

  13. kate  |   Posted on Jun 4th, 2008 0

    After the enragingly idiotic “twist” at the end of The Village, I swore off M. Night forever. I will take your word for it on LITW. I nominate How To Deal to be included in your list. I watched it on Mothers’ Day on Lifetime or something and it was seriously the worst movie I have ever seen. The story was not even coherent, let alone well-acted or well-directed.

  14. Eddie T  |   Posted on Jun 4th, 2008 -1

    lol i cant believe things people say here, it’s so fucking hilarious “Lunch buffets are pretty cool when I’m on drugs. The ‘visualization’ thing on Windows Media Player is pretty cool when I’m on drugs” LMAO … I dont like the racist remarks if anybody were in fact refering to them, and by the way lady in the water had to be one of the worst movies of all time, I actually watched it and just kept on thinking of Dreamcatchers another piece of shit… AND IT WAS DONE BY THE SAME PERSON…I MEAN HOLY SHIT! WHOS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY LOL….

  15. Mavis  |   Posted on Jun 5th, 2008 0

    I forced my cousin to watch Lady in the Water as payback for him making me watch The Hills Have Eyes 2 and he still won’t shut up about it 6 months after the fact.

    Your requirements for TWMOAT are almost exactly the same as my own, minus the “Gabe is boss” caveat (and I’ve already seen Glitter and it’s just boring) and I’ve been working at this for years now. I humbly suggest (they may have already been mentioned elsewhere) the following films (in order of god awfulness): The Lake House, Vanilla Sky, and Bandidas (except that I’m not sure if that was meant to be intentionally horrible or not because it is just that mind boggling, nor do I know off hand if it ever got a theatrical release).

  16. Melsy  |   Posted on Jun 6th, 2008 -2

    Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970) is the most craptacular movie ever made. Please try to get your hands on a copy, and watch it immediately. An interesting bit of trivia: it was written by Roger Ebert. Classic.

  17. Melsy  |   Posted on Jun 6th, 2008 0

    Oh, and Shamalan is a hack. “I see dead people” is a terrible waste of celluloid, even though everybody liked that piece of shit.

  18. alaska  |   Posted on Jun 6th, 2008 0

    Dude, these are so, so good. For your consideration: Quigley, starring the batshit Gary Busey. It’s the steamingest pile I’ve ever seen, but it’s at the top of the “unintentionally funny” heap. You see, Busey is a really rich and ungrateful dick who dies and inexplicably comes back as a fluffy Pomeranian puppy, still voiced by Busey. To repent or something. The best part is that sometimes the camera cuts away from the dog, and then snaps back and you’re looking at Busey on all fours in a leash. They also apparently ran out of script cus Busey rants a lot of his touchy feely Indianish bullcrap. LOLs galore. It also has the terrible, terrible actor Oz Perkins as an angel, being as creepy as his dad was in Psycho, but not on purpose.

    This one definitely deserves a spot.

  19. Laura  |   Posted on Jun 6th, 2008 0

    May I suggest “Must Love Dogs”?
    HORRID romcom I was dragged to by friends. And they liked it.

  20. sarah  |   Posted on Jun 8th, 2008 0

    The Beach is definitely the worst ever how could it not be. It’s making me so angry just thinking of it.

  21. the lady in the water is not a bad movie, just strange. m night shyamalan is turning out to be the most easily bashed director of our time. i predict in twenty years there will be a resurgence of cultish love for the guy.

    oh, and i distrusted the writer of this aricle as soon as he equated racism with racism for black people. wow. with all the races in the world, his idea of racism seems automatically attached to one particular race. i could be black who hates asians. how will watching BET make me more racist? i don’t think i’ll trust a guy with such limited worldview to make judgments on the worst movie of all time.

  22. Mims  |   Posted on Jun 16th, 2008 0

    Oh man. I thought this was a bad movie but The Happening takes the cake! Please add it to your list.

  23. Shawne The Girl  |   Posted on Jun 30th, 2008 +1

    While Lady in The Water was pretty atrocious, I would definitely say that M Night Shyamalan has an even better entry to this list…. THE HAPPENING.

  24. BossDJ  |   Posted on Jul 6th, 2008 +1

    Did any of you accidentally see “In the Name of the King”. Hole…Lee…Hell. There aren’t many movies that I’ll completely pan, but this was the only movie in my life I had to shut off because it was causing me mental, and even physical, anguish. Usually a bad movie is at least good for a laugh. But I still can’t get the army of “Krug” warriors out of my head and back into a Power Rangers episode where they so belong. How does Uwe Boll keep getting funding?

  25. brian  |   Posted on Jul 16th, 2008 0

    I used to just be really racist against Asians (really really racist); then I watched BET on a Friday, now I am racist against American black people (Africans are still okay for now) and especially Germans too. See, Gabe’s simile was right. And people who can’t take a joke shouldn’t be reading things on videogum….

  26. Fred  |   Posted on Aug 27th, 2008 -1

    It was only a story, nothing more. I tried to feel like a child (54 y.young) ans yes the movie was ok. A strange dream, of a modern fairy tale. Nothing less or more.
    Why so angry that he’s an asian. We are all 1. I’m a citizen of the world. You all too.

  27. to my mind it’s one of the mast boring movies i’ve ever seen…

  28. courtney  |   Posted on Dec 1st, 2008 0

    You guys misinterpreted his comment. A racist watching BET would become more prejudiced against blacks such as a racist against whites watching King of the Hill would really make them hate whites because they give bad stereotypes of those ethnicities. It wasn’t to target anyone. But whoever said Vanilla Sky I’m so glad I found somebody else who hated this pile of shit as much as I did. Maybe that’s where we should’ve seen that Tom Cruise was losing his damn mind.

  29. The Crappening was MUCH worse

  30. ajmer  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 +1

    I like this movie and The Happening, they’re much better then the previous two. would’t give them the ‘Worst of all time’ title.

  31. I watched LITW last night and realized that I wasted two hours that could have been spent ass-humping a dead cat. ‘M’ Night SHAMalyn owes me a kidney.

  32. Brina Cisneros  |   Posted on May 7th, 2009 0

    I have tried to watch that movie a few times. It makes absolutely no sense. It kinda reminded me of listening to my seven year old daughter recount the events of her day. Most of it makes no sense and the rest is filled with vacant expressions and shoulder shrugs. I think my daughter could have written this movie and made it alot more interesting.

  33. Kozy  |   Posted on Jul 10th, 2009 +1

    I thought the character development in this movie was fantastic. It’s got a ridiculous premise but somehow works. I love the themes M. Night tackles in his films. His movies aren’t about twists or dramatic irony. I really believe he builds his plots around the characters and not the characters around the plots. He really focuses on each character’s story how they grow throughout the film. I also happen to know plenty of people that loved this film. I think too many people look for the wrong stuff in films. M. Night may be pretentious and he may be a better director than writer but I think he does a great job developing characters.

  34. You seem pretty bitter about not having a pool, Gabe.

    (I also realize you will never read this comment since it is two years removed from the original post. Zing Fail.)

  35. Dude, these are so, so good. I like this

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