Most critics have given a thumbs-up to "The Disaster Artist," James Franco's new comedy-drama about the making of "The Room," a contender for the worst movie ever made. But the bad movie that inspired this good one has stiff competition. Click though for 15 unmitigated Hollywood disasters.
Road House (1989)
Patrick Swayze's hair was one hell of an actor, and it really showed its stuff in this action flick about a Tai Chi-practicing philosophy major turned bar bouncer who comes all the way from New York to the untamed Midwest to clean up the sleazy Double Deuce saloon. The movie offers bar fights galore, a hot female doctor love interest, floozies who dance on tabletops and bad guys to match the bad dialogue ("Pain don't hurt"). But what stands out is Swayze's perfectly coiffed mullet, which kicks ass with nary a strand out of place.
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
On paper, this sequel to "The Exorcist" looked like a winner. Linda Blair reprised her role as a demon-possessed girl, and seven-time Oscar nominee Richard Burton was on hand to add priestly gravitas and class. But while the original film terrified moviegoers with devilish spider walks, green vomit and a twisting head, the sequel had Richard Burton wandering around for 177 minutes looking like he badly needed a drink. Instead of screaming in fear, audiences roared with laughter. Said "Exorcist" author William Peter Blatty, "You'd think we were watching 'The Producers.'"
The Godfather Part III (1990)
It's not the worst movie of all time, but "The Godfather Part III" may be the most disappointing. After the glorious first two installments in his "Godfather" series, a financially strapped Francis Ford Coppola reluctantly signed on for a third, and it turned out to be a "Godfather" film too far. With a confusing "treachery in the Vatican" plot, Al Pacino merely going through the motions, and non-actor Sofia Coppola woefully wrong in the pivotal role of Michael Corleone's daughter, "Part III" is, as one reviewer put it, "a failure of heartbreaking proportions."
Can't Stop The Music (1980)
The first-ever winner of the Golden Raspberry "worst film" award, "Can't Stop the Music" aimed to cash in on the '70s disco craze. Unfortunately, this faux biography of the Village People was released in 1980, just in time for the nationwide "disco sucks" backlash. Among its stars is the pre-Caitlin Olympic decathlon medalist Bruce Jenner, who didn't appear in another movie until Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill," 21 years later. That won the Golden Raspberry, too, making Jenner a sort of Daniel Day Lewis of bad movies.
Battlefield Earth (2000)
An $80 million John Travolta vanity project based on the sci-fi writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, "Battlefield Earth" might better have been titled "Battlefield Worst." Film critic Roger Ebert likened it to "taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way."
At Long Last Love (1975)
Director Peter Bogdanovich was riding high in 1975, with a string of box office hits, when he directed this tribute to the all-singing, all-dancing Hollywood musicals of yore. Unfortunately, the movie starred the lousy-singing, lousy-dancing Cybill Shepherd and Burt Reynolds. Even songs by Cole Porter couldn't save them. A box office and critical bomb, "At Long Last Love" ended Bogdanovich's reign as a Hollywood wunderkind.
Winner? Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who earned a $2 million advance for a few sentences about a Vegas stripper turned showgirl scribbled on a cocktail napkin over a Beverly Hills lunch (and another $1.7 million for his finished script). Losers? The unsuspecting audience who shelled out their hard-earned bucks for this howler of all howlers, starring "Saved by the Bell" alumna Elizabeth Berkley. The over-the-top dramatic flailings make "Mommy Dearest" look positively subtle by comparison.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978)
There are movies so bad you can't help but love them. Then there are movies so bad, so rotten to the core, that they engender an everlasting hate. This rock opera falls into the latter category. Starring the Bee Gees, still riding high after "Saturday Night Fever," and a hapless Peter Frampton, "Sgt. Pepper" is such gobbledygook that comedy legend George Burns was enlisted as a narrator to clarify the plot. He needn't have bothered.
This Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez disaster, made at a bloated cost of $75.6 million, was withdrawn from U.S. theaters after only three weeks. It was billed as a romantic comedy, but Affleck and Lopez exuded the chemistry of two slugs mating (despite their off-screen romance). Director Martin Brest originally had planned to have Affleck's character killed off at the end of the movie. Audiences would have cheered.
A movie that features Groucho Marx as God, Jackie Gleason ingesting LSD and Carol Channing dancing in her underpants and see-through bra may sound like a hoot. It's not. This "comedy"—directed by Otto Preminger, who was reportedly inspired by his own acid experiments under the supervision of Timothy Leary—is one really bad trip.
The Jazz Singer (1980)
You can just hear the hopped-up Hollywood suit on the phone: "I've got it, baby! We'll remake "The Jazz Singer"! From 1927! The first talkie! We'll get Neil Diamond to play the Al Jolson part! And Laurence Olivier to play his Jewish cantor father! See if Larry's available! What about the blackface? Yeah, that might be a problem. Wait, we'll have Neil black up as part of a soul group! Neil's got soul coming out of his pores! With a fro! It'll be boffo, baby! Boffo!" Make that barf-o.
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (1999)
SNL comic Rob Schneider's movie about a fish tank cleaner turned gigolo did fairly well at the box office despite the critics, whose hostility was summed up Roger Ebert's five-word review: "Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks." But there's a sweet postscript to this story. When Ebert was hospitalized with cancer in 2007, Schneider sent him a bouquet of flowers and a warm note, prompting a friendly response from the critic. Still, Ebert was right. "Deuce Bigalow" does indeed suck.
Soul Plane (2004)
Billed as an "urban" take on "Airplane!" and rife with crude racial stereotyping, "Soul Plane" crash-landed in theaters, eliciting zero laughs. Its cast includes Tom Arnold, and that alone is enough to give it a place on a "worst movies" list.
The Osterman Weekend (1983)
Maverick director Sam Peckinpah made some very fine films ("The Wild Bunch," "Junior Bonner"), but, sadly, his last effort wasn't one of them. Ostensibly a suspense thriller, it's an incomprehensible mess. Ill and alcoholic, Peckinpah reportedly directed parts of the movie from an on-set hospital bed. Despite the best efforts of stars Burt Lancaster, John Hurt and Dennis Hopper, the only suspense to be had in "The Osterman Weekend" was whether moviegoers could make it to the end. Most didn't.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Bat nipples? That's right, bat nipples. Enough said.
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