How many of THESE terrible movies have you seen?


My list of terrible, no-good movies! (This ain’t no BuzzFeed post.)

Basically, here’s 328 movies I’ve seen that I consider to be at or near the bottom of the barrel. Some are considered pretty good by most others. What do you think? How many have you seen? Tell me.

TITLE YEAR
2012 2009
About a Boy 2002
All Dogs Go To Heaven 1989
Allnighter, The 1987
All’s Fair 1989
Alone in the Dark 2005
American Gigolo 1980
American Psycho 2000
Amos and Andrew 1993
And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird 1991
Angels’ Wild Women 1972
Animal Behavior 1989
Another Day in Paradise 1998
Another Day, Another Man 1966
Armed and Dangerous 1986
Assault and Matrimony 1987
Assault of the Killer Bimbos 1988
Astounding She-Monster, The 1957
Astro-Zombies, The 1967
Atonement 2007
Bad Dreams 1988
Bad Girls Go to Hell 1965
Bad Medicine 1985
Barton Fink 1991
Basic Training 1985
Batman Forever 1995
Bats 1999
Beach, The 2000
Beast of Yucca Flats 1961
Beast Within, The 1982
Beatniks, The 1960
Being Human 1994
Big Girls Don’t Cry… They Get Even 1992
Bio-Dome 1995
Bitch Slap 2009
Black Sunday 1977
Bless the Child 2000
Blind Date 1987
Blood of Ghastly Horror 1972
Bloodsucking Freaks 1975
Blue Steel 1990
Bonfire of the Vanities, The 1990
Book of Love 1990
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 2000
Boxing Helena 1993
Brain That Wouldn’t Die, The 1962
Brokeback Mountain 2005
Brothers Grimm, The 2005
Bug 2006
Bullseye! 1989
Butcher’s Wife, The 1991
Buy and Cell 1989
Caddyshack II 1988
Caligula 1980
Call, The 2013
Camp Nowhere 1994
Can I Do It…Til I Need Glasses? 1977
Cannibal Holocaust 1980
Castaways on Gilligan’s Island 1979
Cat Women of the Moon 1954
Chances Are 1989
Chase, The 1966
Chasers 1994
Cheech and Chong’s The Corsican Brothers 1984
Children of the Corn 1984
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things 1972
Chorus Line, A 1985
Christopher Columbus – The Discovery 1992
Closer 2004
Club Fed 1990
Cocaine Fiends 1935
Compliance 2012
Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover 1989
Cool World 1992
Cowboy Killer 2008
Crash 2004
Curly Sue 1991
Cyborg 1989
Cycle Vixens 1978
Cyrus 2010
D2: The Mighty Ducks 1994
Dark Backward, The 1991
Dark Water 2005
Date With an Angel 1987
Dead Heat 1988
Dead Poets Society 1989
Death Becomes Her 1992
Defenseless 1991
Delinquent Daughters 1944
Desperate Hours 1990
Dice Rules 1991
Die Mommie Die 2003
Die You Zombie Bastards! 2005
Doctor Detroit 1983
Donnie Darko 2001
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark 2010
Don’t Tell Her It’s Me 1990
Double Edge 1992
Dracula vs. Frankenstein 1971
Dream a Little Dream 1989
Dream Machine 1991
Driven 2001
Drop Dead Fred 1991
Dumb and Dumber 1995
Dutch 1991
Earth Girls Are Easy 1989
East of Eden 1954
Eegah 1962
Eighteen Again! 1988
Enid is Sleeping 1990
Ernest Scared Stupid 1991
Everybody Wins 1990
Ex, The 2006
Fallen 1998
Fear Chamber, The 1968
Fine Mess, A 1986
Firehouse 1987
First Man into Space 1959
Flesh Feast 1970
Folks! 1992
Four Rooms 1995
Frankenhooker 1990
Freddy Versus Jason 2003
Friday the 13th 2009
Funny Bones 1995
Galactic Gigalo 1988
George’s Island 1991
Get Carter 2000
Ghost Rider 2007
Ghosts Can’t Do It 1990
Glen or Glenda? 1953
Good Son, The 1993
Goonies, The 1985
Gosford Park 2001
Graveyard Shift 1990
Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle, The 1980
Great St. Louis Bank Robbery 1959
Halloween: Resurrection 2002
Hangover Part II, The 2011
Happening, The 2008
Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island 1981
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay 2008
Heist, The 2001
Hello Again 1987
Henry and June 1990
Hercules in New York 1970
Highlander II: The Quickening 1991
Hocus Pocus 1993
Holy Matrimony 1994
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York 1992
Horror of the Blood Monsters 1970
Hostage 2005
Hostel: Part II 2007
Hot Resort 1985
Hot to Trot 1988
House of Wax 2005
Hudson Hawk 1991
Human Centipede II, The (Full Sequence) 2011
I Eat Your Skin 1964
I Know What You Did Last Summer 1997
I Spit on Your Grave 1973
I, Robot 2004
Ice Harvest, The 2005
Indecent Proposal 1993
Internal Affairs 1990
Invisible Maniac 1990
Is There Sex After Death? 1971
Island Monster 1954
Jade 1995
Jail Bait 1954
Jaws 3-D 1983
Jaws the Revenge 1987
Johnny Dangerously 1984
Josh and S.A.M. 1993
Jurassic Park III 2001
Jury Duty 1995
Killers from Space 1954
King of the Zombies 1941
Knockouts 1992
Land of the Lost 2009
Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The 1980
Life Stinks 1991
Life with Mikey 1993
Lightning Jack 1994
Lions for Lambs 2007
Lock Up 1989
Love Hurts 1990
Lucas 1986
Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell 1987
Madhouse 1990
Magnolia 1999
Man on the Moon 1999
Manos: The Hands of Fate 1966
Marihuana 1936
Mask, The 1961
Master, The 2012
Match Point 2005
Matrix, The: Revolutions 2003
Maximum Overdrive 1986
Meatballs III 1987
Meet the Applegates 1991
Mistress 1992
Mixed Nuts 1994
Mom and Dad Save the World 1992
Money Pit, The 1986
Monster in the Closet, The 1986
Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas 2009
More American Graffiti 1979
Mortal Thoughts 1991
Motel Hell 1980
Mr. Wrong 1995
My Science Project 1985
My Stepmother is an Alien 1988
My Super Ex-Girlfriend 2006
Mysterious Island 1961
Nacho Libre 2006
National Lampoon’s Favorite Deadly Sins 1995
Nine 1/2 Weeks 1986
Nobody’s Perfect 1989
Nothing but Trouble 1991
Observe and Report 2009
October Sky 1999
On Deadly Ground 1994
Once Bitten 1985
Once Upon a Crime 1992
Only Angels Have Wings 1939
Opposite Sex (and how to live with them) 1993
Orgy of the Dead 1965
Other Guys, The 2010
Out on a Limb 1992
Outside Chance of Maximillian Glick, The 1988
Panic Room 2002
Passed Away 1992
Phantom from Space 1953
Pink Flamingos 1972
Piranha 2010
Plague, The 1993
Plan 9 From Outer Space 1959
Poison 1991
Police Academy 3: Back in Training 1986
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege 1989
Porky’s Revenge 1985
Primary Colors 1998
Private School 1983
Problem Child 2 1991
Pure Luck 1991
Q: The Winged Serpent 1982
Ready To Wear 1994
Recruits 1986
Red Eye 2005
Reefer Madness 1936
Repo Men 2010
Rescue from Gilligan’s Island 1978
Retribution 1988
Revenge 1990
Revenge of the Dead 1960
Road House 1989
Road to Wellville, The 1994
Robot Monster 1953
Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom 1975
Sanctum 2011
Sarafina! 1992
Satan’s Cheerleaders 1977
Scared to Death 1947
Scenes From a Mall 1991
School Spirit 1985
Scream 2 1997
Scream 3 1999
Screamers 1995
Screwballs 1983
Sex Madness 1938
Sex O’Clock News 1985
Sexual Malice 1993
Shame 2011
She’s Out of Control 1989
Shoot ‘Em Up 2007
Shrimp on the Barbie, The 1990
Sibling Rivalry 1989
Signs 2002
Silent Hill 2006
Sin City 2005
Six Degrees of Separation 1993
Skin Deep 1989
Slapstick (Of Another Kind) 1984
Sleepwalkers 1992
Snake People 1968
Somewhere in Time 1980
Speed Zone! 1989
Spider-Man 3 2007
Splice 2010
Split Second 1992
Stepfather, The 2009
Stewardess School 1987
Still Smokin’ 1983
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot 1992
Straw Dogs 2011
Sunset 1988
Taint, The 2010
Take This Waltz 2011
Tank Girl 1994
Test Tube Babies 1948
They Saved Hitler’s Brain 1963
They Still Call Me Bruce 1987
13 Ghosts 2001
Timeline 2003
Too Much Sun 1991
Toys 1992
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 2011
Troop Beverly Hills 1989
Trust 1991
2000 Maniacs 1964
Uncle Buck 1989
Upside of Anger, The 2005
Valley of the Dolls 1967
Vampire’s Kiss 1989
Vanilla Sky 2001
Vertical Limit 2000
Very Brady Christmas, A 1988
Vice Academy III 1991
Vice Versa 1988
Village, The 2004
Wagons East! 1994
Walk Like a Man 1987
Weather Man, The 2005
Who’s the Man? 1993
Wild Guitar 1962
Year One 2009
Young Adult 2011

743 – The Grand Budapest Hotel (***1/2)


Image from ew.com.

Image from ew.com.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is an appropriately quirky, farcical drama featuring near-flawless casting and superior direction and cinematography. The year may be young, but Wes Anderson’s film is one of my favorites so far.

A young writer (Jude Law), staying at the titular hotel, chances to encounter the establishment’s elderly owner, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who relates the tale of how he came to own the place “between the wars” in the mythical eastern European country of Zubrowka.

Zero began his career as a lobby boy in the hotel, under the mentorship of the hotel’s legendary concierge, M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes). Gustave knows his eccentric, rich guests very well, particularly the elderly female ones. One such guest is Madame D (Tilda Swinton), with whom Gustave has an occasional fling. She is due to leave the hotel and return home, but she’s anxious, feeling that someone is conspiring around her. She fears she won’t see Gustave again.

Well, it’s not long before Madame D turns up dead, and Gustave (with Zero) rushes to her wake, only to find himself at the reading of the will. It will surprise few people that the only item of value in Madame D’s large estate has been bequeathed to Gustave – a painting called Boy with Apple. But the inheritance is quickly challenged by the deceased’s son Dmitri (Adrien Brody), who’s a plain mean and profane jerk. And then, as the trailer indicates, Gustave and the loyal Zero abscond with the painting anyway and hide it; Gustave is arrested and jailed.

The movie is brimming with spot-on performances. Bill Murray, Fisher Stevens, and Bob Balaban have small roles as fellow concierges. Jason Schwartzmann is a present-day lobby boy. Owen Wilson is Gustave’s immediate replacement as concierge. Harvey Keitel is a tough inmate. Willem Dafoe is a ruthless hitman in Dmitri’s employ. Most have worked in Wes Anderson films before, and all work very well together.

I’ve seen a few Wes Anderson movies, and I think this one most closely resembles Moonrise Kingdom in terms of its whimsical tone. In fact, it may even bear some relation to the Coen Brothers masterpieces O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Raising Arizona – black comedies whose success depends so much on their actors’ ability to really sell deadpan humor in an otherwise-serious context. Fiennes, who’s not known for his comedies, is superb as the gentlemanly Gustave, and he drives the movie with equal parts British reservedness and explosive irritation – but always with the utmost in manners. The movie is also beautifully shot, but frequent Anderson collaborator Robert D. Yeoman. From the stylish structure of the hotel to the stark desolation of the Alps, the film has a delightfully distinct look to it, par for the course for Anderson films.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: ***1/2

742 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (***)


Image from Screen Rant.

Image from Screen Rant.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier turns out to be about some guy named The Winter Soldier, rather than Cap himself being a winter soldier (you know, because he was in deep freeze). Well, with that mystery solved, I settled in to watch what has become a rather typical comic-book movie: intelligent, evocative, thrilling, and entertaining.

Here’s your quick-and-dirty summary to set the scene; comic-book nerds out there, please correct me if I’m wrong, because that’ll prove someone’s reading this other than me. The movie takes place after the events in The Avengers. Captain America (Chris Evans) is trying to assimilate into the present day, and he leads an elite forces team. In the opening scenes, his team, aided by Black Widow (Scarlet Johanson), infiltrate a SHIELD boat that’s been commandeered by terrorists who have a beef with SHIELD. Cap and the Gang roust out the bad guys, but Cap is somewhat surprised to see Black Widow grabbing info from hard drives. He’s soon briefed by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) that SHIELD is involved in a huge defense program called Project Insight: three enormous helicarriers that are linked to spy satellites, the better to knock out threats before they happen. Shades of Minority Report.

Fury has joined forces with the World Security Council and its leader, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) for this enterprise, and true to comic trope, there’s soon skulduggery afoot. It’s not hard to see who’s treacherous and who’s not, but that’s part of the fun of these movies, anyway. As a result of the cloak-and-dagger atmosphere, Captain America and Black Widow, along with new superhero Falcon (Anthony Mackie), who sports an exoskeleton with wings and weaponry.

The movie forces Steve Rogers, aka Cap, to face parts of his past that he might be better off leaving alone. His girl from back in the 1940s, Peggy Carter, is convalescing in a home for retired people, Steve’s apparently last living link to that past. But Steve’s straight-arrow, black-and-white moral compass seems oddly out of sync with the gray areas of the present, which makes Black Widow a great match for him. You know, opposites and all of that.

This is a movie in which secrets upon secrets are revealed, like layers of an onion and often just as odorous. Anyway, although it’s not tough for Cap and Black Widow to determine who the bad guys are, stopping said villains is another problem altogether. This leads to several fantastic action scenes, very well choreographed and a treat to watch – even in 2D, or perhaps especially in 2D.

I sat, by necessity, in the second row for this movie, which meant that my head was inclined as if I were talking to a giraffe with an overactive pituitary gland. It also meant that I needed to focus harder on the action before me, because at that distance the illusion of the celluloid tale can more easily be broken. This movie captivated me throughout, pardon the pun, and it’s a terrific vehicle for both Captain America and Black Widow, not to mention the slippery Nick Fury himself.

I did wonder, as the plot centers around something that could endanger the entire world, where was the rest of the Avengers squad? Tony Stark is mentioned once (but not Iron Man), and we see a portrait of his father, but that’s it for connections to The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Iron Man. If the world’s about to be harmed, you’d think that would rise to the importance level of those guys, right? Okay, that’s nitpicking.

It’s true that the movie’s plot is familiar and that many of the characters, being based on comic-book characters themselves, lack real depth. But these problems are minor, because the action scenes – hey, this is a comic-book movie, not some weepy melodrama! – is so exhilirating. Great care has been taken to curate the Marvel Universe in cinematic form, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not only a fine standalone picture but also a elegant lead for the next Avengers movie – not to mention future Captain America movies. Watch those end credits!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: ***

Fiend without a Face (1958)


Image from Criterion.

Image from Criterion.

Fiend without a Face is a little better than the title would suggest, as long as you have low standards. It’s about an invisible menace terrorizing a military base and surrounding town in Canada, and it stars Marshall Thompson, late of First Man into Space.

Thompson plays Major Cummings, who’s in charge of a nuclear-powered program run at the base, a program intended to enhance surveillance techniques and allow the U.S. to spy on the Soviets at a greater range. The trouble is that even when maximum nuclear power is exerted, the images returned by the spy plane soon fades.

At the same time, the locals are a mite anxious about having a nuclear program nearby (some things never change). The constant takeoffs and landings of the various aircraft scares the cows, annoys farmers, and so on. And then a bunch of cows winds up dead, and no one can figure out why. The carnage is only beginning, though – soon prominent citizens and soldiers alike are meeting their demise, with their brains apparently – I am not making this up – sucked out of their skulls through two holes in the back of the head.

Oh, and there’s a love interest. There has to be. How could our hero save the day if there were no love interest? Here she’s played by Kim Parker, for whom movie this was undoubtedly a career highlight.

So this is a low-budget, 1950s monster movie. Except you can’t see the monsters, hence the “without a face” part. They’re like Predator, if Predator was merely a brain and a spinal cord and kind of shuffled on the ground like an inch worm. Still, when these monsters are invisible, they’re effectively scary, which is a nice respite from the low-budget effects.

They Died with Their Boots On (1941)


Image from alsolikelife.com.

Image from alsolikelife.com.

Last night I saw Errol Flynn’s classic They Died with Their Boots On, a highly fictionalized (and romanticized) account of Custer’s Last Stand. How inaccurate was it? I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think all of the soldiers died with their boots on.

The story follows George Armstrong Custer (Flynn, but of course) from his arrival at West Point to his inevitable fall at Little Big Horn. Custer’s portrayed as an excellent horseman and swordsman but also the very worst cadet to come out of West Point, a man who somehow fails upward in his Army career. He has his very own archenemy in the person of Ned Sharp (Arthur Kennedy), who tries to stymie Custer at every turn. The brass doesn’t like him, but when war breaks out, off to Washington he goes.

Funny thing about that war – aka The War Between the States, or the War against Yankee Aggression – there’s an interesting scene at West Point where the announcement of war has been made to the cadets and officers. Then those present who oppose the Union are actually given the choice to withdraw. Now, I don’t profess to be an expert in the war, but…if those officers and soldiers are specifically saying they’re willing to take up arms against the government, why wouldn’t they be arrested on the spot? The Army sure was lenient back then.

Custer blusters (ha!) his way into a meeting and friendship with General Winfield Scott (Sydney Greenstreet), who gets the young lieutenant his own regiment. Custer then distinguishes himself in battle by essentially charging into a fray rather than retreating. This somehow works, thus making everyone feel better about promoting him.

Now, this being a big-budget movie, there is of course a love interest for Custer, in the person of Elizabeth Bacon, played by Olivia de Havilland. Elizabeth is in the movie essentially to help move the plot along (Custer stands her up when he has to rush off to Washington as ordered, but rest easy, they reconcile quickly). Her father (Gene Lockhart) serves as a snooty foil, at least until Custer makes general. But hey, Flynn and de Havilland have their trademark terrific chemistry, and this was their final film together, so that works.

The battle scenes are well staged and exciting to watch, even as we know their outcome. Despite all of the goofs – factual and otherwise – that plague this film, it’s still an enjoyable Flynn vehicle, and he’s very good in it.

First Man into Space (1959)


Image from IMDb.

Image from IMDb.

Released ten years before man actually landed on the Moon and during the height of the race to the stars between Russia and the United States, First Man into Space is oddly deficient in actual science. No, it’s not very good, but it’s okay for a few unintentional laughs.

Simple plot runs like this: cocky ace test pilot Dan Prescott (Bill Edwards) is on a mission to fly an experimental plane/rocket (it’s kind of both) up, up, and away, higher than anyone’s gone before, and then come back down, nice and easy. But our Dan, he’s a daredevil! So he goes higher and higher, trying to become the first man to go into space. Not the first IN space, just into it. I know, it’s sketchy. Anyway, he does come back down, sasses his superior – his brother Charlie (Marshall Thompson) – and is immediately assigned to pilot the next plane, to go even higher.

Which he does, only instead of making his turn and heading back Earthward, Daring Dan goes higher and higher, and this time his craft, bombarded by meteorites (I know, I know) and the ever-popular cosmic rays, is smashed open. Dan and the ship crashland. And then the killings start, and no one can find ol’ Dan’s body.

As the picture hints, there may be some kind of ugly monster involved. I don’t want to give away the twisty plot, but – oh, who am I kidding, there is no twisty plot. Dan’s survived his crash, only he’s now covered in some sort of protective layer of cosmic whatever. Seems that when his ship broke apart, this stuff coalesced on Dan’s mortal human body in order to protect him from those nasty cosmic rays. (Doesn’t explain how he could breathe when there was no air to be breathed, but perhaps they were SUPER COSMIC RAYS, now with added Oxygen!)

Anyway, it’s a funny movie.

741 – Mud (***1/2)


I saw Mud last night. Yes, I know I’m a couple years late. But what a terrific movie. Not a false note in it. It’s compelling, original, and full of heart.

Two boys, Ellis and Neckbone, go looking for a boat that’s found its way to the top of a pine tree on an island in the Mississippi River. They find the boat, all right, but it seems that living in that very boat is a scraggly looking man (Matthew McConaughey) who introduces himself as Mud. Mud is waiting for someone, he tells the boys, his beloved girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). The boys agree to help and to tell no one of MUD’s residence on the island.

But there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Yes, Juniper exists, but the relationship that she and Mud have (and have had) is not all peaches and cream. And there are folks out for Mud’s blood, pardon the phrasing. Still, the man is persuasive, particularly for a couple of teenagers from the less-affluent side of town. Mud gives the boys something to believe in and a real sense of self worth.

The boys don’t come from broken homes, though. Ellis (Tye Sheridan) has a mother and father who, unlike stereotypical movies about struggling families, are fairly well grounded. They’re good parents who love their only child, even if the love in their marriage has waned somewhat. Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) lives with his Uncle GalEn (Michael Shannon), who’s anything but an obnoxious, sullen jerk.

The chemistry between McConaughey and the two young actors is fantastic. The elder thespian doesn’t dominate their scenes, he complements them. This is what you get when Matthew McConaughey drops the aw-shucks act and gets serious. But he’s not in every scene, and young Sheridan proves to be more than capable of carrying a movie. Ellis tries, succeeds, fails, but always wants to do the right thing. He helps Mud out of a sense of duty; he feels that since he and Juniper love each other, they deserve to be together. It’s a simple worldview, but he is only 14, after all.

Director Jeff Nichols, who also made the superb Take Shelter, has a keen sense of when to show action and when to let his talented cast mesmerize their audience. This isn’t a character study, but it is an study of the characters of two protagonists: the world-weary fibber Mud and the perceptive, honorable Ellis.

Mud: ***1/2

Operators are standing by to record your anonymous vote!


Well, the hallowed hour is nearly upon us, the Super Bowl of movie fans, The Oscars. We have six polls open on the site:

Best Picture. I’m officially going with American Hustle, but 12 Years a Slave has a great chance.

Best Actor. My pick is Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club). Don’t be a McConahater!

Best Actress. In a stunning upset, Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) wins. Ah, who am I kidding – even Amy Adams’ parents think Blanchett’s winning.

Best Director. Gonna be Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity).

Best Supporting Actor. Another lock: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).

Best Supporting Actress. A close call; my pick is Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle). You watch, it’ll be Lupita Nyong’o instead.

And to thank you for reading this, I’ll add this fun Oscar(R) moment!

Independent reviews, on account of I don't get paid.