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Bottom of the Barrel: 10 of the Most Critically Reviled and Controversial Movies Ever Made

Updated on August 5, 2018
heather92383 profile image

Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 10 years.

When it comes to making a movie, it could take a long time for an idea to properly come to the screen. The script has to be just right and the cast of characters has to be chosen carefully. A movie could also rise, or fall apart, in the wrong director's hands. There are many reasons a movie could fail: bad chemistry between the leads, arguments between director and star, and of course simply a horrific script. The variables are too numerous and can often bankrupt a studio if they weren't too careful.

During the production process, no one involved intended for their movie to be a complete and utter flop. Sometimes studios interfered to the point where the product wasn't the same (Brazil) or a script sat in production limbo so long that nothing could save it. Of course, people had to take into account the multi-million dollar salaries of the cast members. By the time a movie comes out, the studio is already deeply in the hole. If the finished product itself was a disaster, the movie was pretty much dead on arrival.

Here is a list of ten movies that failed to make any truly decent marks based on various reasons: bad sequels, critical failures and a certain actor's biggest disappointment. Read on to see if your favorite, or least favorite, film made the cut.

Critical Not-So Darlings

Cruising (1980)- You'd think with William Friedkin directing (The Exorcist) and Al Pacino starring in it that the movie would be a home run, but it mostly left moviegoers feeling completely uncomfortable. Pacino played an undercover cop looking to catch a serial killer who was killing gay men that circulated bars late at night. When the movie was being made, it was widely protested for its content. What made the movie a disappointment was its murky execution. Who was truly the good guy and who was the bad guy? Can you end up taking on a new more accurate identity when you're undercover? It's hard to say because Friedkin's efforts to ask those questions went completely unanswered by the time the end credits rolled.

Mother! (2017)- This movie was a prime example of one that viewers will either love or hate with a fiery passion. There was no middle ground. Director Darren Aronofsky's story about a couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) who lived a quiet existence together when they received surprise guests. When those guests arrived, the story devolved into a story where love, devotion and success were in complete conflict. Unfortunately, the execution often left many viewers and critics scratching their heads. It's a shame because the top notch cast had a lot of talent to give, but the material just wasn't up to par.

Warren Beatty's Greatest Misses

Ishtar (1987)- This movie was designed to resemble one of those Bob Hope/Bing Crosby buddy comedies. Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman played two untalented nightclub performers who traveled to the Middle East and end up getting embroiled in a revolution. It was one of those comedy of errors that sadly wasn't funny in the slightest. One of those movies best left forgotten that it was ever made. Beatty and Hoffman have done better films than this. Please watch them instead.

Town & Country (2001)- A comedy about marriage, getting older and never growing up. Unfortunately, it was also grossly over budget and pretty much devoid of humor. The best material in this movie came from the preview. It's a shame because it had a decent cast of Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Garry Shandling to help bolster Warren Beatty's on-screen playboy antics. Watch this comedy at your own peril.

Rules Don't Apply (2016)- If a movie takes close to 20 years to get made, is that a good sign or a bad one? In the case of this Warren Beatty directed/starred in production, it was a labor of love that should have been nipped in the bud. He was an interesting Howard Hughes, but he wasn't even the central focus of the movie. Hughes was a background player to a rather routine love story between a young actress and one of his drivers. That story idea was a mistake from the start, because Beatty was the biggest draw in the movie. It's just a shame that the story was just bogged down with too many minor details. Skip this movie, unless you're a big Warren Beatty fan.

Sequel/Spin-off Disappointments

Catwoman (2004)- This film starred Oscar winner Halle Berry as the titular character. Unfortunately, this spin-off was more laughable than memorable. Starting with Berry's over the top dominatrix costume to some of the special effects. Despite being an Oscar winner, Berry deservedly won a Razzie award for her performance which was more campy attitude than anything else. Watch this film at your own risk.

Basic Instinct II (2006)- When the original Basic Instinct was released, it had the right balance of sex, violence and Sharon Stone's iconic Catherine Tramell. This movie sequel moved to Europe and had similar elements to the original, but it just didn't work. Stone lacked chemistry with her male lead and the story left viewers more puzzled than intrigued; and eager to return to the 1992 original movie.

Dramatic Misfires

Heaven's Gate (1980)- Michael Cimino directed the classic film The Deer Hunter, but his follow-up film made him a studio pariah and nearly bankrupted the movie studio that financed it. The movie was a far reaching epic, but the studio made Cimino rush to make the movie shorter left some grapping plotholes for viewers willing to take the risk. The movie was re-cut to a longer length and was reassessed by a few critics as an overlooked classic.

Desperate Hours (1990)- A modernized remake of a Humphrey Bogart film that was simply flawed from the start. Mickey Rourke played Michael Bosworth who was a dangerous convict that was able to manipulate his lawyer (Kelly Lynch) into helping him escape jail. Bosworth ended up going to a house he thought was vacant, but it was populated by a fractured family with an estranged couple (Anthony Hopkins and Mimi Rodgers). Bosworth and his cohorts take the couple and their kids hostage while they wait for the lawyer to come. As the story progressed, a battle of wills emerged between Hopkins, Rourke and Lindsay Crouse's cop as it came to a final confrontation that straightened things out in the end. The film had some potential, but some of plot points and the casting just wasn't up to snuff. It's okay viewing, but this film is one to be watched only once and forgotten.

Showgirls (1995)- What happens to someone's character in their quest for stardom? Do they lose their friends and their character along the way? Will these questions be answered in this movie? Not even remotely close. Elizabeth Berkley played an up and coming dancer who lied, cheated and schemed her way into a headlining role in a Las Vegas show. The acting and the dialogue was so over the top hilarious that it was impossible to take anything seriously that happened onscreen. A film bombed badly upon its initial release, but it has become such a guilty pleasure in later years for viewers to watch at their own risk.

In the end, what critics concerned to be someone's cinematic trash could be a moviegoers potential guilty pleasure years down the line. Hard to say if Showgirls will ever be considered as anything but pure movie filler. A melodramatic soap opera with enough sex and camp to go on for days on end. Only time will tell if that will truly be the case.



Catwoman Movie poster
Catwoman Movie poster
Mother! Movie Poster
Mother! Movie Poster
Rules Don't Apply Movie Poster
Rules Don't Apply Movie Poster

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    • Ryan Cornelius profile image

      Ryan Jarvis Cornelius 

      7 months ago from Hollywood Florida

      I agree. Beautiful actress and action but the movie did not do it for me.

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