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Signs of the Cinematic Apocalyse: 10 of Film's Biggest Disasters

Updated on July 28, 2009

When it comes to an idea, sometimes it's good in theory but a complete failure in execution. The same can be said for the movie industry. A film idea is only as good as the follow through. A bad script and an even worse casting choice can sink any potentially good film, or sometimes the whole thing is just rotten to the core. For every fantastic Spiderman led to a laughable Catwoman.

Some horrible films also have the advantage of being entertainingly bad. (Snakes on a Plane anyone?) There's a built in terrible factor that almost makes its disaster forgivable. Well, almost. Usually, the film's humor was unintentional which made it even worse, because everyone involved took themselves too serious to notice the humor of the material. It's a shame because the audience did and now use it as a drinking game prop. Can't win them all.

Here are 10 movie failures that range from movie disaster, confusion, awkward humor, the inappropriate and historical trash. Decide for yourself whether each label was warranted and which weren't. Enjoy or cringe away.

Cinematic Misfires

Heaven's Gate (1980)- During the time period of its release, Gate was labeled as a disaster from the word go due to its high production cost and potentially complicated plot of western bleakness. Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Walken tried to deliver the tough guy quota as they battled laughable bad guys and each other. The film suffered from an overabundance of plot and too many actors. So much was put into the film that many actors were disguarded. The biggest acting casualty was John Hurt's breezy performance as a drunken guilt ridden rich man. His plot line just simply faded away without as much as a wimper. What a shame that everything was wasted with this film and nothing was salvagable about it. Maybe next time filmmakers will know what not to waste next time someone attempts to make a western. Hopefully.

Desperate Hours (1990)- When most think of Mickey Rourke's cinematic decline, this isn't the film that first came to mind. Many would say Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man was bad in every possible way because of its cartoonish acting and plot. This film edged past Harley by only a small amount based on the fact of lost potential. Hours was supposed to be a thriller involving escaped convict Rourke holding a family hostage and trying to outwit the cops. The potentially intense battle between Rourke and a pre-Hannibal Lecter Anthony Hopkins was rather disappointing. Another issue was plot credibility that made audiences question the intelligence of the bad guys, especially Rourke. The audience also had a hard time rooting for the beleagued family because their whining grated on everyone's nerves, including the villains. The "big bang" ending was more a blank being shot into the air and thudding to the ground. It was expected and none the less a big time disappointment.

Head Scratchers

Southland Tales (2006)- Director Richard Kelly's follow up to the critical smash Donnie Darko failed on every level. The apocalpytic plot made little sense and illicted the "huh" response when it was all over. Not even The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar or a wild eyed Justin Timberlake could save this mess. Fastforward to when logic is fully restored and the drug induced feeling this film illicts disappears. Whenever that will be.

U-Turn (1997)- In more recent years, Oliver Stone has directed films that made no sense whatsoever. This Turn definitely fits that bill to the letter. Sean Penn's character was stranded in a Deliverance type of town that disturbed even the tumbleweeds. None of the townsfolk, which was a slew of celebrities, deserved to be salvaged by Penn's hero. Not even Penn himself should've been saved. The film's two hour running time felt like an eternity it finally ended. Thank heavens for small favors.

Laughable Cinema

Showgirls (1995)- Two words: jiggle trash. Elizabeth Berkley attempted to shed her good guy image from Saved by the Bell and ended up only getting laughed at. Not much needed to be said about this film because everyone knows it's a terrible movie. Vegas showgirls plotting wildly to become successful with their tops off. Please for the love of God, cover up and find something else to plot over such as a better movie. Maybe then something will get done, or not.

The Human Stain (2003)- This film wasn't meant to be humorous, but it was because it strained cinematic credibility. Anthony Hopkins passing himself off as an African American? Seriously? Yeah right, and an English accent to boot. Nicole Kidman as a low class janitor? In your dreams. Kidman's poshness stood ot even when she scrubbed floors. Not even close to believable. Another forgettable film to laugh at when it's played on television at three in the morning.

Lurid Piece of Trash

In the Cut (2003)- Meg Ryan as a repressed sex kitten? Not in a million years. Watching her character have an illict affair only resulted in disgust instead of fascination. This film set back her integrity as an actress even further. She should go back to swooning over Tom Hanks in romantic comedies instead of pretending to be someone she's not. For the love of cinema, please. Leave the thrillers to someone else.

Basic Instinct 2 (2006)- Sharon Stone reprised her ice pick wielding dominatrix character and only ended up making herself look bad with a Cruella de Ville performance and a paper thin script. Not even a location change to England could save this film from being the ultimate joke in movie comebacks. Leave the character reprisal to someone else and for a character worth seeing again. Stone's Catherine Tramell wasn't one of them.

Historical Junk

The Scarlett Letter (1995)- The best way to describe this literary adaptation was literary porn. Demi Moore was supposed to be a subdued Puritan widow lost in lust with Gary Oldman's even lustier Reverend. Instead of being submerged in literary symbolism, the movie was more horrible period porn than anything else. Moore's performance also lacked substance because it was hard to believe her character would take guff from anyone, especially wearing that scarlett 'A.' Stick with your movie comfort zone, Demi. For the sake of your career as well as the audience's sanity. Avoid period pieces, especially Hawthorne. No need for a repeat performance anytime soon.

Mary's Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)- Kenneth Branagh's directorial and acting forray into a classic failed on all fronts. His portrayal was more the Snidely Whiplash of mad scientists because he appeared to sneer at everything that happened to him. Branagh also displayed an air of superiority that made the audience wished Dr. Frankenstein's creation killed him instead of others. Another casualty was casting Robert De Niro as the creature because he appeared to be way out of his element. Everything about De Niro's performance represented he was in over his head. It's a shame because he also seemed to make an effort to make the Creature his own. In comparison to Branagh's snooze of a performance, De Niro fared much better, but not by much. What also went against this film was the scattershot pacing of the plot and some poor special effects that were obviously phony. A complete waste of time. Rent another Frankenstein adaptation. Avoid this one at all costs.

In conclusion, not every movie can be successful. If every movie ever made was a blockbuster, balance wouldn't be maintained. Movie critics wouldn't have much to discuss if every film was a financial and award winning success. Not possible. Some films are meant to be disliked and earn potential Razzies. Look at Halle Berry. She won an Oscar and a Razzie. (For two separate films of course). Something like this is meant to balance egos and let Hollywood know that no one is bulletproof from a bad idea. Theses movies are prime examples of that.

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