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Well, it was a lot easier to write about them than it was to watch them, I can tell you
Member Name: george_lazenby
Date: 31/10/01, updated on 31/10/01 (106 review reads)
Disadvantages: Read 'em and weep
There is no great skill in taking the piss out of ‘Blood Feast’, or ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies’. If you have no talent, and no money, you’re not going to make a good movie; it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t seem really worthwhile to list such clinkers; some people love them, most people don’t, but it’s pointless to dwell on them. When considered the worst, I wanted to talk about proper films, with name actors and competent technicians behind them, which ought to have been at least watchable. So in no particular order….
Gone With The Wind
Most controversial choice perhaps, and maybe unfair to rip it shreds given that it was made sixty-odd years ago, but this is awful. There is no reason why these revolting, silly people deserve nearly four hours of your time, and the catalogue of dodgy content should be enough to cast it into obscurity - awful sexual politics (when Rhett forces himself on Scarlett, she digs it), naked racism (all of the black characters are dreadful stereotypes) and a totally bizarre notion of history (we got it all wrong, we should have been sympathising with the slave-owning snobs who lost the civil war, how silly of us). It’s endless and stupid. Next!
The Phantom Menace / Return of the Jedi
The most ludicrously boring, mind-numbingly poor blockbuster of its decade, just take your pick which decade. They’re like mirror images of each other, a seamless continuation of cack. ‘Phantom Menace’ is set years before the original ‘Star Wars’, but the technology is nevertheless obviously far in advance, with robot armies and amazing spacecraft. The best character in either film (Darth Maul in ‘Menace’, and Darth Vader in ‘Jedi’) is sidelined, the worst (Anakin Skywalker, a wooden momma’s boy, and Luke Skywalker, a nerd who can’t act) is central, an
d superb actors (Liam Neeson, Ewan MacGregor, Harrison Ford) are visibly embarrassed at their lines.
‘Menace’ is about a trade dispute (ooohh, fascinating) and parts of it are senseless (the identity of Darth Sidious is mystifyingly kept in doubt, when if you’ve seen any of the other movies, you know who it is). ‘Jedi’ is just a rerun of ‘Star Wars’, except with Teddy Bear armies. The patronising foolishness evident in the conception of JarJar Binks is mirrored in the horrible, sentimental Ewoks. About the only interesting question about the Ewoks was posed by a Time Out reviewer - what do they taste like? Both films make the action stultifying, and have colouring book characters. They had all the time and money in the world - and both are stinkers.
Not the Eddie Murphy film, which is fun in its own way, but the relentlessly fatuous sixties musical with absolutely dismal songs, and Rex Harrison strutting through the centre doing that not-singing which didn’t work in ‘My Fair Lady’ any more than it works here. The sets and costumes are terrible, the pacing is awful - it never seems to end - and in the end all the money and the excess comes to nothing. It was in part due to the horrors of this film and the system that created it that Peter Fonda started work on something stripped down and bare bones - ‘Easy Rider’.
It’s this sort of film that could almost persuade you that watching bad films is fun - after all, everything about ‘Xanadu’ is so compelling in its awfulness that you feel the need to expose yourself to it. Olivia Newton John, possibly the least charismatic singer in the world, plays one of the Greek Muses (now, I can buy Rita Hayworth as a muse in ‘Down to Earth’, but not this) who comes to sing disco pap to inspire some bloke whose singing voice was dubbed by Cliff Richard. Songs courtesy of Jeff
‘ELO’ Lynne (and it shows), Gene Kelly looking like he’s about 106, and a crap, meaningless ending (re-used for ‘Bedazzled’).
If anyone can tell me a single good thing about this film, I will be astonished. Boring and revolting by turns, with an astonishing cast reduced to flapping about in crap costumes and crap sets. There is even a cameo from Phil Collins. Words fail me.
Much as it pains me, two of the worst films I have ever seen star Mr Robin Williams. That he is a talented actor and a very funny man makes their inclusion here even more appropriate. Not many people have probably seen this agonising, vastly expensive Tim Burton rip-off, with a cast that includes LL Cool J, Michael Gambon and Donald O’Connor, who sensibly dies in the first quarter of an hour. Full of absolute claptrap about how kids should be playing with proper toys and not being brainwashed by violent computer games (guess what the kids were doing when they could have been watching this), it’s tendentious, sentimental mush.
A script by Gore Vidal, a subject who is among the most fascinating of historical figures (the story forms part of Robert Graves’ book ‘I Claudius’), and a cast including Malcolm MacDowell, John Gielgud and Peter O’Toole. One problem: the nightmare creative combination of the producer and director. Penthouse magnate Bob Guccione hired Italian nutjob Tinto Brass to make a saucy epic, and good old Tinto decided to make the most dry, cold, arty nosebleed of a film he possibly could. Slightly miffed, Guccione then bought him out, and cut in random sequences of Penthouse pets doing various hardcore things. Whether you see the original release version or the restored one that is more like Brass’ vision, it’s more like being tortured than entertained.
Twilight Zone: The Movie
Only the last section is wholly successful, with George Mi
ller’s brilliantly directed story, starring a marvellously twitchy John Lithgow, about a plane-fearing neurotic who spots a monster on the aircraft’s wing. Spielberg’s segment is excruciating, Joe Dante’s feels contaminated by Spielberg, but the reason why this is one of the worst films ever made is John Landis’ opening sequence. You may or may not know, but the actor Vic Morrow was killed, along with two children, when a stunt went wrong and a helicopter fell on them. It’s rumoured that Landis ignored safety recommendations, and was largely responsible for the deaths (though he was acquitted in court). Few movies are worth dying for, but ordinary Hollywood pap has no right to take lives.
Yes, I’m breaking my own rule, there is no reason on Earth why this ghastly film should have been anything other than ghastly, but nevertheless, now that the Spices have begun to slip beneath the surface of the pop music swamp (never, one hopes, to surface), it’s perhaps worth remembering that this spectacularly dreadful movie was actually profitable a few years ago. A competent comedy director (Bob ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ Spiers), a genuinely talented actor in support (Richard E. Grant, in a role that would now be played by Alan Cumming if this was Atomic Kitten instead), and yet, it really is awful. Cameos from Dame Elton John, a sizeable part for orgy-loving TV favourite Michael Barrymore, and the girls themselves, as charmless and wooden a group of Essex girls as you could hope to meet. You can imagine that what they were aiming for was ‘A Hard Days Night’ with Wonderbras, but the effect is more like a spell in a jail cell with refugees from a hen night.