The plot of the movie Yesterday involves an alternate timeline where nobody remembers The Beatles. Let’s apply that premise to movies. Is there a particular movie you wish could be erased from memory so you’d never have to think about it again? What movie would the world be better off if it never existed?
Yes, I realize that Yesterday presents the loss of the Beatles’ music as a bad thing (and I’d even agree that it would be). Nevertheless, perhaps a little selective erasure could still work to the betterment of society in some respects.
Whenever anyone asks me about the worst movie I’ve ever seen, I don’t even have to hesitate before answering. Hands down, it’s All About Steve. This completely unfunny, cringe-inducing, so-bad-it-makes-you-want-to-kill-yourself 2009 romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, and Thomas Haden Church about a quirky female crossword constructer and her crazy obsession with a hunky TV news cameraman had me checking my watch after about 15 minutes and squirming in my seat for the next 85. Bullock’s character is so repulsive that even a last-ditch effort at redemption and an “inspiring” female empowerment message can’t salvage this godawful mess of a movie that just gets worse and worse as it goes along. I not only want my 99 minutes back, I want the Men in Black agents to come and erase the film from my memory… as well as the memories of any other poor unfortunate souls who had to suffer through it.
I’ve had my fair share of cinematic poison. Hell, Mektoub at Cannes should be burned. But for a film to be erased in a good way, so that its effect doesn’t fester as others follow along with its dreck, I’d have to nominate The Room. It’s not even good-bad; it’s just rabidly incompetent, and has engendered an entire generation to have something to laugh at rather than with. The Disaster Artist would have been wiped away too, which is a bit of a shame, but if it meant that people would pay to see films and celebrate as a community because they’re good instead of shit that would be excellent.
Then again, if that’s two on-the-nose, let’s remove Godard’s violently execrable Goodbye to Language from our collective servers as well for good measure. That one’s equally celebrated for equally egregious reasons.
M. Enois Duarte
With the Star Wars saga expanding in interesting and exciting directions, it’s high time we look back and admit that George Lucas’ The Phantom Menace is a pointless entry to the series. Outside of giving loyal fans a cool villain in Darth Maul and introducing the absurd concept of Midichlorians, this prequel ultimately adds nothing to the space opera’s mythos. In fact, twice when introducing the franchise to newbies, I skipped over big chunks of Episode I, except for the Tatooine sequences where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan find Anakin Skywalker, the fight for Naboo with Padmé, and the pod race for some action. Honestly, the movie is forgettable, and I wish I could forget having wasting two days of my life waiting for the tickets, another entire day waiting in line, and two more hours sitting in a crowded, boisterous theater being sorely disappointed.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Nothing of value would be lost if I woke up one morning and somehow forgot ever having suffered through Snuff.
No, it’s not because this infamous ’70s grindhouse flick is so gruelingly visceral. And nope, in no way does it document an actual murder. Snuff is a case of a distributor exploiting a panic-of-the-moment, cannily making a quick buck on a movie that would’ve been completely unreleasable otherwise. That’s not me being glib. Even though Allan Shackleton picked up the rights to Slaughter for just a few thousand bucks, he knew there was no chance of him making much of a profit from the movie as it was.
You see, back in the early ’70s, a couple of underground filmmakers headed down to Argentina to hammer out a Manson Family-esque murder cult flick on the cheap. Rather than revel in human sacrifices and its army of nubile, bloodthirsty female cultists, the near-entirety of Slaughter is instead a miasma of clunky melodrama and softcore frolicking. To reach something resembling a feature-length runtime, every single scene drags on two or three times longer than it reasonably should. The Argentine cast was dubbed over afterwards by sleepy, lifeless voice actors. A movie that’s ostensibly about a cult is far more fascinated by an arms dealer on the other side of the world and a flighty actress’ search for romance. While there is a body count, it’s pretty much always a single gunshot or a stabbing that’s barely in the frame.
Devoid of any tension, suspense, or anything approaching competency in any conceivable regard, Slaughter‘s greatest crime is just being really, really boring. I have no idea why sexploitation producer Allan Shackleton bothered picking up the movie at all, but given how truly unwatchable it is, it’s little surprise that he sat on it for years.
Then, all of a sudden, the urban legend about snuff films caught fire. People were in a panic that countless victims were being murdered on film for the entertainment of a cabal of wealthy degenerates. Such fear was baseless; even all these decades later, the existence of so much as a single snuff film has never been confirmed. (The likes of Faces of Death don’t count, as the non-simulated footage of people in that wasn’t filmed with commercial intent.)
But why let something as pesky as the truth get in the way of box office success? Shackleton rented a tiny insert studio for a day, shooting a five-minute coda in which the crew of Slaughter tortures and savagely murders its lead actress. Of course, no one was actually attacked, and the ostensible victim was played by a completely different actor. He renamed the film Snuff and even stripped out the credits and titles to make it seem that much more authentic. Even though Shackleton was prepared to stage fake protests and outrage as a publicity stunt, actual protestors showed up in force, condemning the film’s exploitation of women. As sloppy and unconvincing as the “murder” coda was, people were dead certain nonetheless that some poor woman had been brutally killed on camera.
Shackleton made a mint. I was bored stiff. I’m thankful to have been acquainted with the fascinating story behind Snuff. But the movie itself… ? Not worth remembering.
I’d joke that the 2012 remake of Total Recall starring Colin Farrell would be a brilliant candidate to erase from everyone’s memory, given that the movie is about a guy whose memory was erased. However, the world is already well ahead of me and it sure feels like everybody already has forgotten that the movie ever existed. It’s not much of a loss.
I’ve harped on my grievances with certain films (Forrest Gump, Prometheus, G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra) often enough that I probably don’t need to do so again. It’s been about six years since I last ranted about A Good Day to Die Hard, though. Maybe you’d already forgotten about this one in the meantime, but sadly, I haven’t.
I love the Die Hard franchise. Even the oft-dismissed Die Hard 2 is a lot of fun for what it is (which is a dumbed-down retread of the first movie). Die Hard with a Vengeance I think is great. Live Free or Die Hard is probably the weakest of the first four, but was still a lot better than I expected going in.
When a fifth entry was announced, I was excited. The negative buzz surrounding its release worried me, but I figured it would probably still be about on part with Part 4. Nope. The fifth movie is a gigantic pile of garbage, the worst kind of lazy franchise cash-in. From its moronic plot, awful dialogue, incomprehensible shaky-cam action, and ugly teal photography, it’s evident that nobody who made the movie gave even the slightest shit about anything they were doing – least of all Bruce Willis, who sleepwalks through the return to his signature role.
A Good Day to Die Hard is so bad that I’m still angry thinking about it a half dozen years later. It sullies a franchise I love, forcing me to break the completist impulse that normally compels me to buy every movie in a series. I refuse to ever own this one. I wish I had never seen it. Moreover, I wish nobody had ever seen it and the franchise could get the decent send-off it deserves.
What move would you like, not just yourself, but the entire world to forget?