Good movies, there are a few. Some of an indisputable quality
beyond the awards received or its commercial success. But, possibly, the majority of the largometrajes that are released each year do not reach the category of work of art. And, looking a little below, there are some titles that stand out for the poverty of their content. They are the ones that the most critical would qualify as clunkers . They sneak up on the most prestigious festivals and every week a film worthy of this label is released on some billboard of the planet.
As Lluís Bonet, a film critic who for decades has covered for La Vanguardia the most prestigious competitions in the seventh art, explains: “Bad films leave no trace; the good ones, yes, and the masterpieces that have marked your life remain forever in the memory. For this reason, I have always tried professionally to avoid bad films, something that was sometimes impossible even in festivals. Currently, although I follow a cinephile diet, sometimes I am still forced to endure some mess. “
From when can we say that we are facing a bad movie
Everyone has their criteria and the selection that we present in this article is debatable. The borderline between bad taste and the art of kitsch is often very fine. Roger Ebert is considered the pope of film critics. In his book The Worst Movies of History (Ariel) he has chosen hundreds of titles whose quality – he writes – “varies between deplorable and those that were only graciously clueless. For years, I argued that I would only award zero stars to films that seemed immoral to me in some sense. When making this selection I realized that I have not always complied with this rule. When a film insults your intelligence, your good taste and your patience (all at once), it manages to bring out the worst in you. ” Ebert’s blacklist also includes sacred cows such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Roman Polanski , James Ivory, Steven Soderbergh and David Lynch. And unknown directors, icons of the B-movies. It is difficult to detect a common denominator. Of course, the sequels of successful titles, the second, third or fourth versions of a character or a story that worked at the time succeed. “Before it was called remake (which could ever beat the original), but now the sagas, franchises, sequels and prequels have led to a flood of bad movies. It’s the Hollywood business: to squeeze a hit when there’s nothing clever left to squeeze. Currently, any blockbuster has its continuations, “says Bonet.
Luis Miguel Carmona is the author of Estrellas estrelladas and also planned to make a book about bad films at the time. From the outset he explains that we must be careful, “because negative criticisms without real foundation run through social networks”. Because they form groups of users launch devastating campaigns (for whatever reasons), which then make a dent in the critics and the public. Likewise, he adds, “there are films that are very good, but sometimes they did not come out at the right time and they had a bad reception. This is the case of Blade Runner (1982). O Vertigo (1958). Today no one would say they were bad, but at that time … “. Tastes change and society, too. And criticism sometimes punishes (or rewards) movies unfairly . There are titles that were not properly recognized. For example, nowadays we are sure that Kramer against Kramer would win the Oscar for the best film over Apocalypse now (it was the year 1980)? That Rocky was better – always according to the Oscar, 1977 edition – than Taxi driver ?
Undoubtedly, the time factor can change perceptions. Indeed
when a film is manifestly bad, sometimes it loses this facet and it happens that over the years it becomes a cult movie. For example, there are dialogues that are so absurd that today they arouse almost admiration: in Armageddon (1998) there is a scene in which two Japanese tourists are in a taxi in New York, while a few meteors turn the whole street into a burning wasteland. She complains: “I want to go shopping!”. And, in Rapa Nui , (1994) the king of Easter Island implores: “Tell me you will not make hooks with the bones of my thighs,” he begs with tears in his eyes to his high priest. And he answers: “I’m busy! I have to read the entrails of the chicken. “
In general, when a movie does not work, there are many variables
It is not necessarily a matter of lack of talent. “There are directors, like Francis Ford Coppola, who need big budgets to make good films,” recalls Carmona. When the tap closes, then the results are not up to par (the last filmography of Coppola is a good example). But beware: not having much money in your pocket is a guarantee that a masterpiece will be shot . Here the school case is that of Michael Cimino. The director won an Oscar for The Hunter (1978) and embarked on a very ambitious project, The Gate of Heaven (1980). According to Ebert, “it’s one of the ugliest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s the most outrageous cinematic waste I’ve seen. ” They say that on the day of the premiere the director asked why nobody was drinking champagne at the cocktail party. “It’s because they hate your movie,” they replied. The original footage was more than five hours. Cimino had shot so much material that it would take nine days in a row just to watch it. The budget at that time was astronomical: 36 million dollars (about 3,000 million pesetas of the time). United Artist brushed the bankruptcy and had to be absorbed by MGM. Cimino’s career could never take off again.
“I think all the films are good,” says Mar Targarona, from the production company Rodar y Rodar, which has recently produced a blockbuster such as El cuerpo (2012). “There are some that you appreciate again , after knowing that they were filmed in difficult conditions, with a low budget and in a few days.
In any case, it is very difficult to always maintain the state of grace
All the directors, even the big ones, have had a bad day, “he says. What must be done to avoid failure? “The first thing is a script. Then there must be actors who are up to the task and finally, the budget. In general, comedy is the most difficult genre. From the outset, the viewer comes with a certain prejudice. Because humor travels badly. It is very cultural. You may like it in one country, but not in another. This is what happens with Woody Allen’s latest films, “says Targarona (by the way, Filming and Filming will start this year precisely a comedy: by Santiago Amadeo). Who is the final responsibility of a failed film? Targarona sums it up like that. “The producer is the one who loses money, the director is the one who puts the face, because it is who directs the creative part. The scriptwriter, curiously, is transparent, although the script is perhaps the most important for the project to work. “
As you can see, everything is relative and it would be risky to make very severe judgments. Especially if one takes into account that, although the criticism destroys a film, this does not prevent it from being a box-office hit (this is what usually happens, for example, in the USA with the comedies starring Adam Sandler) . A good thermometer of the bad film industry are the Razzies . They were born in 1981, with the attempt to criticize with an ironic approach the Hollywood industry and have been gaining prestige over the years. The trophy is a plastic mulberry the size of a golf ball, stuck on top of a celluloid reel, sprayed with gold spray paint (that is, it is not gold). Its nominal value is around three euros.
One of the stars of the Razzies is Sylvester Stallone ( Oscar award, do not forget, for Rocky (1976)): he has been nominated up to thirty times in almost all categories. But the most awarded is the actor Adam Sandler, who has received a total of seven awards. There is a film that is unbeatable: Jack and his twin (2011): he got the highest award in ten categories, the maximum possible, a historical record (despite this he managed to collect at the box office about 75 million euros). Of course, sometimes the Razzies can exceed their hardness by rewarding people of outstanding career who may have experienced an occasional stumble. Some example: screenwriter Brian Helgeland received an Oscar and a Razzie in the same year and on the same weekend. He won the statuette for best adapted screenplay for LA Confidential (1997) and Razzie for the worst screenplay The Postman (1997) Kevin Costner. Likewise, Sandra Bullock won the Razzie for worst actress for Loca obsession (2009) and the next day won the Oscar as best actress for A dream possible (2009).
The cast of the Razzies is partial because it excludes the oldest titles.
Well, there is some consensus among moviegoers that perhaps the worst director in history was Ed Wood, author of the mythical Plan 9 from outer space (1959) (Vampires of space), a story that mixes vampires with the arrival of the aliens. The anecdotes surrounding the filming of this film are innumerable. Wood found the money for his film at Beverly Hills Baptist Church and, before starting work, as the main condition of the loan, the entire team had to be baptized in a pool. As a decoration, curtains were used. The flying saucers were car wheels moved with threads. The spacecraft cabin was made of cardboard. As special effects, there was a light signal that the team stole from a work. In some scenes you can see recording microphones. One of the actors (apparently without much memory) interpreted his dialogues by reading, in a visible way, a piece of paper stuck on the ground … (Tim Burton shot an acclaimed film about this story).
Things of the past? Absolutely. “We never learn from mistakes. Bad films are still being made, “says Carmona. In fact, we must not forget that in Spain the Yoga prizes are awarded by the Catacritic collective, which awards the worst movie of the year. In 2012 he won The Tree of Life , which was … Palme d’Or in Cannes! In short, a matter of taste . This movie theater is so big!
In his book, the critic Robert Ebert does not establish a ranking, but deals with extreme hardness some titles. Here goes a selection. Caligula (1980): “It is repulsive, it has no value, it is a shameful garbage. I think it’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen. ” Battlefield: Earth (2000), based on a novel by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. John Travolta disguised as an alien is perhaps the image that most summarizes the implausibility of this feature film. “It’s not that it’s bad, it’s unpleasant in a hostile way. The visual is filthy and without grace. The characters are careless. The sound resembles a microphone that was hitting the inside of a drum. ” The Blue Iguana (1988), a parody on the films of private investigators. “It is the closest thing to a flat encephalogram that one can find, if there is still something left on the screen. I have no idea why this movie was made. I do not know what the actors could be thinking while doing it. I do not know the reasons that led the production company to release it. ” An Indian in Paris (1996), the story of a native of the Amazon who lands in the French capital: “One of the worst films ever made. I hated every one of his minutes. ” The Immortals II: The Challenge (1991), second part of a successful science fiction title. “It’s the most incomprehensible movie I’ve seen in a long time, almost wonderful in its mediocrity . It will be remembered among whispers as one of the lowest immortal points of the genre. “
“It’s really horrible, a clumsy, mammoth and lifeless exercise of failed comedy.
You can not say that he has an argument. It exists more as a series of annoying sets. ” A boy named Norte (1994), the story of a boy who tries to sue his parents in court to get rid of them. “One of the most unpleasant, forced, artificial and cloying experiences I’ve had in the cinema.” In turn, the British magazine Empire conducted a survey among thousands of its users and readers to compile the list of the 50 worst films in history. The winner has turned out to be Batman and Robin (1997), with George Clooney. He confessed that he did really bad, but that it was a film that could hardly do something good. “It was a complete failure that changed my career,” he said. The critic Anthony Lane of The New Yorker wrote: “
The only thing that gives coherence to the film is that all the actors have achieved the worst performance imaginable. When you are sitting in the chair you feel that you are damaging your brain and pray for this chaos to stop. ” Second place for the aforementioned battlefield: Earth . Bronze medal for The Guru of Good Vibes (2008), a supposedly comic comedy about the world of sects. According to A. Scott, of The New York Times , “it’s the opposite of something fun. It’s an experience that makes you wonder if you’ll ever be able to laugh again. “
The Internet Movie Data Base (Imdb), establishes a list based on the votes of the users. The ranking changes continuously. At the close of this edition, according to the votes, the worst of all was Disaster Movie (2008) (vote: 1.9 out of 10, catastrophic film summit for 20-year-olds, according to USA Today, 98% of the reviews were negative), followed by The Hottie and the Nottie (2008), with Paris Hilton (in the weekend its premiere got an average of 28 spectators per room in the US). Much more interesting is the third place: Hands: the hands of fate (1966).
The story: a family gets lost on a highway in the middle of the night and finds shelter in the house of a devil, called El Maestro and his servant, Torgo. The movie was shot without sound, which was added later. In some shot you can see the recording equipment. In its premiere, in the city of El Paso, several local dignitaries attended the screening: there were so many boos and the team had to leave through a secondary door before the film ended.