6. Independence Day (1996)
“Independence Day” cashed in on the cult popularity of its lead actor, Will Smith, after his television success. Though it was initially a critical flop, it was a mass success at the box office. The story follows an alien invasion that attempts to destroy the planet, while a group of humans launch a counterattack to save it with the help of their president (Bill Pullman) on the fourth of July, claiming it as their “independence day.”
The film is a story of human stereotypes against alien stereotypes, where coincidences are improbable (the TV repairman can figure out things that the government doesn’t know about) and special effects don’t hold up.
There isn’t anything original or creative about the project; it just relies on the charisma of Smith and the popularity of sci-fi films to carry it through to the end. The film doesn’t raise any questions and the characters are cut-outs of stereotypical tropes, making “Independence Day” a B movie with a million dollar budget.
7. Signs (2002)
Though presently known as a director who has “too many ideas that aren’t thought out enough,” by 2002, M. Night Shyamalan was being marketed as the next “Spielberg of filmmaking,” with his films “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable” being mass critical and box office successes. “Signs” follows the story of a farmer and his family, who are terrorized by an extraterrestrial force.
To many, “The Village” is considered Shyamalan’s downfall, but it can be debated that “Signs” was an earlier contributor to it. The film suffers from a lack of explanation, suspenseful directing done at un-suspenseful moments (the film frequently pans from one side of the screen to the other without reason as if implying horror), and character inconsistencies.
For example, in the beginning, the main character, Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) has good hearing, and is able to hear his kids whisper in the distance. Shortly after, while a dog is attacking his daughter and being stabbed by his son, he can’t hear it despite being the same distance away. The lines are also hokey, with examples like “why aren’t you getting your toes licked by a beautiful woman” and “they seem to have problems with pantry doors,” referring to the “technologically advanced” aliens.
The aliens are also so unthreatening that, while the family is being attacked while locked in their house, a whole monologue is done without a sense of fear. The most common criticism is how the aliens are deathly allergic to water, despite going to a planet completely covered in it. At the end of the film, nothing really changes from the beginning with a lack of explanation and development.
8. Wild Wild West (1999)
Loosely based on the 1965 TV series of the same name, “Wild Wild West” follows a post-civil war story set in a steampunk era. It follows Jim West (Will Smith) and Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline), who are sent to take out Confederate general “Bloodbath” McGrath (Kenneth Branagh). Up until this film, Smith was on a huge streak of successful films; however, “Wild Wild West” was a critical and financial flop.
The remake has little to nothing to do with its original source material, and the material it’s based off of didn’t have a following for it to be done the way it was.
The film has poor logic (a light is put into a man’s head to see the last thing he saw before he died), it picks a black man to blend in the Deep South shortly after the Civil War, and it has strange transitions (a still shot of women and children being murdered for sport quickly changes to jokes about a woman’s rear end.)
It is commonly known as one of Hollywood’s biggest head-scratchers for it not knowing what genre in which it wants to fit, and for coming across as an “anti-comedy.” Everything just seems to happen, with no chemistry between characters, dead air, and bad effects.
9. Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
Though never a favorite of critics, Adam Sandler has been a fan favorite throughout his illustrious career. “Eight Crazy Nights” is an adult animated holiday comedy based around the holiday season of Hanukkah. It follows the tragic tale of Davey Stone (Sandler), an alcoholic with a criminal record who is taken in and given a chance at redemption by Whitey (also voiced by Sandler).
The film, to date, is the only known film loosely based on the Hanukkah tradition. While Sandler has the potential to be funny, he repeatedly wastes it on bad movies.
The animation is somehow very well done by clever artists with beautiful animation; unfortunately, the film not only destroys the holiday’s spirit, but it is full of racially insensitive stereotypes and disgusting humor that doesn’t match the tone of the story.
It tries hard to make Davey likable, but the character incessantly does cruel things to other people, leaving him no redeeming qualities. Overflowing with product placement, the movie resorts to annoying voice acting and goofy noises in place of heart and storytelling; even the heartfelt moments are quickly brushed off shortly after. While the animation holds up the look and feel, the story drags down the holiday spirit.
10. Judge Dredd (1995)
Based on the comic book and starring action mega-star Sylvester Stallone, “Judge Dredd” follows a futuristic world where the law is above everything else. Dredd (Stallone) is faced with the charge of murder, though he was wrongfully convicted. While making his escape, he has to right the crimes of his brother Rico (Armand Assante) to avenge the law.
The film is the definition of every 90s action cliché, with silly over-the-top lines and performances and desperate comedy. One of the most baffling choices the film mentions is the idea of the “long walk,” which is where a judge in retirement leaves the city and spends the rest of his life roaming the desert.
The film also makes some silly choices, like making the jury’s computer sound like a phone sex hotline, a robot that can’t be fixed only needing a small attachment, and the main characters running through a vent of fire that could be easily avoided if they didn’t choose to go inside it.
The logic is also off, with one character being shot multiple times, then shortly after attacking the robot as if nothing happened. While the film’s action is nice, the plot is very silly and nonsensical with over-the-top cheesiness.
Author Bio: Jimmy Chapman is an musician, director, writer, actor and horror enthusiast from Illinois, who won’t grow up or get a real job.