5. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Okay, anyone who is dumb enough to see an Uwe Boll film deserves to be punished, right? Perhaps so, but one of his films had to be on this list. The caliber of talent he gets in his films is simply criminal. We have Jason Statham, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, John Rhys-Davies, and probably a few others who should have known better. It’s such a great cast that you almost feel like crying.
This film has all the trademark disregard for cinematic language that Boll is known for – it’s dull, cheap, heartless, and all around painful. The film obviously harks on the “Lord of the Rings” craze at the time; we have Statham going up against Orc-like creatures and an evil wizard played by Liotta, who looks like he had some sort of facelift.
The budget of the film was also extremely high, but it’s wasted on Boll’s talentless antics. Apparently, there was a three hour cut of this film, and let us pray to God that it never sees the light of the day.
There are ‘good bad’ films, and then there are really bad films like this. There’s nothing salvageable about this film, and nothing really good to say about any of this. You will honestly have more fun watching “Schindler’s List” than this film – actually, any Holocaust-themed movie is more fun than any Uwe Boll film.
Rob Reiner’s filmography is very mixed, to say the least. Yes, he gave us unforgettable classics, such as “This Is Spinal Tap”, “Stand by Me”, “The Princess Bride”, and “Misery”, so his place in heaven is already firmly established. But even so, he’s had more than a few missteps and none more obvious than “North”, a grossly misguided family comedy.
On paper, the film’s premise seems to have promise. Based on a cute book by Alan Zweibel (who also adapted the screenplay), a young boy (a very young and adorable Elijah Wood) travels the globe to escape his neglectful parents (Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and find the perfect parents. So, reading this, and knowing it’s a Rob Reiner film, you already know how it’s going to end.
Even so, the cast is fantastic; there’s Jon Lovitz, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Kathy Bates, Abe Vigoda, Graham Greene, John Ritter, and there’s even Bruce Willis in a bunny outfit (that must count for something!). You’re not expecting a masterpiece, but at the very least, it will be an entertaining family picture.
Well, it’s certainly very entertaining if you’re either a racist, or at the very least thought that Mickey Rooney’s part in “Breakfast of Tiffany’s” was hilarious. The film is filled with painful racial stereotypes and that’s okay because with a deft or tasteful hand, this could turn out to be funny, like in the “Harold & Kumar” films. This film, however, lacks this wit, making the experience extremely painful. Watch out for the great Kathy Bates making herself look like an Eskimo – it’s shudder-inducing.
Not only that, because you eventually stop caring about any of the characters, the schmaltz becomes infuriating. Though, nobody could have done justice to how awful this film is than Roger Ebert himself, who said: ”I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.” I think it’s safe to say that he didn’t like this movie.
Many people forget that Ben Affleck used to infuriate moviegoers around the world. True, he did this recently as well when he was announced that he would play Batman, but that was nothing compared to years before. To be fair, he made it very easy for all of us. Aside from his incredibly punchable face, his lame film choices, and his acting caliber, he was also banging Jennifer Lopez.
Now, nobody can really blame him for this, but when Lopez released that horrific song ”Jenny from the Block” music video (sure Jen, all that fame and money had no impact on you at all) where bits of footage were shown where Affleck was about to get it on with her on a yacht, it just made him so easy to hate. And you know, “Pearl Harbor” was really, really bad. It’s so bad that I began rooting for the Japanese. I mean, it’s really bad. Come to think of it, why is that one not on this list?
In either case, when the two capitalized on their fame and made this coma-inducing peace of shit, it almost seemed like the end for him. How can this be that bad? It had two legends as co-stars, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken, which alone makes it an all-star cast. They even put Martin Brest behind the director’s chair, so it couldn’t possibly be that bad.
But it totally was. It was so bad that it made the great Martin Brest retire from directing. It was so bad that UK theaters dropped this film after one week. Matt Damon mentions that Affleck twitches every time this film is mentioned (maybe he was reminded somehow of “Gigli” during his infamous sad Affleck interview).
Kevin Smith says that whenever he and Affleck are bantering, Smith just ends it by saying – “Gigli.” It swept all the five top Razzie awards. It’s the perfect example of Hollywood egos and studio meddling; the studio forced Brest to cut the film down and change it into a romantic comedy starring the hottest couple at the time.
And just to make this film even worse, the two actor’s salaries combined is three times the film’s overall movie gross – $12 million + $12.5 million with an overall gross of $7 million. This with legends such as Pacino and Walken in it. ”Gobble, gobble” indeed.
2. Superman 4: The Quest for Peace
Granted, in many respects, this Superman is still more entertaining than Henry Cavill in both “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. Christopher Reeve in the suit is just a more impressive Superman than Cavill could ever be. But this film is a tragic watch, especially when compared to the first two Superman films.
True, the third Superman film didn’t live up to expectations either; at the very least, it had Richard Pryor in it. But this one had both Margot Kidder and the great Gene Hackman back into the fold. The hope was that it could revive some of that former glory. But alas, there was no glory to be had.
Much of the blame can be put into Cannon Films itself, who, while undergoing severe financial peril, slashed the budget from $36 million to $17 million. This, for a special effects superhero film, will obviously cause some issues. In consequence, many effects were reused (and as one could expect, these shots are extremely obvious) to save money – and yes, they are very easy to spot.
At the same time, some blame has to be given to Reeve, who took over a lot of creative control and disputed with both co-stars and the director. He put a lot of creative input into the script, hence the anti-nuclear message that prevails throughout the film. This is not necessarily bad, but it just adds to the almost ‘so bad it’s good’ factor because of the heavy-handed politics.
In the end, it’s more sad than fun. The chemistry between Kidder and Reeve doesn’t seem as genuine as before, Hackman doesn’t get many interesting things to do; the new villain Nuclear Man is lame and campy, and the fights between him and Superman are so cheap that it’s hard to even laugh at it.
The fact that it was also the last time Reeve donned the cape makes it even more depressing. Maybe one day we will have a Superman again that embodies truth, justice, and the American way, just like Reeve’s Superman did. And if that happens, hopefully his goodbye will be more honorable than this.
1. Now You See Me
I have a particular hatred for this film. It might not be the worst film on this list, but seeing that it boasts an incredible cast, with Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Mark Ruffalo, that lame new Lex Luthor guy, Isla Fisher, James Franco’s brother, and even Morgan Freeman, it better be something worthwhile.
Instead, it’s a horribly manipulative film that boasts illogical twist after twist with annoying flashy direction by Louis Leterrier. Jesse Eisenberg amps up his douchebag ‘I’m smarter than everyone else’ persona as he and his group of illusionists (Fisher, Franco’s brother, and Harrelson) face off against Interpol agents (Laurent and Ruffalo), an illusionist-exposer (Freeman), and an evil bank giant (Caine).
Naturally, the foursome (known here as the Four Horsemen) fool everybody because it’s in the script and the whole story ends on an even greater moronic twist. The fact that it took four people to get this story on paper is even more infuriating. None of the twists are actually smart; they’re just ‘pretend smart’ and it’s painful seeing Freeman and Caine acting so amazed all the time.
With classics like “The Sting” in the past, there are certainly more illusionist tales to be told. This shallow dreck does the genre no justice and wastes the incredible caliber of talents involved. Sadly, the film was a major hit and it received an equally lame sequel, and might even receive another one because life is unfair and full of horrors.
Author Bio: Chris van Dijk is a writer and a self-proclaimed cinematic-connoisseur who started his unhealthy obsession with film at a very young age. He’s famous for being an incredible slob, taking himself way too seriously and getting along brilliantly with anyone who agrees with him.