Awful films have been around since the birth of cinema and they won’t be going away anytime soon, and frankly it’s kind of a miracle that we have so many great films based on how messy film productions can be.
Getting everything in the right place so that filming can commence is such a humongous task that getting a film finished is an achievement in itself, and you’ll be lucky if it’s anywhere near decent and not an absolute clusterfuck.
But sometimes you end up with a film that’s so amazingly horrendously awful that it’s awe-inspiring, and those are films we’ll be focusing on – films where everything went wrong in the absolute best ways possible.
10. Jupiter Ascending (2015)
The Wachowskis have always been highly interesting and unique filmmakers. They make huge messy films that are filled with big ideas and enough vision to fill five different films, and “Jupiter Ascending” is no different.
It’s full of interesting ideas like DNA-splicing, reincarnation, and a pretty fucked up way of reaching immortality. The story is also pretty interesting: what if you found out that you were the reincarnated version of the queen of the universe and were faced with fixing all the massive problems that her death left behind?
The problem lies in the execution, because they decided to tell this story in the messiest and dullest way possible. The characters are so flat and the story is so all over the place that it’s pretty much impossible to get engaged in any of it.
If handled correctly, this film could have become something spectacular, something on the same level of quality as “The Matrix” and “Cloud Atlas” (their magnum opus), but instead we get a gloriously stupid dumpster fire that became infamous for how awful it is before it had even left the cinemas.
It’s a film that’s so full of idiotic scenes (“I love dogs, I’ve always loved dogs”) and just complete bullshit (Sean Bean playing a half-bee hybrid, the villain’s henchmen are the last surviving dinosaurs, etc.) that it’s absolutely fantastic to see the expression of utter disbelief on the face of everyone as you try your best to explain the plot of this shitsterpiece.
But its fatal flaw is that it’s a film that’s amazing to talk and joke about, but when it comes to actually watching it, you realize that it’s just so mind-numbingly dull that it becomes one hell of a chore to sit through.
Meaning that, even though its reputation will rightfully live on for years, it will never become one of those great cult classics that stays in circulation through midnight screenings like “The Room,” “Donnie Darko” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
9. The Last Airbender (2010)
M. Night Shyamalan is a great director, and “The Last Airbender” is the type of terrible film that only a great director could have made, because it’s so idiosyncratic in its terribleness that it’s undeniably a completely unique work of utter genius gone completely mad.
At this point in his career, Shyamalan hadn’t really made a bad film; he had obviously taken a huge step in the wrong direction with the wrongly-marketed absurdist dark comedy “The Happening,” but other than that small misstep, he had been making films ranging from great to pretty good since 1992. However, “The Last Airbender” was his first (and hopefully last) truly awful film (“After Earth” is bad but it’s nowhere near the level of utter awfulness that “The Last Airbender” reaches).
Every single decision that Shyamalan made while making this abomination went wrong in weirdest ways possible: the story is a complete mess that spends more time desperately trying to explain itself, and its backstory actually forgets to properly develop anything and ends up becoming more episodic than the season it’s based on.
Every single one of the films flaws can be traced back to Shyamalan’s inexperience with adaptations. All of his films up to this point had been original and the only adaptation he had been in any way connected to was “Stuart Little,” whose screenplay he co-wrote with Greg Brooker.
It shows that he obviously didn’t quite know how to handle the adaptation process because not only was it a terrible idea to condense an entire season into a 90-minute film, but what he decided to keep and how he blended it together is so messy that it becomes crystal clear that he had no idea what he was doing.
The show is also driven by a really light tone with a lot of action and humour, which is the complete opposite of Shyamalan’s slow-burn character pieces dressed up as genre films.
His films do have action and humour, but the action is small and more focused on the emotion behind the action than about the spectacle, and his humour is more focused on weird idiosyncratic character behaviour and is constantly shifting between being really dry and really absurd, which is the complete opposite of the show’s style.
When making “The Last Airbender,” Shyamalan tried to change his style to fit more in line with the tone and style of the animation and failed miserably, but if he had instead kept to his guns and changed the style of the animation to fit more in line with his own style, then he could have made something special. However, instead he made one of the absolute worst adaptations in the history of cinema.
8. The Pink Panther (2006)
The original Pink Panther franchise with Peter Sellers is one of the best comedy franchises in the history of cinema; his performance as Inspector Jacques Clouseau has become legendary for how hilarious it is, and frankly the Pink Panther franchise should have died with Sellers.
Because since his death, we have had five Pink Panther films and they have for the most part been getting worse with each entry. Out of the five entries, the only one that’s worth watching is “Trail of the Pink Panther” and only because it has a few hilarious deleted scenes of Sellers from the other films.
“Curse” and “Son” are both terrible in their own way, but are still not offensively bad and don’t really impact the franchise’s legacy as they have pretty much been forgotten. The two Steve Martin remakes, on the other hand, take a massive turd on the Pink Panther legacy and sadly there are people today that have only seen the remakes and haven’t even bothered to discover the genius of the originals because of that.
Both of Martin’s entries are absolutely god-awful, but the first entry is by far the worse, because no matter how horrendously horrible “Pink Panther 2” is, at least it has John Cleese, who is always amusing, even when he’s stuck in a massive pile of shit.
Two other things that “Pink Panther 2” has over the first Pink Panther remake is that it stars (and completely wastes) the (almost) always wonderful Andy Garcia and is (terribly) directed by Harald Zwart, the guy behind the Karate Kid remake, “Hamilton” (1998), and “One Night at McCool’s,” while the first remake is stuck with the hack Shawn Levy behind the camera.
If there is one thing that Levy sucks at, it’s comedy (and just directing in general). He has made eight comedies (the Night at the Museum trilogy, “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Big Fat Liar,” “The Internship,” “The Pink Panther” and “Date Night”), and the only one of those that’s even slightly funny is “Date Night” and that’s only because Steve Carell and Tina Fey are funny in everything and work wonderfully together.
Out of those (mostly terrible) eight comedies that he has directed, “The Pink Panther” might be the worst and least funny thing he has ever come close to in his entire life.
Even if you ignore the film’s connection to the legendary originals, it still utterly fails as a stand-alone comedy because every single joke misses the mark and the film becomes an offensively unfunny and borderline unwatchable slog.
Steve Martin owes the whole of France an apology for that horrendous accent.
7. Fant4stic (2015)
“Fant4stic” is everything that’s wrong with modern superhero films all wrapped up in a single package, and it proves that the dark gritty reboot method only works in certain cases, like the the Dark Knight trilogy.
“The Fantastic Four” has always been monumentally silly and full of bright colourful designs that gave the original comic run its charm, and is part of the reason why the characters have been as popular for as long as they have.
They are always so full of life and fun that it becomes quite addictive and contagious, something that the three previous Fantastic Four films got somewhat right as they were all light-hearted fun family adventures. What they were missing, on the other hand, was good writing, good acting, good special effects/CGI, and just about good anything else, but at least they got the tone and the look right.
By trying to make the Fantastic Four gritty and dark, Josh Trank and company pretty much robbed the characters of their identities and took away the charm, and what they were left with was an incompetent mess that’s way too dull and depressing to be even remotely enjoyable.
Not since “The Last Airbender” has an adaptation missed the point of the original so terribly, and frankly, “Fant4stic” is such a clusterfuck of a movie that it makes “The Last Airbender” look like “Citizen Kane” in comparison.
Large portions of the film were re-shot and the entire thing was re-edited by the studio after Trank turned in his version, and even though they were obviously trying to save what was probably a pretty bad film, they only ended up making it worse.
6. The Love Guru (2008)
Mike Myers is (or was) a pretty hilarious comedian, but he wasn’t without his flaws. His jokes could sometimes be pretty hit-and-miss even in his great comedies (“Austin Powers”/”Wayne’s World”), and over the years he became a bit too reliant on a few very specific kinds of jokes:
1.The “this is so silly and absurd that you must laugh” joke
2.The “this is so terribly unfunny and awkward that you must laugh” joke
3.The “silly word play that’s so unexpected that you must laugh” joke
4.The “look everyone, this thing looks like genitalia, isn’t that hilarious” joke
“The Love Guru” is where he took those four jokes and pushed them as far as he possibly could, and frankly he pushed them so far that they were way past the breaking point within the first 15 minutes, meaning that we are stuck with the same four terrible jokes on repeat for the next 70 minutes, and it gets old really quickly.
It was Myers’ biggest box office bomb and pretty much killed his career; “The Love Guru” was so bloody terrible that all the goodwill that Myers had built up to that point vanished like a fart in the wind, and so did he.
This film is so terrible that the only film work that Myers has gotten since 2008 as a leading man is in “Shrek Forever After,” and other than that he has been relegated to small cameos in films like “Inglourious Basterds” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He also directed a documentary about Shep Gordon that everyone has pretty much forgotten, and he’s currently hosting a game show.
“The Love Guru” is a film that is still so furiously hated that the chances of Myers’ career having a Brendan Fraser-esque resurrection are pretty much out of the question.
It’s a film that is so atrocious that we’re lucky it didn’t tank Ben Kingsley’s career as well.