6. Jack – Francis Ford Coppola
Twenty-four years ago, the acclaimed director of The Godfather made a movie where an adult Robin Williams plays a ten-year-old. The majority of the experience is dedicated to watching children debate about whether ten-year-olds should have chest hair. To make matters more interesting, the supporting cast includes Jennifer Lopez, Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher, and Diane Lane.
This movie is called Jack, and it’s an absolute fever dream. On the one hand, this kind of bizarre premise feels like a product of the time. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone creating something so unforgivably inane. In theory, Francis Ford Coppola could’ve been the director to make something out of nothing, but not even he could save this. It was dead-on-arrival.
The schmaltzy premise is enough to drive people away, but there’s more to it. James DeMonaco and Gary Nadeau seem to have haphazardly put together a script filled with coming-of-age clichés. These clichés are supposed to feel unique when you analyze the protagonist’s situation, but instead they just feel awkward.
In fact, “awkward” is probably the most appropriate adjective to describe Jack. There are a lot of moving parts, but none of those moving parts end up equalling a good movie. On the contrary, they end up equalling a bad movie. Jack isn’t just disappointing because it comes from a legendary director. It would’ve been painful regardless of who was behind the camera.
7. The Karate Kid Part III – John G. Avildsen
In 1984, John G. Avildsen took bits and pieces from Rocky, his Academy Award winning sports drama, and infused them into a more kid-oriented exterior. The result was The Karate Kid, which went on to earn similar levels of acclaim. In some alternate dimension, Avildsen probably stopped at one, but in this reality, he churned out two more. Surprise, surprise: they weren’t the same.
Actually, that might be misleading. The Karate Kid sequels failed largely because they’re a bit too similar. Part II was messy, but Part III was when the series really shot itself in the foot.
The Karate Kid Part III is essentially a recycling bin. When it’s not borrowing elements from previous films in the series, it’s borrowing elements from an assortment of other fighting films. This threequel doesn’t have an original bone in its body. It’s not the worst thing on this list, but it might be the most boring. There isn’t a single reason to watch this if you’ve seen anything remotely similar, and if you’re reading articles on this site, you probably have.
8. Welcome to Marwen – Robert Zemeckis
Robert Zemeckis’s career has gone better than a lot of Oscar-winning directors. Cast Away, Flight, and The Walk all earned some degree of critical acclaim. Other releases, like A Christmas Carol, made up for mediocre reviews with solid box office numbers. He has never been the most consistent director, but up until recently, he had never made anything flat-out-bad.
2018 was the year that changed. Welcome to Marwen is one of the most notorious examples of wasted potential in recent memory. It’s all based on the incredible true story of Mark Hogancamp, an amnesiac cross-dresser who decided to create a fictional town known as Marwencol. Mark Hogancamp’s story is profound and heart-rending, but this recreation is shallow, manipulative, and inauthentic.
They can bill this as a biopic all they want, but it rarely comes across as biographical. There are so many too-good-to-be-true moments that come together and feel like one big amalgamation of hokey Hollywood tropes. Meanwhile, the more fascinating parts of the protagonist’s life are thrown aside because they don’t fit into this streamlined vision.
This streamlined vision aims to tug at heartstrings, but it doesn’t succeed. Welcome to Marwen not only fails as a biopic; it also fails as a movie. There are redeeming qualities, such as the solid cast, but that doesn’t make up for the mistakes.
9. Gemini Man – Ang Lee
Ang Lee’s Gemini Man is exactly what you expect. There are no pleasant or unpleasant surprises. It kind of just does its thing. To a lot of people, that’s probably enough, but there are countless others who know what Ang Lee is capable of as a director. Impressive visual effects aside, Gemini Man is just another mediocre doppelganger flick.
Will Smith tries his best to deliver two worthwhile performances, but he can’t even deliver one. This isn’t because Smith is an inherently bad actor. It’s more that he’s fighting an uphill battle. The generic screenplay derails anything and everything. There are plenty of individual elements that could’ve worked, but they just don’t gel with the lazy writing.
10. Deal of the Century – William Friedkin
Following his Oscar win for The French Connection, William Friedkin delivered another winner in the form of The Exorcist. It would have been great to see him deliver hit after hit, but unfortunately, his career began slipping shortly after. The biggest warning sign of things to come was the Razzie-nominated Cruising, but it’s not our choice for the list. Instead, the focus will be on Deal of the Century, an unfunny mess of a motion picture featuring a phoned-in performance from Chevy Chase.
Deal of the Century isn’t bad just because it’s unfunny. That’s definitely part of it, but it’s hardly the end of this laundry list of issues. The whole thing is a tonally jumbled disaster that bounces between playful comedy and incoherent political thriller. It doesn’t know what it wants to be, which is probably why it settles on being incomprehensible and nothing else. The sloppy, frequently plodding mishmash of poor ideas is a waste of time and there’s nothing else to it.