Not every movie is going to be a winner, and for every Dark Knight we have a Batman Forever. But that’s okay, because without terrible movies the films we fawn over wouldn’t look as awesome in comparison. Today we’re here to discuss 10 famously awful movies and the little known facts that pick them up off of the floor and give them a pat on the back. We doubt you knew that…
10. Meet The Parents Was Praised For Its Representation Of Male Nurses
Meet the Parents wasn’t a terrible movie, but the two sequels, Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers, wore out a welcome that wasn’t that strong to begin with. It’s arguable that the only thing that saved any of them is the chemistry between Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, who play Jack Byrnes and Gaylord Focker.
One particular point of contention between the two characters is the fact that Stiller’s character is a male nurse. You wouldn’t expect a comedy to handle a theme like a man trying to assert himself in a historically female industry well, but according to actual nurses Focker is one of the single finest representations of the role in movie history. The fact that Focker defends his choice to be a nurse while also challenging many of the long standing stereotypes held about the role received widespread praise. He even continues to do this in this less warmly received sequels.
Speaking of which, for Meet the Fockers the production crew actually tracked down a family named Focker just so they could justify jokes like having a character named Randy Focker. Because otherwise the integrity of the movie would have been ruined.
9. Movie 43 is an Amazing Work of Budget Control
With a staggeringly bad 18/100 on Metacritic, it’s safe to say that Movie 43 is one of the most star-studded bombs ever released. If you’ve never seen the movie, and we’d be shocked if you had, the whole selling point is that it featured an amazingly diverse ensemble cast with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Uma Thurman, Chris Pratt and about two dozen other huge names appeared on the billing for a movie that raked in less than 33 million at the box office. With that many stars you’re probably expecting us to say that it hemorrhaged money like Mr. Burns with a stab wound, but the movie actually turned a profit because almost every actor either made an appearance as a favor or was only paid a few thousand dollars in exchange for just a few days of work. The fact that they managed to make an atrocious movie starring more famous people than any film in history with a budget of just six million isn’t just impressive, it defies logic so hard that rubbing it on Aristotle’s grave would make it catch fire.
8. Jack and Jill Won Every Razzie Award
Critically speaking, Jack and Jill is arguably the single worst movie on this list. According to practically everyone who watched the film, it’s the worst thing to happen to Hollywood since censorship. The basic plot is that Adam Sander plays his own twin sister and they get themselves caught up in a bunch of shenanigans. We’d describe it in more detail, but we can actually feel our lives waste away when we do.
Now it’s one thing to be bad, but it’s another thing to be so bad that you break actual records in terribleness. There’s an Anti-Oscars award ceremony called the Golden Raspberry Awards which celebrate the worst movies of the year. Jack and Jill was so broken on a fundamental level that it won literally every single Razzie. The film was so awful that it was nominated for some categories twice and won against itself. If a film is so terrible that the only thing it can be compared to is itself, that’s impressive in a certain sad way.
7. The Director of Birdemic Had no Training Whatsoever
Birdemic: Shock and Terror was an American indie movie released in 2008. The film is a homage of sorts to The Birds and follows essentially the same storyline — people get attacked by a bunch of “Lethal eagles!” It’s amazing if you watch it with friends and you’re all intoxicated.
Despite being released almost half a century after Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Birdemic somehow managed to have worse special effects (and everything else), a feature that’s made it a cult classic. But what few people seem to realize is that the director, James Nyugen, had absolutely no formal training in filmmaking and a budget of just $10,000. What makes this even better is that Nyugen was able to sell his movie to a company that spent more money marketing it than he spent making it. Despite the quality of the film, we’d safely consider that a win for the little guys.
6. Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Was Directed by the Guy Who Did Porky’s
The universal consensus from critics is that they’d rather be tortured than have to watch Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 again. That’s not hyperbole, one critic actually said that. We’d describe the plot, but we think the title itself tells you everything you never wanted to know. The original was almost just as poorly received, garnering a single positive review from someone who may be an alien trying to pass as human.
What’s odd is that they were both directed by Bob Clark. He’s the guy who gave us Porky’s, the film widely cited as starting the teen sex comedy genre, and A Christmas Story, one of the most beloved holiday films of all time. What’s even weirder is that this movie was the last one Clark had any involvement with before his death. Baby Geniuses 2, in all of its awful glory, is the last thing the guy who inspired countless classic comedies gave us. Which is the most perfect representation of the phrase “nobody’s perfect” we’ve ever seen.
5. The Last Airbender Was Made for Shyamalan’s Daughter
From the moment The Last Airbender movie was announced it was subjected to more criticism than a YouTube commenter’s spelling. Fan’s of the original Avatar series rightfully called out M. Night Shyamalan for inexplicably hiring white actors to play Asian characters, and for butchering the source material.
Considering how badly Shyamalan ruined the material it’s hard to believe that he was a fan of the series, or had in fact even seen it. But contrary to what his detractors would have you believe, he really did believe in the project. In fact, he was inspired to push for a live-action adaptation purely because of how much his daughter loved the show. Sure, he failed miserably, but it’s really hard to hate something when you realize that the only reason it exists is because some guy just wanted to make his daughter smile.
4. Uwe Boll’s Response to Critics is Amazing
Uwe Boll, a name you probably just pronounced wrong, is infamous amongst residents of the overlapping section of the Venn diagram labelled “Fans of video games” and ”Fans of movies.” Boll’s mostly known for creating appalling movies loosely based on video games such as Bloodrayne, Alone in the Dark, Postal and House of the Dead, all of which were negatively reviewed and garnered the hatred of fans of the source material.
In 2006, annoyed by the sheer amount of hate piled on him by the Internet, Boll lived the creative person’s dream and offered the people saying he sucked online a chance to say it to his face, in a boxing ring. Amazingly, none of the people posting about how much they’d relish the chance to punch Boll in the face took him up on the offer to be personally flown out to a boxing ring to do exactly that for free.
In the end, only four people took up Boll on his offer and the aging director agreed to fight all of them in back to back in 10 round matches. None of the four thought Boll was being serious, but while they were dressing in silly costumes Boll was training in the gym every day for four months. When the matches rolled around, Boll ended up beating all four of his critics by punching them as hard as he could in the face. The quality of his movies may be awful, but his dedication to defending them sure isn’t.
3. Everyone Knew How Terrible From Justin to Kelly Was Going to Be
From Justin to Kelly was a musical/totally obvious cash grab from the people behind American Idol that coincidentally starred the show’s first ever winner, Kelly Clarkson, and the first ever runner-up that everyone’s since forgotten, Justin Guarini.
From Justin to Kelly was a critical and commercial failure, and Clarkson was fully aware that the movie was going to bomb. According to later interviews, she knew the second she read the script that it wasn’t going to be a success, but she was contractually obligated to star in it.
Now a star having no faith in the movie they’re starring in isn’t that uncommon. There’s a Dracula movie where Christopher Lee doesn’t speak because he thought all the lines were terrible. What’s much rarer is when the company making a movie goes out of their way to kneecap it, which is exactly what happened with From Justin to Kelly. Fox Studios was so sure that the film was going to be a failure that they scheduled the release of the DVD only six weeks after the theatrical release. Fox begrudgingly went back on their decision when theaters complained, only to re-reverse their call after seeing reviews and opening weekend numbers, presumably after they called the theaters to oddly gloat. From Justin to Kelly got made despite the fact that everyone involved knew it would fail, which kind of makes us wish that they had just made a movie about the production process.
2. Batman and Robin Was Campy On Purpose
Before Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Batman movies were hit and miss. While the 1989 Batman was released to warm reviews, the sequels all suffered from a combination of corporate meddling and sloppy direction. The two most hated Batman films are easily Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, which were heavily criticized for their campy tone and, of course, the Bat-nipples.
But we feel it’s unfair to criticize Batman Forever and Batman and Robin for being too campy when that was supposed to be the whole point of the movies. As noted here, director Joel Schumacher based the style of Batman Forever on the original comic series he’d grown up with and the 1960s TV show starring Adam West. We’re not going to argue that this was a good decision, but we understand the logic behind thinking that a true fan of Batman would appreciate a homage to the comics that started the franchise in the first place. We can never forgive all those ice puns, though.
1. Zyzzyx Road Only Sold Six Tickets On Purpose
Zyzzyx Road is infamous with movie buffs as being possibly the single lowest grossing movie of all time. The movie only made 30 dollars, 10 of which were personally refunded by the director when he found out that two of the tickets was bought by someone who worked on the movie. Now it’s easy to look at those figures and assume that the movie was so staggeringly awful that no one went to see it. But the truth is it only sold that many tickets on purpose.
The people behind the movie were only really concerned about releasing it to the foreign market. However, a quirk in the agreement they’d signed with the Screen Actors Guild of America meant that they had to show it in an American cinema first. So they rented out the smallest, dingiest theater they could find and showed the film once a day for six days at the hot showtime of noon. The movie went on to make a few hundred thousand dollars as soon as it was released abroad and on DVD. When people refer to Zyzzyx Road as the lowest grossing movie of all time they forget to mention that its money was only made as a screw you to Hollywood.