Thursday, 4 February 2010

Worst "Worst 10 Films Ever" Ever?

I had a quick think about the Top 10 Worst Film list the Guardian has up on its website, and I'm somewhat unconvinced. I certainly can't quibble at Batman and Robin being at #1; that film is certainly the worst I've ever seen at the cinema, and I can't think of anything more execrable I've seen on any other medium, either. Highlander II is certainly a baffling mess, and I'm entirely prepared to believe, sight unseen, that Epic Movie deserves its place on the list, though its inclusion raises the question as to whether we could just fill all ten slots with the last half-score Wayans brothers movies (which would be, what, their 2009 output?) and have done with it.

Heaven's Gate, though? Really? I know it bankrupted a studio and set back the massaging of directors' egos by a few decades, but this is the first I'm hearing of it being anything but a severe disappointment considering the money poured into it. And it's about time people started working out the difference between disappointing and bad. Q fell into this trap a few years ago with their "50 Worst Albums" feature, which contained such ludicrous choices as Beck's Midnite Vultures, with a description that read along the lines of "Not actually too bad, but a definite disappointment after Odelay and Mutations promised so much." You're honestly going to try and tell me that there aren't 50 actually shitty albums throughout the entire course of human history? Bryan Adams could fill out 22% of the list on his own, for God's sake!

Once again, I digress.

Oh, also: people need to stop crapping all over M. Night Shyamalan. Sure, The Village and Lady In The Water were disappointments, and The Happening almost impossible to recognise as being from the same director as The Sixth Sense, but there is simply no way that there are only seven worse films in existence than Shyamalan's sixth effort (which is, at absolute worst, a two-star feature). Partially, I suspect it's on the list for the same reason pointlessly mediocre fare like the Arctic Monkeys keep showing up on "Bestest Albums Everest", because people have remarkably short memories and tend to choose what's fresh in their mind. Mainly, though, I think it's because Shyamalan is an arrogant git who makes it very clear that he thinks both film critics and those that dislike his work in general are incompetent morons (though in his defence he made Lady In The Water the most clear broadside against critics missing the point of their job he possibly could, and said critics still managed to miss said point, proving him right), and people tend to vote him down pretty harshly because of it. Can't say he doesn't deserve it, but The Happening doesn't; certainly not to this extent.

Still, I'm mainly here to talk about entry #10: The Room. I have to confess, had it not been for Chemie, I wouldn't ever have been made aware of this particular slice of monstrous anti-genius. The Room is not a bad film, as most people would understand the term. Bad films fail; they attempt to reach a certain level, to hit certain targets, but for whatever reason, they come up short. The Room, on the other hand, succeeds entirely. It doesn't put a foot wrong in its unstoppable march towards its goal. It just so happens that its goal is to be the worst film in the entire cosmos, known or unknown. If a tribe of cannibalistic primitives without a written language and possessed of the unshakable belief their God resides within their own anal cavities stumbled upon a camcorder whilst out of their mind on hallucinogenic frog venom, they would put together something more dramatically coherent than Tommy Wiseau's first (and most surely only) feature. Everything about this film is wrong. The acting is terrible, the plot makes no sense, the prop and make-up department can't do anything so complex as prepare the right pizza or keep a woman's hair-do constant from shot to shot, respectively. Characters randomly appear and disappear (apparently one actor quit - surprise - and was replaced, but the replacement is never referred to by name in his scenes). Also, the soundtrack doesn't work, the overall message is both pathetically self-indulgent and at least slightly misogynistic, and the only reason why the sex scene that hits you in the film's early moments isn't the worst one ever committed to celluloid is because the exact same scene is used fifteen minutes later, to diminishing returns.

Feast your eyes on the horror, my friends. A little context: the guy with the beard is supposedly Johnny's best friend, but he's sleeping with Johnny's fiancee. I wouldn't want you to not understand the dramatic irony in the scene. You might also want to note that the guy playing Johnny (who looks like a cross between Harvey Keitel and a lizard wearing a horse's tail) also wrote and directed the film, and took the opportunity to portray himself as the greatest man ever to walk the Earth. This is what he considers the zenith of the human condition:

There are other snippets on youtube, but I warn you: I cannot be legally held responsible for the consequences of watching more.


BigHead said...

I refuse to accept any such list that fails to include Turkish Star Wars.

Gooder said...

Heaven's Gate is an interesting failure rather than outrgiht terrible much like Gangs Of New York for example.

Some parts are excellent, some parts meander around achieving nothing and it can't quite find it's focus, and like Gangs gives you that strange feeling that the film either needs to be longer or shorter to work.

Jamie said...

To be fair to the Guardian, this was actually a poll on the Empire website. Still rubbish though.