Who doesn’t love a bad movie? The only thing better than a self-aware, terrible movie is a bad movie trying to be good.
There’s a guilty pleasure in knowing that even some of the brightest, most talented filmmakers can flop sometimes. According to an online movie forum, these are the ten biggest flops meant to be a hit.
1. The Lawnmower Man (1992)
It’s jarring to see a movie rated 5.4 on IMDb with Stephen King’s name attached, but one commenter claims the movie was so bad King sued to have his name removed from the film’s involvement.
The film was adapted from one of King’s books and was directed by Brett Leonard. This movie-watcher describes it as “bad, but it’s also strange, unpredictable, and fun.” They also cite that a scene in the movie about a monkey robocop had to be cut from the theatrical release because it was irrelevant to the rest of the film.
2. Who Killed Captain Alex? (2015)
Funnily enough, this terrible movie is rated 7.0 on IMDb because of the sheer amount of ironic 10s. One person jokes, “nothing but a true passion for cinema was poured into that movie.” Another user remarks, “They asked for terrible movies, not peak cinema.” Watching the amateur acting and terrible CGI in the trailer is a trip.
The synopsis of the film is beautifully ridiculous. The Ugandan president orders Captain Alex to defeat the Tiger Mafia but dies trying. Alex’s brother investigates and vows to avenge his brother. I give it a solid 10 out of 10 for the trailer alone.
3. Battlefield Earth (2000)
This film stars John Travolta and Forest Whitaker and is set in the year 3000, where the ruling alien race Psychlos has enslaved humanity. It’s based on the book by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
A connoisseur of terrible movies insists this is the gold standard of unintentionally bad films, calling it the stuff of legends. To encapsulate just how bad they think it is, I leave you with this quote: “I simply couldn’t even fathom what perfect storm of events had to unfold to allow something so aggressively bad to exist on a multi-million dollar scale.”
Wait, they’re not done, “I honestly don’t think it could’ve been any worse if, literally, every person involved was actively trying to sabotage the film.” Quite possibly one of the lowest-rated films on IMDb, with a 2.5 rating.
4. Troll 2 (1990)
Troll 2 is a slight upgrade from the last film, at least earning a 2.9 IMDb rating. One individual thinks it gets funnier every time they watch it. The movie’s premise is a vacationing family discovers the town they’ve arrived at has been taken over by human-impersonating goblins who want to eat them.
A second user added more context, explaining the director was not a native English speaker but insisted the lines be spoken just as they were written.
5. Samurai Cop (1991)
Samurai Cop follows the lives of two police detectives who try to stop the Katana, a killer gang trying to lead the drug trade in L.A. The movie is famous for its supposedly fluent Japanese-speaking main character mispronouncing every other character’s name and uttering cringe lines.
When one character asks him what katana means, he responds, “It means Japanese sword.” The flat delivery is fantastic; I highly recommend this terrible gem, rated 4.6 on IMDb.
6. Zardoz (1958)
Rated 5.8 on IMDb, this X-rated film starring Sean Connery takes place in the late 23rd century. A savage who knows only how to kill is taken in by a bored community of immortals who are tasked with preserving man’s achievements. Someone says Zardoz fits the bill of an awful and amazing film.
Judging by the IMDb reviews, that assessment checks out. As one reviewer describes, it’s an “incredibly profound allegory disguised as a cheesy movie.” The trailer is simultaneously intriguing and disturbing.
7. The Fanatic (2019)
Poor John Travolta — this is the second terrible movie on this list that he stars in. Directed by Fred Durst, this psychological thriller is about a rabid fan who, when cheated out of the opportunity to meet his favorite action hero, resorts to stalking and increasingly sinister methods of getting the star’s attention.
Someone comments this is easily one of the worst movies that weren’t intentionally meant to be terrible because it takes itself so seriously. A commenter named Emily gives it credit purely because everything the movie could have possibly done wrong, it got wrong, which is no easy feat. The Fanatic is rated 4.1 on IMDb.
8. Cats (2019)
This film went viral online for supplying the internet with endless amounts of cringe. Despite having a star-studded cast including James Corden, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, and Jason Derulo, the CGI was bizarre, and the tone was weird.
Cats is based on the famous musical about a tribe of cats called the Jelicles who, every year, select one among them to ascend to the Heaviside Layer — a type of heaven-like rebirth for cats. One person who saw the movie on a date comments the movie was so bad it ended the relationship.
9. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
There’s some debate over whether this film is intentionally bad, but one commenter insists it’s worse than The Room — the certifiable worst movie of all time. Another clarifies, “The director legitimately thinks he’s the next Hitchcock.”
This movie, directed by James Nguyen, is about a flock of mutated birds descending upon a quiet California town, causing casualties. Two citizens fight back against the birds. The movie is an homage to Hitchcock’s The Birds but with terrible directing and CGI. It stands at a shockingly low 1.7 on IMDb.
10. The Happening (2008)
This movie singlehandedly destroyed both M Night Shyamalan and Mark Wahlberg’s careers. It’s about a science teacher and his family trying to survive a plague that somehow causes those infected by a plant neurotoxin to commit suicide. Most of the ridiculousness of this movie can be attributed to the awful writing and delivery of the lines.
A final moviegoer recited the famous line, “What? Noooo!” which is uttered by Wahlberg’s character in response to a woman who asks if he’s going to murder her in her sleep — it’s hilarious because the line is supposed to be believable but is delivered more like an SNL skit.
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