So Bad They’re Good: The Best Worst Movies
We’ve all seen them and indulged in some really guilty pleasure movies, but the ones that truly matter are the ones that are so bad they’re fantastic. The release of the recent biographical comedy The Disaster Artist revived audiences’ interests in some of their favorite worst movies, so let’s take a look back at some of the movies that are so bad you can’t help but go back for laughs.
- Release: 2003
- Director: Tommy Wiseau
- Stars: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle, Phillip Haldiman
- Rotten Tomatoes: 26% from Critics, 46% from Audiences
It’s arguably the best worst movie ever made, being one of the longest-running theatrical films with constant midnight screenings being held primarily in Los Angeles, along with other cities nationwide, in which audiences interact with the film in the same vein as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whether viewed as an intentional black comedy or a romantic drama, writer/director/producer/star Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic The Room‘s atrocious dialogue, bizarre plotting, bad CGI and terrible performances have made it one of the best films to rewatch strictly for laughs. The making of the film was detailed by star Greg Sestero in the non-fiction book The Disaster Artist, which was recently adapted into a film with James Franco directing and starring as the mysterious creator of the film. James’ brother Dave Franco portrays Sestero in the film.
- Release: 2008
- Directors: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
- Stars: Matt Lanter, Vanessa Minnillo, Gary “G Thang” Johnson, Kim Kardashian
- Rotten Tomatoes: 1% from Critics, 19% from Audiences
The Movie franchise has always been held to the lowest standards, as its vulgar humor, bland parodies and trashy scripts have offended nearly every critic with each film seemingly earning fewer positive reviews and growing worse in quality. But the one film that was so bad it actually had laughably awful moments was the lowest-reviewed in the series, Disaster Movie. Set around a group of friends trying to save the Earth from multiple disasters, the film featured almost 50 various parodies, ranging from Hannah Montana to Indiana Jones to Enchanted, all of them poorly written and poorly performed in such an outrageous manner one can’t help but let out some laughs along the way.
- Release: 1997
- Director: Luis Llosa
- Stars: Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson
- Rotten Tomatoes: 38% from Critics, 24% from Audiences
Two musical artists, an animatronic snake and six Golden Raspberry nominations. Need I say more? Centered around a documentary crew taken hostage by a snake hunter, Anaconda was such an over-the-top entry into the creature feature adventure horror genre that as it went on and the film reached new heights, it became worse and yet more fun, with the ridiculous performances from Jon Voight (National Treasure, Ray Donovan), Ice Cube (21 Jump Street, Friday) and Jennifer Lopez (Monster-in-Law, The Back-Up Plan) making it a terribly entertaining outing.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror
- Release: 2010
- Director: James Nguyen
- Stars: Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore, Janae Caster, Colton Osbourne
- Rotten Tomatoes: 19% from Critics, 25% from Audiences
Many movies that appear on lists of films so bad they’re great are often straight rip-offs of other, better films. Not only was Birdemic one of the biggest on this list, but it was also one of the best on this list, thanks in most part to its atrocious special effects, as well as its poor writing and even worse sound design. Incorporating a romance story into a horror story a la Shaun of the Dead, the film follows a young couple traveling to northern California for a vacation that comes under attack by endless swarms of malicious birds attacking and killing people. The element that drives audiences to revisit this film time and again is the terrible special effects of the birds, nearly all of which are poorly animated vultures or JPEG images of birds randomly rotating 360 degrees, and this love/hate relationship with the film drove the filmmaker to return to the series with a sequel in 2013.
- Release: 1999
- Director: Rodman Flender
- Stars: Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba, Seth Green, Elden Henson
- Rotten Tomatoes: 16% from Critics, 58% from Audiences
Two undead stoners, a hand possessed by demons and a soundtrack comprised mostly of The Offspring and David Garza, it must be the nineties. Named after the saying “idle hands do the devil’s work,” the film follows a stoner teenager whose hand becomes possessed by a demon on Halloween and goes on a killing spree, killing both his parents and his two best friends that come back to life as zombies. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the film aside from endless cliches and ripoffs from previous films, it still is certainly a film where the humor is so dumb-minded and over-abundant that it registers as a bit of guilty pleasure for both comedy fans and horror fans alike.
The Wicker Man
- Release: 2006
- Director: Neil LaBute
- Stars: Nicolas Cage, Leelee Sobieski, Ellen Burstyn, Frances Conroy
- Rotten Tomatoes: 15% from Critics, 17% from Audiences
We all know that remakes can never top or come close to the original, but there are some remakes that fall incredibly short of the mark, especially 2006’s The Wicker Man, starring notoriously over-the-top actor Nicolas Cage as a policeman who travels to a neo-pagan island in search of his ex-fiancee’s missing daughter. While the original received widespread praise from critics for its chilling premise and shocking ending, the remake became a cult hit for its terrible dialogue and poor performances resulting in countless moments of unintentional hilarity that still entertains audiences many years after its release.
You Got Served
- Release: 2004
- Director: Chris Stokes
- Stars: Marques Houston, Omari Grandberry, Jarell Houston, De’Mario Thornton
- Rotten Tomatoes: 16% from Critics, 69% from Audiences
This is one of the few movies that not only still retains its cult following nearly 15 years after its release, but also become one of the most referenced and parodied movies on the list, with the plot becoming inconsequential compared to the highlight of the film: the dance competitions. The film’s story, which no one truly remembers, is about two friends with dreams of opening their own hip-hop dance and recording studio and must overcome struggles of friendship and win a dance tournament to fulfill that dream. While its story is bland and predictable, and it dialogue is quite often atrocious, the cast of mostly hip-hop performers do good with their characters and the dance scenes are thrilling enough to watch to make this an enjoyable terrible film.
- Release: 2000
- Director: Roger Christian
- Stars: John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forrest Whitaker, Kim Coates
- Rotten Tomatoes: 3% from Critics, 11% from Audiences
Back before it became popular to ridicule the Church of Scientology in the mainstream, actor John Travolta was living it up in the religious group, becoming one of its most prominent members, which was both a blessing and a curse for the actor, especially when it came time for him to try and bring his pet project, Battlefield Earth, to the big screen. Based on the first half of the 1982 novel written by the founder of the Church of Scientology, the film follows a human in an Earth ruled for 1,000 years by aliens who leads a rebellion to rescue his species from becoming mining slaves. This is one of the legitimate worst movies on this list for good reason, thanks to its ridiculous over-usage of the Dutch camera angle, in which most viewers practically stumbled over after watching it, unsure which way was up and forgetting how to walk, its terrible visual effects, including the infamous shooting the leg off the cow scene and awful performance from Travolta, with the film becoming a fan hated/favorite a while after its release.
The Master of Disguise
- Release: 2002
- Director: Perry Blake
- Stars: Dana Carvey, Jennifer Esposito, Brent Spiner, Harold Gould
- Rotten Tomatoes: 1% from Critics, 32% from Audiences
It’s a shame to see what has become of comedian Dana Carvey’s career. Once a star thanks to Saturday Night Live and the hit spin-off movie series Wayne’s World, his career status took a hit following the critically-hated but audience-adored The Master of Disguise, with many critics unfavorably comparing it to his former SNL co-star’s hit movie series, Austin Powers. In the film, Carvey plays Pistachio Disguisey (yes, you read that right), a bumbling waiter who discovers his family’s hidden secret of being able to transform into any persona they can imagine and must use this gift when his parents are kidnapped by an evil thief. Due to its routine story, family-oriented humor and insanely short running time, it was regarded by many critics as one of the worst films of the decade, but thanks to these bizarre range of character personas and outrageous performance from Carvey, it’s become a cult hit with audiences in the years since its release.
- Release: 1990
- Director: Drake Floyd
- Stars: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie McFarland
- Rotten Tomatoes: 6% from Critics, 43% from Audiences
“They’re eating her, and then they’re gonna eat me. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOODDD!”
Behind The Room, this is easily the best worst movie ever made. Not even accounting for the fact this film has zero connections to the first Troll film released in 1986, this film featured no actual trolls, atrocious writing and terrible performances from its cast. But all of these aspects added up to one of the campiest and most guiltily enjoyable films ever made. The film centers around a family traveling to a rural farming community for a vacation that is filled with vegetarian goblins who transform people into plants to eat.
- Release: 1995
- Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
- Stars: Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Robin Shou, Bridgette Wilson
- Rotten Tomatoes: 34% from Critics, 58% from Audiences
It’s certainly one of the more quality efforts in the video game movie genre, but if you need some kind of hint at how bad this movie truly was, look at the photo above, just look at that terrible hair on the top of Christopher Lambert’s head. Following three fighters mentored by the Japanese thunder-god Raiden in a battle against the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung in a tournament to save the Earth, the film was criticized for cheap visual effects and terrible dialogue, but became a smash with fans that, though disappointed in the bloodless victories in comparison to the games’ grisly deaths, enjoyed the film for its campy feel that still captured the fun and thrill of the games on the big screen.
- Release: 2004
- Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
- Stars: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Terry Crews, Jamie King
- Rotten Tomatoes: 15% from Critics, 55% from Audiences
The Wayans family have been one of the most financially successful and audience-adored group of artists in the film industry, and though not every movie made was enjoyable schlock, the one that’s still so dumb that it remains one of their best is the 2004 comedy White Chicks. Following two African-American FBI agents who must go undercover as white women to thwart a socialite kidnapping ring, the film was full out insanely predictable, yet hilarious, gags that still can be seen throughout social media memes today, namely Terry Crews’ car karaoke of “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton, of which he recreated in the first season of Lip Sync Battle.
Batman & Robin
- Release: 1997
- Director: Joel Schumacher
- Stars: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman
- Rotten Tomatoes: 10% from Critics, 16% from Audiences
Bat nipples, endless ice puns and the death of the ’90s Batman franchise. Need I say more?
- Release: 1998
- Director: Roland Emmerich
- Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, Maria Pitillo
- Rotten Tomatoes: 16% from Critics, 28% from Audiences
If time has told us anything, it’s that Americans can very rarely bring over properties from foreign countries without severely screwing them up and causing disgust from the source’s fan base. Though the second Americanized Godzilla proved to be a smash hit in 2014, helping to spawn the Monsterverse being developed by Legendary Pictures, the first attempt was an absolute travesty of a film according to both critics and audiences alike, especially those that were fans of the original Toho’s original franchise that debuted in 1954. Toho themselves hated the film so much that, rather than eliminate the film from its canon, it renamed the creature seen in this film as “Zilla” and featured it in future incarnations of their franchise, including Godzilla: Final Wars, in which this film’s iteration was quickly defeated, a not too subtle message from Toho discrediting this version of the titular monster. However, for those unfamiliar with the franchise, or those looking for mindless action, this was the perfect bad film to watch, as its visual effects were solid for the time and the performances from Azaria and Broderick help deliver a fun and terrible adventure.
What do you think are the worst movies ever made? Let us know in the comments!