Friday Five: Worst Movies

So I’m feeling positive today. Nice late summer day in central Pennsylvania. Sal 11000 Beta has started kindergarten. The RNC, for all the criticism. gave me some hope for the Republican party and I’m eagerly looking forward to watching the Democrats look stupid next week.

So time to bash. The Friday Five’s been positive; let’s find five things to dump on this week. What are the five worst movies you’ve ever seen. They can be badly made. They can be so bad it’s funny. They can have desecrated a book you like. Or they can be political annoyances.

My Five?

Battlefield Earth: This is almost “so bad it’s good”. This came on HBO quite a bit when the cable company had mistakenly given me access and I was finishing my dissertation. It’s the Springtime for Hitler of movies: just so awful, in every respect, that you can’t look away.

Death Becomes Her: I’ll quote myself: I never thought I could despise a film with Isabella Rosselini in it, but there you go. Not even so bad it’s good. Just bad bad bad unwatchable.

Shining Through: It probably isn’t this bad, but I spent the entire movie laughing at the plot and at Melanie Griffith’s “german”. Read Mr. Cranky’s review.

Showgirls: “Oh, it can’t be that bad,” we said. “It’s got lots of naked women, so we can at least watch,” we said. “Jesus God, turn this crap off!,” we screamed. Girls Gone Wild has better writing.

Batman and Robin: I could have put lots of bad sequels here. But B&R was so bad, so miscalculated, so epically horrible it almost killed the Batman franchise. It took Christopher Nolan’s genius to bring it back.

I’ll throw out out a dishonorable mention, which is Jerry Maguire. I know a lot of people love it. I know people who would list it as their favorite film. And I can look a little more objectively and see some good parts. But I couldn’t and can’t stand it. And it’s made worse by people trying to convince me to like it. Maguire, more than anything else, made me more sympathetic to people who hate films I love. Star Wars haters must know a thousand times my pain.

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  1. Thrill

    No particular order:

    1. I (Heart) Huckabees. Really stupid.

    2. Dungeons and Dragons. What the fuck, Jeremy Irons?

    3. The Phantom Menace. If you haven’t watched the long Red Letter Media review of this, drop what you are doing and watch it now.

    4. New Wave Hookers 4. If I’m spending my time watching a porno going “whaaaa?”, I am not aroused.

    5. Sucker Punch. Never before has a movie used so many things that are cool, distorted them, and put them into one place where they wholly sucked. Bless its heart. It really tried. I got it on pay-per-view and got maybe halfway through. Shitastic.

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  2. Iconoclast

    In my view, the worst offenders are remakes that should have never been (re)made. It seems that Hollywood has a fetish for taking a decent classic movie, gutting the story, and filling in with modern special effects. I guess it’s a reliable formula for turning a quick buck. In no particular order…

    1. Planet ot the Apes. The worst offense was allowing the humans to speak, and what was with that trying-to-be-sexy-to-humans Ari character?

    2. The Day the Earth Stood Still. Keanu Reeves’ Klaatu was an expressionless bore. Michael Rennie’s version seemed to care about humanity from the start, but Reeves’ “there’s another side to you” was contrived and unconvincing. John Cleese had the best role and best performance.

    3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I read the story as a kid, and saw the original movie “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, starring Gene Wilder in the title role. I doubt that the original could be made today, with its politically incorrect jabs at improper parenting (indulging and spoiling kids, etc). Johnny Depp’s Wonka was a creepy Michael Jackson look-alike who never grew up.

    There are some remakes that are actually better than the originals, but they will have to wait for an appropriate “Friday Five” topic…

    Filling out the list:

    4. Bridesmaids. My wife chose this crapfest for our Redbox Movie Night, and even she admitted it was a terrible movie.

    5. Beastmaster III. I’m actually embarrassed to admit that I even tried to watch this train wreck. Couldn’t finish it, though.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    2. Dungeons and Dragons. What the fuck, Jeremy Irons?

    Lol! It would have been great if someone like Roger Ebert had made that sentence his entire review. I’m reminded of Mr. Cranky’s review of Spice World.

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  4. Section8

    Shining Through

    For a second there I thought you had lost all sanity and wrote The Shining. Like WTF?

    I can’t think of 5 right now, but here are a few in no particular order

    Gone in 60 Seconds (I think it was called this to determine how long it would take a smart person to walk out of the theater. Unfortunately I wasn’t one of them)

    Bringing out the Dead

    Any Adam Sander “comedy”

    Any Mystery Science Theater movie without the commentary of guy and puppets.

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  5. CM

    Hal, you’ve picked great (as in bad) films. I also agree with The Phantom Menace – boring, boring, boring.
    I’ll add Enemy At The Gates. So much money spent and so much potential but bad casting, awful script and terrible acting. I could not believe it.
    Reindeer Games
    Transformers
    Speed 2
    The Love Guru
    American Pie (the first one was good, the second ok, the remaining were terrible)
    Most of those modern spoof movies. A few of the early ones had enough quality gags to make the weak ones acceptable, but then they moved pretty quickly towards being almost all lame and obvious jokes and I wonder why they bother.

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  6. HARLEY

    Amazing grace and chuck… a kid and a NBA player team up to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

    Speed 2………………….Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    McHales navy……. the remake..

    The Bourne movies….. Ben Crapflack.. nuff said.

    Slasher movies.. any that are set in a rural area where the nice young pretty city kids get ASSulted by inbredsisterfuckingmutantrednecktrailertrash.

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  7. Seattle Outcast

    1) Anything by Woody Allen

    2) Anything that contains the thing known as Barbra Streisand

    3) Spawn

    4) Most of Ben Stiller’s work

    5) That shitty thing with Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas as assassins – so bad I can’t even remember the name

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  8. Poosh

    Inglorious Bastards < the Tarintino one. Prime example of pure shit on screen, 100% style and 0% substance, and shameful given it's content. Everything is bad here, and everything is a waste of time. Even Brad Pitt is shit in it. It's the most childish, pathetic movie I've ever seen in my life with plot holes and flaws that no other film can match, and it's MADE FOR ADULTS which makes it even worse.

    Battlefield Earth < still don't understand how it got made.

    The Help < feel good liberal movie where whites defeat segregation through happy thoughts. Critically acclaimed. Go figure.

    All slasher movies ever made

    Closer still don’t understand what happened … what was it even about!?

    Spiderman 3 and Shooter should probs be in there somewhere.

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  9. Thrill

    Transformers

    Aaaargh. The Transformers movies are awful. Problem is that I’m loyal to the franchise and I pay to see every damn one of them.

    I’ve never watched any one of them twice though. They are…bad. Awesomely bad, but bad.

    Most of those modern spoof movies. A few of the early ones had enough quality gags to make the weak ones acceptable, but then they moved pretty quickly towards being almost all lame and obvious jokes and I wonder why they bother.

    Like Epic Movie and Not Another Teen Movie? I feel that.

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  10. Poosh

    How is the first Transformers movie awful? It’s bad as a Transformers movie, but a fairly good Popcorn summer romp. What’s your problem exactly? Transformers II is terrible due to the sheer amount of plot holes … but Transformers 3 IS the Transformers movie that should have been made all along. Dark Side of the Moon is a great Transformers movie, that we could expect Michael Bay to make at least.

    Dark Side Of The Moon was a perfect “sorry” from Michael Bay. The first Transformers movie was just an alien romp movie which is what annoyed me. But Transformers 3 was totally the cartoon put on the big screen + the 3D was actually damn good for once (not seen any any 3D movie other than Phantom Menace with good 3D.. and I’ve seen Avatar… OMG

    AVATAR: EASILY one of the worse movies made for ages. I cheered when they blew up Home Tree.

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  11. Thrill

    My complaints about Transformers? Well, let me start by saying that I totally agree with you on the fun, summer popcorn movie aspect. It’s not supposed to be brilliant. Just awesome and explode-y.

    The major complaints I have are:

    1. The failure to treat the Transformers as anything but props. NO character development for any of them

    2. The heavy focus on the human characters, who are largely amusing and fun, but NOT why I paid to see the movies

    3. The fact that they are Big Dumb Movies. Explosions, fast cars, hot bitches! It’s cheap and juvenile.

    4. Slow motion shots. Just way overdone

    5. Linkin Park. They need to be stopped.

    I mean, you can enjoy the movies for just being fun spectacles but nobody should be pretending that they’re especially great or memorable.

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  12. repmom

    Sorry, but I must protest a few listed.

    Harley – the Bourne movies are great. I loved them!

    Poosh – The Help was excellent. The book and the movie. Several of my friends – all conservatives – went to see it, and loved seeing those white snob bitches eat sh*t. Maybe you just had to be female to appreciate it.

    Avatar – enjoyed it as well.

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  13. CM

    Yeah I’m a big fan of the Bourne films. Ultimate proof that you can have intelligent seat-of-the-pants action films. I’m kind of over dumb blockbusters – I now feel like I’m wasted my time (maybe that’s something that happens when you get older I guess). There are now enough intelligent films with good action that I don’t feel I need to waste time with the unintelligent paint-by-number ones.
    I’ve watched all four Bourne films in the last week (Legacy at the cinema, then the other three on bluray – hadn’t seen them since when they came out). Excellent. Legacy was far better than I expected it to be – Jeremy Renner was superb. And I’m always a sucker for Rachel Weisz (Enemy At The Gates notwithstanding). Glad they handed the reigns over to Gilroy, he did an excellent job.

    Avatar – very average really. If it hadn’t been for the 3D (before any of the subsequent 3D films) I would have felt ripped off.

    Not a Woody Allen fan either, although Manhatten Murder Mystery wasn’t bad.

    ‘Worst Movies’ is a difficult one because I’m quite picky about what I choose to watch. I usually know a fair amount about the film (at least I know if it’s well reviewed). I’m still deciding if I’m going to see ‘Jack Reacher’, given I know I’ll probably be very disappointed.

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  14. Screamin

    Whoooweee…how to narrow it down to 5? In no particular order:

    Battlefield Earth – a giant scientology self-flagellation extravaganza…what a joke.

    Mortal Kombat 2 – Yes, I saw it. I’m a gamer, leave me alone.

    Wanted: The Weapons of Fate – Not even Angelina could save this dung heap.

    White Chicks – What an aggregious waste of cellulose. I thought I couldn’t stand the Wayans’ before…

    Napoleon Dynamite – I still get angry thinking about the fact I wasted 90 minutes of life to watch this utter and complete steaming pile.

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  15. Thrill

    Woody Allen’s movies from the 70’s haven’t held up over the years for some reason. Yet Mel Brooks’s from the same era have.

    And Monty Python stuff that was barely known when it was released in the US is now recitable by every American college kid.

    No idea why.

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  16. Hal_10000 *

    5) That shitty thing with Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas as assassins – so bad I can’t even remember the name

    Eck vs. Sever. Good God. I saw about ten minutes and that was enough. Ten minutes of a Barney Frank sex tape would have been better.

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  17. Thrill

    Does anyone mind if I go ahead and pre-emptively hate some films that haven’t been made yet?

    1. Connect Four: The Movie

    2. Aquaman

    3. 2019: 2012 Part 2

    4. BHO: Unprecedented and Underappreciated

    5. Family Guy: The Search for Peter’s Ass

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  18. repmom

    CM – haven’t had a chance yet to see the new Bourne movie

    Avatar – not a great story line, but cool special effects. No Titantic, for sure, but still good.

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  19. Argive

    I really like movies that are so bad they’re awesome. Of course, watching them, even in a large group, can occasionally be pretty bad, but there are some gems out there.

    1. Troll 2. As far as I’m concerned, this is the bad movie champ. The director and crew were all from Italy and barely spoke any English, while the cast didn’t speak Italian. They never had more than a few pages of script per day and none of the actors had any real acting experience (boy, does it ever show). The movie has nothing to do with Troll 1. They named it Troll 2 to cash in on the (modest) success of Troll 1, but there are no actual trolls in the film, only vegetarian goblins who live in a town named Nilbog (spell that backwards). One of the actors recently directed a (legitimately good) documentary called Best Worst Movie, which deals with the film’s production and cult following.

    2. The Room. Oh boy. The director, writer, executive producer and star of this piece of crap is a gentleman named Tommy Wiseau, who funded the film himself by raising money doing God knows what. I think it had something to do with importing bootleg consumer goods from Korea. In any case, it features some of the worst acting you’ll ever see. Check out this famous scene, for instance. It also happens to be the most blatantly sexist movie I’ve ever seen.

    3. Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Title says it all, I think. Check out the trailer. Most of the movie is exactly like that.

    4. Starcrash. A crappy Star Wars knockoff from the 1970s that features David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer. Truly painful to watch. Should Comedy Central ever do a Christopher Plummer roast, they should just play all of his scenes from this movie.

    5. The Apple. A disco adaptation of the Book of Genesis in which Lucifer is a record producer named Mr. Boogalow. I’ll let Nathan Rabin of the Onion AV Club take it away:

    When it comes to the trippy cinema of excess of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, the eternal question “What were they thinking?” can be replaced with “What were they smoking/snorting/ingesting/freebasing?” In the case of The Apple I’m sure an itemized list could be assembled at the end of filming: pounds of cocaine, tubs of LSD, a truckload full of PCP, disco biscuits aplenty, and enough amphetamines to kill an entire stable of horses.

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  20. thelastdakrat

    1. Noise: Leads the pack by a mile. This is about a cop with a case of tinnitus trying to solve a murder…or something. See, I’m actually not sure because a good deal of this shitfest consisted of watching actors talking to each other, but instead of hearing them all you hear is a very high pitch tone that makes you want to stick an ice pick through your eardrum. Sometimes this would go on for over 30 seconds. I guess this was supposed to put you inside the head of the main character, but just made me want to torture everyone involved. Not just a horrible movie, but a movie that is literally physically painful to experience.

    2. Dr. Zhivago: The most boring four hours you’ll ever spend wishing you were in a gulag instead of watching this dreadful movie.

    3. Atonement: Somebody needs to atone for making this movie.

    4. Teeth: this is one that’s so bad it’s wonderful. A coming of age story about a girl with teeth in her vajayjay. At first it terrifies her, but soon she starts using it to get revenge. Warning for multiple graphic depictions of severed penis.

    5. Dune: the David Lynch version. Words cannot describe how that bastard shit all over the masterpiece that was the book. The weirding way as a box that amplifies sound into a weapon? Fuck you David Lynch. Fuck you with a red hot poker.

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  21. Biggie G

    I usually don’t watch bad movies on purpose, but the worst ones that I can think of right now are:

    AI: Spielberg doing Kubrick. This has to be awesome right? Boring and indecipherable. It could have been OK if they didn’t tack on that ending.

    Your Highness: Just plain awful. Not funny or clever. It wasted what little potential it may have had. I don’t know if I will ever see another Danny McBride movie.

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  22. Mississippi Yankee

    They Saved Hitler’s Brain – prolly doesn’t need an explanation.

    D.E.B.S. and D.O.A.: Dead or Alive – two movies that were sooo bad they became almost cute.

    The Taking of Pelham 123 – the remake. Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw should have sued and shot Denzel and Travolta.

    The Fountain – I watched this POS only because I was enamored with Rachel Weisz. Much of my lust for her died that night.

    Popeye – the only movie to cause to walk out of the theater.

    From my selections you can tell I’m older that sliced bread. There’s a lot more but they start to become obscure.

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  23. InsipiD

    I’m glad I’m not the only one to mention Troll II (and I’ll watch a bad movie just to watch it).

    Troll II
    Titanic II
    Frankenhooker
    Going Overboard
    Cool As Ice

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  24. repmom

    My list –

    The American – boring, boring, boring

    Leaving Las Vegas – the most depressing movie ever

    Born on the 4th of July – see above

    Forest Gump – stupid, stupid, stupid

    The Bounty Hunter. – I could make a long list of ridiculous romantic comedies, but I will let this one be representative of the rest of them.

    There are probably others more deserving of making the list, but these are the only ones coming to mind right now.

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  25. Thrill

    I liked the “Depp” one. I read the book too and thought that the newer movie version was pretty faithful to it (the song lyrics are even the same).

    However, I’m of that age that the Gene Wilder version is more personal, more nostalgic. There’s a lot more charm to it and I do think that Wilder’s Wonka was better by far (and without the ick factor).

    Another twenty years and the Depp one will be completely dominant though…assuming it doesn’t get rebooted again.

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  26. CM

    The Fountain – I watched this POS only because I was enamored with Rachel Weisz. Much of my lust for her died that night.

    Thanks for the heads up. I will avoid at all costs to protect my….er…..enarmorations.

    However, I’m of that age that the Gene Wilder version is more personal, more nostalgic. There’s a lot more charm to it and I do think that Wilder’s Wonka was better by far (and without the ick factor).

    Totally agree.

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  27. Section8

    How much does anyone want to bet all these movies are readily available on Netflix? Maybe I’ll watch some of these. I’ve already watched the 10 or so decent movies they have. I used to like Netflix, but if it were its own cable channel. It would be called the poop network.

    Anyhow, welcome back Alex and Thrill. Thrill, been by Arrowhead lately?

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  28. Iconoclast

    Spoiler alert…

    I liked the “Depp” one. I read the book too and thought that the newer movie version was pretty faithful to it (the song lyrics are even the same).

    Hmm, in the book, I don’t recall Wonka forcing Charlie to choose between the factory and his family — I remember Wonka cheerfully telling Charlie that his whole family was welcome to move into the factory. Am I remembering it wrong? It has been a while…

    And that whole aversion to parents thing, Depp’s Wonka being unable to even say the word when in Charlie’s house. Don’t recall that being in the book either…

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  29. Thrill

    Thrill, been by Arrowhead lately?

    Ha! No, I haven’t. Been to Kaughman to watch the Royals more recently (ugh).

    Am I remembering it wrong?

    No, you’re right. The whole Wonka Daddy Issues subplot is unique to that movie. The Gene Wilder Wonka is closer to the book, but the Depp story version itself is closer to the book. The Wonka character has HUGE differences. Some of them were baked right in the cake, like Depp’s Wonka being waay too young to have been Grandpa Joe’s boss.

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  30. HARLEY

    “The Bourne movies………Ben Crapflack……..nuff said.”

    Close, Harley, but no cigar. Matt Damon, Ben’s best bud.

    oh yeah, thats right, my bad… but still .ack..
    May i add to my list, the remake of Dark Shadows…… oh god, saw it last night…

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  31. HARLEY

    . Teeth: this is one that’s so bad it’s wonderful. A coming of age story about a girl with teeth in her vajayjay. At first it terrifies her, but soon she starts using it to get revenge. Warning for multiple graphic depictions of severed penis.
    Oh god that was bad….. what i REALLY disliked was the creepy ending , where she goes off on a Mission to Chew off perckers..

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  32. repmom

    May i add to my list, the remake of Dark Shadows……

    It wasn’t too bad for a summer flick, but definitely disappointing. Could have been so much better.

    I have one more to add –

    Pirates of the Caribbean – all but the first one. It was entertaining. The rest – just bad, each one more so than the last.

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  33. DonnaK

    Okay, I have to wade in on this one. Given I’ve been watching a movie a night for about seven years now I’ve found some doozies. Mostly everything you guys have posted is at least watchable. Want some that are so unbearably bad that even I could barely sit through them? Here you go…

    1) The Last Circus. It sounded like it would be so bad it would be good, but in fact was so damn terrible I kind of wanted to claw my eyes out. Ugh.

    2) The Brown Bunny. This is everything you’ve heard about and more. So, so, so awful.

    3) Book of Revelation. This film contradicts itself so many damn times I wanted to just scream. It’s utterly nonsensical and ludicrous to the Nth degree.

    4) The Bed You Sleep In. In all seriousness… this is a 15 minute short blown up to a full length film. Between each and every scene is a 10-15 minute pan shot that shows NOTHING. I had to keep fastforwarding it to try and finish. Epically bad.

    And the worst movie I’ve ever seen…

    5) Tarnation. I had to finish it just to say I did. Honestly and without question the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

    I could go on (no, really, I could) but that’s enough.

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  34. Argive

    Troll 2! Love it. That’s a thread-winner.

    Thanks! I can’t decide which scene is my favorite. I guess you can’t go wrong with this classic.

    AI: Spielberg doing Kubrick. This has to be awesome right? Boring and indecipherable. It could have been OK if they didn’t tack on that ending.

    I liked how hair saved the day.

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  35. Nexus

    1. Atlas Shrugged Pt.1- Ayn Rand is turning in her grave.

    2. Battlefield Earth- I think we’re all in agreement here.

    3. Highlander 2- He’s an alien? Is that the best you can do?

    4. Megaforce- The bottom 1% from the 80’s

    5. AI- Very artificial and not much by way of intelligence.

    Dishonorable mention- Dragonball Z: Goku is white??

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  36. Hal_10000 *

    I always liked what Mr. Cranky said about Battlefield Earth. If you were a scientologist, watching it was like seeing the Pope catch on fire during Easter Mass.

    Also: Woo-hoo! I provoked Donna to comment! I’m amazed at your endurance for watching movies.

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  37. Section8

    Ha! No, I haven’t. Been to Kaughman to watch the Royals more recently (ugh).

    Watching who? :)

    Seriously though, good to see you back. Yeah, I’m going to have to try to get out to Arrowhead eventually. Of course, I’ve been saying that for years. One of these days I guess.

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  38. West Virginia Rebel

    In no particular order:

    Eyes Wide Shut

    One of Kubrick’s last movies, still don’t get it

    The Day After Tomorrow/2012 (tie)

    A reminder of why most disaster movies are crap to begin with

    Staying Alive

    John Travolta and the early Eighties don’t mix

    Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

    Worst of the original movies, I won’t even get into the Ewoks

    Battlefield Earth

    Ron Hubbard could have been one of the great science fiction/pulp writers if he hadn’t gone and started that cult

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