Movies require a ton of work and money to make, so studios attempt to make nothing but hit films. Of course, the reality is, more movies suck than don’t, and the world has been assaulted with thousands of terrible movies over the years.
Sometimes, a movie is so bad, it’s actually fun to watch. Ed Wood’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space is a perfect example of this, as it has a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes despite being absolute trash. At least the more-realistic audience rating makes more sense at 46%. As you’ll see on other entries on this list, the critics are clearly not from the same species as regular film-goers as they seem to get it wrong every time.
This list identifies those movies so bad, they’re just bad, and they are presented in no particular order.
10 Comedy—Jack And Jill (2011)
When it comes to Adam Sandler’s movies, they are often hit or miss. Some of his earlier work is outstanding while his more recent fare for Netflix has met with little more than a “meh” from audiences around the world. Still, he manages to get a few laughs in even his worst-rated flicks, but it’s hard to find anything funny about 2011’s Jack and Jill. The movie was so horrendously awful, it was nominated for 12 Razzies, and became the first film in the award show’s history to sweep the major awards for Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and Worst Actress (Both for Sandler).
If you haven’t seen the movie, please, for the love of God, don’t! It’s about the twins annoying one another during a Thanksgiving event, and it features some of the worst acting ever to grace the silver screen — and that’s taking into account the fact that Al Pacino is inexplicably in the movie. Oddly enough, it made a decent amount at the box office but was so critically panned, it’s somewhat surprising to see that it has a 3% (36% from non-critics) on Rotten Tomatoes.
9 Drama—Glitter (2001)
Glitter is all about Billie Frank, an orphan who grows up to become a superstar, and the film follows her life through her turbulent childhood to her discovery as a star. Mariah Carey took on the role of Frank, and while she made it clear that she could sing, she also made it crystal clear that being a great singer doesn’t mean you can act. The movie came about as a sort of passion project for Carey, having begun creating a soundtrack and film back in 1997. There were some delays, but she finished the project at what amounted to be the worst possible time.
The soundtrack dropped on September 11th, 2001, which meant that hardly anyone noticed, and the film followed ten days later. While the terrorist attacks didn’t help her project gain a lot of traction, the people who did see the film universally hated it. Carey’s acting was the primary source of criticism, and she even later said she regretted being involved in the project. In terms of money, the movie cost around $22 million to produce, and it only raked in a measly $5.3 million at the box office.
8 Science Fiction—Battlefield Earth (2000)
In 1982, L. Ron Hubbard published a book titled Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, and just about anyone who followed Scientology ate it up. To be fair, the book may be unnecessarily long, but it’s not the worst sci-fi book ever written. Still, it’s not one that could easily be adapted into a major motion picture, but if you tried to tell that to John Travolta in the 1980s and ‘90s, it would fall on deaf ears. Travolta worked hard to get the movie made, but the connections to Scientology and issues with the script kept it in development hell.
Sadly, 1998 changed all that when Franchise Pictures gave Travolta the green light and $73 million to turn his passion project into a reality. The movie was so incredibly awful, it’s an insult to science fiction and motion pictures in general. The over-the-top hammy acting by Travolta is inexcusable, seeing as he wasn’t new to the trade, and there really isn’t anything redeeming about the movie at all. It is arguably the worst movie ever made. Battlefield Earth won nine Golden Raspberry Awards and forced the production company into bankruptcy following fraud charges concerning the budget.
7 Romance—Gigli (2003)
Many years ago, the Hollywood “it” couple everyone was talking about was that of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. The two were dubbed “Bennifer” by the press, and their love was so true, they got to star in a movie that showcased it, and as you can imagine, it was awful. Gigli has a ridiculous plot, which involves a hitman taking a job to kidnap the younger brother of a federal prosecutor. Things get complicated, and not at all interesting when a beautiful gangster assigned to help him with a kidnapping starts stepping on his toes.
Gigli was, by all accounts, one of the worst movies ever made, (critics rate it 6% and normal people rate it 13%) and that is reflected in its box office performance, which established it as one of the most expensive flops of all time. The film cost $75.6 million to make, and that hardly makes sense, seeing as it’s not really an over-the-top action film. When the dust settled at the worldwide box office, it only managed to pull in $7.2 million. Gigli was directed by Martin Brest, who is best known for directing Midnight Run and Scent of a Woman, but Gigli ended up being his last directing job, which isn’t all that surprising, given what he ultimately produced.
6 Horror—Troll 2 (1990)
Horror is an interesting genre when it comes to identifying the worst, as many horror movies are shot on a shoestring budget, and aren’t all that great. That being said, some of the best horror films are shot for nearly nothing; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is arguably one of the best slasher films ever made, and it cost only $140,000 to produce. Finding the worst of the worst is no easy task, but fortunately, the studios made it easy for horror with the celluloid equivalent of a dumpster fire that is Troll 2.
Troll 2 was billed as a sequel to the 1986 film Troll, but the two movies have absolutely nothing in common with one another. Troll 2 was shot under the title, Goblins, and was meant to be a comedy. The producers didn’t feel that the movie would succeed, so instead of doing expensive reshoots, they opted to change the title, call it a sequel, even if it wasn’t one, and release it. Behind the scenes, the crew only spoke Italian, the cast only spoke English, and the resulting movie is the celluloid equivalent of utter nonsense.
5 Action—Batman & Robin (1997)
Back in 1989, when Tim Burton and Michael Keaton did Batman, there was a lot of concern that the movie would flop — it didn’t. The sequel wasn’t bad either, so Warner Bros. opted to continue making them, though the director and star changed in Batman Forever. When it came time for a fourth movie, the result was Batman & Robin, which is often considered to be both the worst action film of all time as well as the worst comic book film adaptation ever made, and that’s saying something, as there have been a ton of crappy comic book movies over the years.
George Clooney was cast to play Batman/Bruce Wayne, and while he could pull off a billionaire playboy without breaking a sweat, he was a terrible Batman. Add to that the plethora of cheesy villains, the horrible dialogue, which came off as little more than a string of bad puns and one-liners, and you’ve got yourself a terrible movie. The worst aspect of the film is probably the minor detail added to the hero’s costumes, as the costume department decided to add nipples, and nobody knows why anyone thought it was a good idea.
4 Adventure—Catwoman (2004)
Back in 2004, Halle Berry signed on to play Catwoman in the eponymous film, but she wasn’t originally slated for the role. When Batman Returns came out, the studio wanted Michelle Pfeiffer to star in a spinoff film, where she would play Selina Kyle, but it never manifested. The movie sat in development hell for years, but in 2004, it hit the theaters, and it was a massive flop. The movie completely changed the character into one who was unrecognizable to people who even had a vague understanding of who Catwoman was.
They changed her name, her origin story, her place in the DC Universe, and everything else about her making her a Catwoman in name only. Halle Berry did her best with what she was given, and it’s not as if she’s not a brilliant actress, but that didn’t stop her from receiving a Razzie nomination for Worst Actress. She was a good sport about it and is one of the rare examples where a star actually shows up to collect the unprestigious dishonor. When she accepted it, she said, “Thank you for putting me in a piece of s***, god-awful movie!”
3 Fantasy—Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
The first Highlander movie wasn’t a hit when it was released, but it soon became a cult classic with a large fan base. That movie was all about a group of people called the Immortals, who lived forever — right up to the point they were decapitated. While that would kill anyone, nothing else could kill them, so they had a leg up on the rest of humanity. That movie’s ending concluded the story, and there really wasn’t any reason to make a sequel… Sigh… if only Hollywood listened.
Highlander II was completely different from its original. It kept Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert in the franchise despite the fact that Connery’s character was killed in the first movie. The plot is incoherent, it changes the origin of the characters, and the added science-fiction element was laughably ridiculous. Everything about Highlander II served to undermine what made the first movie special, and as a result, it’s reviled by fans of the franchise. The director hated what he produced, and re-released the movie twice with different cuts in an effort to improve his creation.
2 Musical—From Justin To Kelly (2003)
American Idol is one of the most successful music competition shows ever made, and it stayed that way for years by adapting and changing its format a little bit here and there. The first season, which saw Kelly Clarkson win in the end, had a different prize package for the winner and runner-up. Clarkson got a record deal, and another ‘prize’ given to the top two performers was a movie all about them! While that may have seemed like a great way to push the show’s popularity into another medium, the movie that came out of it was disturbing, to say the least.
From Justin To Kelly starred Clarkson and Justin Guarini in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for Spring Break. The two kids meet, they fall in love with one another, various complications ensue, and they sing songs merrily on the beach. It was basically Beach Blanket Bingo but released in 2003 instead of 1965. The songs were banal, the so-called romance between the two leads lacked any and all chemistry, and it was quickly apparent that two people with absolutely no acting experience were thrown in front of a camera without much preparation of instruction.
1 Animation—Titanic: The Legend Goes On (2000)
When it comes to animation, there are tons of movies that could take the top prize in the genre. Mars Needs Moms is often cited as the worst animated film ever made, but that’s largely due to the fact that it cost an exorbitant amount of money to make, and it bombed. Then, there’s Titanic: The Legend Goes On from 2000, and the movie wasn’t just bad due to its terrible writing and animation; it was also bad because it was done in very poor taste, as it tried to capitalize on a historical tragedy by calling it a legend.
The term “rapping dog” should be the worst part of this movie, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The movie is more or less a ripoff of James Cameron’s epic tale Titanic from a few years earlier. The development was fraught with issues, which is why the animation and art style changes, almost from one scene to the next, and the strange cacophony of characters make the plot into complete nonsense. It’s also vastly inappropriate for children despite being marketed to them, and very little about the story makes any sense. It’s little more than a movie that should never have been made. Ever.
Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, and writer. He is a Retired Soldier and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects.