Friday, August 30, 2013

And The Worst Movie of All Time Is . . .

The RiffTrax company recently conducted a poll regarding the Worst Movie of All Time, the results of which have now appeared at Blastr. Notorious Z-grade movies like Troll 2, Manos: The Hands of Fate, and Plan 9 From Outer Space make the list (at #14, #20 and #23, respectively), as does the newer Birdemic: Shock and Terror (at #12) - exactly as one might expect given that RiffTrax was set up by the people who brought you Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yet, most of the movies are recent, high-profile blockbusters - with the whole Twilight series taking the #1 spot, Batman and Robin at #2, Catwoman at #3 - and, well, you get the picture.

There are some indisputably awful films here. However, the prominence of big-budget, high-profile, relatively recent theatrical releases reflects the flaw in this method - the fact for a "bad" movie to be recognized, it has to be widely seen, whereas a bad movie is more likely to be unceremoniously dumped on the market, unseen and forgotten. (Indeed, I suspect even Plan 9, Manos and the rest only made the lower rungs of the list because MST3K introduced them to a whole new generation of viewers, atypical in being bad movie aficionados.)

There also seems to be a lot of pure spleen being directed at films not so bad as their harshest detractors claim. Should Spider-Man 3 really have made the #4 spot (making it worse than Plan 9)? Star Wars Episode 1 #13, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull #15, X-Men 3 #16? It strikes me that these movies are simply being denigrated for disappointing a vocal minority of their viewership - one which came to them with unrealistic expectations (most pointedly in the case of Star Wars and Indy, but yes, also in the case of X-Men). Perhaps something of the same kind also goes for the Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993 (though I know that this one has its fans among a certain age group). Bad as they were (such that I have a really hard time defending them), even Batman and Robin and Catwoman hardly seem to warrant their places so close to the top.

Other resentments would seem to be at work here as well, notably in the bestowing of two slots on Transformers 2 and 3 (#10 and #20, respectively), which I suppose to be a function not just of the fashionability of Michael Bay-bashing, but a reaction on the part of those who feel he did badly by a franchise they grew up on. I wondered for a moment if the reaction to Twilight was not similarly motivated, but it seems to me more plausible that that movie's detractors are coming from a different place, that they are simply annoyed with the phenomenon (which I think also explains High School Musical's winding up at #11).

What do you think? Are there any picks you thought unreasonable? Or for that matter, any really bad movies you thought should have made the list in their places?

My Posts on Star Wars
X-Men: Days of Future Past

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