As perhaps a “sequel” to my earlier post 5 Really Bad Good Movies, here are five movies that the general public (but certainly not everyone) have declared to be really awful movies, that I think have artistic merit as a film and are well within the range of that ambiguous defining categorization of “good.”
1: Gerry (2002)
The first instalment in a trilogy by Gus van Sant is perhaps the best. It’s plot is simple, and some will say unoriginal, but the way Van Sant does it makes it different from all the other rubbish. It’s about two men, both named Gerry (played by Casey Affleck and Matt Damon), who go on a hiking trip in Death Valley and get mindlessly, hopelessly lost. Van Sant relishes in showing countless beautiful shots of the Valley, and likes to linger these shots for quite a long time. In fact, the film contains exactly 100 shots, no more no less, whereas a normal film of its length contains thousands. Many have criticised it for being boring, slow-paced and uneventful, but I see it as a beautiful work of art that sucks you in with its raw, subtle power. Gerry is, for better or worse, the most accurate and precise description of getting lost.
2: The Brown Bunny (2003)
Perhaps the movie with the worst reputation on this list, and one which I will continue to persevere with and try to understand is Vincent Gallo’s seminal, brutally subtle but hugely affecting drama which deals with the raw hurt and heartbreak of a man whose past is so bitterly latching onto him and eating away at him, that in every single frame we see the enormous toll it has taken on him. I wrote a review of the film not too long ago, and hopefully that’s enough to convince people who couldn’t see the sense in this movie to revisit it like I did. When I first saw it, I despised it. But in time, and by rewatching it, I soon began to see what Gallo was trying (albeit inconsiderately) to get across, and it blew my mind.
3: Funny Games (1997)
Okay, maybe this isn’t a hated film, but I’ve read more bad reviews than good and I seem to be the only person I know who really liked it. This is the first in a trilogy of 3 movies which I refer to as the Mid-Career Passageway, in which Haneke directed his three best movies, this, The Piano Teacher and Cachè. Funny Games is both a condemnation and tribute to cinematic violence. There is no real plot here; just mindless, senseless violence and a menial excercise in the pointlessness of it all.
4: Vanilla Sky (2001)
While certainly paling in comparison to its highly superior original, Abre Los Ojos, Cameron Crowe’s 2001 remake is nevertheless, not crap. It manages to retain at least some of the feel of the original, and is every bit as provocative and original as Abre Los Ojos seemed to its target audience at the time. How this got 40% on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond me.
5: Pink Flamingos (1972)
Okay, this is more of a so-fun-even-though-its-disgusting-Divine-makes-me-laugh-so-fucking-hard-with-her-accent-and-oh-my-god-just-look-at-the-shitty-cinematography-of-this-ugly-underground-film-is-that-no-no-no-she-isn’t-o-m-g-she’s-eating-a-dog-turd-oh-my-god-that-must-taste-awful-I-feel-kinda-dirty-for-watching-this-it’s-really-bad movie. It’s bad, sure, we know it’s bad, but we’re compelled to watch anyway.
What are some ‘confirmed’ bad movies that you enjoy? Do you like/dislike my choices? Leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading.
There are a lot of really disturbing movies out there, but I’ve been able to formulate a list of ten I’ll never be able to watch again. Some of them are just because they’re bad. Others are brilliant films that are just difficult to watch. Either way, these aren’t on my queue any time soon.
In no particular order:
A Serbian Film (2010)
Though I didn’t hate this movie, it’s certainly not good. Borderline pornography with explicit sex and violence, a lot of it seems wasted and pointless. The continuous references to paedophilia is more than unnerving… it’s disgusting. I’m not the kind of person who gets angry over those sort of things being in movies, but this is really sickening. 5/10. And that’s being very kind.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Again, not the kind of person who gets angry with violence, explicit sex or anything nastily gratuitous, but this is awful. I’m not an animal rights person, and I realize that the animals that died in this film will probably have died anyway at the hands of those natives, but I didn’t want to see it on camera. It was a complete waste of my time. And I usually love handheld camera movies. 3/10.
Salo, or: The 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
“All’s good if it’s excessive.” The line is scary enough, and what follows is horrifying. Pasolini’s “poem” about his hateful vision of Fascism got him killed, but despite its graphic and excessive content, it is a “beautiful” movie (don’t take that the wrong way, I mean the cinematography was beautiful) that leaves a pondering thought in my head every time it is discussed. I wish I could watch this again, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. 6/10.
This is a tricky one because I actually LOVE this movie. Gaspar Noé is a fantastic director. His swooping and sweeping camera will probably make you sick, and then there’s the infamous rape scene, which is the main reason it’s on this list. I might actually watch this movie again, but I think I’ll skip past the rape. 9/10. (The reason this film has such a high rating is for its final scene, so perfect it almost made me cry. Almost.)
The Idiots (1998)
I love Lars von Trier. Which makes my dislike of this movie all the more confusing to me. It’s filmed as one of his famed Dogme 95 (read my article on this fascinating genre here) but, surprisingly, that only makes the strange effect of the film seem even more shitty. I mean, did we really need unsimulated group sex? Seriously? Von Trier has a point he wants to make, but he makes it better with movies like Dogville and Antichrist. 4/10.
Funny Games (1997)
One of Michael Haneke’s most affecting movies, this is an essay on the pointlessness and insanity of violence, and how often, a lot of it is completely unmotivated. While we’re searching for the Why?, Haneke doesn’t care and relentlessly continues to push the What in our faces. It’s a tactic that works, though it’s difficult to watch. Once is enough. 8/10.
The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)
The premise is disgusting enough without the movie, which is surprisingly not as graphic as you might expect. But it is shitty. Really shitty. Which makes Daniel Tosh’s spoiler even funnier. An awful movie by all respects, even if this was halfway decent, the plot itself is enough to help you to decide which crowd you are in. Torture-porn lovers, eat your heart out. No, on second thought, don’t even try. This is too awful even for you. 2/10.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
Ah, John Waters. He has to make the list somewhere. And considering this is the only film of his I’ve seen (and I think it’s the only film I need to see), I can easily say that I have no desire to see Divine eating a dog turd again. Seeing it once is one time too many. It’s a fun movie, in its own disgusting cult way, and many an absurd, awkward laugh is likely to strike a few times throughout. 5/10.
The Last House on the Left (1972)
The most disturbing of all horror master Wes Craven’s films is not only a blatant insult (don’t call it a tribute, or a remake) to Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, it’s also gratuitous, annoyingly excessive and a waste of time. I didn’t feel sorry for the victims in this movie, but The Virgin Spring… now that was a movie that affected me, in a good way. 4/10.
This is the only film on this list I have actually seen twice, and once was when I was a kid. It scared the shit out of me, and when I rewatched it four years ago, I discovered it still retained that power. A film that wouldn’t normally horrify me, this is a smart, intelligent work of horrific cinema that continues to impress, please, and disgust. 8/10.
What do you think? What are some movies you could never watch again? Have you seen any of my choices? Whaddaya think? Leave a comment below and thanks for reading.
There are some sad people who look at a movie and judge it immediately by the title. It’s a dangerous and ignorant thing to do, but it does happen. Here are ten movie titles which, for some naive and inexperienced moviegoers can be very confusing and ambiguous, indeed.
A Clockwork Orange
There are no clocks, nor are their oranges which play any noticeable part in this film. What gives? Author Anthony Burgess says it is based on an old proverb “as queer as a clockwork orange.” However, the validity of Burgess’s statement is yet to be verified.
This is not a film about Las Vegas, but there are sins involved. I suppose, however, it is a better title than the actual name of the city in this film: Basin City.
David Cronenberg at his weirdest, this is not the film it may sound like, and it is a generally repulsive and disgustingly ugly film. When asked what its title meant, Cronenberg replied by defining it as “a frozen moment where everybody sees what is on the end of every fork.” Now I’m hungry.
No, this is not a film about drugs, drug trafficking or drug use, despite the presence of Benecio Del Toro.
If you’re looking for a laugh… keep looking. Michael Haneke’s name itself should drive all comedy-lovers in the opposite direction immediately.
A hilariously awful irony. The only person who is happy at the end of this film is a pre-teen boy who has learned to masturbate.
It sounds like some sort of obscure ambiguous comedy, but in reality it is a violent, explicit look at rough societies, social interaction and human repulsion. It may be only two hours, but with the horrific extended final hour, it feels much longer (in a good way).
Of all the misleading titles, this is the one that it would be the most disastrous to predetermine. Crappy cinematography and a generally distasteful attitude toward the human freakshow and its extremes, it is nevertheless a “classic” of underground cinema.
It Happened One Night
With today’s unflinchingly graphic portrayals of sexuality, it’s easy to see how some people might misinterpret this film’s title.
Un Chien Andalou
And finally, possibly the most misleading of them all, a 16-minute surreal masterpiece which is little more than a series of jumbled, Lynchian images collided together as one whole given the seemingly senseless title which translates in English to ‘An Andalusian Dog.’
That’s my ten, now tell me in the comments some more misleading titles, if you can think of any.
Thanks for reading.