Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

What’s the worst film of all time?

It’s not the silly season yet, so don’t take the question too seriously. Obviously, it’s always good fun to attach that title to something that people really love. If I want to annoy students, I generally suggest that the worst …

Tue, Apr 19, 2011, 22:30

   

It’s not the silly season yet, so don’t take the question too seriously. Obviously, it’s always good fun to attach that title to something that people really love. If I want to annoy students, I generally suggest that the worst film of all time is Fight Club. I don’t suppose I really believe that, but the hollow, posturing, knuckle-headed pretensions of that film do really set my teeth on edge. Yes I know that we are not supposed to take Tyler Durden’s sermons entirely seriously, but the film does still — and Chuck Palahniuk confirmed this to me in person — have something to do with a supposed “crisis in masculinity“. Aww, diddums. Are the poor little menny wenny laid low by several millennia of patriarchal dominance? Let’s have a whip round and, while we’re at, let’s raise some money for distressed millionaires and troubled movie stars. I mean, honestly.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Most everyone has their own favourite worst film, but, if yours falls among the bottom 20 of the IMDb voters’ list then you probably need to get out a little more. Here’s the current sh*t parade…

1.  Dream Well (2009)

2.  Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)

3.  Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)

4.  Daniel – Der Zauberer (2004)

5.  Monster a-Go Go (1965)

6.  Night Train to Mundo Fine (1966)

7.  Ben & Arthur (2002)

8.  Pocket Ninjas (1997)

9.  The Skydivers (1963)

10.  The Starfighters (1964)

11.  Zombie Nation (2004)

12.  Pledge This! (2006)

13.  Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag (2007)

14.  Zaat (1971)

15.  From Justin to Kelly (2003)

16.  The Little Fox 2 (2008)

17.  Too Beautiful (2005)

18.  Disaster Movie (2008)

19.  The Final Sacrifice (1990)

20.  The Hillz (2004)

Don’t get me wrong. It’s an entertaining chart to peruse. But, over the years, it has become completely taken over by a kind of anti-canon. A series of admittedly terrible films — Manos: The Hand of Fate, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, From Justin to Kelly — have become installed as the trash establishment and, thus, gained a sort of unwanted critical traction. Naming one of these as the worst ever film is a little like naming Citizen Kane as the best. You might be right (after all, how many films are better than Kane?), but the choice doesn’t say much about your capacity for original thought.

Having said all that, there is always some movement in the chart. I suspect that, just as those involved with independent flicks that need a boost sometimes devote themselves to hitting the “10 stars” button over and over again, the crew, backers and cast of utterly terrible films strive to get their projects to the top (bottom?) of this list.

Be honest. You’re really intrigued by Dream Well, the current number one. Actually, it does sound fascinating. Apparently, it is a Hungarian high-school comedy that seems to model itself on the likes of Mean Girls. Oh, come on. Don’t tell me that got there by accident. Director Gábor Forgács and his mates must have been working the keyboard night and day. The trailer — identifying it under the alternate title Dream.Net — suggests that it is no worse than its American equivalents.

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