Before you shell out at least $10 for a movie ticket, you probably want to know if a film is worth the money. And chances are, the place you consult for that insight is Rotten Tomatoes. The immensely popular aggregator culls together reviews from film critics to create a by-consensus score for each and every movie. The site ranks movies by a wide variety of factors, including number of reviews, the year it came out, and the genre it falls under. Truly wonderful ones are given the “certified fresh” stamp of approval, while the lowest-rated movies are deemed “rotten.”
We do plenty of talking about the best of the best in cinematic history, but what about the worst of the worst? From awful sequels like Jaws: The Revenge, to a Jim Carrey dark thriller, to a whole lot of John Travolta, here’s a look at the worst movies on Rotten Tomatoes. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
The third movie in the Bad News Bears trilogy followed the underdog little league team of the title to Japan, where they faced new rivals. The end result was catastrophic and it was panned by critics. Even Jackie Earle Haley, who plays the role of Kelly Leak in all three films, considers the franchise’s swan song to be the “worst movie ever made.”
If this picture didn’t say it already, Megaforce—about an elite army of international fighters equipped with high-tech weaponry—is vastly cheesy. Even stronger action sequences and better special effects couldn’t help this movie overcome the disaster it was destined to be. In her review in the New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, “The movie was filmed in the desert through red-brown filters, and there seem to be big clouds of dust everywhere. At best, it will make you thirsty.”
This sequel to the massive 1977 hit Saturday Night Fever was directed and co-written by Sylvester Stallone and stars the original film’s disco king, John Travolta. But big names did not equal a big win in this case. Though Staying Alive was a box office success—earning $127 million worldwide on a $22 million budget—it was panned by critics. In fact, Entertainment Weekly later deemed it the “worst sequel ever made.”
But on the upside, Staying Alive was named one of the 100 most enjoyably bad movies ever made, according to the opposite of the Oscars, the Golden Raspberry Awards, AKA the “Razzies.”
In 1979, 10 made Bo Derek a star. But five years later, Bolero made her a laughingstock. Written and directed by her husband John Derek, Bolero had its leading lady traipsing around the globe for the sole purpose of finding a man to sleep with.
Bolero was nominated for nine Razzies, and won six. In 1990, the movie was once again in contention for a Razzie—Worst Picture of the Decade—but Mommy Dearest took the prize.
This romantic comedy about a baseball player (Michael O’Keefe) who becomes convinced his free-spirited wife (Rebecca De Mornay) is a lucky charm was written by the legendary Neil Simon (The Odd Couple). Perhaps, critics wouldn’t have been so vicious in their assessment of the dismal love story if a comedic genius wasn’t attached to it.
Panned for the lack of chemistry between the miscast leads, The Slugger’s Wife couldn’t even redeem itself as a great sports movie. According to TV Guide, “It is one of the most disappointing, least credible films about baseball in recent memory.”
A movie about gymnasts trying make it to the Olympics would seem to be the perfect vehicle for an actual gold medal-winning gymnast. But Mitch Gaylord should have stuck to the vault and steered clear of the silver screen.
In his review of the movie, the Los Angeles Times’ Patrick Goldstein called American Anthem “a dim-witted film that attempts feebly to breathe some life into the story of a young gymnast’s bumpy quest for success.”
Jaws: The Revenge has the distinction of finally sinking the franchise for good. The fourth Jaws movie was nominated for four Razzies and won one for Worst Visual Effects. It made Entertainment Weekly’s list of the worst movie sequels ever, and Empire ranked it among the 50 worst movies ever. Period.
The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes sums up the fourth installment of the Police Academy franchise as “utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny.” The film marks the last appearance by Steve Guttenberg as Carey Mahoney and it also has the dubious honor of being the only Police Academy movie to receive a Razzie nomination—for Worst Original Song for “Let’s Go to Heaven in My Car.” For the record, it lost to “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael from Beverly Hills Cop II.
In addition to being a “bald-face copy of E.T.,” according to the L.A. Times, Mac and Me is basically a 94-minute commercial for McDonald’s. The movie is about a boy in a wheelchair (Jade Calegory) who befriends an alien named Mac (which stands for Mysterious Alien Creature).
Coincidentally, Mac develops an affection for McDonald’s—and the film infamously includes a five-minute dance sequence, featuring Ronald McDonald. Mac and Me also received four Razzie nominations, and Ronald McDonald won for Worst New Star.
Even former ’80s heartthrobs Corey Feldman and Corey Haim couldn’t save this movie—and once you hear the plot, you’ll understand why. It’s about an elderly couple who transport themselves into the bodies of two high-schoolers, Bobby Keller (Feldman) and the object of his affection, Lainie (Meredith Salenger). Dream a Little Dream grossed a paltry $5.5 million at the box office, and critic Roger Ebert called it an “aggressively unwatchable movie.”
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege is the last Police Academy movie to include original cast members Bubba Smith, Marion Ramsey, Bruce Mahler, Lance Kinsey, and George R. Robertson. In her Chicago Tribune review, critic Johanna Steinmetz gave the movie half a star and said, “This movie is so studiously inoffensive that even Walt Disney probably would have been comfortable with it. (But he would have picked up the pace.)”
Sometimes a movie isn’t irredeemably awful as much as it is utterly forgettable. Rotten Tomatoes is littered with the remains of interchangeable and uninspired slapstick, including Madhouse. This comedy stars Kirstie Alley and John Larroquette as a married couple whose home is overrun by unwanted houseguests. Hijinks ensue as the twosome attempt to oust the usurpers.
In his review for the L.A. Times, Michael Wilmington wrote, “Madhouse grabs you by the lapels and tries to shake the laughs out of you. But it’s never very funny.”
The original Highlander wasn’t a commercial or critical success. But the tale of immortal warriors became a cult classic anyway. Despite the return of stars Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, the sequel proved disappointing. Ebert called it “the most incomprehensible movie I’ve seen in many a long day—a movie almost awesome in its badness.”
Highlander II: The Quickening still managed to gross more in its opening weekend at the box office ($5.3 million) than its predecessor ($2.5 million). So, at least there’s that!
Nearly three decades ago, a 14-year-old Brooke Shields made waves in The Blue Lagoon. In 1991, a whole new generation was introduced to two new nubile teens (Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause) on a desert island in Return to the Blue Lagoon.
The 1991 sequel failed to even recoup its modest budget of $11 million, and Jovovich earned a Razzie nomination. Jo Berry of Radio Times called it “a textbook example of a disaster that amazingly manages not only to contain bad acting and an appalling script, but also some of the most unconvincing love scenes ever committed to film.”
The third and final film in the Look Who’s Talking franchise, Look Who’s Talking Now!, stars Alley and Travolta once again. The two reprise their roles as Molly and James Ubriacco, parents to Mikey (David Gallagher) and Julie (Tabitha Lupien). But this time, two canines—Daphne (voiced by Diane Keaton) and Rocks (voiced by Danny DeVito)—came along for the ride.
It turned out moviegoers were less charmed by listening to the inner monologues of canines than of cute babies. Rita Kempley of the Washington Post called it “a crude and mawkish film.”
An impressive cast and a director with some pedigree isn’t enough to guarantee a film’s success. Exhibit A: Deadfall.
The movie was directed by Christopher Coppola (Francis Coppola’s nephew) and stars Michael Biehn, James Coburn, and Nicolas Cage (the director’s brother). Deadfall also includes cameos by Peter Fonda, Talia Shire, and Charlie Sheen. But all the star power in the world couldn’t save this failed attempt at film noir from itself. TV Guide called Deadfall “unpersuasive and shallow.”
Written and directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans, A Low Down Dirty Shame is an action comedy about cop-turned-private-detective Andre Shame. Shame’s got a troubled past, but a new case gives him a shot at redemption. There’s also a love triangle thrown in for good measure. Stephen Holden of the New York Times called Wayans a “bland action hero,” and Ebert said, “Take away the guns, and the movie would be about nothing much.”
This comedy set in the Wild Wild West about hapless pioneers eager to return home is sadly comedian John Candy’s final film. He died of a heart attack at the age of 43 during the final days of production.
Wagons East! was released five months after Candy’s death, and drew unflattering comparisons to Blazing Saddles. Ebert wrote, “The loss of John Candy is made all the more poignant because Wagons East! is the last film he completed. It is possible he never appeared in a worse one.”
This action comedy stars Chuck Norris as a cop who—with the help of a police dog named Reno—works to thwart a terrorist attack by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Top Dog fared worse than previous canine-cop buddy films like K-9 and Turner and Hooch (both of which also have “rotten” ratings). And a major distributing snafu didn’t help matters: Top Dog was released nine days after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Pauly Shore stars in this crime against cinema as Tommy Collins, who becomes a juror to reap the benefits of free room and board. Jury Duty was a box office flop, pulling in just under $5 million its opening weekend. Ultimately, Shore walked away with the Razzie for Worst Actor. As Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle wrote, “the less said about this, the better.”
If Matt LeBlanc was hoping to parlay the popularity of Friends into a successful movie career, Ed must have been an epic disappointment. The movie sees the actor better known as Joey Tribbiani play a minor league baseball player who pals around with a chimpanzee.
Ed garnered its star a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Screen Couple (along with his co-star, Ed the mechanical chimp). You know what they say? Never work with kids or animals.
In this political thriller, Charlie Sheen plays Bobby Bishop, a special advisor to the president (Sam Waterston) who learns of an assassination attempt against him. Shadow Conspiracy, which also stars Donald Sutherland and Linda Hamilton, grossed just over $2 million dollars and was a critical flop.
TV Guide struggled to buy “dopey, prematurely middle-aged Charlie Sheen as an iconoclastic president’s brilliant right-hand man.” The review said, “Do yourself a favor and rent The Manchurian Candidate instead.”
3 Strikes was directed and written by D.J. Pooh, who also co-wrote Friday. It centers around Rob Douglas (Brian Hooks), who has just been released from his second stint in prison. His attempts to avoid any more trouble with the law is fraught with complications.
But the real crime is that 3 Strikes is fundamentally unfunny. “Unoriginal and insulting, 3 Strikes goes down without scoring a single chuckle,” wrote Dave Larsen of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 2008, Rotten Tomatoes compiled a list called “Moldy Tomatoes: The 10 Worst Movies of the Last 10 Years,” and among them was Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. In the article, Alex Vo wrote, “The plot is undeserving of analysis, or even a summary: the most fitting epitaph for this, the worst reviewed movie in our site’s history, might come courtesy of Film Quips’ John R. McEwen.”
In his review, McEwen asked: “Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu, have you no pride? Have you no standards? Have you no shame? Don’t you pay attention to what’s written on the papers you’re signing?” Ouch!
If you mash together 9 1/2 Weeks, Fifty Shades of Grey and just about any Lifetime movie, you get Killing Me Softly. Categorized as an erotic thriller, the movie tells the story of a woman (Heather Graham) who ditches her humdrum life for a guy (Joseph Fiennes) who may or may not be a killer. Killing Me Softly made Rotten Tomatoes list of the “150 Erotic Movies Ranked Worst to Best”… at No. 150.
Roberto Benigni was the toast of Hollywood with his Oscar-winning 1997 movie, Life Is Beautiful. His boundless enthusiasm after winning Best Foreign Language Film is still one of the most memorable Oscars moments. Sadly, Benigni’s Cinderella story came to an abrupt halt five years later with the release of his live-action version of the fairytale Pinocchio. The movie earned six Razzie nominations, a first for a foreign film. And extra sadly, its only win was Benigni for Worst Actor.
This tale of two young con artists played by Will Friedle and Chris Owen made an abysmal $400,000 its opening weekend. National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers (which was also called National Lampoon’s Ladykillers) was named the 10th worst reviewed movie of all time on the film review website Metacritic.
Jen Chaney of The Washington Post called it “so stupefyingly hideous that after watching it, you’ll need to bathe in 10 gallons of disinfectant, get a full-body scrub and shampoo with vinegar to remove the scummy residue that remains.”
Merchant Ivory Productions, world-renowned producers of high-brow cinema, missed the mark with this supposed farce set in Paris. Merci Docteur Rey, which had a pretty impressive cast including Dianne Wiest and Vanessa Redgrave, failed on every conceivable front. As TV Guide wrote, “The grinding noises you hear are the gears of this labored French comedy straining to keep a ridiculously convoluted narrative moving along.”
It’s mind boggling that the 1999 movie Baby Geniuses, which scored a 2 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and only grossed $27,000, would get a sequel. But Hollywood is a strange place. So, in 2004, we got Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 and the reviews were awful, ranging from “ghastly” (Wall Street Journal), to “excruciating” (Chicago Reader), to “profoundly disturbing” (Toledo Blade).
Constellation followed the Boxer family as they return to the Deep South to pay tribute to the family’s matriarch following her death. The film stars Gabrielle Union, Billy Dee Williams, Zoe Saldana, and Hill Harper.
While some badly reviewed movies are irredeemable, Constellation suffered from unrealized potential, according to Matt Zoller Seitz of The New York Times. “If earnestness equaled skill, Constellation would be a classic,” Seitz wrote.
Based on true events, Karla tells the story of Paul Bernardo (Misha Collins) and his wife, Karla Homolka (Laura Prepon), who became an accessory in her husband’s crimes. The couple murdered three young girls, including Homolka’s own sister. Controversy surrounded the film in Canada where the couple resided and politicians tried to ban it, fearful of the potentially exploitive content.
But beyond that, the film was apparently simply bad. David Nusair of Reel Films Reviews wrote that Prepon is “practically Oscar-worthy compared to the shockingly amateurish supporting cast; the majority of these people seem as though they’d be more at home doing community theater.” He added, “There’s virtually nothing here worth recommending.”
First things first, Scar made history: It was the first 3D HD full-length movie produced in the U.S. It also was a huge hit in Russia. But that’s about all it has going for it.
Nigel Floyd of Time Out wrote, “To make a 3D torture movie is at best opportunist; to make one with flat, boring torture scenes is unforgivable.”
Redline can best be summed up as a rich man’s The Fast and the Furious—said rich man being writer and producer Daniel Sadek. He financed the movie via his company Quick Loan Funding, which went under in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis.
Redline was truly Sadek’s vanity project; he even used cars from his own collection in the movie. And, as Lisa Rose of The Star-Ledger wrote, “The cars in the film are treated with more respect than the women.” Redline had a budget of $26 million, and the opening box office receipts were just shy of $4 million.
One Missed Call is an American remake of Takashi Miike’s Japanese horror film of the same name. The U.S. version stars Shannyn Sossamon and Ed Burns, and revolves around victims receiving phone calls from the future predicting their deaths. In her review for Entertainment Weekly, Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote: “To redial applicable catchphrases, this garbled American remake … is a wrong number.”
In this 2009 horror movie, golden boy Mike (Matt Long) goes off to college and returns to his small town with his new girlfriend Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup). The problem is his old high-school sweetheart, Shelby (Mischa Barton), isn’t aware they ever broke up.
The obsessed-ex plot has been done to death, and this one certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel. Kyle Smith of the New York Post titled his review “Mischa Mess Kills Suspense,” and called the film predictable in every way.
Transylmania is a horror spoof about a bunch of students spending a semester abroad in Transylvania. The mash-up of Porky’s and every cheesy vampire movie ever made earned a paltry $264,000 its opening weekend.
Critics put a metaphorical stake through the film’s heart. Robert Abele of the L.A. Times wrote, “If your idea of a good time is laughing with repulsion … a darkened theater awaits you.”
Jon Hamm took a break from chain smoking and day drinking on Mad Men to film Stolen. In the 2009 movie, he plays Detective Tom Adkins, whose son disappears—and most of the blame for this lackluster drama fell on Hamm. “No one is able to make much of the disposable script, but Hamm is so limited by the period trappings that it seems as if he simply wandered onto the wrong set,” wrote Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News.
This non-ballet version of the classic Christmas tale starring Elle Fanning was “the cinematic equivalent of a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking,” according to Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter.
The Nutcracker in 3D was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D, and it was named the worst limited release film of 2010 by Metacritic.
Adam Sandler is no stranger to bad reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but most of his movies still lure people to the theater for some mindless fun. However, Sandler’s story of a young man (Nick Swardson) who travels to Los Angeles to work in adult movies reached a new low.
Critics called the film “dire, soul-crushing stuff” (Time Out), “icky and repellent” (Newsday), “god-awful” (New York Daily News), and “putrid and completely unfunny” (Quad City Times). This Happy Madison production received six Razzie nominations, largely losing out to another Sandler picture, Jack and Jill.
Even Oscar-winning actresses can make the occasional dud. For example, Dark Tide, in which Halle Berry stars as Kate, a shark expert suffering from PTSD after a shark kills a fellow diver. The movie had an estimated $25 million budget but only grossed $432,000 worldwide.
Needless to say, it wasn’t great. “The sharks themselves are the only ones to emerge with credit from this,” wrote The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw.
In A Thousand Words, Eddie Murphy plays a fast-talking literary agent named Jack McCall. But when keeping his mouth shut becomes a matter of life and death, Jack needs to find creative new ways to communicate. After hearing that description, you’re probably not surprised that the movie received three Razzie nominations, for Worst Picture, Worst Actor and Worst Screenplay.
“Eddie Murphy just should have said the word ‘no’ to this tired, formulaic comedy,” wrote Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter.
The Ridiculous 6 is a parody of the classic western The Magnificent Seven. Adam Sandler co-wrote the script and stars in this Netflix movie along with Terry Crews, Taylor Lautner, Steve Buscemi, and Danny Trejo.
During filming, roughly a dozen Native American actors and actresses walked off the set because of the script’s racially offensive jokes and inaccurate portrayals of Apaches. Netflix tried to downplay and dismiss the complaints, but critics also took umbrage with the end result. “It’s a lazy pastiche of westerns and western spoofs, replete with lazy, racist jokes that can’t just be waved away with a waft of the irony card. Woeful,” wrote Brad Newsome of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Cabin Fever, a remake of the 2002 film of the same name, was written and directed by Eli Roth. But there was little more to be done with this movie about a group of college friends who head to the mountains for a vacation and contract a deadly flesh-eating virus.
“Scene for scene, line for line, gag for gag, it’s basically the same movie. And the original was no masterpiece to begin with,” wrote A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club. But in the end, he concluded: “Maybe the new Cabin Fever does serve a purpose. It makes the old Cabin Fever look better than something else.”
In The Disappointments Room, city dwellers Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and David (Mel Raido) buy an old southern mansion that has a room where people used to lock away their disabled and deformed children.
Critics didn’t find this horror movie particularly scary or original. “Most of the film is just Beckinsale walking around looking worried,” wrote Christian Haloub of Entertainment Weekly. “Occasionally, she’ll glimpse some ghostly little girl. Sometimes a door slams behind her. Almost never will you be scared.”
Some movies about toys work (i.e. The Lego Movie franchise). But some don’t (i.e. Max Steel). The film follows Max McGrath (Ben Winchell), who has special powers, and his extraterrestrial buddy, Steel (Josh Brener). Together, they become superhero Max Steel. The movie failed to recoup its nearly $10 million budget, only bringing in $6.3 million worldwide.
“Max Steel isn’t just ugly, but it’s boring,” wrote Felix Vasquez of Cinema Crazed. “It’s a shame considering the concept at least has potential.”
Over the course of a career that spans decades, Bruce Willis has made his fair share of movies so bad they’re almost good. But Precious Cargo, about three thieves double-crossing each other for a big payoff, isn’t one of them.
“You will be hard-pressed to remember anything about it even only a few minutes after watching it, which should come as a relief to everyone involved with its production,” wrote critic Peter Sobczynski.
Dominic Cooper plays the title character of Stratton. He’s a member of a special forces unit of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, and his mission is to chase down a rogue Soviet operative and save the world from terrorists. But this action movie lacked action.
Michael Rechtshaffen of the L.A. Times described Stratton as “a stale espionage thriller that possesses all the pulse-pounding intrigue of waiting in line at the DMV.” Woof!
Dark Crimes is based on the true story of Krystian Bala, who was found guilty of murdering a Polish businessman after he wrote about it in his first novel three years later. Unfortunately, this twisted tale—starring Jim Carrey as a police detective who becomes obsessed with the Bala character—was poorly executed. According to critic Roger Roeper, “The end product leaves a sour taste.”
The screen adaptation of Martin Amis’ London Fields tells the story of a terminally-ill writer (Billy Bob Thornton) who is desperate to pen one last book before he dies. He arrives in London and stumbles across a real-life murder mystery in the making with Nicola Six (Amber Heard) at the center of the drama.
London Fields received a lot of the same criticism as any movie adaptation that doesn’t do its source material justice. “So comprehensively does the film fail to represent the labyrinthian literary wonders of Amis’ book that it scarcely seems worthwhile to detail its universal shortcomings,” according to Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter.
For fans of bad movies, Gotti, starring Travolta once again, is a gift. This movie was panned across the board when it was released. “He may have been a murderer, but even Gotti deserved better than this,” wrote critic Brian Tallerico.
But oddly, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes was favorable… suspiciously so. There were rumblings that it was manufactured as a marketing strategy, but Rotten Tomatoes found no evidence of foul play. Ultimately, Gotti grossed an embarrassing $4.3 million and was nominated for six Razzie Awards. And for more terrible movies, check out The Worst Movie Released Every Year Since 1950.
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