There are more bad films produced every year than you can shake a stick at – but, every now and then, Hollywood blesses us with a movie that’s so bad, it’s almost … good. Here are five that, upon release, were so spectacularly awful that we couldn’t help but laugh when we saw them.
The Emoji Movie (2017)
To start off our list, we have a film so terrible it should never have been made in the first place – but it was, so we must live with the consequences. Tony Leondis’ The Emoji Movie stars T.J. Miller as Gene Meh, a multi-expressional emoji. He is seen as a malfunction by Maya Rudolph’s Smiler, who decides Gene needs to be deleted. Gene enlists the help of Jailbreak (Anna Faris) and Hi-5 (James Corden) to find a way to fix him. The film’s plot has been heavily criticised for being dull and unnecessary and, hey, the critics are right. This film holds a special place in the pantheon of pathetic, but it is, already, garnered a small cult following. Oh well. At least Patrick Stewert is in it?
Jean-Christophe “Pitof” Comar’s Catwoman is an obligatory mention in any list of cinematic blunders. Starring Halle Berry (of X-Men fame), the film details the journey of Patience Phillips, who becomes the titular hero when infused with the breath of an Egyptian Mau cat. She must work with Detective Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt) to stop Sharon Stone’s Laurel Hedare from releasing a deadly line of *gasp* skincare products. Scary, right? US newspaper The Arizona Republic’s late film critic, Bill Muller, once penned a satirical letter from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences suggesting that Berry return the Oscar she won for another film by “[slipping it] into the included padded, self-addressed, stamped envelope … Miaow!” Miaow indeed, Mr. Muller.
Oh, Sharknado, you are truly terrible. Ian Ziering and Tara Reid star as a divorced couple, who deal with the aftermath of a waterspout that lifts sharks out of the ocean and drops them into Los Angeles. Despite the poor special effects, mediocre performances, contrived plot, the film has amassed a cult following and spawned four sequels, with more to come. Enjoying Sharknado requires one to completely suspend their disbelief. For those of you who love gory scenes (and a bit of cheesy writing), this one’s for you.
Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Another iconic blunder is the made-for-television Star Wars Holiday Special, in which Harrison Ford’s Han Solo accompanies Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to his homeworld of Kashyyyk. While there, they engage in some tone-deaf singing, watch some animated sequences, and all but squander the Star Wars name. Due to the backlash it received, the film has never been broadcast again, nor was it ever officially released. This means bootlegs of the film have become treasured collector’s items. For any fan of the iconic Star Wars universe, this bad movie is a must-watch.
The Mummy (2016)
Inspired by the popularity of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Universal Studios planned on launching something called the Dark Universe, a franchise built from various monster films. Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy was to kick-start the ‘verse and was, by all measures, expected to be a hit. The film, featuring an all-star cast, follows military man Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), who accidentally releases the mummy Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) from her imprisonment. Upon its release, critics panned the actors’ awkward performances, and the film’s complete lack of originality. As IndieWire’s David Ehrlich put it, “This isn’t filmmaking, it’s tomb-raiding.” So much for Dark Universe – The Mummy’s reception means this franchise has died a quiet death.
The Room (2003)
To end our list, we have The Room, a film that – despite looking less professional than many secondary school projects – cost more than US$6 million (HK$47 million) to make. Its director, writer, and producer, Tommy Wiseau, also stars as Johnny, a banker caught in a love triangle with his best friend and his fiancée. Nothing is impossible in this terrible, terrible, terrible film: a character claims to have breast cancer, only to seemingly forget about it for the rest of the story, and characters burst into the chicken dance for no reason at all. In spite of these flaws, The Room has gained somewhat of a cult following. Sure, we guess.
Contains adult themes