I’ve been known to defend movies that are widely hated. I’m a Michael Bay fan, for instance, and I was particularly fond of Transformers: Age of Extinction. I admit that I do have generous taste. My aim is to enjoy; I’m not looking for excuses to have a bad time watching movies. And so, people often ask me, “well, then what do you hate?” Here’s the answer. These are the titles that I really and truly abhor.
I particularly hate it because it is such a waste of a good premise. A group of American embassy employees have to impersonate a Canadian film production crew in order to escape Iran. Put someone like David Mamet or Steven Soderbergh on this premise and you could have something great. In the Affleck version, there are like two scenes that actually exploit the premise. Rather than extrapolating its dramatic potentialities, Affleck opts to build suspense by having the Iranians improbably decode some fucking photos from earlier that blow the group’s cover at the exact moment when they are on their way to the airport, and so the finale just ends up being a clichéd race for the plane to take off.
9) To Kill a Mockingbird
Like the book it’s based on, this smug garbage would have us believe that the justice system in the Jim Crow south was characterized by a conflict between good white people and bad white people over whether to execute falsely accused black people. This movie has been giving white audiences occasion to pat themselves on the back for generations.
8) Super Size Me
No shit you can’t eat supersized fast food for every meal you fucking idiot. This whole genre of clickbait documentaries can burn in a dumpster fire.
7) Bee Movie
First of all, fuck Jerry Seinfeld. He sucks. The only reason Seinfeld seemed good at the time was that we hadn’t seen Curb Your Enthusiasm yet. But Seinfeld is Citizen Kane compared to the damn Bee Movie. The most reactionary bullshit ever concocted, this is what happens in the Bee Movie: the bees realize that if no one was stealing their honey they wouldn’t have to work so hard and would have more free time to develop other areas of their lives. But it turns out that without anyone exploiting them and stealing the value of their labor they have too much time on their hands and it leads to socio-cultural degradation. Ultimately, they learn the value of working every day your whole life and not having anything to show for it.
Two and a half hours later, why the fuck did I watch this? I love long movies. I love settling into the experience, knowing that it’s not going to end anytime soon. I very rarely find movies boring. But this was wretchedly ugly and bored me stiff. Vapid and pretentious, it’s the worst parody of an “art film.” I also hated Twentynine Palms (for similar reasons), and haven’t watched anything from Bruno Dumont since.
5) American Beauty
Oh yeah, that floating bag is really fucking profoundly beautiful…. Can we go back to Kevin Spacey jerking off in the shower?
The only movie ever to deal more insipidly with race relations than To Kill a Mockingbird.
3) Gone, Baby, Gone
I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode when I watched this. I don’t think anyone expected Ben Affleck to be a good filmmaker, which is why it was so surprising when he made this and everyone was like “no, seriously, it’s good! Ben Affleck is a good director!” When I watched it, I felt like the whole word had staged an elaborate practical joke. Surely everyone is fucking with me. No one actually thinks this is good.
One thing I will say for the movie is that it is extremely thorough in its hideousness. Right down the line, on one side you have middle-class, attractive, clean, morally upright, while on the other side you have poor, ugly, filthy, moral degenerate. I mean, once you get to that part of town, is it really any surprise to find a bloody pair of children’s underwear in the sink?
2) Swiss Army Man
I hated Swiss Army Man with every fiber of my being. The fact that it appears to be reasonably well-liked makes me feel desperately alienated from humanity. I don’t think I should have to explain why I hated it so much. It should be abundantly obvious to anyone who has watched two minutes of it. Please don’t tell me that you liked this (lie to me if you have to), and certainly don’t try to explain its virtues to me. If you do, I won’t ever be able to think of you again without associating you with the Farting Harry Potter Corpse movie.
I’ll never forget the day I watched Jackpot. I was spending the afternoon with an ex-girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in a long time. Back when we were together, I usually picked the movie. This time she made a big deal of asserting that she was going to pick the movie. I agreed. She picked Jackpot, from the Polish brothers, which she had rented from Blockbuster. I kinda sorta liked the Polish brothers’ debut, Twin Falls Idaho, and so I was content to go along with her choice. In the end, when she asked me what I thought, I told her in full honesty, “it’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen.” She thought I was just being a dick (and I certainly can see how it might have seemed that way), but more than 15 years later I still assert: this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
It’s about a traveling karaoke singer and his “manager.” They’ve got big dreams. The plan is to build a fanbase on the competitive karaoke scene. It’s a particularly galling entry in the “look how quirky people in middle America are” genre. The protagonist has abandoned his wife (a woefully misused Daryl Hannah) and baby daughter. In lieu of child support, he sends her a single lottery ticket every week. He has bad sex with lonely women he picks up after performing. The second woman he goes home with catches him trying to fuck her underage daughter. Nothing ends up happening; it just becomes clear that everyone’s dreams are doomed to fail. That’s the movie. It’s vile. I watched one more movie from the Polish brothers a couple years later, Northfork, because a lot of people seemed to like it. I fucking hated that one, too, and haven’t watched anything else from them since.