Friday, February 05, 2010

Empire Magazine's 50 Worst Movies Ever: A Questionable List?

I don't see eye to eye with the readers of Empire Magazine. You see, there was a poll over at their site, and from the gathered votes, a list of the 50 Worst Movies Ever. Their consensus opinion was that Batman and Robin was the worst movie ever.

Now, I am willing to concede that Batman and Robin is a very disappointing movie, and one that was clearly ill-conceived, but to call it the worst movie ever to me indicates a profound lack of perspective on the part of the readership of Empire Magazine, or rather the vocal voting segment which voted overwhelmingly for it as the worst movie ever (it got nearly 3 times as many votes as the second place entry on the list).

But the fact that Spiderman III was number 50 on the list really tells you exactly what kind of list we are dealing with here. As one astute commenter noted, eight of the films on the list received 3 star ratings from Empire, and 22 had 2 star ratings. That to me indicates that either Empire Magazine's rating standards are remarkably lax, or the people voting on the poll have don't really have a clue as to what really constitutes a good or bad movie objectively speaking.

The whole exercise reeks of fanboyism, because I notice that there are a lot of disappointing superhero movies on the list. Yes, there are bad superhero movies, but proportionally, the most recent efforts aren't the worst movies ever made.

And that is another thing: the list really skews towards movies from the last 15 years or so. Is that an indication that movies really are a lot worse than they used to be or that the audience that Empire is polling is somewhat ignorant of film in general.

Put it this way, I really dislike Battlefield Earth, but even I am willing to concede that it isn't even in the top 5 of the worst movies ever made. Don't get me wrong, there are some really appalling movies on the list, but overall, it is a really biased list, and not merely in a way that makes me say "I disagree with that selection or placement" but rather one that makes me say "that is just wrong," which is never a great place to start.

Part of me is reminded of every list of bad video games I've ever seen which inevitably ends with E.T. at number one. It is a predictable response that lacks any editorial flair, because I am willing to bet money that in most cases, the person making the list has never played that game. I mean, the above list shows the same lack of interest... they were all convenient choices.

Now I've made quite a few lists in my time for my blog, but I have never really made a worst-of list, because I know it is far more difficult thing to do than something that recounts the things that I've enjoyed. Nevertheless, I can certainly tell a good list from a bad one, and the Empire Magazine list is really bad and sort of joyless, especially compared with some of the other lists out there.


Semaj said...

Great Point of view. I'll have more to say about that list and why I think Battlefield Earth should be number one on everyone's lists.

But BE is certainly up there because they tried to make a cohesive story out of the source material, except it came across campy. No one in the production dared to say, "Hey, the source material is really shitty. We need to update this."

We all know that the story was written by a bat-shit insane Sci-writer that decided to create his own Space Church. Mr. L Ron had to be off his rocker when he wrote the book.

John Travolta was so bias of the source material that he couldnt see the mess the story was comprised of to begin with.

As much as I hate Spider-man III, it shouldnt be on the list. That one does smell of pure fanboims

MC said...

Oh, I agree it is dreadful, but after seeing things like Manos the Hands of Fate or even Troll 2, well, BE looks far less shitty in comparison. And this is ME saying this... you know how I feel about the underlying stuff that is going on with that too.

I would put Freddy Got Fingered ahead of Battlefield Earth on the pile of midden that is Hollywood cinema.

Arjan said...

I never put too much trust in these kind of lists. I'll just watch a movie and see if I enjoy it (good or bad).

Lee Sargent said...

They mention the 'Bat-nipples' in their comprehensive analysis (now who's being facetious)which for a movie magazine full of so called experts they fail to note that the 'bat-nipples' were introduced not in Batman and Robin but in Batman Forever. Another complaint they have is the 'neon design' which again I would have pointed at Batman Forever for introducing that.

Don't get me wrong I'm not defending Batman and Robin I'm just saying lets be accurate why we're hating on something.

Honestly I would have preferred to see something like "Epic Movie" to be around number one - at least some original though flawed thought went into Batman and Robin.

Semaj said...

MC: Lol, yeah, Freddy Got Fingered is really dreadful. I just ripped into a few co-workers that said they liked it. I've always teetered on which movie was worst.

Freddy seems to have more defenders. I'm guessing because they like Tom Green. Freddy is a painful movie.

Lee Sargent: I agree, but I think part of the reason BR gets it more than BF is because BR takes it up by 11 from the earlier film.

Someone from mentioned a similar thing between Batman and Batman Returns. Burton turned up the dreary circus-land thing by 11. But many of those annoying aspects were there in the first movie.

Side Note: What's interesting about Batman Forever is that many of the darker elements were deleted from the movie at the last moment.

MC said...

Arjan: See, I usually trust consensus reviews, but that voting is very suspect to me.

Lee: I have to ask you... is Cannonball Run 2 worse than Batman and Robin?

Semaj: Yeah, I've never liked Tom Green. You have to remember that as a Canadian I was exposed to his idiocy for a lot longer than is humane.

Lee Sargent said...

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would in fact prefer to watch Batman and Robin over Cannonball Run - that is how much I hated the experience. I don't know about CbR2 but I can't imagine that it was much better than the first and therefore B&R would still be my preference.