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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 25, 2012 at 9:49 AM

‘The worst movie I’ve ever seen’

It’s an interesting and not infrequent occurrence, in my line of work, that I will write that I like something a lot, and soon after somebody will call or email to inform me that the movie I liked was the worst movie they’ve ever seen. Happened just yesterday, with “The Master”; happened earlier this summer, with “Moonrise Kingdom”; in the spring with “The Deep Blue Sea”; and off the top of my head I can remember getting just such a response to “The Tree of Life,” “Duplicity,” “Black Swan,” and many more. This doesn’t bother me at all — I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, and I think the most interesting movies are the ones that inspire strong emotions of love or hate — and I never argue, because I’ve already had my say. But the phrase “the worst movie I’ve ever seen” always fascinates me. Really — I can certainly see how people might not like “The Master” or “The Deep Blue Sea,” but were those really the worst movie you’ve ever seen? (Did they not see “Your Highness”?) Shouldn’t the worst movie you’ve ever seen have terrible acting, terrible writing, terrible cinematography, terrible ideas behind it, no visible talent anywhere, just truly unspeakably awful across the board? Does a movie become “the worst” not because it’s truly terrible, but because of the high expectations brought to it that were disappointed?
Anyway, it got me thinking about what was, really, the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Setting aside movies that disappointed me because I know the filmmakers are capable of better (i.e. Terrence Malick’s new movie “To the Wonder”), or movies that are so bad they’re actually quite enjoyable in a surreal way (i.e. the “Twilight” movies), or movies that aren’t very good but have a sort of bland competence to them . . . well, that has me wading through a lot of dreck, but I can think of two. Worst studio movie I’ve ever seen: “Your Highness” is definitely a contender, but I have to give it to “Dumb and Dumberer” (not to be confused with “Dumb and Dumber”), a movie that took its title way too literally. Worst indie movie I’ve ever seen: well, I’m not going to name it, because a) I don’t want to be unnecessarily mean to a filmmaker who was probably trying his best and whose film was made and forgotten long ago, and b) I honestly can’t remember the title. But it was a Canadian movie that I saw at the Vancouver Film Festival a number of years ago, and it was a badly acted, incompetently shot, ridiculously overlong tale of a guy who had a miserable life. Really a punishment to watch; no redeeming qualities at all. I remember leaving the theater and thinking, wow, that really was the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
And how about you? What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen? Tell us what, and why.

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