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10 Really Bad Movies that Define "Bad Movies"

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Yesterday I linked a story about the movie The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure. The children's film opened last weekend in 2,160 theaters, and earned less than half a million dollars on its opening weekend. That means it only made $206 per theater, a record low for a movie in wide release (more than 2,000 theaters). The reviews for The Oogieloves are awful. Of course, there are other bad movies that never got a chance to set a box-office record because they opened in few theaters, went straight to video, or their awfulness wasn't promoted as well (leading to a decent opening followed by a steep dropoff). The news about The Ooogieloves was posted at MetaFilter, and MeFites wasted no time in suggesting other candidates for the title of "worst movie ever." Some I had never heard of, others were somewhat familiar. Here are a few of them presented for your perusal, in no particular order.

1. Food Fight!

Food Fight! was apparently either an experiment in product placement or someone honestly thought breakfast cereal mascots would be a sure hit with kids. The setting is a grocery store where brand labels come to life and battle "Brand X." And yes, they throw food at each other. The inclusion of Nazi imagery and adult innuendo did not sit well with parents. The 2009 movie was never released in theaters, and went directly to video in 2012.

2. Manos The Hands Of Fate

Manos The Hands Of Fate is a 1966 film that particularly illustrates the unintentional comedy of a low-budget film. A vacationing family stumbles upon a pagan cult and must escape their clutches, but the plot suffered from bad acting, poor timing, bad sound, awful lighting, bad sets, and horrible editing. Then there's the nonsensical background music. Few people actually saw the film until 1993 when MST3K aired it as a so-bad-it's-funny movie, helping it to achieve cult status. Manos has a rating of 0% at Rotten Tomatoes. You can see the full film at YouTube. If you want to.

3. Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck is the only movie on this list I saw in a theater, on its opening weekend. It was awful. The budget was quite adequate, and the production values were excellent, but putting an animated duck into a live-action film was never a good idea. George Lucas, after the success of the Star Wars films, was at the height of his clout and no one questioned his judgment (at least out loud) until after the film was released.

4. The Room

The Room is a 2003 labor of love by one man, Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it. Ransom Riggs tells more about it in a previous mental_floss article, in which you can judge the quality of the writing and acting for yourself by watching clips from the movie. Take your time, and take a deep breath between each clip. Thanks to the efforts of screenwriter Michael Rousselet, who recognized the comedic value in a badly-made drama, The Room became a cult classic. Wiseau now says that he meant to make a comedy all along.

5. After Last Season

After Last Season is a 2009 sci-fi thriller about new technology that records thoughts as images. Or maybe it's about something else, because the synopses vary by website. The movie reportedly had a $5 million budget, but where the money went is not evident from the finished product. After Last Season opened in four towns. and closed soon after. Some thought it had to be a spoof film, or maybe a marketing prank. Even bad film fan Michael Rousselet was confused by this movie.

6. The Apple

The Apple is a low-budget science-fiction disco-rock musical set in the future. The movie was released in 1980 when "the future" was 1994. A small-town couple enters a global talent show and is lured into drug abuse. Thirty years later, the campy film has a cult following. Its rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 17%, but the majority of audience members say they liked it.

7. Zyzzyx Rd

Zyzzyx Rd (or Zyzzyx Road) was a 2006 thriller about a traveling businessman who ends up involved in a killing. It ran for a week in one theater, and earned a total of $30 from six people. One of them later asked for a refund. Since no one was going to pay to see it anyway, it is now available online to watch free.

8. Birdemic: Shock And Terror

Birdemic is a horror film about birds on the attack. It was reportedly made for around $10,000, far too little for a feature-length special effects horror film. It was released on DVD in 2009, then in theaters in 2010, and again on home video in 2011. Birdemic has a rating of 21% at Rotten Tomatoes. By the way, a sequel is planned for release this fall.

9. Delgo

Delgo, a 2008 children's film I never heard of until yesterday, was the previous record-holder for low earnings in a wide-release movie, just $237 per screen. The CGI alien fantasy probably should have gone straight to DVD, where it found a better market, along with the Barbie straight-to-DVD movies. Delgo has as 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

10. The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure

The Oogieloves, a G-rated life-size puppet film, reportedly cost $20 million to produce followed by a $40 million marketing push, so the bad box office is a true financial disaster. Reviewers find watching it to be painful. Even a review from a child (or someone writing from a child's view) points out the movie's flaws.

You could include dozens of films in a list of the worst films ever, but most of those are the result of low budgets and inexperienced filmmakers. Movies like Robot Monster or Plan 9 From Outer Space eventually become somewhat charming in their amateur earnestness. Then there are films you never smile about. If you have other suggestions for the worst film ever, please tell us about them.

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11 Delicious Facts About Good Burger
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Paramount Pictures

It takes just 14 words—“Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?”—to make a ‘90s kid swoon with nostalgia. Good Burger, the beloved Nickelodeon comedy about a couple of daft teens who try to save their fast food joint from corporate greed, was born out of a Kenan Thompson/Kel Mitchell sketch on All That in the mid-'90s. A year later, due to its popularity, it found itself being turned into its own live-action movie, with Brian Robbins at the helm. Today—20 years after its original release—it’s a silly cult hit that’s indelibly a part of Generation Y. Revisit the classic with these facts about Good Burger.

1. KEL MITCHELL AUDITIONED FOR ALL THAT WITH HIS CHARACTER FROM GOOD BURGER.

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Kel Mitchell explained how he came up with Ed. “I did a ‘dude’ voice, and that’s where Ed [from Good Burger] was kind of born,” he said. “I did that there at the audition. They were just cracking up.”

2. ED’S FIRST APPEARANCE WAS IN THE JOSH SERVER SKETCH, “DREAM REMOTE.”

Essentially, Good Burger was born out of a random character decision made during one little sketch. “It was where [Josh] could have a remote control that could control his entire life,” Mitchell told The A.V. Club. “So, he could fast-forward through his sister nagging, he could make pizza come really quickly. I was the pizza guy. I came to the door, and the pizza guy didn’t really have a voice, so I was like, ‘Mleh, here’s your pizza! That was the first time we saw Ed, and so they created Good Burger.”

3. ED’S LOOK WAS INSPIRED BY MILLI VANILLI.

When prepping for Ed’s debut on All That, Kel Mitchell spotted what would become the character’s signature look. “I remember I went to the hair room, and I saw these braids. It was like these early Brandy ’90s Milli Vanilli braids. I put those on, and it came to life,” he told The A.V. Club.

4. THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF MEAT STUNK UP THE SET.

Nickelodeon

For a movie all about burgers, you better believe the production had a ton of them sitting around on set. "At one point, there was over 1750 pounds of meat on the set," Kenan Thompson told The Morning Call. "Some of it was old meat. It was so nasty. Some of the burgers would stay out there for a long time. I felt sorry for the extras who had to eat them with cold, clammy fries. But on screen, those burgers look good."

5. ELMER’S GLUE WAS USED TO KEEP THE FOOD LOOKING FRESH.

In order to keep the food looking good on screen, the production resorted to old, albeit inedible, tricks. "It was so gross, because when I scoop out ice cream in the movie, it was really vegetable shortening with food coloring,” Mitchell told The Morning Call. “When I poured milk on cereal, we used Elmer's Glue so the flakes wouldn't get soggy."

6. KENAN AND KEL CONTRIBUTED TO THE GOOD BURGER SOUNDTRACK.

Good Burger was their baby, so of course Kenan and Kel took the reins on more than just the creation of the characters, according to a 1997 interview with The Morning Call. Specifically, Kel partnered up with Less Than Jake on the hit song, “We’re All Dudes.” Because of this, the soundtrack actually charted at 101 on the Billboard 200.

7. GOOD BURGER WAS LINDA CARDELLINI’S FEATURE FILM DEBUT.

YouTube

In an interview with The A.V. Club, the Freaks and Geeks star reminisced about her breakout role in the Nickelodeon movie. “That’s my sister’s favorite role that I’ve ever played! It was so much fun. It was my first film, and it was a fantastic part,” Cardellini said. “I got to play crazy! Nobody knew who I was, and I got the part from the table read.”

8. WRITER DAN SCHNEIDER INTENDED TO GIVE UP ACTING WHEN HE WROTE GOOD BURGER, BUT HE PLAYED MR. BAILY IN THE FILM.

On creating Good Burger, writer/producer/actor Dan Schneider explained to The A.V. Club: “I’ve always wanted to write, and after I was doing All That and Kenan & Kel, I got the opportunity to do another TV show—I was still going on auditions. I realized that if I took that show, I was going to have to give up All That and Kenan & Kel. I really didn’t want to do [that] ... I passed on the acting role, and that was really the turning point, I guess, in 1996, when I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to put my acting career on the back burner, and I’m going to be a writer-producer.’ Then I wrote the movie Good Burger.” However, if you watch the movie, you’ll notice Schneider starring as Mr. Baily.

9. THE ORIGINAL TRAILER FEATURED A SCENE THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE MOVIE.

For reasons that remain a mystery, a scene where a Good Burger customer orders “a good shake” from Ed (Mitchell), only to receive an actual bodily shaking from the Good Burger employee, didn’t make the final cut. It did, however, feature for a few seconds in the theatrical trailer.

10. KENAN AND KEL REUNITED FOR A GOOD BURGER SKETCH ON THE TONIGHT SHOW.

In 2015, Kenan and Kel reunited for a Good Burger sketch with Jimmy Fallon. This time, however, Fallon played Ed’s co-worker, while Kenan came in as a construction worker as a surprise. "We've been wanting to get back together," Mitchell told E! News. "It was just about the right project ... it felt like home."

11. THE FIRST LINE IN THE FILM IS THE SAME AS THE LAST LINE.

Appropriately, the line is, “Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?”—just watch the movie.

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What's the Kennection? #160
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