After yesterday's post about the operatically horrible movie The Room, I'm in a worst-ever kind of mood. There are plenty of films vying for the title of worst-ever, in a variety of categories (worst b-movie, worst adaptation, worst comedy, worst sequel), but today I want to look at some of the worst star vehicle films that history has bestowed upon our silver screens.
The Conqueror (1956)
Starring John Wayne as Genghis Kahn and Susan Hayward as his exotic Tartar love interest, it was produced by Howard Hughes -- who thought it was so bad that he bought up all existing copies of the film and refused to let it screen until 1974, when Paramount finally struck a deal with him. To add injury to insult, the film's shooting location -- downwind from a nuclear testing range in Utah -- is generally cited as the reason John Wayne, Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, the director and a number of crew members died of cancer. In all 91, of the film's 220 cast and crew members developed cancer, half of which died. Reacting to the news, a scientist from the Pentagon's Defense Nuclear Agency said, "Please, God, don't let us have killed John Wayne."
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)
The worst movie of the aughts, according to Rotten Tomatoes, where this film received 0 out of 105 positive reviews. Quite a feat. The plot is hackneyed nonsense, little more than an excuse for the action scenes, which are themselves incomprehensible, thanks to video-game-style direction by a man who calls himself "Chaos." One critic suggested an alternate title as "Simplistic: Bullets Vs. Humans."
The Hottie and the Nottie (2008)
Starring the incomparable Paris Hilton, this film, despite aggressive marketing, pulled in a stunning(ly low) $27k on its opening weekend.
I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
Nominated for worst picture of the decade by the Golden Raspberry awards, it did manage to take home several honors, including Worst Picture, Worst Excuse for a Horror Film, and two Worst Actresses (Lindsay Lohan played twins).
Lots of people seem to consider this one of the worst films ever. A star vehicle for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, it was originally written as a black comedy, until the producers decided to cash in on their stars' tabloid-friendly love affair, and changed the script to include a romance mid-filming. It damaged the careers of all involved, especially that of the director, Martin Brest, who hasn't made a film since. All this despite being -- according to the trailer, at least -- "the summer's most irresistible romantic comedy!"
Jack Frost (1998)
This Michael Keaton-starrer features one of the most disturbing and misguided plots ever conceived: a man named Jack Frost dies in a car accident, only to "come back to life" as a snowman to cheer up his grief-stricken son. Oh well, at least you can't say it's a cliche.