The Quick 10: 10 Hilarious Scathing Reviews

Sometimes a thing is so bad there’s no way to say it nicely. Here are ten reviews that don’t even try.

1. The first season of American Idol ended with runner-up Justin Guarini clapping from the sidelines as winner Kelly Clarkson, under a shower of confetti, cried through “A Moment Like This.” Shortly thereafter the pair starred in their first and only collaborative film project, From Justin to Kelly, which was predictably not well received. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly summed up the awfulness pretty neatly, if not nicely: "How bad is From Justin to Kelly? Set in Miami during spring break, it's like Grease: The Next Generation acted out by the food-court staff at SeaWorld." No offense, SeaWorld food-court staff.

2. Leonard Maltin's complete review of the 1948 film Isn't It Romantic?: "No."

3. Movies and restaurants aren’t the only recipients of bad reviews. Take for example this review on RateMyProfessor that turned up on Reddit: "I dont wear my seat belt driving to school because I want to die before I can make it to this class."

4. A user review from Amazon for Dan Brown Angels & Demons: "I realize that a great many people like Dan Brown’s books and think he is a talented author, but then again there are significant numbers of people who enjoy being peed on or watching Carrot Top."

5. The artist formerly and currently known as Prince was unimpressed with some of Michael Jackson's work. "Michael Jackson's album was only called 'Bad’ because there wasn't enough room on the sleeve for 'Pathetic.'"

6. Roger Ebert is no novice at handing out bad reviews. Sometimes, he’s forthright. His review of North, which he hated: "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."

And sometimes, he’s witty with his disdain, as with his opinion of Larry David’s film:

“I can't easily remember a film I've enjoyed less. North, a comedy I hated, was at least able to inflame me with dislike. Sour Grapes is a movie that deserves its title: It's puckered, deflated and vinegary.”

7. Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce were friends, but that didn’t stop Clemens from being his unflinchingly honest and witty self when Bierce’s publisher asked him to review a book that needed a little extra publicity. Twain called Bierce’s Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California the “vilest book that exists in print,” just before he declared that “for every laugh that is in his book, there are five blushes, ten shudders and a vomit.”

8. Gore Vidal’s novel Myra Breckinridge didn’t adapt well to the silver screen. Filled with strangely euphemistic classic film clips and one especially, um, controversial scene, the movie was a critical failure and reviews didn’t bother with kindness. TIME said, "Myra Breckinridge is about as funny as a child molester." So you can take it out of your Netflix queue, probably.

9. Reinterpretations can be a risk, especially when crossing cultural lines. The Black Ensemble’s African-themed rework of Euripides’ Madea Medea was one such experiment that, at least according to Tom Boeker, wasn’t worth the risk. Boeker’s review in the Chicago Reader was a wholesale rant, but the highlights include calling the play “as phony and unexotic as a wicker coffee table from Pier One Imports,” and declaring that the actors are so unskilled that “if Benji were in this production, he wouldn't give a convincing performance as a dog.” To top it off, Boeker admits to a third-act suicidal fantasy: “When Medea finally got around to murdering her children, I entertained a final, desperate hope that one of those kids would grab the sword from her and rewrite mythology. But--abandon all hope--no deus ex machina will save you here”

10. L’Ami Louis is Paris’s “worst-kept secret,” a bistro so perfectly French that visiting Americans and Brits with plenty of cash on-hand are reluctant to tell their friends about it just to keep it hush-hush. But it’s not all that, according to a Vanity Fair review by A.A. Gill. From the décor (“painted a shiny, distressed dung brown”) and the staff (“paunchy, combative, surly men”) to the food (pâté that tastes of “pressed liposuction” and veal so unevenly cooked his companion “can’t decide which side to complain about”) and the check ($430 for two), Gill is so confounded by the restaurant’s cultish status that he asks, “Why do [Americans and Brits] continue to come here? They can’t all have brain tumors.”

What’s the funniest bad review you’ve seen? Or, leave your own biting assessments in the comments.

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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