When Roger Ebert hated a film, he really didn't mince words. Here are 22 films he absolutely loathed (including a couple of surprises) and his dry assessments of their value.
1. Armageddon, one star.
“The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained. No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out. ... ‘Armageddon’ reportedly used the services of nine writers. Why did it need any? The dialogue is either shouted one-liners or romantic drivel. ‘It’s gonna blow!’ is used so many times, I wonder if every single writer used it once, and then sat back from his word processor with a contented smile on his face, another day’s work done.”
2. The Brown Bunny, zero stars.
"I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than 'The Brown Bunny.'"
When the movie’s director responded by mocking Ebert’s weight, Ebert said, “It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of 'The Brown Bunny.'"
3. Jason X, half star.
"'This sucks on so many levels.' Dialogue from 'Jason X'; rare for a movie to so frankly describe itself. 'Jason X' sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness and aptness of thought."
4. Mad Dog Time, zero stars.
"'Mad Dog Time' is the first movie I have seen that does not improve on the sight of a blank screen viewed for the same length of time. Oh, I've seen bad movies before. But they usually made me care about how bad they were. Watching 'Mad Dog Time' is like waiting for the bus in a city where you're not sure they have a bus line.... 'Mad Dog Time' should be cut into free ukulele picks for the poor."
5. The Usual Suspects, one-and-a-half stars.
"Once again, my comprehension began to slip, and finally I wrote down: 'To the degree that I do understand, I don't care.' It was, however, somewhat reassuring at the end of the movie to discover that I had, after all, understood everything I was intended to understand. It was just that there was less to understand than the movie at first suggests."
6. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, zero stars.
"[The title character] makes a living prostituting himself. How much he charges I'm not sure, but the price is worth it if it keeps him off the streets and out of another movie. 'Deuce Bigalow' is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes.... Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."
7. Mr. Magoo, half star.
“Magoo drives a red Studebaker convertible in ‘Mr. Magoo,’ a fact I report because I love Studebakers and his was the only thing I liked in the film. ‘Mr. Magoo’ is transcendently bad. It soars above ordinary badness as the eagle outreaches the fly.”
8. Spice World, half star.
"Spice World is obviously intended as a ripoff of 'A Hard Day's Night' which gave The Beatles to the movies...the huge difference, of course, is that the Beatles were talented--while, let's face it, the Spice Girls could be duplicated by any five women under the age of 30 standing in line at Dunkin' Donuts."
9. Good Luck Chuck, one star.
"There is a word for this movie, and that word is: Ick."
10. Freddy Got Fingered, zero stars.
"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."
11. Corky Romano, half star.
“‘Corky Romano’ is like a dead zone of comedy. The concept is exhausted, the ideas are tired, the physical gags are routine, the story is labored, the actors look like they can barely contain their doubts about the project.”
12. Charlie’s Angels, half star.
“‘Charlie’s Angels’ is like the trailer for a video game movie, lacking only the video game, and the movie.”
13. Mannequin, half star.
“A lot of bad movies are fairly throbbing with life. ‘Mannequin’ is dead. The wake lasts 1 1/2 hours, and then we can leave the theater. Halfway through, I was ready for someone to lead us in reciting the rosary.”
14. Exit to Eden, half star.
“I’m sorry, but I just don’t get Rosie O’Donnell. I’ve seen her in three or four movies now, and she generally had the same effect on me as fingernails on a blackboard. She’s harsh and abrupt and staccato and doesn’t seem to be having any fun. She looks mean. ... What were your first thoughts the first time Rosie turned up in the leather dominatrix uniform? Did you maybe have slight misgivings that you were presiding over one of the more misguided film projects of recent years?”
15. Hocus Pocus, one star.
“Of the film’s many problems, the greatest may be that all three witches are thoroughly unpleasant. They don’t have personalities; they have behavior patterns and decibel levels. A good movie inspires the audience to subconsciously ask, ‘Give me more!’ The witches in this one inspired my silent cry, ‘Get me out of here!’”
(What can we say? Ebert was occasionally wrong.)
16. Tommy Boy, one star.
“No one is funny in ‘Tommy Boy.’ There are no memorable lines. None of the characters is interesting, except for the enigmatic figure played by Rob Lowe, who seems to have wandered over from ‘Hamlet.’ Judging by the evidence on the screen, the movie got a green light before a usable screenplay had been prepared, with everybody reassuring themselves that since they were such funny people, inspiration would overcome them.”
17. The Village, one star.
“Eventually the secret of Those, etc., is revealed. It’s a crummy secret, about one step up the ladder of narrative originality from It Was All a Dream. It’s so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don’t know the secret anymore. And then keep on rewinding, and rewinding, until we’re back at the beginning, and can get up from our seats and walk backward out of the theater and go down the up escalator and watch the money spring from the cash register into our pockets.”
18. The Love Guru, one star.
“Myers has some funny moments, but this film could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents. Every reference to a human sex organ or process of defecation is not automatically funny simply because it is naughty, but Myers seems to labor under that delusion. He acts as if he’s getting away with something, but in fact all he’s getting away with is selling tickets to a dreary experience.”
19. She’s Out of Control, no stars.
“What planet did the makers of this film come from? What assumptions do they have about the purpose and quality of life? I ask because ‘She’s Out of Control’ is simultaneously so bizarre and so banal that it’s a first: the first movie fabricated entirely from sitcom cliches and plastic lifestyles, without reference to any known plane of reality.”
20. Summer School, half star.
“You see it, you leave the theater, and then it evaporates, leaving just a slight residue, something like a vaguely unpleasant taste in the memory.”
21. Clifford, half star.
“It’s not bad in any usual way. It’s bad in a new way all its own. There is something extraterrestrial about it, as if it’s based on the sense of humor of an alien race with a completely different relationship to the physical universe. The movie is so odd, it’s most worth seeing just because we’ll never see anything like it again. I hope.”
22. North, zero stars.
"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."
Alan Zweibel wrote this film, and he got a chance to confront Ebert about the review. In a bathroom.
See Also: 15 More Movies Roger Ebert Really Hated