I just remembered that the world was supposed to end today. Maybe it did and I just wasn't paying attention.

The remake of Richard Donner's film The Omen was released today. I really liked the original and find it completely unnecessary to remake the film. (In fact, I'm opposed to remakes on general principle, though I can see the validity if the remake were to improve on an overlooked or poorly funded original. No one needs to remake Citizen Kane, but maybe we could do with a new Quatermass Xperiment (a precursor to the fundamentally similar John Carpenter's The Thing which was itself a remake) or Kingdom of the Spiders (though I would insist that this remake must feature Shatner in a prominent role, maybe even a reprisal of his role as the charming Dr. Rack Hansen).

On a related note, about this time of year, my friends begin demanding my presence at the movie theater for the blockbuster summer releases. As a loud-mouth sour-puss, they like to bring me along as the honorary Mikey of Life cereal fame. Since I hate everything, if I enjoy a movie, it's got to be good. (And if I don't like a movie, at least they get an entertaining ear-full of why it stunk.)

Since everyone loves lists, at least so far as VH1, E, and Bravo are apparently concerned, may I present my chronological 15 Worst Films of the Past 15 Years list. Please note that these films are not bad in the pedestrian I-don't-know-how-to-make-a-film way. (This, therefore, disqualifies all Roger Corman and Ed Wood films from the list.) I'm also disqualifying sequels, because they are intrinsically bad: they are unimaginative, restrained remakes of earlier films made purely to capitalize on previous films' characters and premises. The following films are bad in the I-know-better-than-to-make-this-movie-but-I-did-it-anyway category. (In other words, they are were big-budget, major studio, national release movies that sucked.)

  • Oscar (1991) - Sylvester Stallone as a comic gangster. Most people will tell you that Stallone's Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is worse. It's not. Estelle Getty has some funny lines in that one.

  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) - What a bit of inspired casting! Alan Rickman plays a bad guy. Morgan Freeman plays a sidekick. And Kevin Costner plays a long-winded American pretending to be English nobility turned hero of the common man. Couldn't Kevin Costner just hire a hooker to give him a hand-job so that we don't have to watch his films anymore?

  • The Good Son (1993) - I knew when I saw this film that one day Elijah Wood would be a star. I also knew that Macaulay Culkin wouldn't be one for much longer. Theoretically, this film would be a stirring psychological thriller, but I find that the really plodding pace and horrible acting makes it a good cure for insomnia.

  • The Firm (1993) - What do you get when you take a script based on a best selling novel, add box office gold with Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, and Gary Busey and let Sydney Pollack direct them? You get a cliched legal drama that lasts for 2 and a half painful hours and a cop-out ending. Thanks!

  • Greedy (1994) - This is a movie that proves that an ensemble cast of talented actors (yes, it includes Ed Bagley, Jr. -- I said it was an ensemble cast, didn't I?) aren't necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. Though filmed before Kirk Douglas's stroke and Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's Disease, you'll never be able to tell the difference.

  • Pocahontas (1995) - This film is mind-blowing in its mediocrity. That's saying something for a Disney "Masterpiece" film. This film won an Oscar for best song, but you probably can't tell what that song was anymore, can you? Nothing about this film is memorable. Fiction dressed as history, this sleep-inducing bore-fest marked the end of the second renaissance of Disney animation. Can you believe that someone wasted their time to make this crap one painting at a time? (And now Disney is reduced to Bambi II.)

  • Independence Day (1996) - There is nothing that this movie does that many other better movies before it didn't do better. (Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers had saucers blowing up Washington D.C., Alien had scary aliens, and Spaceballs had Bill Pullman.) In fact, this movie can definitively be said to be the end of Randy Quaid's career as a film actor. He now exclusively plays parodies of his character in this film: a stupid, fat slob.

  • Air Force One (1997) - I'm often accused of failing to suspend my disbelief during a movie. Sure, I can accept Harrison Ford as the president of the United States. Sure, I can accept that Air Force One is like an office building in the sky. Sure, I can even accept mid-air rescue from a flying 747. But I totally have to draw the line at a female Vice President. "Get off my plane!"

  • Titanic (1997) - "Wait, that's a good movie," you say? No, it's not. If you don't immediately fall for the overly-sappy love story between a bratty street punk and the spoiled bitch, you're left with a very, very long wait to see a large, animated boat sink. This movie is about James Cameron's love affair with a sunken wreck, nothing more.

  • Godzilla (1998) - Americans love foreign films. Wait, no we don't. We love remaking foreign films, replacing the inspired bits with tried and true cliches. Which is exactly what Godzilla is. Gone is the classic and beloved man in a rubber suit terrorizing a model town. Now we get ugly CGI that makes the monster look more like a constipated t-rex than an electrified monitor lizard. Have I mentioned the really horrible casting on this film, yet? Really, this is just an excuse to destroy New York City on film, again. We americans are also a bit masochistic.

  • Armageddon (1998) - While this movie might suck, at least it should get credit for being appropriately named. Who says that there is no truth in advertising? Another ensemble picture that totally blows. It's movies like this that make Michael Bay a running joke. (Note that J.J. Abrams, brainchild of Lost, wrote the screenplay for this trash. And now I'm supposed to be excited that he's attached to the new Star Trek movie?) Though I'm ranking these movies in chronological order, this film should get a special commendation, as I do believe that it is the absolute worst film ever made.

  • Planet of the Apes (2001) - Not really a remake as much as it is a pile of crap. I used to like Tim Burton (Pee-Wee's Big Adventure is a spectacular film), but based on this film, I refuse to watch anything Burton does anymore. Sorry, Tim, this is too bad for words. The action merely crawls along without any real suspense or plot since we all saw the much superior Heston film years ago. And the deus ex machina twist at the climax only adds insult to injury. Remember, kids, nuclear power is forever.

  • Minority Report (2002) - Once upon a time, Steven Speilberg could do no wrong: Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, Schindler's List... damn, that's an impressive list. But then, sometime around Saving Private Ryan, Mr. Spielberg lost touch with the rest of the human race. His movies became a series of incredibly unnecessary visceral moments that no longer have any cohesive narrative use. And then he gave us AI. Just like AI, this film poses as insightful and thought-provoking in the same way that Fox News poses as fair and balanced. There is a lost eyeball sequence in this film that would make Vincent Price proud. Plus, this movie features Tom Cruise as a holier-than-thou super-cop with fatherhood issues and an addiction to fantasy. Quite the stretch for you, eh, Tom?

  • The Core (2003) - I almost didn't include this movie here, because so far as I'm concerned, it's really just a spiritual sequel to Armageddon. But it is bad. Very, very bad. In yet another masculine role, Hillary Swank tries to drive a phallus-like drill into the "core" of the world in order to trigger an explosion that will make the world move. (Lets see, she's been the next Karate Kid, a teenaged boy, a police detective, an attorney, a space shuttle pilot, a boxer.... Is no man's role safe from the manly grip of Ms. Swank?)

  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004) - From Roland Emmerich, the director who brought you Godzilla and Independence Day (see above), comes a(nother) tale of the destruction of New York City! With Ice! I think that the FBI should be investigating Mr. Emmerich for terrorist activity based on the number of times that the has destroyed New York on film. There oughta be a law against Roland Emmerich.

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To be continued...

 

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