"About Last Night" asked readers for lists of bad movies, not movies which were made to be bad, like "Dumb and Dumber," but movies with some yikhes (righteous pedigree) to them. So here's my list of worst movies. I'd love it if you left some of your OWN candidates in the comments! Be brave!
- Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa, 1975). This one comes first because I was young enough to be embarrassed that I snoozed through a Great Masterpiece. Although the movie supposedly takes place in wide-sweeping Siberian plains, actually it's filmed as though Kurosawa had snow trucked into a Tokyo parking lot. The scenes were framed so tightly, the top of the characters' heads were cut off. Claustrophobic huffery and puffery.
- Z (Costa Gavra, 1969). What can I say? Though Netflix lauds its "edge-of-your-seat action" it was merely the first of many car-chase movies which lulled me to Neverland.
- Nashville (Altman, 1875). Netflix says this "sprawling masterpiece" "astonishes." I couldn't keep track of the hundreds of actors and couldn't care less. I wished their endless garden party would end and the chattering would subside so I could sleep in peace.
- The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich, 1971). Wow, this one got five stars from almost every reviewer. I guess its sleepy Texas location worked its magic on me: after snoring for just a little while, I watched the rest in fast-forward with the subtitles on.
- Gandhi (Attenborough, 1981). "Epic and unforgettable." I can't forget that I fell asleep twice watching it, then pulled the tape out of the machine and took it back.
- Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966). Did I deserve what I got, renting a Russian movie about a 15th century icon painter? Again, a "sweeping epic." I think I need to stay away from those. Russian stoicism illustrated: even in extra-fast forward, nobody moved! Not one of the wooden actors even twitched a facial muscle! Although somehow by the end everything was burned and everybody died so I must have missed something, even though I swear I stayed awake.
- Immortal Beloved (Rose, 1994). Don't you hate it when Hollywood tries to show us a girl is smart by putting glasses on her? And when they struggle to depict genius, it's absolutely painful. "The finale features a magical encapsulation of Beethoven's life." I was asleep by then.
- State and Main (Mamet, 2000). OK, it's Vermont - get a couple old actors who've never been east of the Valley, put them in flannel shirts and rocking chairs and give them some really. stupid. lines. The part of this which was a send up of Hollywood types was funny, but the "real down home America" part was worse than painful and insulting. And I hate that ingenue with the squinty eyes, Julia Stiles.
- Talk to Her (Almodovar, 2002). I loved "All About My Mother" but should have stayed away from this one. Two men who think the perfect woman is one who is in a coma. What more should I have needed to know before avoiding this? Also features preposterous and annoying modern dance both at the beginning AND the end.
- Good Will Hunting (Van Sant, 1997). Sorry, can't watch a movie about Southie with accents as bad as these. Did anybody making this movie ever even SEE South Boston? Reminds us once again that Hollywood directors never step foot outside their zip code. They haven't seen real people for so long they've forgotten what they're like.
(My brother went to AFI, the American Film Institute. I'll never forget the way they chose locations. "This looks like Connecticut, let's film it here." No, boys, it does not look like Connecticut, it looks like Southern California. However, it does look like other Hollywood movies purportedly taking place in Connecticut.)
- The Man Who Wasn't There (Coen, 2001). I made a poor impression on a first date when I fell asleep during this cold-hearted, sluggish piece of film noir from Joel Coen. Film noir: means you won't like anybody and nothing good will happen.
- The Goodbye Girl (Ross, 1977). Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! The whole movie reminds me of being forced to listen to somebody else's cellphone conversation. Marsha Mason was annoying me every single moment she was on camera.
- Love's Labour's Lost (Branagh, 2000). Yowzah. I'm a fan of Shakespeare adaptations - I really loved "Much Ado About Nothing" which was also a Branagh film - so this one was a horrid shock. Branagh really wanted to sing and dance in a tuxedo? Astaire he ain't. His ego is completely out of control. Shudderingly awful.
Here's my earlier list of worst songs of the 70s.
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