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Mistakes from the 100 worst movies of all time

  • Mistakes from the 100 worst movies of all time

    The best movies create worlds with seemingly effortless magic. When a movie works, the audience doesn’t notice the elements that construct a coherent sense of time and space. They’re not thinking about lighting, camera movements, or the set because they’re immersed in the onscreen world. Continuity is invisible. A character opens a door, and the next cut shows a continuous action as the door opens in the next space with the character’s hair and costume identical even if the two shots were filmed months apart. Good movies don’t draw attention to their production.

    In contrast, the hallmarks of truly terrible films include all the ways they make their seams visible and obvious. They conspicuously draw attention to their production, and especially all the mistakes, inconsistencies, and gaffes that get in the way of continuity. Continuity gaffes include obvious mistakes in editing. Drinks at a bar are full in one shot, in the next empty, then full again. Production equipment like boom mics, camera shadows, and safety wires appear on-screen. Obvious changes in wardrobe and makeup occur from shot-to-shot. Locations don’t match and weather changes. The worst movies draw attention to the fact that they’re movies—shots of staged scenes edited together, while the best movies allow the audience to immerse themselves in a world where they forget that a camera was ever-present.

    To illustrate this point, Stacker gathered data on IMDb’s 100 worst movies as of September 2019 and ranked them according to IMDb user votes with ties broken by vote count, #1 carrying the title for worst. Only feature, English-language films with more than 10,000 user votes were considered. For each of the worst movies in this gallery, we've highlighted a mistake (or several) ranging from minor to major slips.

    The worst films are usually sequels, third or fourth or even seventh installments, remakes, video game adaptations, spoofs, and parodies, or offshoots of a franchise that refuses to die. Because these movies implicitly refer to the original film, they’re already up against impossible odds as they try to recapture and re-create what worked the first time. These types of films often have inferior budgets and star D-list or unknown actors. The obvious fact that these films follow a template or formula contributes to their inferiority. The audience arrives with preloaded expectations. They’re aware of patterns, templates, formulas, and clichés—so plots, stock characters, and set-ups come across as obviously constructed. Good movies encourage suspended belief, while the bad ones let it fall and splatter.

    Some bad films, like Ed Wood’s “Plan Nine From Outer Space” or Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room,” possess a delectable charm that comes from the unintended exposure of their flaws. However, the good-bad film is a rare treasure. Most of the ones here on our list are just plain, and painfully, awful.

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  • #100. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

    Directed by Joe Berlinger

    - IMDb user rating: 3.9
    - Votes: 34,221
    - Metascore: 15
    - Runtime: 90 min

    This quickly released sequel to the found-footage blockbuster, “The Blair Witch Project,” seems thrown together and doesn’t capture the freaky, low-tech horror of the original. There are glaring continuity errors involving destroyed files of “research” in a scene where the campers awaken to find papers torn apart and scattered. The shots switch from close and medium to long, and the character holding files sometimes has them, then doesn’t, then holds a notably different pile throughout the scene.

  • #99. The Cat in the Hat (2003)

    Directed by Bo Welch

    - IMDb user rating: 3.9
    - Votes: 47,175
    - Metascore: 19
    - Runtime: 82 min

    This adaptation of the popular Dr. Seuss book failed to capture the whimsy of the original story, despite Mike Myers’s enthusiastic performance as the rascally cat. In the sequence where Thing 1 and Thing 2 spew pink goo all over the living room, close-up shots show splatter on the kid’s faces—which are miraculously clear in the very next shot.

  • #98. Street Fighter (1994)

    Directed by Steven E. de Souza

    - IMDb user rating: 3.9
    - Votes: 61,920
    - Metascore: null
    - Runtime: 102 min

    Jean-Claude Van Damme brings his characteristic inelegance to the brawler role in this action movie based on a video game. The film includes a science lab cave lair where tortuous experiments take place. Props include smoking beakers and neon-hued liquid in IV bags. When a doctor takes a seat before his giant computer terminal the whole contraption jostles with his movement, clearly a light prop.

  • #97. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

    Directed by Jan de Bont

    - IMDb user rating: 3.9
    - Votes: 70,565
    - Metascore: 23
    - Runtime: 121 min

    The sequel to the smash hit “Speed,” set on a cruise ship upon the open sea, is a masterwork of nautical implausibility. In one stupendous action scene, an ocean liner crashes into a port town and covers several blocks of land before stopping against a bell tower and tipping sideways, propped against slanted, weak-looking houses. This sequence displays incongruence between exterior and interior shots. The events inside the vessel (harrowing slants and jarring crashes) mismatch with the outdoor footage where the ship steadily crushes the neighborhood without plausible rocking or movement onboard.

  • #96. Caddyshack II (1988)

    Directed by Allan Arkush

    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Votes: 14,129
    - Metascore: 7
    - Runtime: 98 min

    The first “Caddyshack,” starring Bill Murray and Chevy Chase, was a hit despite its jocular slapstick silliness. The second entry brings back Chase but doesn’t reach the comedy highs of the first film despite trying. The whole film could be considered a gigantic goof, but in one scene with Dan Aykroyd (as a zany military man), a watermelon explodes before impact with the cause of the explosion—a skull and crossbones imprinted golf ball.

  • #95. Furry Vengeance (2010)

    Directed by Roger Kumble

    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Votes: 14,888
    - Metascore: 23
    - Runtime: 92 min

    Brendan Fraser stars in this eco-comedy about animals who take vengeance upon real-estate developers. A raccoon and ferret design slingshot weaponry that causes gigantic boulders to careen into the cars of their enemies. The visual rendering of the big rocks look obviously digitized and in other shots seem to be made from props that are light and bouncy.

  • #94. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

    Directed by John Boorman

    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Votes: 20,075
    - Metascore: 39
    - Runtime: 117 min

    The sequel to the runaway box office hit, “The Exorcist,” suffers from taking itself way too seriously. Starring Linda Blair as Regan again, this time four years older and still demonic, several scenes are set on a mirrored skyscraper rooftop. Mirror shots require intensive technical prowess, such as in the “hall of mirrors” scene in Orson Welles’s “The Lady from Shanghai.” Similar visuals in this film show in one scene what appears to be the fingers of a cameraman in one of the mirrors.

  • #93. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)

    Directed by Raja Gosnell

    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Votes: 21,190
    - Metascore: 41
    - Runtime: 91 min

    Drew Barrymore voices the eponymous canine, and Piper Perabo plays the woman assigned to dogsit. In one sequence, the chihuahua deposits dog food in her sitter’s shoes. This reveals a conspicuous mistake since the same shoes were just on feet, then off, and next, located across the room in a prime spot for the doggy prank, but at the expense of sacrificing spatial logic.

  • #92. Holmes & Watson (2018)

    Directed by Etan Cohen

    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Votes: 22,021
    - Metascore: 24
    - Runtime: 90 min

    This clunker begins with a “Hannah Montana” quote about love over logic, so the film’s blatant anachronisms align with its general spirit. One of its major plot points involves Queen Victoria aboard the Titanic—which took its notorious voyage over a decade after she died.

  • #91. Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)

    Directed by Steven C. Miller

    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Votes: 22,533
    - Metascore: null
    - Runtime: 96 min

    This direct-to-video sequel to the equally absurd “Escape Plan,” concerns another harrowing breakout from another off-the-grid slammer. The film’s slipshod aesthetic works to mask its limitations. A shaky camera, dark lighting with a blue-green overtint, background mist, and blurred visuals both reveal and hide the film’s focal imprecision.

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