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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 October 2020 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 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. The Canyons (2013)

    - Director: Paul Schrader
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Metascore: 36
    - Runtime: 99 min

    An erotic thriller-drama starring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen, “The Canyons” is an interesting but difficult-to-watch flop about the desperation and vapidity of Hollywood. One could argue that the entire movie is mistake of competing tones, but there’s one moment, when the camera pans over a dead woman and her pulse is clearly still visible, that stands out as a major oops.

  • #99. Double Dragon (1994)

    - Director: James Yukich
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 96 min

    Robert Patrick plays the villain Koga Shuko in this cheesy action film based on a video game. In an extended fight scene in a decrepit theater, Shuko rips through the same painted backdrop twice. There’s also a bit where a broom handle comes off in a fight, but there’s a quick shot of the broom handle back on before the reaction shot of it off. Alyssa Milano also stars.

  • #98. Singularity (2017)

    - Director: Robert Kouba
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 92 min

    A Swiss and American science-fiction film about AI taking over the world, “Singularity” was first shot in 2013, but wasn’t released until 2017 after additional scenes starring John Cusack had been added. Given the way it was cobbled together, it's understandable that a handful of errors would wind up in the film’s final cut. However, the most egregious, at least for the eagle-eyed viewer, is the fact that a 100-year-old camera found by our main characters still has fresh batteries and instant-develop film.

  • #97. Caddyshack II (1988)

    - Director: Allan Arkush
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - 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.

  • #96. Furry Vengeance (2010)

    - Director: Roger Kumble
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - 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.

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

    - Directors: John Boorman, Rospo Pallenberg
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - 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.

  • #94. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)

    - Director: Raja Gosnell
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - 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.

  • #93. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

    - Director: Ron Underwood
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Metascore: 12
    - Runtime: 95 min

    Eddie Murphy’s sci-fi comedy is still one of the biggest box office flops of all time. Its budget was more than $100 million and the film only grossed $4 million. When adjusted for inflation, the film lost more than $145 million. Despite the large production budget, this film set on the moon looks cheap and hokey—especially the CGI effects in a body modification scene where Murphy and co-star Rosario Dawson morph into overlarge body builders.

  • #92. Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)

    - Director: Steven C. Miller
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Metascore: data not available
    - 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.

  • #91. Holmes & Watson (2018)

    - Director: Etan Cohen
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - 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.

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