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100 worst dramas of all time

  • 100 worst dramas of all time

    Some bad movies rise to greatness because they’re enjoyably awful. There are notable so-bad-they’re-good classics on our list, such as “Showgirls” and “The Room,” which is considered one of the greatest bad movies of all time. We also have films that aimed high with all-star casts and award fodder plotlines that crashed and burned, like Nora Ephron’s madcap comedy “Mixed Nuts,” or ended up portentous and unwatchable, like Sean Penn’s save-the-refugees drama “The Last Face.”

    Major movie stars show up over and over again on our list of noteworthy flops. Late career formulaic action flicks starring Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, or Bruce Willis make the list more than once. So do films with Keanu Reeves, who is famous for his deadpan delivery. He brings his signature wooden acting style to roles in several films on our list, including a serial killer in “The Watcher” and a clone scientist in “Replicas,” to name a few. Madonna also has the distinction of appearing in more than one bad movie on our list.

    At Stacker, we recognize that genre captures the vibe of a film, and in this list we define dramas as films with a strong emotional center. Because we’ve compiled the worst dramas, these films show particular failure when it comes to conveying emotion. Many fail because they aren’t adept at making an audience care. Leaning into more open interpretations of what makes a drama is best practice for getting a pool of films that represent all possible expressions of the drama genre. You’ll find crime thrillers, horror movies, cop flicks, and romantic comedies—each fail at creating drama, but succeed at being terrible. Every film on the list has been considered according to the cinematic history and development of drama.

    Stacker compiled IMDb and Metacritic data from December 11, 2020 on all drama movies with over 2,500 votes on IMDb. We ranked them by Stacker score, an equally-weighted index between Metascore and IMDb user rating, #1 being the worst. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating. If a movie did not have a Metascore, it was not considered.

    Get ready for James Cameron’s directorial debut (featuring flying piranhas), as well as dismal sequels, blatant rip-offs, and big budget epics that skid off the rails. If you love a good bad movie, this is the list for you.

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  • #100. Dying of the Light (2014)

    - Director: Paul Schrader
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 31
    - IMDb user rating: 4.4
    - Runtime: 94 minutes

    Director Paul Schrader wrote the film classics “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull,” but disowned this re-edited noir thriller starring Nicolas Cage. Recut by studio backers without Schrader’s input, “Dying of the Light” follows Cage as a CIA agent on a revenge mission to kill a man who tortured him years earlier.

  • #99. Driven (2001)

    - Director: Renny Harlin
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 29
    - IMDb user rating: 4.6
    - Runtime: 116 minutes

    Sylvester Stallone co-wrote and starred in this race car movie directed by Renny Harlin, known for such reliable hits as “Die Hard 2” and “Deep Blue Sea.” “Driven,” set in the revved up world of drag racing, pairs Stallone with Burt Reynolds as two race car veterans who help an up-and-coming driver take the wheel, in what comes across as a stilted and overblown drama.

  • #98. Obsessed (2009)

    - Director: Steve Shill
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 25
    - IMDb user rating: 5.0
    - Runtime: 108 minutes

    Beyoncé and Idris Elba play a committed couple in this thriller that copies the “Fatal Attraction” plotline about a woman who obsesses over a married man. In the earlier classic, the stalker actually had an affair with the husband, but in “Obsessed,” there’s no infidelity. Ali Larter stars as the woman consumed with destroying the couple’s lives for no apparent reason.

  • #97. Revolution (1985)

    - Director: Hugh Hudson
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 22
    - IMDb user rating: 5.3
    - Runtime: 126 minutes

    Al Pacino dons a Scottish accent as a trapper pulled into battle and vengeance, in this drama set during the Revolutionary War. Donald Sutherland plays a sadistic British soldier in extended torture scenes. Intended as an artsy and sweeping historical epic, the film struck critics as plodding and incoherent, and was a massive box office flop.

  • #96. The Watcher (2000)

    - Director: Joe Charbanic
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 22
    - IMDb user rating: 5.3
    - Runtime: 97 minutes

    Keanu Reeves plays a perverse serial killer who relocates to Chicago to continue taunting the L.A. detective who sought solace by moving away. James Spader stars as the despondent FBI agent, with Marisa Tomei as his soon-to-be-imperiled therapist. “The Watcher” loads up on serial killer clichés as the cop and killer play cat and mouse through the formulaic proceedings.

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  • #95. The Zodiac (2005)

    - Director: Alexander Bulkley
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 21
    - IMDb user rating: 5.4
    - Runtime: 92 minutes

    Before “Zodiac,” David Fincher’s better known and better reviewed movie, there was “The Zodiac,” also based on the true story of the Zodiac serial killer who menaced the Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. “The Zodiac” comes across as a run-of-the-mill police procedural that lacks the horror and tension that presenting the real life source material requires.

  • #94. The Body (2001)

    - Director: Jonas McCord
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 21
    - IMDb user rating: 5.4
    - Runtime: 109 minutes

    Antonio Banderas stars as a priest tasked with figuring out whether or not a skeleton found at an archaeological site belongs to the actual Jesus Christ. Olivia Williams plays the scientist on the case, and the two clash over Christian faith and scientific evidence in a setup that infuses both sides with undistinguished tedium.

  • #93. Whatever It Takes (2000)

    - Director: David Raynr
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 20
    - IMDb user rating: 5.5
    - Runtime: 94 minutes

    Early career James Franco plays a jock in the teeny-bopper rom-com “Whatever it Takes,” that awkwardly co-opts the Cyrano de Bergerac premise that was also used in “Roxanne.” Two teen boys, a jock and a geek, help one another court two teen girls of the same ilk in this cliché-ridden comedy that lacks charm and plausibility.

  • #92. Mother's Day (2016)

    - Director: Garry Marshall
    - Stacker score: 39.1
    - Metascore: 18
    - IMDb user rating: 5.7
    - Runtime: 118 minutes

    Director Garry Marshall was known as a rom-com master with such hits as “Pretty Woman,” “The Runaway Bride,” and “The Princess Diaries.” In late career, he directed ensemble romances linked to holidays, such as “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve.” “Mother’s Day,” his final film, stalled the formula despite an all-star cast including romantic comedy powerhouses Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, and Kate Hudson.

  • #91. The Canyons (2013)

    - Director: Paul Schrader
    - Stacker score: 38.5
    - Metascore: 36
    - IMDb user rating: 3.8
    - Runtime: 99 minutes

    “The Canyons” suffers from high expectations despite its low budget Kickstarter financing. Bret Easton Ellis wrote the script directed by Paul Schrader, with Lindsay Lohan and porn actor James Deen in lead roles and director Gus Van Sant in a cameo. The results are dull and uninspired as four young beautiful people engage in erotic, lovelorn shenanigans that eventually turn violent.

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