The 50 Worst Movies Ever

We asked, and you voted in your thousands. And now, for your delectation, we have the results of the worst movies ever made poll.

50 worst films ever

by Willow Green |
Published on

We asked, and you voted in your thousands. And now, for your delectation, we have the results of the worst movies ever made poll. From the disappointing to the bad to the downright offensive, here is a pile of sick filth that should be banned if the BBFC ever start assessing narrative coherence and filmmaking skill. Ladies and gentlemen, your worst movies ever...

50. Spider-Man 3

Who's responsible? Director/writer Sam Raimi, co-writing brother Ivan and screenwriter Alvin Sargent, an unholy alliance of studio suits and Venom fans, including producer Avi Arad.

Why it's on the list The one where Spidey went dark, we got three villains for the price of one as a lump of unexplained space goo drives Peter Parker to the eyeliner drawer. Three villains might've been a good thing had they not trampled all over each other's screentime and narrative coherence. Audiences lapped it up - it remains Sony Picture's biggest grossing movie - but with Sam Raimi at the helm and a small army of FX gurus on board, it could and should have been so much more.

Redeeming feature J.K. Simmons chewing up Peter, and the screen, with his trademark gusto.

What the critics said "As he scampers around the bathtub of popular culture, Spidey is beginning to exhaust everyone's patience. The time has come for someone to produce a rolled-up newspaper the size of a subway train and bring it down with an almighty crash" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

49. Showgirls

Who's responsible? Director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas.

Why it's on the list Whether you see it as All About Eve only with the good bits taken out and a naked Elizabeth Berkley put in, or a yet-to-be recognised classic, Showgirls represents a career graveyard for anyone unlucky enough to be cast in it (Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon, we're looking at you). Ignored at the box office, it briefly flourished on DVD, before ending the Nineties claiming the Razzies Worst Picture of the Decade gong - and this was the decade that gave us Batman and Robin.

Redeeming feature The trash-tastic neon-lit dance scenes have a certain manic energy and, er, the bit with the... nope, that's it really.

What the critics said "This film is like a shiny, red apple that's rotten to the core -- despite slick direction and a glossy sheen, it reeks of decay" - James Berardinelli, Reelreviews

48. Town & Country

Who's responsible? Director Peter Chelsom, writers Michael Laughlin and Buck Henry, and, reputedly, Warren Beatty's ego.

Why it's on the list Great cast, talented director, healthy budget, rubbish movie. How did it happen? Well, if rumours of on-set wrangling are to be believed, Warren Beatty takes a good portion of the blame, although surely he alone couldn't be responsible for the budget ballooning from $44m to more than $80m. Maybe, says Peter Biskind, whose sources claim that an insecure Beatty "worried every speech to death" as the movie crumbled around him.

Redeeming feature Charlton Heston sending himself up as a gun-toting lunatic.

What the critics said "Town & Country is less deserving of a review than it is an obituary" - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

47. Soul Plane

Who's responsible? Director Jesse Terero, screenwriters Chuck Wilson and Bo Zenga.

Why it's on the list This was billed as an "urban" take on Airplane! That's a bad idea to begin with: like Scary Movie, parodies of a parody are on to a loser from the start. But with the addition of crude racial stereotyping (of all races) and a fatal lack of funny, this goes from bad to worst. If more voters had seen it, this would be in the top ten.

Redeeming feature Snoop Dogg's stoner pilot comes close to funny. Well, he's in the same postcode at least. Well, the same country. If that country is Russia.

What the critics said "In Soul Plane, the laughs are a little thin on the ground. In fact this reprehensible piece of rubbish is more likely to be greeted with an appalled silence. About the only thing you can say in its favour is that the film is egalitarian, showing the same lack of respect for everyone and everything." - Wendy Ide, The Times

46. Howard the Duck

Who's responsible? Screenwriter/director Willard Huyck, writing partner Gloria Katz, fellow USC alumnus George Lucas, whose idea it was to adapt the Marvel comic, whose idea it was, and ducks everywhere just for giving them that idea.

Why it's on the list Ignore anyone who tells you it had a certain kitschy charm: it doesn't, it has a tiny man in a duck suit wandering around Cleveland smoking cigarettes. Proof, alongside Blade Trilogy and Spider-Man 3, that Marvel adaptations need to be handled with care.

Redeeming feature There's only one duck-based sex scene.

What the critics said "Daffy Duck will be pleased to hear he didn't miss any career opportunities when he wasn't chosen to star in "Howard the Duck"" - Variety

45. Blade Trinity

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter David S. Goyer.

Why it's on the list David Goyer takes the rap for this textbook example of franchisicide. The screenwriter's decision to step behind the camera backfires spectacularly in Blade's third outing, with Dracula roped for a fiendishly silly vampire plot to infect humanity. Anyone else could fairly blame his scriptwriter for the muddy, incoherent storyline. Unfortunately for Goyer, that's him too

Redeeming feature The epithet "cock-juggling thundercunt", thrown at an otherwise wasted Parker Posey by an improbably ab-ed Ryan Reynolds.

What the critics said "Were it not for Spider-Man 2, X2, and The Incredibles, the premise of a superhero greeted by a hostile public might have carried some novelty, but Blade: Trinity does nothing more ambitious than continue a sputtering franchise" - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club

44. The Matrix Revolutions

Who's responsible? Writer/director brother act, The Wachowskis.

Why it's on the list If the Wachowskis' sci-fi trilogy jumped the shark in its second instalment, it was still watchable hokum. But with the third effort, expectations were still high but kinetic thrill was replaced by further endless philosophical meanderings, and fans and critics stopped being apologists and became semi-apoplectic. Here, the storytelling is never wholly coherent, transforming the mythology of The Oracle, Zion and The Architect into a cod-spiritual soup. Even Hugo Weaving's trademark "Mr Andersssssson" seems an 's' or two OTT.

Redeeming feature A final attack on Zion that will literally explode your eyeballs.

What the critics said "It's just that it all adds up to a supersize nothing. To all but fanatics, the disappointment is crushing" - Pete Travers, Rolling Stone

43. Year One

Who's responsible? Director Harold Ramis, screenwriters Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg. Not to mention producer Judd Apatow.

Why it's on the list This Biblical satire promised much: the return of Harold Ramis, the yin-and-yang comic talents of Jack Black and Michael Cera, and a high concept that promised to do for the Old Testament what Spinal Tap did for cucumber-packing rockstars. And to heighten our anticipation still further, the trailer packed three solid laughs. Unfortunately, so did the film.

Redeeming feature Movie-stealing cameos from David Cross and the ever-marvellous Paul Rudd.

What the critics said "There's plenty of lowbrow, knuckle-dragging humour; coupled with all the gay jokes, poop jokes, Jewish jokes and you're-stupider-than-I-am jokes. The arrested-development crowd will no doubt be thoroughly entertained" - Betsy Sharkey

42. Parting Shots

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter Michael Winner, co-writer Nick Mead.

Why it's on the list Its low concept (terminally ill man uses his remaining time on Earth to kill anyone who's ever got on his nerves), phoned-in performances and train-crash execution makes this easily one of the worst movies ever to (dis)grace our screens - so bad in fact, that if you tried to bury it in landfill the other rubbish would climb out. This is a valuable reminder of why, for a movie director, Michael Winner makes such a good restaurant critic.

Redeeming feature A tagline ("When Harry found out he had six weeks to live, something snapped...and it wasn't his camera") so terrible it was actually kinda good.

What the critics said "Chris Rea - yes, the pop singer and motor car enthusiast - cannot act for toffee. To cast him in a lead role is suicide. Indeed, the whole venture has a whiff of Springtime For Hitler about it" - Andrew Collins, Empire

41. Van Helsing

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter Stephen Sommers.

Why it's on the list The Pro Bowl of creature features, this chucks three classic beasties at us (four, if you include Wolvie) and some wonderfully gothic production design, but not a whole lot else. Even the combined fear factor of Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man can't make up for the fact that Stephen Sommers forgot to write a plot.

Redeeming feature Hugh Jackman's abs and flowing locks. Ladies may appreciate those too.

What the critics said "The movie has no soul, no magic, no feeling for character, nothing for us to care about. At the end, when the director makes a stab at elegiac pathos, we realise how far short of the often deeply moving 1930s Universal classics his film falls" - Philip French, The Observer

40. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Who's responsible? Director Sidney J. Furie, writers Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal and Christopher Reeve, and moneymen Golan & Globus/Cannon Films.

Why it's on the list Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's 90 minutes of movie Kryptonite that had (admittedly sparse) audiences sobbing into their popcorn. Never mind a quest for peace: finding a coherent plot would have been a start, while the movie's micro-budget meant Milton Keynes had to stand in for Metropolis, a bit of a stretch by any standards. The result was a messy end for Christopher Reeve's much-loved Superman.

Redeeming feature Lex Luthor prodigy Nuclear Man, who manages to shrug off a credibility-sapping bouffant 'do and spandex villain suit to bring a little menace to proceedings. And we mean a little .

What the critics said "More sluggish than a funeral barge, cheaper than a sale at K mart, it's a nerd, it's a shame, it's 'Superman IV'" - Desson Howe, The Washington Post

39. Dungeons and Dragons

Who's responsible? Director/producer Courtney Solomon, actors Jeremy Irons, Thora Birch and Marlon Wayans.

Why it's on the list The worst of its kind of 'Sword and Sorcery' adventure tales, this managed to alienate its core fan base (the original boardgame players) by ignoring all aspects of the game, and alienate the general movie-going public by being utter cinematic bum gravy of the highest order. The camerawork, the script, the direction: you name it, it's all dross. Shame on you, Jeremy Irons, for doing it again in Eragon just a few years later, and even more shame on the movie execs who commissioned a straight to DVD sequel afterwards.

Redeeming feature Jeremy Irons' angry face. Yep, that's all we've got.

What the critics said "The average episode of "Xena" or "Hercules" offers a more compelling and imaginative photoplay." - Scott Foundas, Variety

38. Son of the Mask

Who's responsible? Director Lawrence Guterman, writer Lance Khazei and actor Jamie Kennedy.

Why it's on the list "Somebody stop me!" - and somebody should have. Ten years on from the original, Norse gods are at it again, and this time a baby's involved record scratch. A really, really, ghastly CG baby (see above). This king of pointless sequels follows in an increasingly long line of utterly pants follow-ups to successful Jim Carrey comedies. After all, who could forget Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Evan Almighty, and Ace Ventura Jr: Pet Detective? That's right, everyone.

Redeeming feature Bob Hoskins is Odin. That's right, Odin. Awesome.

What the critics said "Jamie Kennedy is, by many accounts, a funny guy. You wouldn't know it, though, from 'Son of the Mask'." - Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post

37. Max Payne

Who's responsible? Director John Moore, screenwriter Beau Thorne, and, of course, Mark Wahlberg (2008 edition).

Why it's on the list If you thought The Happening was the worst film Mark Wahlberg starred in in 2008, well, you'd be right, but Max Payne gives it a damn good run for its money. Managing to ride roughshod over the original game's plot (Valkyries, anyone?) and failing to give the lead's desire for a bloodthirsty revenge any explanation until way over half way through the film, it's an all-round, gun-a-blazing backfire - though no-one speaks to any houseplants, admittedly.

Redeeming feature The shoot-out scenes are reasonable engaging (and frequent) which keeps the film, somehow, God knows, going.

What the critics said "The movie is a series of glum interrogation scenes that lead nowhere special, with a not-quite-sci-fi urban murkiness that makes it look like someone was trying to shoot Blade Runner in Cleveland." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

36. Eragon

Who's responsible? Director Stefen Fangmeier, and, arguably, novelist Christopher Paolini.

Why it's on the list Featuring a supporting cast more wooden than the Forest of Fangorn and a plot that could have been written by a teenager (and was - he was 15) this sword-swinging large lizard-filled blunder was almost doomed to crash and burn. Jeremy Irons makes a valiant attempt to make it passable, but fails under the weight of its Star Wars-lite-in-the-woods plot and its tired, weak dialogue.

Redeeming feature Some genuinely impressive dragon-based CGI. Honestly, wow.

What the critics said "A painful reminder of what fantasy cinema was like before the Lord of the Rings trilogy re-wrote the rules." - Nigel Floyd, Time Out

35. House of the Dead

Who's responsible? Director Uwe Boll.

Why it's on the list You may be surprised it's taken this long to see a Boll film on this list (and you'll certainly be surprised how few of his films are here) but here we are at last, with a plotless game adaptation that sees irritating teens trying to kill badly designed zombie hordes. Bad on every level except the accidental comedy one.

Redeeming feature The unintentional laughs provoked by exchanges like, "'You created it all to be immortal...Why?!''; ''To live forever!'". You couldn't make it up. Well, clearly someone could.

What the critics said "To properly convey the jaw-dropping shoddiness of this videogame-based ''horror'' ''movie,'' one must approach what scientists call Absolute Stupid, a state previously thought to exist only under highly controlled laboratory conditions or at the highest levels of government." - Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly

34. I Know Who Killed Me

Who's responsible? Director Chris Sivertson, screenwriter Jeff Hammond, Lindsay Lohan.

Why it's on the list Remember how great Lindsay Lohan was in Mean Girls? Or Freaky Friday, or The Parent Trap? Well, if you do, be sure never to watch this, because it will spoil those memories forever. We could forgive Lohan for wanting to make a racier, adult thriller. If only it were thrilling.

Redeeming feature If you want to see Lohan pole-dancing, this is your chance. That, or any Friday night in LA during 2007.

What the critics said "There's a fresh candidate in the running for worst movie of 2007 honours. "I Know Who Killed Me," a ridiculous thriller (minus the thrills) starring the embattled Lindsay Lohan in a dual role, has all the hallmarks necessary for qualification: A nonsensical plot that grows sillier by the second, tawdry special effects, heavy-handed symbolism that's big on electric-blue hues and mechanical performances are all culprits as far as the title's concerned." - Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

33. Ultraviolet

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, Milla Jovovich.

Why it's on the list You will find no greater Equilibrium fans than the Empire team, so we had high hopes for Ultraviolet. After all, Wimmer is capable of good sci-fi, as is Jovovich (c'mon, Leeloo rocks). But the film is astonishingly bad - perhaps due to the decision to remove all references to vampirism from the finished cut, rather castrating the script, perhaps because the theatrical cut is a good 30 minutes shorter than the director intended and makes no sense, or perhaps because it was never that clever in the first place.

Redeeming feature William Fichtner's in it! And if he's playing exactly the same part he did in Equilibrium, well, that's no bad thing.

What the critics said "The drama ends, confusingly, with a flaming sword battle that takes place partially in the dark and appears to have equal influences from "Highlander" and that annual Yule log that appears every Christmas on KICU. The Yule log was way more entertaining." - Peter Hartlaub, The San Francisco Chronicle

32. The Spirit

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter Frank Miller, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson.

Why it's on the list The problem with this film isn't bland-but-OK lead Gabriel Macht, or Samuel L. Jackson's scenery-gnawing mad scientist baddie, or even the unbelievably stupid and annoying henchmen. It's the way that Frank Miller tries to stuff the film with gorgeous women, dress them all as sex objects and then make them go literally insane whenever Macht's Spirit appears. It's clearly meant to be tongue-in-cheek and fun, but somehow it just comes off as sad.

Redeeming feature It does look like a comic come to life. And hey, so do the ladies.

What the critics said "I'm just trying to figure out why, somewhere in the middle of "The Spirit," Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson arrive on screen decked out in swastikas and jackboots. Nothing in the logic of the film explains it, but then, to use the phrase "the logic of the film" when talking about "The Spirit" may be to take the "oxy" out of "oxymoronic." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times

31. The Pink Panther 2

Who's responsible? Director Harold Zwart, co-screenwriter and star Steve Martin.

Why it's on the list The thing about resurrecting a classic is that you're going to be measured against the original. While Martin's first shot at The Pink Panther was nary a patch on the original, with only three funny bits, this shot-in-the-dark sequel is barely fit to lick its predecessor's boots, never mind those of Sellers' lunatic detective. No funny bits. Not even the reprise of the 'amburger bit.

Redeeming feature Watching Jeremy Irons hope that no one will notice he's in it.

What the critics said "Rather than reinvigorating the Panther comedy franchise from the '60s and '70s, Martin's version dumbs it down and wrings the zany fun out of it. It's as if the former stand-up comedian is going through the motions of humour" - Claudia Puig, USA Today

30. Scary Movie

Who's responsible? Director Keenen Ivory Wayans, screenwriters Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer, Buddy Johnson and Phil Beauman.

Why it's on the list The original in the crap-spoof genre, where the wisdom of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker is rudely shoved aside in favour of replaying whole scenes from better films with worse casts, and fart gags are substituted for wit or visual humour. This one is far from the worst of the genre, but gets points deducted for sparking so many bad sequels and spin-offs. That and for spoofing a film that was, in itself, a satire.

Redeeming feature Anna Faris, who has genuine comic chops and almost, almost, makes the thing funny.

What the critics said "Where the majestic 'Airplane' took the rise out of a series of disaster movies that had taken themselves far too seriously, 'Scary Movie' (which only once tries to parody its source's parody - and fails) loses considerable impact by not having its necessary straight man. A Morecambe, if you like, without its Wise." - Mark Dinning, Empire

29. Southland Tales

Who's responsible? Director Richard Kelly.

Why it's on the list After the runaway success of Donnie Darko, everyone expected big things of Richard Kelly's second movie, a twisty post-apocalyptic tale of porn stars and the second coming. And while his ambition is plain to see, the sad fact is that the plot makes no sense, even on repeated viewings.

Redeeming feature Unlikely as it sounds, Justin Timberlake's narrator is probably the best thing here, closely followed by The Rock.

What the critics said "I suspect that the film will probably make more sense to people who've read the graphic novels, though I imagine that complete comprehension of something as wiggy and abstract as Southland Tales is pretty much impossible, even to Kelly himself. Such is the mystery of art. And mind-boggling self-indulgence." - Nathan Rabin, The Onion AV Club

28. The Sweetest Thing

Who's responsible? Director Roger Kumble, screenwriter Nancy Pimental, Cameron Diaz, Thomas Jane, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair.

Why it's on the list About as feminist as a Spice Girls video and considerably less jaunty, this crude rom-com tries to make a case for ladette humour, billing itself as a sort of American Pie for grown women. The difference is that American Pie was funny; this is just cringe-inducing. And don't even get us started on The Penis Song, which the three stars co-wrote.

Redeeming feature Thomas Jane at least has the decency to look embarrassed by what's going on around him.

What the critics said "It's an excruciating mess, unable to make up its mind if it's a dating-game comedy, wacky road movie or a teen-market gross-out fest. It succeeds only in being tacky, unfunny and profoundly unconvincing, and acted on brain-dead auto-pilot by the relentlessly vivacious Diaz." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

27. Street Fighter

Who's responsible? Director Steven E. De Souza, Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Why it's on the list There still hasn't been an outright good game-to-film adaptation, but even by the standards of the genre, this one's a pretty poor effort. Despite combining the martial arts skills of JCVD with the being-super-perky skills of Kylie Minogue, we simply weren't convinced.

Redeeming feature It was Raul Julia's last film, and there's pleasure to be had watching his snarling, swaggering General Bison.

What the critics said "Since the film is PG-13, none of the violence that breaks out with predictable regularity is particularly believable or engrossing. Some of the film merely mimics the action of the game; at least in the game you get to participate in the bellicosity." - Richard Harrington, The Washington Post

26. Glitter

Who's responsible? Director Vondie Curtis-Hall, Mariah Carey, Max Beesley.

Why it's on the list It must've seemed like a good idea: one of the biggest selling record artists of all time, a couple of good tunes, a familiar Star Is Born storyline and Bob's your uncle, right? Only the star didn't act, the music didn't spawn a hit and the film itself is stupefyingly dull and badly put together on every level from cinematography to plotting.

Redeeming feature If you like Carey's voice, you might like some of the songs. Er. To see her act, however, you'll have to watch this year's Precious.

What the critics said "Glitter's rhyming slang is well earned. At times during the first hour of this 'rags to riches' story, Glitter appears to be the world's first Zen movie. Absolutely nothing happens. Entire scenes wander past with the nutritional content of a CD case. Heroically bad." - Colin Kennedy, Empire

25. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Who's responsible? Director Michael Bay, screenwriters Ehren Kruger and Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

Why it's on the list Another sequel that sees a massive drop-off in quality from its more tightly-plotted predecessor - and the first Transformers was no masterpiece - this is a rare case where improvements in special effects put filmmaking back, with the more intricate robots proving impossible to tell apart in a fight - apart from the racist and sexist stereotypes, anyway. A nonsensical plot, skewed tone and tin ear for cultural sensitivity combine to make it the silliest film of 2009.

Redeeming feature John Turturro, who appeared to be in a different movie from everyone else - again. And Optimus Prime's scenes are totally worth watching. Also, ka-BOOM!

What the critics said "With its fascist sensibility, assortment of smutty asides, illiterate gold-tooth-wearing homie robots and the hero's brainless mother, much of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is simply despicable. Given the relentless din, the Leni Riefenstahl-inspired music and the headache-inducing visuals, OSHA should probably be investigating the conditions under which human beings made this thing. Or the conditions under which they watch it. - John Anderson, The Washington Post

24. Speed 2

Who's responsible? Director / story writer Jan De Bont, screenwriters Randall McCormick and Jeff Nathanson.

Why it's on the list Rarely has a franchise gone from the sublime to the ridiculous as fast as Speed. The first film was a near-perfect action movie; the second shifted the action to that least speedy of mass transportation methods: the cruise ship. As it turns out, you can't reduce the speed to six knots and expect the story not to slow down. And when the whole point of the film is that it can't slow down, you're onto a loser.

Redeeming feature The final stunt, where Jason Patric has to harpoon a seaplane. Who doesn't love people harpooning seaplanes?

What the critics said "I am thinking of suing Twentieth Century Fox for breach of contract. Where, pray, is the speed? I can bicycle faster than this ship. I know people who can swim faster. If things carry on like this, we can look forward to Speed 3 taking place on the back of a pony." - Anthony Lane, The New Yorker.

23. Freddy Got Fingered

Who's responsible? Writer / director / star Tom Green.

Why it's on the list Vanity, vanity, thy name is Tom Green. If you were around in the 1990s you may remember Green as the anarchic host of his self-titled MTV show. If you saw Freddy Got Fingered, however, you'll remember him as a shouting, tasteless buffoon responsible for these 90 minutes of would-be shocking sketches. It's a film he didn't so much direct as perpetrate.

Redeeming feature The film's defenders claim that it's actually "a greater, dadaistic post-modern vision". So that's OK then.

What the critics said "This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

22. Jaws: The Revenge

Who's responsible? Director Joseph Sargent, screenwriter Michael De Guzman.

Why it's on the list To steal from Dennis Pennis, this is a C-movie in every sense of the word. Alongside a shonky script and hoary dream sequences, it's got a replica Great White so rubbery you could lop it into tiny pieces and stick it on your pencil, several glaring continuity errors, and a confused-looking Michael Caine in desperate need of a new agent. Oh, and a shark eating an plane.

Redeeming feature It's got a shark eating an plane.

What the critics said "Not simply a bad movie, but a stupid and incompetent one" - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

21. Alone in the Dark

Who's responsible? Director Uwe Boll.

Why it's on the list A big congratulations to Uwe Boll, who managed to get only two films on the list! And what a doozy his top-placer is, with a starring role for Tara Reid (not a good sign since the first American Pie), a monster-in-a-museum idea we've seen a million times and a plot that defies the laws of nature as well as screenwriting, filled with non-sequiturs and barely explained events.

Redeeming feature Er, let's just say Christian Slater's eyebrows. They're usually entertaining.

What the critics said "Alone in the Dark offers ample evidence that House of the Dead helmer Uwe Boll should put down his joystick -- quickly, before anyone else gets hurt." - Justin Chang, Variety

20. Swept Away

Who's responsible? Director Guy Ritchie, Madonna.

Why it's on the list Much as we'd like to dismiss the reaction to Guy Ritchie's third film as a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that he made a film with his famous (then) wife, the truth is that it really is pretty bad, Madonna swinging from melodramatic to fatally blank like a metronome.

Redeeming feature The Mediterranean is a terribly fetching shade of blue.

What the critics said "All the spunk and spirit of [Guy Ritchie's] first two box office hits, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch," are missing from "Swept Away," a movie so dangerously adrift from any artistic or commercial moorings that one cannot make out what is intended." - Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

19. Gigli

Who's responsible? Director Martin Brest, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez.

Why it's on the list It's almost impossible to believe, looking at this, that Martin Brest directed Beverly Hills Cop. After all, this is supposed to be a comedy too, but you wouldn't guess it from the laughs. And with J.Lo playing the sort of lesbian only found in movies (talks dirty, sleeps with men) it's impossible to take seriously.

Redeeming feature Christopher Walken and Al Pacino's cameos are the closest the film gets to funny.

What the critics said "Nearly as unwatchable as it is unpronounceable. The pair should reconsider working with anyone who thought well of a movie hinged on jokes about the disabled, switch-hitting lesbians, and the sight of a dead man's brain splattered across an aquarium." - Manohla Darghis, The Times

18. Dreamcatcher

Who's responsible? Director Lawrence Kasdan, novelist Stephen King, screenwriter William Goldman.

Why it's on the list This is one of those films with a truly impressive collection of talent behind and in front of the camera - which makes the extent of its badness all the more depressing. Perhaps the original novel - not King's best, with its "shit weasels" and red mould - just wasn't suited for cinema.

Redeeming feature Jason Lee's pretty good. But then he's only in it for about 10 minutes.

What the critics said "It's when the weasel aliens exit from various orifices that the film disintegrates into a sizeable heap of poo." - Derek Malcolm, The Guardian

17. White Chicks

Who's responsible? Director Keenen Ivory Wayans, stars Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans.

Why it's on the list There's willing suspension of disbelief, and then there's the idea that two society sisters of the Hilton variety can turn up for summer in the Hamptons having put on height and weight and become freakishly plastic looking (due to being undercover male FBI agents) without anyone noticing. Add in thoughtless sexism and general offensiveness, dress in high heels and start threatening a sequel.

Redeeming feature Terry Crews plays a playboy improbably attracted to one of the undercover agents, and actually manages to raise some laughs. Okay, a laugh.

What the critics said "The premise veers wildly from its fertile setup, thanks to acting that isn't broad so much as grotesque, humor that's isn't smart so much as witlessly vulgar, and preposterous plotting that insults the intelligence." - Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

16. Plan 9 From Outer Space

Who's responsible? Would-be movie mogul Ed Wood.

Why it's on the list Possibly the most entertaining movie on this entire list, Ed Wood's masterpiece mixes nonsensical dialogue, stock footage, dreadful effects and short recycled clips of star Bela Lugosi, who died during filmmaking, used with scant regard for narrative coherence. Still, there's an exuberance and ambition to it that most of the films here can only dream of.

Redeeming feature If you've seen the Tim Burton film Ed Wood, you'll probably feel all warm and cosy about even the most demented bits. In fact, it now has mostly positive reviews by those who have always seen it as a hilarious / avant garde cult movie rather than an incoherent disaster.

What the critics said "Brilliantly terrible or terribly terrible depending on your viewpoint." - Kim Newman, Empire

15. Catwoman

Who's responsible? Director Pitof, star Halle Berry.

Why it's on the list It was clear that something was wrong the moment the shredded and strapped costume was unveiled, but the full extent of the disaster didn't become clear until we saw the equally shredded editing and the weird face-cream MacGuffin that gave the plot its Big Bad. Bizarre - and not in a good way.

Redeeming feature Berry in a catsuit, tangling with Sharon Stone. Girl fight!

What the critics said "Not to be catty about it, but the stench of the litter pan is all over this big-screen $90 million disaster." - Pete Travers, Rolling Stone

14. Disaster Movie

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriters Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer.

Why it's on the list Disaster movie by name - well, you know the rest. Friedberg and Seltzer, the talentless hacks behind a string of godawful spoofs, turn their sights on a genre, but with their usual scattershot aim end up hitting innocent bystanders in their quest to fill 90 minutes without using a single original line of dialogue or funny gag. Woeful. Freidberg and Seltzer persist in their notion that replaying entire scenes from better films, word for word, can be funny.

Redeeming feature Er, some people liked the Juno spoof.

What the critics said "A disaster first, and a movie barely" - William Goss, Cinematical

13. The Avengers

Who's responsible? Director Jeremiah Chechik, Uma Thurman, Ralph Fiennes, Sean Connery.

Why it's on the list A great cast, a classic TV series on which to base the adventure and some rather beautiful production design, The Avengers looked, on paper, to have it all. Shame that the arch dialogue collapsed, the jokes fizzled and the villain conferred with a table full of giant teddy bears.

Redeeming feature It's so surreal looking it's almost a work of art. Just not cinema art.

What the critics said "The Avengers" is a gargantuan misfire, but it probably isn't the hilarious travesty that a lot of people are expecting it to be. A great, big, boring multi-million dollar piece of useless eye-candy." - Paul Tatara,

12. Norbit

Who's responsible? Eddie Murphy and director Brian Robbins.

Why it's on the list A film so fantastically misogynistic and misanthropic that you'll have to watch Raw a number of times to even begin to forgive Eddie Murphy, this sees him in nerdy mode as the put-upon husband of a monstrously abusive wife (also Murphy). Offensive to anyone with any taste.

Redeeming feature Believe it or not, this was Oscar nominated - albeit only for its make-up. And Thandie Newton looks beautiful in it.

What the critics said "Norbit" is racially insensitive, politically incorrect and beyond crude (and what Newton was thinking is hard to fathom)" - Luke Sader, The Hollywood Reporter

11. Meet The Spartans

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriters Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer. Again.

Why it's on the list The makers of Airplane! knew that the spoof depends on both a wide range of targets and an unchanging focus. The makers of Meet the Spartans, however, thought it would be funny to pair 300 with Deal or No Deal, Ghost Rider, Ugly Betty and Transformers. Less a plot than a bunch of unfunny teens riffing.

Redeeming feature There are lots of abs and boobies, if that helps. But to be honest we'd advise watching a workout video over this. They have better storylines.

What the critics said "Here and now, the writing-directing team of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer water down their own blend of pop-comic diarrhoea in this witless, tasteless, formless spoof of 300's homoerotic box-office warriors. So infuriatingly lazy that its leads don't even earn Mad Magazine-clever nicknames. I'm moving to Europe. - Aaron Hills, The Village Voice

10. The Room

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter/star Tommy Wiseau.

Why it's on the list Famed far and wide as the most inept film ever made, The Room combines the worst of every discipline, to the extent that it was dubbed "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" by Entertainment Weekly.

Redeeming feature It's the most fun you can have watching a terrible movie, with its midnight screenings consistently drawing crowds and audience members throwing plastic spoons at the screen. And the interviews it has prompted with Wiseau are equally bizarre.

What the critics said "Given audience reaction, pic may be something of a first: A movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back -- before even 30 minutes have passed. Maybe that has something to do with the extreme unpleasantness of watching Wiseau and actress Juliette Danielle engage in a series of soft-core sex scenes; or with the overall ludicrousness..." - Scott Foundas, Variety

9. Highlander 2: The Quickening

Who's responsible? Director Russell Mulcahy.

Why it's on the list The original Highlander is no one's idea of high art, but its concept and execution had a certain elegance to it. But that movie's catchphrase - there can be only one - turned out to be true in more ways that the filmmakers realised: this sequel pissed all over the narrative and logic of the first film, as well as being, in itself, completely incomprehensible.

Redeeming feature People get their heads chopped off. Hurrah!

What the critics said "Mulcahy and company don't ask us to suspend disbelief; they ask us to pretend we've all had weed-whacker lobotomies..."Highlander 2" is little more than a barbarous arena, a Conanistic return to paganism for those among us who still laugh at violence." - Rita Kempley, Washington Post

8. The Happening

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter M. Night Shyamalan, Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel.

Why it's on the list How could it all go wrong for such talented filmmakers? Shyamalan says that Wahlberg and Deschanel's overly mannered performances were a deliberate throwback to disaster movies of yesteryear; to everyone else, they felt forced and flat. And as for Walhberg's scene talking to a plastic house plant - God save us.

Redeeming feature The premise is a creepy one - and some of the initial suicides are terrifying, particularly the hairpin-through-the-neck one.

What the critics said "Now we have this ill wind, this feeble gust of an environmental horror story? Perhaps, with his next film, he'll have a surprise twist of cinematic brilliance that will explain and atone for the creepy stuff that's been happening to him." - Richard Corliss, Time

50 worst films ever

7. Sex Lives of The Potato Men

Who's responsible? Director/screenwriter Andy Humphries, lottery players, the whole of the British film industry.

Why it's on the list Two chip-shop delivery men dreaming of wild sex and easy women instead slip into boorishness, misogyny and crude jokes. All of that might, maybe, be just about OK if it was funny - but this is so cringe-inducingly nasty that it just isn't.

Redeeming feature Lucy Davis, who deserves better than a place here.

What the critics said "This is one of the two most nauseating films ever made a seedy medley of sketches a masterclass in filmmaking ineptitude." - James Christopher, The Times

6. Heaven's Gate

Who's responsible? Director Michael Cimino.

Why it's on the list The story goes that director Michael Cimino asked why no one was drinking champagne at his film's premiere, and was told, "Because they hate the movie, Michael." There are five uninterrupted minutes of fiddle playing - on roller skates - and Jeff Bridges throwing up, also on roller skates. But it's a Western - go figure.

Redeeming feature The 219-minute cut is said to be considerably better than the original 149-minute version.

What the critics said "Heaven's Gate" is something quite rare in movies these days -- an unqualified disaster." - Vincent Canby, New York Times

5. Epic Movie

Who's responsible? Writer-directors Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer. Yet again.

Why it's on the list A lazy collection of recreations of scenes from blockbuster movies and, for no obvious reason, the likes of Nacho Libre and Borat, but with added scatological humour. Even if that were forgivable, the waste of actual talent like Crispin Glover and Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald is not.

Redeeming feature The aging Harry Potter cast gag is a good idea, briefly.

What the critics said "The cinematic equivalent of a tapeworm, this delivers few laughs beyond the initial chuckles of recognition. Seltzer and Friedberg (who also directed) have another script in development called Raunchy Movie; one idea they may not have considered is "Watchable Movie." - J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader

4. Raise The Titanic

Who's responsible? Director Jerry Jameson, screenwriter Adam Kennedy.

Why it's on the list A film so expensive that its producer famously quipped it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic, this Titanic flopped at the box-office and caused author Clive Cussler, on whose book it was based, to deny Hollywood his books for 20 years (then he allowed Sahara, which is another story).

Redeeming feature The sight of the wrecked Titanic sailing into New York is strangely moving.

What the critics said "The execution is so bland it makes even the ludicrous stretches of the plot seem airless and unexciting. When we finally get to the disaster movie in reverse section of the film, any potential thrill is lost in swathes of boring exposition and in undistinguished special effects (where did the money go?). It feels as tethered and limp as a TV movie." - Ian Nathan, Empire

3. The Love Guru

Who's responsible? Mike Myers.

Why it's on the list A comedy so bad that it made us question whether any of Myers' back-catalogue had ever been funny, this starts with an unoriginal character and borderline racist and sexist humour before heading straight for the toilet. When shagging elephants are your comedy centrepiece, something is seriously askew.

Redeeming feature For the second time on this list, Justin Timberlake is the best thing in this. Here he's a well-endowed French-Canadian ice hockey star. Honestly, we were surprised too.

What the critics said "The Love Guru is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times

2. Battlefield Earth

Who's responsible? Director Roger Christian, L. Ron Hubbard, the whole of Scientology.

Why it's on the list John Travolta as a dreadlocked, 9ft. tall alien. Forest Whitaker as his dimwitted sidekick. Barry Pepper saving the world. Alien invaders kept at bay by thousand-year-old technology stockpiled by the good old US of A. The only way this could be more ridiculous would be if all those involved played it dead serious but looked as camp as Christmas? Oh, wait.

Redeeming feature When viewed as a comedy, it's high-larious.

What the critics said "Pretty much the Showgirls of sci-fi shoot-em-ups" - Dennis Harvey, Variety

1. Batman and Robin

Who's responsible? Director Joel Schumacher, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Why it's on the list Gaining nearly three times as many votes as the next entry, this was a runaway loser. From the neon design to the overblown script to the infamous Batnipples, it's become a byword for franchise-killing and bad movie-making.

Redeeming feature A good half of the population would argue for Alicia Silverstone's arse in the Batgirl suit; the rest for George Clooney in a tux.

What the critics said "[The cast] is quite a line-up, boasting a broad choice of dramatic styles, and what lends the movie cohesion and integrity is the fact that all those involved have come up with their worst imaginable performances. You sit there feeling brain-damaged and praying for the mayhem to cease." - Anthony Lane, The New Yorker.

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