One thing that does very little for me as a cinephile are movies that are meant to impress me with how they are made. If the most impressively designed and executed film ever was a porno about how we should all kill each other, it’d have to come from one helluvan ideological safe haven for me to jump on the band wagon. But just because it isn’t an absurd bit of broad offence doesn’t mean that a touted classic isn’t wrongheaded drudgery. And to those who would fall all over the “realness” of something, I offer you the Kubrick maxim: yeah, that’s real…but it’s not interesting.
Now, that’s not all to say I don’t understand and appreciate academia and its unique perspective in documenting/preserving historic significance, and honouring craft. I do. Not every film a boomer tells me to watch feels like a wool sweater. Some still sing of a certain timelessness, and some brilliantly, wondrously capture both the authentic attitudes and the tantalizing fantasies of their day. But some go well enough beyond the veil of good taste as to deserve their spot on this list, regardless of artistry.
It should be mentioned that some films (like Kubrick’s Lolita) are on here due to the sheer failure of genius. A good fraction of the directors from the 2000s portion are people I dearly admire for their other efforts. But to keep a qualitative list, with all fairness in mind, of every movie ever made, these big-budget and/or high-minded efforts deserve to be brought low.
And one last thing: there does exist for me a special breed of cinema—not exactly Z-cinema, and certainly not The Asylum or Troma Entertainment or Zen Filmmaking—where everything happens just right to make a film brilliant for being awful. Like when a room full of screaming children achieve an unintentional harmony and cross from ear-bleeding to euphonious. Films like The Room, Troll 2, Birdemic, Saving Christmas, Jack & Jill, Battlefield Earth, even Birth of a Nation. It’s hard to know where to land these, qualitatively, howlers that they are. But it does seem fair to place them here, perfections of the dark side.
And though I discovered half these films through MST3K/Rifftrax, the other half represents half a thousand of the most boring, embarrassing, and soul-draining hours of train-wreckery I’ve ever asked myself to sit through.
Here’s a link to these titles in qualitative order: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls074238603/
There were shockingly few films that MUBI didn’t recognize, most of them admittedly obscure.
Cadavres (2009), Elephant Shoes (2005), Stargames (1998), Pressure Point (1997), The Sex O’Clock News (1985), City Lights (1984), I Believe in Santa Claus (1984), Kill and Kill Again (1981), The Psycho-tronic Man (1979), Fun in Balloon Land (1965), Magic Christmas Tree (1964)Read less