Movie Musings,  Movie Talk

What NOT to Watch – Movie Musings

After discussing last week why I like movies and why I go to the theater to see many of them, the logical thing to discuss next would probably be which movies are my favorites, right? Sorry to disappoint you, but in a move worthy of M. Night Shamalan (I’m kidding, he’s the master), I’m going to talk about something else. Oh don’t worry, we’ll definitely get to my favorites. (There are so many different categories of favorites to come, you’ll be tired of hearing about them soon!) Instead, I’m going to talk about the movies I specifically don’t like. Thankfully, there aren’t nearly as many of those. But there are two different categories of “don’t like.”

First up is movies that I really and truly don’t like. For me, there is a difference between “I can see that was an okay movie, it just wasn’t for me” and “I truly did NOT like that movie.” There is also a difference between “that wasn’t good” and “that was truly bad.” Sometimes the difference is subtle, but it is there. Some examples:

  • Rashomon (1960) – Whoa whoa whoa, I have a classic on here? You bet I do. I can say that the camera work/angles were interesting, way ahead of its time for sure. But the acting and even the story were… very not good. Had it been “just some movie,” it would only have been disappointing, but knowing it is a highly revered classic leaves me scratching my head (vs The Seven Samurai, which was excellent).
  • Watership Down (1978) – Holy childhood trauma, Batman! We watched this in school, y’all. In school!! (IYKYK) I don’t know if I would have a different opinion of this movie if I had seen it as an adult, but as a kid, it was horrifying. (I can’t imagine that aspect would be any different as an adult, but I might be able to at least determine if the film as a whole is good or not, but I’m too tainted from seeing it as a kid, and I WILL NOT be seeing it again, thank you very much.)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994) – I had never seen a Tarantino before this, and I have never again watched one because of this movie. Not only were the stories horrible in and of themselves, but the fact that people actually thought they were funny was as disturbing as the plot lines. I want to note that I did not pick this movie to go see! A friend and I alternated picking movies in college, and it was her turn to pick. I didn’t really know anything about it. Needless to say, after the two times I “went in blind” to a film both turned out horribly (don’t worry, I’ll get to the other one), I now *always* look into a movie before we see it.
  • Mortal Kombat (1995) – A very early example of a video game to film adaptation, and not a good one. Or perhaps it was a good example… of what not to do.
  • Congo (1995) – This movie came on television not long ago, and I decided to watch it again. I mean, it had been 25 years, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remembered? Oh no, it was at least as bad as I thought it was, possibly worse.
  • Alien: Resurrection (1997) – The ONLY good thing about this movie is that it gave birth to Firefly. I mean, the script was written by Joss Whedon, and you can see almost all of the characters represented in this movie in slightly different forms. But they executed said script/characters so poorly that Whedon basically said, “you did it wrong, that’s why it was awful; here, I’ll show you how it should have been done.” And the ending? Yeah, I don’t even think Joss being at the helm could have helped that s***show. Seriously, DO NOT watch this movie; just pretend it doesn’t exist.
  • Spawn (1997) – Miraculously, this movie somehow managed not to kill the entire comic book film genre, but I’m not sure how.
  • Planet of the Apes (2001) – It’s not that I mind remakes or re-imaginings. The prequel series that started in 2011 is an interesting spin on it (finally catching up to the 1968 classic in a film coming out later in 2024), but this? Oy. It is genuinely painful to watch. Almost physically painful. Don’t. Just don’t.
  • Hulk (2003) – My brother tried to warn us, but we didn’t listen. He told us it was bad, and we believed him, but we truly did not grasp how awful it was (and he did try). This is the only movie I recall seeing in the theater that I wanted to ask for a refund after we finished the movie. It was THAT bad.
  • Home on the Range (2004) – This is my personal Voldemort movie. I do not speak of it. This is the only time you will ever see it mentioned on this blog. Please – for the love of all that is good and holy in this world – pretend this movie doesn’t exist.
  • Aeon Flux (2005) – Nearly as bad as Hulk, but just a hair’s breadth better.
  • Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007) – You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I actually like the first AVP: Alien vs Predator movie. Is it great? No, but it’s better than the original Predator, IMO, and probably 3rd in the Alien franchise for me behind Alien and Aliens. So we thought this one had a chance. But no. It’s awful. Like “what the heck did we just watch” awful. Like “please forget this movie was ever made” awful.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – I didn’t think this movie was going to be good based on the previews. We went in with what we thought were the lowest possible expectations. I was wrong. This movie was *still* SO FAR below the worst that we were expecting that it is shocking, simply shocking, how awful it truly was.
  • Green Lantern (2011) – Sadly, this movie set the tone for the caliber of films that would be turned out by DC for the next decade or so, and the situation has not improved much. The plot was bad, the characters were bad, the acting was bad, the effects were bad. Which is such a shame, because the character is one of my husband’s favorites. I really and truly do hope that DC can right the ship and give these characters the movies they deserve (though with James Gunn at the help, I’m doubtful that I will like the movies, though they have to be better than this one, right?).
  • The Lone Ranger (2013) – I was wrong, this is another movie that I wanted my money back after seeing it. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t clever, it wasn’t enjoyable. It was awful in every possible way, and it has no redeeming features that I can think of. (And that was before we knew more about Armie Hammer’s personal life than we ever wanted to know.)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Objectively, it’s a tough call which movie was worse, Green Lantern or this one. Personally, I will give this one a teeny-tiny slight edge because I really like Henry Cavill (I’m actually not much of a Ryan Reynolds fan), and because it premieres Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, whose following movie was excellent. But I rolled my eyes so much during Dawn of Justice that I can’t believe they didn’t get stuck.
  • Power Rangers (2017) – Another movie where I was not expecting Shakespeare, but it was still so much worse. And it was PG-13 (for more than just violence and language), so if parents were actually reading and paying attention and “guiding” their kids, no one under about the age of 14 should have seen this movie, unless they want to do a fair bit of very awkward explaining to youngins.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) – Raise your hand if you’re shocked to see a Star Wars movie on my list. If you’ve seen the movie, that shouldn’t be a surprise. I know some people think it’s the best film outside of the original trilogy, but I truly can’t figure out what movie they were watching. It can’t possibly have been this one. Hubby and I want to move to the alternate universe where J.J. Abrams stayed with the franchise and made all 3 of the new episodes, please!
  • The Meg 2 (2023) – I like bad movies. I like Jason Statham. The original The Meg movie is one of my guilty pleasures (yep, a whole post on those is coming). But this one is bad, y’all. So. So. Very. BAD. Like MST3K bad, but not even fun enough to pull off “so bad I can enjoy it.” If you want a “good bad movie,” stick with the first one.
  • Honorable Mention: Howard the Duck (1986) – When I mentioned to my husband that I know it is a notoriously bad movie but I haven’t seen it, his response was “Don’t! Save yourself.” I will defer to his judgement.

But there is a second category of “don’t like”: the movies I didn’t even finish. Admittedly, most of these were watched at home. I don’t recall a time that I actually got up and walked out of a movie theater because a movie was so bad. (I did walk out once, but for an entirely different reason. As Alton Brown says, “but that’s another show.” I will definitely explain in a later post.) And I’m guessing at least one of these will surprise you! I won’t go into much of an explanation on these except to say that they were all so boring and unfun/unfunny that it just wasn’t worth continuing.

  • 3,000 Miles to Graceland
  • I, Spy
  • Rebel Without a Cause (yep, another classic)
  • Battlefield Earth
  • Pitch Black

What about you? What movies do you definitely NOT recommend? Let me know what to steer clear of!