Of all the words of mice and movie critics, the saddest are, “It might have been good.”
One of the unspoken truths about modern movies is that most multiplex fare isn’t particularly distinguished or worthy of discussion. The movies aren’t that bad but neither are they that good, they’re just… well, you saw the Magnificent Seven remake, didn’t you?
Thankfully, every so often a movie comes along that puts a smile on the face of true film lovers (a different breed than those who can name every character in the MCU, it must be noted). As Pauline Kael wrote, “You know each other at once because you talk less about good movies than what you love in bad movies.”
Thor: The Dark World is a bad movie but it’s difficult to imagine audiences lining up for a midnight screening fifteen years after its release the way they did for Troll 2. That film went on to an afterlife that included sold-out screenings, a documentary and cult status for its cast and crew, an incredible feat for a movie about vegetarian elves portrayed by little people wearing rubber masks and burlap sacks.
In the canon of enjoyably bad cinema, there just aren’t enough movies like Troll 2 to go around. But as you’ll see, that doesn’t mean Hollywood ever stopped trying to make them.
10. Battlefield Earth
Scholars debate whether he actually said it, but this quote is often attributed to Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard: “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”
Based on Hubbard’s novel, Battlefield Earth is one of the most terrifying films of the 21st Century. It shows the kind of pictures Hollywood will make when Scientologists replace all the creative personnel with pod people. It’s also proof that stars should never, ever be allowed to realize their dream projects.
In what’s surely a cinematic first, aliens with Rasta-style hair and shoestrings dangling from their noses take over the world. Then they train the “man animals” to use the technology that will eventually be used to overthrow them. As sci-fi, the movie’s a washout, but taken purely as a cinematic joke it’s one of the funniest you’ll ever see.