10 Wildly Popular Films That Are Actually Rubbish

Is Black Swan really that good?

black swan
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Not only was Jaws 2 one of the first sequels to carry a numeral in its title, but it gave critic Leonard Maltin a great line: “Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your TV set, along comes another gratuitous sequel.”

While Jeannot Szwarc’s movie has its moments (love the shark’s death scene), overall it’s not that great. That didn’t hurt the movie at the worldwide box office, though: the 5th most popular film of 1978, it made more money than that year’s Best Picture winner, The Deer Hunter.

The trend for bland and forgettable movies scoring big at the box office is neither a recent trend nor one that audiences have learned from over the years. If viewers really are as smart and sophisticated as they claim to be, how does a movie like Transformers: Age Of Extinction manage to take $1.1 billion worldwide? Did nobody learn their lesson from the Lovecraftian horrors that were Revenge Of The Fallen and Dark Of The Moon?

When a bad movie achieves popular success, it’s like seeing a crowd gather to watch an alligator eat a pig: disturbing and depressing in equal amounts, especially if tickets are being sold. You wonder about the depths to which humanity can sink, then hand over your hard-earned for a ticket. To be sociable, you know.

10. Bad Boys 2

black swan
Columbia Pictures

Bad Boys 2 doubled its predecessor’s box office tally, which is apt because the movie serves up everything you saw in the original in a double portion, including the constant stream of smutty, unfunny jokes. A porno is accidentally shown on every TV screen in an electronics store. There’s a corpse in a morgue with big boobs. Martin Lawrence gets shot in the butt.

Part I concluded with Lawrence being shot south of the border, so Part 2 tries to top it by turning it into a running gag. Imagine two and a half hours of butt jokes and banter about the inability to make wood and you’ve got the movie in a nutshell.

In fact, the constant stream of low-aiming humour is enough for Lawrence and Will Smith to be mistaken for lovers – just as they were in the first movie. As Oscar Wilde would say, once is bad enough but twice is simply careless.


Ian Watson is the author of 'Midnight Movie Madness', a 600+ page guide to "bad" movies from 'Reefer Madness' to 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.'