Movies are bad sometimes. Not every film can be a slam dunk success and, sometimes, creative risks don’t pay off, sending a project crashing to Earth. Sometimes it’s the filmmaking, occasionally it’s the acting and, often, it’s just that the idea was misguided from the very beginning.
Read more: Films directors regretted making
Reddit users have been chatting about the films that are so bad they want to see them completely erased from reality. It’s the ultimate ignoble prize for a movie, showing that it has ascended beyond mere disappointment and become something truly and uniquely poor in the eyes of these people.
Here are some of the most popular movies from that thread...
The Last Airbender
A staple of “worst movies” lists everywhere, it’s no surprise that The Last Airbender was the most popular answer on this thread — with the post upvoted 36,000 times. M Night Shyamalan’s critically derided take on the beloved animated show did okay business at the box office, but proved massively unpopular with fans of the characters, as well as film critics and indeed members of the cast.
Read more: Dev Patel hated The Last Airbender
You know earlier when we mentioned ideas that were misguided from the start? The notion of doing a live-action take on Dragonball Z is one of those ideas. In Dragonball Evolution, Justin Chatwin played the protagonist Goku, with various other characters from the beloved manga and anime series also depicted in live-action form.
The Reddit user who chose the film in answer to this topic described the movie as “just sad”, which feels like a pretty damning, simple dismissal of this strange project. It made less than $60m (£46m) worldwide, scuppering hopes that it would kick off a blockbuster franchise.
The alarm bells were ringing for this year’s adaptation of Artemis Fowl a long time before it was released. Hollywood picked up the film rights to Eoin Colfer’s novel way back in 2001, soon after it was published, but it has taken almost 20 years for it to come to fruition. Released on Disney+ earlier this year, the film smooths off the edges of the young criminal mastermind protagonist and makes him more of a traditional YA hero.
According to the Reddit user who suggested the movie, Disney went “beyond screwing up” with their take on the material. They added: “There are enough issues with the film to make even a casual watcher hate it, forget about those who read the books.”
Disappointing adaptations of beloved books were common choices for this topic, with Eragon a very popular film indeed. The 2006 adaptation of Christopher Paolini’s fantasy novel about a farm boy bonding with a dragon was cited by one Reddit user as “one of the most disappointing movies of my lifetime”. Interestingly, it was the last film released on VHS in the United States. At least it can take comfort from that little bit of movie history.
The Dark Tower
Stephen King’s filmography has been extensively pilfered by Hollywood for years, with recent years alone providing well-received adaptations of Doctor Sleep, Gerald’s Game and, of course, two blockbuster versions of It. On the face of it, eight-part fantasy series The Dark Tower seemed like a prime choice for adaptation, but Nikolaj Arcel’s relatively slight snoozer seemed like a disappointing attempt.
Over on Reddit, the movie was dubbed “a 90-minute bulls*** parade that didn’t scratch the surface of the story”. There’s, bizarrely, a sequel in development, but also a TV series that would reboot the franchise. It was briefly happening at Amazon, but is now lurking around Hollywood desks, awaiting a backer. It seems a shame to leave this material on the table.
What more is there to say about Cats? Tom Hooper’s ludicrous big screen translation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s preposterous musical could scarcely have missed the mark more than it ultimately did. Plagued by bad CGI — sorry, digital fur technology — and Hooper’s trademark approach of putting the camera right up the nose of people while they’re singing, it was a tough movie to get through.
As if scooping a handful of Razzies wasn’t enough, there are at least 14,000 Reddit users who want it erased from reality. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber has spent the last six months using almost every public appearance to take his own swipe at the movie.
The Emoji Movie
James Corden’s second entry on this list, The Emoji Movie was a figure of hate from the moment its title was announced. As The Lego Movie will tell you, though, initial derision can give way to admiration if the quality is there. In the case of The Emoji Movie, it’s not. There’s just a 90-minute journey through what was presumably thousands of pounds worth of very lucrative product placement.
More than 13,000 Reddit users upvoted this suggestion on the thread, which almost always comes up in discussions of the worst movies ever made. It won four awards — including Worst Picture — at the Razzies, becoming the first animated film to win in all of its categories.
The Birth of a Nation
When filmmaker D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation was released in 1915, it was a landmark of film history. At three hours, it was the longest movie ever made at that point, as well as the first 12-reel film in history. The problem is that it’s a racist movie by any definition of that word, glorifying the Ku Klux Klan and depicting Black people as savages, mostly played by white actors in blackface.
The Reddit user who suggested this film pointed out that it “sparked violence against the black community and kick-started a new surge in interest in the KKK”. It’s tough to defend the continued existence of that movie, whatever its influence on the art form.
Son of the Mask
At the height of his comic popularity, Jim Carrey used his rubber-faced charisma to power the 1994 comedy The Mask. More than a decade later, in 2005, New Line Cinema released standalone sequel Son of the Mask in which Jamie Kennedy — best known as Scream’s horror nerd Randy — puts on the mask. Alan Cumming and Bob Hoskins are in it too.
One Reddit user seems to already have a head start on the deletion process, describing the movie as “so bad” that they “do not recall one single detail of it”. The box office bears that out, with the film only earning $60m (£46m) worldwide.
The final season of Game of Thrones
Yes, this is a cheat. No, it isn’t a movie. But in terms of cultural artefacts people want to see scrubbed out so that the world can start again, the final season of Game of Thrones will always rank pretty highly. With elegantly crafted and carefully told stories rushed to culmination in just a few episodes, many fans felt short-changed by the end of a show that had their full emotional investment.
Reddit users broadly seemed to agree that Game of Thrones was an acceptable answer, despite the fact it’s not a film, though the main point of disagreement was the starting point of the deletion. Some suggested that everything after season five should be binned, which seems extreme. But, all men must die and all that.