Friday, October 12, 2012

IF WHAT YOU GOT WAS A CONFESSION, THEN MY ASS IS A BANJO:  I'm not going to complain about the fact that the AV Club contributors' list of most-hated films of the 1990s also excludes female and black directors. Nor will I quibble that Face/Off and Chasing Amy are far closer to a Best list than a Worst, even considering the third-act problems with each. But where the hell is Just Cause (1995), a shockingly racist, convoluted, and manipulative piece of dreck starring Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris, and Blair Underwood? This is a movie which has less-than-nothing for everyone, and makes you angry that it was ever made. Other films may have failed but with good intentions (Powder?); this one was vile from the core, and succeeded.


  1. Jordan9:44 AM

    I think this was less a comprehensive list than the authors' personal most hateds, but what I want to know is how can anyone hate Powder. I'm not saying it's a good movie; it's not. But I can't draw any emotion about it. I remember hanging out with a bunch of my friends and renting it and something else (this was the mid-90's where you rented two VHS tapes at a time for some reason). We watched about half to two-thirds of it, stopped it to pick up pizza, and when we came back, no one had any desire to put it back on. There was no visceral reaction to it, we just didn't care. Powder became a running joke for us for giving up on something/not-caring about something/making a bad choice. It's my most meh movie of the 90's. To this day I don't know how it ends. Don't really want to know, either.

    And Adam, I think Disqus might be screwing around with the link.

  2. Adam B.9:45 AM

    Link fixed. On Powder, here's some of what Ebert said:

    Meanwhile, Powder comes across as a cross between Cliff Robertson's "Charly," the Elephant Man, Mr. Spock, E.T. and Jesus. He is wise beyond his years, has great compassion and insight, suffers much, and attracts intolerance and meanness even better than lightning. He is also very smart.

    After an I.Q. test, for example, a psychologist tells him, "All of the tests indicate you have the most advanced intellect in the history of mankind. Do you understand what that means?" (If Powder's so smart, why does he have to ask?)

  3. Joseph Finn10:04 AM

    Just Cause sounds like it's the 90's version of The Life of David Gale. Please to "enjoy" Ebert's evisceration of that horrible convoluted and manipulative piece of dreck:

    (How does Chrome not know the word "dreck"?)

  4. Adam B.10:42 AM

    Life of David Gale is an anti-death penalty movie which is horribly manipulative in trying to prove its point; Just Cause is a movie which poses as anti-death penalty for its first half before swerving to its ultimate message that castrating black prisoners during interrogations is worth it because they're all guilty of something, and well-meaning white liberals are easily fooled by those deceptive, dangerous black men who just want to rape their wives and prepubescent daughters.

  5. Joseph Finn10:47 AM

    Soooo.....yeah, worse. (I mean, jeeeeeeez.)

  6. Marsha11:03 AM

    It clearly isn't a "Worst of" list - it's a personal hate list. I freely admit that the Lord of the rings movies are objectively well-made movies, and I understand why people love them, but I HATE them with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns. Hate hate hate. It's personal, and I'm aware that several of you will now disown me.

    It cannot possibly be a Worst of the 90s list, because if it were, then Shakes the Clown would be on the list. Frankly, any movie list that begins "Worst of" must have Shakes the Clown on it to be legitimate. It's not campy, it's not unintentionally funny, it's not so-bad-it-good, it's just bad. Really, really, bad. My high school friends used to get together on New Years Eve and we would each bring a video for a bad movie contest. I saw a lot of ridiculous movies that way. One year, someone brought Shakes the Clown. We watched it, and sat there dumbfounded. There was unanimous agreement that the contest was over, because we had seen the worst movie not only that has ever been made, but that ever will be made.

  7. The Avengers. So good to see that one recognized here. Awful.

  8. Adam B.2:19 PM

    This is all I have handy from your contemporaneous review; I still have the full thing somewhere, at least in print:
    This movie was so bad, that my friend and I were trying to figure out what was intended by it; as if, it couldn’t have been that pristinely, exquisitely awful just accidentally. It was so bad that you weren’t really disappointed, just confused. It’s not like we were sitting there thinking “If only they’d ___ed the ____, then the ___ wouldn’t have seemed so ___ and I would have been able to forgive all the __ing ____ that ___ ____ in the _____ reel.” No. It was like coming to work in the morning and finding a full bucket of warm shit in the elevator. “It can’t JUST be a bucket of shit, can it? Why would anybody put shit, in a bucket, in an elevator? There must be something else... some explanation...”

    Nope. Just a bucket of shit. Totally worthless. Remarkably worthless, in fact. Significant, for it’s utter lack of worth. A perfectly pure entertainment vacuum has been achieved in this film.

    I used to have to think when someone asked what the worst movie I’d ever seen was. Not any more.

  9. bill.9:59 AM

    I'd have to go with Patch Adams, only because Dead Poets Society was 1989.

    It definitely isn't Shakes the Clown because any movie that starts with a slutty Mrs Brady saying "No, you're my first clown" can't be the worst anything.