The Most Disappointing Films Ever

It takes a lot to impress us, no matter how much excitement a well-oiled publicity machine creates at the launch of a new movie…

  1. Cloverfield

     The first movie ever to be massively hyped – to the point of atomization – before its release… and then somehow continue to hype itself for two thirds of the actual running time. “Look: a fireball! A glimpse of a leg! And was that an eye? Ooh – what can it be?” The world’s weirdest, most protracted stripper routine, is what. Just show us the damn monster, Abrams! And… oh. Is that it? 

  2. Kill Bill 

    A bloated, indulgent four-hour lesson in why everybody needs an editor. Or even a simple ‘delete’ key. And yet Tarantino didn’t just blot his own copybook, but Uma Thurman’s too. Who knew that “the hot one from Dangerous Liaisons” had such weird feet? The sort of elongated, Ent-like toes usually seen on an albino gorilla? Brrr, not us. 

  3. Alien Vs. Predator

    One of the best premises for a movie ever: as if extracted, pure and untainted, from a 13-year-old boy’s mind. Shame, then, that they appeared to let the same 13-year-old boy script, cast, direct and then edit it. Blindfolded. 

  4. Schindler’s List

    Unflinchingly graphic, unspeakably bleak and emotionally draining. So come on, Spielberg: would a Jackie Chan-style outtakes reel over the end credits have killed you? Send everyone home with a smile on their face!

  5. The Expendables

    What’s the opposite of alchemy? No idea, but Stallone managed to film it for two hours, and then sneak it into the world’s multiplexes. True, no-one else had the contacts book necessary to pull together the Elders of the 1980s: Willis, Lundgren and Rourke, plus even a rare Ahnuld cameo. But didn’t Sly have any numbers for scriptwriters in there? Or even an 8-year-old nephew who could pop over and crayon a better story arc? Expendables1

  6. Napoleon Dynamite 

    So, not a revisionist superhero retelling of the Battle Of Waterloo after all.Napoleon-Dynamite-22-5VKWZUHWS5-1400x1050

  7. Citizen Kane 

    Admittedly, it’s a victim of its own hype: such is the drooling critical fellatio lavished upon Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece, that the first-time viewer can’t help but think: “Meh”. But meh it most certainly is. Avant-garde shot composition? Yawn. Pioneering sound modelling? Get bent. Prismatic non-linear narrative? Eat a bag of horse dicks. Technically adroit it may be, but it has no defining central conflict, leaving us with an emotionally uninvolving, two-hour manual for film students – where mythology has completely overtaken actual experience. The proof: no-one ever watches this more than once. Making Citizen Kane, ironically, the Citizen Kane of bad movies. And if that doesn’t make any sense? Hey, maybe you don’t make any sense.

  8. The Last Airbender 

    Being unfamiliar with the comic, are we the only people who totally thought this was about farts? Boy was that an anticlimax.

  9. Die Hard 4.0

    “Hello Mr… Mr Wiseman? It’s Dave here, down in Special Effects. Hi! So sorry to bother you, but I’ve got your notes for the finale, and – I’m sooo stupid! – it looks like you’ve written ‘make Bruce Willis wrestle an F35 fighter jet’. Which obviously can’t be right! I mean, John McClane is one of the most innovative, electrifying action characters of the last 20 years! Why make an infantile mockery of… sorry, you do? Really? Oh. I see. And what’s that… you also want me to mute all the foul language for a child-friendly rating? Er… fine. I’ll get right on that. Then kill myself.” 

  10. Sex And The City 2

    Not just a criminal waste of time, celluloid and Kim Cattrall’s dwindling lifespan, but a repellent affront to women, the concept of emancipation and, to be honest, God himself. Whoever scripted this should be messily torn apart with an earthmover. And it’s not like part one even left us with unrealistically high expectations.

  11. The Matrix sequels

    “Previously in The Matrix: an ingenious, thought-provoking, compelling reinvention of the Western that changed CGI, action choreography and moviemaking forever!”  “Now, in the thrilling five-hour conclusion… not that! Instead: some big drills! A muddy nightclub rave! Baffling cod philosophy! And the sound of no-one at Warner Bros daring to tell the Wachowskis: ‘Er, this doesn’t make any sense.’ Out on DVD for you to avoid…now!”

  12. Spider-Man 3

    Because pointless, toe-curling dance numbers are what four generations of comic book fans have been waiting for all this time, you know.

  13. Dunkirk

    Obviously we have no idea. And it looks pretty solid so far. But you know how quickly opinion can turn. So it’s best we get our bitching in before everyone else, then. Nolan, you utter wanker.

  14. The Beaver

    In the last three years, Mel Gibson has been accused of abhorrent racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, brutal domestic violence, and was taped telling the mother of his daughter he hoped she would be “raped by a pack of n*ggers.” Um, wow. So to be fair, a surrealist comedy drama about a children’s glove puppet stood no chance against that amount of bug-eyed real-life. Christ: our legs could have been on fire and we might not have noticed.

  15. Alien 3

    So a $50m sequel to the two coolest, most terrifying, and diametrically different sci-fi thrillers ever made… directed by David Fincher. Ripley’s third outing had “nerd boner” written all over it. And geekishly erect we remained, right up until 20th Century Fox sacked everyone, employed nine different writers and then turned out an unforgivably dull AIDS allegory. Difficult to stay tumescent after that – and a skinhead Sigourney Weaver certainly didn’t help. 

  16. Pretty Woman

    A sinister, taciturn billionaire control freak picks up a $50 career street hooker, tries to fuck her without protection, then dangles her in the viper pit of high society like a painted marionette for his own sordid amusement. Whoa! Sounds brutal. Like Pygmalion mixed with Taxi Driver. Keitel would be perfect, maybe Walken, or… hang on, Richard Gere? And it’s a romantic fairytale? And hey, when did George Costanza get so “party hands”?pretty_woman_1990_1284x1024_814707

  17. Anything touted as “from the producers of Superbad!” 

    See also: any TV movie said to contain “scenes of a sexual nature”, any film involving prisoners grouping together to take on wardens at a sport, and any film endorsed by Paul Ross.Superbad-Wallpaper-michael-cera-387330_1600_1200

  18. Anything with Van Helsing

    Apart from, maybe, Mel Brooks in Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

  19. The Sixth Sense

    Only on the basis that it skewed our expectations for every other piece of diarrhoea to since leak out of M Night Shyamalan’s botty. It also emerged concurrently with Fight Club, meaning every filmmaker since has had to try and insert a clumsy metaphysical “twist”. Thanks, guys. 

  20. Clash Of The Titans


  21. Any film involving Sam Worthington

    This generation’s Stephen Dorff – or some elaborate bet between two Hollywood bigwigs? Difficult to say. But crack open this Australian beefcake with a toffee hammer, and we’re sure there’d be a hiss of air, such is the huge charisma vacuum lurking within. Because despite inexplicable star-billing across much of Tinseltown’s recent blockbuster output (Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Clash of the Titans etc), we can honestly remember the usherette who showed us to our seats better than him. Hi Pam!

  22. New Year’s Eve

    With so much talent, it can’t possibly fail!

  23. Ghostbusters 2

    The fly in the ointment that halts us getting excited over the second sequel rumours. The knowledge that while Ackroyd, Murray and Ramis wove timeless box office gold first time round, they were also happy to ghost their way through something so astoundingly bad, it deserved a new word: “aweful”. We heard even the Statue of Liberty fired her agent. True story.

  24. The Zapruder footage 

    Sigh. That guy totally missed the best bit. 

  25. Robert De Niro’s entire output post-1990 

    OK, minus Heat. And maybe, at a push, Cape Fear. But everything else? The greatest actor of his generation™ has some awkward questions to answer. Which he no doubt will with the same shuffling, squinty, gurny-lip thing he’s been phoning in for two decades. Because for every Raging Bull, Taxi Driver or Goodfellas, there’s the cinematic anti-matter of Frankenstein, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, or something even focking worse. That said, if we ever see him in the street, we WILL pass out. 



  26. Terminator 2

    James Cameron’s sci-fi classic, seamlessly mixing drama, action and cutting-edge CGI with… hang on a sec. Who invented the damn robot? Miles Dyson, supposedly. But wait: he copied the design off the arm and brain-chip from the first movie’s Terminator. Which was sent back in time by evil robots in 2025. Which were invented by… Miles Dyson. Who copied the design off… gah. Honestly: no wonder Edward Furlong hit the heroin.

  27. The fly-on-the-wall docu-soap of Steven Seagal’s life

    Only disappointing because, inexplicably, it still hasn’t been made. Wake up, FOX TV. despite being morbidly obese, the guy’s still making action films – alongside manufacturing his own aftershave, energy drink and claiming he’s the reincarnation of a 17th century Tibetan lama. Beat that, Busey!


  28. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    Like the aftermath of a massacre, it’s difficult to really know where to begin. CGI chipmunks, perhaps. But it cuts much deeper than that. Close to twenty years, it took. Two decades to gather its peerless troupe of main players, synchronise impossibly busy schedules and commit a genuine world cinematic event to celluloid.  Remember, too, exactly who worked on this movie. Not just a reunion of “the safest hands in Hollywood”, but it was backed up by story input from the likes of Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare In Love), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) and David Koepp (Spider-Man 1 and 2). But most of all, we blame Spielberg. George Lucas has already reserved his deckchair in cinematic Hades. Come on – was it really a surprise to spot his ham-fisted ‘signature touches’? But it’s Spielberg who truly let go of the reins. It’s the director of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan who bears the responsibility for discharging this lazy two-hour hotchpotch of pedestrian pacing, infantile dialogue, disjointed narrative and elderly people kissing. 

    But the worst thing is that it was all salvageable. The opportunity was there: all we needed was a single moment of danger, of hopelessness, of insurmountable odds. Then Ford could set his jaw, find new inner strength, climb the ladder/rope/submarine and John Williams could parp his signature anthem once more. 

    But it never happened. Before your very eyes, a heritage eroded. When even this assembled talent – riding such collective worldwide enthusiasm – so utterly fail to produce even an occasional spark of delight, what’s left for everyone else? 

    In short, the cinematic equivalent of watching your dad struggle to get out of an armchair for the first time. Hey, roll on number 5, though.