Top 10 Worst Movies of 1998
10. Lost in Space
This is my own overrated film of the year. Originally, I gave it two stars, yet it was much worse than that. I watched it again on video, and realized how much I didn't like it. Lacey Chabert is horribly underused as a helium-voiced rebellious teenagers. Matt LeBlanc fits in with the stupidity of the screenplay; his character from Friends is pretty much the same here. But the rest of the cast is very hard to watch. The special effects are okay, but almost so fast-paced that they are hard to watch. The robot is too big to be of any real use, while Gary Oldman resorts to overacting (but that's typical for him). For a view of how this could have worked, watch The Simpsons, which has an episode depicting a scene from the Lost in Space television show. It's funnier and more enjoyable than anything in this movie.
9. The Faculty
This film just strengthens the idea that Kevin Williamson may just be a man of one idea: to spoof the horror genre. Of course, he did that, and successfully I might add, with the Scream series. But now Williamson has turned to the science fiction/action genre, and the result is this incomprehensible mess (to Williamson's credit, he wasn't the only one writing this film). The film gives us no setup whatsoever; five minutes into the film, the coach of the football team has become a host to an evil alien species set to take over the world. As much as the competent cast tries, they just can't save this dead-in-the-water action film. Director Robert Rodriguez shows little of the flair he displayed in the also ridiculous From Dusk Till Dawn.
8. Deep Impact
The first of the two comet flicks, Deep Impact sets a new standard in awfulness. Even the entertaining Godzilla wasn't this bad. Not just an utter bore, this film also gives us some of the most uninteresting human drama ever presented this year. Poor Tea Leoni, the only one in this cast trying to make it work. The rest of the cast, including the usually reliable Elijah Wood, Robert Duvall, and Morgan Freeman, is wasted with a completely repulsive screenplay. Mimi Leder has proven to be one of Hollywood's most incompetent directors working today; suggestion to her, stay away from the big screen. Of course, it wasn't completely her fault, considering that virtually every single character portrayed is an idiotic moron. Hey, at least Armageddon knew what it wanted to be and didn't pretend to be anything more.
7. Patch Adams
What do you get when you put daytime soap opera drama, the 'Genie' from Aladdin, and a cup of melodrama into a blender? Why, Patch Adams of course. A practice in manipulation, this film had everyone in the theater laughing and crying. It had me crying too, but for completely different reasons. This is one of those films that you watch and realize that the filmmakers are manipulating your emotions with musical cues, overacting, and plot contrivances. Even I, one of the most emotional male critics you may ever find, wanted to run from the theaters screaming my head off. It's the crowd-pleaser of the year, the same way As Good As It Gets was last year. Unfortunately, Patch Adams has the same problems as that one. Too smarmy, sentimental, and cheesy to be effective.
Here I must be forward: I am Mormon. Does that mean I like to laugh at my religion? Sure, as long as it is actually funny. And for twenty minutes, Orgazmo is quite funny. But after those twenty minutes, watch as Trey Parker (perhaps he is not as funny as we once thought he was) repeats the same jokes over and over again, trying to get a laugh. Where the Farrelly brothers succeed at gaining laughs through audacity, Parker loses them. Instead of playing it straight, he spoofs the Mormon religion. By the last half and hour, most of the audience in the theater wanted to run out screaming. If they had actually done it, I probably would have joined them. It is mean-spirited comedies like this that make There's Something About Mary look genius.
Here is a film that makes you sit and question the logic of its filmmakers. Obviously aimed at pre-teen males, BASEketball observes the hilarious Trey Parker and Matt Stone reduced to fighting for a laugh. Without their rather witty writing of the South Park series, Parker and Stone are completely idiotic, running around like two chickens with their heads cut off. In fact, that may be an ever funnier sight to behold than anything in this utterly boring comedy. Complete with an off-the-wall and ridiculous premise, this film destroys what little faith we have in the sports-comedy genre. For a good example of this genre, rent A League of Their Own or even the Major League series (but try those as a last resort).
4. Blues Brothers 2000
Forgive, if you will, the fact that this film is titled inaccurately. But don't forgive it for taking what many consider to be a comedy classic (Blues Brothers) and turning it into one of the most inane attempts at humor ever to grace the screen. The music is really the only saving grace, and yet even that aspect is old and tired. Most of the songs are old and of little interest to young filmgoers, while older filmgoers will shrink in their seats at the drudge presented on screen. Totally bereft of comedy (save a five-minute car crash sequence; though I am told that sequence is directly out of the original film), Blues Brothers 2000 provides the type of film that you have to laugh at and not with. Perhaps it was the filmmakers' intentions to create a film to laugh at, but really... anyone can do that.
3. Knock Off
I haven't seen the last fifteen minutes of Knock Off, so I decided not to review it. However, what I did see was some of the worst film making of the year. It became almost unbearable to watch. The stylistic touches performed were over-the-top in ways I've never seen before. The acting was uniformly bad, breaking down barriers of putridity once established by them before. Jean-Claude Van Damme, an action star I normally respect, has outdone himself here. Van Damme can act, but he needs a good role. This film definitely does not offer one single good role. In fact, it may be the most incompetently told story of the year. Director Hark Tsui is mostly to blame, and should be removed from Hollywood forever. His films are high on style and devoid of anything else. What's worse is that his style is virtually unbearable to even watch. Who edited this?! It's films like this that give the action genre a bad name.
2. The Avengers
The worst big budget film since... well, since Batman & Robin. The previews made the film look quite good, and fooled many audiences into actually attending it. But audiences fought back, as the film plummetted from number one to number ten within one week. Technically, the film is an achievement, but this is one of those few films where good visuals can not make up for the amount of stupidity in the screenplay. The acting is horrendous across the board; I wouldn't be surprised if every actor involved was embarrassed by the final outcome. Sean Connery had the right idea when he wouldn't promote the film after trying so hard to edit it. This is one of the most painful experiences I have had in movie theaters.
1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Terry Gilliam, how could you? After giving us such treats as The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys, how could you stoop to this? Gilliam is one of Hollywood's more eccentric directors, and yet most of his films always come off being entertaining. But here Gilliam proves that even he can do bad. Containing virtually no plot whatsoever, the story concerns Hunter S. Thompson's journey to Las Vegas while on drugs. Unfortunately, Gilliam proved that the novel it was based on was truly unfilmable. One of the very few films that I have not been able to watch all the way through (if I ever do happen to watch it again, I will try to write a review).