10: Waterworld – Look, I didn’t love this movie, but I did kinda like it. The jet-ski baddies led by Dennis Hopper were a bit cheesy, but I think this movie was more the victim of its budget than what appeared on screen.
9: Green Lantern – Yes, it sucked. But it sucked awesomely. I was pulling my hair out watching this, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy it anyway. I loved that the Lantern Corp begged Hal to take up the ring and use it and he refused. Then he traveled x number of lightyears later to ask their permission to use the ring… which they had been begging him to use. Not much of this movie made sense. But Awesome!
8: Transformers – Anyone besides me remember when people spoke fondly of this movie? It seems like people have turned on this franchise in a major way. I don’t know what folks expect, it’s about robots that turn into cars and planes and cassette players, then fight robot wars here on earth… they aren’t remaking Casablanca with each installment. So, there is a lot of hate for people over the age of 8 for these movies, but again… fun – even if they tend to be 45 minutes too long.
7: Matrix 2 and 3 – I know, I’m cheating. Look, the first movie was pretty great. It was an original film – they pioneered that bullet time thing, they took a pretty sci-fi concept and didn’t dumb it down (much). The humans are Duracell batteries rationale seemed very stupid to me, but with that aside, great movie…. Everyone agreed (weird that it came out around the same time as Existenz and The Thirteenth Floor, movies that had a similar concept), so the sequels came out and the Wachowski’s were given blank checks to go and create whatever their 'vision' dictated. The movies suffered for it. They were under no pressure to please anyone and I think it showed. Really long spells of exposition punctuated by really long action sequences… both of which were convoluted and unnecessarily… well, long . But despite that, I enjoyed the movies. Again, they did try to give a truly science fictional story its due. These movies were ambitious, and they barely failed in my opinion. I’d like to reward that type of risk-taking when I can. So they make my list.
6: Constantine – Actually, do people like hate this? It’s more like a movie that disappeared than people actually hated. I really like it, and it might be one of my favorites on this list. I’m a bit of a sucker for any heaven vs hell flick, rogue angels and all that sort of stuff – I liked the Prophecy movies with Christopher Walken. I even liked that one that came out a couple of years ago about the biblical apocalypse happening at that diner in the southwest. I think this is the best of the bunch when it comes to this sort of thing though. It made me want to read the comic.
5: Electra – They took a movie that very few people liked, Daredevil, and spun off a movie from that. Wow. The hate for Electra is pretty thick. Me, I liked it. It was like an episode of a television show that I love. It was familiar, not too ambitious, and felt very episodic. I think it worked. I personally feel like so much of the hate comes from people who enjoy the source material, I’ve gotten pretty zen about that sort of thing over the years and try not to hold it against a movie that goes off course in that area – as long as it seems to work.
4: The Last Action Hero – this Auh-nuld flick followed up T2 and had some high expectations. It was about an action movie icon that got pulled straight from the movie screen into real life. I thought it was awesome. I think the gritty, ‘real’ world contrasted too much with the quippy, ‘movie’ world for most… it was a jarring change. But it was unique. Worth watching.
3: Dylan Dog – I saw this in the theater when it came out and hated it. But I kept kicking it around in my head afterwards, I think the premise got me excited enough that I eventually forgave it’s multitude of sins and started to enjoy it for what it is: a cheaply made crapfest of awesome. It’s on Netflix now, so have a few drinks to lower your critical thinking skills, lower your expectations… a lot… then enjoy.
2: Mortal Combat – I don’t know if this is hated as much as forgotten, or never noticed. But this video game movie from the 90’s was the best American made kung fu movie of its time (pre-matrix). Like a few others on this list, technically, it’s stupid. Stupid characters do stupid things for stupid reasons. But, also like other movies on this list, it was awesome. It was also notable that, in an ensemble film, the clear leading man was Asian…. I can’t recall seeing that in many American movies before then (I’m being kind, I couldn’t think of any since Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon). It’s something I didn’t notice at the time, but have realized upon reflection. I haven’t seen this movie in a long time, so I’m sure my memories are fuzzy, but I can’t recall if he had a love interest, I think that there was one given to Johnny Cage, which was bad, because that character had no charisma at all… I can’t actually remember though, so I should probably just stop typing about that. Also, there has been a youtube series that has revived the Mortal Combat franchise in live action. It’s truly epic.*
1: John Carter – I’m actually not sure what public opinion on this movie is, really, but I think this is the best film of the bunch. It works in all the ways an action movie should. It’s great fun, and it’s another one that’s a beauty to look at. Like Waterworld, its budget was a bigger story than the movie itself, and a series of marketing missteps that are almost worthy if their own movie, doomed this thing from right after production began. The studio did nothing to quash rumors that this had a ballooning budget and were knee deep in desperate reshoots to try to fix the story – despite the fact that the production kept to its budget (granted, it was $250 mil) and all those reshoots were planned (because Stanton, the number 2 guy at Pixar, who directed this, believed the first round of shoots were a rough draft, and reshoots were where you really get to see the movie become great – the Pixar way!) – and so it was labeled a disaster long before anyone had a chance to see it.
How badly did Disney screw John Carter? So much that a whole book was written about it. It will leave you befuddled at the perfect storm of events that conspired to make this a flop.
And there you have it…
*The recent Mortal Combat series stars Michael Jai White, who is responsible for the greatest single kung fu kick I think I’ve ever seen on film, granted, I may have been drinking heavily when I saw it, but it appeared in one of those Universal Soldier movies… it was the one that starred him.