15 More Movies Roger Ebert Really Hated
Happy birthday to the late Roger Ebert, whose sharp wit and poignant commentary are still sorely missed.
Ebert, of course, loved and understood movies in a way that not many people do. “One of the gifts a movie lover can give another is the title of a wonderful film they have not yet discovered,” he once said. But that’s not to say he loved all movies—and when one got under his skin, he wasn’t afraid to say so. Check out these 15 films he loathed, and then go read his quips on 22 more.
1. 200 Cigarettes, half star. “Maybe another 200 cigarettes would have helped; coughing would be better than some of this dialogue.”
2. Death to Smoochy, half star. “In all the annals of the movies, few films have been this odd, inexplicable and unpleasant.”
3. Saving Silverman, half star. “Saving Silverman is so bad in so many different ways that perhaps you should see it, as an example of the lowest slopes of the bell-shaped curve.”
He included a critique of Neil Diamond, who makes a guest appearance in the movie: “As for Neil Diamond, Saving Silverman is his first appearance in a fiction film since The Jazz Singer (1980), and one can only marvel that he waited 20 years to appear in a second film, and found one even worse than his first one.”
4. Speaking of which: The Jazz Singer, one star:
Diamond's whole presence in this movie is offensively narcissistic. His songs are melodramatic, interchangeable, self-aggrandizing groans and anguished shouts, backed protectively by expensive and cloying instrumentation. His dramatic presence also looks over-protected, as if nobody was willing to risk offending him by asking him to seem involved, caring and engaged.
Diamond plays the whole movie looking at people's third shirt buttons, as if he can't be bothered to meet their eyes and relate with them. It's strange about the Diamond performance: It's not just that he can't act. It's that he sends out creepy vibes. He seems self-absorbed, closed off, grandiose, out of touch with his immediate surroundings.
5. Ghost Dad, half star. On Bill Cosby: “He overacts in the most unconvincing way, allowing his face to mime every thought and emotion. He blubbers and pleads and complains at an intensity that's way over the top, so that the more restrained work by the other actors seems like a form of criticism. Is he such a star that his performances are considered above criticism?”
6. Charlie’s Angels, one star. “Charlie's Angels is like the trailer for a video game movie, lacking only the video game, and the movie.”
7. Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, one star. “Most of the people look as if they would rather be in other movies. The movie basically has one joke, which is Ace Ventura's weird nerdy strangeness. If you laugh at this joke, chances are you laugh at Jerry Lewis, too, and I can sympathize with you even if I can't understand you. I found the movie a long, unfunny slog through an impenetrable plot. Kids might like it. Real little kids."
8. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!, half star. “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! is one of those movies so dimwitted, so utterly lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value, that you stare at the screen in stunned disbelief. It is moronic beyond comprehension, an exercise in desperation during which even Sylvester Stallone, a repository of self-confidence, seems to be disheartened.”
9. The Dukes of Hazzard, one star:
The movie stars Johnny Knoxville, from Jackass, Seann William Scott, from American Wedding, and Jessica Simpson, from Mars. Judging by her recent conversation on TV with Dean Richards, Simpson is so remarkably uninformed that she should sue the public schools of Abilene, Texas, or maybe they should sue her. On the day he won his seventh Tour de France, not many people could say, as she did, that they had no idea who Lance Armstrong was.
Of course you don't have to be smart to get into The Dukes of Hazzard. But people like Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds should have been smart enough to stay out of it. Here is a lame-brained, outdated wheeze about a couple of good ol' boys who roar around the back roads of the South in the General Lee, their beloved 1969 Dodge Charger. As it happens, I also drove a 1969 Dodge Charger. You could have told them apart because mine did not have a Confederate flag painted on the roof.
10. Godzilla (1998), one and a half stars. “Going to see Godzilla at the Palais of the Cannes Film Festival is like attending a satanic ritual in St. Peter's Basilica. It's a rebuke to the faith that the building represents. Cannes touchingly adheres to a belief that film can be intelligent, moving and grand. Godzilla is a big, ugly, ungainly device to give teenagers the impression they are seeing a movie.”
11. The Bucket List, one star. “The Bucket List is a movie about two old codgers who are nothing like people, both suffering from cancer that is nothing like cancer, and setting off on adventures that are nothing like possible. I urgently advise hospitals: Do not make the DVD available to your patients; there may be an outbreak of bedpans thrown at TV screens.”
12. Dirty Love, zero stars. “I would like to say more, but—no, I wouldn't. I would not like to say more. I would like to say less. On the basis of Dirty Love, I am not certain that anyone involved has ever seen a movie, or knows what one is.”
13. Battlefield Earth, half star:
Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way. The visuals are grubby and drab. The characters are unkempt and have rotten teeth. Breathing tubes hang from their noses like ropes of snot. The soundtrack sounds like the boom mike is being slammed against the inside of a 55-gallon drum. The plot …
But let me catch my breath. This movie is awful in so many different ways. Even the opening titles are cheesy. Sci-fi epics usually begin with a stab at impressive titles, but this one just displays green letters on the screen in a type font that came with my Macintosh. Then the movie's subtitle unscrolls from left to right in the kind of 'effect' you see in home movies.
14. The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, half star. “This is an ideal first movie for infants, who can enjoy the bright colors on the screen and wave their tiny hands to the music.”
15. Pink Flamingos, no stars. “John Waters' Pink Flamingos has been restored for its 25th anniversary revival, and with any luck at all that means I won't have to see it again for another 25 years. If I haven't retired by then, I will. ... Note: I am not giving a star rating to Pink Flamingos because stars simply seem not to apply. It should be considered not as a film but as a fact, or perhaps as an object.”
See Also: 22 Movies Roger Ebert Really Hated