What's the Worst Movie of All Time?

iStock / iStock

There's always endless chatter about which movies and performances are the best. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Using the popular ratings site Rotten Tomatoes, Libby Coleman over at Ozy found that Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) may actually be the worst movie ever made, according to critics. One hundred percent of the 116 critics who reviewed the sci-fi thriller gave it a bad rating, resulting in a "Tomatometer" score of 0 (audiences were slightly more generous, giving it a 17 percent score).

Other films that belong to what Ozy calls the “zero-percent club” include Orgy of the Dead (1965), Staying Alive (1983), Jaws the Revenge (1987), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers (2004), A Thousand Words (2012), the 2016 remake of Cabin Fever, and over 280 other titles, some of which were reviewed by so few critics that they almost don’t count.

Reviewers of Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever seem to agree that the film is just “an endless barrage of bullets and bazookas” without any substance to back it up. Jocelyn Noveck of the Associated Press wrote that “for many viewers, the big question may be not whether Ecks and Sever will get together, or why they are fighting in the first place, but why am I sitting here, anyway?” In The Boston GlobeWesley Morris called director Wych Kaosayananda “stupendously inept, unable even to properly light a combat sequence.” Ouch. 

While that film has been universally panned and reigns as the worst ever on Rotten Tomatoes, it has some competition according to other rankings. If you go by the Razzies, the worst movie ever is Adam Sandler's cross-dressing "comedy" Jack and Jill (2011). Empire’s 50 Worst Movies Ever list gave the dishonor to Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin (1997), based on votes from thousands of readers. The loser according to Screen Rant’s "Worst 25" list is United Passions (2014), while WatchMojo gave it to Gigli (2003), and Flavorwire listed Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010). Vice argues that The Room (2003) is “entertainingly bad to the point of transcending such subjectivity,” which sort of seems like a compliment.

Films that have appeared often in bad movie lists but have narrowly missed the top (or bottom?) spot include Battlefield Earth (2000) and Troll 2 (1990). So while the Internet may not have a definitive answer to the question, people clearly enjoy discussing the pool of candidates.

[h/t: Ozy]