From Affleck to Sandler.
With a rapidly changing library of titles, hosting your own movie marathon on Netflix is pretty easy. But instead of cherry-picking timeless classics or old favorites to enjoy, why not pay attention to those unfamiliar titles that you constantly find yourself weeding through and have yourself a bad movie marathon?
We sifted through the awful, absurd, and just plain WTF offerings of Netflix and managed to whittle an extensive list down to 25 semi-digestible entries. Representing all genres and countless questionable career moves, here are some truly abysmal titles whose creators will never have to worry about pesky things like counting money or Oscar statuette placement.
1) Love Wedding Marriage
Directed by Dermot Mulroney, Love Wedding Marriage has the dubious distinction of scoring a rare 0 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, one of two Mandy Moore movies (along with Swinging With the Finkels) to earn the honor. In Love Wedding Marriage, Moore plays an alleged Berkeley graduate and relationship counselor with all the acting skill of an energetic high school cheerleader, and she gets no help from on-screen husband Kellan Lutz, who feels less like a romantic partner than her gay best friend. The film, co-starring Jane Seymour and James Brolin as Moore’s wackily estranged parents, wants to be a commentary on modern commitment, but as the New York Times memorably put it, it feels more like “punishment for a crime you can’t remember committing.”
2) An Invisible Sign
Jessica Alba has never been known for her thespic abilities. To date, her most memorable performance was in Sin City, a film that mostly required her to take off her clothes and shake her lady parts in slow motion. Indeed in An Invisible Sign, Alba proves the biggest hurdle between herself and success is pointing her face into the camera and acting. Director Marilyn Agrelo casts Alba as a 20-year-old genius math teacher with OCD, but the movie’s idea of intelligence is making her into a stunted Manic Pixie Dream Girl with Pippi Longstocking braids. It’s like a Saturday Night Live skit, except that no one in the movie is in on the joke.
3) The Cobbler
Adam Sandler has made a lot of bad movies in his career (Jack and Jill, anyone?), but perhaps none is more bizarre than The Cobbler, which is a Netflix category unto itself. It’s the world’s first—and probably last—Jewish body-switching gentrification comedy. Sandler plays a schlubby cobbler gifted with the magical ability to transport into the body of anyone’s shoes he happens to try on, which leads to some unexpected transphobic and racist hijinks. The Cobbler isn’t just a bewildering, offensive disaster, it’s a downright depressing one. Directed by future Oscar-winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), this film was supposed to announce Sandler as a serious actor. Instead, its failure further doomed him to a lifetime of co-starring in David Spade movies.
Everyone involved seems to have experienced some sort of blunt force trauma to the head. How else would anyone believe that audiences would stomach the following scenario: Britney Spears plays Lucy, a shy valedictorian virgin with a nerdy, bespectacled boyfriend (pre-puberty Justin Long). Lucy is saved from a lifetime of awkward sex when she embarks on a road trip with her two childhood best friends: The most popular girl in school (Zoe Saldana) and a pregnant student from the wrong side of the tracks (Taryn Manning). Crossroads is one of those movies where everyone finds love, motherhood, or their long-lost parents within 90 minutes—while making time for karaoke—but it’s notable for at least one juicy bit of trivia. The script was written by a young Shonda Rhimes.
Serena boasts an amazing IMDb page. Directed Susanne Bier—who helmed the 2011 foreign-language Oscar winner, In a Better World—Serena re-teamed America’s favorite pairing: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Fresh off the success of American Hustle, it seemed as if the frequent co-stars could do no wrong. Not quite. The film was so bad that it didn’t even screen in theaters, ignominiously dumped onto streaming platforms. That’s for the best, because the fewer people that see this soapy noir bore, the better. The screenplay, in which Cooper plays a lumber baron and Lawrence his unhinged wife, seems to actively hate its actors and want to see them suffer. It’s a mess of bad accents, dialogue, and life choices—like a one-night stand you’d rather forget. I suggest you do.
6) The Human Centipede 2
I’m going to put as much thought into reviewing The Human Centipede 2, the second installment of Tom Six’s ass-to-mouth trilogy, as the director did into making it: Here’s a GIF of Paul Rudd vomiting.
Another of Ben Affleck’s many entries on this list, Gigli is the notorious box office turkey that helped bring the Bennifer portmanteau into the world. But unlike most turkeys, this one features a notorious crime against America’s favorite holiday bird. In the film, Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are brought together by narrative convenience and a shared interest in Lopez’s lesbianism, which will, of course, be jettisoned by the end of the movie when she meets the the right man. (Ah, Hollywood.) When Lopez eventually lets Affleck know she’s ready for heterosexuality, she flops down on a hotel bed in front of him, spreads her legs, and says, “Gobble gobble.” Good luck unseeing that on Thanksgiving.
8) Scary Movie 5
Scary Movies 5 might be one of the least memorable terrible movies ever made. The fifth entry in the stunningly resilient series hands off the reins to Malcolm D. Lee, following two films each from Keenan Ivory Wayans and David Zucker. Like Anna Faris, who declined to appear in Scary Movie 5, they knew when enough was enough. The fourth sequel is a stunningly desperate cash-in that believes a cameo from a post-breakdown Charlie Sheen (as himself) is a selling point. What’s odd about this scenario is that the actor already appeared in the franchise: In Scary Movie 3, Sheen played a spoof of Mel Gibson’s character in Signs. How could Sheen be himself and someone else simultaneously? That pretty much indicates the attention to detail in this tired, forgettable send up of Paranormal Activity.
9) inAPPropriate Comedy
On the short list of worst movies ever made, inAPPropriate Comedy brings together an unlikely cast of Lindsay Lohan, Rob Schneider, Michelle Rodriguez, Oscar-winner Adrien Brody, and former ShamWow spokesman Vince Offer for an omnibus comedy of skits loosely tied together by an offensive iPhone app. In one recurring skit, called “The Amazing Racist,” comedian Ari Shaffir goes Jackass on people of color by attempting to lure them into a boat back to Africa. If the apocalypse does destroy the world, let’s hope it takes all copies of this movie first.
10) The Best of Me
If everyone involved in The Notebook had realized that the film’s massive cult success would lead to a series of increasingly schmaltzy melodramas with diminishing returns, do you think they would have made it? Had they watched The Best of Me, probably not. When it comes to Nicholas Sparks adaptations, this is as bottom of the barrel as it gets. But if you’ve seen one of these movies before, you know roughly how it goes: Boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl are separated by plot conventions, boy and girl are reunited, boy is murdered by his redneck alcoholic of a father, girl receives heart transplant from boy to save her son’s life, boy is benevolent savior ghost, girl probably goes and bangs someone else. Isn’t love grand?
Elizabethtown is proof that hell exists. The film wasn’t so much directed by Cameron Crowe as it was foisted upon humanity as a punishment for our sins. Crowe’s sixth turn behind the camera is something that the director typically does well: a comedy-drama about a guy who has everything, forced to learn life lessons after losing it all. It’s the same template as Jerry Maguire, except this time the formula turns to a big bottle of rotten milk. The film’s journey toward redemption and forgiveness (set to an indie soundtrack) is glib and preachy and its characters are some of the most insufferable creations ever committed to film. Kirsten Dunst plays Claire, a flight attendant who injects herself into the life of Drew (Orlando Bloom) with the frantic passion of a serial killer. Their romance is intended to be endearing, but it feels more like a prequel episode of America’s Most Wanted.
12) The Other Sister
Everything in The Other Sister is terrible. The film was directed by career hack Garry Marshall with the same nuance he brought to New Year’s Eve and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. But The Other Sister isn’t just maudlin sap, it’s so poorly made that it seems to be making fun of the very people it wants to celebrate. In the film’s most infamous scene, Carla (played by Juliette Lewis) gets lost in her own house.
13) Grace of Monaco
The past few years have not been kind to royal biopics. In 2014, Naomi Watts earned her first Razzie nomination for the exploitative, navel-gazing Diana, a look at the former Princess of Wales’s doomed love affairs. Then there was the even more ill-fated Grace of Monaco, which was dumped on Lifetime after being all but laughed out of Cannes. It’s a trainwreck. The project probably seemed like sure thing for Nicole Kidman: Director Olivier Dahan’s previous picture was La Vie en Rose, the Edith Piaf biopic that won Marion Cotillard an Oscar. His follow-up was about another Oscar winner, Grace Kelly. But Dahan shoots his actors in the face: The performances are absurdly, unbelievably over the top. It all seems intentional, as if Grace of Monaco is trying to do something, but God only knows what.
14) The Next Best Thing
Madonna has spent her entire career trying to capably imitate a human woman on-screen and failing miserably. In The Next Best Thing, she can’t even stick to an accent, let alone a character. Filmed in 2000, shortly after Madge wedded film director Guy Ritchie and became British, it seems to have rubbed off. The Material Girl’s dialect hilariously straddles two continents, sometimes changing within the same line. The film itself is Kramer vs. Kramer for idiots: A pair of best friends, one gay (Rupert Everett) and one straight (Madonna), hook up during a night of drunken abandon. A child is conceived. This leads to a slew of misunderstandings that could be resolved with a simple conversation but instead end in a prolonged custody battle, followed by tears and hugs. Even Judge Joe Brown wouldn’t take this case.
15) Bed of Roses
This forgotten Christian Slater-Mary Stuart Masterson romance was left behind in the ’90s for good reason. To quote Outkast, these roses smell like poo-poo-oo. Directed by Michael Goldenberg, who would later go onto write the screenplay for the epic animated spacesuit disaster Green Lantern, Bed of Roses is like 9 ½ Weeks without the sex. So if you have a softcore porno with no action, what do you have left then? Absolutely nothing. The movie may have the thinnest plot in the history of film: A troubled woman going through a crisis (Masterson) receives a bouquet of flowers from an anonymous admirer. It turns out to be the hunky owner of a flower shop (Slater), who later fesses up to sending them. They date, briefly overcome obstacles, and fall in love. Yet the movie is a mind-numbing 87 minutes long. I guarantee it will be the most excruciatingly boring hour and a half of your life.
16) Burying the Ex
Once upon a time, Joe Dante did good things. Marvelous things. You know him as the man behind Gremlins, Innerspace, and The Howling. However, judging from this retrograde, stunningly misogynistic dud, his politics are stuck in the ’80s. Burying the Ex is just as bad as its plot description sounds. Max (Anton Yelchin) wants to break up with his needy, annoying girlfriend, Evelyn (Ashley Greene), but he gets lucky: She dies! That frees up Max to move onto another hottie who is way too good for him (Alexandra Daddario), despite the fact that losing your girlfriend, even if the relationship isn’t great, would likely be a traumatic experience for anyone. He’s fine, though, and not a sociopath at all. Max’s plans for sweet your-girlfriend-is-worm-food nookie are foiled when Evelyn rises from the dead to nag him. What a drag.
17) To the Wonder
Terrence Malick very rarely makes movies. Before the current decade, he had only directed five in his entire career: Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, and The New World. But shortly after the success of 2011’s The Tree of Life, which many (myself included) consider to be a masterpiece, he announced a slew of new projects. That ignited rumors that the reclusive 72-year-old was dying and was attempting to get out as many movies as possible in the time he had left. This equation might seem ageist if To the Wonder weren’t a truly, madly, deeply awful film—by far the worst thing its director has ever done. The film, starring Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck, takes many of the stylistic techniques that made his previous film such a marvel and makes them into spiritual kitsch. If you love ponderous voiceover, no character development, and shots of Olga Kurylenko twirling, this is the pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo for you.
In describing the movies Bucky Larson and Ed, film critic Nathan Rabin coined the term “shitty miracle” to describe a film in which “everything goes awry.” Rabin writes, “It’s not a matter of one sorry element dragging the rest down; it’s every terrible component amplifying the awfulness of everything else.” Of recent years, Brian dePalma’s Passion is one of the most likely candidates, a remake of the French corporate psychosexual thriller Love Crime that should come with its own laugh track. Starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, it’s so shockingly, mesmerisingly bad it doesn’t appear to take place on Earth. The film’s cold exteriors are meant to suggest Germany, but it feels more like that ice planet in Interstellar.
19) Authors Anonymous
Do you buy Chris Klein as someone who could write a book? A whole book, and not a coloring book? What about Kaley Cuoco? Can you also picture her writing a novel that is not composed of Instagram photos of herself smiling in the wind? Then Authors Anonymous, which appears to have been filmed on someone’s very old Blackberry, is the movie for you. It’s also the kind of movie for people who like movies where characters seem to know each other and interact for no apparent reason, and thus, it would make perfect sense that Mike Ehrmantraut and Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls are hanging out. Authors Anonymous will also appeal to those who believe that glasses make people appear intelligent (ala Denise Richards), even when all other evidence is to the contrary.
20) Say It Isn’t So
It’s the oldest rule in Hollywood that the success of one movie will spawn the success of a slew of other movies that will regret making you ever like that movie to begin with. After There’s Something About Mary became a huge sleeper hit, first there was My, Myself & Irene (which wasn’t good) and then there was Say It Ain’t So (which was a cinematic liver spot). If this were Multiplicity, Say It Ain’t So would be the fifth or sixth clone—the one that is basically a walking pool of human refuse. Starring Heather Graham and Chris Klein (hello darkness, my old friend!), this is a laugh-free comedy about a couple who find out they might be related. The film’s most famous feature is Klein repeatedly reaching into a cow’s butt. That’s a pretty good metaphor for the movie itself.
21) My Boss’s Daughter
This a movie about Ashton Kutcher trying to bang Tara Reid. That’s everything you need to know.
22) In the Name of the King
I’ll say it: Uwe Boll gets a bad rap. Often dubbed as the “worst living film director,” Boll certainly is the master of his craft. He doesn’t make lazy bad movies. The German director behind Bloodrayne, Postal, and Blubberella makes feverishly terrible movies—usually video-game adaptations—that invent new, heretofore unheard of ways to be bad. Take Alone in the Dark, for example. This is a movie in which Tara Reid plays a smart person, a paleontologist no less, who pronounces “Newfoundland” as three distinct words. They keep it in the film. In the Name of the King’s most impressive feature is how thoroughly it throws out the rulebook on what a fantasy period piece even is: The cast list includes Matthew Lillard, Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, and Burt Reynolds, all hamming it up like they’re being taken to the state fair.
23) The Ridiculous Six
Adam Sandler’s first feature as part of his four-picture Netflix deal is a train robbery disguised as a movie. The comedian has admitted that he views his movies as paid vacations, and with The Ridiculous 6, Sandler has gotten Netflix to bankroll the world’s most expensive party in which all of his friends are invited. The Frank Coraci-directed film is a loose spoof of The Magnificent Seven with the barest pretense to plot, logic, and common sense, and it’s incredible to consider that it took two people (Sandler and Tim Herlihy) to write a screenplay that appears to be so utterly nonexistent. If you like incessant fart jokes, Native American stereotypes, and the sight of Taylor Lautner wearing buckteeth, go for it. Otherwise, run for the hills.
24) White Chicks
What is it about bad comedies that makes them so much worse than other kinds of bad movies? Perhaps it’s a matter of distance. When you’re watching an ill-conceived drama, the fact that it’s intended to be taken seriously allows for ironic mockery. It’s much harder to make fun of a poorly made comedy—because it’s supposed to be in on the joke. A good example of this is White Chicks, the 2004 Wayans Brothers comedy that features the most disturbing prosthetics in film history. To go undercover as two sorority girls, a pair of FBI agents don what are basically Michael Myers masks. White Chicks would play much better as a horror film. The result is so godawful and unbelievable that it almost passes for brilliant, and the film has attracted a number of apologists over the years. But don’t be fooled: If Freddy Got Fingered can weasel its way into a cult following, anything can.
25) The Paperboy
The Paperboy is both one of the worst movies you will ever see and a precious gift, sent from the heavens to be cherished by us mere mortals. Before Lee Daniels gave us Empire, there was this divisive 2012 disasterpiece, featuring Nicole Kidman peeing all over Zac Efron. I’ve spent a great deal of my career advocating for this movie and trying to get people to watch it, precisely because it is truly, completely, bewilderingly one of a kind. It’s the kind of bad movie that when you find out friends of yours haven’t seen, you make them stop everything and immediately watch it with you. Some movies are bad but also boring and they fade away. There is absolutely nothing boring about The Paperboy.
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