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Rotten Apples

The 10 Worst Movies With a 0% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Spend Fridays with "Too Rotten to Miss" movies on IFC starting August 12th at 8P.

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Photo Credit: Warner Premiere

Hollywood is no stranger to making truly awful movies. But while many of us shake our heads at the derivative plots, lowbrow humor and general crappiness they tend to churn out, there are still some movies that go above and beyond. Movies so bad, they’re rotten. So how do you separate the mediocre from the truly rotten? That’s where Rotten Tomatoes comes in.

In honor of IFC and Rotten Tomatoes teaming up for Rotten Fridays, we thought we’d wade through the murky waters of movies that scored zero positive reviews resulting in a 0% rating. Which movies are the worst of the worst? Find out below, and for more “too rotten to miss” movies, be sure to catch Rotten Fridays starting August 12th at 8P with a double feature of Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. O.J. and Anna Nicole Smith in the same movie? Now that’s rotten!

10. Top Dog (1994)

The movie that all but ended Chuck Norris’ feature film career found the martial arts master mumbling through this Turner & Hooch knockoff that was released about 10 years too late to be relevant.

Billed as an action/comedy, the action is pedestrian and the comedy, well, if you find jokes about dogs eating food off the table hilarious, this is the movie for you. The fact that the flick has a goofy tone aimed at young children, and over-the-top violence befitting the R-rated action star’s heyday, makes this a movie for no one.

Coming out shortly after the Oklahoma City bombings with a plot centered on a terrorist attack surely colored the reviews of this fairly bland flick, damming it to the basement of Rotten Tomatoes. Norris would get one more chance at movie stardom after this, but sadly his turn as a magical woodsman fighting loggers in Forest Warrior was so bad, no one even bothered to review it. What’s worse than a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes? No rating at all.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “Nothing in the film is remarkable…What is remarkable is that Norris, America’s nicest tough guy, keeps coming back.” (Joe Leydon, Variety)


9. Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2001)

Sure, this isn’t the worst movie on the list. But when you compare this cheap, corny knockoff to the original Slap Shot, an undeniable classic, well, it’s hard to argue that they missed the net with this one. Has there ever been a steeper drop in movie star charisma than the lead role downgrade from Paul Newman to Stephen Baldwin?

Add in a by-the-numbers plot that sees this ragtag hockey team face off against a buttoned-up businessman trying to take the violence out of hockey, and this movie goes from a bad idea to a complete cliché. The fact that Gary Busey, of all people, plays the straight-laced villain just shows how many drugs the casting department must have been smoking when putting this project together. Even cameos by the Hanson Brothers, now 25 years older and yet still out on the ice, can’t save this bland mess of a sequel.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “I was sent a copy of this film to review on DVD. For free. I still want my money back.” (IGN Movies)


8. The Starving Games (2013)

If the biggest selling point you have going for your movie is that it’s “from the guys that brought you Meet the Spartans and Vampires Suck,” well, you’re in trouble. This movie is so dumb, so uninspired, and so cheap, it will make you long for the days of classics like Scary Movie and Not Another Teen Movie.

A cheaply-made parody of The Hunger Games, this painfully forced spoof is less a movie and more a series of dated pop culture references (Remember “Gangnam Style”????) Mix in a few lowbrow sex jokes, rampant crotch injury and a few borderline homophobic jokes and you have a movie that could kill the comedy lover in all of us.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “[The Starving Games] has the look and feel of a talent show put on by a high school whose imminent closing has not inspired any noticeable public outcry.” (Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com)


7. Pinocchio (2002)

Winning an Oscar buys you clout in Hollywood. That dream project you’ve always kept in your back pocket suddenly becomes a viable property. Unfortunately for Roberto Benigni, the writer/director and star of the treacly Holocaust fairy tale Life is Beautiful, he had always wanted to play Pinocchio, the wooden toy that dreamed of becoming a real boy.

The fact that no one reminded him he was, in reality, a 50-year-old man, and that playing a young boy would be incredibly creepy, just goes to show you how blinded people can be by the chance to make some money. One of the costliest movies in Italian film history, Pinocchio bombed internationally, raked in scathing reviews and all but ended Benigni’s film career outside his native land.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “What can one say about a balding 50-year-old actor playing an innocent boy carved from a log?” (Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle)


6. Viktor (2014)

In between the sandwiches and cigarettes, Gerard Depardieu tries out his best Liam Neeson impression in this limp, ugly thriller. Unfortunately, his special set of skills seems to be drinking wine by the carafe and taking mid-afternoon naps.

Neeson has owned the “pissed off dad seeking revenge” genre the last few years, although every actor with an AARP card has tried to get in on the act. Still, Depardieu proves to be the worst of the lot, lacking the psychical dexterity to do more than stumble along, waving a gun and hoping that no one notices a plot that barely holds together. Let’s just be grateful he didn’t have to face off against his greatest enemy: Stairs.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “Depardieu lumbers through the film looking as though he’s tormented by indigestion rather than a lust for vengeance.” (Maitland McDonagh, Film Journal International)


5. Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? (2014)

The novel Atlas Shrugged is fairly controversial in its own right. Some see it as a roadmap to life. Others see it as a heartless how-to guide for aspiring sociopaths. Which doesn’t necessarily mean it couldn’t be adapted into a decent movie, provided the rights hands shepherd it to the big screen. Sadly, whoever owns those hands, they were nowhere near the making of this, the third in a trilogy of films that were meant to expose Ayn Rand’s vision to the masses.

After two failures, and without the cash to continue on, each subsequent film in the series is cheaper and blander than the last. This third installment gives up on even trying to tell a compelling story, simply mirroring the final chapters of the novel in all its inert, condescending ineptitude. That’s how we get a whole movie about rich people sitting around in log cabins, talking about how stupid everyone else is over sips of whiskey. That’s how we get a movie in which trains still play a major part in the U.S. economy, ignoring more than 50 years of progress. If you like your political drivel heavy handed, with Ron Paul cameos and soap opera style acting, then this is the movie for you. For the rest of us, well, maybe it would be better to just leave John Galt alone.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster“We get it, we get it: Capitalism is good, government is bad. But ‘Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?’ is worse.” (Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic)


4. Deadline (2012)

This movie has its heart in the right place, and not much else. Loosely based on true events, it tells the story of a reporter desperate to solve the murder of a rural African American boy whose case has gone cold. The pitch here seems to be, if you liked A Time To Kill, but found the filmmaking way too competent, well, then we have a movie for you.

Clearly a passion project for screenwriter Mark Ethridge, who based the script on his work as a reporter for the Charlotte Observer, there is a worthwhile story to be told here somewhere. Unfortunately, being a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and piecing together a coherent, intelligent screenplay are vastly different talents. Like a John Grisham knockoff without the twists and turns, the plot is driven by coincidence and chance. Reporters stumble onto easy answers, and never have to do any real work. Their problems almost solve themselves.

Add in a group of actors who seem like they won a contest to star in the film, and you start to feel like you’re watching a home movie instead of a professional production. Poor Eric Roberts, who long ago was nominated for an Oscar, seems to be cashing a check here — although, with the overall cheapness of the production, we can’t imagine that check was very large. A saccharine, low budget affair, this movie is an example of when passion trumps talent or even competence.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “Has all the dramatic punch of a community theater production.” (Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times)


3. Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010)

Banking on nostalgia to bring in some box office gold (or at least bronze), the third Lost Boys film, and the second to go straight-to-video, makes a big deal out of reuniting the Frog Brothers from the original film. Sadly, landing Corey Feldman, whose recent credits include a Sharknado cameo and whatever this is, isn’t really much of a selling point these days.

With a script that mixes clichéd plot points and some pretty standard vampire drivel, there isn’t really much here for fans of the original. More a cheap Blade knockoff than the ’80s neon nightmare of the first Lost Boys, this cheap looking money pit seems to bank on filling Feldman with enough cocaine to keep him sleepwalking through the movie. When the tagline of your trailer is, “just try to relax, this will all be over soon,” you may want to rethink why you even bothered in the first place.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “Feldman’s got to eat, I guess…” (Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed)


2. My 5 Wives (2000)

Poor Rodney Dangerfield. He may not have gotten any respect, but he deserved so much better than whatever this was. The story of a rich jerk who ends up buying a group of Mormon wives along with a new ski resort, the politics of this movie are pretty sketchy. Watching an elderly, infirm Dangerfield make love to countless young women is uncomfortable. And the jokes, such as they are, have all the subtlety of a Bill Cosby pickup line. (When two of Dangerfield’s young wives lift their shirts, he exclaims, “Nice booby traps!”)

A one-note limerick in search of a story, there isn’t much here beyond the absurdity of suddenly finding God so you can have sex with a bevy of young women. When Rodney yelled, “Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get laid!,” at the end of Caddyshack, it was ridiculous. 20 years later, it’s just gross.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “Humor generally doesn’t get any broader than Dangerfield’s one-liners, but in his new film…each joke strikes like a creaky swinging barn door.” (Robin Rauzi, Los Angeles Times)


1. MegaForce (1982)

With the visual palate of Mad Max: Fury Road, the budget of an Ed Wood movie, and the sexual confusion of Top Gun, Megaforce is clearly the work of a visionary — it’s just unclear what that vision was. The brainchild of stuntman Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit), the movie feels a live-action post-apocalyptic G.I. Joe cartoon. With rocket firing motorcycles, battle tanks and 3D holograms, this movie love its toys. What it doesn’t love is a coherent plot.

The “story” depicts two fictional countries, the peaceful Republic of Sardun and the evil Gamibia, who find themselves at war for some inexplicable reason. Led by the spandex wearing, flirty Commander Ace Hunter (Barry Bostwick), the Sardum army must protect the peace, and bury their bromantic love deep down inside, where no one can ever spot it.

A truly bizarre experience, Megaforce is so bad that it’s had a second life as a cult film. In fact, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are such fans, they heavily referenced it in their puppet action movie parody Team America: World Police.

Pull Quote That Should’ve Been on the Movie Poster: “The film maintains an actual ‘plot,’ but views it more as a nuisance than a necessity, probably because it would detract from the scorching homoeroticism of Bostwick in his spandex unitard.” (Rob Vaux, Mania.com)

Catch Rotten Fridays on IFC starting August 12th at 8P. 

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Rocky IV Paulie Robot

Mr. Roboto

5 Reasons Rocky IV Is Too Rotten to Miss

Catch Rocky IV Friday at 8P during IFC's Rotten Fridays.

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Photo Credit: MGM/UA/YouTube

When Rocky IV was released in 1985, the critics were not kind. (While it wasn’t around back then, the film’s 39% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes speaks for itself.) Less of a movie than a jingoistic music video starring a robot and a steroid-addled, monosyllabic Russian baddie, Rocky IV is a far cry from the Italian Stallion’s humble origins.

Still, more than any movie ever made, it exemplifies the whole “so bad its good” genre. This movie was made for us, the great-unwashed masses of the 1980s, who loved the band Survivor and hated those Commie bastards. Before you catch Rocky IV on IFC’s Rotten Fridays, let’s take a look at some moments that make this flick a “too rotten to miss” classic.

5. That Opening Shot

Rocky IV
United Artists

It takes all of 30 seconds for the audience to know they’re in for one ridiculous rollercoaster ride through a Cold War conniption fit of good vs. evil. Gone is the subtle tone and grounded reality of the first Rocky. In its place we see two gloves, one emblazoned with the American flag, the other with the Soviets’, hurtling toward each other. When they collide, sparks fly, and we witness an explosion decades in the making.

In case the symbolism is too subtle for you, director/writer/star Sylvester Stallone is trying to hint that this movie will be the clash of civilizations we’d all been waiting for, but instead of nuclear bombs, a humble palooka from the streets would be duking it out in the ring with the ultimate representation of coldhearted Communism. If it were up to us, this opening shot would’ve won Best Picture all by itself.


4. So Many Montages

Rocky IV has a running time of 91 minutes and 20 seconds. Its eight montages (yes, EIGHT) run a total of 29 minutes and 10 seconds. That is one third of the movie solely dedicated to montages. (Considering Stallone’s contempt for all things Soviet, we have to wonder if he knows it was a dirty Ruskie who invented the montage.)

During one of the many, many montages, director Stallone actually flashes back to a scene that had happened a minute and half prior, creating the impression that he might actually flashback to the montage we were just watching in the same montage. Stallone clearly loves a good montage set to an inspirational ’80s song, and so do we. Which brings us to…


3. A Soundtrack Full of Pumped Up ’80s Jams

Speaking of montages, they are set to the score of some of the cheesiest hits from the mid-’80s. For once, we’re spared tracks from Frank Stallone, with Stallone replacing his rocker brother with synth-y singles from Survivor, John Cafferty and Kenny Loggins. And of course, Robert Tepper, possessor of an ’80s mullet that could topple empires, crooning “No Easy Way Out.” The music in this movie is one step away from being a parody of the music in this movie. If you ever want to know what cocaine can do to the human mind, just listen to this soundtrack.


2. Rocky Ends the Cold War

Rocky IV speech
United Artists

In one of the most misguided, self-congratulatory, and immediately dated moments in cinema history, good ol’ galoot Rocky Balboa single-handedly ended the Cold War four years before the Berlin Wall came down.

To quote the Italian Stallion himself: “In here…there were two guys… killing each other. But I guess that’s better than millions. What I’m trying to say is… if I can change… and you can change…everybody can change!” And just like that the Soviet public, generals and even the Premier himself rose to their feet in applause, realizing what fools they’d been. This guy beat Mr. T for Heaven’s sake. He knows what he’s talking about!


1. Paulie’s Robot

Okay, let’s all take a deep breath and really consider this for a moment. Rocky IV has a robot butler in it. A movie franchise that began back in 1976 exploring the gritty reality of a bum fighter trying to prove himself somehow limped along long enough to turn into a weak Short Circuit rip-off in which an alcoholic mooch with a history of domestic abuse now gets his coffee served to him by a robot. A robot that he has programmed with a “sultry” lady voice!

Stallone was inspired to include the real life robot Sico in Rocky IV because of the work it did to help autistic children like his son Seargeoh. That’s all very moving, but doesn’t explain why he decided to write a scene where Paulie dubs poor Sico “the love of my life.” It’s a testament to Rocky IV‘s “too rotten to miss” status that Paulie’s robot girlfriend/personal servant isn’t even the craziest thing that happens to Rock and the gang.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” movie Rocky IV this Friday at 8P on IFC. 

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Swimming To Cambodia Spalding Gray

Gray's Anatomy

Everything You Need to Know About the Movie That Inspired “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”

Brand new Documentary Now! airs Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom Pictures

This week Documentary Now! spotlights a master monologist with “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything.” Before you tune in at 10P this Wednesday on IFC, check out our guide to Swimming to Cambodia, the 1987 film that captured writer/performer Spalding Gray’s acclaimed one-person show.

Spalding Gray 101

Swimming to Cambodia
Cinecom Pictures

Actor and renowned monologist Spalding Gray spent two years on stage perfecting his Obie Award-winning “Swimming to Cambodia” monologue. In it, Gray tells the story of his eight weeks in Southeast Asia while shooting the 1984 Academy Award-winning movie The Killing Fields. He had a small role, but the experience gave him several anecdotes about hanging out with the film crew and experiencing the local culture, all while searching for “the perfect moment.”

Directed by the Silence of the Lambs Guy

Hannibal Lecter
Orion Pictures/Everett Collection

Acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Demme took Gray’s two-night, four hour performance and crafted it down to 85 minutes. His use of dramatic lighting, stylish camerawork and a score by performance artist Laurie Anderson was praised by critics and earned the film a cult following. No stranger to groundbreaking docs, Demme also directed the 1984 Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, which Documentary Now! pays tribute to in this season’s episode “Final Transmission.”

All about the Voices

While it may have been a one-man show, Gray created a repertoire of characters all with distinctive accents. (He portrayed conversations between himself and others just by turning his head.) Our favorite impressions are of his demanding girlfriend Renee and Ivan Strasberg, the South African director of photography on The Killing Fields who, as depicted by Gray, sounds a bit like a Jamaican surfer.

The Original Cranky New Yorker

In one memorable scene, Gray rants about how his noisy upstairs artist neighbors are driving him and Renee crazy. Even in the mid-’80s, there were New Yorkers complaining that the city wasn’t what it used to be.

Show and Tell

Swimming to Cambodia
Cinecom Pictures/YouTube

A big fan of visual aids, Gray used pull-down maps to illustrate his travels. This helped to bring Swimming to Cambodia to life, since he’s basically sitting at a desk the entire time.

Inspired One-Person Shows

Gray’s groundbreaking performances in Swimming and other documentaries like Monster in a Box and the Steven Soderbergh-directed Gray’s Anatomy (about Gray’s struggle with a rare eye condition) paved the way for future one-person shows. (We wouldn’t have everything from Carrie Fisher’s “Wishful Drinking” to Mike Birbiglia’s “Sleepwalk With Me” without him.) Even Doc Now! star Fred Armisen got into the one-person show act for his recent SNL monologue.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Spalding Gray when “Parker Gail: Location Is Everything” premieres Wednesday, September 28th at 10P on IFC. 

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Burning Heart

10 Reasons Why Rocky IV Is the Ultimate Rocky Movie

Catch an all-day Rocky movie marathon this Friday, September 30th on IFC.

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Photo Credit: United Artists/Everett Collection

Sure, most people love the first Rocky for its heart, gripping boxing scenes and the classic training montage. Or, you might love Creed for being both a return-to-form and a new exploration of the Rocky mythology. Maybe the thrill of seeing Mr. T and Hulk Hogan in the same movie makes Rocky III your top pick. Well, sorry, you’re wrong: Rocky IV is the greatest of all the “Italian Stallion”‘s movies.

Before you watch the all-day Rocky movie marathon this Friday, September 30th on IFC (with Rocky IV airing at 8P as part of Rotten Fridays), check out a few reasons to appreciate the fourth installment as the king of the series.

1. The Greatest Opening Ever

How many openings are able to sum up the entire conflict of the film in less than a minute and without a single line of dialogue? And how many of those movies have exploding boxing gloves? Just try to watch the opening sequence above and not be completely psyched for the pumped-up flick to come.


2. Montages!

We all know that the best part of any sports movie is the montage, and Rocky IV doesn’t give you one measly montage. There’s a recap of the previous films montage, a getting to Russia Montage, two training montages and an ending fight montage. That’s five montages! There’s probably a montage of montages snuck in there, too.


3. There’s a Full James Brown Musical Number

This movie is so packed with memorable moments, it’s easy to forget one of the first things that happens in the film: Apollo comes out to fight Drago dressed as a shirtless Uncle Sam, while James Brown and a full band play “Living in America.” To drive home the number’s patriotism, there are dancers in tuxedos and top hats, weird unitards and bowler caps, and bedazzled showgirls with headpieces for miles. Oh, and don’t forget the giant tentacled dragon statue on the stage. This is how every boxing match should start. Heck, this is how we always want to enter a room.


4. The Soundtrack

The Rocky IV soundtrack doesn’t just feature James Brown — it has rock anthems galore, all of which make you immediately want to hit the gym. From “Heart’s on Fire” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band to “Sweetest Victory” by Touch to multiple Survivor jams, you’ll get pumped and stay pumped. Even the instrumental score rocks! Sure, sometimes it sounds like it was made on a kids Casio, but this soundtrack never quits and — to quote Robert Tepper — never takes the easy way out.


5. Abs!

Rocky IV weights

Every Rocky movie shows off Stallone’s incredible physique, but Rocky IV really ups the game. Not only do we get Dolph Lundgren mostly shirtless looking like a man machine, but we get a wide variety of scenes of Stallone doing impossible tasks. Stallone’s crazy dragon fly crunches, aka a thing no human should be able to do, automatically take this movie to the top.


6. Two words: Ivan Drago

Ivan Drago
United Artists

Not only does Rocky IV explore the global conflict between the US and the Soviet Union, but it encapsulates all of our fears of the Cold War in one perfect villain. Ivan Drago only trains with machines and science and looks like he stepped out of an Aryan Nations recruitment poster. He also only responds in short, cold phrases like “If he dies, he dies,” or “I must break you.” There’s never been a villain who we so clearly want to get the crap beat out of than Ivan Drago.


7. Rocky Makes Chores Look Badass

Rocky saw
United Artists

Rocky doesn’t need to be hooked up to machines to become the perfect fighter. All he needs are huge tires and some outdoor chores to do. No one’s ever looked cooler chopping wood and using tractor parts. Half of his training is lifting an old wagon, probably to fix a broken axle. If anything, this film inspires us to take care of that gardening work we’ve been neglecting.


8. Rocky’s Beard

Rocky IV Beard

Stallone’s beard game is truly on point in Rocky IV. And this isn’t some “I forgot to shave, here’s a little stubble” look. No, we get full out, lumberjack-style beard action. Does any other Rocky movie have our hero looking like an old Russian aristocrat? Another point for Rocky IV.


9. There’s a robot!

Again, there’s so much to Rocky IV, you probably forgot about the robot. Well, Rocky has some money now and he’s not going to spend it on frivolous things for himself. He’s going to buy Paulie a robot! The best part of this scene is how truly disturbed Paulie is by this new technology until he gives it a sexy lady voice.


10. Rocky Ends the Cold War

If you’re still not convinced that Rocky IV is the greatest, answer this question: Does any other Rocky movie bring peace between the US and Russia?

By the end of the film, Rocky rises up to beat the seemingly undefeatable Drago. He fights so well, that even the Russians begin to appreciate his skills. Then, instead of using his victory to prove America’s superiority, he gives a rousing speech of “If I can change and you can change, everybody can change!” The whole crowd goes wild, including all of the Russian government, who we assume give up Communism immediately based solely on Rocky’s words. Stallone’s call for international reconciliation through brutal fighting and a variety of montages makes this if not one of the greatest films of all time, certainly the greatest Rocky of them all.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” movie Rocky IV this Friday at 8P on IFC. 

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