Before you spend money on a new subscription to the latest streaming platform to watch some throwback films, check out the films that Hollywood wanted to be hits — but the people threw back with a big fat “nope … we don’t want it.”
The website Rotten Tomatoes became popular for posting straightforward reviews. If anyone has ever felt like they wanted their money back after leaving a movie, chances are Rotten Tomatoes’ “Tomatometer” can tell us why. Based on the meter’s readings, these are arguably the worst movies of all time. Check out the list below.
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Jaws: The Revenge, is the final chapter in the Great White killer shark series. Fans were mesmerized by the blood-stained apex predators ripping people apart. This last edition was less eventful. When filmmakers are dealing with a series of movies, they should remember to keep elements of the original film that people loved. Those elements are what builds a cult-like fanbase.
In the case of Jaws, people appreciated the relatively seamless imitation of watching sharks hunt in a naturalistic environment. The cinematography was great through the first two films of the series. Then they were taken a step further for Jaws 3-D. Jaws: The Revenge was intended to be a direct follow-up to Jaws 2. Yet there was a noticeable drop off in the quality of special effects. Critics generally regard this movie as a disappointment in a once-prominent series. It was also the lowest-grossing film of the series.
Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987)
The Police Academy series made being a cop look quirky and kind of fun. Yet the fourth installment failed the field test to be considered a good movie. The stomach-clenching comical elements which made the first three movies great seemingly disappeared in the fourth. Furthermore, Fans loved Zed for his off the cusp humor throughout the first three films. In this film, he might be annoying to fans who once loved him. A sequel is easier for fans to receive when the characters are consistent.
Citizens on Patrol marked the decline of a beloved series. Sometimes directors should know when it’s time to put a series to rest. Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times echoed these sentiments when he said, “What’s so amazing about the Police Academy movies is that they keep being made even though they stopped being funny after the hilarious original.” Sadly, the decline of the series would continue as two more sequels were released.
Staying Alive (1983)
It was supposed to be a sequel to the energetic party that was Saturday Night Fever. Most fans would have pulled the plug on this movie before its release if they’d known it would be a miserable watch. We appreciated Saturday Night Fever for its dramatics, triumphant climax, and overall depth. On the contrary, this movie lacked all the elements which made the first movie great. Variety had this to say, “The bottom line is that Staying Alive is nowhere as good as its 1977 predecessor, Saturday Night Fever.”
Considering Sylvester Stallone directed the film, as well as co-wrote and produced the original film which was celebrated, this movie failed the original fanbase. Sean Collier of Box Office Prophets understood this when he wrote, “The production as a whole is too disjointed, repetitive and flat to really hang together.” Despite the negative reception, it was a box office hit. Final domestic box office numbers indicated the film raked in $127 million.
Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
Critics referred to Return to the Blue Lagoon as a textbook example of a disaster. As beautiful as young love can be, these love birds might be better off apart because fans have no love for this sequel. Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel said exactly what people were thinking when he said, “Things are pretty much the same for the semi-nude kids in this movie as they were for the semi-nude kids in the first Blue Lagoon.” If this beached love story featured adult actors, a more provocative tone could’ve made it a better production.
While the tropical shores of Australia, and Taveuni, Fiji provided lush scenery, critics and fans blasted how poorly defined the story plot was. With such low ratings, it is a shame that anyone even returned to this beach. Moviegoers weren’t willing to return to theaters and the $11 million budget went to waste. Especially knowing the film grossed less than $3 million at the domestic box office.
Dream a Little Dream (1989)
Richard Harrington of the Washington Post said that Dream a Little Dream left people wondering what they saw. Released at the end of an era that leaned heavily on the body-switching concept, most were bored of it after the film’s opening week. Walter Goodman of the New York Times placed the blame directly on the project’s writers.” This is one incoherent movie; I have a hunch that the writers could not figure it out, either,” he wrote. Not even the popularized “Corey squared” duo of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim could save this movie from failure.
By the same token, this production’s failure to resonate with fans was reflected at the box office. Released in 1,019 theaters across the U.S., the film grossed $2.5 million in the opening week. While traction was expected to pick up in the coming weeks, the surge never happened. Word-of-mouth recommendations are the backbone of the film industry. Word of this debacle must’ve spread fast because viewership declined by 51 percent during the second week at the box office. As a result, Dream a Little Dream only grossed about $5,500,000.
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989)
It’s fair to say the first three Police Academy movies were the best of the series. Much like the fourth installment, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege failed to reinvigorate the plot and it failed to capitalize on the comedy that fans grew accustomed to.
Perhaps Leigh Paatsch Herald Sun (Australia) described this movie the best when she wrote, “It’s a sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel. But it is so much less than that.” This would be the last time fans would get to see Bubba Smith, Marion Ramsey, Bruce Mahler, Lance Kinsey, and George R. Robertson as Hightower, Hooks, Fackler, Proctor, and Commissioner Hurst.
Marking the end of an era, this is the first movie of the series which finished second at the U.S. the box office behind Lean on Me. The film grossed $4,032,480 during its opening week and $11,567,217 at the close of the domestic box office.
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
The Bad News Bears was our favorite baseball team. Gen Xers probably loved them because the children curse like sailors. This time the team was taking their talents to Japan. While we will always love those obnoxious bears but even actor Jackie Earle Haley himself, who plays troublemaker Kelly Leak in all three films, described this film as the worst movie ever. An honest opinion from the actor who embodied the outspoken teen.
Vincent Canby of The New York Times rebuked the entire production. He wrote, “The film is a demonstration of the kind of desperation experienced by people trying to make something out of a voyage to nowhere.” Contrary to his opinion, the project could have been better if the audience could have experienced the drama unfold on screen. Kids in the field amid play-by-play baseball. In addition to the culture shock of a rambunctious American Little League Baseball team facing off against their Japanese counterpart.
Dark Tide (2012)
It’s not often that no one wants to see a movie starring Halle Berry. Let’s face it, she is drop dead gorgeous and usually she is like a nice Werther’s candy drop on the screen. But her good looks nor even her Oscar could have saved this disgraceful shark thriller. The actors had very weak performances and the storyline had a weak plot which was why this film deserved to rest at the bottom of the ocean. Critics dismissed the entire production, calling it “Shallow and brackish, Dark Tide fails to rise.” Some considered this film to be a B-grade movie.
Rightfully so, with a budget of $25 million and production sets across three countries–the U.S., U.K., and South Africa for this movie to only recoup $1,167,612 at the box office is unacceptable. Especially knowing that investors essentially squandered over $23 million. Not to mention, Oscar Award-winning talent must cost more than a few million dollars. If it was up to the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw no human would be paid. “The sharks themselves are the only ones to emerge with credit from this.”
SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)
Whoever thought cute cuddly babies with superpowers and genius-level intelligence would make for a good movie was sadly mistaken. Imagine giving the Teletubbies powers, it would be a disaster. A brainless plot coupled with terrible special effects makes for an abomination of a movie. Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle was highly critical of the film saying, “It is offensive on so many levels. First, let’s just call SuperBabies what it is: child abuse.”
Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post offered a more savage interpretation as he stated, “The action sequences are phony-looking; the dialogue sounds largely improvised on the fly; the laughs are few and far between; and the acting … is, to put it kindly, wooden.” Keep in mind this is a film for children. If adults feel like this, can you imagine what children were saying about this movie? Guess people prefer heroes who are past the potty-training stages of life.
The movie Gotti was about John Gotti, one of New York’s most revered gangsters. His life story has inspired rappers to change their names, documentaries on the mafia, and so many caricatures of Italian life (both good and bad). One might think a biopic about him would make for an exhilarating movie. One might think that. Yet after eight years in development, four directors, and 44 producers, the audience received a failed movie that did nothing to stand out from the typical mob movies of the past. Gotti rose to power by being charismatic and disposing of anyone who posed a threat to his family, their lifestyle, or his business. This film did little to showcase his individuality.
Furthermore, some might argue that although leading actor John Travolta is a veteran actor with blockbuster appeal, he simply did not embody the mystique of the Teflon Don. Jason Bailey of Flavorwire expressed his disappointment in the film. He called it, “a comically terrible imitation of a biopic, directed by Kevin Connolly with all the flair and nuance of a movie-within-a-movie of Entourage.”
A Thousand Words (2012)
Let’s just get this out of the way … Eddie Murphy made millions of dollars without speaking one word in the film, A Thousand Words. Put those hands together and clap for this! Getting the bag is always something that Murphy (or anyone) should be proud of. What he can’t be proud of is how bad A Thousand Words was as a movie. Despite the idea of a muted Murphy being quite comical on its own, it’s not enough to carry the entire film. With this in mind, movie critic Candice Frederick of Reel Talk Online regarded the film as “a disastrous comedy at times, with a few unexpected touching moments sprinkled throughout, A Thousand Words fails to come together like it should, and becomes a forgettable mess.” A.A. Dowd of Time Out said, “The high concept breeds lowbrow gags.”
This film performed poorly at the box office. Despite a budget of $40 million, the film only grossed a total of $22 million. However, the effort wasn’t a total waste. Rotten Tomato managed to find something to appreciate and the film earned the “Moldy Tomato” award for the worst-reviewed film of 2012.
The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
Die-hard Adam Sandler fans might find something about the film, The Ridiculous 6, that they like or appreciate. But if you are not a Sandler groupie and you don’t have his name tattooed on your arm (over your mom’s name), there’s not too much in this movie that you’ll enjoy. Presented like a Western spoof, The Ridiculous 6 used racial stereotypes to drive its humor that created cultural controversy with America’s native sons.
In April 2015 The New York Daily News reported four actors of the Navajo Nation walked offset due to the exploitation of their culture. Netflix responded to the controversy insisting that the movie was merely a joke. A joke intended to be a satire of the Western genre and the stereotypes they stimulated. Also suggesting the intention was for the film to live up to its namesake. In May 2015 the New York Daily News reported that a Navajo actor named Ricky Lee told the publication Sandler did approach him and several other actors to address the controversy. Lee continued to say he sympathized with the departed actors, but this was “the wrong battlefield.”
Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988)
A lack of action and an abundance of flat landing jokes ruined Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, the fifth installment of the comedy franchise, for fans. Astonishingly, the film debuted at the number one spot during its opening week. The movie was certainly profitable. Netting a staggering $6,106,66 in the first week alone, PA5 clearly benefited from the cult following of the classic first two films. At the close of the domestic box office sales skyrocketed to a total of $19,510,371 with $54,499,000 worldwide.
On the other hand, as much as people loved the whole series, they had grown bored of the recycled storyline. Caryn James of The New York Times sensed the public’s feelings when she wrote that “the formula is pretty long in the tooth by now, and all the extra turns of plot can’t disguise that.” Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune wasn’t moved either considering he reported, “I didn’t laugh once during the entire film—not at the slapstick, not at the humor, which is pitched at the preschool level.
Leprechaun 2 (1994)
Some might argue that if you’ve seen the first Leprechaun film, there’s no need to watch the sequel, Leprechaun 2, because you’d be watching the same movie with new victims. By the same token, when Fangoria questioned leading actor Warwick Davis about his motivation for agreeing to do a sequel he stated, “Money’s the answer.”
The Leprechaun series started strong but seemed to lose favor with audiences across America with each passing sequel. The second edition debuted in 252 theaters in April 1994 and generated $672,775 in its first domestic week. Final box office numbers revealed a subpar effort, grossing just $2.3 million. Critics also delivered some scathing reviews.“The sequel fails to make the leprechaun a valid monster in his second outing, and fares no better in the later films,” said Felix Vasquez Jr., of Cinema Crazed. Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times was a little more forgiving considering he reported that it has better writing, production values, acting, and humor than the original.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
If you were into collecting cards back in the day, chances are you might remember the popular trading cards that were made by The Topps Company. The cards may even be worth good money now. The cards were intended to poke fun at the more popular Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Each card showcased a different Garbage Pail Kid who could be found putting disgusting habits, deformities, and their condemned fate on full display.
However unlike the cards, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie movie was an absolute failure. Caryn James of The New York Times regarded the film as “too repulsive for children or adults of any age.” Following a nationwide parent protest, the film was removed from theaters after only two weeks in circulation. This may have contributed to the low ticket sales. Final domestic box office numbers indicate the film only grossed $1.6 million. Considering the film was produced on a million-dollar budget, that’s about $600,000 in profit.
A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994)
Rotten Tomatoes got this one wrong. Keenen Ivory Wayans (backed up by a young Jada Pinkett) created a hood classic and we won’t let no one take that from us. Everyone knows that the multi-hyphenate director has a knack for sensing the pulse of an audience and delivering a timely laugh. But the critics in the mainstream thought that this was a bust.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times stated, “Mr. Wayans is an agreeable screen presence, but he makes a surprisingly bland action hero.” The film performed moderately as the final domestic box office indicates the film grossed about $29 million.
Alison Macor of the Austin Chronicle said, “I’m not sure what type of movie this is supposed to be or who its audience is, but it’s a low down dirty shame that Wayans’ talent is wasted on this film.”
However, just ask Lamar and Tameka what they thought about the film. They will tell you that Keenan gave us an updated Shaft that resembled the 1994 cultural nuances that spoke to our people. Others might not have got it … but break out the VHS and watch everyone come with popcorn and knowing the lines.
John Henry (2020)
John Henry is certainly not one of Terry Crews’ best films. Released in 2020 this film went relatively unnoticed in a year where the majority of people were at home watching movies. Crews is a versatile talent but he didn’t seem to be a good fit for this role. “A thug-life thriller so frequently preposterous that it almost resembles a parody,” said Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times. She referred to the film as “a big slice of ham,” The movie itself uses elements of the John Henry folklore story such as the use of the sledgehammer. Aside from that, the only other similarity is the namesake.
Finding its way to Netflix in May 2020, it did gain some traction when it became the second most popular movie on the streaming service. Still, expectations for this film remained low. Michael Rechtshaffen of the Los Angeles Times delivered a savage perspective when he wrote “Not that there was any expectation of cinematic gold being spun here, but director and co-writer Will Forbes never achieves any satisfying sense of momentum.”
Simon Sez (1999)
Dennis Rodman made his acting debut in the 1999 movie, Simon Sez.
Rodman’s outlandish personality and antics were more of an main attraction for this movie than his acting ability. Sure the former Chicago Bull dominated on the basketball court, but that charisma used to dazzle audiences did translate on-screen. The AV Club’s Nathan Rabin had this to say regarding Rodman’s performance, “Dennis Rodman may be a great rebounder, but as a pop-culture icon, he’s a one-trick pony.”
Given how unique Dennis Rodman is in his real life, people appreciate him for shock value. Unfortunately for him, people were almost shocked by how bad this film turned out. Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times held back no punches as he had this to say about the film. “Movies and Rodman would seem to be made for each other, but the pictures will have to start getting better than this one.” It was reported this film received a budget of $10 million, Sadly, the only grossed $292,152 at the box office.
3 Strikes (2000)
Directed by DJ Pooh, 3 Strikes boasts a stacked cast roster that includes the likes of Mo’Nique, Faizon Love, E-40, and George Wallace, to name a few. Despite an even longer list of celebrity cameos, it all proved to be uneventful as fans generally regarded the film as one with little to no humor at all.
Critics didn’t hold back either. “Pooh’s 3 Strikes aims a good deal higher in concept than, say, your average booty movie – but the crude, witless jokes are exactly that level.” A.O. Scott of The New York Times called it “a second-string effort.” The film wasn’t a total loss considering the movie did open at number 12 at the North American box office. As a result, the film did generate $3,684,704 in the opening week.
Heart Condition (1990)
When we talk about Denzel Washington, Heart Condition is not the first movie that comes to mind. Afterall, the Academy award-winning actor is stately and it would seem that a ghostly comedy just would fit his serious nature. Which is probably why we hadn’t ever seen him take that type of role. The fans and critics agreed.
Hal Hinson of the Washington Post had this to say, “the film is caught somewhere between seriousness and cheesy exploitation.” Final domestic box office numbers indicated the movie only grossed $4 million.
Earlier this year Vulture ranked 47 of Denzel Washington movies and Heart Condition was ranked dead last. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times was also dismissive of the film. “The movie is all over the map, trying whatever seems to work at the moment.” A racist murder mystery does make for an interesting plot. However, the plot appeared poorly executed and carried an overall chaotic tone. Other minute details meant to enhance scenes, such as background music just weren’t a good fit.
The Poison Rose (2019)
The Poison Rose is an example of how because a movie features the most prominent stars doesn’t guarantee it will resonate with fans. This murder mystery film fails to get fans to become emotionally invested in the story.
“Even with solid supporting performances by Morgan Freeman, Robert Patrick, and Peter Stormare, this movie’s just … well, sad,” said Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times. The Guardian referred to it as a”ridiculous and mostly boring hard boiled thriller.” Love Horror’s Lucy Buglass practically voiced fans’ opinions when she wrote, “We’ve seen Travolta and Freeman in some masterpieces, but sadly this wasn’t one of them.”
Ultimately this film was a disappointment at the box office as final totals indicated just $323,754. Maybe people would’ve been more receptive to the film if the elements of suspense were amplified. In return, fans would feel a little more invested in the final outcome. In case you didn’t know, the film was based on Richard Salvatore’s novel with the same name.