So Bad They’re Good: The Best Worst Movies

So Bad They’re Good: The Best Worst Movies

We’ve all seen them and indulged in some really guilty pleasure movies, but the ones that truly matter are the ones that are so bad they’re fantastic. The release of the recent biographical comedy The Disaster Artist  revived audiences’ interests in some of their favorite worst movies, so let’s take a look back at some of the movies that are so bad you can’t help but go back for laughs.

The Room

  • Release: 2003
  • Director: Tommy Wiseau
  • Stars: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle, Phillip Haldiman
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 26% from Critics, 46% from Audiences

It’s arguably the best worst movie ever made, being one of the longest-running theatrical films with constant midnight screenings being held primarily in Los Angeles, along with other cities nationwide, in which audiences interact with the film in the same vein as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whether viewed as an intentional black comedy or a romantic drama, writer/director/producer/star Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic The Room‘s atrocious dialogue, bizarre plotting, bad CGI and terrible performances have made it one of the best films to rewatch strictly for laughs. The making of the film was detailed by star Greg Sestero in the non-fiction book The Disaster Artist, which was recently adapted into a film with James Franco directing and starring as the mysterious creator of the film. James’ brother Dave Franco portrays Sestero in the film.

Disaster Movie

  • Release: 2008
  • Directors: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
  • Stars: Matt Lanter, Vanessa Minnillo, Gary “G Thang” Johnson, Kim Kardashian
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 1% from Critics, 19% from Audiences

The Movie franchise has always been held to the lowest standards, as its vulgar humor, bland parodies and trashy scripts have offended nearly every critic with each film seemingly earning fewer positive reviews and growing worse in quality. But the one film that was so bad it actually had laughably awful moments was the lowest-reviewed in the series, Disaster Movie. Set around a group of friends trying to save the Earth from multiple disasters, the film featured almost 50 various parodies, ranging from Hannah Montana to Indiana Jones to Enchanted, all of them poorly written and poorly performed in such an outrageous manner one can’t help but let out some laughs along the way.


  • Release: 1997
  • Director: Luis Llosa
  • Stars: Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 38% from Critics, 24% from Audiences

Two musical artists, an animatronic snake and six Golden Raspberry nominations. Need I say more? Centered around a documentary crew taken hostage by a snake hunter, Anaconda was such an over-the-top entry into the creature feature adventure horror genre that as it went on and the film reached new heights, it became worse and yet more fun, with the ridiculous performances from Jon Voight (National Treasure, Ray Donovan), Ice Cube (21 Jump Street, Friday) and Jennifer Lopez (Monster-in-Law, The Back-Up Plan) making it a terribly entertaining outing.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

  • Release: 2010
  • Director: James Nguyen
  • Stars: Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore, Janae Caster, Colton Osbourne
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 19% from Critics, 25% from Audiences

Many movies that appear on lists of films so bad they’re great are often straight rip-offs of other, better films. Not only was Birdemic one of the biggest on this list, but it was also one of the best on this list, thanks in most part to its atrocious special effects, as well as its poor writing and even worse sound design. Incorporating a romance story into a horror story a la Shaun of the Dead, the film follows a young couple traveling to northern California for a vacation that comes under attack by endless swarms of malicious birds attacking and killing people. The element that drives audiences to revisit this film time and again is the terrible special effects of the birds, nearly all of which are poorly animated vultures or JPEG images of birds randomly rotating 360 degrees, and this love/hate relationship with the film drove the filmmaker to return to the series with a sequel in 2013.

Idle Hands

  • Release: 1999
  • Director: Rodman Flender
  • Stars: Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba, Seth Green, Elden Henson
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 16% from Critics, 58% from Audiences

Two undead stoners, a hand possessed by demons and a soundtrack comprised mostly of The Offspring and David Garza, it must be the nineties. Named after the saying “idle hands do the devil’s work,” the film follows a stoner teenager whose hand becomes possessed by a demon on Halloween and goes on a killing spree, killing both his parents and his two best friends that come back to life as zombies. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the film aside from endless cliches and ripoffs from previous films, it still is certainly a film where the humor is so dumb-minded and over-abundant that it registers as a bit of guilty pleasure for both comedy fans and horror fans alike.

The Wicker Man

  • Release: 2006
  • Director: Neil LaBute
  • Stars: Nicolas Cage, Leelee Sobieski, Ellen Burstyn, Frances Conroy
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 15% from Critics, 17% from Audiences

We all know that remakes can never top or come close to the original, but there are some remakes that fall incredibly short of the mark, especially 2006’s The Wicker Man, starring notoriously over-the-top actor Nicolas Cage as a policeman who travels to a neo-pagan island in search of his ex-fiancee’s missing daughter. While the original received widespread praise from critics for its chilling premise and shocking ending, the remake became a cult hit for its terrible dialogue and poor performances resulting in countless moments of unintentional hilarity that still entertains audiences many years after its release.

You Got Served

  • Release: 2004
  • Director: Chris Stokes
  • Stars: Marques Houston, Omari Grandberry, Jarell Houston, De’Mario Thornton
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 16% from Critics, 69% from Audiences

This is one of the few movies that not only still retains its cult following nearly 15 years after its release, but also become one of the most referenced and parodied movies on the list, with the plot becoming inconsequential compared to the highlight of the film: the dance competitions. The film’s story, which no one truly remembers, is about two friends with dreams of opening their own hip-hop dance and recording studio and must overcome struggles of friendship and win a dance tournament to fulfill that dream. While its story is bland and predictable, and it dialogue is quite often atrocious, the cast of mostly hip-hop performers do good with their characters and the dance scenes are thrilling enough to watch to make this an enjoyable terrible film.

Battlefield Earth

  • Release: 2000
  • Director: Roger Christian
  • Stars: John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forrest Whitaker, Kim Coates
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 3% from Critics, 11% from Audiences

Back before it became popular to ridicule the Church of Scientology in the mainstream, actor John Travolta was living it up in the religious group, becoming one of its most prominent members, which was both a blessing and a curse for the actor, especially when it came time for him to try and bring his pet project, Battlefield Earth, to the big screen. Based on the first half of the 1982 novel written by the founder of the Church of Scientology, the film follows a human in an Earth ruled for 1,000 years by aliens who leads a rebellion to rescue his species from becoming mining slaves. This is one of the legitimate worst movies on this list for good reason, thanks to its ridiculous over-usage of the Dutch camera angle, in which most viewers practically stumbled over after watching it, unsure which way was up and forgetting how to walk, its terrible visual effects, including the infamous shooting the leg off the cow scene and awful performance from Travolta, with the film becoming a fan hated/favorite a while after its release.

The Master of Disguise

  • Release: 2002
  • Director: Perry Blake
  • Stars: Dana Carvey, Jennifer Esposito, Brent Spiner, Harold Gould
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 1% from Critics, 32% from Audiences

It’s a shame to see what has become of comedian Dana Carvey’s career. Once a star thanks to Saturday Night Live and the hit spin-off movie series Wayne’s World, his career status took a hit following the critically-hated but audience-adored The Master of Disguise, with many critics unfavorably comparing it to his former SNL co-star’s hit movie series, Austin Powers. In the film, Carvey plays Pistachio Disguisey (yes, you read that right), a bumbling waiter who discovers his family’s hidden secret of being able to transform into any persona they can imagine and must use this gift when his parents are kidnapped by an evil thief. Due to its routine story, family-oriented humor and insanely short running time, it was regarded by many critics as one of the worst films of the decade, but thanks to these bizarre range of character personas and outrageous performance from Carvey, it’s become a cult hit with audiences in the years since its release.

Troll 2

  • Release: 1990
  • Director: Drake Floyd
  • Stars: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie McFarland
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 6% from Critics, 43% from Audiences

“They’re eating her, and then they’re gonna eat me. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOODDD!”

Behind The Room, this is easily the best worst movie ever made. Not even accounting for the fact this film has zero connections to the first Troll film released in 1986, this film featured no actual trolls, atrocious writing and terrible performances from its cast. But all of these aspects added up to one of the campiest and most guiltily enjoyable films ever made. The film centers around a family traveling to a rural farming community for a vacation that is filled with vegetarian goblins who transform people into plants to eat.

Mortal Kombat

  • Release: 1995
  • Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
  • Stars: Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Robin Shou, Bridgette Wilson
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 34% from Critics, 58% from Audiences

It’s certainly one of the more quality efforts in the video game movie genre, but if you need some kind of hint at how bad this movie truly was, look at the photo above, just look at that terrible hair on the top of Christopher Lambert’s head. Following three fighters mentored by the Japanese thunder-god Raiden in a battle against the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung in a tournament to save the Earth, the film was criticized for cheap visual effects and terrible dialogue, but became a smash with fans that, though disappointed in the bloodless victories in comparison to the games’ grisly deaths, enjoyed the film for its campy feel that still captured the fun and thrill of the games on the big screen.

White Chicks

  • Release: 2004
  • Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
  • Stars: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Terry Crews, Jamie King
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 15% from Critics, 55% from Audiences

The Wayans family have been one of the most financially successful and audience-adored group of artists in the film industry, and though not every movie made was enjoyable schlock, the one that’s still so dumb that it remains one of their best is the 2004 comedy White Chicks. Following two African-American FBI agents who must go undercover as white women to thwart a socialite kidnapping ring, the film was full out insanely predictable, yet hilarious, gags that still can be seen throughout social media memes today, namely Terry Crews’ car karaoke of “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton, of which he recreated in the first season of Lip Sync Battle.

Batman & Robin

  • Release: 1997
  • Director: Joel Schumacher
  • Stars: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 10% from Critics, 16% from Audiences

Bat nipples, endless ice puns and the death of the ’90s Batman franchise. Need I say more?


  • Release: 1998
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, Maria Pitillo
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 16% from Critics, 28% from Audiences

If time has told us anything, it’s that Americans can very rarely bring over properties from foreign countries without severely screwing them up and causing disgust from the source’s fan base. Though the second Americanized Godzilla proved to be a smash hit in 2014, helping to spawn the Monsterverse being developed by Legendary Pictures, the first attempt was an absolute travesty of a film according to both critics and audiences alike, especially those that were fans of the original Toho’s original franchise that debuted in 1954. Toho themselves hated the film so much that, rather than eliminate the film from its canon, it renamed the creature seen in this film as “Zilla” and featured it in future incarnations of their franchise, including Godzilla: Final Wars, in which this film’s iteration was quickly defeated, a not too subtle message from Toho discrediting this version of the titular monster. However, for those unfamiliar with the franchise, or those looking for mindless action, this was the perfect bad film to watch, as its visual effects were solid for the time and the performances from Azaria and Broderick help deliver a fun and terrible adventure.

What do you think are the worst movies ever made? Let us know in the comments!

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Tuesday, Jan. 9 Filming Locations for NCIS: L.A., Gotham, The Good Fight, & more!

Here’s a look at various filming locations for January 9, 2018:  Filming in California TV Series: Scandal  Stars: Kerry Washington Location: Sunset Gower Studios, Los Angeles  TV Series: Criminal Minds  Stars: Matthew Gray Gubler Location: Quixote Studios, Eletronics Pl, L.A. TV Series: NCIS: LA Stars: LL Cool J Location: Fallbrook Ave and Roscoe Blvd, Canoga Park Filming in […]

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Thursday, Dec. 21 Filming Locations for New Girl, Power, The Good Fight, & more!

Here’s a look at various filming locations for December 21:  Filming in California TV Series: New Girl Stars: Zooey Deschanel Location: 837 Traction Ave, Los Angeles (5:00 AM – 5:00 PM) TV Series: Arrested Development Stars: Jason Bateman Location: Culver Studios, Culver City TV Series: Goliath  Stars: Billy Bob Thronton Location: 506 S Grand Ave, […]

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Monday, Dec. 18 Filming Locations for 911, Billions, The Good Cop and more!

Here’s a look at various filming locations for December 18:  Filming in California TV Series: 911 Stars: Peter Krause Location: Fox Studios, Los Angeles TV Series: Too Old To Die Young Stars: Billy Baldwin Location: Coldwater Canyon Ave and Sherman Way, North Hollywood TV Series: Goliath  Stars: Billy Bob Thronton Location: Raleigh Studio, Los Angeles […]

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Reader Question: Are screenplay contests any good or not?

With literally hundreds of script competitions, this is an important question.

Nicholas, I re-framed the question to get at what I suspect is the heart of your inquiry. I tend to have a pretty jaundiced view of most screenplay contests. In my view, there are really only a handful which carry much weight in the real world of Hollywood, the most notable being the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Sponsored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science, it is the most prestigious and important competition. Winners almost always get representation, even finalists and semifinalists receive attention. I have interviewed 25 Nicholl winning writers including all of the fellowship recipients from 2012 through 2016 and if you read my conversations with them, they all talk about how being selected changed their lives.

The next most influential one is the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition. My sense is this is not as noteworthy as the Nicholl, but it does seem to have grown in significance over the last five years or so.

There are a few others worth exploring, but strictly in terms of serving as a legitimate entry point into Hollywood — and that means obtaining representation and potential option or sale of the material — a vast majority of these contests are largely meaningless.

Think about the underlying logic why the dozens and dozens of these contests exist: To make money for the sponsoring entities. That’s a big reason why they charge the entry fees they do.

There are a few reasons why entering contests may make sense for some writers:

  • Having a deadline for a contest can serve as motivation to complete a script. Hey, whatever it takes to finish a writing project!
  • Some outfits provide written feedback and notes which can be helpful, however you have to do your research because anybody can claim to have experience as a Hollywood reader, and if what you pay for is in effect the impressions of an intern, probably not worth the expenditure.
  • Finally, for some writers, the experience of being a semifinalist in this contest or a top 10% of that contest can be a psychological boost, perhaps even a sign of getting better from script to script.

Bottom line, you are wise to check out any screenwriting contest before entering. It’s not hard to do with Google and various online writing forums.

I will say this: The ultimate contest is with Hollywood buyers. If you want a direct line to them via a reputable organization approved by both the WGA East and WGA West, check out the Black List service. I don’t know specific numbers, but the last time I spoke with Franklin Leonard about this subject, he told me several hundred writers had gotten representation, had scripts optioned or sold, even had movies made from scripts which were uploaded to their website. The script readers are all vetted and have experience working in Hollywood. And in my view, the fees are reasonable. The main thing: It provides direct transparent access to people who have the power to do something with your script.

Note: I do not make a dime from my association with the Black List, so my comments aren’t biased by any profit-making motivation. They are biased by my knowledge of who Franklin is, my personal interactions with the entire Black List team, and my embrace of the Black List vision: To create alternate avenues into Hollywood for writers outside the system.

I’m curious to read what other people have to say on the subject. Please head to comments and let me hear your thoughts. Give us all a chance to get a snapshot of the whole screenwriting contest universe.

UPDATE: I forwarded some comments to this post re the Black List website and script hosting service to Franklin Leonard. Here is his response:

The simple reality is that industry professionals are interested in reading screenplays that they will respond to. Writers who host scripts on the website can indicate that likelihood in a few ways. Loglines and tags are two, but far, far more important are the opinions of others who have previously read their script. In Black List website terms, that means paid evaluation scores and the ratings of other industry professionals.

Though we considered requiring everyone to purchase an evaluation when they uploaded a script (and receive one month of hosting for $ 75), we designed the website as we did in order to give writers maximum flexibility in using the platform. If you can get industry professionals to download and rate your script without purchasing evaluations, you can do so. If you wish to use purchased evaluations to encourage interest in your script, you can do that too.

The claim that you need an 8/10 or better on a paid evaluation in order to receive any notice for your script on the site is simply false. Off the top of my head, I can say, for example, that the average number of unique industry downloads for scripts whose highest ever paid evaluation is a 7 is 2.8.

Let me add my understanding of the script notes provided by Black List readers is they provide about 2 pages of comments with numeric values attached to key narrative categories (character, plot, etc) to give the writer a broad sense of whether the story is working or not and highlight largest areas of concern. If you want more extensive notes, there are professional readers I can recommend who will do that for you, but for more money than what the Black List service charges.

Comment Archive

For more articles in the Go Into The Story Reader Question series, go here.

Reader Question: Are screenplay contests any good or not? was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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It’s Good to Have Star Wars Back in a New Last Jedi Spot

It's Good to Have Star Wars Back in a New Last Jedi Spot

It’s good to have Star Wars back in a new Last Jedi spot

During NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm aired a new spot for Star Wars: The Last Jedi which you can now watch below!

RELATED: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Tracking for a $ 200 Million Opening

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. The film stars Mark Hamill, the late Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who, it was recently announced, will be developing a whole new Star Wars trilogy after Episode IX.

The sequel is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in regular and IMAX theaters on December 15, 2017.

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Thursday, Nov. 16 Filming Locations for Goliath, The Good Fight, the Suits spin-off, and more!

Here’s a look at various filming locations for November 16:  Filming in California TV Series: Goliath Stars: Billy Bob Thornton Location: 310 S Van Ness Ave, Los Angeles (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM) TV Series: Criminal Minds Stars: Matthew Grey Guler Location: Quixote Studio, Los Angeles TV Series: NCIS: LA Stars: LL Cool J Location: […]

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LFF Review: Brazilian Film ‘Good Manners’ is a Clever Horror Creation

Good Manners

This Brazilian horror drama film falls under the category of WTF?!, but it’s so so so good. Good Manners, or As Boas Maneiras in Portuguese, is a film from Brazil set in São Paulo that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. If I am to sum it up in one sentence it would be: a Brazilian, lesbian, musical, werewolf drama. It’s kind of a horror film, but not really, much more of a drama with some horrific elements. Good Manners is the most clever, refreshing reinvention of the werewolf film in years. It will make you freak out and laugh and cover your eyes and throw your hands up aghast in bewilderment. The less you know about it going in, the more enjoyable the experience will be when you finally watch it unfold. So be careful with what you read. ›››

Continue reading LFF Review: Brazilian Film ‘Good Manners’ is a Clever Horror Creation

Wednesday, September 6 Filming Locations for Chicago Fire, SVU, Good Behavior, & more!

Here’s a look at various filming locations for September 6:  Filming in California TV Series: The Mayor Stars: Lea Michele Location: CBS Radford Studio, Los Angeles TV Series: American Crime Story: Versace Stars: Penelope Cruz Location: near S Spring St and W 3rd St, Los Angeles Filming in Illinois TV Series: Chicago Fire Stars: Taylor Kinney Location: 2560 N Milwaukee, Chicago  TV Series: Chicago PD Stars: Jason Beghe Location: 4041 N Kostner, Chicago  Filming in New York‏ TV Series: Bull Stars: Michael Weatherly Location: Rosedale Ave and Merrill St, Hastings-on-Hudson‏ Credit: @Hastings10706 TV Series: Gotham Stars: Ben McKenzie Location: Steiner Studios, Brooklyn TV Series: Instinct Stars: Alan Cumming Location: Pouch Scout Camp in Staten Island TV Series: Law and Order: SVU Stars: Mariska Hargitay Location: Chambers and Broadway, NYC Credit:@tribecacitizen Movie: Detective Chinatown 2 Location: JFK Airport TV Series: Luke Cage Stars: Mike Colter Location: Broadway Stages, Brooklyn TV Series: Jessica Jones Stars: Krysten Ritter Location: Broadway Stages, Brooklyn TV Series: Maniac Stars: Emma Stone Location: Silvercup Studios in Long Island City TV Series: Elementary Stars: Jonny Lee Miller Location: Driggs and N 12th, Brooklyn Credit: @chickenstix104 TV Series: Sneaky Pete Stars: Giovanni Ribisi Location: Hartsdale Ave and Beverly Rd, White Plains TV..

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Monday, August 21 Filming Locations for Chicago PD, Good Behavior, Shades of Blue, & more!

Here’s a look at various filming locations for August 21:  Filming in California TV Series: Shameless Stars: William H. Macy Location: W Glenoaks Blvd and N Brand Blvd, Glendale Filming in Illinois TV Series: Chicago PD Stars: Jason Beghe Location: 4117 S. Michigan  TV Series: Chicago Med Stars: Torrey DeVitto Location: 700 S Paulina St, Chicago TV Series: The Chi Stars: Jason Mitchell Location: 1808 S Carpenter St, Chicago Filming in New York‏ TV Series: Instinct Stars: Alan Cumming Location: Claremont Ave and 119th St, NYC TV Series: Gotham Stars: Ben McKenzie Location: Steiner Studios, Brooklyn TV Series: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Stars: Rachel Brosnahan Location: Steiner Studios, Brooklyn TV Series: Law and Order: SVU Stars: Mariska Hargitay Location: Chelsea Piers, NYC Movie: Week Of Stars: Adam Sandler Location: near 3rd St and St. Rocco Place in Glen Cove TV Series: Maniac Stars: Emma Stone Location: 42nd St and Queens Blvd, Long Island City Movie: Isn’t It Romantic Stars: Liam Hemsworth Location: California St and W Beech St, Long Beach and 102nd St, Rockaway Beach Credit: @infideler TV Series: Crashing Stars: Pete Holmes Location: Steinway St and 30th Ave, Astoria Credit: @XMelDNY TV Series: Shades of Blue Stars: Jennifer Lopez Location: Broadway and 34th..

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