While this summer has seen a few winners — winners like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow and 22 Jump Street — the hotter months of 2014 will likely be remembered for a noticeably bad run of flops: Tammy, Sex Tape, Maleficent, Planes: Fire and Rescue, A Million Ways to Die in the West and others. Truly it does seem like a bad summer for movies; Rotten Tomatoes, as always, remains the best barometer for audiences by which to measure a movie’s critical success. But what happens when critics across the board hate a movie? It’s certainly rare; even the 7%-ranked Grown Ups 2 had one critic call it “reasonably pleasant.” Today we look at five fairly recent films which, despite the reviews being in, all ranked the most dismal rating of all — 0% — and find out what it takes for a feature film to bottom out entirely.
Pudsey the Dog: The Movie
What, you don’t know Pudsey the Dog? He’s only half of the Britain’s Got Talent-winning act “Ashley and Pudsey.” The duo won the popular Brit competition after the rousing finals which, according to online accounts, is described as “Pudsey walking across the judging panel and then climbing onto Ashley’s back.” That’s plenty enough to give him a Babe-esque film where he talks and does tricks, yes? Unfortunately, fickle talent-show audiences were on to the next big thing by the time Pudsey the Dog: The Movie arrived in theaters, and the result had critics declaring the film a dog. It probably also didn’t help that one of the big moments of the film’s trailer involves a pig thinking he laid an egg when he actually just pooped.
Sample Review: “This is a British film so depressingly bad that cinemas should play the adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth over a loudspeaker as audiences file out grimly into the foyer afterwards, silently asking themselves if life has any value.”
In the same vein as Movie 43 (which, if you haven’t seen that, means your life is fuller and more satisfying than mine), InAPPropriate Comedy is another in a series of short-vignette-films made by a producer who had a lot of favors to call in and not one of them was to a decent comedy writer. Look no further for proof that InAPPropriate Comedy is terrible than the trailer itself, which features Lindsay Lohan whipping out guns on the paparazzi, Oscar-winner Adrien Brody as a gay policeman named “Flirty Harry,” slavery jokes, Asian jokes and Jewish jokes. Also Rob Schneider, which might be the most offensive thing of all.
Sample Review: “There’s no way anyone could have guessed just how offensive, brutally awful, grossly unfunny, and absolutely poisonous this garbage could have turned out to be.”
Poor Halle Berry. So pretty, so terrible at choosing things to do. “Dark Tide” features Berry as Kate Mathieson in a maritime thriller billed by the studio as a “refreshing breeze into shark movies.” Kate, known as a “shark whisperer” for her technique with the dangerous fish, is approached by a shady millionaire who wishes to swim with great whites outside of a safety cage. So, as I’m sure you can surmise, this movie makes tons of sense on every level. Watch closely at the trailer for peeks of Berry in peril, stunt doubles scuba diving and — by my count — no less than three very well known pieces of shark stock footage you’ve seen over and over again on Discover Channel’s Shark Week.
Sample Review: “It is often impossible to figure out what’s going on.”
Fred: The Movie
If you can watch the above trailer for Fred: The Movie without committing ritual suicide you’re already taking a step in the right direction. The film, produced by Nickelodeon and based on a “YouTube sensation” (because so many of those deserve two-hour feature films), revolves around the character of Fred Figglehorn, who is devastated when a girl he wants to sing a duet with in music class moves away — so he goes on an expedition to find her new house and sing a duet with her there. I defy you to tell me this isn’t the most intriguing premise in cinema history. Also, John Cena shows up to bodyslam him, I guess. Sure. Okay.
Sample Review: “It’s like a bad dream that you keep hoping will stop.”
A Thousand Words
Ugh. I knew if I kept looking at this list I’d find something I’d seen, and here it is. If you’re like me, you keep wanting to give Eddie Murphy another chance. And also, if you’re like me, he keeps hurting you. It’s like an abusive relationship. A Thousand Words is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, so it doesn’t surprise me to find it at 0% here; Murphy plays a literary agent who offends a new-age guru only to find a magical tree sprouting in his backyard which drops leaves every time he speaks. You know, that old storyline. It might have been interesting; instead it’s just another reason to feel sorry for Eddie Murphy.
Sample Review: “Makes The Adventures of Pluto Nash look like Beverly Hills Cop.”