Wednesday, July 02, 2003


Phase Two is over. The poll is closed, the ballot box has been well and truly stuffed and the 1,200 votes we received for the Worst Film Ever Made have been counted. After this long and arduous process, we are now in a position to whittle the initial list of over a hundred movies, reduced to fifty last week, down to a final ten.

I’m not going to pretend it was a close-run thing - a few determined punters made sure that their prefered turkeys remained on top of the pile while others fell by the wayside. I’m just pissed off that Pretty Woman only got ten votes, but there’ll be no sour grapes here. You bloody philistines.

The top ten, then:

1. Dune - 213 votes
2. Freddie Got Fingered - 208 votes
3. Apocalypse Now - 138 votes
4. Titanic - 112 votes
5. Spaceballs - 101 votes
6. Star Wars Episodes I and II - 51 votes
7. Moulin Rouge - 34 votes
8. Spice World - 31 votes
9. Striptease - 29 votes
10. A.I. - 21 votes

Bubblin’ Under: Nutty Professor II, Pearl Harbor, Xanadu, Batman and Robin, Highlander II, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Battlefield: Earth.

Phase Three: The vote has been re-opened with the figures reset to zero. Over the following days, you will read reviews and opinion pieces on each of the ten movies, some written by myself, some by guest writers, saying why you should vote for that particular film. At the end of this final voting phase, a winner will be declared with the producers of this epic winning the grand prize - a VHS copy of Flesh Gordon that’s proving rather difficult to get rid of.

This is where you lot come in. I’ve got a damning reviews of Dune, Apocalypse Now and Striptease from Balders, and I’ve wasted huge chunks of my life in front of several of these masterpieces. BUT! I’ve managed to avoid Freddie Got Fingered, Moulin Rouge, and A.I. I’d appreciate ANY reviews or opinions on these films, either in the Speak Your Brains window or by e-mail to scaryduck at fastmail dot fm.

It’s been a hellish voyage, but together we can get through this.


Review by Balders

You know there's really only one candidate for the worst film ever - one film, one word - Dune. It could - should - have been brilliant, but it ended up truly, truly awful. I mean, look at what it had going for it.

Based on the best-selling novel by Frank Herbert, it had his full support and endorsement. It had David Lynch as director, Freddie Francis as director of photograhy and many, many top names from the world of film making. The special effects team included Kit West (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Billion Dollar Brain, The Big Red One and later Dragonheart and Enemy at the Gates), Albert Whitlock (Catch-22, The Birds, The Blues Brothers); Barry Nolan (Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Flash Gordon); Carlo Rambaldi (ET, Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

And Toto apart, most of the soundtrack was down to Roger and Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, none of whom could be classed as rank amatuers.

Okay, so Dino de Laurentis was executive producer which wasn't a good sign, but it was his daughter - Rafaella - who actually produced the picture. And she'd done a pretty good job with Conan: The Barbarian.

And then to the cast. And one the whole, what a cast it was: Jose Ferrer, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, Richard Jordan, Jurgen Prochnow, Sian Philips, Patrick Stewart, Brad Dourif, Dean Stockwell, Max von Sydow, Sean Young to name the more notable members. And Sting - there's another ill omen. As far as I'm aware Sting is incapable of playing anyone other than himself, and every film he's ever starred in was shite.

Still, the good points should have outweighed the bad. And the fans - of which there were many - were behind it. Christ, we all had extremely dog-eared copies of the novel with "soon to be a major motion picture" on the front. Printed in 1974, with a ten year wait to get the juices flowing. It'd have to be really bad to upset the fans, piss of the general public and generally flop.

Thing was, it was worse than bad. Much worse. How much worse you wonder. Well, you know when you're really pissed and go for a shit. And you're so blindly drunk that you wipe your arse but forget the toilet paper? After fifteen pints and a very dodgy vindaloo from Mahatma's Curry Shed? Worse than that.

It pissed around with the story so much that the fans of the novel hated it. David Lynch spent so much money on wierd shit that the public hated it. And it was a big budget production, so the cult fans hated it too. Everyone hated it. Apart from Frank Herbert apparently.

So what did Frank see that the rest of us didn't? Not the movie, that's for sure. Money. Shit loads of money viewed through a drug-laden haze. Poor old Frank was - you see - in the early stages of a terminal illness. As a result, he was getting through a not insignificant quantity of opiates to handle the pain. Dino de Laurentis comes along and gives him wads of dosh. Well, if you're gonna die, die happy. After all, as Freewheelin Franklin used to say "Dope can get you through times of no money better than money can get you through times of no dope." And Frank had both. So a no-lose scenario for Frank. And one of the all-time crappiest films for the rest of us.

Eventually the "Director's Cut" came out, restoring cut scenes, unfinished footage and matte paintings to give us a 3 hour long travesty that was so bad that David Lynch disowned it. So Dune itself ended up as an Alan Smithee film, with Lynch credited as Judas Booth.

It could, and should, have been so much better. I saw it 4 times, but only paid once. I was invited along to subsequent viewings as a sort of interpreter, but would only accept if my hosts a) paid for my ticket, b) bought me a curry and c) gave me copious quantities of alcohol afterwards.

Dune. Stinking up a video shop somewhere near you. Don’t do it. Just vote.

The Alan Smithee Memorial Movie Poll
Absolutely, finally, positively the worst movie of all time

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