Here's a game that's been floating around the lefty side of the internet lately, much like the photo montage of President Bush trapped in his own Chinese finger prison: What ten movies do you absolutely hate, and why?
10. Independence Day: This movie was such an abomination that I'm fairly certain it violated multiple parts of the Geneva Conventions' provisions against torture. It's like the producers had a bet going to see how many sci-fi cliches, how many factual errors, and how many horrible bits of acting they could cram into a single reel of film. When Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Randy Quaid are the stars of the film, you know it has issues.
9. The Other Sister: I'm cheating a little here, since this is the one movie on this list that I didn't actually see. But good Lord, the previews and ads were bad enough. This film was apparently hatched by a soulless, deep-tanned, pony-tailed Hollywood exec who was searching for something to fill a release spot and just said, "What the hell, let's make another movie about retarded people." On the bright side, this role did kill the career of Juliette Lewis.
8. Hudson Hawk: This movie really should've brought Bruce Willis's career to an end. Well, earlier than it did. Here's what passes for the plot: A wise-cracking cat burglar is kidnapped by a bizarre rich couple to steal some of Leonardo da Vinci's art from the Vatican and thereby set in motion a scheme for world domination, but he's thwarted by a sexy nun and some supposedly hilarious hijinks. The low point of the movie -- and that's saying a lot for a film that's well below sea level -- is the torture of Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello singing Bing Crosby's "Swingin' on a Star" as they pull off a heist. The film is billed as an action/adventure/comedy/musical and yet is somehow none of those things.
7. Batman & Robin: As a longtime fan of Batman, it was painful to watch the movie series deteriorate from the excellent original Tim Burton film to this flamboyantly gay farce put forth by Joel Schumacher. Everything about this flick was godawful, from the nipples-and-codpiece dayglo Batsuit to the casting of Arnold Schwarzeneggar as Mister Freeze. I hope Schumacher was deported for this.
6. Godzilla: I'm talking about the 1998 remake, not the original, which is kind of cool. This is the second Roland Emmerich film on the list, and in terms of its sheer laziness and lack of originality, it's somehow even worse than "Independence Day." The entire movie was lifted from other sources, from the rampage-through-New-York scene of "King Kong" to the monster-eggs-are-going-to-hatch scene of the "Alien" movies. Bad, bad, bad.
5. Forrest Gump: I hate this movie on so, so many levels. First of all, the simple-minded schmaltziness of lines like "Life is like a box of choklits" and "Stupid is as stupid does." What do those phrases even mean? Were the writers mentally handicapped as well? Second, and even worse, I hate this movie for the conservative fairy tale it became. Newt Gingrich praised this movie to high heaven when it came out, and it's easy to understand why. Forrest is a simple Southern boy who stays true to Momma, 'Bama football, and the Army throughout the 1960s and is all the better for not thinking too hard. Meanwhile, Jenny gets involved in the counterculture world of politics, feminism, and student rebellion and winds up consigned to a life in hell. Anyone involved in liberal movements is ridiculed, from the SDS leader who slaps the girl, the Black Power figures who leer on, to the antiwar activists who are simplistic morons. I'm surprised they didn't show Martin Luther King pistol-whipping a nun.
4. Patch Adams: Do I need to explain the reasons behind this choice to anyone? No? Good.
3. Napoleon Dynamite: Yeah, you read that correctly. I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated. Maybe the visceral reaction came from the fact that good friends -- well, formerly good friends -- claimed it was "the funniest movie" they'd ever seen. Ever! Sorry, but this was just a lame-ass, no-plot, no-humor take on the world of high school loserdom, a topic that's been covered many times before and in much funnier ways.
2. Pearl Harbor: It took a great deal of restraint for me to place only one film by Ben Asslick on this list. But once I decided to place just one of his films here, this was the obvious choice. Horrid history, horrid errors, horrid acting, horrid everything. By the time the bombs started falling on Hawaii, I was rooting for the Japanese.
1. Happiness: This movie was a heartbreaker for me because it had a terrific cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dylan Baker, Ben Gazzara, etc.) in such shitty, painful, disturbing roles. What was less enjoyable? Watching Hoffman masturbate and then stick pictures to the wall, watching Baker rape his son's prepubescent friend, or listening to the hip Upper West Side audience titter amusingly at both scenes? I needed a shower after this one. Ugh.
Alright, that's my list. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, please feel free to add your own list of films you're thankful to never see again, or else take issue with the ones on my Hate List. Have at it.