The Oscar Quest: Worst Films I Had to Endure
It comes with the territory. You watch a lot of films, you’re gonna love some, you’re gonna hate some. Yesterday was the films I liked. Here are the films I hated. Films from the Oscar Quest I disliked the most.
This might be the best way to gauge my film tastes, going by the films I liked best from the Quest and these films. Keep in mind — I am NOT telling you to avoid these films, and I am NOT saying they’re (all) bad films, I’m simply saying: of all the 850 or so films I saw that I hadn’t seen before, here are the ones I liked the least. (Also, we’re putting a moratorium on films of the past decade. I may have hated some of them, but I won’t allow myself to truly hate a film until a decade has past. Once that happens, it’s ‘swing away, Merrill.’)
So here are the 50 worst films I had to endure from this Oscar Quest (we’re gonna go in reverse chronological order):
1. One True Thing (1998)
- Mostly because Meryl should not have been nominated for an Oscar for it. It’s a bad film, and without Meryl, this would have been shown on Lifetime rather than in theaters.
2. Afterglow (1997)
- It was just boring. And there was no story to it. No character development — insufferable to sit through.
3. The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
- The cinematic equivalent of hubris. Holy shit. Watch Barbra Streisand show you how much she likes Barbra Streisand.
4. The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
- Boring as shit. Plus Nicole Kidman. It’s just horribly miscast, and about — 144 minutes too long.
5. Tom & Viv (1994)
- Just completely uninteresting. A Miramax film. I was able to spot all the classic Harvey Weinstein Oscar tells, and since the film isn’t as strong as his other Oscar films, it just comes off as bad and pandering.
6. Indochine (1992)
- Three hours about a subject I don’t care about, in another language. Hooray!
7. Enchanted April (1992)
- If you want to see the nadir of Hollywood’s fascination with British culture and cinema — look no further. It’s like watching paint dry — in costumes!
8. Damage (1992)
- Erotic thriller. I hate these. I never understood the appeal of stuff like Basic Instinct. This is treated like a noir/drama (like Laura or something) with sex. And to me, what made those films great is that they implied the sex. So watching Jeremy Irons going down on Juliette Binoche for half the film pretty much kills any interest I have. If I want sex, I’ll watch porn, for christ’s sake. And don’t tempt me with Leslie Caron. Shame on you.
9. Husbands and Wives (1992)
- Woody Allen. It was predisposed that I wasn’t gonna like this one. Plus it’s like a 90-minute rationalization for marrying the adopted daughter of his wife. At least, that’s how it felt to me.
10. The Prince of Tides (1991)
- What the fuck is this? I hate it because it’s not good, and got nominated for Best Picture, in a year where, if the spot this film had went to a better film, like Boyz N the Hood, Thelma and Louise or (even though I know it’d never have happened) Barton Fink, it would have had a real chance at being the strongest Best Picture field of all time (even over 1939). Plus the film has no purpose. It’s about nothing. What a terrible film that never needed to be made. Streisand again.
11. Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)
- Merchant-Ivory. Don’t think casting Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward fooled me. This is a terrible movie that is about nothing. Boring! Boring I say! Stop making these!
12. Enemies, a Love Story (1989)
- A combination of the things I don’t like in movies — unnecessary sex scenes, theatrical emotional conflict, and the Holocaust. Christ, I hate Holocaust films. So much. They never have anything new to say. So this film was just hell on earth for me to get through. There was no chance of me ever liking it. (I know it’s a Holocaust survivor film, but — they spend half of the movie fucking. Come on.)
13. Little Dorrit (1988)
- It’s based on a lesser Dickens work (when you’ve made the amount of classic he did, this counts as a lesser work), and it’s six hours long. It’s a mini-series, not a film. It shouldn’t be nominated for Oscars. Endure is the right word for this one.
14. The Whales of August (1987)
- This is the American version of Enchanted April, with old people instead of Brits. Even in her 80s, Bette Davis still makes movies I hate. Give the woman some credit — at least she was consistent.
15. A Room with a View (1986)
- Fuck you very much, Merchant-Ivory.
16. A Passage to India (1984)
- David Lean, how the mighty hath fallen. This one wasn’t awful, but I also didn’t much care for it. (Trust me, I went through everything I watched. This was in the bottom 50.)
17. The Bostonians (1984)
- You thought I wasn’t serious, didn’t you? I really fucking hate these movies.
18. Cross Creek (1983)
- This is a film about the author who wrote the book that would become The Yearling. Just watch The Yearling instead. Trust me.
19. The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981)
- It was just boring. A lot of people like this — I was bored out of my mind. I tried leaving it off, but it kept coming back. So it’s on. You might not have to endure this — I did.
20. Tess (1980)
- Looks gorgeous — boring as shit. That’s all it is, really. Too long, too boring. Not for me at all.
21. Manhattan (1979)
- Hate this film. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. Hate everything about it. Even the “Rhapsody in Blue.” Hate it.
22. Interiors (1978)
- Woody Allen doing Ingmar Bergman chamber drama. I hate the chamber dramas. What the fuck did you think was gonna happen here?
23. Autumn Sonata (1978)
- Bergman chamber drama. Not my thing.
24. A Special Day (1977)
- Also not my thing. I like Sophia Loren, I like Marcello Mastroianni. I didn’t like this film. Shit happens.
25. Hedda (1976)
- How a 1976 film could be nominated for an Oscar in 1975 baffles me. Either way — god, this was a chore. The film would be boring on its own — it looks like one of those BBC films. But then it stars Glenda Jackson. Seeing her back on my screen after those two undeserved Oscars — it would be like if the dude who killed Batman’s parents became Alfred. (I don’t know what that analogy was either, but fuck this movie.)
26. Voyage of the Damned (1976)
- World War II film. Long. Boring. Jews on a boat. Germans. Tension. Really boring. Not my thing. Give me The Poseidon Adventure any day. (Note: “The Poseidonreich Adventure.”)
27. Face to Face (1976)
- More Bergman. Not any more interesting.
28. Jacqueline Susann’s Once is Not Enough (1975)
- It’s just boring. And looks like it was shot with the crew of a porno. Just not my kind of film at all.
29. Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973)
- I wish this movie didn’t exist.
30. Cries and Whispers (1973)
- I just can’t do most of the Bergman stuff. The vaginal blood was a nice touch, though. Who’d have thought two Best Picture nominees from this year would feature vaginal blood?
31. The Emigrants (1972)
- Three hours, long, tedious. I didn’t despise it. I just had to endure it.
32. Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
- Hated it. No drama, no interest. Glenda Jackson. You know how you can tell which movies you will like based on all of its elements? This is the opposite of that.
33. The Go-Between (1970)
- Costume drama. Not an interesting one. Tedious.
34. Ryan’s Daughter (1970)
- When David Lean lost it, he really lost it. This film was interesting for like, twenty minutes. Then I realized it wasn’t gonna pick up. And that made the next three hours unbearable. Plus it won an Oscar it shouldn’t have. That makes it worse. Marginal respect, but didn’t enjoy it.
35. Faces (1968)
- It was either this or Gloria. I chose this because at least Gloria has the laughably bad performance by that Spanish kid. Plus this is more representative of Cassavetes’s style. I don’t like the style. It’s not my thing. I respect the performances, but they didn’t make the film any less tedious for me to watch. Maybe I should have went with Gloria. That Spanish kid is really bad.
36. Summer and Smoke (1961)
- Holy shit, I fucking hated this. Here’s another film that could be eradicated from the Earth and it wouldn’t be a bad thing. There’s nothing of interest here.
37. Torch Song (1953)
- I don’t know what the fuck this was supposed to be. Plus, this is the beginning of that era where Joan Crawford starting looking like Mommie Dearest Joan Crawford. It was boring, it sucked, and she scared me.
38. Come to the Stable (1949)
- Religious film. I hate these. I can’t get behind a film pushing forward the ideals of the church. This film sickened me.
39. My Foolish Heart (1949)
- Shitty melodrama. Totally by-the-numbers. Nothing of interest.
40. Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947)
- Another boring melodrama. Just nothing of interest here at all.
41. Saratoga Trunk (1945)
- Long, boring, featuring two actors I’m not the biggest fan of (Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. I like Cooper, but in the wrong film with the wrong co-star, it’s brutal), plus a really racist character — a cajun ‘mammy’ played by a white woman. I can’t get over when films do shit like this. You can’t be racist twice. It took me out of the film, and just made me angry.
42. Watch on the Rhine (1943)
- There’s nothing of interest here, it’s really boring, it’s a Bette Davis film, and it won Best Actor over Humphrey Bogart for Casablanca. I still have to endure this.
43. One Foot in Heaven (1941)
- Religious film. About a dude with really strong faith. Oh yeah, right up my alley.
44. The Little Foxes (1941)
- Bette Davis film. Don’t like these. She doesn’t get shanked by a Chinese woman here. Therefore, nothing of interest.
45. Four Daughters (1938)
- Did not like this one at all. Was really, really bored by it.
46. The General Died at Dawn (1936)
- Maybe it’s because it’s a Gary Cooper film — I just didn’t like this. It’s probably the China thing. I don’t like China films, especially when they have to do with the military.
47. The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)
- Just didn’t like it. That’s it, really. Made the list. Was one of the top 50 I didn’t like.
48. One Night of Love (1934)
- Generic story, opera singing — not for me at all. Still amazed it got the third Best Director nomination for this year. It Happened One Night, The Thin Man, and this. One of these things is not like the others…
49. Smilin’ Through (1932)
- Holy shit, here’s a 90-minute example of depression. It starts morose, and is a slow crawl toward death. I want to find the person that loves this film. (Not respect, but love.) They must be interesting.
50. Trader Horn (1931)
- It’s just really long. It feels 30 minutes too long, and I wasn’t really interested in any of it. When you read the synopsis, you think — “Okay, they’ll do this all by the first act or beginning of the second.” No. They don’t discover her until practically the end of the film. Like fucking Colonel Kurtz. Only the parts before it are not interesting.
Also check out: The Oscar Quest: Favorite Films I Discovered