Near Misses: The 6 Worst Movies Hollywood Almost Made

You know how NASA occasionally comes out and announces an asteroid nearly missed Earth? And you can't help but think about the disaster that was averted?

This is like that.

#6. Dolemite (2001), Starring LL Cool J

If you've seen the original Dolemite, then you know that it's a completely bug-fuck insane mix of classic blaxploitation, bad kung fu, pimping and some kind of bizarre poetry about monkeys, lions and the Titanic.

If you haven't seen the original Dolemite, feel free to go ahead and do that now. We'll wait.

What Went Wrong?

We could go on all day about the immense bitchslap involved in casting particularly-unlikable plank of wood LL Cool J as the Human Fucking Tornado, but that's not the worst that this project had going for it.

No, the worst was that some clever devil at Dimension Films (possibly screenwriter Buddy Johnson of Scary Movie and several episodes of the Wayans Brothers) decided that Dolemite would be a much better character if he wasn't a pimp, and if he was framed for a crime he didn't commit, and if he had three female sidekicks who most definitely were not hookers. Apparently if he really, really sucked.

What Went Right?

Delays. Fallout Entertainment has picked up the rights to Dolemite (though it seems no amount of money would be sufficient to buy them). LL Cool J is no longer attached to the project, and rumors have the infinitely more appropriate Snoop Dogg in the running for the lead.

What You Can Watch Instead:

The Dolemite Explosion.

Fuck. Yes.

Despite apparently being the greatest film ever made, The Dolemite Explosion has not yet been released, possibly due to some kind of elaborate evil scheme that can only be stopped with kung fu hookers and magic lightning bolts.

#5. Ghengis Khan (2002), Starring Steven Seagal

As historical badasses go, they don't get much more badass than Ghengis Khan. The Mongolian warlord's story is full of revenge, crazy adventures and enormously bloody battles. Hell, he was still commanding armies at the age of 72 (and this was in 1227, so that's like being 150 today, you know, after inflation) if you believe some of the records, anyway. We're talking about a badass for the ages.

What Went Wrong?

Did you know that Steven Seagal is white? Seriously, he's not even slightly Asian.

It sounds like the kind of casting choice you'd get from a stereotypical coked-out Robert-Evans-style lunatic of a Hollywood producer ("That lead role for the big Chinese period piece? I've got two words for you: Steven Seagal!"). No, this was Seagal's dream project.

He scouted locations in China himself and auditioned Chinese people to play his relatives. And, somehow, no one thought to let him in on that one little detail: That the whole project was a really fucking retarded idea.

This often happens

What Went Right?

The Mafia. Seagal's producing partner on this project, a guy named Julius Nasso, made the slightly-misguided career move of bringing in thugs from the Gambino crime family to try to intimidate Seagal into a new contract.

Since there are actually a couple of laws against that kind of thing, Nasso spent a few years in jail, and Ghengis Khan went right into the crapper.

What You Can Watch Instead:


This sprawling epic has the advantage of actual Asians in the cast. Like The Dolemite Explosion, Mongol hasn't gotten a full US release yet, so there's not much to say except that it looks pretty damn gory, and we can always get behind that.

#4. Diamond Dead (2004), Starring Asia Argento

It was a more innocent time, a time when the words "Romero" and "zombie" conjured up images of Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead and maybe Day of the Dead and here was Romero directing another zombie movie for the first time in almost 20 years.

What Went Wrong?

And it was going to be a movie about a zombie rock band.

The zombie rock band's zombie rock music would have been handled by Richard Hartley, who was responsible for the songs in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a movie so famously awful that large groups of dedicated followers get together regularly to mock it and throw things at the screen.

To be fair, though, Diamond Dead would be a comedy. However, it'd be a comedy written by a guy (Brian Cooper) who's best known for designing haunted attractions for amusement parks. We have been unable confirm whether or not his haunted rides were particularly funny.

Also, keep in mind that this wasn't the George Romero of 1968 or the George Romero of 1978, or even the George Romero of 1985. No, this was the George Romero of the 21st century, the George Romero whose last movie had been a straight-to-video snooze-fest called Bruiser and whose next movie would be Land of the Fucking Dead.

Yes, more than one person had this idea

What Went Right?

Land of the Fucking Dead. The much larger studio project pushed Diamond Dead off the radar, and even if you thought Land of the Dead was a shit sandwich (and plenty of people did), you'd probably have to admit that it wouldn't have been much of an improvement if the zombies had started a band.

On February 8, 2008, online rumors started circulating that Diamond Dead was back on track, but an interview with Romero six days later revealed that the only new development was a new draft of the script and that the project was still no closer to a green light than it had ever been.

In George's words, "There's so much shit that goes out on the internet."

What You Can Watch Instead:

Diary of the Dead:

This is Romero's Cloverfield-style (or Blair-Witch-style, or Cannibal-Holocaust-style, or whatever) zombie DVD, in which the dead come back to life and eat people, on video.

Hey, at least they're not singing.

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