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At some point in the last six months, you've sat in a theater watching a terrible movie that took $200 million to make and said to yourself, "Why the hell did they ever think this would be good?"

The reason is that lots of bad movies looked like good movies in the early stages. It takes a whole bunch of people to make a movie, and often the finished product is only as good as its shittiest element. That messy process is how we wound up with ...

6
X-Men: The Last Stand

Via Chillnmasti.blogspot.com

X-Men: The Last Stand was the unforgivable follow-up to X2. We say "unforgivable" because the second X-Men movie was widely regarded as one of the greatest superhero flicks of all time, if just for one scene.


You know, the stabbing scene.

Yet, despite coming hard on the heels of that success and boasting a larger budget than most nations' militaries, The Last Stand somehow managed to spit in the face of just about everything the X-Men franchise had going for it. Everyone's favorite characters from the first two films were either killed off, depowered, reduced to cheap gags or, in Nightcrawler's case, completely left out.


"Audiences just can't root for a blue protagonist."

If you followed the debacle that was the third X-Men movie, you probably blame Twentieth Century Fox or the departure of director Bryan Singer. But the truth is that all the film's problems can be traced to one equally bad movie that steered both franchises into a kryptonite iceberg faster than a speeding bullet.

Via Superman.wikia.com
Nice work, dickface.

Singer left The Last Stand in July 2004 to direct Superman Returns, but also brought with him two of X2's screenwriters, his longtime editor/composer John Ottman and actor James "Cyclops" Marsden. Fox had no choice but to step in and make sure their dismembered picture beat Superman to the finish line over James Marsden's dead body.


Which it did.

The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:

This:

Via Goodcomics.comicbookresources.com

If you're not a comics geek, that is an issue from one of the greatest story lines ever: "The Dark Phoenix Saga." And, sure enough, this was precisely where Bryan Singer wanted the third movie to pick up from, as it was exactly where X2 left off.

According to X2 screenwriter Michael Dougherty, The Last Stand was supposed to come off as a goddamn monster movie: "The idea was that you open up with Alkali Lake but it's completely barren and dried up and there are these odd reports of strange phenomena going on around the world accompanied by bright lights in the sky." You know, such as ships getting torn in two ...

Via Comicbookmovie.com

... and San Francisco getting fucking destroyed:

Via Comicbookmovie.com

Via Comicbookmovie.com

Instead of being shoved into the corner like Jennifer Grey, the second coming of Jean Grey/Phoenix was supposed to be heralded as if "a very god-like force had entered their reality ... causing disruptions around the world." In nerd terms, instead of X-Men: The Last Stand, you would have gotten X-Men: The Best Movie Ever, with a three-way war for control of Phoenix between the X-Men, Magneto's Brotherhood and the same Hellfire Club that would eventually be recycled into X-Men: First Class.

And someone traded that film for Superman Returns.


At long last, Superman fans can watch his son play piano.

5
Alien: Resurrection

Via Dethorchid.com

Coming off the disastrous Alien 3, the development of Alien: Resurrection actually started off in the most promising way possible. The studio asked the up-and-coming screenwriter Joss Whedon to resurrect the franchise from the dreary and slow third film. Whedon's then-credits included Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Speed, and he would shortly thereafter get nominated for an Academy Award for Toy Story.

However, the decision to kill Ripley off in Alien 3 and the prospects for a short-lived Alien vs. Predator franchise severely tied Whedon's hands for the project, particularly when it came to all things Ripley. The studio suggested that they just clone her back in. Whedon did what they said, at which point it was suggested that he add some more clones.


Above: The difference between "horror" and "horrible."

Things kind of went downhill from there.

The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:

First of all, let's go back one movie in the series. Check out the original, hilariously misleading teaser trailer for Alien 3.

Yep, it promised that the aliens would be showing up on Earth. A few dozen drafts of the screenplay later, it wound up taking place on a remote asteroid prison with a lonely, dog-shaped alien.

So Whedon's original draft of the next film (which you can find on the Internet) included the climax that so many of us anticipated for the Alien series: an "epic final battle on Earth, for Earth."

Leading up to that was a huge soldiers vs. aliens battle on board a massive ship that is slowly crashing toward Earth. Then a new, much more terrifying alien is born and starts wreaking havoc ... and no, it's not the weird-ass human/alien hybrid thing that made it into the film.


Which promptly started tonguing Ripley.

Here's how Whedon described it in the screenplay:

"An alien, to be sure, but nothing we've seen so far, its forelegs arch out of its back like spiders legs, its back legs set on enormous haunches, thick and powerful. Its head is long, eyeless, like the others, but along its white expanse red veins, coming out of the skin and running like thick black hairs to the back. It has retracted pincers at the side of head that come out when its tongue does. It's much bigger than the others, nearly the size of the queen herself.

And it's bone white."


So pretty much not that.

Then we see it in action:

"It LEAPS up to the ceiling in a second, quick and effortless as a monstrous flea. [It] leaps again and lands on the screaming soldier ... pincers SWING out and pin either side of his head. His eyes go wide as:

Its tongue SHOOTS into his throat. We watch it drain the blood from his body. We can see it, see its stomach swell, red tinged, as his body goes blue and slack."


"OK, that all sounds good, but we're going to just give you this instead."

So then the ship crashes on Earth, and Ripley and Call (Winona Ryder's character) are forced to do battle with this horrific new alien before it can go on a rampage through Earth's population.

As you know if you've seen the movie, virtually all of this was cut, for budget reasons. As for what was left, as Whedon puts it:

"I don't remember writing, 'A withered, granny-lookin' Pumkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley.' Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts."


Not that Whedon has ever had an issue ratcheting up the creep factor.

Continue Reading Below

4
Wild Wild West

Via Impawards.com

One of the worst, most unnecessary movies of all time, Wild Wild West stars Will Smith and Kevin Kline as racist jokes in cowboy outfits. It managed to score five Razzie Awards for being the shittiest piece of shit ever filmed (more than Howard the Duck, Catwoman or The Love Guru could pull off) despite its $140 million price tag. Will Smith later publicly apologized to actor Robert Conrad from the original TV series for taking such a steaming dump on the source material.

Via Amazon
"Why does this box set smell like asshole?"

The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:

Originally, the movie was supposed to be directed by Richard Donner, who incidentally directed three episodes of the original TV series. A pre-meltdown Mel Gibson was slated to star, and their version of the film was written by Shane Black, whose credits at the time included the often brutally violent first two Lethal Weapon movies and The Last Boy Scout. In short, Wild Wild West was damn near a clever, witty, bloody action comedy set in the Old West. But at some point Donner and Gibson left the project to make a different movie with a different writer -- Maverick.


The world will never forgive them.

So Smith was left to make the gurgling hamster fart that became Wild Wild West, which he considers to be the biggest mistake of his career if for no other reason than the role he turned down to make it: Neo from The Matrix.

Via NY Daily News
He got in 12,932 little fights, and his mom got scared ...

OK, so that might very well have ruined The Matrix (we're pretty sure the script would have gone through several rewrites to Will Smithify the role of befuddled geek Thomas Anderson). So maybe getting a shitty Wild Wild West was worth getting The Matrix in exchange.


Thanks, Will!

3
Cool World

Via Movi.ca

The Brad Pitt/Kim Basinger animated/live action feature Cool World was an utter disaster, scoring a solid 3 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. That's worse than Batman & Robin, Showgirls and Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot, which incidentally came out that same year.

Via Amazon
Seriously, take that in for a couple of minutes.

It was supposed to be the world's first animated horror film (and it is pretty damn horrifying, just not in that way), but according to director Ralph Bakshi, the only horror was his experience working on the film with Paramount.

The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:

It was supposed to be a "hard-R, gritty, sexy, noir horror/thriller." The original storyboards for Ralph Bakshi's script look like a mix between Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Sin City.

Via Animationarchive.org

Via Animationarchive.org

Oh, and the female lead up there wasn't supposed to be Kim Basinger -- Bakshi wanted Drew Barrymore.

Getty
Which would have worked out great since she's already a cartoon.

Everything seemed to be moving forward for that version of the film until Bakshi found a "surprise" waiting for him while on location. As Bakshi puts it, "Frank Mancuso, Jr. [the film's producer] had the script rewritten in secret. I had a huge fight with the guy and punched Mancuso, Jr. in the mouth."

Getty
He punched his hairline into a comb-over.

Also not helping were some even-less-welcome screenwriting suggestions from Basinger, who, according to Bakshi, decided she wanted it to be a PG movie (it wound up PG-13). The result, in Bakshi's own words, "was a total disaster."

Via Animationarchive.org
Judging from the storyboards, we now want to fight the staff, too.

Continue Reading Below

2
Robin Hood

Via Filmdocket.com

When most of us saw the ads for the Russell Crowe Robin Hood movie last year, the only reaction was, "What's the point?" This is a character that has been brought to the screen almost 100 times, according to IMDB, and the ads made it look like the same old shit. A blandly heroic Robin Hood shoots arrows at the evil soldiers who oppress the people while he presumably robs from the rich and gives to the poor. The only saving grace of Ridley Scott's contribution was that its artistic liberties did not include crazy shit like Morgan Freeman inventing the telescope in 1194.


History!

So why did they even bother making it? Is this the best story to spend $200 million bringing to the screen?

Well, it got made because the original script was apparently freaking amazing. It turns out the production of Scott's Robin Hood is ultimately the story of two films: the movie you saw ...


Or more likely didn't see.

... and a wholly abandoned project called Nottingham.

The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:

Nottingham would've been the single most original Robin Hood movie in history. The original script (written by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris) so excited studios when it turned up in 2007 that it became the subject of a fierce bidding war (Universal wound up paying freaking $1.5 million for it). It was a totally different take on the story -- the Sheriff of Nottingham is the main character and protagonist. Shit gets real once the sheriff investigates a string of grisly murders in the area. The sheriff then pursues an assholish Robin Hood (Russell Crowe) for the crimes only to find out that Robin, while a dickhead, was actually being framed.


It was more than "Robin Hood has a bow."

The film was to climax with an epic siege of the city of Nottingham between Prince John and King Richard, all while the Sheriff tries to discover the identity of the real killer using 12th century detective techniques (Reiff is a history buff and researched how actual killings in that era were investigated).


Cue sunglasses and an inappropriate scream.

Then, director Ridley Scott came on board and said, "What is this shit? We're making a Robin Hood movie! Get all that standard Robin Hood stuff back in there. That's what everybody wants to see." The movie was renamed Robin Hood and lots more scenes with people shooting bows and arrows were added. A few rewrites later, very little of the original screenplay remained. Today, Nottingham is a cautionary tale for every young, aspiring screenwriter out there. It doesn't matter what you write: the director and the star will decide what makes it onto the screen.


Did they mention he had a bow? Because he totally did.

1
The Godfather: Part III

Via Geneticwriters.wordpress.com

It's the Rocky V of the Godfather trilogy, and for more reasons than just the poorly acted, painfully unwelcome supporting characters forced onto the audience at gunpoint.


She must have known someone in the film crew. But who?

All talk of Sofia Coppola's horrible acting aside, perhaps the biggest blow to The Godfather: Part III was the notable absence of Robert Duvall's consigliere Tom Hagen from the whole damn affair. The short story is that Robert Duvall's price to reprise his role was too high, but the more accurate story is that Sonny and Fredo's deaths had pretty much put Tom Hagen on equal footing with Michael for the male lead, a fact which the corresponding actors' proposed salaries didn't reflect. Duvall later said, "If they paid Pacino twice what they paid me, that's fine, but not three or four times, which is what they did."


Also, we're pretty sure Duvall looked this awesome when he said that.

Add it all up, and The Godfather: Part III was released to a chorus of boos, to the point that it's a massive understatement to say it's the worst of the Godfather films.

The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:

The Godfather: Part III was supposed to be such an ostentatious Greek tragedy that Coppola originally wanted to title the movie The Death of Michael Corleone.


Probably at the hands of Al Pacino.

The film would have chronicled the fall of one of the greatest cinematic characters of all time, centering on a civil war between Michael Corleone and the last moral fiber left in the family, good ol' Tom Hagen. How do we know this? Because this is precisely the spectacular ending that the first two films had been hinting toward all along. Coppola would later lament in his DVD commentary that Duvall's absence "was a profound loss ... to this movie," adding that the film seemed "incomplete" without the crucial inclusion of Tom Hagen.


Then again, perhaps Duvall simply saw Sofia Coppola approaching the film like an iceberg.

To learn more about horribly misunderstood masterpieces, Jacopo asks that you pick up a copy of his latest book Go @#$% Yourself!": An Ungentlemanly Disagreement by Filippo Argenti and check out its topic page.

For films where a lack of knowledge was a good thing, check out 11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy. Or find out where some of your favorite shows came from in 7 Classic Kid's TV Shows Clearly Conceived on (Bad) Acid.

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