#2. The Worst Bond Movie Could Have Been the Best
On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the James Bond movie most likely to be completely forgotten, and for good reason. It's the first Bond movie to be released after Sean Connery decided he wanted to be a cowboy, and it stars his first replacement: Australian model George Lazenby, who had never acted and allegedly received no coaching from director Peter Hunt.
"You're Bondy enough as-is. Now get out there and topple something."
On top of that, the movie tries to complicate Bond by giving him human fears and emotions, even having him fall in love with a girl only to abruptly watch her die. It's like Casino Royale, only instead of being released as a post-hiatus reboot, it was a sequel to a two-year-old movie where Bond was invading volcano layers with the help of trained ninjas, inexplicably starring some random dude audiences had never seen before.
The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:
"So, the movie sucked because they couldn't get Sean Connery. What were they supposed to do?" Well, here's the thing -- it's not like Connery signed a blood pact to never play Bond again; he returned to the role just two years later with Diamonds Are Forever. And in fact this one would have had Connery in it, had production problems not caused it to be pushed back (the script called for snow, but the planned shooting location had an unusually warm winter that year -- no, we're not kidding).
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
We always figured Bond's most devious enemy would be a little more imposing.
So you wound up with a distractingly bad lead in a film in which just about everything else is widely considered to be top-notch. Its action scenes are still praised to this day (particularly its climatic ski chase), and its score is considered the best in the series. Basically everything in the movie works, but you're so distracted by the incompetence of the lead that you don't notice. Remember, this was before the era when you just got used to a new Bond every few films -- you can imagine how much weirder it was for audiences back then.
After Pierce Brosnan, we're pretty much OK with anything.
And keep in mind that this is the first movie to show how Bond creator Ian Fleming had started being influenced by Sean Connery's portrayal -- specifically by revealing that the character is Scottish. The whole point was about Connery's Bond evolving as a character. Instead, we watched some other guy that everyone called Bond for some reason stumble through a bunch of spy stuff while not seeming all that into it.
Had the film been produced on schedule (after Thunderball), or had Connery simply not taken a bizarre one-film hiatus only to return two years later (the producers got him back via the creative tactic of "offering him a shitload of money"), there is a very real possibility that On Her Majesty's Secret Service would have been the best James Bond film ever. Of course, we'll never know, just as we'll also never know what it would have been like to see ...
#1. Return of the Jedi as Directed by Steven Spielberg
OK, look: we're not saying that Return of the Jedi is really a bad movie. We're just saying that it's the bronze medal of the original trilogy, and that Rotten Tomatoes totally agrees with us.
Of course, it also puts the score lower than Revenge of the Sith -- but let's not go there.
From the introduction of the "clearly designed to sell merchandise" Ewoks to the "Hey, let's just have them blow up a Death Star again" finale, this was the first time fans started to see the cracks that would blow up the franchise later (did we mention fan favorites Boba Fett and Yoda dying pointless, uneventful deaths? Or the terrible green screen in the rancor fight?).
"Jason and the Argonauts is two sound stages down, pal."
To be fair, even by Star Wars movie standards, putting this flick together was a goddamn nightmare. In an act that George Lucas would later describe as "extortion," the filmmaker was fined -- i.e., sued -- by the Directors Guild of America for $250,000 simply because Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back decided to forgo opening credits, instead opting for a mildly badass opening sequence you may have heard of. Sick of their shit, Lucas quit the Directors Guild, which forced him to find a non-union director to replace the filmmaker he really wanted for the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy. And who was that?
The Awesome Movie We Missed Out On:
We at Cracked present to you Revenge of the Jedi directed by Steven Fucking Spielberg. Yep, that's who we would have gotten had it not been for Lucas' dispute with the union. And we're talking 1982 Spielberg, a man in the middle of a run that included Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Try to wrap your mind around how awesome this would've been: Yoda's death was nearly staged by the same man who shot E.T. The rancor was almost handed to the same man who directed Jurassic Park. The Battle of Endor and the attack on the shield generator were nearly captured by the same dude who won an Oscar for Saving Private Ryan.
Actually, that may have been a little much.
Oh, and the sarlacc battle, and with it Boba Fett's painfully disappointing death? That was nearly storyboarded, choreographed, and lodged into Star Wars lore by the same Steven Spielberg who directed this fight in Raiders of the Lost Ark:
That could have been Boba Fett punching Han.
Also, we have no way of knowing this for sure, but we're just gonna guess that ol' Stevie would've vetoed the Ewoks, because that makes us feel good inside. Basically, instead of a pretty alright Star Wars movie, we could've closed the greatest adventure trilogy of all time with an epic from one of the greatest filmmakers of all time at his peak. And it was all due to one split-second decision and a $250,000 fine that George Lucas could probably have paid with the loose change from his sofa cushions.
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Related Reading: For some bad movies that could be awesome remakes, click here. It's time we gave Hancock's premise another shot but, y'know...not with Will Smith. If you want to know how Hollywood tricks us into watching their drek, read this article. Then click here and discover the spectacularly bad ideas Hollywood has convinced you are badass. Flamethrowers don't work that way.