Ever since movies got started, people have been divided over the concept of what makes a “good” film. For the most part, people tend to be on the same page. Citizen Kane is a good movie. Plan 9 From Outer Space is not. Forrest Gump good. Gigli . . . not. Over the course of the last several decades, some films of less-than-obvious quality have inspired a following among diehard movie fans, that have helped otherwise panned projects stick around and gain acclaim in the years since their release. Sometimes, a cult film can even stick around long enough that those initial doubts are replaced with reverent thoughts (or total indifference). But, just because a movie has been around — and has an audience — several years after its release, doesn’t mean it’s good. Sometimes it just means people have bad taste. Here are a few examples of cult films that still suck, even though they’re praised by a legion of fans.
1. ‘Pink Flamingos’ is Just Gross
In the years since Pink Flamingos released, John Waters has done a lot to make amends for this shock comedy. Not only have his movies improved, but he’s just a delightful human. Unfortunately, Pink Flamingos is garbage. What possible redeeming value could a film have when it compels its lead character — drag queen Divine — to eat real, actual dog sh*t on camera. And that’s one of the least offensive things that happens. Even Waters has said that the film itself is basically one attempt to offend after another.
2. ‘Blade Runner’ is Boring and Vapid
Okay, so Blade Runner is undeniably gorgeous. The set design and cinematography are exquisite. Unfortunately, with the exception of Rutger Hauer’s “Tears in the Rain” speech (which the actor, not the screenwriter, wrote), the dialogue is total crap. Also, the film does very little to remedy the superficial “philosophy” evoked in the first fifteen minutes. Read the book instead.
3. ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is Too Long
One or two of the songs in this under-plotted musical are pretty good (I guess it’s a matter of taste). Unfortunately, in the years since the film has come out, it’s shock value has dwindled to basically nothing, which robs the film of most of its watchability, once you realize the jokes aren’t funny. At that point, you also realize that Rocky Horror Picture Show is about twenty minutes too long, and even the good songs are kind of derivative.
4. ‘Clerks’ is Not Art, It’s Just Lame
The story behind Kevin Smith’s debut film is tons better than the film itself. Having a bunch of nerds stand around talking about nerd stuff in grainy, pseudo-artistic black and white, was basically just Sex, Lies, and Videotape for virgins. Sure, Smith has done a lot to erase the debt of Clerks (Dogma anyone?), but this debut film is definitely not one of his wins.
5. ‘Donnie Darko’ is Pretentious
Okay, my movie crush on Jake Gyllenhaal prohibits me from condemning his spacey performance here, but suffice to say, it’s not one of his best (but still super watchable). The rest of the movie is like a roller-coaster that starts at the top and rolls downhill for the whole ride. The end seems tacked on and under-developed. Here’s a tip movie fans: There’s a difference between thought-provoking and inscrutable. If you have to spend several years trying to figure out the ending of a story, then the author of that story didn’t do his or her job correctly.
6. ‘Starship Troopers’ is Overrated
How anyone can possibly say something nice about Paul Verhoeven’s music video of a space war film is beyond me. The movie not only savages a classic science fiction novel, the actors are awful (Denise Richards . . . I rest my case), the script is terrible, and the special effects are stupid. It is a no good, very bad film that somehow got rave reviews when it first opened, because Paul Verhoeven is one of those lucky directors who convinces people his janky movies are actually undercover art.
7. ‘Repo Man’ is Just Strange for Strangeness’ Sake
Though the Emilio Estevez film has garnered lots of praise since it opened, you’d be hard-pressed to find out why it’s so alluring. There’s some alien corpses in a trunk, people only eat food with black and white labels, and somewhere in the hodge-podge of random oddity, meaning is supposed to show itself . . . it doesn’t.
8. Basically Every Film David Lynch Has Ever Made
To say that David Lynch’s entire filmography is baseless hallucinatory weirdness wouldn’t be fair. Some of his work is actually as rewarding as it is intriguing. Of course, I speak of his TV work. When it comes to film though, the director is a straight-up Joycean. His films bound forward in nonsensical stream-of-consciousness that just gets weirder and weirder until suddenly you’re watching a skinless baby turn into the planet Earth, because . . . who the heck knows?
9. ‘Easy Rider’ Was Clearly Written While on Acid (and That’s Not a Good Thing)
Want to watch a 90-minute film in which Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda stand around looking cool? That’s Easy Rider, the inexplicably lauded movie that just meanders forward — with a fun ten-minute interlude in which Jack Nicholson shows up — until its two protagonists are killed off screen for basically no reason. It gets called rebellious and nihilistic, but really it’s just stupid and meaningless.
10. ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ Just Isn’t That Funny
The Knights who say Ni are dumb. The man-eating bunny isn’t funny. The black knight is a moron. Camelot is uninspired. In perhaps the entire span of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there’s one bit that actually elicits an honest chuckle forty years later – an inane conversation about how much weight a European swallow (as opposed to an African swallow) can carry. Beyond that one, random interaction the rest of the movie kind of idles forward until the credits mercifully roll. Try to convince an Anglophile that Monty Python’s crusade throughout the medieval world isn’t good though, and you might get cut.
More in Movies
10 Reasons Why Practical Effects Are Better Than CGI
When Steven Spielberg recreated towering brachiosaurs using only computer wizardry for his 1993 classic Jurassic Park, computer-generated imagery (or CGI) skyrocketed...July 13, 2018
12 Movies That Broke Impressive Worlds Records
Every year, more than 700 films are released in Hollywood. That number is steadily rising, which means that movies have to...April 23, 2018
The 30 Sexiest Films of All Time
Love, sex, and passion are in the air whenever you watch one of the movies on our list. The displays of...April 16, 2018
13 Surprising Facts About Marvel and Disney’s ‘Black Panther’
It only took a single Thursday evening in release to turn Disney’s newest superhero flick, Black Panther, into a bona fide...March 9, 2018
12 Movie Bloopers That Accidentally Became Movie History
Unlike a lot of other art forms, filmmaking is a genuinely collaborative effort. There’s no such thing as complete control on...February 2, 2018
These 12 Holiday Movies Are Definitely on Santa’s Naughty List
What would Christmas be without all of the great movies that focus on it? Many families include their favorite films in...December 8, 2017