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I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Roger Ebert

A collection of more than 200 of Ebert's most biting, hilarious and sometimes savage reviews -- by what one web critic calls "the bad movie's worst enemy."

Tags: Book
Author: Roger Ebert
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
1 review about I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie

Going from worst to bad

  • Dec 21, 2009
My recent thread of books about movies went from writing about the best movies (The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers) to the worst (The fifty worst films of all time: (and how they got that way)), and continues now with the merely bad. This collection of Roger Ebert's movie reviews pulls out his reviews of the lowest-rated movies of 1970-2000, with a heavy concentration on the period 1995 to 2000.

While some of the movies Ebert pans are truly bad enough to sound fun, many are just bad: not funny, not dramatic, not erotic, not unique, just reprehensible. Ebert often applies two standards to the movies:

1. "Is this movie better than a documentary of the same actors having lunch", which he attributes to his late partner Gene Siskel ("The skinny one" from the long-running Siskel and Ebert movie review TV series).

2. "Is this movie better than the same amount of time spent watching a dark movie screen?"

By and large, these movies fail on both counts, for a variety of reasons. What is distressing is how many well-known and often critically-celebrated names appear throughout: directors Ken Russell and Roman Polanski (although perhaps we shouldn't be shocked giving his long-running personal and legal problems that have become much publicized of late), Bruce Willis ("The Story of Us", "Armageddon"), and Robin Williams ("Patch Adams", "Dead Poets Society). Perhaps more distressing is the appearance of some movies I actually remember enjoying, such as "Jack Frost" and "The Wedding Singer." Unlike the worst movies, which are bad enough to be fun enough to be universally loved, some movies on the cusp of goodness can be rated watchable or awful based on personal taste, so some readers may reasonably disagree with Ebert's negative assessment of some of these movies.

One could do a detailed study of what makes a movie good, although it is safer to ask what makes a movie bad (or worst)--as Charlie Brown says in one of my favorite quotes about asking someone why they like or dislike you, it is safer to ask why someone dislikes you because it is an easier question to answer. As Ebert documents here, badness comes in many forms more easily definable than movie goodness.

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