For 46 years Roger Ebert was the perhaps the most respected name in film criticism. He revolutionized the profession with his candid takes on movies good or bad – great or awful. His reviews have stood the test of time, just like his hatred of Hocus Pocus and his sheer confusion watching The Usual Suspects. When Ebert didn’t like a movie, he was never afraid to make his opinion known. These are Roger Ebert’s least-liked films, and all the worst things he had to say about them!
Spice World Lacked Flavor
Pop group The Spice Girls made their cinematic debut in 1997 in Spice World. The movie was an over the top comedy that Roger Ebert felt missed the mark. He rated it one half star out of four and compared it to another pop group’s film legacy.
In his review, Ebert wrote, “a ripoff of A Hard Day’s Night which gave The Beatles to the movies … the huge difference, of course, is that the Beatles were talented—while, let’s face it, the Spice Girls could be duplicated by any five women under the age of 30 standing in line at Dunkin’ Donuts.”
Jason X Was A Waste Of Space
Jason X sent the iconic slasher villain from Friday the 13th into space in 2001. The nonsensical science fiction horror film was the tenth film in the franchise, which Roger Ebert felt was more than enough.
In his scathing review, Ebert quoted the movie itself, “‘This sucks on so many levels.’ Dialogue from Jason X; rare for a movie to so frankly describe itself. Jason X sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness and aptness of thought.”
The Usual Suspects Left Him Without A Care
The Usual Suspects was beloved by critics when it came out in 1995. Roger Ebert did not see eye-to-eye with his peers on the twisty classic though and rated it one and a half stars out of four.
Ebert’s biggest problem with the movie was how complicated it was – or wasn’t, “I wrote down: ‘To the degree that I do understand, I don’t care.’ It was, however, somewhat reassuring at the end of the movie to discover that I had, after all, understood everything I was intended to understand. It was just that there was less to understand than the movie at first suggests.”
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo Started A Feud
When Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo came out, critic Patrick Goldstein slammed the immature movie. Rob Schneider, the film’s star, fired back that Goldstein had no right because he had never won a Pulitzer.
That exchange inspired Roger Ebert to write, “Deuce Bigalow is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes … Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.”
Corky Romano Didn’t Bring Anything New To The Table
If Roger Ebert had his way, we wouldn’t even remember the movie Corky Romano. Seen as a vehicle to turn Chris Kattan into a star in 2001, the movie felt flat with both critics and audiences.
Most notably, Roger Ebert thought, “”Corky Romano is like a dead zone of comedy. The concept is exhausted, the ideas are tired, the physical gags are routine, the story is labored, the actors look like they can barely contain their doubts about the project.”
Charlie’s Angels Missed The Point
A reboot of a popular ’60s television show, Charlie’s Angels was a huge hit when it came out in 2000. Audiences loved the flick, and predictably, Roger Ebert did not. He gave the Cameron Diaz led film half a star.
When it ended, Ebert didn’t think he had just watched a movie, “Charlie’s Angels is like the trailer for a video game movie, lacking only the video game, and the movie.” Who knows what he thought about Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
Hocus Pocus Was A Loud Mess
Today the movie Hocus Pocus is considered a Halloween classic. When it came out in 1993, however, it was a different story. Ebert gave the movie one star, and followed his rating with one of his most loathing reviews:
“Of the film’s many problems, the greatest may be that all three witches are thoroughly unpleasant. They don’t have personalities; they have behavior patterns and decibel levels. A good movie inspires the audience to subconsciously ask, ‘Give me more!’ The witches in this one inspired my silent cry, ‘Get me out of here!’”
Tommy Boy Went Over His Head
Another classic that was despised by Roger Ebert, Tommy Boy helped launch the movie career of Chris Farley in 1995. And despite giving his all to the lead role, Farley didn’t earn the admiration of the critic, who gave the film one star:
“No one is funny in Tommy Boy. There are no memorable lines. None of the characters are interesting… Judging by the evidence on the screen, the movie got a green light before a usable screenplay had been prepared, with everybody reassuring themselves that since they were such funny people, inspiration would overcome them.”
The Village Needed To Hit Rewind
At the peak of his filmmaking career, M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed The Village. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, the movie was seen as the first sign that Shyamalan’s skills might be on the decline.
Ebert thought the film was pointless and let down by its ending, “when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don’t know the secret anymore. And then keep on rewinding, and rewinding, until we’re back at the beginning, and can get up from our seats and walk backward out of the theater and go down the up escalator and watch the money spring from the cash register into our pockets.”
The Love Guru Needed A New Perspective
In surprising turn of events, Roger Ebert found it in his heart in 2008 to give The Love Guru a one star rating. One of the worst rated films ever, Ebert must have found something to like, although you wouldn’t know it:
“Myers has some funny moments, but this film could have been written on toilet walls by callow adolescents… He acts as if he’s getting away with something, but in fact all he’s getting away with is selling tickets to a dreary experience.”
Clifford Was A New Kind Of Bad
In 1994, Martin Short starred in Clifford, a comedy about the worst 10-year-old in the world. Short played the character, leaving Roger Ebert shaking his head in disbelief. He knew the film was bad, but he had trouble describing just what kind of bad it was:
“It’s bad in a new way all its own. There is something extraterrestrial about it, as if it’s based on the sense of humor of an alien race with a completely different relationship to the physical universe. The movie is so odd, it’s most worth seeing just because we’ll never see anything like it again. I hope.”
North Proved How Strong Of A Word Hate Was
Roger Ebert gave a rare zero-star review to North in 1994. He thought the film was so bad that only one word could come to his mind, “I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it.”
The writer of the film later revealed that he got a chance to confront Ebert about the review in a bathroom and said, “I just have to tell you, Roger, that that sweater you’re wearing? I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that sweater.”
200 Cigarettes Wasn’t Enough
A retro-comedy about New Years Eve in 1981, 200 Cigarettes missed the mark when it was released. According to Roger Ebert, who gave it half a star, the movie just needed more, “Maybe another 200 cigarettes would have helped; coughing would be better than some of this dialogue.”
The film went on to make only $6 million, which was also its budget. Thanks to that poor showing, there will never be a 201 Cigarettes, which is best for everyone.
Death To Smoochy Had No Saving Graces
Although today it lives on as a dark comedy cult classic, Death to Smoochy was reviled by critics when it first came out. Directed by Danny DeVito and starring Edward Norton and Robin Williams, Roger Ebert saw nothing redeeming in the film.
In his half star review, he wrote, “In all the annals of the movies, few films have been this odd, inexplicable and unpleasant.” We suppose he wasn’t the target market for the film.
Saving Silverman Gave Neil Diamond A Bad Name
In 2001, Neil Diamond made his second appearance in a film – Saving Silverman. The movie, which is about a guy who has his girlfriend kidnapped by his two best friends was aimed at teenage boys.
Roger Ebert, as you well know, was not a teenage boy and wrote, “Saving Silverman is so bad in so many different ways that perhaps you should see it, as an example of the lowest slopes of the bell-shaped curve… one can only marvel that he [Neil Diamond] waited 20 years to appear in a second film, and found one even worse than his first one.”
Ace Ventura Was For The “Real Little Kids”
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective launched the movie career of Jim Carrey in 1994. The goofy comedy was a huge hit, and even spawned a sequel. Never afraid to disagree with the popular opinion, Roger Ebert thought the movie was for the “real little kids.”
He wrote, “The movie basically has one joke, which is Ace Ventura’s weird nerdy strangeness… I found the movie a long, unfunny slog through an impenetrable plot. Kids might like it. Real little kids.”
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot Could Only Manage Half A Star
At a certain point in any action star’s career they try and take on comedy. Arnold Schwarzenegger did it with Twins, and Sylvester Stallone tried in 1992 with Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. The unfunny film received a half star from Ebert:
“Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! is one of those movies so dimwitted, so utterly lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value, that you stare at the screen in stunned disbelief. It is moronic beyond comprehension, an exercise in desperation during which even Sylvester Stallone, a repository of self-confidence, seems to be disheartened.”
Godzilla Was Not The Reboot Ebert Wanted
Roland Emmerich was just coming off of Independence Day when he tried to reboot Godzilla in 1998. The movie starred Matthew Broderick and was and was one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year.
For Ebert, it was just a big, dumb bore, “One must carefully repress intelligent thought while watching such a film. The movie makes no sense at all except as a careless pastiche of its betters… You have to absorb such a film, not consider it. But my brain rebelled, and insisted on applying logic where it was not welcome.”
Battlefield Earth Fell Well Short Of Epic
When Battlefield Earth crash-landed in 2000, Roger Ebert was one of the critics leading the charge. Few movies have ever been released to universal negativity, but the John Travolta science fiction epic proved up to the challenge.
In his half star review, Ebert wrote, “Even the opening titles are cheesy. Sci-fi epics usually begin with a stab at impressive titles, but this one just displays green letters on the screen in a type font that came with my Macintosh. Then the movie’s subtitle unscrolls from left to right in the kind of ‘effect’ you see in home movies.”
The Bucket List Trivialized Sickness
How could a movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson be bad? In 2007 The Bucket List found a way, casting the actors as cancer patients fulfilling everything on their… bucket lists. In true Ebert fashion, he was able to look past the Hollywood shine and see the film for what it really was:
“The Bucket List is a movie about two old codgers who are nothing like people, both suffering from cancer that is nothing like cancer, and setting off on adventures that are nothing like possible. I urgently advise hospitals: Do not make the DVD available to your patients; there may be an outbreak of bedpans thrown at TV screens.”