back to article Traumatised Reg SPB team barely survives movie unwatchablathon

The vital question as to whether it is humanly possible to watch celluloid trainwrecks Gigli, Pearl Harbor and Battlefield Earth back-to-back was answered last weekend when a crack El Reg Special Projects Bureau squad endured 403 minutes of continuous cinematic outrage and emerged alive, if somewhat shaken. As part of its pre- …

  1. Peter Simpson 1

    John Travolta's Scientology Classic

    I thought that was the Oprah episode involving the couch?

    (oops...that was the *other* crazy Scientologist actor, wasn't it?)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What? No Tommy Wiseau?

    Ripped from your previous article:

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      The Room is as bad by itself as those movies are in total.

    2. PleebSmash

      The Room transcends filmmaking, turning it into an actual art form.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        I can actually agree with that. It raised "bad" to an art form.

  3. DropBear Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    As a partially responsible party, I'd like to congratulate the team for their unwavering resolve and bravery in the face of such an odious ordeal. Your sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

  4. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.

    Out of the 3, I've only seen Battlefield Earth.

    Pretty sure I've seen worse. I can't recall what they were or what the plot was about so obviously my brain blanked them out as a survival mechanism, I'm just left with the impression that I've seen worse.

    I thought the book was okay though, but then how much you enjoy a book all depends on how much your own imagination will compensate.

    1. g e

      Re: Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.

      Noah & Exodus God and Kings are a bloody challenge.

      Especially if you're expecting anything more than 'loosely based upon' the religious yarns of yore.

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.


        I made it through Battlefield Earth. it has a "so bad it's funny" quality that reminded me of Edward D Wood's finest efforts.

        I had to turn off Noah, really one of the least entertaining things I've ever seen and I rarely fail to finish a film.

        Indy 4 was bad just for fact it ruined one of the great film trilogies of our childhoods. You could add Lucas' last three to that as well.

        1. BoldMan

          Re: Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.

          Excuse me what "last three" are you referring to?

          Similarly, a 4th Indy film? Next you'll be trying to tell me that there are more than 2 Alien movies!

    2. Salts

      Re: Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.


      I read the book, trying to remember the name of the 'I think' the reporter, it was something like rough arsed bugger, or do I have the wrong book?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.

      And a good example of "far worse than Battlefield Earth" is Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam.

      It managed to take good footage and music from other movies, combine it with nonsense, and produce something that actually made my brain hurt. On the plus side, it IS quite funny. But I still had to visit a neurologist afterwards.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: Only able to make 1/3 of a comment.

        Having just seen "Prometheus"again, I'd definitely put it as worse than "Battlefield Earth". Nothing is good, from the impenetrable "plot", through the beyond-wooden acting, to the complete disregard for any intelligence the audience might have. Adding this into the watchfest would have resulted in serious brain damage to the team ...

  5. Alien8n Silver badge

    Plan 9 from Outer Space

    The original yardstick was actually so bad it became a cult classic and is actually watchable because it's so bad. You could not feed me enough beer in the world to persuade me to watch Battlefield Earth however. Have more beers*, you clearly didn't drink enough if you can still remember watching these films...

    * There are beer movies (Transformers, Iron Sky etc) and then there are full alcohol poisoning movies...

    1. Stumpy Pepys

      Re: Plan 9 from Outer Space

      Plan 9 from Outer Space might be bad, but it's definitely not boring.

      Battlefield Earth, on the other hand, just made my brain hurt.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Plan 9 from Outer Space

      I'd rather watch Plan 9 than, say, the miserable, worthless mess that is Transformers, any day.

      Transformers versus Battlefield Earth? Tough call. Transformers is probably a less awful film by most metrics; but I can imagine a world where a Transformers film isn't completely terrible, whereas one where a BE film is anything but dreck is pure fantasy, so Transformers loses points for opportunity squandered.

      All that said, there are plenty of films - ones with theatrical releases and everything - that are worse than Battlefield Earth, in terms of the sheer dreariness of watching them. Any number were featured on MST3K, for example, Just dull, poorly-made movies with lousy plots, scripts, acting, direction, and production. They just don't show up in this sort of exercise because they're too obscure and pointless.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You sure he didn't cheat…

    by pulling that beanie over his eyes so he didn't have to see it?

    (It's what I'd do… along with some earplugs.)

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Jay would say:

    “Affleck, you da bomb in Phantoms, yo!”

    And to be fair, the films he has directed, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo are pretty good. As an actor, he works well David Fincher's Gone Girl.

    1. Cliff

      Re: Jay would say:

      Yup - he's just good at not saying 'no', as he's clearly actually a reasonably talented director/performer

  8. Dabooka Silver badge

    Needs more Cloverfield

    I good start with those three, but blimey Cloverfield is shite.

    And of course any 4th installment of Indiana Jones would be awful too, but thankfully they've resisted the urge to make such a travesty of a movie so it remained a trilogy.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Needs more Cloverfield

      Eh? Take it your joking....there were 4 indy films.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Needs moar Cloverfield

        No, there were only three. If they ever made four, that would be nuking the fridge.

      2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Needs more Cloverfield

        And at what point to we tell him that they're considering making a 5th one...?

        One other question for debate - how bad would a film be which co-stars Ben Affleck and Shia LaBeouf?

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Needs more Cloverfield

          Are you implying the 5th Indiana Jones is going to have the title character played by Ford, Affleck and LaBeouf in various flashbacks/forwards/obliques? Well, Ok but only if they can get Travolta, Sandler and Taylor Lautner to play the bad guy parts in the various flashes.

          Oh, I see, you're talking of a completely different movie. Still, I think we've got the making of a trilogy here. To give the timeline cohesiveness with all the flashbacks, forwards and obliques we should start in the middle and work outward so if we wind up able to take it out to further sequels it won't matter if we go back, forward or oblique. Unconstrained by time, place and plot we can do anything we want; this thing is going to be absolutely brilliant!

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

            Re: Needs more Cloverfield

            Alright, one for Lester to consider and throw open to the commentards. How about we dream (if that's the right word) up the ultimate in fantasy "so bad they're terrible" movies? With categories like:

            Leading Man

            Leading Lady


            Supporting cast (human or otherwise)

            Plot points/cliches/twists that must be included

            Soundtrack (with extra points for cheesy but in-theme songs to include)

            With extra credit for taking source material (books, real life events etc) that were good, respected and/or well known and then screwing them up by relocating them elsewhere or somehow similarly feeding them through a mincer...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Needs more Cloverfield

              I still feel like weeping at what they did to the dark is rising a favourite childhood book. Think they called the film the seeker

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Needs more Cloverfield

      Ohh come on... I quite enjoyed cloverfield

      Seeing which whiney annoying character was going to be squashed/bitten/dumped/explode next.

      But I'm sure they got the camera guy good and drunk first because I've walked home for the pub steadier than that film.

      But of the 3 films I've seen gigi and pearl habour... but never ever been brave enough(or drunk enough) to watch battlefield earth

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        "Pearl Harbour"

        Actually that's the movie where the Brits win the war in the Pacific. It's our revenge for "U-571".

    3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

      Re: Needs more Cloverfield

      ...thankfully they've resisted the urge to make such a travesty of a movie...

      I felt the same about the recent Hobbit videogame movies. I really wanted not to watch it after the LotR's missing the Scouring of the Shire from its ending, but was forced into attending a marathon viewing which sadly did not involve alcohol. Why anyone would take a kid's story and turn it into a torture device for kids is... well.. brilliant, but I still wish I could forget the hours I wasted watching this trilogy.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Needs more Cloverfield

        The Hobbit movies I didn't enjoy. I got the impression that everybody involved in making them was bored of doing so. A shame, but LOTR was so well done, especially in making the landscapes so central.

        Cloverfield I enjoyed. I'd held off watching it for some time due to some prejudice on my part, but its found-footage conceit was well executed and it zips along at a good pace. I hadn't watched a found-footage film since Man Bites Dog, so maybe it was that I wasn't bored of the style.

  9. Amorous Cowherder

    That's nothing...

    I challenge anyone to watch, "Ground Control" starring Keifer Sutherland.

    Budget in the hundreds of dollars and, at the time, minor celeb attempts to save a piss poor boring script but instead stretches what should have been a 5 min student film into a 90min lurching, done-on-the-cheap disaster of a movie. The end result is that you want to scratch out your eyes and insert a fork into your earhole and scramble your brain to make it go away!

  10. Little Mouse

    Just cut out all the bad bits.....

    Perhaps those three movies could be cut and spliced to make one good one - as per the Matrix urban myth?

    I'm not volunteering to do it, mind....

  11. Graham Marsden


    That is all.

  12. John H Woods Silver badge

    I see your unwatchablathon ...

    ... and raise you a UK election night coverage

    1. tony2heads

      Re: I see your unwatchablathon ...

      I raise you a Eurovision Song Contest!!

      Yes, I know that it has been blanked from your memories to protect your sanity, but it is due back very soon.

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: I see your unwatchablathon ...

        But I actually enjoy watching the Eurovision Song Contest! In the same way that I enjoy watching the first Highlander....

        All the component parts are exruciating and it just shouldn't work, but somehow it just does, in a cheesy kind of way.

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Anything with Adam Sandler in it

    is on my do not watch list. I find him totally unfunny and 1000 on the cringe meter.

    However, I would have put 'On golden Pond' as my 3rd movie. I have tried 4 times to watch it. Every time it sends me to sleep.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Anything with Adam Sandler in it

      I actually quite enjoy The Wedding Singer. And I can watch Happy Gilmore, if I'm not really paying attention.

      Pretty much everything else he's done seems to be quite impressively terrible, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anything with Adam Sandler in it

      +1 Adam Sandler is talentless and unfunny and has done nothing worth watching. The main advantage of putting his name on a film is it makes them easy to avoid.

  14. Dan 55 Silver badge

    How about a Nicolas Cage marathon shitfest?

    Whoever out of the SPB who makes it out alive after watching his filmography back-to-back wins a Transformers four-film box set.

    Go on, you know you want to.

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: How about a Nicolas Cage marathon shitfest?

      "Whoever out of the SPB who makes it out alive after watching his filmography back-to-back wins a Transformers four-film box set."

      On the one hand, I'd say that's a cruel and unusual punishment - and for doing nothing wrong.

      On the other hand, I recently watched Pacific Rim. All of a sudden, the Transformers films didn't seem so bad.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: How about a Nicolas Cage marathon shitfest?

      Nick Cage is No 2 on my avoid list just behind Adam Sandler.

      Mr Cage (IMHO) can only play one part, himself and not that well.

      1. Don Dumb

        Re: How about a Nicolas Cage marathon shitfest?

        @Steve Davies3 - I wouldn't put Nick Cage on a complete ban. He's had to make bad films partly to pay the bills but there are a few good films with him giving good performances - if you haven't seen Adaptation, that is worth viewing and he is genuinely very good in it.

    3. skeptical i

      Re: How about a Nicolas Cage marathon shitfest?

      Would have to be in chronological order, some of his early stuff was not bad.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: How about a Nicolas Cage marathon shitfest?

        Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is good, but it might not be to everyone's taste.

  15. Lyndon Hills 1

    American priorities?

    Katarina, at 15, can't watch Gigli due to the sex, but she's been pictured numerous* times with a pipe in her mouth.

    As an addict myself, it's probably still less bad than watching Gigli, mind you.

    * as in, I can't bothered to go back and count but it's more then 3.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: American priorities?

      The pipe is the symbol of junior boffin status.

      Eventually she may progress to a lab coat with an increasing number of pens and stains to denote rank.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: American priorities?

        And the prize for getting to proper 'Boffin' status?

        May I suggest the plastic pocket protector (gotta put all those pens somewhere haven't you?)

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: American priorities?

          As Neil Armstrong said of himself: "I am and always will be a pocket-protector wearing engineer". He was prouder of being a boffin than being a bad-ass Navy test pilot and whatever else he did.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: American priorities?

      Which is still less bad than watching Gigli, pipe smoking or your illegal drug addiction?

  16. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Based on an El Reg comment post earlier this week...

    On Wednesday evening I did...

    Maximum Overdrive


    and then, just for luck, a classic from my childhood...

    The Monolith Monsters

    1. Franklin

      Re: Based on an El Reg comment post earlier this week...

      Maximum Overdrive! There's a stinker of a film and no mistake. I saw it in the theaters with some friends of mine, and we were absolutely rolling with laughter, until about midway through when we realized that (a) nobody else was laughing and (b) the actors all seemed deadly earnest. I recall looking at my friend Henry and saying "this movie isn't a parody, is it?" and he shook his head and said "no, I don't think it's supposed to be funny."

  17. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    I'm surprised SPB members would do that to themselves...

    What's the next SPB experiment? Dropping bad Ecstacy or crystal meth and seeing what that does to cognitive skills?

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: I'm surprised SPB members would do that to themselves...

      The Doors of Perception worked out OK.

  18. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Friday night movies

    Many years ago Channel 4 showed B movies at about the time you'd get back from the pub (they closed at 11 them days!).

    Kettle on, skin up and settle down for some really awful entertainment.

    I applaud the team for thier outstanding efforts without any chemical assistance.

    1. Mark York 3 Silver badge

      Re: Friday night movies

      I still have fond memories of laughing my head off with my father at the subtitles to "Wild Women Of Wongo" post pub obviously.

      "I was attacked but the women of Wongo, rose up to allow me to escape"

      "You have been shamed my son!"

      "Yes Father, but at least I'm alive"

      [Son walks off - Father looks bemused\lost\waiting for CUT! - Subtitle comes up with Fathers thought : You can't argue with that!].

  19. 0laf Silver badge

    Robocop 3

    Oh the humanity.

    And there wasn't a remake, it didn't happen.

    Or anything done by M Night Shymalamalamalon after 6th sense.

  20. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Battlefield Earth?

    So a bunch of primitives that haven't even seen the wheel take Harriers that have been mothballed for a few hundred years and shoot down aliens trained up on more advanced craft.

    Yup, as believable as Scientology.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Battlefield Earth?

      To be fair, in the novel that's buried under a mountain of far less plausible (or often even meaningful) nonsense, so it doesn't seem that bad by comparison.

      In a way, Battlefield Earth (the novel) is like a shlock version of Yann Martel's Life of Pi, where the author introduces a series of less and less plausible events to gradually emphasize the unreliability of the narrator.

      "Savages flying fighter planes? Oh, that's nothing. The Psyclos are actually giant viruses. Still here? Um... their planet's atmosphere explodes in the presence of uranium!"

      Problem Sleuth has a more logical plot progression, and more believable series of plot devices, than BE. And that includes electric windows and liquor-propelled godhood.

  21. Garry Perez

    "Surf Nazis Must Die" - Do not watch under any circumstances

    1. Cliff

      With a title like that though, you know it's going to be shit, so make your own choices.

      Another example of an excruciatingly bad film that will still happily take your £1.99 at the petrol station counter is 'Bikini Blood Bath'. You know it'll be dreadful (and it is indeed truly fucking awful) but it has a couple of clever moves for the post pub crowd. First few minutes, boobs (that's the last you see of boobs, too, they're there only as a come-on for the rest of the film), then bikinis, ketchup and no kind of plot worthy of watching. The scenes are apparently improvised by a bunch of vacuous non-actresses, but when the non-dialogue gets too dull for even the low bar you expect, the editor just drowns it all with crappy no-name rock. It really is quite a triumph of shitness, but cannot be included in a miserable viewing session like this as you KNOW it's going to be bollocks from the title alone.

  22. Irony Deficient

    four words

    The 1980 film Windows.

  23. x 7 Silver badge

    So is Katarina trying to model herself on Ada Lovelace? With that pipe she looks like the drawings in that cartoon series / book you reviewed recently.

  24. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    And so, after six hours and 43 minutes

    What? That the total cumulative running time of the the three films. That means you ripped them. Otherwise, the running time would have to include the half hour per DVD of trailers and "wouldyou steal a car" shite too.

  25. Captain DaFt

    You did it!

    You poor, naive misguided fools, you actually did it! May whatever deities you observe have mercy on your shattered minds!

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: You did it!

      No, they didn't. The application of beer _before_ the movies nullified the whole experiment.

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: You did it!

        You are cordially invited to repeat the experiment while sober and report back, and that'll be after extensive trauma counselling, trust me.

        1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          Re: You did it!

          Me watching those movies wouldn't answer the question "Can the unanesthetized human mind handle these 3 movies back to back?" as I apparently don't have a human mind. I quite enjoyed 'Battlefield Earth' for the incredibly stinky cheese infusing all the bits of it. 'Gigli", however, would most certainly make my head explode like the Martians' in 'Mars Attacks'.

  26. Number6

    To be fair, the book version of Battlefield Earth is far better than the film. A bit like 2001, it's far easier to understand the film if you've read the book beforehand.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Personally I found that having read the book before hand just made the film appear even more shite, and got it turned off and something better put on after about 10 minutes or so...

  27. Jos V

    post pub stuff

    Any movie with Meryl Streep after a good pub night. About 5 minutes in, you realize you actually do have some dignity for your brain left and shut it off. I don't care -how- many beers you necked.

  28. Steven Roper

    How the hell

    do you do an entire article and 2 pages with 64 comments about the world's worst movies, and not have a single mention of Uwe Boll's or M. Night Shyamalan's names anywhere?

    I suppose the only valid explanation for this omission is that their movies are so brain-burstingly bad, that the memory-erasure survival mechanism alluded to by multiple commenters here has completely deleted any such experience of these two producers' movies from everyone's minds.

  29. John Tserkezis

    The story I heard behind Battlefield Earth...

    ... from what I've read, the plot involves some Alien dude (played by John Travolta) who did the nasty with the General's daughter. Turns out, the General was rather dispeased when he found out, so assigned this guy to a mining planet, occupied by a bunch of slaves, who were also very displeased about having to mine a planet.

    Crossing over to real life, the story goes that John Travolta did the nasty with a producer's daughter, and when the producer found out, was rather displeased, so cast Travolta into the head role of a story under the guise that it was written by Hubbard, and he was so enchanged by this, Travolta accepted immediately without actually reading the script. Sadly, he didn't realise his career had ended till after the royalty cheques quickly dwindled to nothing.

    That's the truth, I aught to know, I read about it on the interwebs.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019