Rotten Tomatoes is many people's go-to website for film and television reviews. With its online popularity multiple rating systems, taking both public and critical reviews into consideration, some films have started to include their favourable Rotten Tomatoes rating in trailers and other advertisements. The website's iconic "Tomatometer" is the subject of today's list. Based on three broad categories, Rotten, Fresh, and Certified Fresh, the Tomatometer is a representation of critical reviews amassed by a movie and is a favourite review tool of many movie-goers.
While there are plenty of well-received movies featured on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s not what we’re concerned about today. For one reason or another, many films find themselves on the Rotten end of the Tomatometer. Perhaps the film was subject to a below-average storyline or a poor showing by the film’s cast. Regardless of the cause, every year more and more films find themselves in the lowest section, sometimes the very bottom, of the Rotten Tomatoes ratings. We’re not talking about “so bad they’re good” movies here, these are some of the worst of the worst.
And with that in mind, here are 18 of Rotten Tomatoes’ worst ranking films of the past 18 years.
18 2000: 3 Strikes
Written and directed by DJ Pooh, co-writer of Friday, 3 Strikes is a comedy that follows an ex-convict named Rob Douglas as he tries his best to avoid his third arrest. Through a series of misunderstandings, however, Rob is followed by authorities throughout most of the film.
Despite having a decent plot, 3 Strikes was highly criticized for its unfunny dialogue and acting. The movie relied primarily on call-backs to earlier, equally unfunny, moments and was seen by many as a waste of the talents of actors like Antonio Fargas and David Alan Grier. Scoring a 0% on the Tomatometer, a trait you’ll see throughout the rest of this list, 3 Strikes seems to have put an end to DJ Pooh’s Hollywood career.
17 2001: Corky Romano
Saturday Night Live’s Chris Kattan stars in this comedy as an offbeat veterinarian forced into doing work for the mafia in order to aid his long-lost father. If that plot sounds needlessly convoluted, that’s because it is. Intended as a parody of gangster dramas, Corky Romano faced the same criticism as a number of SNL films and was viewed by many as tired and unoriginal.
Corky Romano ended up being one of several missteps for Chris Kattan, who has also played roles in Monkeybone and Tanner Hall. With a 6% rating on the Tomatometer, Corky Romano’s biggest asset is that it has been largely forgotten by the general public.
16 2002: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
The success of 1999’s The Matrix saw a string of similar sci-fi action movies hit theatres in the years following. One of the worst of these movies was Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Starring Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever follows two former special agents as they try to be the first to find a state-of-the-art weapon that poses a serious danger to mankind.
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever lost over $20 million at the box office and currently holds a 0% on the Tomatometer. The film’s plot was the main point of criticism, with many finding the film to be an incoherent mess trying to hide behind the overuse of special effects.
15 2003: Gigli
Gigli was a romantic comedy starring Jenifer Lopez and Ben Affleck which features the likes of Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Lainie Kazan in supporting roles. With that much star power behind it, how did Gigli manage to bomb so hard?
Apparently banking on public interest in Lopez and Affleck's real-life relationship, Gigli offered little in the way of storyline, character development, or, funnily enough, on-screen chemistry between its stars. The film was so poorly recieved that director Martin Brest has seemingly stopped film work all together. Losing nearly $70 million at the box office and currently holding a 7% on the Tomatometer, it seems everyone is eager to forget Gigli.
14 2004: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
If this list were 1 entry longer, you’d find the entire Baby Geniuses franchise. As we’re only going back to 2000, however, you’ll have to settle for Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2. A sequel to the 1999 critical flop Baby Geniuses, Superbabies took nearly all of what was disliked by its predecessor and took it up a notch.
The movie follows a group of babies as they try to stop the attempts of Jon Voight’s Bill Biscane as he tries to use a satellite to control the minds of citizens. Again, it’s a group of babies. Like Baby Geniuses before it, Superbabies relied heavily on the idea that its unfunny dialogue would be better received by audiences if it came from a cast of babies. The movie’s 0% ranking seems to prove that the team behind Superbabies needed to try a different strategy.
13 2005: Alone in the Dark
It takes a special kind of movie to take the 2005 spot over Son of the Mask (6%) and Alone in the Dark is that special. Starring Christian Slater, Tara Reid, and Stephen Dorff, Alone in the Dark was meant to be a combination of horror and science fiction. Slater’s Edward Carnby is a detective who finds himself in the middle of a dangerous, supernatural case.
Directed by the consistently-panned Uwe Boll, Alone in the Dark caused a lot fewer shrieks and a lot more chuckles than it intended to. The nonsensical plotline left critics and audiences alike in utter confusion, with the movie’s lackluster acting doing very little to help push the story forward. Alone in the Dark has a 1% on the Tomatometer, making it Boll’s fifth movie ranked under 10%.
12 2006: American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile
The majority of spin-offs of the original American Pie series have been lackluster, to say the least. Not the least of which was American Pie Presents: The Named Mile, which follows Erik Stifler, one of Steve Stifler's, played by Seann Williams Scott in the original series, seemingly endless relatives. Erik goes through a series of predictable frat house rites of passage, building up to the titular naked mile fun run.
The Naked Mile's 0% rating on the Tomatometer is largely due to its writing. While the main American Pie films are certainly crude in nature, The Naked Mile seems to have taken the vulgarity up a notch while, at the same time, missing the mark on maintaining a funny, captivating storyline.
11 2007: Because I Said So
Because I Said So is a romantic comedy starring Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore as a mother and daughter whose ideas on dating and relationships are at odds with one another. Concerned by the recent breakup experienced by Moore’s character Milly, Keaton’s Daphne secretly posts a personal ad for her daughter. Shortly after finding a date for her daughter, Daphne discovers that Milly has already found a new love interest.
With its predictable, cliché-filled plot, Because I Said So has a 4% on the Tomatometer. Diane Keaton’s acting did little to help the film either, as she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award that year. Meant to convey the loving relationship between a mother and daughter, the only feeling the movie brought audiences was boredom.
10 2008: One Missed Call
Since the early 2000s, Hollywood remakes of Japanese horror films have been leaving North American audiences in shock and terror. Movies like The Ring and The Grudge were some of the first to prove that J-Horror remakes can be both critical and box office successes.
One remake that completely missed the mark, however, was One Missed Call. Based on the 2003 Japanese film of the same name, One Missed Call centres around a mysterious phone call that tells the recipient of their impending death.
Currently holding a 0% rating on the Tomatometer and being the recipient of the dubious Mouldy Tomato Award, One Missed Call was heavily criticized for its plot, often compared to that of The Ring, along with its poor acting.
9 2009: Transylmania
Transylmania is another in the long list of poorly-received National Lampoon films. A sequel to 2006’s Dorm Daze, Transylmania followed a group of college students on a semester abroad in Transylvania. Despite being the home of a university, the site of Transylmania is soon occupied by an ancient vampire set on taking back what he feels is his.
Attempting to capitalize on the trend of horror spoofs made popular by the Scary Movie franchise, Transylmania was highly criticized for being unfunny, even by raunchy teen comedy standards. The movie has a 0% on the Tomatometer and has the distinction of being the only film on this list to essentially be sued for how bad it is. In 2012, Transylmania’s directors, David and Scott Hillenbrand, were sued by the movie’s financial backers in an attempt to recoup their box office losses.
8 2010: Fred: The Movie
Based off of the once popular YouTube channel, Fred: The Movie was an attempt by Nickelodeon and the character's creator, Lucas Cruikshank, to capitalize on the high-pitched teen. The plot centres around Fred's search for his crush, Judy, in an attempt to profess his love to her after she moves away.
Fred: The Movie stars Cruikshank alongside John Cena and Nikelodeon regular Jennette McCurdy and earned its 0% by way of its unfunny dialogue and boring storyline. Maybe that's a little harsh, considering it's a kid's movie. However, Fred: The Movie reached the screens of many outside its target market. With Fred's presence on YouTube in the mid-2000s, it was hard for anyone to avoid that trademark shriek.
7 2011: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star follows Nick Swardson as the titular character in his attempts to find meaning in his life. After discovering his parents’ past in the adult film world, Bucky becomes determined to follow in their footsteps.
Co-written by Adam Sandler, you haven't seen the last of that name, by the way, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star seemed to bank on how out of place Swardson’s character seems in the adult film world for its laughs and not much else. The dialogue itself fell flat and the film’s premise was not enough to keep audiences interested. Despite the critical reception, Nick Swardson pointed to a lack of proper advertising as a contributing factor to Bucky Larson’s outcome. Whatever makes it easier for you, Nick.
6 2012: A Thousand Words
Eddie Murphy’s film career has had serious ups and downs. Despite garnering critical acclaim for his role in 1988’s Coming to America and 2006’s Dreamgirls, movies like 2002’s The Adventures of Pluto Nash and 2012’s A Thousand Words have taken a serious toll on the actor’s reputation. A Thousand Words saw Eddie Murphy placed under a spell that saw a leaf fall from a mystical tree for every word he spoke, causing his character, Jack McCall, to find non-verbal ways of reconciling his troubled marriage.
Although its premise was uncommon, A Thousand Words still came off as bland and predictable. Murphy’s acting was equally criticized, culminating in a Golden Raspberry nomination. A Thousand Words serves as further support for the argument that Eddie Murphy has lost his spark.
5 2013: Stranded
Well, Christian Slater’s back again and it’s for another sci-fi horror flick. After being hit by a meteor storm, Slater and company are left with no lines of communication from their moon base. After discovering alien life aboard the base, the cast of Stranded are forced to defend themselves from the illusive creatures until help from Earth arrives.
Stranded’s underwhelming special effects were seen as out of place and distracting to the plot, though that may be a good thing. Relying on all-too-common alien tropes, the movie seemingly had nothing to offer its audience. Stranded holds a 0% on the Tomatometer, with director Roger Christian’s 2000 sci-fi movie Battlefield Earth narrowly escaping the same fate.
4 2014's Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas
Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas leaves little to the imagination with its title. A Christian-based comedy, the movie stars, you guessed it, Kirk Cameron as he tries to keep the Christian faith prominent in the holiday season.
Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas was a modest box office success, though it was not nearly as well received by critics. Cameron is criticized for fabricating the roots of certain elements of Christmas, trees and Santa Claus, for example, in order to maintain his narrative.
Kirk Cameron had a unique response to the criticism directed at Saving Christmas; he blamed atheists, specifically those who rated the movie on Rotten Tomatoes. The 0% rating was seen by Cameron as a dishonest critique of his movie, but as an attempt to keep the general public from learning about and embracing the importance of Christianity during the holidays.
3 2015: The Ridiculous 6
The recent multi-picture deal between Netflix and Adam Sandler has left many scratching their heads. While nobody can deny that Sandler has had his fair share of successful films, his recent work has been almost universally panned. A recent example of this is The Ridiculous 6, a western comedy that also stars Terry Crews, Jorje Garcia, and Rob Schneider, among others. The cast of strangers learns that they all share the same father and the rest of the movie centres around their quest to find him.
Seemingly drawing inspiration from the offensive, but smart, humour of movies like Blazing Saddles, The Ridiculous 6 was accused of many as being needlessly. The negative stereotyping of Native Americans even led to walk-outs by many actors during the filming. Lazily written and poorly acted, The Ridiculous 6 is Adam Sandler's first 0% film, though it may not be his last.
2 2016: Cabin Fever
To understand why 2016's Cabin Fever was so poorly received, we first have to take a look at the 2002 basis for the remake. The 2002 film follows a group of teens as they spend a weekend together in a remote cabin. Things amp up when one of the friends gets sick and starts showing grotesque symptoms. The film brings draws viewers in as its cast is forced to decide how to handle those friends infected; is this still the same person that entered the cabin or is this simply the virus manifesting itself? Cabin Fever was relatively successful its first time around, which begs the question: why remake it only 14 years later?
Original director Eli Roth sat in as producer for 2016's version of Cabin Fever, which seemingly told the same story, only much worse. Failing to capture the emotional turmoil that went along with the original film and doing nothing to improve upon it, 2016's Cabin Fever sits at 0% on the Tomatometer.
1 2017: The Emoji Movie
Although 2017 is not at a close just yet, we're going to call it a little early. The Emoji Movie features, for some reason, the voice acting of T.J. Miller, Jennifer Coolidge, and Sir Patrick Stewart. The movie follows Miller's character, a "Meh" emoji named Gene, as he tries to come to terms with his own personality. The Emoji Movie was critically panned for lacking a cohesive plot and was viewed by many as a glorified App Store commercial.
Despite the criticism, The Emoji Movie's earning more than quadrupled its $20 million budget. Again, maybe the 9% on the Tomatometer is a little harsh for a movie aimed at children. But, the squandered talent of some of the adult public's favourite actors garnered the movie a lot of unwanted attention.
Are there any movies you're surprised to see here? Any you thought we missed? Let's talk about it in the comments.