If you want to be technical about it, the worst movie I have ever seen was probably a 3-D horror movie called Parasite (1982). I have very little recollection of the movie. In fact, I just went to the IMDB site to look it up … apparently it was Demi Moore's second movie. I don't remember Demi Moore in it. I don't remember much of anything about it except:
– It sucked.
– The acting sucked.
– The special effects sucked.
– The 3-D effects sucked.
– The sound effects sucked — mostly the sound of bacon sizzling.
– It was incredibly disgusting — but not in a good way (if disgusting can be good). More in a blurry, "I know I'm supposed to be grossed out but I'm not entirely sure why" sort of way. So that sucked* too.
*I am using the word sucked a lot because the other day my daughter came home from the school the other and announced that she heard on the bus that a certain team sucked. I gave her a short Daddy lecture how she should never use that word, not even when describing Neifi Perez. So it's kind of in my head now, which sucks.
So, if you grade movies on a point-by-point basis, Parasite would probably be the worst movie I've ever seen — or anyway, right there with Loose Shoes or The Postman or Hudson Hawk or any number of other horrendous movies that I fully expected to be horrendous.
But this is not how I rate movies, and I don't suspect this is how most people rate movies. Expectations play into it. When I was almost physically forced to see Parasite (it was part of a birthday party) I was fully aware that it was a 3-D movie about a parasite. I really wasn't expecting Sir Laurence Olivier to come out of the guy's stomach and perform King Lear.
Now — the movie "Toys" is a whole other thing. I don't know if Toys is the WORST movie I've ever seen, but it's in the conversation. Here was a movie written and directed by Barry Levinson — the guy behind Diner and The Natural and and Wag the Dog and even Rain Man, which I don't think was a great movie but certainly was enjoyable enough. It had Robin Williams — and this was when Robin Williams still was trying to be funny.* Toys had Jack Warden (one of my all-time favorite character actors)and Joan Cusack and Robin Wright Penn and Jamie Foxx. This had a big budget and a quirky purpose and …
*Before he and Robin DeNiro appeared in Awakenings together and had some sort of cosmic Freaky Friday personality exchange where Williams decided he was a serious actor and DeNiro decided he could make Rocky and Bullwinkle.
… and, anyway,"sucked' does not begin to describe how bad Toys was for me. I'm not saying that if you liked Toys, you are wrong. I'm saying that if you liked Toys, you can write all about that on your blog. Because the official stance on this blog is that Toys was so bad that anyone who suffered through it deserved a refund AND treble damages for pain and suffering. Toys was so bad that everyone in it should have been forced to serve a six month movie suspension. Toys was so bad that after it was made Congress should have legislated a new and better word for, you know, toys.
So, to me, Toys wasn't just a worse movie than Parasite, it was INFINITELY worse than Parasite. How do I come to that conclusion? Right: The movie plus-minus system.
And so that's the system. On a five-star scale, you go in with a certain expectation. And you come out with a certain reality.