50 Worst Films of the 90s: Part 1 (#50-#41)

Coming hot off the trail of my 100 Best Films of the 90s, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer you this tasty smorgasbord of stinky crap the 90s strained out of its butt. In a ten year time period, Hollywood made quite possibly more garbage during this decade than any other.

From terrible video game adaptations to Dennis Rodman as an actor, these ten years were overflowing with so much celluloid diarrhea, I had a real hotdog of a time picking my fifty worst. But I tried.

Over the course of this series, I will be releasing ten entries at a time over a five week period. Welcome to the 50th through the 41st worst films the 1990s had to offer….

50. Can’t Hardly Wait

1998 / USA / dir. Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfront / 101 minutes

cast: Ethan Embry, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Lauren Ambrose, Seth Green, Charlie Korsmo, Peter Facinelli, Jason Segel, Chris Owen, Clea Duvall, Jamie Presley, Sean Patrick Thomas, Freddy Rodriguez, Donald Faison, Selma Blair, Sara Rue, Jerry O’Connell, Jenna Elfman, Melissa Joan Hart, Breckin Meyer, Amber Benson

While the American Pie movies read especially problematic and rape-y today, this teen party “comedy” was abysmal even back when it was released. Jennifer Love-Hewitt basically plays the character she always plays in these movies and Ethan Embry needs to have sex with her. Six Feet Under‘s Lauren Ambrose (maybe the best performance in this solo cup catastrophe) is trying to have sex with Seth Green, and child actor Charlie Korsmo (the kid from Hook, the Robin Williams movie, not the John Popper song) is trying to have sex with anyone. Nothing memorable or funny happens in this movie, even when Korsmo is karaoke singing Guns N Roses, and while it might be fun for someone who has never been to a high school party before, this movie leads the pack of extremely inaccurate portrayals of teen life in the late 90s. (Streaming on Sling TV and Freeform)

49. Fire Down Below

1997 / USA / dir. Felix Enriquez Alcala / 105 minutes

cast: Steven Seagal, Marg Helgenberger, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Lang, Harry Dean Stanton, John Diehl, Kane Hodder

Wow. Steven Seagal must not only battle forest fires but also the incestuous, sexually abusive brother of his love interest, Marg Helgenberger. That Law and Order: SVU plot thread throws a real uncomfortable wrench into the proceedings, which is basically D- level fight sequences from a semi-bloated Seagal and dialogue so banal it might cause tumor growth. Listen to the Bob Seger song instead. ($3.99 rental on Amazon Prime)

48. Super Mario Bros.

1993 / UK / USA / dir. Annabel Jankel, Rocky Morton / 104 minutes

cast: Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis, Fisher Stevens, Richard Edson, Fiona Shaw, Lance Henriksen, Dan Castellenata, Frank Welker, Don Lake

Truly fascinating video game adaptation that makes even less sense the more you think about it and has absolutely nothing to do with the actual video game. The tragically misused Bob Hoskins plays Mario Mario, a squeaky Brooklyn stereotype who solves issues with wrenches and lasagna. His goofball younger brother, Luigi Mario (John Leguizamo) starts dating Princess Peach (Samantha Mathis) or Daisy or some shit and eventually gets kidnapped by a mud-soaking future dinosaur named Koopa (Dennis Hopper) or Bowser or some shit. Unlike a lot of the movies on this list, Super Mario Bros is never boring, it’s actually rather fascinating in a Everything Is Terrible type of way. Nothing about this makes sense but the dinosaur humanoid guards with the little heads and big bodies are sooooooooooooo cute! (Not Streaming Anywhere but I have a copy you can borrow for some pipe snaking…)

47. The Good Son

1993 / USA / dir. Joseph Ruben / 87 minutes

cast: Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood, Wendy Crewson, David Morse, Jacqueline Brookes, Quinn Culkin

One of the most purely despicable titles on this list is the inept, uncomfortable and downright depressing thriller, The Good Son. Basically it’s a movie that only exists to show someone as famously cute and innocent as post-Home Alone 2 Macauley Culkin as a deranged, sociopathic serial killer. Elijah Wood plays a cousin or some shit who is actually the good son, more or less the protagonist, but Culkin is really the only memorable thing about this. He delivers a good performance, don’t get me wrong, but his talents are wasted on this trashy, would-be rejected Law & Order plot line. Oh, and because he’s bad you “cathartically” get to watch him, a twelve year old boy, fall to his death in the end. But hey, he’s mentally ill, so that should make you want to watch the child die. ($3.99 rental on Amazon Prime)

46. Jack

1996 / USA / dir. Francis Ford Coppola / 113 minutes

cast: Robin Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Bill Cosby, Diane Lane, Fran Drescher, Brian Kerwin, Michael McKean

I would have paid to watch this child die, though. No disrespect to the late, great Robin Williams who has given us so many gifts in the five decades he was making art on this earth. Frankie Ford Coppola‘s Jack is more of an unimaginative gag gift, a cloyingly sweet and emotionally manipulative tote bag of donkey farts following a kid that ages super fast. Not as fast as the folks in M. Night Shyamalan‘s Old, but he’s like 70 by the time he’s 18. Williams at least showed up to work and performed a job for this one, it’s clear he’s trying his hardest with the material, but the material is just a stinker from conception. Who thought this was a good idea? Only good character is Jennifer Lopez as his teacher cause she only eats red gummy bears. Word up, red gummy bears are the best. (Streaming on Disney+)

45. Home Alone 3

1997 / USA / dir. Raja Gosnell / 102 minutes

cast: Alex D. Linz, Scarlett Johannson, Haviland Morris, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny Von Dohlen, David Thornton, Kevin Kilner, Pat Healy

(from my Home Alone Franchise with Me article 12/22/20)

“You guys give up or are you thirsty for more?” – Kevin MacAllister, Home Alone 1

Nope, the insatiable studio heads at 20th Century Fox wanted more. More, more, more! More money! More booby traps! More villains! More violence! More, more, more, so they can make MORE money to buy MORE champagne to spray all over their BIG tits in their $$$MULTI-MILLION$$$ dollar homes. #MOREEVERTHING

Well, except more Macaulay, who basically built the entire franchise. I don’t blame them for that, he was 16 or 17 when they started shooting. Unless they wanted to take the franchise in a darker, more adult direction, but I totally understand the desire to keep the franchise with its target audience. They needed to re-cast. They needed new blood.

Enter Alex D. Linz who audiences might recognize as the titular character from the Disney’s Max Keeble’s Big Dick. He’s an absolutely horrendous child actor incapable of even the most basic of comedic facial expressions. He isn’t even cute or likeable, he has this unsettling, raspy voice that makes him sound like a 65-year-old man. Absolutely no energy, this kid. He’s paired with two parents that look like they’re in a Tylenol commercial and a surprisingly corpse-like Scarlett Johannsson, in her first role as Alex’s sister. However, the casting of the four villains is where the movie really falls apart.

Home Alone 3 ups the ante of its predecessors by adding two more robbers, but actually lowers it six times over by having none of them be stars or celebrated character actors. We get the four least charismatic baddies in the entire franchise, only distinguishable in hairstyle and gender. On top of that, we get the worst old protector character of the series. In 1, we had that nice old sidewalk scraper and in 2 we got Brenda Fricker covered in pigeon shit. Here we get a lady who is contradictory in that she’s both cranky and nice, mostly within the same sentence to the same person, and she’s always extremely tired. And then in the end, the kid has to save her instead of the other way around. What a useless character.

The one thing I didn’t like about the first two, this movie does even harder — promote vigilante justice. The booby traps aren’t necessarily more lethal than the ones in the previous installments, but here there’s like twice or three times as many. They also really illustrate how police won’t help you (true in a lot of cases) and that it’s up to you to be super nosy, aggressive and potentially violent against suspicious neighbors, right at the top. Peppering in a healthy dose of xenophobia (North Korea, Russia) with world atrocities little kids should never have to think about (terrorism, microchips), this is the one installment that really would give that dick-twitchin’, NRA lovin’, Libertarian Covid-denier the jerk off fantasy he so desperately needs, if only Alex D. Linz wasn’t so fucking stiff in the role.

This is an embarrassment. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, even as a joke. It’s excruciating punishment from a studio that would later be executed for its crimes, but really just acquired by Disney.

Before I go, I just wanted to point out something hilarious and racist in the movie. The North Korean crime lord is credited as “Chinese Crime Boss” in the end credits. What the literal fuck. Guess Asians are all the same according to 20th Century Fox. (Streaming on Disney+)

44. The Net

1995 / USA / dir. Irwin Winkler / 115 minutes

cast: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller, Diane Baker, Ray McKinnon, Ken Howard, Wendy Gazelle

This movie begins with a Republican Senator blowing his brains out after finding out he has AIDS. Apparently he really didn’t, but anarchist super hackers changed his medical test results because they knew he was a fervent homophobe. The proof is apparently on a floppy disk (really dates the movie) and the super hacker spy agents are trying to kill Sandra Bullock because a friend gives it to her before dying in a freak helicopter accident. She’s a systems analyst for a major software company in San Fransisco, so she works exclusively from home and is super tech literate. She even orders pizza on the net. The worst part is that her ex-boyfriend is Dennis Miller and the movie wants you to think he’s charming and actually funny. (Streaming on NETFLIX)

43. Cruel Intentions

1999 / USA / dir. Roger Kumble / 97 minutes

cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Swoosie Kurtz, Louise Fletcher, Selma Blair, Sean Patrick Thomas, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Christine Baranski

My mom’s favorite movie, so much so she made the whole family (adults and minors) watch it together for Mother’s Day. What a trip. I mean even more uncomfortable than the time my dad made us watch Play it to the Bone with my grandparents, and Lucy Liu is screaming at Woody Harrelson to penetrate her in the anus. Not so much because of the sex, but because this is an embarrassingly self-important and silly adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons. Sarah Michelle Gellar is the biggest slut at the high school and her step brother (Ryan Philippe) is the second biggest slut. She knows her step brother wants to bang her out, so she comes up with a way he has to work for it. She tasks him with taking the virginity of the least biggest slut at the high school (Reese Witherspoon), therefore corrupting her innocence, which I guess is going to make the siblings both cum harder when they actually do fuck each other. Selma Blair guest stars as the 42nd biggest slut at the high school, Joshua Jackson is the 3rd biggest slut, and Swoosie Kurtz plays the same character she plays in Dangerous Liaisons (the 16th biggest slut at the high school). ($3.99 rental on Amazon Prime)

42. Armageddon

1998 / USA / dir. Michael Bay / 151 minutes

cast: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, William Fichtner, Peter Stormare, Keith David, Jason Issacs

Considered by many to be the true benchmark for awful and overlong Hollywood blockbusters, Armageddon is about the US government being so fucking stupid they hire a bunch of oil rig workers to fly to space and drill a hole in the moon or something so an asteroid doesn’t blast earth into a million little pieces. Great idea, Billy Bob Thornton. Bruce Willis is the leader of these drillers which include Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Owen Wilson, William Fitchner and Ben Affleck, who is secretly banging Bruce’s daughter, played by Liv Tyler. It also stars a dog that almost gets killed by an asteroid. (Streaming on Peacock)

41. The Adventures of Ford Fairlane

1990 / USA / dir. Renny Harlin / 102 minutes

cast: Andrew Dice Clay, Priscilla Presley, Ed O’Neill, Robert Englund, Gilbert Gottfried, Lauren Holly, Maddie Corman, Tone Loc, Wayne Newton, David Patrick Kelly, Morris Day, Kari Wuhrer

Hickory dickory dock. Something gross involving a cock. America’s funniest chauvinist, Andrew Dice Clay, may have been banned from MTV (cause evil feminazis were plotting against him) as well as perform as the host of maybe the most controversial Saturday Night Live episode of all time, but here he manages to stir little to no controversy at all with a film that’s more stupid than offensive. The Dice Man is a private detective and “public offender” (HEY-O!) sexually harassing his way through Los Angeles in order to solve a murder for this chick he plans to boink. Wayne Newton, Tone Loc and Freddy Krueger are all involved and it’s up to him to stop ’em or charge them or something. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this but I do remember he’s obsessed with his hair. (Not Streaming Anywhere, but my dad has a copy)

Next Week, we tackle #40-#31.

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