50 Worst Films of the 90s: Part 3 (#30-#21)

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 between 1990 and 1999, Hollywood made quite possibly more garbage than any other decade.

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 did.

Over the course of this series, I will be releasing ten entries at a time over a five week period. Welcome to the 30th through the 21st worst films the 1990s had to offer….

30. Anaconda

1997 / USA / Peru / dir. Luis Llosa / 89 minutes

cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer, Danny Trejo, Jonathan Hyde, Vincent Castellanos, Frank Welker

There’s a big ass snake coming, but not to worry, a documentary film crew is here. Jennifer Lopez plays the most unprepared and unprofessional documentary filmmaker in the world, who brings a camcorder, an annoyed camera operator (Ice Cube), a British voice actor (Jonathan Hyde), to do voice over on the boat as opposed to in a studio in post production (????), two horny crew members (Kari Wuhrer, Owen Wilson) and her husband (Eric Stoltz). Luckily for them, they pick up Jon Voight, doing an indecipherable accent that sort of sounds South American, but unfortunately for them, he turns out to be a raving lunatic trying to capture the deadly big ass snake on their trail. There’s a bevy of dumb special effects, abysmal character development (as to be expected) and to be completely honest, barely any excitement. Perhaps even more shocking than how bad the actual movie is, is that it spawned three sequels. (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

29. The Pest

1997 / USA / dir. Paul Miller / 85 minutes

cast: John Leguizamo, Aries Spears, Freddy Rodriguez, Jeffrey Jones, Joe Morton, Edoardo Ballerini, Tammy Townsend

My favorite movie as an annoying little child, I’d watch the opening shower music number over and over and over again and try to perform it for random people at the mall. My mother is the most patient woman in the world, because if I was my mom, I would have abandoned me. John Leguizamo plays a loud, infectious disease in human form, aptly nick named “The Pest”. He’s a con artist that lives at home, always scheming with his best friend, Aries Spears. One day he pisses off two extremely racist Germans who plan to hunt him like an animal, a la The Most Dangerous Game. They trick him into going with them to this massive tropical island they somehow own, and force him into being hunted. They do promise him a life changing amount of money if he survives 24 hours, though. Can Pest make it? Wild antics ensue involving diarrhea, buckshot, cultural appropriation, sea sickness, karaoke, Spanish and car chases. I love this movie because of what it meant to me as a child but if you plan on watching it for the first time as an adult, I recommend ear plugs. ($3.99 rental on Amazon Prime)

28. The Haunting

1999 / USA / dir. Jan de Bont / 113 minutes

cast: Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Bruce Dern, Marian Seldes, Todd Field, Virginia Madsen, Charles Gunning

It’s hard to imagine a less scary and convincing haunted house movie than Speed 2 director, Jan de Bont‘s 1999 remake of The Haunting. It’s easily the worst adaptation across all mediums I’ve seen of the classic Shirley Jackson novel, with a completely wasted all-star cast. The only credible thing in this boring, overly-CGI’d train wreck is the set decoration of the merry go ’round room in the center of the house. Save yourself two hours and just check out production photos online. (Streaming on Paramount+)

27. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

1993 / Hong Kong / USA / dir. Stuart Gillard / 96 minutes

cast: Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Stuart Wilson, Sab Shimono, Vivian Wu, Corey Feldman

The first Ninja Turtles movie has its issues but I really love it. I grew up with it. I also grew up with the second one which has even more problems, but I still love it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is also a movie I grew up with it, but unlike the first two installments I don’t love it. I can’t love it. It’s impossible to love it. It abandons everything substantial about the characters of the original while abandoning the fun of the first sequel, so what we’re left with is a boring, inaccurate period piece of feudal Japan being slowly saved by turtles. The villain (Lethal Weapon 3‘s Stuart Wilson) simply isn’t menacing enough, even though he’s definitely a butthole. There’s never any sense of this guy being a real danger to the turtles and that causes everything to limp to the finish line. It was clear the idea well was drained at this point and it’s not a surprise the series wrapped up with this one. What a waste of Elias Koteas and Casey Jones. (Streaming on HBOMAX)

26. Blues Brothers 2000

1998 / USA / dir. John Landis / 123 minutes

cast: Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton, J. Evan Bonifant, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Frank Oz, Matt Murphy, Kathleen Freeman, Paul Schaffer, Bo Diddley, Wilson Pickett, Erykah Badu, Steve Winwood, Jonny Lang, Issac Hayes, Lou Rawls

I guess these are the types of movies you have to do after you accidentally kill two children with a helicopter. There’s no other explanation. Regardless of how I feel about the man, John Landis is a spectacularly talented filmmaker whose American Werewolf in London and Animal House have remained genre mainstays for a reason. No one asked for another Blues Brothers movie, especially since John Belushi died almost twenty years before this was made. We simply don’t give a damn about any of the new characters or the plot. There’s nothing nostalgic or warm about it. However, the only reason this abomination isn’t lower on the list is because of the spectacular musical performances scattered throughout. From Aretha Franklin to Erykah Badu, the talent is staggering. As a concert, Blues Brothers 2000 is legit. As a film, it’s dog food. (Streaming on Peacock)

25. Dr. Giggles

1992 / Japan / USA / dir. Manny Cotto / 95 minutes

cast: Larry Drake, Doug E. Doug, Holly Marie Combs, Cliff DeYoung, Glenn Quinn, Keith Diamond, Richard Bradford, Michelle Johnson

Abysmal direct to video early 90s slasher that looks and feels like a late 80s slasher. The cast is uniformly terrible with Doug E. Doug trying to pass for a high schooler and a usually excellent Larry Drake really phoning it in. Basically it’s about a small town legend of a good doctor gone homicidally crazy. Now his equally insane son (Larry Drake) is back to murder townspeople while saying doctor puns and giggling uncontrollably. Not kidding, there’s a doctor pun for every kill in the movie, delivered almost begrudgingly by Drake. Here’s a list:

“The doctor is in!”

“Check out time!”

I’m afraid the news is bad…I give you six seconds to live.”

After slicing a dude’s throat “You think that’s bad, wait till you get my bill!”

After stabbing a woman in the throat with a thermometer “Leave it in for at least a minute.”

While murdering a screaming woman with a liposuction tube “I know, I know…it sucks.”

Before cutting off a guy’s penis trying to have sex his girlfriend “I hope you have protection!”

Character claims he’s going to be fine but then gets stabbed in the back by the doctor who says, “I’d get a second opinion if I were you.”

After stabbing a girl in the eye with a scalpel “Oh, now I ***SEE*** the problem!”

(Streaming on STARZ)

24. Jane Austen’s Mafia!

1998 / USA / dir. Jim Abrahams / 84 minutes

cast: Jay Mohr, Lloyd Bridges, Olympia Dukakis, Christina Applegate, Alex Trebek, Vincent Pastore, Joe Viterelli

When it comes to sheer stupidity, Jane Austen’s Mafia! really gives The Pest a run for its money. Somehow even less funny than the late 90s Leslie Nielsen spoof stinkers like Wrongfully Accused and Spy Hard, Mafia! parodies mob movies like The Godfather, GoodFellas and Jurassic Park. Jay Mohr plays Michael Cortini who doesn’t want to take over the family business from his dad, Don Cortini (Lloyd Bridges, in his final role). However, when they try to kill the Don, Michael must step up. So, it’s basically the structure of The Godfather with other references sloppily jammed in. There’s a few chuckles to be had but it’s all so lowest common denominator. The last good spoof movie was probably Hot Shots!: Part Deux (which also starred Bridges) and pretty much everything that followed it – stuff like this, the Scary Movie franchise, the Meet the Spartans/Disaster Movie garbage — ranged from mildly annoying to overwhelmingly terrible. FUN NOTE – I guess Jane Austen‘s estate sued the movie to get her name off of this. I wonder what she’d think of this movie. I wonder how confused she’d be. (Streaming on CINEMAX)

23. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

1991 / USA / dir. Rachel Talalay / 89 minutes

cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Yaphet Kotto, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane, Breckin Meyer, Ricky Dean Logan, Alice Cooper, Roseanne Barr, Tom Arnold, Johnny Depp

The worst Nightmare on Elm Street movie ever made, this one is a full-on Saturday morning cartoon that disappears up its own ass to create this mythology of ancient worm demons possessing Freddy Krueger’s body. Barely any of the characters die and when they do, it’s so goofy and self-aware you sink in your seat. It really tries to cash in on the kookiness of Twin Peaks at the time but that actually had characters you cared about and was genuinely interesting. This is just a scattershot, saccharine mosaic of early 90s pop culture. What a waste of Yaphet Kotto’s time. (Streaming on HBOMAX)

22. Wild Wild West

1999 / USA / dir. Barry Sonnenfeld / 106 minutes

cast: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, Ted Levine, M. Emmet Walsh, Bai Ling

What can I say about this massive blockbuster turd that hasn’t already been said in some of the now famous, scathing reviews. Will Smith passed on The Matrix to do this garbage, though that might have been a blessing in disguise. Would The Matrix work as well with Smith subbed out for Keanu Reeves? I don’t think so. Would Will Smith‘s pop song The Matrix be as good as his pop song Wild Wild West? Of course not, can you imagine a Will Smith song about The Matrix but in the tune and cadence of Wild Wild West? Anyway, Wild Wild West is a great song and a terrible movie, an anything but fun western action adventure picture with a painfully unfunny Kevin Kline (it’s the writing’s fault), Salma Hayek basically just functioning a respiratory system connected to her beautiful ass and w wheel-chair bound, Colonel Sanders talkin’ Kenneth Branagh trading racial epithets for disability jokes with Will Smith. Can’t remember if Branagh calls Smith the n-word though. Let me know if any of you remember. (Streaming on HBOMAX)

21. Children of the Night

1991 / USA / dir. Tony Randel / 92 minutes

cast: Karen Black, Peter DeLuise, Ami Dolenz, Maya McLaughlin, David Sawyer, Garrett Morris

A Fangoria original movie, yes, the magazine, that terrified the absolute crap out of me on SyFy channel when I was five. Unfortunately, seeing it as an adult is a terrifying experience for a completely different reason. One of the main characters is a priest trying to bang an underage girl, whose mom (Karen Black), has turned into a vampire. They never really shoot this down as creepy, and the other protagonist, a teacher, is also trying to bang an underage girl. The whole town is full of pervs it seems, but now those pervs are turning into vampires, specifically, water vampires. They sleep in flooded crypts and when they hibernate, their lungs and other organs shoot out of their mouths and float on the water. There’s a bunch of gross, sleazy and barely creative special effects to feast on, everything looks like 90s haunted house decorations and over the counter latex from Spirit Halloween. SNL’s Garrett Morris plays an old drunk black preacher man stereotype, but he saves the day with his minivan, so hooray! (Not Streaming Anywhere)

See you next week with #20-#11

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