50 Worst Films of the 90s: Part 4 (#20-#11)

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 20th through the 11th worst films the 1990s had to offer….

20. Speed 2: Cruise Control

1997 / USA / dir. Jan de Bont / 121 minutes

cast: Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe, Temeura Morrison, Colleen Camp, Glenn Plummer, Kimmy Robertson, Tim Conway, Enrique Murciano, Bo Svenson, Brian McCardie, Mike Hagerty, Joe Morton

Graham Yost, writer of the original Speed and creator of the amazing FX show Justified, had a great idea for a Speed sequel. Unfortunately, at the same time the first film’s director, Jan de Bont, had a dream about boats or something. Jan de Bont won out and what we get is truly one of the worst and least gripping action films of the 90s. Keanu Reeves is gone so this sequel follows Sandra Bullock. Since women couldn’t be action stars back then, Sandra needed a boyfriend that could kick ass for her while she complained about being on a boat and his commitment issues. Enter a completely disinterested Jason Patric who must destroy Willem Dafoe before he destroys the boat and terrorism or something. This movie is all over the place and has no idea what to do with Sandra Bullock, who is noticeably less interesting and dynamic than she was in the original. Here, she’s so obviously written by a male writer who finds her to just be a giant pain in the ass, which is a real shame because she was a major reason why the original worked. She was 50% of the star power of that movie, but this one she sort of just flounders in the background. Oh, well, she befriends a deaf child? Can’t remember exactly, and I refuse to look it up. This movie is also seven minutes over two hours. That has to be against maritime law. (Streaming on HBOMAX)

19. Troll 2

1990 / USA / Italy / dir. Claudio Fragasso / 95 minutes

cast: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie Young, Robert Ormsby, Deborah Reed, Jason Wright, Jason Steadman, David McConnell, Gary Carlson, Flyboy

Would be much lower on the list if it didn’t have such hilariously entertaining sequences and it would be not even on the list if it managed to be hilariously entertaining (but still awful) throughout the entire runtime. Unfortunately, Claudio Fragasso‘s bizarre anti-vegan cannibal movie is only sporadically entertaining but mostly a slog, especially in the back half. Troll 2 follows a town of goblins (NOT trolls) who give people almond milk and pistachio pudding that turns them into plants, so they can eat them and still be vegan. Apparently the director’s wife wanted this to be the story because she found the recent trend of her friends becoming vegan super annoying and hated when they talked about their new vegan lifestyles. This movie stars a real life dentist as the dad. (Free on PlutoTV)

18. From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money

1999 / USA / dir. Scott Spiegel / 88 minutes

cast: Robert Patrick, Bo Hopkins, Danny Trejo, Muse Watson, Duane Whitaker, Raymond Cruz, Brett Harrelson, James Parks, Tiffani Thiesen, Bruce Campbell

Some people really hate the first From Dusk till Dawn, a somewhat underwhelming but still entertaining vampire/crime drama fusion picture, born from the collaboration of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. However, anyone who has seen the direct to VHS shriek-quel Texas Blood Money, most definitely hates it. Created by Scott Spiegel, who happened to be in Tarantino‘s orbit when Tarantino became famous, this barely coherent sequel follows a band of bank robbers led by Mr. T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick. The bank they are robbing is near the Titty Twister vampire bar so Danny Trejo gets entangled in their shit and it all culminates in a bank robbery stand-off with the robbers, the police and of course, motherfuckin’, blood-suckin’ vampires. There’s nothing remotely thrilling about this, the effects are poor, the character development is near non-existent, but the most irritating thing about this is the awful, tough guy posturing dialogue. It sounds like it’s written by a twelve-year-old snuck down to his living room and watched Pulp Fiction on IFC one night while his parents were sleeping. (Free on PlutoTV)

17. Psycho (1998)

1998 / USA / dir. Gus Van Sant / 105 minutes

cast: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, Robert Forster, Philip Baker Hall, Rita Wilson, Flea, James Remar, James LeGros

Offensive for even existing in the first place, Gus Van Sant‘s film school project masquerading as a mainstream movie proves cultural time and place mean almost everything for a horror movie to be a success. Basically, this version is shot for shot the original with the exception of a ridiculously gratuitous Anne Heche masturbation scene. It’s also in color. Nothing about this is frightening or menacing like the original because we’ve all moved on as a society (at least in regards to what we expect from horror) from where we were in the early 60s. There’s also so much more energy in the original than this snooze fest and better performances from Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh versus Vince Vaughn (GOD!) and Anne Heche (even GODDER!). I’ll admit that the acting goddess Julianne Moore and William H. Macy are perhaps upgrades from Vera Miles and Martin Balsam, but that’s literally the only superior or even evenly matched thing about this remake. (Free on Peacock)

16. Simply Irresistible

1999 / USA / dir. Mark Tarlov / 95 minutes

cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean Patrick Flanery, Dylan Baker, Patricia Clarkson, Larry Gilliard, Jr., Christopher Durang, Betty Buckley, Olek Krupa, Amanda Peet

A rom com so stupid it’s embarrassing and literally painful to watch, Simply Irresistible follows a chef (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who uses a magical talking crab to find her ass a boyfriend. Too bad it’s one of the Boondock Saints. This is the worst Sarah Michelle Gellar performance I’ve ever seen and the worst Sarah Michelle Gellar movie I’ve ever watched. With this and Cruel Intentions, she really had a shitty time at the movies in 1999. ($3.99 rental on Amazon Prime)

15. Batman & Robin

1997 / USA / dir. Joel Schumacher / 125 minutes

cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, John Glover, Elle Macpherson, Vivica A. Fox

It’s almost shocking to think this is how Warner Bros. ended the 90s phase of live-action Batman movies when it began so strong with Tim Burton‘s original. Burton created a dark and gritty but also quite fun comic book world for our beloved billionaire street vigilante with 1989’s Batman and doubled down on his dark tone and imagery with Batman Returns (my personal favorite of these films). The decision to go darker got him sacked and in came Joel Schumacher‘s vibrant, flamboyant and more action figure friendly Batman Forever. It packed nowhere near a punch and suffered from uneven pacing. Schumacher tightened the pacing a bit with Batman & Robin but at the expense of it coming off as a live-action goofy Saturday morning cartoon. There’s so many over-the-top nods to old school 50s style comic books and wildly uncalibrated performances that more than overstay their welcome. Schwarzenegger is terribly wooden as Mr. Freeze and Clooney‘s Batman is smug and personality-less. Chris O’Donnell continues to be underwhelming as the the subservient twink, Robin and Alicia Silverstone‘s bland take on batgirl seems completely unneeded. Only Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy seems to be having a good time here, her performance is goofy in the least grating way possible. It’s no wonder this killed the Warner Bros. live action franchise, it’s the worst Batman movie, live action or animated, I’ve ever seen in my life. (Streaming on HBOMAX)

14. Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers

1992 / USA / dir. Mick Garris / 91 minutes

cast: Brian Krause, Alice Krige, Madchen Amick, Jim Haynie, Cindy Pickett, Ron Perelman, Mark Hamill, Glenn Shaddix, Joe Dante, Clive Barker, Stephen King, John Landis, Tobe Hooper

Blatant rip-off of Paul Schrader’s awful 1982 remake of Cat People, Stephen King‘s Sleepwalkers is a movie unafraid to dive right into hardcore incest during the first scene, where a son (Brian Krause) and his mother (Alice Krige) go at it pretty hard. Don’t worry though, they’re not human, they’re cat/fish/monkey shape shifter thingy mabobbers, so the same rules of incest don’t apply to them? This is a movie so consistently incompetent in everything it tries to accomplish, that’s it’s wildly entertaining from start to finish. Look for Mark Hamill in a small role as a frightened cop. (Free on PlutoTV)

13. Patch Adams

1998 / USA / dir. Tom Shadyac / 115 minutes

cast: Robin Williams, Monica Potter, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel London, Bob Gunton, Harve Presnel, Irma P. Hall, Michael Jeter, Peter Coyote, Barry Shabaka Henley, Alan Tudyk

I bet doctors hate this movie almost as much as I do, a saccharinely sweet and shamelessly manipulative made-for-TV movie that probably only got a theatrical release because of the involvement of Robin Williams. He plays a real goofball of a doctor who is always lifting dying children’s spirits with warm and inspired prop comedy. Enter Philip Seymour Hoffman, a nerdy, stern but studious doctor that Williams thinks is a real stick in the mud. Williams calls Hoffman a “prick” to which Hoffman delivers the only sensible monologue of the entire film saying that people with dying children would rather have a well-studied prick who prepared for the moment as their doctor than some discount Howie Mandel act with a stethoscope. R.I.P. both Williams and Hoffman, two actors gone before their time and far too talented for this trash. (Streaming on Cinemax)

12. Jungle 2 Jungle

1997 / USA / dir. John Pasquin / 97 minutes

cast: Tim Allen, Sam Huntington, Martin Short, Lolita Davidovich, JoBeth Williams, Leelee Sobieski, David Odgen Stiers

I loved this movie as a kid which should give you insight to what a stupid child I was. Basically, it’s just Tim Allen being a massive prick for 90 minutes, making fun of indigenous people, and being literally the worst father ever. Martin Short delivers the closest thing to a funny performance in the movie but is unfortunately not given much to do. The mafia subplot with David Odgen Stiers is super under baked and gets in the way of the main conflict. Overall, this movie doesn’t work because there isn’t enough father/son bonding scenes with Allen and Huntington. This movie is 100% about that relationship, above all else, and yet they probably have less screen time together than him and Short. I didn’t feel the love. (Streaming on Disney+)

11. The Quest

1996 / USA / Canada / dir. Jean-Claude Van Damme / 95 minutes

cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Roger Moore, James Remar, Jack McGee, Louis Mandylor

What if Bloodsport was more self-important and less entertaining? What if the fight scenes were 10x less elaborate and the film was less violent as a whole? What if it didn’t have laughably awful flashback sequences with confused child actors trying and failing to nail a Van Damme accent? What if Bloodsport had a non-intimidating villain that was only memorable because he was totally bald except for a thick black ponytail coming out of the center of the back of his head that looked suspiciously like a flaccid horse cock? What if instead of present day it took place in the 1930s? What if Roger Moore was randomly in it? What if the Van Damme character was a street performing clown and surrogate father to dozens of homeless pick pocket children? What if there was really no love story? WHAT IF IT WAS DIRECTED BY JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME?! That’s The Quest in a nut shell, an ass numbingly boring fight movie that tries to be more of a drama about a one-dimensional character finding himself through tournament fighting. What a limp noodle. (Streaming on STARZ)

See you next week for the Top 10!

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