What's the worst movie ever?
Judged not by the logic of "this is a terrible film", because something like Dungeon Siege would win this by default. The problem with those is that they become so bad, so awful, that there is a sort of therapy involved in the obvious poor quality of it. The "so awful it is awesome" category of film. The thread there references every Michael Bay film, but I would argue that, after you've seen one such movie (particularly Armageddon or Pearl Harbor, maybe the Rock as well), you basically know that these are not serious movies and are only to be seen for the purposes of mocking their stupidity and to observe several repetitive elements: large amounts of explosions, dialogue written by a 4 year old, and women utterly useless to the plot tossed around as eye candy. Once you accept that this is the formula that made Bond movies (after Goldfinger) successful for a generation but usually without some Scottish or English chappie doing the throwaway dialogue lines, it becomes predictable enough to avoid seeing in the first place.
I'm not entirely sure what I'd say here as the "worst movie ever", but the "best", most well-regarded, movie I have in my DVD archive that I have some larger reservations over having now is probably Crash. It gets worse every time I've seen it. I'm assuming Titanic would win some nods here (except I don't have any interest in it). Eventually, once people get over the graphics, I would guess Avatar will as well (again, not very interested). My best guess at what I would say the worst movie I've ever seen would be the first Star Wars prequel. I'm not sure what Stewart and Lucas are talking about with this supposed generation of younger fans that liked those 3 movies better during Lucas' interview on the Daily Show (there's no evidence of this in the votes over at imdb or metacritic at least to suggest that they were not just making this up to annoy people like me), but wow that was awful. It's been on cable here recently a couple times and watching any of it now it reverts into the "this is so bad it is awesome" movie, except that it's a Star Wars movie and carried an expectation of being at least half as decent as Return of the Jedi (clearly the worst of the actual 3 Star Wars films).
Movies brought up in the thread there: I remember seeing Eyes Wide Shut and my companions were quite confused as we exited the theater (in the same way that people were incredibly annoyed at the end of No Country). I would not watch it again by choice (Tom Cruise factor weighs heavily against it), but I don't remember it being a pointless and incoherent film. Of course I'm not sure that the fact that I got the themes of jealousy and obsessions meant I was capable of explaining them to people very well at the time either. Not sure what the vibe against Lost in Translation is over there either. Bill Murray can't act like himself for every movie he ever does (which he does). I'd agree that he got too much attention for that film for not acting like himself for most of the movie. But it's sort of like the inverse of Training Day where Denzel got a lot of deserved attention for carrying what is otherwise a pretty weak and forgettable film which ought to have been a lot better (incidentally I think this applies to every Fuqua film, Tears of the Sun should have been a lot better as well, same with that awful King Arthur movie). Basically I thought the movie and story carried an average Murray performance and made it look a lot better than it really was. That was, for me at least, a rather potent story about being isolated or adrift and unable to connect to others in a world that is chock of people.
I do however second the entire Spider Man trilogy as terrible (I have not seen the third at all and neither of the first or second the entire way through). I recall people having said they exited the theaters where people had cheered at the end of the film (the only movie I've had this happen at was Dark Knight. Though I assume LOTR movies were all too fucking long for most people to have the energy to clap still). I remember changing the channel when it appeared on HBO. They weren't even worth watching the whole way through when I basically could watch them for free. It is pretty tough apparently to craft a decent comic book movie. First two X-Men movies were good (the third was like the third Godfather movie, we should all just pretend it was never made at all), the two recent Batman movies were awesome (though Maggie gets tiresome in the second she's basically a forgettable character anyway so I'm not sure how much to dock that), Iron Man was good, first Superman movie is a classic, but then there's Hulk, the Fantastic Four movies, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Spider Man 1-3, every other Superman movie..... In the same way that science fiction movies need a bit of suspension to accept an alternative world, you then can't have within that an alternative world that contains large gory plot holes and contrived dialogue or conflicts for its characters.
I would also second most of Robin Williams films, particularly anything post-Good Will Hunting. Though those at least have the good sense to usually be obviously bad and avoidable. Stick to stand-up and improv.
Brickbat: Preach It!
34 minutes ago