It is according to the readers of Empire, the well-regarded British film magazine. Empire polled its readers to come up with a list of the 50 Worst Movies Ever, and Clooney and Schumacher's Bat-tastrophe came out on top. Everyone snickers and cringes at 1997's 'Batman and Robin,' what with Arnold Schwarzenegger's merciless onslaught of "ice" puns, George Clooney's obvious discomfort in the lead role, all the noisy spectacle at the expense of story and character,and that rubber-nippled Batsuit. Even director Joel Schumacher has disavowed the movie. But is it really the worst film of all time?
It is according to the readers of Empire, the well-regarded British film magazine. Empire polled its readers to come up with a list of the 50 Worst Movies Ever, and Clooney and Schumacher's Bat-tastrophe came out on top.
Not only did Empire readers consider 'Batman and Robin' the worst movie ever, but it outpolled by three to one the runner-up, John Travolta's Scientology-inspired sci-fi fiasco 'Battlefield Earth.' Coming in third was Mike Myers' laugh-free comedy 'The Love Guru,' followed by 1980's disastrous 'Raise the Titanic,' scattershot spoof 'Epic Movie,' epic flop 'Heaven's Gate,' 'Sex Lives of the Potato Men' (a raunchy comedy we were spared on this side of the Atlantic), M. Night Shyamalan's woozy 'The Happening,' brainless (and headless) sequel 'Highlander II: The Quickening' and Tommy Wiseau's indie vanity project 'The Room.'
There are certainly some classic bad movies on this list, including 'The Avengers,' 'Catwoman,' 'Plan 9 From Outer Space,' 'Gigli,' 'Swept Away,' 'Glitter,' 'I Know Who Killed Me,' 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,' 'Howard the Duck,' 'Town & Country' and 'Showgirls.' (Though some of these at least have the virtue of being campy and entertaining despite their ineptitude.) Still, perusal of the whole list will convince you that Empire readers have bad taste in bad taste. Only one Michael Bay film on the list? ('Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,' at No. 25)? Only two by Uwe Boll? Nothing starring Sylvester Stallone, Rob Schneider or Pauly Shore?
Bad as 'Batman and Robin' and the rest are, there are many films even worse that didn't make the cut. Such as: 'All About Steve,' 'The Adventures of Pluto Nash,' 'Blues Brothers 2000,' 'Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2,' 'The Cell,' 'Last Action Hero,' 'Wild Wild West,' 'Be Cool,' 'Cobra,' 'Chairman of the Board,' 'The Butterfly Effect,' 'The Animal,' 'From Justin to Kelly,' 'Man Trouble,' 'Beyond Therapy,' 'North' -- and that's just English language movies from the past quarter century or so.
'Raise the Titanic' and 'Plan 9' aside, Empire readers' memories don't stretch back very far. No 'Doctor Dolittle' (the 1967 musical), 'The Conqueror' (John Wayne as Genghis Khan), 'Che!' (Omar Sharif as Che Guevara, and Jack Palance as Fidel Castro), 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,' 'That Hagen Girl' (Ronald Reagan romances Shirley Temple, which plays as creepy as it sounds), 'Skidoo' (psychedelic freakout starring Jackie Gleason and Groucho Marx), 'The Greatest Show on Earth' (Cecil B. DeMille's circus melodrama), 'Valley of the Dolls' (camp value to spare, but c'mon, it's awful), 'Duel in the Sun' (supposedly a classic, but it's really a hoot), 'Airport 1975' (and ''77,' and ''79'), 'Harum Scarum' (or most of Elvis Presley's musicals, for that matter) or 'The Sound and the Fury' (a bizarre attempt to film William Faulkner's unfilmable novel, starring Yul Brynner in a wig).
And no foreign language films? Nothing by Luc Besson, no overstuffed Bollywood epics, no Hong Kong action misfires, no unsexy Spanish sex comedies?
Then there are recent movies for which the jury is still out. Is 'Mississippi Burning' a taut historical drama or a craven attempt to whitewash history by making the FBI the heroes of the Civil Rights movement? Is 'Crash' a brave statement about racial anxiety or a schematic, coincidence-laden attempt to avoid saying anything substantial about race? Is 'Avatar' cinema's first big technical breakthrough of the millennium or is it Dances With Blue Cat-Monkey People in 3-D?
When it comes to the worst movies, they could do a lot worse.
Got a favorite bad movie left off the list? Name it below.