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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What’s the worst example of cinematic bad taste you can think of?

I haven’t seen Confessions of a Shopaholic, which opened on Friday in North American theaters, but apparently it’s just as offensive as it looks:

Not only is it an unfunny movie shrilly told, it probably is the most ill-timed and appallingly insulting movie in recent memory.

How could any studio be so out of touch as to release a movie glorifying the compulsive shopping habits of an air-headed spendthrift during this dismal state in the global economy?

Rotten Tomatoes tends to agree.

Surely this can’t be the most offensive movie ever. What’s the worst example of cinematic bad taste you can think of?

I’m gonna leave this one to you as I attempt to do some other catching up today.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)



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  • Kenny

    Freddy got Fingered was pretty terrible… he did give an elephant a handjob.

  • Kenny

    Oh and “The Hottie and the Nottie” … surely nothing can surpass it?

  • AJ

    An American Carol. Using ‘the dust of 9/11 victims’ as a tool to browbeat Michael Moore (er, Malone) in an ostensible Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker comedy kinda takes the cake.

  • JoshDM

    Anything by Ewe Boll.

  • jakob1978

    “the hottie and the nottie” by far…a movie about a guy who only falls in love with a girl after she’s had plastic surgery to improve her looks.

    I still laugh at the review/rant by the BBC critic Mark Kermode, where he describes it as a “Nazi Tract”, with the vile moral that “Beauty is only skin deep, but we can cut that skin up”

  • JoshB

    “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem”. Maternity ward. Never again.

  • JSW

    Having the title character of Wall-E decide that it was perfectly fine to try to live out his fantasies with the unconscious body of a girl who he’d barely met and who up to this point wanted little to nothing to do with him. For the rest of the film I wanted nothing more than to see that guy melted down to slag, although since he was the “hero” of a kids’ movie I knew this was unlikely to happen.

  • JoshDM

    Robots don’t have gender.

  • joey

    I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is at least as bad. And that’s just the last five years!

  • MBI

    It’s hard to find something that left me feeling as thoroughly gross as last year’s “Wanted,” a deeply disturbing trip through an angry 13-year-old Linkin Park fan’s ugliest fantasies.

    “Having the title character of Wall-E decide that it was perfectly fine to try to live out his fantasies with the unconscious body of a girl who he’d barely met and who up to this point wanted little to nothing to do with him.”

    Dude, it’s a robot, and dude, he didn’t molest her either.

  • the rook

    ‘springtime for hitler’ would be pretty tasteless if it were ever made into an actual movie.

  • JSW (Mon Feb 16 09, 1:38PM):

    Having the title character of Wall-E decide that it was perfectly fine to try to live out his fantasies with the unconscious body of a girl who he’d barely met and who up to this point wanted little to nothing to do with him. For the rest of the film I wanted nothing more than to see that guy melted down to slag, although since he was the “hero” of a kids’ movie I knew this was unlikely to happen.

    Holy shit! This is a fascinating perspective… and horrifying. You’re putting human logic and emotions into the mind of a robot; the things Wall-E did with Eve were the things a child would try to do given a similar situation — there is no concept of “unconscious” here, nor of “death” or even “fantasies”… you can twist it into something vile if you want, but that speaks more to your own hang-ups than it does to anything actually presented on screen.

    As to the question: Those 9/11 movies like World Trade Center and United 93 were pretty tasteless — though United 93 was also an amazing film. I guess the movies that really cheeze me off are the gross-out ‘parodies’ that have been spewed all over us the past 10 years, starting with Scary Movie.

    Meet the Spartans (of which I saw only 8 minutes before running out) was particularly offensive in this regard.

  • MBI

    Also, I’d like to point out that “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (apparently; haven’t seen it) has at least the sense to decry its main character’s credit card addiction while cheering it on. That hypocrisy is at least preferable to “Yes Man,” which had a key plot point involving loan officer Jim Carrey approving every application that comes across his desk and having it pay off huge dividends. Seriously? Seriously??

  • Firedrake

    Ebert actually liked Shopaholic, though perhaps only compared with Sex and the City.

    The short Staplerfahrer Klaus (“Klaus the fork-lift driver”) is a safety film parody including arterial spray, and works superbly.

  • The Gaucho

    Has everybody here forgotten Battlefield Earth? If yes, then rightfully so, but what a piece of crap was that!

  • JSW

    Holy shit! This is a fascinating perspective… and horrifying. You’re putting human logic and emotions into the mind of a robot; the things Wall-E did with Eve were the things a child would try to do given a similar situation — there is no concept of “unconscious” here, nor of “death” or even “fantasies”… you can twist it into something vile if you want, but that speaks more to your own hang-ups than it does to anything actually presented on screen.

    The robots in Wall-E were clearly portrayed as having roughly human behaviour and psychology (as well as falling into typical human gender-roles.) If they were shown as automatons simply acting out their programming that would be one thing, but the filmmakers clearly intended us to assign human-like motivations to their actions.

    Dude, it’s a robot, and dude, he didn’t molest her either.

    The filmmakers went out of their way to portray holding hand as a major display of intimacy among robots. Wall-E literally pried Eve’s arm away from her body in order to do so while she was in shutdown-mode.

  • Eric

    I think I may have found a contender for most offensive cinematic premise:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0132679/

    That’s right. World War II footage scored to Beatles songs. I haven’t actually seen this film myself as it’s been unavailable in any home video format in the 30+ years since its release, but I think I can safely say that this is probably the closest to an actual “Springtime for Hitler” movie that has ever been produced.

  • Hasimir Fenring

    As bad as Wanted is–and believe me, it’s the worst movie I’ve seen in the last three years–I didn’t find it tasteless so much as ludicrous yet boring.

    For tastelessness, I have to go with the worst movie I’ve ever seen, a Korean film called 오로라 공주 (Princess Aurora). It’s about a woman who brutally murders people seemingly at random; about 30 minutes into the movie you find out the murders are not random. MINOR SPOILER The main character abandoned her daughter at a hair salon, and the child is eventually murdered by a child-killer. The main character has decided to murder every adult her daughter encountered along the way (along with the attorney who got the killer sent to a mental instituion instead of prison) as punishment. You can see the ‘twist’ ending coming from a mile away, and after I’d raged at the film for its moral bankruptcy, it was painfully boring for me to watch the film laboriously reach its telegraphed and patently absurd conclusion. (The main character would never have been allowed to be where she is to make the ‘twist’ work precisely so she wouldn’t be able to do what she does.)

    If that’s too obscure for you, just watch any film directed by raging misogynist Kim Ki-duk. Somehow he has become a darling of Western critics even though his films are all about how women are sexually depraved demons who corrupt innocent men with their wiles and are then justly punished for their crimes against the penis. Apparently misogyny is A-OK when it’s an insular minority!

  • MBI

    “The filmmakers went out of their way to portray holding hand as a major display of intimacy among robots. Wall-E literally pried Eve’s arm away from her body in order to do so while she was in shutdown-mode. ”

    So he held her hand while she was unconscious. This is seriously your argument?

  • I think that United 93 in some way is exploiting death of innocent people “just” for entertainment, even if for a good reason.

    I found bad taste in a silly movie I’ve recently seen, Sex and Death 101.
    In specific there was the quote “The List is Life”, referring to Schindler’s List but in a very trivial contest, that I found pretty offensive.

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