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GUY RAZ, host:

Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg: None of these fine directors will be mentioned in this next segment because today, our film critic Bob Mondello and I will be talking about the worst films of the decade.

Now, Bob, I know you've been looking forward to this one.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BOB MONDELLO: Actually, I kind of have, but remember, I'm a sweetheart. I am a total sweetheart.

RAZ: Bob's been coming in on the program all month to look back at the last 10 years in film. And Bob, let's set some ground rules here. There are plenty of bad films that go to DVD right away, but we're not going to talk about those, right?

MONDELLO: That's right. What I think we should do is talk about films that have burned enough people so that it's fair to talk about them. So I'm - let's say that it has to have hit at least four million people, which at $7.50 a pop would be about $30 million. But however, that makes me not talk about one picture that I'd really like to mention for a second: "The Hottie and the Nottie."

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: "The Hottie and the Nottie" starred Paris Hilton. It made $27,000 in the United States, all right? However, I looked in boxofficemojo.com and it made $1.5 million, and I thought: Where did it make it if it didn't make it in the United States? It made it in Russia. So we did win the Cold War.

RAZ: Paris Hilton in Russia, God bless them. Bob, let's start with worst romance.

MONDELLO: All right. I considered "Gigli," the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez specialty.

Raz: Oh, yes.

MONDELLO: But the public somehow knew about that, and they didn't go to it. On the other hand, they did go to the Matthew McConaughey picture "Fool's Gold." It was enough to put me off the whole genre. Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.

RAZ: Who else?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: Exactly. They were a recently divorced couple searching for hidden treasure. They're spitting venom at each other through most of this film.

(Soundbite of movie, "Fool's Gold")

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY (Actor): (As Benjamin Finnegan) If we don't go after that treasure, it's gonna haunt us for the rest of our lives, and you know it. You really think I'd lie about this?

Ms. KATE HUDSON (Actor): (As Tess Finnegan) Why not? You're a liar.

Mr. McCONAUGHEY: (As Benjamin) I mean, this is such an inappropriate time to dwell on that.

RAZ: Bob, this is so painful.

MONDELLO: It was. They were amazingly bad, and, you know, it was clear that they had complete contempt for the material, and Matthew McConaughey, if I ever see him again, it'll be too soon.

RAZ: Ouch. Ouch.

MONDELLO: Well, you know, he'll eventually make a good movie. The thing is that at one point, he showed some promise. He was making serious pictures.

RAZ: Yeah, he was in Richard Linklater films and...

MONDELLO: Right, and then it all just sort of went away, and he's decided to make these silly comedies, and now it's a little embarrassing. He's at least pushing 40 and he's still acting like a teenager, and it's awful.

RAZ: All right. The next movie is a familiar punching bag for a lot of the critics. I don't know if it's entirely fair, but I guess we have to talk about the worst science fiction film of the decade, and it is:

MONDELLO: "Battlefield Earth." It's kind of a walk, too.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: John Travolta's salute to the sci-fi writing of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. It was released in 2000, and Elvis Mitchell, writing in the New York Times at the time, said, and I quote: It may be a bit early to make such judgments, but "Battlefield Earth" may turn out to be the worst movie of the century.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: How about that? The year is 3000 in this picture. Aliens who are called Psychlos have defeated Earth in a war that lasted nine minutes and basically exterminated the planet and are now using humans as slave labor to strip the planet, and John Travolta is Terl, their leader.

(Soundbite of movie, "Battlefield Earth")

Mr. JOHN TRAVOLTA (Actor): (As Terl) As long as you were providing me with useful information, I wouldn't file the report. But now that I'm leaving this pitiful excuse for a planet, you will no longer be providing me with useful information, will you?

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) My son just got accepted into the academy, first one ever in my family. You know how much it costs. Please, as a friend, couldn't you forget to file the report?

Mr. TRAVOLTA: (As Terl) Well, as a friend I could forget to file the report, but unfortunately, I'm not your friend.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: Now that laugh was constant in this picture, and you just wanted to die while you were watching it. It was blech.

RAZ: I wonder if this film could have another life as sort of a cult classic film, you know, watched by sort of college kids.

MONDELLO: Yeah, the problem is it was long and just sort of exhausting. And it's really dark and it isn't fun. You wanted it to be fun, and it's just terrible.

RAZ: All right, let's move on to the worst blockbuster of the decade. This one was directed by Michael Bay, who, as you know, Bob, has never met an explosion he could not make bigger and noisier.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of movie, "Pearl Harbor")

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbite of explosions)

MONDELLO: "Pearl Harbor" did make plenty of money, though. It raked in about $450 million worldwide. Now, how do I explain why this picture doesn't work?

The actual attack on Pearl Harbor lasted 90 minutes. This movie is three hours.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: Okay, just for starters. Wikipedia lists 65 historical inaccuracies in the picture. This movie had Ben Affleck taking flight lessons on Long Island with mountains in the background.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: There were lots of really terrible blockbusters this decade, but usually, they have something in them that is somehow redeeming. Thirty minutes of blowing up Pearl Harbor shot the way Michael Bay shoots it - so that you can't actually tell what's going on at any given moment - isn't really a redeeming feature.

(Soundbite of movie, "Pearl Harbor")

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbite of explosions)

(Soundbite of drum roll)

RAZ: And now, the moment we've all been waiting for: Bob Mondello's worst film of the decade.

Bob, the worst film of the decade is?

MONDELLO: Well, certainly the most annoying one is Mike Myers' "The Love Guru."

(Soundbite of movie, "The Love Guru")

Mr. MIKE MYERS (Actor): (As Guru Pitka) Is he Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now? Rajneesh, let's make like a baby and head out.

MONDELLO: "The Love Guru" is the story of a very needy guru who is played by what seems to be a very needy Mike Myers who is hired to motivate the Toronto Maple Leaves.

RAZ: The hockey team.

MONDELLO: His methods include lewd self-help mantras, elephant erotica and an endless supply of jokes about male endowment.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Love Guru")

Ms. JESSICA ALBA (Actress): (As Jane Bullard) Damn.

Ms. MEAGAN GOOD (Actress): (As Prudence Roanoke) Damn.

Mr. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE (Singer/Actor): (As Jacques Le Coq Grande) Damn.

Mr. MYERS: (As Guru Pitka) Looks like he's smuggling a schnauzer.

MONDELLO: It was so bad. It was coarse and unpleasant. Mike Myers is so full of himself in the picture. I mean, he's almost winking at the camera. He is smirking at his own jokes. He makes you want to throttle him. Oh, I - listen, he was...

RAZ: You're breaking out in hives.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: I am.

RAZ: But you did sit through every last minute of all of these movies we've been talking about. You're pretty resilient, Bob.

MONDELLO: Yeah, I guess. Listen, I've still got the best job in the world. I see an awful lot more movies than most people, though, and a lot of them are not, shall we say, of the first water.

RAZ: That's our film critic Bob Mondello. He's been dropping by all month to talk about the decade gone by in the film world.

Bob, thank you so much.

MONDELLO: It's been a lot of fun.

RAZ: And I know those of you listening are dying to tell us your most hated films of the decade. Join the conversation at npr.org, and while you're there, check out the arts podcast. Bob's got more about the movies in theaters now. That's at npr.org/movies.

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