Mike Myers as Guru Pitka in The Love Guru
Ever slap down $10 for a ticket for a film so foul you choked on the popcorn? It's time for payback. Film critic Bob Mondello has caught the worst offenders of the past 10 years.
First, some ground rules. The film has to have burned a big enough American audience to be worth talking about — at least 4 million people at, say, $7.50 a pop, or roughly $30 million. That excludes Paris Hilton's The Hottie and the Nottie, which only made $27,000 in the United States — though it made $1.5 million in Russia.
Second, to recognize the singular dreadfulness of each movie, we're breaking the list into categories. We'll start with Worst Romance of the Decade.
Mondello first considered Gigli, with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. But somehow the public knew better and stayed away from it, so it was disqualified.
"On the other hand, they did go to the Matthew McConaughey picture Fool's Gold," Mondello tells NPR's Guy Raz.
McConaughey and Kate Hudson star as a divorced couple searching for hidden treasure. The two spit venom at each other through most of the film. "They were amazingly bad, and it was clear that they had complete contempt for the material," Mondello says. "It was enough to put me off the whole genre."
Mondello's Worst Science Fiction flick was an easy pick: John Travolta's salute to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Battlefield Earth. Travolta plays the leader of aliens who have enslaved humans in the year 3000.
"You just wanted to die while you were watching it." Mondello doesn't give it much hope of coming back as a cult classic, either. "It was long and just sort of exhausting. And it's dark and it isn't fun. You wanted it to be fun, but it's just terrible."
The Worst Blockbuster of the Decade was directed by Michael Bay, who never met an explosion he couldn't make bigger and noisier, according to Mondello. Pearl Harbor made plenty of money, though; it cost about $130 million and raked in about $450 million worldwide.
"The actual attack on Pearl Harbor lasted 90 minutes," Mondello says. "This movie is three hours." And, he points out, Wikipedia lists no fewer than 65 historical inaccuracies in the film. "This movie had Ben Affleck taking flight lessons on Long Island — with mountains in the background.
"There were lots of really terrible blockbusters this decade, but usually they have something in them that is somehow redeeming," Mondello says. "Thirty minutes of blowing up Pearl Harbor shot the way Michael Bay shoots it — so you can't actually tell what's going on at any given moment — isn't really a redeeming feature."
Don't see the worst movie here? Tell us what the Worst Movie of the Decade is in the comment section below!
One film, however, turned the veteran film critic's stomach more than any other piece of celluloid in the past 10 years. Mondello's pick for Worst Film of the Decade is — cue drumroll — Mike Myers' The Love Guru.
It's the story of a very needy guru hired to motivate Toronto's hockey team. His methods include lewd self-help mantras, elephant erotica and an endless supply of jokes about male endowment.
"It was so bad. It was coarse and unpleasant."
Myers once made a lot of people laugh with the Wayne's World and Austin Powers movies, but his charm fails disastrously in The Love Guru, Mondello says. "He's almost winking at the camera. He is smirking at his own jokes. He makes you want to throttle him."