Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

If You Can't Be Good, Be Consistent  | e-mail post

I stumbled upon Metacritic's list of the 200 worst movies. Unlike IMDB's "Bottom 100" list, Metacritic aggregates reviews from professional film critics, while IMDB bases theirs on user ratings. Mass opinion versus the elites. One weakness of the Metacritic list is that it lacks the completeness of IMDB, having complete critic data only back to 1999. And we all know there was plenty of crap produced before then. For example, Metacritic necessarily misses out on the entire Police Acadmy franchise. In addition, because of IMDB's fairly slick algorithm for computing film ratings, their Best/Worst lists include films that have a sufficient mass of reviews to make them relevant (as of today, making the worst list requires 625 ratings, while making the best list requires 1250 ratings). Thus, for example, Metacritic's worst film "The Singing Forest" (Sorry, no DVD, so no DVD link) while reviewed by seven professional reviewers, does not even have 5 user ratings on its IMDB listing as of today.

But I didn't start writing this to opine about different ways of computing a list of worst films.

The thing I thought was interesting, however, was the consistency. One director, Jorge Ameer, took both the #1 and #3 spots in the worst movie list. (Strictly speaking, it was a three-way tie for first place, with Pauly Shore's Bio-Dome sharing the glory.) As Steven Holden of the New York Times writes in his review: "The Singing Forest was written and directed by Jorge Ameer, whose film 'Strippers' opened three years ago and remained the single worst movie I had ever reviewed -- until now." Holden actually used the word "cheesy" to describe "Strippers" in his review of that film. I am not sure I would have imagined "cheesy" showing up in the Gray Lady other than in a quotation.

While typically practice makes perfect, Ameer appears to be a phenom who has a natural talent for the art of creating pure and unadulterated crap. This is one independent director who has obviously beaten Hollywood at its own game.

As an aside: In a display of vanity surprising even by film industry standards, Ameer himself wrote, under his own name, his biography on IMDB. Not surprisingly, you'd never guess from the bio that he is responsible for what would seem to be two of the three worst films of the decade.

Needless to say, I now need to see these films. It goes beyond trainwreck curiousity, Ameer obviously has a gift, albeit an unfortunate one, and I feel compelled to see the results.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Friday, July 23, 2004
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