Vaila’s View: A list of the best (worst) films of the 21st century

Illustration by Brian Cummings

Vaila DeYoung, Contributing Writer

Objectively bad movies are some of the best to watch because of their absurdity, hilariousness and often-poor acting. They are definitely something to be treasured in film history, due to their lack of self awareness, weak technological approaches and overall incoherence. 

Given recent circumstances, now is the perfect time to stay indoors and watch movies. I’ve compiled a list of some of the worst films I’ve ever seen, but still love to watch.

 

  1. “The Room,” (2003)

Directed by Tommy Wiseau, this  horrible masterpiece is famously regarded as one of the worst films ever made because of its complete lack of awareness and narrative devices. This nonsensical romantic drama stars Gregory Sestero, Juliette Danielle and Wiseau as the lead. 

The story follows Wiseau as Johnny, a successful banker, as he loses control of his relationship with his fiancée, Lisa (played by Danielle,) because of her affair with Johnny’s best friend, Mark (Sestero.) It does not have a cohesive plot, professional acting nor any impressive technical feats, yet it has gained a huge cult following over the years. 

When it came time for the public release of “The Room,” it premiered at only two theatres in Los Angeles, one of them reserved for Wiseau, the cast and the press. Scott Foundas, a former reporter at Variety, attended the screening and wrote that the film was so bad that “most of its viewers asked for their money back — before even 30 minutes [had] passed.”

There was a lot of creative disagreement between Wiseau and the cast members, as told by Sestero in “The Disaster Artist,” a memoir written by Sestero in which he describes his experiences living and working with Wiseau during the making of “The Room.”

The memoir was later the basis for a biographical comedy of the same name in 2017, starred and directed by James Franco. 

I recommend watching “The Room,” at least once if you have yet to see it in all its glory. Despite its flaws, it has so many hilariously quotable lines, and the performances are absolutely ludicrous. 

Where to watch: Youtube

 

  1. “Fateful Findings,” (2012)

Carrying a similar energy and cult following to “The Room,” “Fateful Findings,” was directed, written, produced and edited by Neil Breen. 

The plot of this film is all over the place, and is practically impossible to explain. Breen himself stars as Dylan, a writer/computer scientist/government hacker with magical powers given to him by a stone that he found in the woods when he was a child. 

Dylan encounters many hurdles while unveiling top-secret government databases, such as getting hit by a car, dealing with his wife’s drug addiction and finding his best friend dead in his garage. To cope with his losses, he reconnects with his childhood friend, Lea, and quickly begins a romantic relationship with her. 

Breen’s films are so fascinating because they are unashamedly the weirdest movies ever. Without giving away too much, everything is extremely bizzare and unpredictable, from the bad acting delivery to the amateur editing and effects. 

In an interview with Influx magazine, Breen spoke about the film and his non-conforming style of filmmaking, saying that it combines genres.

“I’ve never made a genre-specific film,” Breen said. “Even my fourth film that I’m writing right now is very genre-defying. That’s me and that’s what I like doing.”

Where to watch: Vudu or iTunes

 

  1. “Across the Universe,” (2007)

Directed by Julie Taymor, this original romance/musical takes place before, during and after the Vietnam war. However, all of the music is popular Beatles tunes, and each character references a name from a Beatles song. 

The main characters, Jude and Lucy, meet through Lucy’s rebellious brother, Max, and later meet more characters along their romantic journey such as Prudence, Sadie and Jo-Jo. 

The movie features several characters and side plots that can be confusing and hard to follow. The timeline seemingly spans years, but it is not specified which year the film starts and ends, which adds to the disorientation. 

In an interview for film critic Robert Ebert, Taymor said that 33 songs were picked and placed throughout the film to reflect the growth of the Beatles. 

“Across the Universe,” received mixed reviews, from the people who adored it and others who couldn’t see past its messy plot and underdeveloped characters. I personally enjoy the idea behind the film, the Beatles and their music, but I am unsure how I feel about it in a campy, CGI heavy psychedelic musical.

Nonetheless, this is a great film to put on with friends who enjoy musicals and Beatles’ songs (or both at the same time.)

Where to watch: Hulu

 

  1. “Hot Summer Nights,” (2017)

Directed by Elijah Bynum, this film stars Timotheé Chalamet, Maika Monroe and Alex Roe in a wild coming of age tale distributed by popular indie film company A24. 

I was disappointed after watching it because I didn’t see a clear purpose to the film at all. It takes place in the summer of 1991 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Chalamet’s character, Daniel, is staying with his aunt and meets the bad boy in town, Hunter (played by Roe), in a convenience store. Together they sell marijuana to local customers, and their clients get increasingly more dangerous. 

A24 is generally known for distributing high-brow artsy movies, but every once and a while a film comes along out of left field, leaving everyone scratching their heads as to why it was picked up by such an esteemed company.

This is one of those films, with its chaotic and incohesive editing, as each creative choice feels out of place and random. 

I was anticipating the film from what I saw from the trailer; it seemed like a new twist on the summer coming of age film, starring one of my favorite actors. I thought, “What could be better?”

One half of the plot is Daniel and Hunter flipping marijuana to an array of ’80s hit songs, and the other half seems like a pointless romantic side plot that never develops.

The entire point of a coming-of-age film is to focus on the transitions and changes the protagonist goes through, but this one feels empty and lacks character development. 

However, the soundtrack for the movie is undeniably great. Each song was nicely selected and helps move the film along, allowing for an enjoyable watch for the soundtrack alone.  

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

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