Roger Ebert was one of the most renowned film critics during his lifetime. In April of 2013, the world said goodbye to one of film's greatest advocates, and now we can enjoy his life's work in the form of the Martin Scorsese produced documentary titled Life Itself, a look at the life of the first film critic to be honored with a Pulitzer Prize for Film Criticism. Ebert's reviews had a scary faculty about them, in that the words that formed his opinions about a certain film had the strength to either reinforce or absolutely destroy the word of mouth generated by a two and a half minute trailer. He was a master scribe, and his love of film, even if the movie being reviewed was one he despised, was easily noticeable in the words he wrote. He would rate his films out of four stars, and below is a list of films that didn't even reach the half way mark, followed by an excerpt from his review of that film. Life Itself is out on iTunes and theaters July 4th.
21 Saving Silverman (2001) – ½ A Star
"'Saving Silverman' is so bad in so many different ways that perhaps you should see it, as an example of the lowest slopes of the bell-shaped curve. This is the kind of movie that gives even its defenders fits of desperation."
20 Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – 0 Stars
"There were times when I intensely wanted to walk out of the theater and into the fresh air and look at the sky and buy an apple and sigh for our civilization, but I stuck it out. The ending, which is cynical and truncated, confirmed my suspicion that the movie was made by and for those with no attention span."
19 Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (2012) – ½ A Star
"As faithful readers will know, I have a few cult followers who enjoy my reviews of bad movies. These have been collected in the books I Hated, Hated, Hated, HATED This Movie; Your Movie Sucks, and A Horrible Experience of Unendurable Length. This movie is so bad, it couldn't even inspire a review worthy of one of those books. I have my standards."
18 North (1994) – 0 Stars
"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."
17 Godzilla (1998) – 1 ½ Stars
"Going to see 'Godzilla' at the Palais of the Cannes Film Festival is like attending a satanic ritual in St. Peter's Basilica. It's a rebuke to the faith that the building represents. Cannes touchingly adheres to a belief that film can be intelligent, moving and grand. 'Godzilla' is a big, ugly, ungainly device to give teenagers the impression they are seeing a movie."
16 Catwoman (2004) – 1 Star
"'Catwoman' is a movie about Halle Berry's beauty, sex appeal, figure, eyes, lips and costume design. It gets those right. Everything else is secondary, except for the plot, which is tertiary. What a letdown."
15 15. Baby Geniuses – (1999) – 1 ½ stars
"Bad films are easy to make, but a film as unpleasant as 'Baby Geniuses' achieves a kind of grandeur. And it proves something I've long suspected: Babies are cute only when they're being babies. When they're presented as miniature adults (on greeting cards, in TV commercials or especially in this movie), there is something so fundamentally wrong that our human instincts cry out in protest."
14 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) – 1 ½ Stars
"Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson star. I neglected to mention that, maybe because I was trying to place them in this review's version of the Witness Protection Program. If I were taken off the movie beat and assigned to cover the interior design of bowling alleys, I would have some idea of how they must have felt as they made this film."
13 Spice World (1997) – ½ A Star
The Spice Girls are easier to tell apart than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that is small consolation: What can you say about five women whose principal distinguishing characteristic is that they have different names? They occupy Spice World as if they were watching it: They’re so detached they can’t even successfully lip-synch their own songs."
12 Transformer’s: Revenge of the Fallen (2010) – 1 Star
"'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination."
11 Joe Dirt (2001) – 1 ½ Stars
"I wrote the words 'Joe Dirt' at the top of my notepad, and settled back to watch the new David Spade movie. Here is the first note I took: Approx. 6 min. until first cow fart set afire. 'Joe Dirt' doesn't waste any time letting you know where it stands."
10 The Spirit (2008) – 1 Star
"'The Spirit' is mannered to the point of madness. There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material. The movie is all style -- style without substance, style whirling in a senseless void. The film's hero is an ex-cop reincarnated as an immortal enforcer; for all the personality he exhibits, we would welcome Elmer Fudd."
9 Sorority Boys (2002) – ½ A Star
"I'm curious about who would go to see this movie. Obviously moviegoers with a low opinion of their own taste. It's so obviously what it is that you would require a positive desire to throw away money in order to lose two hours of your life. 'Sorority Boys' will be the worst movie playing in any multiplex in America this weekend, and, yes, I realize 'Crossroads' is still out there."
8 Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) – 0 Stars
"'Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo' makes a living cleaning fish tanks and occasionally prostituting himself. How much he charges I'm not sure, but the price is worth it if it keeps him off the streets and out of another movie. 'Deuce Bigalow' is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes."
7 The Waterboy (1998) – 1 Star
"I believe in giving every movie the benefit of the doubt. I walked into 'The Waterboy,' sat down, took a sip of my delicious medium roast coffee and felt at peace with the world. How nice it would be, I thought, to give Adam Sandler a good review for a change. Goodwill and caffeine suffused my being, and as the lights went down I all but beamed at the screen. Then Adam Sandler spoke, and all was lost. His character's voice is made of a lisp, a whine, a nasal grating and an accent that nobody in Louisiana actually has, although the movies pretend that they do."
6 The Hot Chick (2002) – ½ A Star
"This particular credit cookie is notable for being even more boring and pointless than the movie. Through superhuman effort of the will, I did not walk out of 'The Hot Chick,' but reader, I confess I could not sit through the credits. The MPAA rates this PG-13. It is too vulgar for anyone under 13, and too dumb for anyone over 13."
5 The Last Airbender (2011) – ½ A Star
"'The Last Airbender' is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here. It puts a nail in the coffin of low-rent 3D, but it will need a lot more coffins than that."
4 Battle: Los Angeles (2011) – ½ A Star
"'Battle: Los Angeles' is noisy, violent, ugly and stupid. Its manufacture is a reflection of appalling cynicism on the part of its makers, who don't even try to make it more than senseless chaos. Here's a science-fiction film that's an insult to the words 'science' and 'fiction,' and the hyphen in between them. You want to cut it up to clean under your fingernails."
3 Battlefield Earth (2000) – ½ A Star
"'Battlefield Earth' is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way. The visuals are grubby and drab. The characters are unkempt and have rotten teeth. Breathing tubes hang from their noses like ropes of snot. The soundtrack sounds like the boom mike is being slammed against the inside of a 55-gallon drum. The plot. . . . But let me catch my breath. This movie is awful in so many different ways. Even the opening titles are cheesy."
2 Armageddon (1998) – 1 Star
"Here it is at last, the first 150-minute trailer. 'Armageddon' is cut together like its own highlights. Take almost any 30 seconds at random, and you'd have a TV ad. The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained. No matter what they're charging to get in, it's worth more to get out."
1 Freddy Got Fingered (2001) – 0 Stars
"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."