When the critics run out of insults

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

M Night Shyamalan's new film has been hammered by the critics this week, but how does it compare with cinema's all-time turkeys? Arifa Akbar selects her top 10 worst-reviewed movies of all time

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1953)

Dir. Ed Wood

Aliens use zombies against Earth!

Critic's view: "Unintentionally hilarious feast of tinfoil, cardboard and atrocious acting." Barbara Ellen, The Times.

Budget: $60,000

Box office: Unknown (it bombed).

The Life of Stuff (1997)

Dir. Simon Donald

An adaptation of Donald's own play set in a Glasgow gangland nightclub.

Critic's view: "The increasingly hysterical tone ensures whatever wit may have resided in the original play is well and truly crushed". Mail on Sunday.

Budget: £2m

Box office: 304 tickets sold.

Ishtar (1987)

Dir. Elaine May

Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman star as unsuccessful lounge singers who travel to Morocco for work but walk into a Cold War stand-off. A notorious flop with cult status, the comedy drew media attention for its snowballing budget.

Critic's view: "So bad it could almost have been deliberate. May's script is unfunny, and anything approximating a joke is wrung dry." Time Out

Budget: $55m

Box office: $14m

Swept away (2002)

Dir. Guy Ritchie

A bored 40-year-old wife (Madonna) is taken on a private cruise by her mega-rich husband only to find herself stranded on a deserted island with the ship's first mate after a shipwreck. You can guess the rest.

Critics' view: "A shipwreck." Rolling Stone "A vehicle for Madonna, who, as everyone but her husband knows, has the acting talent of a pickled egg." Fiona Sturges, The Independent

Budget: $10m.

Box office: $600,000 (in the US, straight to video in the UK).

The Last Airbender (2010)

Dir. M Night Shyamalan

A devastated Earth is divided into four warring factions, water, earth, fire and air. Two teenagers discover Aang, frozen, and release the last person with the power to, yep, bend air. He must restore balance and peace.

Critics' view: "An agonising 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." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

"The best way to watch The Last Airbender is probably with your eyes closed." A O Scott, The New York Times.

Budget: $150m, plus $130m marketing.

Box office: $16m on first day (Twilight Eclipse took $93m).

Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004)

Dir. Andy Humphries

The sex lives of of four potato delivery men in Birmingham. You don't want to know any more.

Critics' view: "Crude, desperately unfunny... The cinematic equivalent of untreated sewage." The Daily Telegraph

A masterclass in film-making ineptitude... It is one of the most nauseous films ever made. No one felt like lunch." James Christopher, The Times

Budget: £1.8m

Box office: £500,000 in its first week

The Hottie and The Nottie (2008)

Dir. Tom Putnam

Rom-com and Paris Hilton vehicle.

Critics' view: "About as funny as the anal rape scene in The War Zone." James Berardinelli, online critic.

"Toxic stuff." Anthony Quinn, The Independent

Budget: $9m

Box office: $1.6m

No Orchids for Mrs Blandish (1948)

Dir. St John Legh Clowes

Casual sex and brutality that somehow bypassed the censors made this British gangster film hugely controversial on release. With a cast including Sid James, it was set in New York, with the mostly British actors often struggling with their US accents (the American in the cast, Jack LaRue, affected a slight Italian accent).

Critics' view: "It has the morals of an alley cat and the sweetness of a sewer." The Observer

"The most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen." The Monthly Film Bulletin

Budget: unknown.

Box office: dismal .

Gigli (1995)

Dir. Martin Brest

Ben Affleck is a low-ranking mobster charged with kidnapping the mentally-challenged, Baywatch-obsessed brother of a top federal prosecutor. Intended as a black comedy, it became a botched rom-com when financiers sought to cash-in on the real-life relationship between Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, but they lacked any chemistry.

Critic's view: "The least seductive interchange in the history of movie sex is when Ms Lopez parts her lovely legs on a bed and tells Mr Affleck, 'It's turkey time', explaining her invitation with the encouraging words, 'gobble, gobble'." John Walsh, The Independent

Budget: $54m

Box office: $7m

Battlefield Earth (2000)

Dir. Roger Christian

A dreadlocked "security chief" (John Travolta) lives in the year 3000, when Earth has been taken over by aliens, in this adaptation of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard's 1982 novel.

Critic's view: "It ... supports only one message or creed – that you have wasted your time in entering the cinema." David Thomson, The Independent.

Budget: $44m.

Box office: $30m.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury


Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas


Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7


Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary


Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions