These movies had us cringing from the beginning

Carrie: This week we’re going to bash some of the movies that we’d like to forget ever happened.

“War of the Worlds” (2005)

Carrie: For an out and out sci-fi nerd like me, I was distressed with what Steven Spielberg did with this. He changed it from an action-packed movie in which scientists slaved to find a solution, to a movie about a pack of lemmings that said, “Let’s run away and turn on the person in the basement with us.” The original’s focus on a scientist was much more entertaining than focusing on a guy from Newark whose only solution was to hide and try to find his ex-wife. The Cruise character’s reaction was understandable, but it lacked the excitement of the original.

Jess: While I don’t believe this is the worst Spielberg film ever made, it certainly didn’t live up to its potential. It had the potential to be a very interesting, entertaining sci-fi picture, but it ultimately ended up being both drawn-out and rushed all at once. The ending was anti-climatic and left the viewer slightly confused and wanting a better explanation. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been trying to live up to such a classic.

“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)

Carrie: I’m a huge fan of the Indiana Jones franchise (I practically fainted when I heard about “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”), but this was my least favorite of the four. They took Indy out of his element of fighting Nazis (and later Russians) to fight gangsters in Shanghai, and then some religious cult in India. Plus, he gets those super sidekicks to go along for the ride. It just didn’t seem to fit the character they’d established in the first movie and revived in the last two. Plus, the scenes in the actual temple were just disgusting.

Jess: Seriously, change the main character and it’s a completely different movie. The other Indy movies were based on renowned historical objects generally of a religious nature. While “Temple of Doom” kept the religious aspect intact, it shifted to a more obscure object many were probably unfamiliar with. Not to mention that unlike the other films, this one had ridiculous dialogue and a strange plot that ultimately didn’t fit in with the rest of the series.

“Good Luck Chuck” (2007)

Jess: This movie just didn’t know what it wanted to be. It had all the makings of a stereotypical guy flick, complete with nudity and crude humor. Had they left it at that, it would have been forgettable. However, the writers apparently wanted to appeal to the female demographic as well and attempted to throw in more sentimental moments. Maybe I’m just crazy, but showing a montage of a guy sleeping with 20 women one minute then confessing his love to someone else the next isn’t romantic. It’s just dumb and unrealistic.

“The Day the Earth Stood Still” (2008)

Carrie: I had high hopes for this movie. Klactu’s character is supposed to be slightly monotone, so I saw Keanu Reeves and I thought, “Score.” But this movie was so not a score. Reeves was actually pretty decent and enjoyable as the “alien menace,” but it was the plot that derailed this movie. I understand they were trying to make it more contemporary by making the issues global warming and pollution as opposed to the original’s nuclear warfare and disrupting the galaxy’s peace, but that was their mistake. Not only did making the aliens more warlike (in the original they were just watching and willing to help) and ready to destroy Earth, it took away all of the merits of the original. Plus, the ending made even less sense than “War of the Worlds.”

“Forces of Nature” (1999)

Jess: Romantic comedies are supposed to be predictable, light and cute. So why then does the male protagonist not end up with the heroine in this movie? No one walks into a movie like this thinking, “Gee, I hope the main characters DON’T end up together.” Then again, when you throw Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock into a movie together with a threadbare plot and poor writing, I guess you can’t really expect anything more than what was delivered.

“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999)

Jess: With three such monumental films preceeding it, we all had high hopes for this first prequel installment. Although the special effects were nothing short of incredible, it lacked that certain something that made the first three so amazing. Besides, when you try to replace Chewbacca with the ever-annoying JarJar Binks, people are going to get pissed. It was inevitable that this film would draw criticism, but George Lucas definitely made it a little too easy.

Carrie: Where to begin? I almost had a heart attack when I heard Lucas was actually going to be making the first three movies (my greatest regret in life is that I wasn’t alive for when four, five and six debuted). And then I saw this. JarJar Binks was a joke. The budding romance between Anakin and Amidala was just creepy (I still think Anakin should have been older). And the podrace, while exciting, went on way too long. Ewan McGregor was good as Obi-won Kenobi, but Liam Neeson in another mentor role? Really? I was happy when Qui-Gon died. Don’t worry, Liam. You died in this one, but you came back as Aslan a few years later. Lions are way cooler than Jedis, anyway.

“Batman and Robin” (1997)

Jess: The earlier Batman movies were always a little comical, tending to follow the cartoons rather than the original comics. This, however, took it to an entirely new level. Two ridiculous villains, one bent on freezing the earth and the other wanting to repopulate it with plants? Come on. It’s no wonder this was the last installment in the Batman series for more than a decade. Even though it sucks beyond comparison, it’s hilarious to watch and see just how bad a movie can be.

Carrie: Batman is my favorite superhero. Well, after the Flash, but that’s neither here nor there. And compared to movies about other superheroes (like the last two Superman movies with Christopher Reeve), his haven’t been terrible. Except this movie. Oh George Clooney, why this one? Why? You’re one of, if not the, best Batmans in the worst movie. Chris O’Donnell wasn’t terrible as Robin. And Alicia Silverstone was forgettable, but not exactly bad, as Batgirl. But the nipples. They single-handedly ruined this movie. Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely helped as a very unbelievable and extraordinarily annoying Mr. Freeze. But, oh – the nipples.

Join Carrie and Jess next week when they talk about literary classics that were actually enjoyable to read. Caroline Russomanno can be reached at russoma4@tcnj.edu.