Ranking the 12 best 'so bad they're good' scenes in sci-fi/fantasy movie history

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Jul 22, 2016, 5:15 PM EDT

Surprisingly, it's a lot rarer to see a really bad scene than it is to see a really bad movie. While stringing together a series of lackluster scenes makes a horrible film, each one of those scenes will at least be semi-okay, at least in most regards. It's like, I could make a horrible batch of brownies, but at least each individual brownie will taste somewhat brownie-ish, and not taste like, say, the bottom of a bus station garbage can. Which is why I decided to recognize the following dozen scenes for being unbelievably atrocious. Then I watched every scene dozens of times to nitpick and weigh each individual transgression (because I hate myself, but I love our readers) ...



For starters, there seems to be no chemistry between the two of them. Which is super odd considering they went on to get married and have three children in real life. This fight scene feels more like "put your block up somewhere, and then I will hit it." Not to mention the setup is creepo: Ben Affleck has been following Jennifer Garner, despite her rebuffing his advances. 

In Hollywood land, beating a woman up makes a great foundation for a healthy superhero relationship. There's no real joke, there, I mean what the hell, Hollywood? Anyway, these two start to duke it out in the most underwhelming superhero showdown since pretty much every showdown in Superman IV.


He's supposed to be an undercover superhero, so having an acrobatic fight in front of a bunch of children is the stupidest move he can make. Oh, also, if you meet a woman who refuses to give you her name and number, maybe don't grab her. Only James Bond is allowed to do that.


Shark Attack 3

When making Jaws, Steven Spielberg decided to show as little of the shark as possible. This was because initial footage seemed pretty hokey. This attitude could have well-served the makers of Shark Attack 3, as the big shark-eats-everyone scene is famous for its lousy effects.


It's mouth is perfectly big enough to eat a guy sideways. What a coincidence!

The scene features such gems as people deciding to "save themselves" from the boat the shark is ramming... by jumping into the water; a guy riding a jet ski straight into the sharks mouth; and the above-pictured guy ripping off a woman's life jacket, to which she convincingly responds, "what? What?" 


Wait, using the shark's mouth as scale, that means the guy in the previous pic was as big as a life raft

It turns out, the filmmakers had very little stock footage of shark attacks from which to work. They also apparently had a complete shortage of fake blood. Doctor Who and Torchwood notable John Barrowman has said he only did this film for the money. Which, honestly, didn't need to be said. I'm not sitting her shouting, "where's the artistic integrity in my direct-to-video Jaws ripoff?" 



Directors realize that watching someone use a computer is the most boring thing in cinematic history. So they add visuals. But even the visual of an exciting cube with globs on it couldn't make this Hugh Jackman solo scene less cheesy.


This hacking scene goes on for an agonizing two minutes. There's not even anyone there for Jackman to talk to, so he must resort to forcing dialogue in increasingly odd ways. At one point Jackman repeatedly hits the enter key while muttering "click, click, click."

The frantic tension of "watching some nerd excitedly type gibberish on a keyboard" is ramped up in the middle of the scene. There, Jackman decides to puzzle out the problem by sitting on his couch while sipping wine.

But, that doesn't last long before it's back to the crazy-frenetic hacking. At one point in time, Hugh Jackman is so excited (to force any kind of blocking into this scene) that he actually... stands up! At no point in time has a hacker been so excited that they have stood up while continuing to type. Any basic hacker knows that this puts unnecessary pressure on your neck, spine, and (presumably) significantly girthy belly.



We can't blame the producers for wanting to put some modern songs into their film. After all, it worked for Moulin Rouge! And what's more like the romantically-charged cabaret hit than a film about kidnapped children? Well, anything and everything, really. 

Originally an off-camera way to get the kids motivated, it was decided that singing the Nirvana hit would become part of the film itself. Not a bad idea, on paper: Pirates sing and filmmakers needed a transition from a trippy travel sequence. In fact, the direction and acting is as good as possible considering the script, which makes this scene somewhat watchable. What makes this scene go down as one of the worst of all time is the utter cluelessness displayed in choosing a song.


"We need a song about youthful rebellion. Hmmm... no, there aren't any. Better pick that meandering one with the mush mouth lyrics about how little teens care."

I see the angle they were going for: It's a song about apathy, which is what happens when you give up the magic and wonder of childhood. But you can't actually have a bunch of people enthusiastically singing about not being enthusiastic and expect to put forth anything but a sense of overwhelming irony. 

Hugh Jackman enters in during the most irreverently silly lyric of the whole song, "and I forget just why It takes- oh yeah, I guess it makes you smile. I found it hard, it was hard to find, oh well, whatever, nevermind." The cruel world of enslaved children is not best introduced to audiences by a bunch of kids singing "I feel stupid." Even that babbling Sims language would have more appropriate gravitas.


Garbage Day! (high quality)

Silent Night, Deadly Night 2

The original intention of the producers was to recut the original and call it a sequel. Writers convinced producers to fund a ten day film session. Apparently hoping to cram a full year-long shoot's worth of emotional expression into just ten days, the actor punctuates every syllable of "garbage day" with a raise of his eyebrows


Those crazy eyes. That's how you know this guy is not messing around. Oh, that and the gun

The poor victim guy has a garbage can filled with leaves, presumably only because yelling "garbage bag!" was considered far less chilling. Although, while we're on the subject of "less chilling," neither the man nor the can gets a bullet wound. This is unlike the time I shot at my garbage can, in that glass from malt liquor bottles did not fly everywhere.

Past the "garbage day" burn comes shooting at a car whose driver stubbornly and stupidly refuses to stop. In truly bad-movie-cliche fashion, the car then blows up for no reason, just like my cell phone used to blow up every time I gave a hot lady my phone number (not right away, it would blow up a few days later when I shot at it out of frustration).


Mac and Me

If you're not hip to this atrocious movie, here's the skinny: 6 long years after E.T., some producers said, "hey let's rip that off and sandwich in even more product placement." Thus, this two hour long commercial for Coca Cola, McDonald's, and Skittles was born.


Not only does he fall off a cliff, he seems to have contracted some sort of spontaneous disease that makes his face look like a burlap sac

They really could have edited out the obviously fake dummy in editing. We don't need the continuity, no gravitationally challenged person is going to say, "wait a minute, he fell off a cliff above a lake...then he is in the lake, HOW did that happen?"

The girl yells at her brother to stop, as if he is somehow in control of gravity. I don't know if the alien is diving into the water to save the boy, or because he's looking for the One True Ring, but putting the kid in a wheelchair at the bottom of the lake and pushing is a sign of vastly inferior intelligence.

Jack Frost (1996)

Jack Frost

WARNING! The above scene features Shannon Elizabeth being sexually assaulted by a snowman.

Jack Frost is yet another beloved children's character turned evil, just like the Gingerdead Man, the Tooth Fairy, and Justin Bieber. His sinister transformation in this 1996 slasher flick leaves us with questions. Questions like, "so wait, he can detach his nose and use it as another, lower part of his anatomy? Who would ever want to do something like that?" Well, Pinocchio, sure, but he's the only one.


Snow forming in a hot bath? Our biggest scare was how fast and loose this film plays with the laws of thermodynamics

I guess the director/writer was worried that we wouldn't realize this was a comedy scene (because, you know, it's tasteless) so they put in some extra ridiculous gags. Like a guy standing outside her window, waving at her, yet for some reason can't hear her screaming. Or how Shannon Elizabeth falls to the ground with eyes closed, then rolls to the camera and opens her eyes to signify she has died. Somewhere back up the line, filmmakers fell under the false impression that viable forms of comedy include "doing things in the most horribly poor manner possible."


Cabin Fever

This scene was literally made up on the spot when the director found out the boy was a black belt (no doubt gained out of the necessity to protect himself due to that haircut). His karate proficiency is evident from his flawless execution of the vicious ancient karate hand bite. Still, even for being shoehorned in, the martial arts moves seem jarring. 


That's disgusting! At least put some maple syrup on that hand

We'd think the truck driving guy would be wary of the kid from the start, as there's an honest-to-gosh sign next to him that reads "do not sit next to Dennis!" Still, even after looking the sign, anyone but this guy would at least take a step back when kid starts doing karate and yelling.

In case you wondered why the kid yells "pancakes," the leading theory has to do with the first person to die from being infected, Henry. Henry had a dog named Pancake, who also died from the disease. Why the kid would yell it in the pluralized form is a mystery, though, maybe this scene was just generated using one of those Mad Libs games.


Troll 2

Definitely my favorite so-bad-its-good-enough-to-sit-through-for-90-minutes, Troll 2 is the product of a director whose crew did not speak the same language as his actors. Actually that might have made the film even worse, as every idea that was conveyed clearly enough to be put on-screen turned out to be horrible.

Above is a classic scene that is crucial to the film, if by "crucial" you mean "contains absolutely no main actors nor plot points." It's always entertaining when someone's last words are needless exposition. My last words are going to be, "I always knew I would die from the stoppage of my circulatory and/or respiratory functions!"


Obligatory mention that there are absolutely, positively, 100% zero trolls in this film

At 0:42 nerdy guy decides to not put down his poison mug, and actually steps closer to the creepy poisoning woman. Because no matter what the danger, every actor is irresistibly drawn to wherever the masking tape "x" on the floor is.

Rounding out this comedy of errors is the lines. The dialogue is stiffer than a four-day-old dog turd, "oh my God, what's happening to her? And why can't I move? There must be a logical reason for all of this!" <Still doesn't drop his cup of poison.>

Like a 300-pound gymnast completing a vault by landing on their face, this scene makes sure to end with a bang:and a wheeze: The classic "zoom in on screaming mouth, then cut to a completely arbitrary painting and zoom in on that."



The film holds the record for "most times that I had to google 'is [this film] a joke.'" If the Hitchcock classic, the Birds, is a well-oiled machine, then Birdemic is a ton of seagull diarrhea falling on it from above.

I chose this scene because it has the all time worst sound editing ever. Consider this: There are like infinite free-to-use clapping sound files on the Internet. Taking one and sticking it into a video editor takes like a minute, yet the maker of this film eschewed this simple solution in favor of the audio equivalent of a Jackson Pollack painting. Honestly, it's like the editor somehow didn't know the secret, super-complicated way to separate the audio from the video file in editing (it's right-click).


In fact, we're pretty sure the filmmaker didn't know basic techniques, since they managed to these two separate shots in the same room without bothering to white balance. I went to film school, which means I've made even worse movies while probably more inebriated than this filmmaker was, and I still remembered to hit the white balance button every time

The scene goes on to show almost every one of the twelve people at the table, including the guy who magically appears next to the speaker at 0:15, and even shows two bro guys TWICE. The background music plays for twenty seconds, pauses for the unbelievably-important announcement that people's stock options are, in fact, viable sources of money, then the music REPEATS. Seriously, the only reason I didn't make fun of the guy mock humping a chair was because it's actually less offensive than any of the editing choices in this scene.


Teen Witch

A lot of people don't know this, because it is uselessly trivial, but there was work on a female-led sequel to the 1980s hit Teen Wolf. Eventually it broke off into the unrelated 1989 film Teen Witch. Maybe because the Teen Wolf people wanted nothing to do with this scene. For real, though, I survived the brightly-colored explosion that was 1980s fashion, and I can tell you that squeezing into a tank top that is 5 sizes too small was never cool, not even then.


I did spend a great deal of my pubescent years gyrating awkwardly. But then I switched to boxers.

Oddly enough, the Teen Witch tweaking her charm makes the radio sound like it's changing stations, so I can only assume that hoodoo magic works on some sort of AM frequency. This makes the other girl do the traditional Old Testament mating dance of rap battling.


In the 1989, Karate Kid was so popular that "Crane Style" crossed over into offensively bad hip hop

The writing is so bad that, rather than come up with one of the billions of stand ins for swear words, they just leave a pause to fit the meter


Too much mousse in the hair plugs of the one guy young enough to pass as 30 something





And the (dis)honor of being number one on this list goes to the basketball scene from the disastrous movie, Catwoman (no, not the disastrous Anne Hathaway film, I'm talking about the other disastrous one). 

So let's break down what makes this far and away the worst:

At 0:39 Halle Berry takes off her jacket to reveal... another jacket? A cardigan with sleeves designed for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? What the hell is that, and why doesn't she take it off?

0:50 makes me mad, not just because Halle Berry and Benjamin Bratt are getting all grabby in front of a bunch of kids, but also because it reminds me that NBA refs never call enough illegal hand checks. 


At 1:13 he "steals" the ball, by which I mean he "stands there ogling Halle Berry's rear while Halle Berry grabs the ball with both hands and bounces it between her legs for no reason." Then, instead of simply turning around for the easy score, he does a "taunt" I have only seen done before when my pregnant wife needed to cool off her stretch marks. 

At 1:26 She "dunks" on him with special effects that look like someone click-and-dragged her body towards the hoop. Oh, and she throws it in from like three feet away

At 1:30 She lands on him, and in case the rampant molestation didn't tip you off that thtere was sexual chemistry, she lands on top of him.


I remember the classic days of the NBA Finals, when Bird and Magic would often end up riding each other, cowgirl-style

This ridiculousness alone wasn't enough to put this at the top. I actually had it number two until I counted and realized that there are 125 motion sickness-inducing cuts in this 104-second clip. You know how many cuts are in a heart-stopping, 48 minute long NBA game? Zero.