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The films that Roger Ebert hated the most

Over the years, Roger Ebert became a huge part of the popular discourse surrounding cinema because of his ability to recognise and champion films which were unconventional in their artistic intentions. His early advocacy for Bonnie and Clyde helped reshape the American audience’s understanding of cinema and facilitated the emergence of the New Hollywood Movement.

Ebert always told young critics that it was their responsibility to watch all the films they can instead of picking the ones they know they will like which is why he often ended up watching a lot of trash. Thankfully, his reviews of the horrendous films were always more entertaining than the films themselves.

Talking about the 1979 film Caligula, Ebert described it as “sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty. Disgusted and unspeakably depressed, I walked out of the film after two hours of its 170-minute length.”

However, he often found himself on the opposing end of the general consensus as well. In his scathing review of the beloved crime thriller The Usual Suspects, Ebert claimed that it was a shallow exercise in genre filmmaking which hid its emptiness under the meaningless intellectual exercises it presented.

He wrote: “Once again, my comprehension began to slip, and finally I wrote down: ‘To the degree that I do understand, I don’t care.’ It was, however, somewhat reassuring at the end of the movie to discover that I had, after all, understood everything I was intended to understand. It was just that there was less to understand than the movie at first suggests.”

Check out the full list of the films he disliked below.

The films Roger Ebert hated the most:

  • Joe Dirt (Dennie Gordon, 2001)
  • North (Rob Reiner, 1994)
  • One Woman or Two (Daniel Vigne, 1985)
  • Mad Dog Time (Larry Bishop, 1996)
  • The Hot Chick (Tom Brady, 2002)
  • Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (Mike Bigelow, 2005)
  • B.A.P.S. (Robert Townsend, 1997)
  • Baby Geniuses (Bob Clark, 1999)
  • Sorority Boys (Wallace Wolodarsky, 2002)
  • Spice World (Bob Spiers, 1997)
  • An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (Alan Smithee and Arthur Hiller, 1997)
  • The Waterboy (Frank Coraci, 1998)
  • Sour Grapes (Larry David, 1998)
  • The Dukes of Hazzard (Jay Chandrasekhar, 2005)
  • She’s Out of Control (Stan Dragoti, 1989)
  • A Lot Like Love (Nigel Cole, 2005)
  • Tommy Boy (Peter Segal, 1995)
  • Freddy Got Fingered (Tom Green, 2001)
  • Catwoman (Pitof, 2004)
  • The Guardian (William Friedkin, 1990)
  • Ben (Phil Karlson, 1972)
  • Stargate (Roland Emmerich, 1994)
  • 13 Ghosts (William Castle, 1960)
  • Constantine (Francis Lawrence, 2005)
  • The Devil’s Rain (Robert Fuest, 1975)
  • Critters 2 (Mick Garris, 1988)
  • Deep Rising (Stephen Sommers, 1998)
  • The Deathmaster (Ray Danton, 1972)
  • Cyborg (Albert Pyun, 1989)
  • Halloween III (Tommy Lee Wallace, 1982)
  • Armageddon (Michael Bay, 1998)
  • Resident Evil (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2002)
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Alexander Witt, 2004)
  • Ballistics: Ecks vs. Sever (Wych Kaosayananda, 2002)
  • Battlefield Earth (Roger Christian, 2000)
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II (Tony Randel, 1988)
  • The Village (M. Night Shyamalan, 2004)
  • The Scarlet Letter (Roland Joffe, 1995)
  • The Skulls (Rob Cohen, 2000)
  • Flashdance (Adrian Lyne, 1983)
  • The Green Berets (John Wayne, Ray Kellogg and Mervyn LeRoy, 1968)
  • Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997)
  • Swing Kids (Thomas Carter, 1993)
  • Staying Alive (Sylvester Stallone, 1983)
  • Easy Come, Easy Go (John Rich, 1967)
  • Betty Blue (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1986)
  • The First Time (James Neilson, 1969)
  • Camille 2000 (Radley Metzger, 1969)
  • The Blue Lagoon (Randal Kleiser, 1980)
  • Friends (Lewis Gilbert, 1971)
  • The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)
  • Beyond and Back (James L. Conway, 1978)
  • Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (John Glen, 1992)
  • Body of Evidence (Uli Edel, 1993)
  • Caligula (Tinto Brass, 1979)
  • Last Rites (Donald P. Bellisario, 1988)

Many of Ebert’s opinions have also been widely disregarded, including his evaluation of Taste of Cherry: “A case can be made for the movie, but it would involve transforming the experience of viewing the film (which is excruciatingly boring) into something more interesting, a fable about life and death.”

Thankfully, most film fans who have seen Abbas Kiarostami’s masterpiece have appreciated it for what it is – an astounding exploration of the human condition in which a man’s search for someone to bury him after suicide represents our desire for human connection in modern society.

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