Sometime in the year 2000, I went to the movies, and I don’t even remember what I ended up seeing because one of the previews left such a profound mark on me that what followed has been erased from my memory. The preview was for Under the Tuscan Sun, and when it came on all I could think was, ”who the fuck would ever want to see this movie?”. That moment crystalized my understanding of the irrelevant.
The movies on this list are not famously bad like Plan 9 From Outer Space. And they’re not notorious flops like Ishtar and Bonfire of the Vanities. In fact, there’s nothing remotely memorable about them. They just sort of exist, but it’s hard to believe they do, because nobody talks about them. In a way, they’re much worse than awesomely bad triumphs like The Room and Troll 2, because those movies at least found an audience. These movies are so wholly uninteresting in every way that they aren’t even worth making fun of.
If you’ve seen any of the following movies, please let me know. You’ll be the first person ever to have seen them, and will be given an award as their respective patient zero.
10. World Trade Center (2006) | Dir. Oliver Stone | 129 min.
Isn’t it weird that Oliver Stone made a movie about 9/11 starring Nicholas Cage as a cop or firefighter? (Nobody knows which it is, because nobody has ever seen this movie.)
Oliver Stone is weird, man. He also made Alexander, which could’ve been on this list too. He also made W., which features a shot where somebody steps on a corncob for literally no reason (it’s emphasized in close up, also for no reason) and where the president of the United States is shown screaming melodramatically in the oval office.
He also made Wall Street, one of the best movies ever made. And he began his career as an interesting dude. It’s somewhere around Natural Born Killers where he went insane.
In the case of World Trade Center, maybe it was one of those ‘too soon’ things? Although that usually applies to comedy. It certainly seems like the kind of movie that somebody would make. Not necessarily him, but what do I know. What I do know is that some people have seen Any Given Sunday (I bet they wish they hadn’t) but nobody on earth has seen World Trade Center.
9. Barb Wire (1996) | Dir. David Hogan | 98 min.
Remember when Pamela Anderson(-Lee) was famous enough to warrant a starring vehicle? She was kind of the second incarnation of that famed Farrah Fawcett poster, and in the mid-nineties she was the world’s ‘it girl’. A vehicle really did make sense at the time. What didn’t make sense was the one they chose. Why not some surfer romantic comedy or something? A weird, futuristic, comic book thing shot almost entirely with graduated ND filters just didn’t make sense whatsoever.
8. The Big Year (2011) | Dir. David Frankel | 100 min.
This is probably the weirdest movie I’ve ever seen. It’s a ‘comedy’ I guess, in the vein of Rat Race and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, I guess. It’s a movie about bird watching. But it’s not a documentary. It stars Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin, and is populated with a pretty impressive cast of character actors.
This is one of those movies that I can only assume must have worked better ‘on the page’ (as they say in ‘the biz’). It’s a phrase meaning that back when you read the script, it seemed great, but somewhere along the way after that it got all discombobulated. This could have been as a result of any number of things. Too many studio notes and cooks in the kitchen. Too many drafts of the script. Poor direction (that is, giving it to a guy whose vision of the project didn’t make sense). Or vice versa, a great director’s vision could’ve been tainted by studio notes or the simple rigors of the process. Moviemaking is a gargantuan, bizarre process that employs hundreds of people for millions upon millions of dollars over long periods of time. Most of them are cogs in the machine and every day is a constant battle to keep your job, secure the next one, and try to please millions of people out in the ether all at once. It makes sense that so many movies suck.
That said, it will never make sense that anybody thought this was a good idea at any point. I think they’re all lucky that nobody saw it.
7. Ladder 49 (2004) | Dir. Jay Russell | 115 min.
This movie existing is a pretty good joke. I think it was on trend, what with firemen being heroes and all. But there was something so laughable about the trailer. It almost dared you to see it, but knew you wouldn’t. Some movies just exist with a cloak of unseeability around them. This is one of them.
6. The African Queen (1951) | Dir. John Huston | 105 min.
Ok look, I’m fully aware that this is a huge classic, but come on, get real. Has anyone actually seen this movie? When is the last time you ever heard anyone mention this thing?
5. Failure to Launch (2006) | Dir. Tom Dey | 97 min.
This is my favorite one on the list and I watch it every time it’s on TV and I’m sure I’m the only one who does. I love it because it’s the absolute epitome of homogenization. It’s like you can see the assembly line it was written, directed and edited on. And you can see the studio executives saying, ‘let’s give Sarah Jessica Parker a vehicle, people like Sex and the City, right? And let’s put her with Matthew McConaughey, he’s hot right? For the parents we’ll get Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw!!! Ya know, for the men!”
It features Bradley Cooper and Zooey Deschanel, both before they were stars. And I think a cameo by Rob Corddry, if I can remember correctly. Not surprised that I can’t.
The premise is kind of neat, I guess. But it’s whittled down to plastic, sitcom nothingness by someone that thought a dolphin arbitrarily biting the main character in the leg in the middle of a ‘buddies debriefing about chicks while shirtless on surfboards scene’ made sense as a comedy beat.
4. No Reservations (2007) | Dir. Scott Hicks | 104 min.
This is an Aaron Eckhart/Catherine Zeta Jones vehicle that couldn’t be more boring if it tried. I haven’t seen it so technically there’s a chance it could be amazing. But the poster makes me sleepy. It’s another one of those movies that begs not to be seen. The DVD art basically has a cloaking device on it.
3. The English Patient (1996) | Dir. Anthony Minghella | 162 min.
There has never in movie history been a faster fall off from popularity to obscurity. Beating Fargo for the Oscar is the only thing this junk will ever be known for. Certainly nobody has ever seen it. Its fifteen minutes of fame culminated as the butt of some hilarious jokes on Seinfeld in an episode where Elaine is turned into a pariah for hating it. She has a great line while watching it in the theater where she screams, “stop telling your stupid story about the desert and just die already!” Seinfeld, as always, was way ahead of its time.
2. Out of Africa (1985) | Dir. Sydney Pollack | 161 min.
I can’t even imagine what this movie could be about. I’m sure it’s set in the midst of some true political what-have-you. And it’s got Meryl Streep I think, she’s always great, so yeah, there’s that. But I don’t know anyone who has seen this thing or knows anything about it.
I considered putting Ordinary People in this spot. A movie that people forever will be mad at because it beat Raging Bull for best picture. The stupidity of that is staggering for so many reasons—one of them being that it’s actually a better movie. But hey, what do I know, I think Empire Strikes Back should’ve won that year.
1. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) | Dir. Audrey Wells | 113 min.
I guess I telegraphed this one but it truly is the most not-cared-about movie of all time. It’s the ground zero of irrelevance.
Everything I’ve said above about each individual movie applies to this one. The poster reeks of boring nothingness that almost demands you look elsewhere. And the thought of watching it, or even anyone else watching it, is basically a joke.
There is, however, a segment of the population that cares about this thing. They wear fanny packs and like Neil Diamond. You guessed it—aunts. Peoples aunts care about Under the Tuscan Sun.
I don’t have any aunts, just five uncles, so it was never in my family. Somebody please ask their aunt what they see in it and report back.
24 thoughts on “10 Movies Nobody Has Seen (Because Nobody Cares About Them)”
i went on a cruise in high school that had 2 movie channels on the tv. one was showing ladder 29 for 24 hours and the other was ray for 24 hours.
Jesus. Did you jump ship?
Best thing I’ve ever heard.
Not fucking one of them here and when I saw the topic, I thought I’d have at least caught one! ‘Cider House Rules’ as any honorable mention?
I’ve seen a scene of Cider House Rules!
For sure. And I’ve only seen three and a half of them.
i saw the English Patient, because when i was in my late teens i had a big crush on Willem Dafoe and wanted to watch everything he was in (this is also how i came to watch Speed 2)…..and it was even more boring than it seems.
Genius, my Dad rent Speed 2: Cruise Control for me when I was sick once.
Have to agree with all of these. At least, I think I do. I haven’t seen any of these. I might recommend most football movies (Gridiron Gang and the like), and also just about anything Jason Statham has ever been in, as Statham currently holds my title for actor I most like watching that I just cannot get into any of his movies.
Agreed, especially about Gridiron Gang. I kinda like Crank as a novelty though.
Not sure I agree with everything on this list. Sure there are few that only die hard movie followers have probably seen. But you list several films from the AFI Top 100 List and if no one had seen them then how would they be on the list! And The English Patient?? It won an Academy Award so I doubt it has a place on a list of movies that no one has scene. Good effort but there are far more options out that that really no one has seen like The Man Who Went Up A Hill And Came Down A Mountain or something.
Lots of people have seen that movie. Also, I have two other lists of great movies that nobody has ever seen. These are movies that define irrelevance.
I suffered through The English Patient, I almost walked out, but I thought it might get better. It didn’t. Elaine was right.Under the Tuscan Sun was actually good for what it was- a romance novel for 40-something divorcees brought to the screen. Empty, but pretty, a good pick for your list. I thought African Queen was OK though. The strange sexual dynamics between Hepburn and Bogart made it worth watching.
You’re really REALLY missing out by not watching The African Queen.
I’ve seen it.
African Queen is a very entertaining movie and worth talking about alone because of the spectacular location shooting. But what you should have put on the list is “How Green Was My Valley” – literally the ONLY reason people are aware of this movie’s existence is that it beat Citizen Kane for best Picture in 1941. It’s not a bad movie (it’s Ford), but it’s just so bland and nondescript that nobody would EVER watch it today. I mean, just look at that logline: “At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life.”
What insufferable arrogance!!! You presume anyone who has seen movies you wouldn’t see must be “nobody”. Didn’t realize your taste was the center of the universe.
African Queen is a classic. The definition of classic is something that surpasses its time. That must mean that lots of nobodies have seen it or it wouldn’t be listed as a classic. Plenty of Humphrey Bogart fans are still out there. Enough to have made him the greatest movie star ever, according to AFI. And they have all seen it. You should see it again and learn to appreciate what makes a truly great film.
The English Patient and Out of Africa were both very popular films made by some of the best people the film industry has produced. Both were adapted from two great books. It might not hurt to raise your literary comprehension level above comic books.
And I am one of the nobodies who saw Under the Tuscan Sun. I saw it 5 times. So does that make me an even bigger nobody? Everyone I know has seen it. It made $58,878,723 worldwide, and it cost $18 million to make. So it went into profit. Lots and lots of nobodies saw it.
Why did I like it, you probably wonder. Because it was set in beautiful, sunny, romantic Italy that dazzled the viewer from every camera angle. Because Diane Lane was excellent in the part, her dilemma was interesting and how she solved it was interesting.
Could it be that these movies are not memorable to you because they are primarily about relationships, and these appeal mostly to women? So women are the nobodies who’ve seen these movies and liked them.
You know, smug is a good name for this blog. However, smugness is always a distorted point of view.
Hm, well, first of all, you’ve certainly laid out a connotative definition for classic. And that’s fine, I guess. But a classic is really just anything of a certain age. It’s relative to the medium, so a classic song might be 40 years, a car might be 25, a movie might be 30, I don’t really know the numbers.
Ironically I have never read a comic book in my life but it’s certainly smug of you to presume that comic books are some how below novels like The English Patient and Out of Africa. I think you could find a myriad of literary critics who would place many comics in much higher regard than those novels.
Also, what do the novels have to do with anything? We’re talkin movies.
And lastly, everything I’ve just said is meaningless anyway, who cares what the AFI or I say. I listed some crappy movies that nobody talks about or has ever seen.
Barb Wire was an indispensable film for the adolescents it was made for. Remember, it was the 90’s, and most of us did not yet have the Internet for porn. Pam was terribe but her tits deserved Oscars for best supporting actress and best soundtrack, respectively.
Augleigh is right about everything except fuck The English Patient.
Classic = old + great, not just old. The old part is just a lot easier to agree on.
So there’s only like 5 classics then?
Such a rhetorical masochist, Greg, always championing some hopeless argument. I get it, you don’t like any old movies. But for most of us, there are certain old movies that we love, that we feel stand above the rest. We call these classics.
When in doubt, check the etymology. The word comes from the Latin classicus, “relating to the highest class of the Roman people.” It means the upper class, the cream of the crop. It also connotates oldness, but mostly because we use it to refer to the great works of Greek and Roman antiquity – the Iliad, the Odyssey, etc. But only the great ones.
Ever hear the phrase instant classic? It doesn’t mean instantly old. If that was the case this blog post, as well as my asinine responses, would fit the bill. ‘Fraid not.
Oddly enough you clearly adhere to this definition by your use in the post, you just shot yourself in the foot in the comments once again. Oh well, everyone needs a shtick.
All that said I quite enjoyed the post. Please continue to give us plenty of fodder to trash you, some laughs, and those rare moments of insight that keep us coming back. Those are classic.
I really wish someone would explain the argument I’m making. I guess if it’s “movies aren’t good” then you’re right. It’s not really an argument though, more like a thing that I think that everyone else also thinks but won’t admit.
It must suck taking everything so seriously though. What does it feel like to get angry if somebody makes fun of a movie that you think is good?
Yeah, this list is obviously put together by some shallow kid who doesn’t really care about anything outside of his little world. He probably thinks the Harry Potter movies are the best film ever.