I have seen many films at the cinema over the years, but I don’t regard my worst experience as necessarily associated with the lowest-standard films I’ve seen there.
For example, the 2009 film ‘Love and Other Drugs’ is one of the worst films I’ve seen at the cinema in recent years – possibly ever – and was painful to sit through. But in its own way it was so insultingly bad that at least it provided a vivid demonstration in my mind of what bad modern filmmaking is.
Similarly, back in 2003 I went to see Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ and was so repelled and repulsed by it that I haven’t bothered to watch any of his films since. But as much as I hated that film, it certainly left a vivid impression on me (something that Quentin probably would be quite satisfied by).
I think the worst film experience to have is to see a film and for it to virtually evaporate from the memory the instant you leave the cinema. In some quarters that’s promoted as an acceptable cinema experience but if that’s going to occur, why bother at all? Especially with the ever-increasing cost and effort associated with going to the cinema. Films that leave no impression at all do more to dissipate the passion of going to the cinema than films being churned out like that.
By that criteria, two films I’ve seen at the cinema that I recall (that I can’t really recall actually) stand out.
Bored one day in 2008, I decided to see the the Shia LaBeouf thriller ‘Eagle Eye’. As I recall I thought the film was an OK timewaster but it faded from memory as soon as I left the cinema and now looking back, unless I put great effort in I can remember virtually nothing about it.
Topping that though was when I went to see Tim Burton’s remake of ‘Planet of the Apes’ in 2001. Being a major fan of the original POTA (and even the first two sequels to a lesser extent), I eagerly anticipated this one and was majorly disappointed. It wasn’t terrible, but it was a waste of time and despite a “twist ending”, the film dissipated from my mind not long afterwards and now I have virtually no substantial memory of it. And considering the iconic nature of the original film, that’s even more unforgivable than making a memorably misguided remake.
Burton’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ is hardly the worst film I’ve seen at the cinema. But it is the most insignificant and irrelevant, and imo there’s nothing worse for a film to be than that