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Top 10 Embarrassing Movies by Critically Acclaimed Directors

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Craig Butler. Everybody has something to hide – and these famous directors would love to make these movie mistakes disappear. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 most embarrassing movies by critically acclaimed directors. For this list, we’re looking at directors who’ve been rewarded for their work – both with awards and box-office returns – but who have at least one film in their catalogue that stands out as dull, mediocre or just plain bad. Special thanks to our users Bang Jan, Frank Spijker, Joshua Allen, MrKlatez, Maximillian Mages, Dominique Victor Meyer, TheDude, jimbob, TheCardboardClaymore, WatchDogsFan47, Austin Bishop, ShyOrange306, longjohnsilver, TylerDurden, Erik blidner and CliffyFive for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Craig Butler.

Top 10 Embarrassing Movies By Critically Acclaimed Directors


Everybody has something to hide – and these famous directors would love to make these movie mistakes disappear. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting our picks for the top 10 most embarrassing movies by critically acclaimed directors.

For this list, we’re looking at directors who’ve been rewarded for their work – both with awards and box-office returns – but who have at least one film in their catalogue that stands out as dull, mediocre or just plain bad.

#10: “Alien 3” (1992)
David Fincher

David Fincher’s work on films like “The Social Network” has been justly applauded; but the stinker that is “Alien 3” has been justly derided. But the movie’s horrible dialogue, lousy pacing and total lack of suspense aren’t all Fincher’s fault: not only was it his first big-budget film; he was also brought in late in the game and started filming with an unfinished script. The final insult that sealed this flick’s fate? The studio recut the film without Fincher’s input or consent.

#9: “A Good Year” (2006)
Ridley Scott

Why did Ridley Scott, the director of “Gladiator” and “Blade Runner,” think that he had anything to bring to a soppy romantic comedy? Dude, you’re all about action and manly men: what are you doing filming fuzzy long shots of picture postcard French scenery? The critic for The Guardian called “A Good Year” a “humourless cinematic slice of tourist gastro-porn.” Yeah, what he said.

#8: “Hulk” (2003)
Ang Lee

Okay, Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was amazing, but everything that made it cool was missing from the director’s 2003 take on the “Hulk.” Look, on one level the character of Hulk is about the beast inside every man, but really what he’s all about is simple: Hulk get mad, Hulk smash. Lee’s crushingly boring, seemingly endless film took itself way too seriously and is one of the least fun superhero films ever made.

#7: “The Ladykillers” (2004)
Joel and Ethan Coen

The Brothers Coen are known for their off-beat, quirky, subversive take on life, as evidenced by films like “The Big Lebowski;” when they stick to black comedy, no one can beat them. So what the hell were they thinking with “The Ladykillers”? You go to a Coen film looking for a certain degree of subtlety, but in “Ladykillers” it’s like they channeled their inner three-year-olds, proving that even smart filmmakers can do dumb things.

#6: “Elizabethtown” (2005)
Cameron Crowe

Memo to Cameron Crowe: When making a movie, something needs to happen to keep the viewer’s interest. You’d think after “Almost Famous” he’d know that, but he seems to have totally forgotten it with “Elizabethtown.” Yeah, Orlando Bloom’s a nice guy, but two-hours of him aimlessly puttering around is too much. Especially when he’s uttering dialogue that makes a first-grader cringe. Lesson learned: never make your lead character a shoe designer – or let him say things like shoes are “what connect us to the Earth.”

#5: “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001)
Steven Spielberg

Maybe if Stanley Kubrick, who originated the idea for “A.I.”, had finished it, the film would have been a masterpiece. And you would think that the man who brought us “Jaws” and “E.T.” could pull off a film like “A.I.” But somehow, under Spielberg’s handling, a potentially dark tale of robots interacting with humanity became a sticky-sweet tale with forced humor, false emotions and a structure that keeps falling apart. Spielberg at his best is genius; here, he’s floundering.

#4: “The Dilemma” (2011)
Ron Howard

Ron Howard is known for touching, powerful films like “Apollo 13” and “A Beautiful Mind,” so why did he agree to direct 2011’s “The Dilemma”? This $70-million mess wants to be a lowbrow comedy, but Howard clearly feels uncomfortable with the material and that shows in every frame. From its first trailer, with its “electric cars are gay” line, “The Dilemma” was marked as a loser.

#3: “Alexander” (2004)
Oliver Stone

They say it takes a genius to make a really terrible movie, so “Alexander” certainly puts Oliver Stone high on the genius list. The director had already proved himself with successes like “Platoon” and “JFK,” but everything is wrong with this biopic of Alexander the Great, from a miscast Colin Farrell to an annoying Angelina Jolie. The script is ludicrous, the pace is deadly and even the history is inaccurate. Sorry, Ollie, but this Alexander is not so great.

#2: “Piranha II: The Spawning” (1981)
James Cameron

“Titanic” made James Cameron “King of the World,” but 1981’s “Piranha II: The Spawning” made him “King of the Worst.” A film about piranhas that have learned to fly – we kid you not – should at least be trashy fun. But this is simply inept, with monsters that one critic said look like “haddock with dentures.” “Piranha II” would have sunk another director’s career, but with “Terminator” Cameron proved that “he’ll be back.”

Before we attempt to wipe our top pick from our memories, here are a few honorable – or dishonorable – mentions:
- “Ghosts of Mars” (2001) John Carpenter
- “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990) Brian De Palma
- “Hereafter” (2010) Clint Eastwood
- “Psycho” (1998) Gus Van Sant
- “Planet of the Apes” (2001) Tim Burton

#1: “Jack” (1996)
Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola showed genuine brilliance with films like “The Godfather,” but he’s had more than his share of bombs – and “Jack” is the A-bomb of his career. This dramedy is about a boy, played by Robin Williams, aging at an accelerated rate. Coppola can’t reconcile the shifts in tone between melodrama and comedy, and he lets Williams ham it up shamelessly. Watching “Jack,” you marvel at its sheer awfulness. If it weren’t for his earlier successes, you’d think that Coppola didn’t know jack about making movies.

Do you agree with our picks? What other directorial embarrassments should we have added to this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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