The Worst Movie I’ve Ever Seen: Citizen Kane

I was reading the comments for a movie review the other day and one poster identified the film under discussion as “The worst movie I’ve ever seen.” I googled the sentence because it seems to me that I’ve been seeing it a lot lately. 19,700 hits.

Some of the movies deemed “the worst ever”: 10,000 BC, Open Water, Meet the Spartans, Twister.

If Twister is the worst you’ve seen, viewer, then let me warn you that there are a lot, a mighty lot, of seriously terrible movies out there that you’ve somehow managed to miss up till now.

Some of the google hits turned out to be for “not the worst movie I’ve ever seen,” but still. Other worst-seens: Wanted, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ladder 49, Legends of the Fall.

It’s a strange world that we live in.

So my question is, how many of these posters list a movie as their worst, but then do it again, and perhaps again, serial worsters, naming many of the  movies they see? Pathalogical worsters. Are these movie-watchers caught in some downward spiral vectoring them toward cinema Hell? Or do they also keep encountering their best-ever? Is every movie that they see either the best or the worst or the most or the least, or were these folks just having a bad day, or are they just lonely and wailing for help or for a little attention, or is hyperbole now a plague in the U.S. that has given us, for example, a major political party for which everything under consideration is either perfectly good or perfectly evil? How does Limbaugh rate his movies, or is he even allowed to go out and see movies?

“The worst movie I’ve seen.” 15,800 hits. A guy names “Benjamin Button” as his personal worst. Gets some agreement from other commenters but also some violent flames. Best ever/worst ever struggle breaks out over Button. They walk among us, these comment-posters, seemingly normal humans.

There are sites that do prompt for your worsts, asking “What’s the worst movie you’ve seen?” Nothing wrong with that. Moths to the flame. “The worst movie ever made.” 63,200 hits. I’ve got no problem with legitimate contenders for worst, or with the fun of trying to pick that worst flick. Zardoz, Showgirls, Gigli, Ishtar, Cleopatra, The Hottie and the Nottie, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, the Turkish Wizard of Oz, and many many more, all legitimate contenders. But the googled worst-made list also includes Spiderman 3, Black Hawk Down, Southland Tales, I Am Legend, Lions and Lambs, Star Wars episode III, etc. Were these the picks of hotheads, or the challenged, or those unclear on the concept, or iconoclasts in want of an icon, or simple knuckleheads, or some species of the disgruntled?

I can name my worst pain and my worst breakup with a girlfriend and the worst President of the U.S. in my lifetime. I’m no worst hater (or wurst hater, either). I personally don’t have a worst movie but I suppose I could name a few candidates. The question is, are all the posted “worsts” true candidates like my own, or are they exposing a septicemiaized vein in the body cinematic?

“The worstest movie I’ve seen.” 2 hits. Talladagea Nights, Signs. Thirteen circles of movie inferno and we’re down at the bottom here, in the worstest, the icy lakes of Hades with their movie reviewers frozen in ice up to their padded hips, along with the future shades of Will Ferrell and M. Night Shyamalan.

Note also that there are chuckleheads who name Citizen Kane the worst, as per the title above. And speaking of the worst, Google also yields: “The Bible is the worst book ever.” and “The worst book in the Bible? Okay, this won’t be easy. There are only three books in the bible that have more good stuff than bad.” and “To the faithful in particular: what’s your least favourited/most hated book in the ‘good’ book?”

“The worst movie I have ever seen.” 28,200 hits. Watchman (of course), Son of Mask, Last Days (the van Zant flick).

“Most awful movie.” 1,430 hits. The Fifth Element, Snakes on the Plane (I’ve only seen Snakes on a Plane…), Burn After Reading.

“Most terrible movie.” 704 hits. State of the Union, Slumdog Millionaire (of course), Driven, The Door in the Floor.

“Baddest movie.” 1,230 hits. Nah, bad is good.

“Rottenest movie.” 9 hits. Tropic Thunder (because of the r word), Lost Souls, Blazing Saddles.

“rottnest movie.” 2 hits. Cool Runnings, The Lion King.

These are the worst posts I’ve ever read.

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2 Responses

  1. Ok, so Citizen Kane isn’t the worst movie ever made, however, and you can consider me a ‘chucklehead’ if you want, it is the most over rated movie ever made.

    I fully understand and appreciate its importance to cinema history and how revolutionary it was and how much of a triumph it was for Orson Welles and all that, but it just hasn’t really stood the test of time and, frankly, giving away the entire story to come in the first few minutes of the movie makes me wonder why I’m watching it in the first place.

    Sorry if you really love that movie. I just really don’t.

    Oh, and my votes for worst movie I’ve ever seen is a tie between Overdrawn at the Memory Bank and Death Bed: The Bed That Eats.

  2. Brian,
    I agree that Citizen Kane has not aged as well as some of its contemporaries.

    Perhaps it’s because Kane is so experimental that it feels like a machine from the 1940s, as though the characters were tools, an afterthought, and camerawork and staging were paramount.

    It doesn’t compete well with a simple comic love story like His Girl Friday, for instance, in the humanity department, which is that familiar thing that people, generations removed, can still enjoy without a lot of probing and psychoanalysis.

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