Sometimes, it's almost more fun examining the Bottom 10 than the Top 10. So here, in reverse order (best of the worst to worst of the worst, with #1 being the worst), are the least watchable films of 1996.
10. Two if By Sea: Dennis Leary and Sandra Bullock display absolutely no romantic chemistry in a movie that plods along, going nowhere and making us groan rather than laugh. Had it not been for Bullock's surprising 1995 success, this movie would doubtlessly have been headed direct-to-video. It's not even worth renting.
9. Barb Wire: Pamela Anderson Lee does Humphrey Bogart in this ill-conceived remake of Casablanca. Unfortunately, for a project that would seem to have a lot of potential as a campy classic, the opportunity is wasted. The result is a dull and unimaginative film that should be avoided at all costs.
8. High School High: It's been a long time since a Naked Gun-type movie has gotten more than a few forced chuckles out of me. This one, featuring John Lovitz as a high school principal in a Dangerous Minds sendup, is so depressingly awful that I barely cracked a smile. The good scenes -- what few there are -- were shown in the previews and TV commercials.
7. Kazaam: Shaquille O'Neal as a genie. Need I say more? Disney strikes again with their most inane feature of the year.
6. Mr. Wrong: Keep Ellen DeGeneres on TV and away from the big screen. One would think that this premise -- Bill Pullman playing a "nice guy from hell" -- might have some potential, but DeGeneres turns it into a very unpleasant ninety minutes.
5. Camp Stories: Herb Beigel wanted to film his childhood experiences at a Jewish summer camp. What he ended up doing was creating a cliche-riddled, horribly-acted, torturously bad viewing experience.
4. Bad Moon: Some guy in a wolf costume goes around ripping people apart. Unlike Barb Wire, which is just plain boring, this one is a delightfully campy romp. Rent it on video if you're in the mood to see something shockingly bad. It's a laugh-a-minute, although I'm sure that's not what the film makers had in mind.
3. Little Indian, Big City: This film would be horrible even if it wasn't dubbed. Little Indian, Big City is an idiotic tale about a father who brings his jungle-raised son back to live with him in Paris. It's not funny, warm, or remotely likable. Disney, in its infinite wisdom, has remade the film, so we're going to be forced to live through this nightmare again in 1997.
2. Phat Beach: A 1990s version of the genre that won't die: the beach movie. Difficult as it is to believe, this is worse than all of its less-than- illustrious predecessors. (Anyone remember Beach Blanket Bingo or Hardbodies?)
1. Adrenalin: Fear the Rush: 1996's most truly inept movie. A bunch of morons crawl around in dank, damp spaces trying not to get butchered by a mutant psycho serial killer. It's far too long and repetitious to be fun, but it does boast, among other things, the worst acting jobs and the most lame script of the year, and is legitimately on par with last year's worst film, The Mangler.
© 1997 James Berardinelli