6 STUPID movies that insult your INTELLIGENCE

Have you ever had the feeling that someone with deadly seriousness is trying to push a completely idiotic plot on you, insulting your intelligence?

Rafał Donica

26 December 2022

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about Michael Bay’s Transformers, dinosaurs running around the park or snakes in an airplane, which are aware of what they are, and don’t try to pretend they are something else. I mean the kind of film in which the starting point and the whole development of the plot is, what’s to say, just silly, and at the same time given completely in earnest, with great pomp and puffery. The plot stumbles over its own absurdities, the actors deliver logic-free lines, keeping a stone face, while the audience gets the impression that…. in a moment Leslie Nielsen will enter the cockpit and, as seriously as possible, say: good luck, we’re counting on you – even though the plane has long since landed.

1. Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979)

The famous 1972 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure ended with the characters managing to get out of the going down ship at the last minute. Seven years later, someone got the idea that since a piece of the ship’s ass was still sticking out above the water in the last scene, let’s… make a sequel! Among others, Michael Caine (later to win two Oscars and serve as Nolan’s Batman’s manservant), Sally Field (winner of two Oscars and mother of Forrest Gump) and Telly Savalas (later to win… not a single Oscar, but Kojak himself) rush to the scene of the disaster, i.e. actors who were on the acting top at that time. Well, and they board the (still) sinking ship, which is sinking and sinking, something keeps exploding in it, water keeps pouring in, the characters shudder again and again with each explosion, that it’s over, that it’s over (and yet the film has only just begun), and the ship still doesn’t sink definitively, as if it’s chickening out with its bow against the bottom?

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There is a definite intrigue here, for it involves some sort of treasure hunt in the interior of the Poseidon, there are some sharp shootings and even more living passengers from the previous film (e.g. Peter Boyle) are found. However, the film can’t be taken seriously even for a minute, because the idiotic starting point sits in your head. It’s a bit as if someone came up with the idea of making Thelma and Louise 2: Before the Fall, telling the story of the characters’ fate between jumping into the abyss and crashing to the ground. In 1979, the Golden Raspberry Awards did not yet exist, So Beyond the Poseidon Adventure had to settle for The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards chapter’s honor for worst film.

2. Sunshine (2007)

I don’t know how Danny Boyle sold audiences and critics a movie about an expedition to the Sun. As if at least the introduction had said in Morgan Freeman’s voice something like that they fly in winter or at night… somehow I could believe that they would fly to the Sun and not get brown. However, it’s not just a movie about a trip where the characters could make scrambled eggs by putting eggs by the window. It’s a movie about the RESCUE of the Sun, which is dimming because there’s something there. Shit, in some countries (okay, in Poland) we still don’t know how to patch a hole in the asphalt very well, and we rave about the Sun.

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Americans, decides that they will hit the yellow dwarf with a nuke (the real one, not the cartoon girl), after all, as other films have shown (Armageddon, Deep Impact, The Core), problems of great magnitude are most effectively dealt with just with a bomb. Whatever the fact that the Sun has a temperature of 5500 degrees Celsius, the American spacecraft can handle it, as can the crew, as long as they use tinted glasses. And although attacking the Sun, larger than the Earth by so much that I freakin’ say!, with an atomic bomb of an earthly scale, after all, can be compared to throwing a cigarette into the ocean, it turns out that this firing with the power of an out-of-date cap, gives the Sun to think, it begins to shine more strongly, and the Earth becomes instantly brighter. Can it be done? Yes, it can.

3. The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979)

A journalist uncovers a conspiracy involving a gunman and her former lover. She brilliantly informs her former lover so that he will have a chance to prevent her from delivering incriminating evidence to Moscow. Having access to modern weapons, the man then decides to bring down the famous Concorde passenger jet with a woman on board. To do so, he sends first a smart (though, as it turns out, not so smart at all) rocket, and then a combat F-4 Phantom, looking like a special effect from Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space, only the lines holding the model can’t be seen. You can’t see the pilot either – seriously, in the wider shots of the plane flying, we see empty seats! And that cheesy-looking F-4, which even a kindergartner would laugh at, having seen it in, say, The Teletubbies, chases that poor Concorde around for half an hour, shooting rockets at it. The pilots of the passenger giant fire flares (through a window open in flight, because how else?), spin barrels, and the passengers have a free rollercoaster. And it’s sad to watch George Kennedy (the face of the Airport series) and Alain Delon (the face of… Alain Delon) sitting at the controls trying to stay serious, pulling off all these ridiculous maneuvers that even in the cartoons Crazy Melodies would get away with being too crazy.

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But that’s not the end of the idiocies served up to us with deadly seriousness. After an emergency landing, for example, the pilots don’t go to report and discuss with anyone the disturbing issue that they just tried to bring down a passenger plane. No, they go to a romantic rendezvous with their girlfriends, spend the night scouting, without a word about the recent incidents. But the dumbest thing at the end, well, in the morning, all of them – the crew and the battered passengers from the day before (who should be at least slightly shocked) – board with a smile, as if the guys in black flashed them in the night with that memory erasing thing. Eventually, a bomb explodes in the plane and the Concorde, which breaks in half, lands without fuel or landing gear on a ski slope in the Alps. No one is hurt, only they got a little snow in the cabin, and the machine with an empty tank exploded. Curtain. The film received 3 nominations for The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, including in the category for worst director.

4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Emmerich gives the go-ahead, cramming the audience with a turbo version of global climate warming, causing… global climate cooling. So in the morning, half of Antarctica breaks off, at noon the water floods New York (because it’s the whole world, after all), and by evening all the water freezes and all the snow enthusiasts are close to the ice rink. In order not to get frostbite on your butt, you just need to put old newspapers in your pants, fire up the fireplace with books and close the door tightly. Well, and you have to watch out for wolves of some kind. In addition, the heroes come up with the idea of burning (quickly burning!) books, although the library is full of furniture, chairs, tables….

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In all these absurdities, of course, we will find – just to kill us, I guess, if the frost hadn’t finished us off yet – heroic feats of the main characters, escaping from the rapidly falling temperature, trampling (literally!) on their heels. At times, it’s not clear whether it’s more cold or stupid in this film, because in the morning… it’s actually getting warmer. Military helicopters arrive to pick up the chilled residents of NY, and in a few hours everything will probably be back to normal, you’ll just have to clear the snow off the sidewalk in front of your house.

5. Raise the Titanic (1980)

Imagine if someone comes up with an idea for a movie in which, for example, Lex Luthor has to get to the World Trade Center tower before it collapses in order to steal from it the only piece of kryptonite left on Earth… It’s unlikely that anyone would come up with the idea of such an exploitation of the 2001 tragedy, right? So what would you say about the plot of Raise the Titanic? Cold War. The Soviet Union is in a race with the U.S. as to who will be the first to pull out from under the water the wreck of the Titanic, on board of which (and only there!) is the element byzantium, which is the basis for building… weapons of the future. “Who the hell… who gave you such a botched script!”? Surprisingly, the film with such a nonsensical starting point, which harms common sense and the memory of the victims of the 1912 disaster, was based on one of the series of books about the adventures of Dirk Pitt, in which supposedly (I have not read) the Titanic is just a background for the whole intrigue.

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The author of the book, Clive Cussler, was, incidentally, so embarrassed by the level of the film that he stopped further resale of the rights to his works for many years. It was only years later that he took off the ban on Dirk Pitt’s character, and that’s how Sahara was made with Matthew McConaughey, which, by the way, he was also embarrassed by. Back on topic, it is impossible to watch Raise the Titanic seriously and without holding your forehead in a gesture of embarrassment. I freely admit, however, that the moment of the famous ship’s ascent (in one piece, but that’s forgivable, since it was only five years later that the wreck was discovered split in two) came out for all its irrationality quite impressively and spectacularly, as did the later sequence of the colossus’ entry into port. But let’s not let these two pluses obscure all the downsides of this simply silly and extremely boring film. The interesting fact remains that Steve McQueen himself was tried on for the lead role, but he turned down the offer, stating that the script sucked. Is he a prophet or what?

6. Prometheus (2012)

Ridley Scott’s 2012 film, though he thinks he’s telling a grandly serious story about man’s encounter with his creator, is in fact the story of the most amateurish space expedition of all time. Prometheus crew is a random assemblage of specialists, come back!, individuals, as if from a Big Brother roundup. Its members get along with each other on average, and immediately after landing on an alien planet they make the not-so-mature decision to take off their helmets, well, because “I guess the air is ok”. What about some unknown life forms, possible bacteria, etc.? The whole film is full of absurdities; instead of running away after meeting some creepy-crawly shit in the water, our explorers call out to it “Gili, gili pretty” and want to stroke it. Well, they stroked it…

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And that pathetic attempt to weave the iconic Space Jokey from Alien into it all; some gods, holograms from the past running through the corridors, a dead head coming to life only to smell and explode. And then there’s the main course, which is a self-induced cesarean section, the wound stapled with an office stapler and immediate discharge home, the patient healthy as a horse! – The film’s tagline could read: “In space, no one will hear you complain about the National Health Service.” For dessert, there’s helmet glass that can withstand a silica storm but not a fist blow, escape from a rolling steel donat stubbornly forward instead of sideways, and a giant octopus that grows several meters over the course of several hours. Well, but the express pumping of aliens from squirrel size to horse size is the affliction of all installments of the series, so while I cling, I don’t.

Rafał Donica

Rafał Donica

Since watching "Blade Runner", he has been passionate about cinema, loves "Akira", "Drive", "Escape from New York", "North by Northwest", the underrated "The Hateful Eight" and "Terrifier 2". Author of the book "Frankenstein 100 years in cinema". Founder and editor-in-chief (in the years 1999 - 2012) of the Polish film portal FILM.ORG.PL. Since 2016, a professional reportage photographer.

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