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My Personal Top 10 Movie Letdowns

by Eric Melin on January 8, 2014

in Top 10s

Today’s Scene-Stealers Top 10 comes from L.A.-based Wayne Swab, who is an on-set technical guy for Hollywood and regular commenter here at the site. His last Top 10 was about the best fight scenes. If you have a Top 10 idea, email me at I’m pretty sure Wayne was drunk when he wrote this:

So we’ve all been there. You can’t wait for this movie to come out. And it’s got a release date of three months away, and you know it’s going to be awesome! You are stoked. There you are opening day, early show, by yourself because you really don’t feel like waiting on others. Dammit, you want to see this movie.

Then the lights go down, and slowly but surely, you realize that all of the hype you have built up in your mind, was just that — all hype. Here’s a Top 10 list of my very own personal worst movie letdowns. (I know that the Star Wars prequels sucked, but that would be taking the easy way out. So this list is digging a little deeper.)

10. The Firm (1993)

We all read the book — back when John Grisham was a legit author — but after the fact, we realized that he pumped out the same book every six months. Fuck him. He got rich and we wasted a lot of time. The Firm was one of the worst literary-to-movie adaptations. So way to go general public, we were had, myself included. No big cast (Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, Wilford Brimley, Gary Busey, David Strathairn, Dean Norris, Margo Martindale, Hal Holbrook) was going to do that polished turd any justice.

9.  The Hunger Games (2012)

It started out as a dystopian future with little to offer except a badass fight-to-the-death scenario, adapted from the young adult book series. In essence, we got kids who wanted to form alliances like they were on Survivor. Total bullshit. If you want to see a real blood-and-guts fight-to-the-death 9th graders on an island, check out Battle Royale. Kinji Fukasaku directed, very little dialogue — it goes down as one of the most badass films ever made. Plus it’s Japanese, so you know it’s good.

8. Homeland (2013)

It was originally written by Sly Stallone to take place right after First Blood. There is a reason this script spent 30 years on the shelf. It sucked. I normally don’t get worked up over films, but I left the theatre pissed off. I couldn’t wait for it to end. And to add insult to injury, I have been saying for years that Stallone is the second coming of Peckinpah. I would rather go to the proctologist then re-watch this train wreck.

7. Ghostbusters II (1989)

I saved my hard earned money and went to see this pile of shit.  Bill Murray and Harold Ramis phoned it in, and my 8th grade money went down the toilet. The movie was so bad that Ernie Hudson turned in the best performance of the group. And Dan Ackroyd, don’t get me started on you. I hope you are happy with Martha’s Vineyard money, because your film sucked. And it didn’t just suck, it actually gave me an STD.

6. National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

I may be placing this film higher than it should be. It could easily be number two on this list. Between the pig and a pope, berets as comedy, and dog getting thrown off the Eiffel Tower, and “Hello, we’re looking for sex,” it doesn’t get much worse. It was like every line was written by a hack comedian who only got hired because he was sleeping with the head of development. This was the beginning of the end for Chevy Chase.

5. Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002)

This wasn’t so much a let down as it was an embarrassment. We all saw the jacket in the video store, when video stores still existed, but nobody in their right mind should ever have rented the film. Steven Baldwin on the cover of any film is worse than Steven Dorrff. Nobody truly watched this film; I just feel like shitting on it. I take that back, I actually watched 20 minutes of it. All they did was recycle, almost verbatim, the same jokes from the original classic. Total bullshit.

4. Caddyshack II (1988)

No Dangerfield!

No Ted Knight!

No Bill Murray!

But Chevy Chase came back. Go figure.

3. Unbreakable (2000)

M. Night Shyalaman, we were all counting on you and you let us down. You had a big cast, you had studio backing — what the hell happened? I’ll tell you what happened, after The Sixth Sense, we were all excited about your follow-up and we got a guy who couldn’t get wet? What kind of bullshit is that? How does he get laid? You made Bruce “I was in Motherfucking Diehard” Willis look like a tool. And for that, you get no forgiveness.

2. Bullet to the Head (2013)

Walter Hill has a new movie!” You could hear them shouting from the rooftops only to discover a February release date. Bullshit! Walter Hill’s films need to be released in October, For Your Consideration! Arguably the greatest director of all time, with arguably the best catalog of the first six films of any director ever made. Then he releases this turd.

Don’t get me wrong, some of his set pieces are pretty cool, i.e. the bar scene and the fireman’s axe fight. But anytime you try to make Stallone humorous by doing a Sleeping with the Enemy montage of carnival masks, I’m going to come down hard because that Italian cold cut I had for lunch is dangerously close to reappearing.

1. Carlito’s Way (1993)

Brian De Palma should be ashamed of himself.  The man who brought us Scarface thought he would revisit those times with Al Pacino and Penelope Ann Miller. And we all bought in. Thinking about this film, I feel like the grounds crew in Major League. This movie is shitty.

Between Pacino shooting it out in a gunfight with no bullets, owning the lamest disco-tech of all time, to him ballroom dancing, Sean Penn overacting and Miller not being Michelle Pfeiffer; this movie has zero re-watchable equity. This film could have been great, instead turned out to be a complete miss. Classic DePalma. He fucked up everything after 1983.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alan Rapp January 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Can’t agree with you about Unbreakable. For me it’s Shyamalan’s best and the only one of his films that improves with multiple viewings (unlike Sixth Sense which only really works twice). It’s a terrific hero origin story with all the trappings of super-hero flicks removed that still stays true to comic book logic even though it is set in the real world. It’s beautifully shot, god it’s a pretty film, and the performances. especially by Willis and Wright. are top notch. This was the director’s high water mark not the descent into mediocrity (which began shortly thereafter).


2 Shay January 11, 2014 at 1:48 am

Love your list but I need to add to it.
In no order (cause honestly, does it matter?):
Last Indy Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions
The Phantom Menace (I know you listed it but it can’t be mentioned enough!)
Terminator Salvation
Van Helsing
Every M, Night Shamalamadingdong movie after The 6th Sense
God Father 3
Alien 3
All Hulk movies
Ocean 11, 12, 13
Planet of the Apes
Bluebrothers 2000
Jason 10 (sorry Noel)
Rocky 5
The Batman movie with Alicia Silverstone
Alice in Wonderland
Oz the Great and Powerful


3 Farmer Giles July 26, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Hello Eric,

Some real surprises on this list, nice to read one without all of the expected choices. I agree with Alan Rapp however, Unbreakable is utterly unique among superhero movies. It is a prefect exploration of the “gritty,” “grounded” superhero story today’s wild fantasies claim to be (I’m looking at you DC).


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