Entertainment

McConaughey's 'Sea of Trees' bomb and 7 other films critics hated

By Liz Braun, Postmedia Network

Audiences got their first look at The Sea of Trees at the Cannes film festival a year ago.

They booed.

The Gus Van Sant drama opened in the U.S. last week on VOD and in one theatre in West Hollywood, and is already being hailed as a major box office bomb (it has made less than $3,000).

The Sea of Trees stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe as strangers who meet in the Aokigahara forest, where both have gone to commit suicide.

Their initial mission changes to a fight for survival. Somewhere in there, McConaughey rediscovers his love for his wife (Naomi Watts).

Having not seen the movie yet, we can only report that most of the critics have not been kind. More than one has used the name Nicholas Sparks to illustrate just how cloying and emotionally manipulative they found Sea of Trees to be.

Variety’s Justin Chang, for example, says the movie is, “Almost impressive in the way it shifts from dreary two-hander to so-so survival thriller to terminal-illness weepie to M. Night Shyamalan/Nicholas Sparks-level spiritual hokum.”

Allllrighty then!

The Sea of Trees is far from being the most putrid film available in 2016, an annus horribilis in moviedom, but it has scored some fairly terrible reviews.

For your amusement this Labour Day Weekend, here are five other memorable movies the critics loved to hate, and for good reason:

SHOWGIRLS (1995)

This camp trash about dancers fighting to be top o’ the stripper pole in Vegas comes from director Paul Verhoeven, whose crimes against humanity are becoming legion. The late Richard Corliss of Time magazine summarized the film as follows: “Obscene level of incompetence, excessive inanity in the story line, gross negligence of the viewer's intelligence, a prurient interest in the quick buck.” Kind of an understatement, really.

BATTLEFIELD EARTH (2000)

Here’s a sci-fi/Spartacus mashup that features spectacularly bad filmmaking and John Travolta in a terrifying wig. It was universally reviled upon release, with Jon Stewart’s comment, “It’s a cross between Star Wars and the smell of ass,” being typical of the critical response. The movie is included on any Worst Movies Ever Made list you care to name.

HIGHLANDER 2: THE QUICKENING (1991)

The earth is being destroyed. Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert are in charge of fixing that. The rest is incomprehensible twaddle. Ask anyone.

JACK AND JILL (2011)

Adam Sandler is Jack and Adam Sandler in drag is Jill, the visual punchline in this gross movie about vaguely incestuous twins and their capacity for racist jokes. And product placement. A.O. Scott (The New York Times) wrote of Sandler at the time. “I have always been interested in what he would do next, and I suppose I still am, especially if what he does next is retire.”

OBSESSED (2009)

Beyonce and Idris Elba are a happily married couple. Ali Larter is the crazed stalker who tries to come between them. You won’t care. This is the snorefest version of Fatal Attraction, and so uninspired that, “Everything you need to know is in the trailer,” as Rolling Stone pointed out.

GIGLI (2003)

A stupid idiot hitman (Ben Affleck) and a moronic lesbian gangster (Jennifer Lopez) kidnap someone actually more mentally incompetent than they are (Justin Bartha) and then just vogue until boy can seduce girl, her orientation notwithstanding. Wow.

Sample reviews:

1) “Ach. Oy. Woe and poo, bleccch and uck! ZZZZZ-zzz.” – Washington Post

2) “Gigli doesn’t need a review; it needs an inquest. The movie is dead on arrival.” – San Francisco Chronicle

GODSEND (2004)

A quack played by Robert De Niro convinces a grieving couple (Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn) to let him clone their dead child. They get their son back … but he’s not the same. Horror? You betcha: “I see dead movies, and this is one of them,” reported the Boulder Weekly.

Twitter: @LizBraunSun