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Bottom’s Up: The IMDb Bottom 100 and the Art of Identifying “Worst” Movies…

Readers of the site might be aware that I co-host a weekly podcast called The 250 with my good friend Andrew Quinn, in which we pick a movie ranked on the Internet Movie Database as one of the best movies of all-time. It’s a dynamic and public list, which means that it covers a wide variety of films and tastes. In the part couple of months alone, we’ve covered everything from Mission: Impossible – Fallout to Battle of Algiers to Paper Moon to The Secret in Their Eyes to The Prestige. I’m very proud of the podcast, and a lot of the discussions that we’ve had on it.

Part of this podcast has also involved looking at the list that the Internet Movie Database maintains of the worst movies ever made. We originally planned to rotate through both lists in an even-handed manner; five episodes of the top two-hundred-and-fifty for two episodes of the bottom one hundred. Indeed, we cover a number of the bottom one hundred as part of the show; episodes like Crimea and United Passions. However, we moved away from covering the bottom one hundred because we found that the movies populating the list weren’t so much awful as just mind-numbingly dull; Lawnmower Man 2, Crossover.

However, something vaguely interesting happened in the middle of July. The Internet Movie Database made a change to their list of the one hundred worst movies of all time that radically revised the nature and composition of the list. Suddenly, a lot of the smaller and stranger titles disappeared. Fringe films like Space Mutiny, Die Hard Dracula, Invasion of the Neptune Men and Santa With Muscles were all wiped out in an instant, replaced by more familiar and recognisable films like Jaws 3D, S. Darko, Blair Witch II: Book of Shadows, The Wicker ManBatman and Robin and Fifty Shades of Grey.

The result was a list that was suddenly a lot more fun to talk about, composed of films that people had actually seen instead of disastrously bad cult curiosities. Indeed, one very small consequence of this change is that we’re actually going to try to get back into talking about these terrible movies on a semi-regular basis on the podcast, because the list is now populated with films that will engender more interesting discussions both about the films themselves and their larger cultural context.

At the same time, it raises larger questions about what we consider to be the “worst” films, how we rank and access bad cinema and what that actually means in the grander scheme of popular culture. The change implemented to the IMDb’s bottom one hundred list is a conscious attempt on the part of the organisation to answer these questions, to create a broad consensus about what it means to be the “worst” films ever made. It’s an intriguing effort, and arguably something very different from trying to pick the “best” films ever made.

After all, it’s broadly possible to forge something resembling a consensus on the best movies. Trying to identify the worst is a much more difficult proposition.

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94. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (#166) – This Just In

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and with special guests Graham Day and Luke Dunne, This Just In is a subset of The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 166th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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93. Reservoir Dogs (#76)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode thrown in.

This time, Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

Following a disastrous botched jewellery heist, what remains of a criminal gang meets at an abandoned warehouse. Unsure of who to trust and unable to determine what went wrong, these violent men quickly turn on one another while navigating a complex web of shifting loyalties.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 76th best movie of all-time on the Internet Movie Database.

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92. The Prestige (#49)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Phil Bagnall, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode thrown in.

This time, Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.

On the cusp of the twentieth century, an obsession brews between two magicians. Alfred Borden and Robert Angier compete to surpass one another on the London stage; lives will be lost, illusions will be shattered, and reality itself might fray along the edges.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 49th best movie of all-time on the Internet Movie Database.

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88. Back to the Future (#44)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Kieran Gillen, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode thrown in.

This time, Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future.

Marty McFly is just a regular teenager, until he finds himself thrown back in time to the mid-fifties. Accidentally disrupting the first meeting of his parents, Marty must reunite their teenage selves before he is erased from existence.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 44th best movie of all-time on the Internet Movie Database.

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87. La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers) (#–)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Phil Bagnall, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode thrown in.

This time, Gillo Pontecorvo’s La battaglia di Algeri.

Unfolding primarily between November 1954 and December 1957, La battaglia di Algeri follows the chaos in the streets of Algiers as revolutionary nationalist forces struggle against the control of the French colonial forces.

At time of recording, it was not actually ranked on the Internet Movie Database, having dropped out between its selection as a film to be covered and the recording of the of the episode.

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86. Mister Smith Goes to Washington (#147) – Independence Day 2018

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, an Independence Day treat. Frank Capra’s Mister Smith Goes to Washington.

Local activist and unlikely politician Jefferson Smith finds himself appointed to represent his great state in the United States Senate. However, while trying to ensure a fair deal for his constituents, Smith soon finds his faith in democracy threatened as he figures out how the institutions actually work.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 147th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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