It’s hard to overstate the importance and value of quality kid-friendly entertainment. Gripping artistry and positive morals are more important than ever in the formative years, and the best of these movies bring people together across generations — and perhaps more importantly, families.
From timeless classic Disney animation like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Pixar’s modern golden age, to live-action masterpieces like The Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, such films are worth their weight in gold. There are some really awful kids’ movies, too, and they feel more cynical and less forgivable than bad adult movies. It’s arguably the responsibility of filmmakers with the resources to nurture children’s imaginations and dreams, not numb them. According to Tomatometer reviews, these are the worst children’s and family films ever made. Yes, Mac and me is here.
10. “Mac and Me” (1988) – 7%
One of the most infamous stinks of all time certainly lives up to his reputation. Half a decade later HEY became the highest-grossing film of all time, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s ripped off its plot, poster and marketing for a feature commercial for their products. Mac and me absolutely has such a bad value that it is good, best known to the general public thanks to a long Paul Rudd gag late at night. The gag went on for years and years; it’s always funny.
There’s no way to sugar coat this Mac and me is miserable, as bad as HEY it was good. There are the scary visual effects, the shameless commerce that is the story rather than incorporated into it. The cops kill a handicapped boy near the end. It’s unreal. Netflix reboot MST3K did a meh riff a couple of years ago but honestly the staggering Mac and me is best experienced first hand. Maybe it’s a cautionary tale, maybe it’s a historical artifact. It’s garbage. How did that score a 7? !
9. “Zoom” (2006) – 4%
Phew. It’s really important to remember how Tim Allen may be in the right project. His performance in Galactic Quest is downright masterful, hilarious and touching. He’s got no chance to show off his terrific, often underrated chops in this infamous x-men scam next to similar waste Courtney Cox.
Zoom is sloppy and hideous to watch, with plenty of CGI Uncanny Valley moments that might make viewers say, “The power of Christ compels you!” or something like that. It’s also a shame to see Kate Maraa fine and versatile actress, in the midst of chaos.
8. “Happily N’Ever After” (2006) – 5%
In one of his last roles before his death in 2008, the comic genius George Carlin lent his vocal talents (alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar, Andy-Dick, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sigourney Weaver) to a corner-cutting production that twists classic fairy tales, ostensibly based on a German children’s show, although it’s just trying to put the magic of Shrek without success.
If the subject is great family movies, let’s not forget how fresh, admired, and influential the original is. Shrek film and its immediate sequel were. luckily ever after has neither wit nor tenderness; the animation also looks like Microsoft Paint.
7. “Revenge on Daddy” (1994) – 3%
A film of a strange alchemy which functioned extraordinarily well, John Hughes and Chris Columbus‘ risk Alone at home was a box office leviathan, and he made a talented young star Macaulay Culkin a household name that all of Hollywood wanted a piece of.
Sadly, the young star’s gifts were largely wasted in the trash (did you see the good son?) throughout the early 90s, perhaps nowhere more so than here, where he plays a crook (Ted Danson), the estranged son of ), determined to teach pop a lesson in the joys of father-son bonding, through blackmail. Not a moment rings true.
6. “Baby Geniuses” (1999) – 2%
genius babies is, and this is no exaggeration, a disturbing experience. Blame the effects of Uncanny Valley, the exhausting onslaught of diaper jokes, the shock of seeing a magnetic, iconic on-screen presence like Kathleen Turner in a mess about an evil billionaire capitalizing on baby talk, a myriad of other reasons. Talking toddlers worked like a charm in animation Rugrats (very popular at the time). In live action, it’s about as bizarre as Suspiria.
Today, many observers regard 1999 as one of the greatest years in the history of cinema. And many people also consider genius babies the worst movie of this year.
5. “Dad Day Camp” (2007) – 1%
Dad Day Care was a critically unloved but financially successful comedy starring Eddie Murphy as a father who runs a daycare center after being laid off. The directorial debut of Fred Savagethe sequel stars the Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., without Murphy. No laughing but loaded with wall-to-wall bathroom jokes, this is a reminder that there is only one Eddie Murphy. As if the public needed it.
Dad day camp was torn down by critics and brought in just over a tenth of its predecessor’s loot in theaters. There is a third film, virtually unreleased Grandpa Daycarefeaturing Danny Trejo from 2019. The mystifying powers of brand recognition.
4. “Problem Child” (1990) – 0%
A film that only sows cynicism and wickedness veiled in humor, a film that seems to have a low opinion of children in general, problem child marks the directorial debut of frequent Adam Sandler collaborater Denis Dugan; it’s about a goofy couple who adopt a child who pretty much turns out to be the antichrist. Many parents objected to the film’s rude and potentially hurtful comments about adoption (censored when the film airs on TV), while animal welfare advocates objected to an infamous image (a cat stuffed in a clothes dryer) on the map in the lobby.
Despite a universal thrashing from critics, the film was a success in theaters, as well as on home video and television. Abyssal frankness ensued. Immediate sequel gets an 8% off on Rotten Tomatoes. The third installment went on TV, with no critical ratings on the tomatometer.
3. ‘Nutcracker in 3D’ (2009) – 0%
Here’s the answer to that age-old question: what do you get when you take the most iconic ballet, strip out some of the music and dancing, and replace that with gritty wartime violence, Nathan Lane like Albert Einstein, clunky pop lyrics, bad acting, anthropomorphic Nazi rats and their robot dog minions?
Roger Ebert said: “From what dark night of the soul came the wretched idea of 3D Nutcracker?”
2. ‘Super Babies: Genius Babies 2’ — 0%
Phew. The worst film of one of the best years for cinema, 1999 genius babies was a critical exercise in misery. The sequel to 2004 (it’s probably worth mentioning that 2004 was also an exceptionally strong year for a great movie as a whole) is considerably worse.
More Uncanny Valley effects that will haunt your nightmares, half-hearted rude gags, and phone-in adult performances are just a few of the notable offenders in this moan about enhanced toddlers trying to thwart a media mogul (Jon Voight) nefarious plan to alter minds.
1. ‘Pinocchio’ (2002) — 0%
Far, far away from Disney’s 1940 masterpiece (arguably the best animated film of all time), Roberto BenigniThe Oscar sequel if it’s divisive Life is Beautiful comes across as a vanity project that should have been nipped in the bud.
The hero’s journey of a young wooden puppet earning his stripes is incredibly touching when told well. Here, with an adult, it’s off-putting in the extreme. Repellent, even. It’s even worse than Disney’s recent horrific live-action remake. Unthinkable, but true.
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