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What’s the Worst Movie You’ve Willingly Watched As an Adult?

Ringer staffers recount their experiences with the most notable bad and good bad movies that they’ve seen during their years with purchasing power

Stills from ‘White House Down,’ ‘Ninja Assassin,’ ‘The Emoji Movie,’ and ‘Meet the Spartans’ 20th Century Fox/Warner Bros. Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Ringer illustration

We all make mistakes; big ones, small ones, free ones, and costly ones. Prompted by a recent Ringer Slack discussion, staffers have gathered to give their stories with regard to the latter. Here’s a collection of experiences with movies that staff members can’t believe that they chose to see.

Meet the Spartans

Alison Herman: There’s an entire class of movies I’ve come to think of as “Oh Right/Holy Shit, I Saw *That* In a Theater.” It’s entirely drawn from my teen years, when there weren’t many options for suburban socializing besides loitering at the cineplex or … loitering in the cineplex parking lot. I saw The Campaign before Adam McKay went prestige. I saw The Love Guru. (Mariska Hargitay!) And worst of all, I saw Meet the Spartans, somehow without having seen 300 first. The only thing worse than a terrible parody is watching a terrible parody without even the reference point of the thing it’s parodying. What an exquisitely awful use of my hard-earned babysitting cash. (Yes, I’m counting this as “adult” viewing, because while I was a dumb teen, I was absolutely old enough to know better than to offer legal tender in exchange for watered-down Zack Snyder.)

Ninja Assassin

Micah Peters: OK, so, this movie is exactly what it sounds like. There are ninjas, and these ninjas assassinate people in incredibly gruesome ways with various tools and trinkets. Why isn’t expressly important. In fact, whenever any kind of plot intruded on the action, I strongly considered leaving the theater. I saw this movie in a theater by the way. I paid for a ticket, with money, to see a movie called Ninja Assassin, because I’d already seen Pirate Radio and Fantastic Mr. Fox, yes, but also because Naomie Harris and ninjas with kyoketshu-shogei knives plus shit tons of computer graphics couldn’t have possibly been a recipe for failure. I should add here that I was 17 and have not watched it since.

I would tell you about the twist that made me walk out before the epilogue, but it’s honestly so bad that I struggle not to brand it as art. Anyway, don’t watch it for that. Watch it for the fire-ass fight choreography.

White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen

Paolo Uggetti: In 2013, I hadn’t been an adult for very long. In fact, some would argue I wasn’t an adult at all, since I had just turned 18. But armed with my newfound sense of choice, I marched right into some poor time-management decisions and chose to devote multiple hours of my teenage years to watching not one, but two bad movies based on the premise that America’s most prized real estate was being attacked. Where else could you get Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman fighting off terrorists? Or Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx running from an exploding White House? Or did I mix those duos up? Who knows.

12 Rounds

Jackson Safon: This is legitimately one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It is also required viewing every time it’s on TV. John Cena plays a cop whose girlfriend is kidnapped by none other than Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) and Cena must complete, you guessed it, 12 rounds of challenges to get her back.

Cena and Littlefinger chasing each other around New Orleans is more than enough to draw me in, but if you need more, just know that there’s a train with its brakes cut, a bomb-rigged elevator, and tons of cash falling into a rooftop pool. Everything you need for the ultimate good-bad action movie.

The Emoji Movie

Jason Cahill: As a parent, sometimes you’re forced to sit through some awful movies. (Have you seen Home Alone 3? Did you even know there was a Home Alone 3? Well there is, and it sucks.) But The Emoji Movie was the absolute worst. In it, T.J. Miller voices an emoji who … oh who the fuck cares, just trust me, it’s trash.

Movie 43

Sean Yoo: My friend and I decided to skip the 2013 Super Bowl in favor of watching Movie 43 and it is easily one of the worst decisions I’ve made in my lifetime. The movie features 14 different story lines, each run by a different director, featuring some of Hollywood’s elite actors (Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, and Uma Thurman). We lasted only 20 minutes but stayed long enough to watch a scene where Hugh Jackman is revealed to have a scrotum and testicles attached to his neck. I don’t know what decision was worse: Choosing to watch this movie over the Super Bowl, or those actors choosing to be a part of Movie 43.

Pain & Gain

Danny Heifetz: Pain & Gain is a movie where Mark Wahlberg and the Rock are stupid bodybuilders who commit a stupid kidnapping, yet after paying $11 I was the one who felt that I was being held against my will. The only time I’ve left a movie theater a lesser person than when I entered was when I watched this movie. It’s a Michael Bay film centered around plot and dialogue, so perhaps my youthful naiveté was to blame. (No, I blame Mark Wahlberg.)