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The Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time: The Wicker Man

You can’t just write about how bad Neil LaBute’s remake of The Wicker Man starring Nicolas Cage is. It’s not that simple. The movie is so patently terrible, from the “acting” to the “suspense” to the “political themes” that talking about it as ‘bad’ is like referring to the Holocaust as ‘a bummer.’ I’m not actually comparing this stupid movie to the Holocaust, but I’m saying that it definitely has some Holocaustian elements in it. I’m not saying Nicolas Cage is Hitler, but I’m saying that he’s definitely caused suffering to millions of people.

The Wicker Man is based on a British 70s film of the same name. I haven’t seen the original, so I’m going to mostly leave it out of this analysis but acknowledge that it has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is widely regarded as “good.” Fair enough. I’m tempted to sink the original to the bottom of Whoops Ocean anyway, because obviously it resulted in the remake, but the parents can’t be blamed for the sins of the child. Or at least that is what parents of shitty children are always telling everybody.

The movie opens with Nicolas Cage working as a highway patrolman. He stops a woman traveling with her daughter, but a semi-truck hits their car and it catches on fire and they die. Probably. No bodies are found. Sure. This makes Nicolas Cage sad. Then he gets a letter from an ex-fiance (even his friend didn’t know he had an ex-fiance, just to give you a sense of how good the set up is, everyone’s surprised and feels that details are being rudely forced upon them) telling him that her daughter Rowan is missing and she needs his help. He goes to the mysterious Summers Isle, which is populated almost entirely by Kathy Bates. She’s everywhere. So much Kathy Bates over there. He tries to find Rowan but all the women are like “Whut?” and he’s like “I’m horrible at acting,” and then he punches a woman in the face and no one will give him any Royal Honey. He dresses up as a bear and finds Rowan during a festival tied to a tree and he unties her and they run through the woods and then it turns out that Rowan was just bait and the pagans break Nicolas Cage’s legs and pour bees on his head and then they put him inside the Burning Man and set him on fire. Because of crops.

Nicolas Cage’s wig wearingacting has already been pretty handily dismissed by the internet. So let’s just get that out of the way.

Someone in Hollywood should report him to HR. I’m just saying, if I did my job as poorly as he does his this website would be called pinkslipgum.com, and I would be wearing my pajamas out of sadness, not because I just don’t have time to get dressed anymore.

There are other details of the movie that are hilarious as well. Such as the website Nicolas Cage uses instead of Google to get directions.

Or the part where he gets locked in a cistern and is probably going to drown, but just before he dies he manages to fall asleep and have a nightmare. Or the part where he’s a cop but he doesn’t follow any normal legal courses of action that a cop would follow when a child has been reported missing. Or everything about this movie.

But the real issue here is Neil LaBute’s bizarre misogyny (And beesogyny. He hates bees so much this guy!) His whole career has been built on the flimsy political platform that men will be men (read: horrible), and women either cruelly manipulative or easily manipulated cruelly, and love is just another form of hate, but as infuriating as he might have been, he was at least trying to make some sort of point, and you had to respect him for that. But now he’s just kind of a dick. Whether it’s Nicolas Cage sidekicking a teenage girl into a wall, or a Mother Goddess leading a parade of neutered male servants in a costumed fertility parade, LaBute seems to have lost the thread of his original ideas, and is just flailing out blindly hoping to accidentally reverse the tide of progress with a casual, intellectually misplaced bitch slap.

I think it’s fair to say that this is definitely in the running for the title of Worst Movie of All Time. It’s painful to watch and it seems to have ambitions towards something larger than itself, but ambitions that are so deeply flawed that it makes less sense than vagina dentata, which does not make any sense. You guys, there’s no such thing as a vagina with teeth. You’re being weird about this.

Next week: Zardoz. As always, leave your suggestions in the comments or send them in an email. And if you have not already, please consult the Official Rules.