The Dark Age of Film – Nostalgia Critic

Behold, the WORST years for movies ever! Let’s look at the summer movies of 1996-2001.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. Hey Nostalgia Critic! Great video! Also, can you please review the movie Freddie As F.R.O.7? It is practically the worst fantasy movie ever (worse than Neverending Story 3 and Dungeons & Dragons) and it’s been in cinemas in the 1990’s.

    • Freddie As F.R.O.7 can be fully watched on Youtube.

      • Oh, there’s a title I didn’t think I’d ever hear mentioned again. I don’t remember how I heard about that, I just remember hearing it described as “mixing James Bond and the Frog Prince.” I heard that and I’m like, “That sounds really bizarre. I have to see that, just to see if it’s as weird as I imagine.
        Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It was mostly just . . . incompetent. Like it was written by a nine-year-old.

  2. Saw this on your blip page earlier and this brought back a lot of memories.

    1996 was a magical time in my life when I graduated high school and the big summer blockbusters were The Rock, Twister, Independence Day, Mission Impossible, etc….

    In my first year of college, some friends and I went out to see Space Jam and that started the downward spiral of the 1996-2001 shitstorm of shitty movies as mentioned in this video.

    I do admit 1999 wasn’t that bad of a year since we got Fight Club, Office Space, and American Beauty to balance out the shit like The Matrix, Austin Powers 2, and Star Wars Episode 1.

    I wouldn’t exactly say movies are in the dark times of 1996-2001, but we’re entering the era of the reboot since Hollywood’s been out of original ideas for a long time.

    Great editorial like always, Doug.

    • Ogre Samanosuke

      Doug was talking about summer movies, and none of Fight Club, Office Space or American Beauty were in that category. Fight Club and American Beauty were both October releases, and Office Space was sent to die in the February launch window. (Which sadly it did, despite cult following these days)

      And I’d argue that The Matrix wasn’t total shit, even though it was pretty effects driven with shoddy character development because it was at least a new idea with some vision to it. Not like the disaster movies bomb we got the previous summer.

      • Well, Space Jam was released in Nov of 1996 and it’s shown in the thumbnail and in the actual video which is why I brought up those other 3 movies from 1999.

        • He also references films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy as breaking the trend when those films were released around the holiday season, not summer.

    • 1999 was a great year for movies. Not only did you have those that were previously mentioned (with the exception of Fight Club, one of the most overrated pieces of crap EVER), you also had Being John Malkovich, The Green Mile, The Insider, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Three Kings, The Sixth Sense, Magnolia, Go, The Mummy, Dogma, Cookie’s Fortune, Limbo, The Iron Giant, Boys Don’t Cry, plus the underrated Bringing Out the Dead, Eyes Wide Shut, Any Given Sunday and The Straight Story. I’m pretty sure there’s a few I forgot there.

      • 2000 was a great year too, phenomenal even. Gladiator, American Psycho, Almost Famous, X-Men, Memento, Cast Away, Mission Impossible 2, Requiem For a Dream, The Emperor’s New Groove, Remember The Titans, Crouching Tiger, Unbreakable, The Patriot and The Perfect Storm. I would cross it out from the period Doug was talking about, I’m sure Scary Movie and Battlefield Earth was why it was included but I don’t think two shit piles can ruin a good year like that. But yeah since 2000/2001 it’s just been going uphill for movies.

        • Don’t forget Traffic.

        • The video is actually about Summer Blockbusters, not film in general, the title just isn’t very descriptive

          • The name of this episode is The Dark Age of *Film*, not The Dark Age of Summer Blockbusters. Buy a clue.

          • But NC explained from start that he talk about Summer Blockbusters so, lack of comprehension is still not justified. Also even worst years have good movies.

          • Then Doug failed by using an inaccurate clickbait vid title. He explains it’s about Summer Blockbusters from 1996-2001, but the title doesn’t reflect that. Ergo, people will still judge this video on the merit of “worst movie period altogether” and try to call him out on a premise established by a faulty title.

      • Seriously, dismissing Fight Club and then coming up with ‘Three Kings’? I mean I wouldn’t call that one the most overrated piece of crap… but really… Three Kings?
        Anyway, the rest of the list seems fine.

    • Reboots don’t equal unoriginality. Adaptations have been all over the place ever since Kubrick’s movies were such big successes, only difference now is we get a reboot every few years, which most of the time turns out to be pretty good if not better than the original. Plus, we’re getting big new ideas every year. Inception in 2010, Drive in 2011, Django Unchained, Looper and Wreck-It Ralph in 2012, Gravity and The Conjuring in 2013, a bunch of movies from 2014 like Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, The Babadook and The Lego Movie. 2013 was the only one that was relatively weak in original ideas. But then again, you can pick a year from the 80s or 90s and find the same thing.

      • Also, reboots can be seen as a ladder sometimes. Amazing Spider-Man was way better than Spider-Man 2 or 3 (AKA: Emo-Man, featuring Spider-Man), and even ASM2 was better than those, since there was still a lot of Spider-Man in it. Chances are, the new reboot will be even better.

        • “Amazing Spider-Man was way better than Spider-Man 2”

          No way is hipster-man anywhere near the greatness of spider-man 2, hate on the 1st and third movie all you want, but Spidey 2 is the best of them all.

        • Spider-Man 2 is considered by a great many people to be one of the best ‘superhero’ films ever made. It is even today after the glut of Marvel movies. Neither of the Amazing Spider Man films were memorable, or any good.

  3. I actually liked Iron Man 2. Seeing Tony deal with the fact that he was going to die, while also dealing with someone the leftover resentment for his father, was interesting for me. Maybe because I cared more about the Character than the story when it comes to Iron man, since they made Tony so likable in those films.

    • Those parts are okay. The villain was more or less throw away, particularly Hammer who had no presence at all, and the film felt like it was killing time for the Avengers – the “I’m dying” plot didn’t really engage me because I -rightly- didn’t believe that the film would kill off the best thing to happen to Marvel, and beyond that there were no stakes beyond Tony dying, no conspiracy to control the US like in IM3 for example. Fury turning up was neat and so was Black Widow, but Coulton does nothing – he turns up, tells Tony to get cracking, holds a big thingie up and then leaves for Thor. All in all, it feels like a TV film or a Disney sequel – nothing actively bad, but forgettable.

      • I didn’t see it as an “I’m dying” plot as much as “Demon in a Bottle,” which they could have drawn out (and drawn out well) until at most (i guess) Age of Ultron.

    • I liked Iron Man 2, also. I’m just going to assume he meant Iron Man 3 and go on my merry way.

  4. guardians of the galaxy is retarded garbage

    • But… But racoons… And talking trees… And learning to get along in the face of adversity and danger… And rock music… And Drax’s hyper-literalism…

      What planet/time period are YOU from, Strange Visitor from Another World?

      • And the constant breaking of “show, don’t tell,” (Here’s Rocket Raccoon just explaining his entire backstory so you can feel bad for him!), juvenile humor that makes Batman and Robin seem edgy, and an overload of CGI…

        • I dunno, Rocket Raccoon had to get shit-faced drunk before it all spilled out like that—with a hell of a lot of anger and emotion attached. Well before that, the audience got a shot of his (rather horrific) back when he undressed to be processed in prison. That was a good balance for me.

          • Exactly. And, it wasn’t miserably cynical. The solution to the issue was the power of friendship, ffs. It was amazing, happy, badass, funny and witty, all with drama mixed in gloriously. You know what it was to me? James Gunn does Firefly.

        • cladothehobbit

          First off, it wasn’t all juvenile humor, and the stuff that was, was still funny, because if someone stops laughing at fart jokes, so long as they’re not overdone, and they’re male, I’m pretty sure they’re dead inside. And your overload of CGI was not an overload, they used a lot, yes, but it was good-looking, and didn’t take away from the non-CGI portions. Saying this was a CGI overload is like saying the same thing of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Life of Pi. I would also argue that this isn’t James Gunn does Firefly, though I kind of like that idea, but that it is instead James Gunn does Star Wars, and does it well, because, after seeing this movie, I think a lot of people think that he should direct a Star Wars movie.

    • Lies and Slander

    • Ogre Samanosuke

      I can be as cool and edgy as you, HeroguyX?

    • You’re just depressing

    • I freakin love Guardians. It’s movie you can show your kids and go : “See, this is how a good feel-good action flick should be.”

    • As Doug said in a recent convention to as why he liked the movie. “It’s stupid, but it’s stupid in all the right places.”

    • It’s maybe a stupid movie in some ways but it’s calculated stupidity, meaning it knows when to stop being silly and getting serious, giving the serious moments even more weight when put aside all of those silly ones. I’d rather have a Guardian of the Galaxy, fun and entertaining every year than a wannabe serious and dark movie just because it’s cool to be serious and dark like Dardevil. At least public TV was good at the time (where I live and for my age group).

      • Yep. It wasn’t until 2000 we got our first “reality” show (a genre which killed TV for a very long time, and which we still suffer the effects from.)

  5. god the movies during that time aside from Independence day I hated the movies they were popping out

  6. CommanderZander

    That was a terrific editorial. One that I can totally relate to seeing as how I was born and grew up in the 90s. I had a suggestion for your next Real Thoughts. Could you by any chance do Space Jam? I watched Siskel and Ebert’s take on the movie last night and they gave it two thumbs up and I personally liked the movie then as well as now. I know the Nostalgia Critic ripped on Space Jam in one of your first videos that you did. Heck I ripped on the Nostalgia Critic’s review on Space Jam. If you want to catch that video here is the link on YouTube:
    But I was curious if you really liked this movie or if your thoughts are vastly similar to the NC.

  7. TheHappySpaceman

    So those are your worst years of movies? Hm. Well, I agree those were pretty damn bad, but not as bad as 2014. In my opinion, that was the worst year for ANYTHING, but especially movies. Not only were there not as many good movies coming out that year, but they weren’t AS good. Seriously, screw 2014. Just erase it from the history books.

    Now you know what was a great year for movies? 1968. That was like the complete opposite of 2014: there were lots of good movies, and they were REALLY good. That was the year we got Barbarella, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Monterey Pop, Night of the Living Dead, Oliver!, Planet of the Apes, The Producers, Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli’s version), Rosemary’s Baby, Yellow Submarine, and of course 2001: A Space Odyssey–which is probably my favorite sci-fi movie of all time.

    I’d be interested to know what the Critic’s best year for movies was.

    • Really? alot of people rgard 2014 as one of the best film years in a while. I mean, we got Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Whiplash, Nightcrawler, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie and Gone Girl.

    • Yeah, if you ask me, 2014 is the best year for movies we’ve had since like 2007.

    • I guess you’re right Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: the Winter Soldier, Birdman, The Lego Movie, Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Theory of Everything, How to Train your Dragon 2 were all just awful, terrible films, truly 2014 was the Dark Age of Cinema….. Sheesh what rock was this person hiding under last year?

      • TheHappySpaceman

        Pompeii, God’s Not Dead, Transformers 4, Annie, Transcendence, I Frankenstein, The Legend of Hercules, Let’s Be Cops, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Saving Christmas, Best Night Ever, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Endless Love, The Identical, RoboCop, Jimi: All Is by My Side… you getting my point yet?

        Maybe I’m still a little bitter since 2014 was the worst year in MY life (my band broke up, my girlfriend left me, my grades plummeted, I fell into a writer’s block, I was robbed, and one of my good friends was murdered), so maybe that’s affecting my judgment on anything that came out that year, but I personally wasn’t a huge fan of a lot of those movies. Though I haven’t seen The Theory of Everything or the Lego Movie, and they’re currently on my Netflix queue, so we’ll see.

        • Sorry about your bad year

        • Only Transformers 4, Let’s Be Cops and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For released in summer, the editorial was talking about summer movies

        • I think one generally considers it a good year by how many good, enjoyable films there are coming out, not on how much schlock there is. Some genres certainly fared better than others in their good films to schlock ratio, but if there’s a raise in the number of good films in a given year it’s considered a good year for film, at least at the moment.

          The final assessment will be left to history, though. Some films that were initially not financially successful become cult classsics, or even mainstream cultural icons. Those films that were amazingly popular upon release may be forgotten with time. The further away from the year you get, the more you are able to see what films have had a lasting impact. Only then, picking out these milestone films, can you truly tell what the best years for cinema truly were. I’m personally of the opinion that 1939 was the best year for film ever, but there’s plenty of room open to debate, depending on the criteria.

        • Every year is gonna have movies that suck. And movies like Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas weren’t even mainstream anyway. That movie was a low-budget, C-grade, Christian-exploitation effort starring a guy who’s best known for playing a teen heartthrob on some cheesy 80’s family sitcom. Not a very good example.

        • Every year has bad movies, but to say there’s nothing of value because there were some bad films is a bit dense.

        • You’re internalizing. And I feel really iffy when someone bashes the Annie remake, because you look like a raging racist.

          • TheHappySpaceman

            To be fair, I hated the original Annie too, so it’s not like my dislike comes from nowhere. Hell, I even think the new actress did a better job than the original and hope she goes on to do more movies.

          • I think people bashed the Annie remake because it sucked, not because the characters were black. Please lay off the race card. You sound like Al Sharpton.

    • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Lego Movie, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6 (questionable), The Song of the Sea, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and a whole bunch of others… oh yeah, Captain America 2.

      Seriously, where were you for 2014? It was a great year.

    • Has everyone already forgotten about Days of Future Past? Because it sure seems like it according to this reply chain.

    • I’ll always remember 1968 for Planet of the Apes!

    • You’re right Doug, the Summer movies were full of Nerdy types saving the day.


      If is wasn’t for those nerdy/geeky types, we wouldn’t be here ruling the world with the bright and over the top cinematic summer films we have today. Let me Break it Down:

      In the 90s as clearly shown, CGI Also meant that you could make everything more colourful and over the top. A lot of movies however still relied on practical effects though, and when you look at a movie like Batman and Robin, it’s clear where that was going: Big, Bright Colourful sets meant to capture the attention of the audience. Story took second place because it was literally the same thing over and over again. Batman Kicks Bad Guys But, no Biggie.

      The influence on those who would later go into making our Super Hero Movies was Profound and Clear. Spider Man, Blade, they all took Muted Tones and focused instead on the characters.

      But then came the new wave, and the bright, colourful Almost B films of the 90s came back with a vengeance and That is why we can have Movies like Avengers an Guardians, The growing pains that CGI went through in the 90s were not only necessary for The Marvel Universe to exist, it was Essential so that Effects and Story could be brought together in order for a new Golden Age of Cinema to be born.

      Now, Imagine what Movies will be like once we get Virtual Reality into the mix. I can only guess that there’s going to be a lot of Big, Bright, Destructive film’s where you’re literally a part of the viewing experience, but then later will be replaced with intricate stories.

      In fact the same can be said for when Colour and Sound first made their way into Cinema, You get BIG, Over the Top productions and musicals, with very silly stories, but as the film medium adapted, you got movies like Gone with the wind and The Wizard of Oz, where the new tech got integrated magnificently.

      Broadway Melody was Probably the Independence Day of the 1930s: A BIG Colourfilled, Sound filled production with absolutely no story outside the bare bones of it’s hard to be an actor in Hollywood. But that’s overlooked because it’s a stepping stone.

    • 2014 was amazing, dude..

  8. Good points even thought I do disagree with some movies that you said warn’t good.
    but Doug, please, please, please do a “What You Never Know About The Avengers”.
    Ultron Comes out soon and its the perfect time. there’s so much in it that’s worth a mention.

  9. Ended up missing most of that, lived in Japan during that period. We saw some of the movies that came out, but they didn’t seem horrible at the time. That could be because we didn’t get too many movies, and the alternative was watching TV which showed things like the World Tetherball Championship. They really showed that, and badminton championships.

  10. One of your best editorials ever Doug.

    I’m sort of glad I lived through this time and didn’t suffer for it. I was born in 1994 ya see. I did sort of go through a dark period of movies for myself, probably 2000-2005. Not that all of them were as bad as anything you mentioned, but looking back a number of them did not live up to my expectations.

    But yeah we all go through peaks and valleys. I still think that movies are so much better now than they were. Despite the Transformers, despite the constants needless remakes, despite the uninspired horror flicks, deSPITE! the god awful, disrespectful children’s movies there are still much more smart, fun, funny movies.

    I feel almost spoiled for all the good movies we’re getting lately.

    • Even then, though, I still like the current TV shows better than the movies.

      • To be fair, TV shows have been enjoying a golden age since the 2000s.

        • You mean such terrifice shows as Jerseylicious, Toddlers in Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo?

        • Hah? With the reality dreck taking over a good chunk of the market after Survivor became such a big hit in 2000? It’s only in the last few years they’ve started putting more resources toward scripted shows with decent writing and characters due to lost viewership and revenue. And they’ve realized that having good writing can actually pay off.

    • Wasn’t that the same period that saw The Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, American Psycho, Harry Potter, Finding Nemo, Spirited Away, The Incredibles, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, Donnie Darko, Spiderman and Spider 2, Gangs of New York, Mulholland Drive, The Bourne Identity, Mystic River, Pirates of the Caribbean, Black Hawk Down, Shrek and Shrek 2, X-Men and X-men 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Batman Begins come out? Dude..

      • ThatManWithTheHeadband12

        Shrek 2 and Spider Man 2 were 2004. So was The Incredibles. Harry Potter wasn’t a summer release until Prisoner of Azkaban in June 2004. Finding Nemo was March 2003

  11. robometrallador

    hundred percent right

  12. Oh man, I remember the dark period very well. Lots of articles were proclaiming the end of the summer blockbuster because nobody was going to want to see any new movies anymore.

    While I agree that there is a lot of good stuff out there now, one of the problematic consequences of the internet and the feedback it provides is fandoms. Oh my god, fandoms are scary. Shipping. BAEs. OTP. Scarily explicit fanart. It’s worse than sports.

    There’s a lot of crap out there even now. Aside from Heath Ledger, the last three Batman movies were beyond terrible. Worse than Batman and Robin, imo. I’m just grateful that there’s a lot of good stuff out there to enjoy. I can ignore all the stupid Batman and Spiderman reboots all day long and not want for entertainment. 🙂

    • …You hate The Dark Knight Trilogy? Those movies were a godsend since the horror that still is Batman & Robin.

      • To put it simply, Batman and Robin wasn’t good. It was camp, which I can appreciate, but not good even by camp standards. However, B&R didn’t make me want to stop watching Batman movies. Dark Knight Rises, however, was such a horrendous train wreck that I never want to see another Batman movie again.

        • The Dark Knight Rises was STILL praised by critics and movie goers, because of things like the complex story telling and giving Bane more dignity than he got in B&R. I rest my case.

          • And just as many people said Dark Knight Rises sucked, so your argument failed.

            As for giving more dignity to Bane….he was reduced to being a flunky for a villain who was never established in the movie. His backstory was skipped over, parts of it were even contradictory and he was whitewashed. Yes, such dignity the movie gave him.

          • The people who thought TDKR sucked were mainly fat, teenaged loser fanboys whose unrealistic expectations weren’t met. Yet it managed to get better reviews than Batman Begins. So the fanboys can f-k off.

          • To MightyDavidson:
            (As John Voight fom Anaconda) Fail? Who said I fail? I didn’t fail. (Back to regular voice) Dude, get over it. It’s just a matter of individual opinion, along with the fact that TDKR made more money that B&R. PERIOD!

    • Believe it or not, but fandoms are older than the internet. The internet makes it just easier to exchange.

      And you’ll always get the bad with the good.

      • Oh, you don’t have to convince me. I’m 40. 😛 The internet doesn’t just make it easier to exchange, but it seems to have the ability to completely warp existing canon. Unfortunately, sometimes the bad completely smothers the good.

        • You’re forty years old…and yet you cal yourself ‘Zelgadis’ and have an anime avatar?
          I hope I’m like you when I’m forty.

          • Heh. Okay, so technically, I’m 38. (39 in a few months) I just say “40” because it’s easier. 😛 I got into anime when I was 20 years old. Back then, you either had to pay an outrageous sum to buy anime (40 bucks for one Urusei Yatsura tape) or get your hands on a fansub video. The latter method is how I saw Evangelion for the first time. Zelgadis is a character from an anime I liked back then, Slayers, and I still have the laserdiscs of the series. I started using it as my internet handle and never stopped.

            As for my avatar, it is anime-style, but not anime. That’s a OC from the serialized webstory I’m working on. 🙂

  13. While I agree with a lot of this video says I have to admit I still love the flood of catastrophe movies. They give me that nostalgic and popcorn vibe you got from action movies like Rocky 3, Commando, and Cliffhanger.

    This was one movie trend/fad that I could have stuck with longer than most.

  14. I LOVE SPAWN !!!

    I c’now many ppl were displeased by that movie and even I A BIG fan of the comic find it lacking at best…
    But its still a decent flick.

    Sure its no “Winter Soldier” but it have its moments.

    I mean c’mon ppl its still beater than DareDevil !

    • I love Spawn too, more from watching the animated series then from reading the comics, but in my opinion Spawn is one of the worst superhero movies ever. It’s convaluted mess that isn’t even nice to look at and they got the look of Spawn all wrong.

    • The animated Spawn movie is far better.

    • I I agree with you guys as

      I sad I understand that the movie was just a cashin and to be honest now after all these years I see that it might not be as good as I remambe.
      But the reason why I love it still is becose I was first introduced to the “Spawn” trough this movie.

      I had no idea of the comic and about the animated series I learned abot 4-5 years ago…
      So in truth its more of a “sentimental” love than “its agood product” love.

      To me its like TMNT movie (the original ones with Jim Hansons costumes) the plot is a mess the the motivation of some characters is never exploited and its pretty much a cashin on whats popular at that time…

      But at the same time we love the first TMNT movie just becose it represents childhood and our childhood heroes brought to live.

      Kinda like TransFormers 1

  15. When you were ranting about the exploitation of computer graphic imagery in films, most of the shots you are showing in this video were practical effects.

    • I agree. Also, the special effects that were done in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy were also done practically. For example: the Geonosis arena, the sinkhole city on Utapau, some of the landscape and lava flows of Mustafar, the Boonta Eve pod race arena, and most of the buildings on Coruscant. I know this, because I’ve watched the special features on the DVD and Blu-rays.

      • Yeah but the practical effect were ironically much cheaper then the original trilogy, next time you watch Phantom Menace pause at a crowd shot during the podracing scene and take a good long look at some of those alien suits, They are friggin embarrassing.

        • I don’t have a problem with the alien characters that have no ling of dialogue and are only there as extras. Also, the ony time I pause a movie is when I have to go to the bathroom, answer the phone, or answer the door. If I DO pause a movie to look for something for a long while, it ruins the atmosphere.

    • I think you miss the point. He said that computer graphic remove limits of what is possible (still most stuff was made practically because of costs but), but it ironically remove also engagement. Producers believe that fancy CGI is enough to sell movie, and we ended with hollow garbage.

  16. I think it’s an interresting analysis of this era…however i believe that each movie era have things to overcome to become better like the cliché action movie of the 80 who was made silly after Die Hard and the after Lord of the Ring who made CGI not the main focus of the movie…however there is still 3 big things to overcome in “this” era in term of cliché or bad cinematic construction… 1. shaky cam must die, completely…It destroy the visual entertainment of action movie and is the cheapest of trick you can do to not work on effects…we now have character, let’s see them in action ! 2. This one is slowly diying but Micheal Bay keep bringing it back…the cheap jumpscare to make cheap horror movie…It cost nothing to make movie this way and in the end, it’s like if studion forgot how horror movie work…Sinister, The Conjuring and Occulus had jumpscare but also so profond scare as well…the Babadook was really disturbing and work so much better than a movie like Annabelle or Women in Black 2… 3. I call it the oscar grab…I have nothing against profond movie…i adore them…but there are some like the Book thief, Selma ( wich i find okay)or the Artist who are just obvious oscar grab…they come in theater just at the right moment…a few week before the Academy award, in the worst time for movies in theater…a movie like Amercain Sniper or Argo would have a better impact in summer, even among the blockbuster action packed movies…my problem is that some movie are created just to be oscar grab and it’s wrong…it’s like the movie of Roger in American dad who have all the cliché of oscar grab, it’s so wrong… If we change those 3 problems, we will surely move in another step in movies !

  17. Well, first of all, I am SO thankful that I was able to skip most of the dark age of film. I think that I was about 3 when Space Jam came out. By the time, I was able to talk the dark age was beginning to end. Although, I didn’t think that Transformers 4 was that bad. No Transformers had testicles so it wasn’t Transformers 2 bad. In my opinion, disaster movies range from entertaining to really bad. Sometimes I like smart movies and sometimes I like stupid movies. It just depends on how I am feeling that week.

  18. Man, you forgot about Mystery Men, great movie in dark days.

    • I dunno. That Deus Ex Machina at the end leaves much to be desired.

      • I have a few problems with Mystery Men as well:

        1.Inconsistent script.When Heller says his weapons are non-lethal,the Bowler is disappointed at this.However when she finally confronts Tony P.,she says she won’t kill him because she’s better than him.This makes no sense. Either the character kills or not.And don’t get me started on the lame bit where “Carmine” actually kills him.

        2.Disappearing characters.Specifically Capt. Amazing’s publicist and Casanova Frankenstein’s psychiatrist.They’re linked to major characters and pretty much disappear.Why?Where do they go?Did the doctor escape the explosion in the finale?Is she out for revenge?Was the publicist looking for the Capt.?Was he in with Frankenstein?Two pretty big plotholes.

        3.Champion City as a whole is too frggin’ wierd(even by superhero standards)!Amazing pushed away a child asking for an autograph and nobody blinks an eye.Invisible Boy mentions the mooch factor is high with the super-wannabe crowd.Hardly a positive image.The Bowler’s father was clearly murdered yet the police report says he fell down an elevator shaft…onto bullets.Were the cops on the take or just mind-numbingly stupid?

    • I also like that movie. I even own a copy of it on DVD. It also introduced me to acters like Ben Stiller, Greg Kinnear, William H. Macy, and Geoffrey Rush.

  19. Yep, I remember this stretch all too well. I tend to think of a cultural shift happening coming out of Summer 1997, preceded by signs of what was to come in 1996 or so.

    I do think the 1996-2001 stretch is an accurate one as far as movies, but I’d still consider Summer 1996 more of a prophet acting ahead of the curve. Things like Space Jam, Independence Day and Mission: Impossible did suddenly take the majority of Summertime screen time that year, but it wasn’t quite “the norm” until it had that following year to do so. By Fall 1997, the South Park episode “Prehistoric Ice Man” reflected just how much changed going into the “Party Like It’s 1999” years (as I call them).

  20. I remember watching the Phantom Menace in its premiere with my friends and one of them commenting: “if you take all the cgi and special effects, what do you have?”. He was right. The original trilogy would still rock without the special effects, because of its story and characters. But episode I? I only remember Darth maul.

  21. 1996 – 2001 seems about right. I could also tell just from trailers that there was a 2nd dark age that was shorter than this one, lasting from 2011 to late August 2012. It’s fortunate that movie-making is being taken seriously again, but I don’t want some people to go too far (in more than one way).

    P.S., sorry if I can’t make a good enough comment because I have a very bad cold.

  22. Bullshit, 1996-2001 wasn’t the dreaded dark ages of popular film, like Doug tries to convince it was. People aren’t as accepting to films as you say they are. The films then compare to most of the shit movies of 2000s were way better, even if back then it was average at best. Space Jam and most of those disaster movies aren’t terrible, even if it’s a marketing gimmick it had more effort than today. And in terms of being grateful for films today, stop telling us what we already know, we know films today have slightly more effort than films of the 2000s, we just still think most of American films are crap now compare to back then.

    • The 2000s were great. Sure they had their ups and downs, but they didn’t have a damn dark period, it was a time when great movies overshadowed bad movies, which is more than I can say for the mid-to-late 90s.

      • 2000 was time when that tendency start to change, but I still remember that people were happy more about that fact then overall quality of the movies. In some cases dark period stretches even 2005, though in most cases end in 2001.

    • The title forgets to mention that the video was specifically referring to Summer Blockbusters

  23. Memo to Doug: Space Jam wasn’t a Summer movie. It came out in November of 1996. Get your facts straight.

    • I knew that, too, and I actually like that film, because of the concept of Michael Jordan playing basketball with The Looney Tunes.

    • sophronia_chaos

      I watched it for the song.

      And I thought Lola was the shit. I got a visceral thrill out of watching Lola fuck someone’s shit up when they called her “Doll” even though that reaction was her only character trait aside from actually being good at basketball. That is how bad female representation in kids/family movies was for 6-year-old me; I idolized the character that the animators gave bunny boobies.

      • Lola annoyed me because, unlike a certain other female bunny in a Looney Toons related show, they didn’t let her be funny. Every OTHER one of the Looney Toons were funny, except the token female, and we’re supposed to love her even if she’s lacking in every quality that the other toons have in spades. ARGH.

  24. Summer films from 1996-2001 that DON’T suck:
    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    Independence Day
    Men in Black
    The Mask of Zorro
    Disney’s Tarzan
    A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

    I also love summer films these days because of the smarts and characters they put on the screen, and I’ll still see the Transformers films to have the Transformers fun.

    And in speaking of crappy films from The Dark Age, when the hell are you gonna get to review Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes? As you said back in your Battlefield Earth review, the story is a lot like the one in that film.

    • Star Wars I: Probably among the most hated science fiction films of all time. The greenscreen and effects are obvious and overused, the plot is a confused mess that doesn’t know what it’s trying to do, everyone is either a complete idiot or 100% psychic because of the plot convenience, and it’s just a generally boring film. Honest Trailers had it right when they said “prepare for an entire film full of standing in circles! Sitting! Trade negotiations! All for just 5 minutes of cool stuff.” The characters have no personalities, either! The only really good thing is the fight at the end, but even then it’s overly choreographed and I can’t get invested in this conflict because we know nothing about any of these guys. What does Darth Maul want? IDK, we’re never told!

      Independence Day: It’s good as a cheezy action B movie, but I wouldn’t call it a good film in general. There’s just not much there outside of action and one-liners.

      Men in Black: Good film and still holds up fairly well.

      Blade: Unfortunately, never seen it.

      The Mask of Zorro: It’s alright. Nothing special, nothing really bad, I’d give it about a 7-8/10.

      Tarzan: Forgettable. Especially for a Disney film, it’s pretty forgettable. The music is forgettable, the characters are pretty forgettable for the most part, and the villain is REALLY forgettable. I’d call it like a 5 or 6/10? Not really any cool ideas and it doesn’t bring anything cool to the table, but not exactly BAD either.

      X-Men: “What happens to a toad struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.” X-2 was interesting, but X-Men 1 really wasn’t good. The dialogue sucked, the characters were mostly just there, and it really didn’t capture any of the fun or charm of the original comics and stuff. Not the worst film ever, but when you try to take a concept like this and go 100% realistic/serious, it doesn’t really hold up.

      Shrek: Fun, but a bit debatable. Some people like it, others really don’t, and I can see both sides of it. The parody elements could be better, but it has a few good standalone jokes and some really memorable moments.

      A.I.: This film is awkward and the ending makes no sense. I get what they were going for, but they just didn’t get the whole fairy tale science-fiction thing right. I really wouldn’t call it good, but at least it attempts something new with their robot Pinocchio.


      Also, I think it’s fair to bring up Doug was specifically talking about summer movies. IDK for sure, but I’m pretty sure most of these aren’t summer films.

      • No, it’s BATTLEFIELD EARTH that’s the most hated sci-fi film ever made. People only hate the Prequel Trilogy because they feel that it “raped their childhood,” which I think is only bitching for the sake of bitching. I don’t watched Honest Trailers, ’cause I feel they would only ruin a movie I already like or love. Darth Maul didn’t have a motivation, because Darth Sidious raised him to be a weapon against the Jedi; the Expanded Universe explains this.

        • Oh come on… I find Battlefield Earth to be charmingly inept. It’s a delightful ham and cheese movie, that hits all the wrong notes in all the right ways. Probably one of the best sci-fi comedies ever made–too bad it was trying to be serious.

          I will agree on not understanding all the Episode I hate, though. I… actually *gasp* enjoyed watching the prequels.

          • Battlefield Earth is not an intentional comedy. It was seen that way because of the poor writing, poor logic, idiotic characters, and implossible science. Also, it’s not listed as a comedy according to IMDB, but te Dungeons & Dragons movie is.

            Nice to meet another member of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy support camp.

        • Most people didn’t see Battlefield Earth. This movie is horrible but most people simply didn’t care about it. But SW1, yes.. it pissed so many people and even if it isn’t worst movie of all time, it is definitely worst movie in beloved SW franchise.

          • Even if people hated Episode I, they should at least agree that Episodes II & III helped make up for it with The Clone Wars, Yoda kickin’ ass, Order 66, Anakin vs. Obi-Wan, Palpatine, and more.

    • Blade is highly overrated, Blade II on the other hand is a masterpiece as an action movie, as a superhero movie and as a vampire movie.
      Guillermo Del Toro is a god!

    • I don’t understand how any sane person could defend “Star Wars” prequels? Someone have to be either be a Warsie who thinks that everything with SW label on it, is automatically brilliant, only because it’s “Star Wars”, or someone had to grown up with those movies and have nostalgia goggles on! In reality they were very poorly written and poorly directed movies, and the only reason why they didn’t failed at box office is, because they were the part of SW franchise. If Episode I, was stand alone movie it would be a colossal failure, both critically and financially – someone had to be delusional to not understand that. Look, I’m a Trekkie, but even I understand that a lot of “Star Trek” episodes are simply terrible and I don’t make excuses for them, neither I feel obliged to like them, only because they have “Star Trek” lable on them! A little more objectivity wouldn’t hurt you…

      “because Darth Sidious raised him to be a weapon against the Jedi; the Expanded Universe explains this.”

      And you understand that, he is still a bland and uninteresting character, regardless if you find explanation for his blandness, or not, right? Also it’s typical fanboy ‘s apologetics: “You have to read seven hundred novels, five thousands comics and play at least one hundred games, just to understand what is going on in the movie!” Are you serious? Sorry, I’m not going to spend more money, I already paid for a movie ticket, I shouldn’t be forced to buy more of that stuff, just to enjoy the movie. Apocryphal material, should never be more important than a movie – it’s like tail wagging the dog. So, I’m happy that Mickey Mouse drowned entire Expanded Universe drowned in the toilet, by making it non-canon. 🙂

  25. We used to take it for granted because afternoon matinee prices used to be so cheap my family and friends would literally just go to beat summer temperatures. It didn’t really matter what was playing, it was just something to keep us occupied while enjoying snacks and air conditioning.

  26. If the only reason for someone to like something is pure nostalgia then you KNOW you’ve done something wrong.

  27. This was a good analysis. And I like that fact that you had first person perspective on the bad movie dark ages.

  28. I agree that many Summer films of that time period where lazy and dumb, but to me the very worst actually came right after Doug’s “dark age”. That’s because that was literally a dark age, almost every movie for a few years had to be super dark and serious even movies that clearly would have benefited from some lightheartedness.

  29. I’m fearful of films going into a new dip after the excellence of last year. Granted we’ve not reached Summer 2015 yet, but it’s got some hard competition from last year, both in Summer and throughout the rest of the year (even The Hunger Games didn’t suck last year).

    • I’m seriously pulling for Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Fury Road, Jurassic World, Genysis, Ant-Man, Mission Impossible 5 and Sinister 2 to carry this summer movie season. I feel like Tomorrowland especially has a lot of potential to be something memorable, something about that poster reminds me of Jurassic Park. Hopefully I’m right.

    • At least it looks like Furious 7 is starting things on a mildly strong note (yes, people are starting to consider April a part of the summer blockbuster season).

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