T Nation

Films That Didn't Quite Hit The Mark


Okay...I've got a question for Pat and the rest of the Forum film buffs!

Can you think of films that had unbelievable POTENTIAL (star power, directors, producers, money, etc. etc.), but just "didn't quite hit the mark" or missed something that just didn't click? Sometimes it's a combination of a LOT of factors (E. Taylor's "Cleopatra" comes to mind), but sometimes you just can't put your finger on what was missing. In other words, despite something the SHOULD have worked...it just didn't? Just some that I recently rented:

1)"The Cotton Club": Probably two films they tried to put into one. Should have concentrated (maybe) on the lives of the entertainers OR the gangsters. (But I guessed they needed some "star power" in Richard Gere). Beautifully made, though.

2)"Blast From The Past"Couldn't put my finger on it, but the "fish out of water" angle for the lead character seemed to not be written very good. I've seen characters placed out of the context of their lives written MUCH better (Original "Crocodile Dundee", maybe?), and the "love" story sort of missed it(Silverstone miscast?).The potential was there, but something was missing..

3)"A Time To Kill" Now... I liked this (but I admit a love of Samuel Jackson...and Ashley Judd can have me as a Boy Toy ANY day!)...but I can't put my finger on it...it "missed" it for me...sort of "ebbed and flowed"...then sorta died. Hard one for me to put a finger on.

So...your thoughts? Hope you can think of some!


Two on my list are Stargate and The Time Machine. Both movies had plots with amazing potential, but they just didn't have enough time to squeeze everything into a 2 hour movie. Both movies left me wanting a lot more. Stargate makes for a much better series, in my opinion.


Bonfire of the Vanities: badass cast: Bruce Willis, Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman. fantastic director: DePalma. Based on terrific novel. From what I hear, the title pretty much reflects the way this thing was brought to the screen. Changing characters to match the actors and slaughtering a project with incredible potential in the process.


"Satisfiers in Alpha Blue" Ambitious in its scope, but the climactic scene where the female lead drinks a double handful of cum just seemed over the top, even gratuitous. As a plus, though, we did get a complimentary set of nipple clamps with our tickets.


Nice thread. Without a doubt, I would say The Prophecy. It didn't have many great actors(Christopher Walken and Eric Stoltz were the big names, I think), but the storyline was great. It started out very good and the story was developing nicely...then it ended and I just sat there thinking "what the fuck happened?"


End of Days and The Ninth Gate. Oh my god I looked forward to seeing these and then I sat there feeling like I had wasted 2 hours of my life. I actually felt dumber for seeing the movie. So then I swore I will not see another movie featuring the Devil coming to the mortal plane, or hell sneaking in... Then Lost Souls comes out. I think it has tremendous potential. I go see it, and I feel like I get hit in the head with a brick. I don't know why some people like it, or think it's so scary but to me it sucked a big one...


Mufasa, you're going to hate me for saying this, but I have to say "Oceans Eleven". I think that was one of the most highly anticipated films, due to who was directing it and that unbelievable cast. Fragile listed a really good one: Bonfire of the Vanities. Oh my god - a great story, that got totally messed up on the big screen. I am not a huge DePalma fan, even though his "Untouchables" was a undeniably great film. But he messed up with Bonfire.

You know ONE actor comes to mind with this question. Kevin Costner. Let's take a look at certain "misses" that "could have been": Waterworld and The Postman. Or how about "having all the elements" of a hit, but STILL "not hitting the mark": Tin Cup, JFK, For Love of the Game, and Wyatt Earp.

How about two more: the "Re-Imagining" of The Planet of the Apes and the "remake" of The Haunting. Two huge misses that also, due to the star power and director "should have been".


Pat: LOL!!! No...you know you and I are too cool to hate each other for opinions! (...and I value yours!). A LOT of people felt that way about "Oceans"...call me crazy...that was one I liked!

About Costner: I may be wrong, but isn't he one of those handful of actors that demand a certain amount of artistic control in his projects? That can often spell trouble, especially if they interfer with the writing and directing.

Spanky: Yea..."The Time Machine"...wow...I remember the original when I was a VERY young child, and it seemed to work better. You always have to worry when the film makers begin to draw a film out too long. I agree...this had a LOT of potential that was missed...

"Bonfires"...seems like THAT was a big mis-step for a lot of people!

Well...keep it coming, guys!


Great thread!
Have to agree with patricia on "Ocean's Eleven". I thought it was okay, just more of a rental level of enjoyment not the big screen extravaganza I was hoping for and expecting. I thought there was zero chemistry between Julia Roberts and George Clooney, and she looked awful.
Also "Face Off" is one of the cinematic dissapointments of all time. I was so excited about it, it was some original elements, great special effects, and then...What a stinker.
All of the Highlander sequels. I think sequels in general are rarely as good, but I thought Highlander had great potential for the sequels to be really great, but they just never lived up to it.
Lastly, I was really disappointed in "The Patriot". Can't exactly figure out what it was but it felt very T.V. movie-ish to me.


With regards to Costner, can't forget how he ruined Robin Hood. Cripes, talk about a movie with potential...


Tomcats was a film that i was pretty excited to see, but wasnt to good. also, i thought final destination had a great plot and could have been great, but turned out to be somewhat decent.


I agree with RenegadeDragon on The Ninth Gate. I like Johnny Depp, so I was looking forward to seeing this movie. The plot was cool(the supernatural stuff interests me)and I was enjoying it until the end. I just kind of sat in front of my TV dumbfounded when he walked into the bright light. I was thinking that after the credits ended the movie would continue or something. I was actually pissed at how it ended. Why does everyone dislike Costner and think he's a bad actor? I actually like him. I guess I'm of a minority on this one though. P.S. How in Gods name do you put spaces between paragraphs?


Mufasa: :slight_smile: and yes, Costner kills his own projects by gaining some or all "creative" control. There are only a few "stars" that can look outside of the box of their own self-interest and really add to a project. Alas, Costner is not one of those.

Susannah: I forgot "Robin Hood", maybe it's due to when I had rented it (absolutely did NOT see this in the theater), I fell asleep - soundly. BUT, the only good thing in this movie was Alan Rickman. He just about can make the stinkiest garbage watchable by his very presence. He's such a good actor. :slight_smile:


I meant "Savannah" NOT "Susannah" - SORRY!

Patricia :slight_smile:


Star Wars Episode I: talk about a movie made purely for marketing! Yes, I know that the sotry made sense in retrospect after seeing Episode II, but alone EI was aweful.

Dungeons and Dragons: I was drooling over this movie... until I saw it. Talk about potential! I have never ever walked out of a movie in my life, and if the tickets hadn't been free I would have left and asked for my money back.


One thing I've noticed is that attempting to bring really good books to the silver screen often results in a let down of expectations. Someone mentioned "A time to kill" and "Bonfire of the vanities", which are two examples of this. A recent addition would be "Bourne Identity". On it's own it's a pretty decent action/spy movie, but falls well short of the book. It just seems that often times, key elements of the book are just left out in these movies. I think it's also difficult for a movie to live up to what the viewer has pictured in his/her head if they have previously read the book. Only a very few books brought to film have impressed me, with "Lord of the rings" being the one that most sticks out in my mind. I know it too left out some key elements of the first book, but I thought it was fantastic.


Well, I agree that "Face Off" was a flop (IMHO), but I actually liked "The Postman." Also, "Primary Colors" (another John Travolta vehicle) was one I just hated. Felt like I'd been defiled just having experienced that one. "Doppleganger" was just wierd. Man, if I could even remember the movies that just fell totally flat on me, the list would be long and very undistinguished.


I LOVE Alan Rickman too. Have you ever seen "Closet Land" or "Truly, Madly Deeply"? Both really, really good...


Haven't seen "Closet Land", but have seen "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and that's a good one! BTW: I thought that it was brilliant casting for the movie, "Galaxy Quest", especially in the casting of Alan Rickman. Man, talk about a underappreciated movie!


Dr. T and the Women. There was very little hype for the movie, but it starred Richard Gere and about 6 or 7 "top-notch" actresses. (Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Liv Tyler, etc.) I remember walking up to the theater with my brother and his wife not knowing what we were going to see. We saw the poster, figured it couldn't be too bad, and went in. Some movies are bad and are just a waste of time. This movie physically hurt to watch. They should put a warning label on this movie. We only stayed to the end in the hope that the ending would somehow justify the movie, but no, the ending just got dramatically worse. Stay away from this movie.