Many people can give thanks to filmmakers like Walt Disney, Hayao Miyazaki and Jim Henson for creating meaningful children’s content and making childhoods more sunny, hopeful and inspired. Nonetheless, we’ve all seen bizarre cash grab kids’ flicks. Some occasionally endure as cult classics (Mike Myers’ “The Cat in the Hat,” anyone?) while others nosedive into box office failure and ridicule, like “The Emoji Movie.” A few we forget about entirely until somebody mentions them to us again. In any case, here is the Chronicle’s definitive selection of the worst children’s films to have come out in the history of film, period.
This television movie initially seems promising as it welcomes Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia onscreen, each played by their celebrity counterparts. Then it introduces various members of Chewbacca’s family — such as his apron-wearing wife, Malla, and his whiny son, Lumpy — who are so unsettling that they make Jar Jar Binks seem lovable in comparison. On top of this, the film hosts terrible musical numbers.
A rollerblading teen girl rescues a rapping baby alligator from a carnival sideshow amidst karate scenes, an earsplitting acoustic guitar track and sassy but clean street attitudes. Several bad ’90s films aimed for whatever creators thought was “hip with the kids,” so to speak, and “Rollergator” misses the mark like nothing else. If anything, see it so you can wear this.
Matt LeBlanc is perfectly charming in his most iconic role as Joey Tribbiani in the hit sitcom “Friends.” Sadly, he also wound up in this children’s sports comedy flop, playing a dazed baseball pitcher who helps to train his team’s mascot chimpanzee to be a better athlete than himself.
Some religious films aren’t awfully made and have smart production values. This movie is not one of them. Detailing to its intended child audiences how listening to rock ‘n’ roll will ensure your damnation, the film would be funny if it wasn’t set to harshly admonish kids. What would the producers of K-Love think of this?
If you wake up early to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live every year, you may find this top-tier nightmare-fueled movie interesting. More or less, it ineptly details the story of a little boy magically whisked away in his dreams to “Balloon Land” — an iffy warehouse filled with bouncy castles.
We’ve all seen bad copycats of movies, but this insult to “Ratatouille” takes the cake — or rather, it takes the cheese. Strip the fur off of Pixar’s cuddly-looking rats, throw around heavily overacted dialogue as liberally as Remy throws spices into the soup and then mix what image you have in your imagination thus far with a pinch of the “Spy Kids” franchise. The result is “Ratatoing.”
Another horrifying rip-off, this makes Jerry Seinfeld’s lovably weird “The Bee Movie” look like something as prestigious as “Casablanca.” (Sorry, “Plan Bee.” Your monologues about George Washington and the evils of monarchy don’t look good on you.)
This Christmas film has the exact aura of a nasty hallucination. Where else could one ever expect to see a cheaply dressed Santa miserably slumped over on a Florida beach while an ugly not-Easter bunny circles around him on a fire truck filled with cheering children as Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer idly stand by and narrate the hazy scenario?
When a youngster needs friends to stand up to a gang of bullies, he turns to a girl who vomits on command, a violently flatulent boy, a toe-eating crocodile and other disgusting characters from The Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. This forsaken film has it all — urine, farts, acne, snot and disturbing animatronics that’ll haunt your dreams.
A cereal mascot, Dex Dogtective (Charlie Sheen), joins in with Mrs. Butterworth, Charlie Tuna, the Twinkie Kid and other grocery icons to fight against toxic generic brand foods. Aside from its annoyingly pro-consumerism plot, this 2012 film contains skin crawling innuendos and depictions of seduction.
Aside from their entertainment value, these abysmal movies have another potential use — turn one on to drive others away and claim the TV. Either it’ll work or you’ll get a pillow thrown at your head.