After attempting to ignore the inauguration altogether, I got to work on Friday just in time to watch the official swearing in and the rain that immediately followed — ironic how the clouds opened up as soon as the new president began his speech. (Cue lightning bolts and that classic villain music from The Bachelor.) Knowing I would be upset, my boyfriend sent me his embarrassing baby pictures in an attempt to cheer me up. However, what finally made me laugh was not the glamour shots his mom took of him dressed as a cowboy, but instead a picture of a protester's sign comparing Donald Trump's approval rating to Paul Blart: Mall Cop's score on Rotten Tomatoes. (For the record, Trump's approval rating, according to CBS, was 32 percent on Jan. 18; Paul Blart earned 33 percent.) God bless you, you fabulous woman. You’ll never know what you and your sign did for me on Inauguration Day.
I decided to spend my free time at work following this woman’s lead. In an attempt at self-help, I created a list of films with a higher critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (furthermore known as RT) than the infamous POTUS. This turned out to be a surprisingly cathartic experience. Every film I came across should be on everyone's (as my cousins’ grandpa used to say) "list to be missed." They were all undeniably terrible; that being said, I've rounded up my favorites.
my dad is at a trump protest in nyc because he is a true hero, and so is this woman he got a snap of pic.twitter.com/yDuvS7mENc— Eli Matthewson (@EliMatthewson) January 20, 2017
America, we’re headed into uncharted territory. We’re entering into a time where the leader of our country is less popular than a movie entitled Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger. For your pleasure, and perhaps for a look at our country's potential future, here’s a quick rundown of those films.
1. The Hangover Part II (33 percent)
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, but I liked The Hangover. If Trump is like The Hangover, that means he’s funny and original.” To quote our fearful leader, “Wrong.” I'm talking about The Hangover Part II, where the comedy writing team from the first film seemingly took the old script, erased every mention of “Las Vegas,” penciled in "Bangkok" like it was a fun Mad Libs game, added a monkey to the cast, gave Ed Helms a face tattoo, and sold the jumbled mess to Americans as if it was a brand-new film. My homeboy, film critic Leonard Maltin said of the film,
I can’t help but feel like that “shoulder some of the blame” comment is very applicable to the outcome of this election — I know, I know, Maltin, Democrats are just as much to blame for Trump. Stop yelling at me, I'm sensitive and entering into a four-year depression... Anyway, despite this movie deceiving the American public and generally lacking originality, it's still more well-liked than the man recently inaugurated.
2. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (36 percent)
A movie starring Steve Buscemi, Steve Carell, and Jim Carrey, how bad could it truly be? Pretty damn bad. Dana Stevens from Slate put it kindly when she wrote, “It's a long, limping slog from the halfway point to the finish line.” A “limping slog.” I’m not even totally sure I know what that means, but it doesn’t sound good. Most of the jokes in this film lack political correctness, not unlike the man Americans chose to lead our country.
For instance, here’s a quality joke from the film: Burt Wonderstone (Carell) says of Carrey’s character Steve Gray, “Steve Gray just mumbles and cuts himself. Anyone can do that! I have a niece that does that!” Oof, too far, Burt Wonderstone. It’s never a safe bet to make fun of child self-mutilation.
3. Cocoon: The Return (36 percent)
Shockingly, I thought RT had given a 36 percent to the original Cocoon and I was totally on board with this rating. My great aunt made me watch Cocoon when I was 8 and all I remember is a bunch of old people climbed inside human-sized cocoons at the bottom or a swimming pool to gain renewed life force and energy. No joke. I think the only thing I need to prove to you readers that Cocoon: The Return deserves its rating is the description that I poached straight from RT:
In case you were curious, the decrepit alien characters in this film reunited with their cocoons, received renewed life force, and then got bad face lifts and went on to fill Trump’s cabinet. Or at least I think that's what happened.
4. Butter (33 percent)
To be completely honest, I’ve never seen this movie, but it’s surely one I will check out. It seems like it's literally a film about the art (?) of butter carving. Is butter carving an art form? A hobby? A pastime? You know what they say about watching paint dry? I think the same idea applies when it comes to watching butter being carved. “Hardly the high-priced spread, this condescending comedy about Middle America will score with some audiences and put off others,” Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter wrote.
Now, I wouldn't have guessed from the title that this was a film that would demean Middle America, but knowing this, I can’t help but connect it back to Trump's presidency, which will one day — if not already — also be perceived as condescending toward Middle America. (Sorry, that one was just too easy.)
5. The Waterboy (35 percent)
This is a movie that I’m truly sad to see on this list. However, I feel justified in appreciating the film, because while only 35 percent of critics enjoyed it, 71 percent of audiences did. The movie seems unfairly unpopular, just like the accomplished, driven female presidential nominee that America (and Russia) disliked — dare I say — unfairly. The Waterboy follows Adam Sandler’s Bobby Boucher, a diehard mama’s boy, as he attempts to play football despite the adversities, i.e. the fact that his mother believes football "is the devil." White boy problems, am I right?
In one of the funniest reviews I’ve ever read, Nell Minow from Common Sense Media (emphasis on Common Sense Media) wrote, “Really dumb but many teens love it anyways.” Minow is great at her job. I don’t know exactly what Common Sense Media reports on, but I feel as though we all need more Common Sense Media in our lives these days.
6. What A Girl Wants (35 percent)
An Amanda Bynes film tragically trapped between the Amanda Show time period when she was young, hilarious, and entertaining, but before that “throwing bongs out the window” time period. In this in-between period, millennials like myself maintained our allegiance to the star and swallowed lackluster films like this, which the trailer I watched describes as, "The story of a girl ... who went looking for ... her dad ... and found ... herself." A sure classic.
Most of the plot of this film is built on the competition between Bynes' character, Daphne, and her evil British soon-to-be step-sister. A British step-sister who seems undeniably more intelligent, refined, and mature than Daphne, the reckless American teen. To that, I say, England, you Brexit-ed long before we picked Trump. Hahaha, you lose... We all lose. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
7. The Internship (35 percent)
I don’t have a ton to say about this Wedding Crashers sequel that nobody asked for. The Wedding Crashers 2, Let's Crash Google! It’s a story that, if I had to guess, was appreciated by the average Trump supporter. How could they not? It's the story of two white guys, who despite losing their jobs due to advances in technology, prove that they can reinvent themselves and find work in our ever-changing society. Isn't it nice to see two, older white guys succeed at one of the most highly sought after internships in the tech world?
Unfortunately, the whole film is completely factually inaccurate (shall I say, fake news?) as the acceptance rate for the Google internship is thought to be around 1 percent. But hey, it’s called the American dream for a reason, right?
8. Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! (36 percent)
Unfortunately, Nativity 2 is another one of the films on this list I haven’t seen, and quite honestly, unlike Butter, I will not be viewing this one in the future. I could barely stomach the trailer. From what I gather, Nativity 2 is the sequel to a fairly popular British film. It appears to have a similar plot to School of Rock, but with two British teachers: one who is stuffy and about to have his first child, while the other may actually be just a few children stuffed under a trench coat.
According to Philip French from The Observer U.K., "The only laughs come from the film's title." Which like, French isn't wrong, the title is fantastic. It’s just awkward when something appears to be a funny joke, but turns out to be entirely unfunny. Take for instance the very, very early days of Trump’s campaign.
9. Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (36 percent)
Is it not fitting that I end my article with a film about a shark-filled tornado wreaking havoc on the D.C area? Honestly, the trailer for this movie actually makes complete sense in the context of Trump's presidency. I actually implore those people who spend their free time tampering with film trailers to make “Trump-nado” their next project. You heard it here first, just throw me a "special thanks" credit or something.
In the trailer above, the narrator begins, "You thought it was over." (Yes, I thought when Trump was caught on tape talking about grabbing women "by the p*ssy," at that point, the election was over — and so did a lot of people.) "That you'd never see it again," the voiceover continues. (Yes, I then thought that Trump would stow away in his gold tower, out of deep embarrassment, until he received true love’s first kiss — or rather, the forgiveness of women everywhere.) Things start to get weird when the narrator says, "This force of nature" and cuts immediately to a scene where a woman says, "The president of the United States," and the narrator continues, "is back ... to destroy us all."
Hold up. Is this a major conspiracy theory? Did Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! know something that the rest of us didn’t? After spearing a shark in mid-air, a minor character turns to the ginger lead and says, “What do we do now?” and Fin Shepard responds, “We fight."
If you’ve made it through this list, I hope you’ve found several films of higher caliber, quality, and more original than our current leader. I hope you sit down and watch them all, and maybe cry a bit once you realize how much our country must truly dislike the current POTUS. Worse than old people cocoons, Adam Sandler with a bad lisp, and I have to say it again — Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger.
However, if we can take away any life lessons from these films, let them be from Sharknado 3. We must continue to fight — to stand up against the depraved sharks that the sky is pelting down on Washington. The POTUS desires our complacency, our obedience, and to that I say, in the words of Sharknado’s main character, “Oh, hell no."