Best Worst Picture Bracket Game: Battlefield Earth Vs Wild Wild West
The most obvious connection between Battlefield Earth and Wild Wild West is that they both have science fiction elements. Battlefield Earth is futuristic taking place in a world in which humans have been enslaved by giant dread-locked aliens. Wild Wild West is a rare cinematic take on the subgenre of steam punk. Unfortunately, its failure poisoned the water for anyone else who might have been thinking of following suit. But there’s another connection which is admittedly a bit of a stretch.
Before we get to that, it’s time to add another movie to our final four. Yesterday, Showgirls handily defeated Under the Cherry Moon. That means we’ll kick off the finals with a battle between the games’ two best “so bad they are good” entries; Showgirls and Mommie Dearest.
We talked before about how Battlefield Earth was the ultimate vanity project for star John Travolta. As a Scientologist, he made it his personal mission to adapt the novel by L. Ron Hubbard. The founder of the controversial organization sent Travolta a copy of the book with a movie treatment in mind. Wild Wild West was less of a vanity project, but there was no less ego involved. Will Smith was at the height of his box office appeal, so he didn’t have to push very hard to get a movie made with his Men in Black director, Barry Sonnenfeld.
I don’t think anyone would accuse the anachronistic Western of having a pro-Scientology agenda. Stupid? Sure. Borderline offensive? Yep. But unlike Battlefield Earth, Wild Wild West isn’t attempting to indoctrinate the audience. However, Smith himself did have ties to Scientology. After Tom Cruise chatted him up (no doubt while jumping on a couch), Smith and his wife donated large sums of money to the shady “church”.
Smith denies ever having been a card-carrying cult member. The extent of his involvement will likely remain a mystery. But I would argue that you don’t make a movie like After Earth without first drinking L. Ron’s Kool-Aid. Wild Wild West, on the other hand, was just ego run amok.
Are either of these movies so bad they cross over into being enjoyable? Maybe it’s just me but Travolta in Kiss boots and dreads cracks me up. If you’re voting for the worst movie in each pairing, good luck with that. Both of these movies are objectively terrible.