Recently, spoof movies (parodies) have been gaining popularity, not necessarily with the quality of their screenplay, but moreso, on the movies they spoof. In the 90’s and earlier years of 2000, spoof movies were released in low publicity, and typically do not necessarily target the most popular movies. In the past few years, however, spoof movies have been making high profile releases, and at the same time gaining notoriety for being among the worst movies ever made. The common trend of the worst spoof movies, as you will see, are its unnecessary and incessant inclusion of totally random ideas coming from pop culture, and its lack of an actual plot. The best spoof movies do not generally rate high from film critics, but the movies listed below are among the funniest and well-written movies in the spoof genre. Without further ado, here is a list of the best and worst spoof movies since the nineties including ratings from top film review sites. Note that this list comprises movies that are direct spoofs of a movie or a set of movies. It doesn’t include spoof movies of a genre, and movies which have unique stories of their own, such as Austin Powers, which is a parody of spy movies, or Shaun of the Dead, which is a parody of zombie movies.
Best Spoof Movies #1: Hot Shots! (1991)
Main Spoof: Top Gun
IMDb rating: 6.5/10 (best)
Rotten Tomatoes: 81.82% (best)
Hot Shots! is written by Jim Abrahams (Airplane! and the Naked Gun series) and expectedly provides the same quality humour from his other parodies. What Abrahams did with Naked Gun’s parody of detective films, he did with Hot Shots!’ parody of Top Gun. As with most parodies, including the best ones, Hot Shots! uses the formula of bombarding you with several jokes. Sometimes the transition to the next is too quick that you didn’t have time to appreciate or actually get that last joke. Fortunately, most of the jokes are hits, and it’s worth noting that the cast, headed by Charlie Sheen, provides excellent acting throughout the parody. Definitely among the best spoof movies.
Best Spoof Movies #2: Robin of Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Main Spoof: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
IMDb rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 45.45%
This parody is the best of several spoof movies by Mel Brooks. Worth mentioning among his other parodies, but not rated high enough to be included in this best list, is Dracula: Dead and Loving It. This parody typically relies on slapstick comedy, and – similar to other spoof movies written by Mel Brooks, and others here in this best list – Robin Hood: Men in Tights produces humour straight from the drama of the situation. It doesn’t make use of completely random ideas thrown in, unlike those listed among the worst spoof movies.
Best scene: Prince John: “Tell everyone that when the day is out we shall have a wedding. Or a hanging. Either way, we’re gonna have a lot of fun, huh?”
Best Spoof Movies #3: Wrongfully Accused (1998)
Main Spoof: The Fugitive
IMDb rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 22.58%
This parody has trademark Leslie Nielsen comedy all over it. This is the worst rated parody in this best spoof movies list, but is the highest among Leslie Nielsen’s parodies since the nineties (most of Nielsen’s recent parodies are unfortunately among the worst if the list was extended), and nonetheless holds a respectable rating spoof genre-wise. If you’re into stupid humour and slapstick comedy, similar to that of the Naked Gun series, you would certainly consider this parody among the best.
Best Spoof Movies #4: Scary Movie 1 (2000)
Main Spoof: Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer
IMDb rating: 6.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 52.78%
metacritic: 48/100 (best)
This is by far the best Scary Movie, by a mile, and most likely the best parody of the last 10 years. In fact, this parody is what got the general public in to spoof movies. It followed the tried and tested classic parody formula of copying the actual film and inserting hilarious scenarios within the story. Of course, just like most comedies, some jokes miss the mark, but overall, watching the parody is a hilarious experience especially if you could get past some of the crude humour.
Best scene: “Oh my God we hit a boot!”
“Where’s the foot?!”
Best Spoof Movies #5: Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
Main Spoof: 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s All That
IMDb rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 27.66%
The structure of the humour in this parody is very similar to that of Scary Movie with a touch of slapstick comedy. Personally, I think this is rated lower than what I expected it to be. This parody mainly references 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That but there are several other teen movies integrated in the parody (even those from the 80’s). The reason why this is highly rated (relative to other spoof movies) is how the parody mixes several stories but still manages to have a clear plot and direction. This is sorely lacking in the worst spoof movies. As most critics have said, however, you would not truly enjoy this parody unless you are very familiar with all the spoofed movies. Worth sharing is that this parody features Chris Evans (best known as The Human Torch and Captain America) back during his early days.
Best scene: “You have her eyes,” says Jake upon seeing Janey’s painting of herself and her mother, which turns out to be stick figures.
Worst Spoof Movies #1: Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth (2000)
Main Spoof: Scream
IMDb rating: 3.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 14.29%
Among all the movies in this worst list, this would have to be the least popular parody of them all. An interesting fact is that this parody was released in the same year as Scary Movie, which overshadowed this direct-to-video movie. The worst parts of the parody are when different texts start popping on the screen either stating supposed factual information regarding slasher flicks, such as “45% of serial killers go to the left” or just to compliment a scene such as “The exit is downstairs, idiots!” Pffffft. The best part about this parody, particularly for guys, is seeing Tiffani-Amber Thiessen’s best assets, during her heyday.
Worst Spoof Movies #2: Date Movie (2006)
Main Spoof: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Meet the Fockers
IMDb rating: 2.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 6.02%
This is most likely among the first, if not the first, spoof movies to change the definition of a spoof movie. Unlike notable spoof movies in the past by Mel Brooks, Jim Abrahams, and the Zucker Brothers, this parody relies heavily on attempting jokes from spoofs of notable scenes from various romantic comedies that are poorly strung together. In the past, a parody had an actual plot with the comedy coming from various funny sequences, which are seamlessly integrated within the story. With this parody, it’s simply a deliberate collection of different scenes where the filmmakers inserted what they think to be funny modifications of the actual scenes. There’s basically no transition at all. And the only enjoyment, if any, is identifying the various scenes with which real movies they came from. This parody was bad, but the worst was yet to come.
Worst Spoof Movies #3: Epic Movie (2007)
Main Spoof: The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
IMDb rating: 2.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 1.61% (worst)
It’s okay to have a few random spoofs (Matrix scene from Scary Movie), but using the remote from Click, which isn’t even an epic, out of nowhere to win the main battle at the end of the film lacked any kind of creativity or effort on the part of the filmmakers. Similar to other worst movies listed here, this parody simply exploits whatever is popular at the time and in the past (a spoof of Cribs?!). You also have Jayma Mays, who acts starkly similar to Anna Faris, who’s the star of the Scary Movie franchise. What’s up with that?! Like other Friedberg/Seltzer (Vampires Suck) spoofs, you would need to have the lowest of lows sense of humour to even last 10 minutes of watching one of the worst excuses for a parody.
Worst scene: The most torturous scene would have to be that rap parody with Captain Jack Swallow.
Worst Spoof Movies #4: Meet the Spartans (2008)
Main Spoof: 300
IMDb rating: 2.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 2.17%
metacritic: 9/100 (worst)
What’s utterly frustrating about this parody is that anyone could think of several scenes from 300 that you could spoof, and actually make it funny. How about the scene when Leonidas asks a couple of Arcadians what their profession was before asking the same of his army? Couldn’t they think of anything for that? Instead, what we got from about 80% of the parody were horrendous references to pop culture like YouTube, Transformers, American Idol, and even Spiderman that are completely random, and so out of place. It’s a major disappointment especially since a genuine 300 spoof could have been a very entertaining movie, and maybe even the best parody. But thanks to Friedberg/Seltzer, it’s among the worst!
Worst scene: Whoever thought the overkill of the American Idol parody was funny should have his cranium checked.
Worst Spoof Movies #5: Disaster Movie (2008)
Main Spoof: nothing really
IMDb rating: 1.6/10 (worst)
Rotten Tomatoes: 1.64%
As evidenced by the movie ratings, this is arguably by far the worst parody ever. In this parody, Friedberg and Seltzer resorted to throwing absolutely everything and anything (Sex and the City, Miley Cyrus, Hulk, Ironman, Hancock, Amy Winehouse, you name it) popular in movies and celebrities during the recent months, and giving them each short scenes (even mere seconds) in the parody, whose basic premise is that it’s the end of the world. There was little to no effort in even interconnecting these scenes. Most of which are so UN-funny that you get to the point where you’re forced to laugh out of pity for that scene’s pathetic comedic attempt. The best part, if there was any, was watching Kim Kardashian in her acting debut. With all seriousness, this parody seemed like it was written by a 10-year old. Officially gone were the good old days when a spoof movie actually spoofed a movie. This is not only the worst parody, but probably even the worst movie ever.
It’s very unfortunate that the quality of recent spoof movies has been regressing with each release, to the point that people generally consider spoof movies as the worst movies. The worst definitely outnumber the best at the moment. It will definitely take a truly memorable and hilarious parody, which also hopefully makes less use of crude humour, to change the image of spoof movies and restore its place among the best comedy movies. However, as long as these recent spoof movies, which are among the very worst, rake in tens of millions in revenue despite being critically panned, we may have to endure more of these senseless and atrocious movies for at least a few more years, at best.