Netflix's selection of movies often gets criticism from some corners of the internet, and it's about to get at least one net gain after they lose one title at the end of the month. On Tuesday, November 30, a movie you may not have realized was even streaming on Netflix, and one routinely known as among the worst ever produced, is leaving as Battlefield Earth will depart Netflix. Released in the year 2000, directed by Roger Christian, and based on the book by L. Ron Hubbard, the notoriously terrible film was notably produced by and starred John Travolta.
Battlefield Earth was immediately regarded as awful upon its release when the critical response quickly derided it. The film became a critical and commercial bomb upon its debut, earning just $29.7 million on a reported production budget that exceeded $70 million. After its debut the film went on to be "nominated" for eight Golden Raspberry Awards, winning seven of them including Worst Actor for Travolta and Worst Picture. In 2009 it was given another award by the Golden Rapberries with the unkind "Worst Picture of the Decade" award. As of this writing Battlefield Earth has a 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with four positive reviews out of 153.
What about Battlefield Earth is so bad anyway? The Critical Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reads: "Ugly, campy, and poorly acted, Battlefield Earth is a stunningly misguided, aggressively bad sci-fi folly;" while the late Roger Ebert awarded it a half-star out of four, writing that watching the movie was like "taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way."
So why even draw attention to this? Frankly, ill-advised cinema like Battlefield Earth is sometimes worth a look for the same way that a great movie is worth seeking out. It takes a million good decisions to make a great movie and to see someone also have to make a million decisions and make the wrong one at every turn is a sight to behold.
To his credit, Travolta continues to stand by the film. When asked by The Daily Beast back in 2017 if he regrets making the movie, he replied:
"Are you kidding? Why would I ever regret that? I had the power to do whatever I wanted, and I chose to do a book that I thought was worthy of making into a movie. It's a beautiful film. It's a good movie... I have no regrets at all. And if we had to do it over again, I would still do it. It was a moment where I could say, 'I had all the power in the world and could do whatever I wanted.' Not a lot of people get that opportunity, and I did what I wanted to do."
So the clock is ticking, if you want to check off one of the worst movies ever from your watchlist, head to Netflix.