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the five worst sylvester stallone movies

stallone.jpgBefore we get all dirty, let’s offer a moment of praise for one Sly Stallone. Tired of being a bit actor in bit parts, Stallone wrote the script for Rocky. And when the studios engaged in a bidding war for the script, Stallone had the balls to demand that he be cast in the title role, even though MGM offered him $150,000 to let Ryan O’Neal take the role. Rocky went on to win the Best Editing, Best Director and Best Picture Oscars at the Academy Awards in 1976.

And the movie catapulted Stallone into superstardom.

OK. Enough with the nice-nice.

After Rocky, Stallone started his long, drawn-out fall from glory. He made crappy movies, sequels to those crappy movies and sequels to those sequels. Rocky came back, again and again. He was joined by Rambo and dozens of other characters, all drawn with the depth of a petrie dish. Stallone’s attempts at light comedy (Oscar) and legitimate drama (Copland) were abysmal failures. But compared to what I’m going to show you now, they were rousing successes.

Without further ado, I present: The Five Worst Sylvester Stallone Movies.

5. Tango & Cash (1989)

tango_cash.jpgSly’s Guy: Raymond “Ray” Tango

Plot: Tango & Cash has always held a warm place in my heart as one of the best bad movies that I’ve ever seen. Sly teams up with a slumming Kurt Russell, who turns in his best performance since The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes. Stallone plays Ray Tango to Russell’s Gabe Cash.

Tango and Cash, two rising stars in the L.A.P.D., are paired together at the start of the movie. Tango plays it by the book. Cash is a loose cannon. They don’t get along. After they establish this startlingly original premise, the movie lurches along from ridiculous plot point to atrocious acting to overblown action scene.

The script is credited to Randy Fellman, which I assume is a codename for some sort of Pentagon supercomputer programmed with every bad action movie cliche in the book. The fact that this so called “Fellman” also wrote the Eddie Murphy turd-burger Metro only supports my hypothesis.

Low Points:

  • The L.A.P.D.’s bulletproof SUV with side-mounted machine cannon.
  • Stallone and Russell in full drag, an image that no combination of alcohol and barbiturates can erase from my mind.

Redeeming Moments:

  • Teri Hatcher as a stripper.
  • The emergence of Stallone’s “smart” glasses.

4. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

stop_or_my_mom_will_shoot.jpgSly’s Guy: Sgt. Joe Bomowski

Plot: Flashback to the early nineties. Stallone is box-office gold and The Golden Girls rule the small screen. Someone decided that these two great tastes would taste great together and gave birth to the abomination of a film, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!

Stallone plays tough-as-nails Sgt. Joe Bomowski who can take down vicious criminals with ease, but has trouble dealing with his tougher-than-nails 80-lb. mother played by Estelle Getty.

Getty flies out to visit her son, interferes with his love life and becomes the sole witness to a gangland hit. Soon she is riding shotgun with Stallone as he attempts to solve the crime, get the girl and save her life.

Trivia fact: this movie was originally written as a comedy, but the director and cast tried a new spin when they played it as a giant suckfest instead.

Low Point:

  • A dream sequence with Stallone fighting crime dressed up in a giant diaper.

Redeeming Moment:

  • It’s only 87 minutes long.

3. Over The Top (1987)

over_the_top.jpgSly’s Guy: Lincoln Hawk

Plot: At some point in his career, movie executives realized that people would see anything with Stallone in it. Anything. (Experts point to 1986’s Cobra as the turning point.) Freed from the constraints of hiring real “screenwriters” to generate a “script,” the producers of Over The Top decided they could make an entire movie about the so-called sport of arm-wrestling.

Stallone plays a trucker named Lincoln Hawk — which sounds more like an affordable mid-priced luxury sedan than an actual, living human being. Judging from Stallone’s acting chops in this movie, watching the sedan would have been more enjoyable.

The movie finds Hawk trying to win custody of his son after his ex-wife’s death. He kidnaps the boy from his wife’s father, a wealthy businessman who selfishly wants to give the kid an education, a roof, food, etc. Hawk on the other hand, drives around in his big rig, repeatedly pumping his right arm, and oiling his pecs in preparation for a big arm-wrestling competition in Las Vegas. What red-blooded boy wouldn’t want a piece of that?

Low Point:

  • The dramatic arm-wrestling championship at the end, which involves two beefy men tied together with leather straps flexing and groaning for ten minutes solid.

Redeeming Moment:

  • The soundtrack, which includes eighties glam rocker Sammy Hagar, soundtrack savant Kenny Loggins and Sly’s talent-free brother Frank.

2. Rhinestone (1984)

rhinestone.jpgSly’s Guy: Nick Martinelli

Plot: Sylvester Stallone singing country music.

I’ll repeat it again.

Sylvester Stallone singing country music.

This wasn’t a horror movie. It wasn’t a student film project. This was a major motion picture. A comedy. And it was horrifyingly real.

Rhinestone combined the singing talents of Sylvester Stallone with the acting abilities of Dolly Parton. Who the hell gave this the greenlight? I understand that it can be fun to cast against type, but casting Stallone as a country singer is like casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as a five-year-old schoolgirl named “Suzie.”

Parton plays a country who stuck in a really bad contract. Strangely, it wasn’t the same contract that forced her to make this movie. The sleazy nightclub owner who holds her contract makes her an offer: if she can teach a regular joe of his choosing to sing, she gets out of her contract. If she can’t, she has to sleep with the manager. The manager picks New Jersey taxi driver Nick Martinelli, played by Stallone.

Low Point:

  • The first time Stallone “sings.” I’m sure the other times he sang were equally bad, but by that point I had already punctured both my ear-drums with an icepick, and I was in the process of gouging out my eyes with a butter knife to remove the image of Stallone in his sequin and fringe cowboy shirt.

Redeeming Moment:

  • Dolly Parton. After starring in the fresh and witty 9 to 5, Parton was mired in the middle of a crap movie slump that she wouldn’t shake until Steel Magnolias in 1989. Still, she has undeniable charisma, and if you have to choose between watching Parton or Stallone, choose Parton.

1. The Party At Kitty And Stud’s (1970)

Stallone PornSly’s Guy: Stud

Plot: That’s right. The rumors are true. Stallone did porno. He plays a guy named “Stud.” He and his girlfriend Kitty throw wild orgies and engage in every natural and unnatural sex act in the book. Stallone was reportedly paid $200 to make this movie, and it was re-released in 1976 as The Italian Stallion to cash in on Rocky-mania.

Low Point:

  • When you picked up the box and said, “Why don’t I rent The Party At Kitty And Stud’s?

Redeeming Moment:

  • You’re watching low-budget, ’70s porn starring Sly Stallone. There is no redeeming moment. Go take a shower, perv.