What is the worst film ever made? Just being poor in conception and execution only goes so far; writer, director, producer and editor Michael Winner was someone who tirelessly went further than most in pushing the envelope in making truly terrible films, and 1990’s Bullseye! is still a game-changing milestone in the developing history of cinematic excrement. A true master of lousy films can take a series of elements that would make a good film, and somehow curdle them to create a work of art that feels like a vent from hell has opened up behind you even at the mention of it. Such a film is Michael Winner’s Bullseye, a film like no other; I’ve watched it so you never have to…
‘Everyone has someone who looks like him…’ begins Michael Caine’s narration, and in the confusing universe of Bullseye!, he’s right. Caine plays Sidney Lipton, a small-time con-man who happens to look exactly like nuclear scientist Dr Daniel Hinklar, also played by Caine. Hinklar is planning to auction off British nuclear fission secrets to dubious ‘foreigners’, so the good old British government get Lipton and his friend Gerald Bradley Smith (Roger Moore) to impersonate Hinklar and his best friend Sir John Bavistock (also Roger Moore) for a series of auctions. The last of these takes place at Inveraray Castle in Bonnie Scootland, and it’s a long way to Inveraray in this company…
If Michael Caine’s in a film, it must be good… is one of the tried and tested mantras of this blog, but when Michael Caine’s in a film and it’s not good, beware. In a story with two pairs of identical twins on the loose, Winner never bothers once with a split-screen or process shot to create the illusion of Caine and Moore having actual dopple-gangers, resulting in a film that’s a perpetual headache to watch. It’s also horribly racist, sexist, lowest common denominator stuff that defies synopsis; this film has everything including exterior shots of the Inveraray Woollen Company, homophobia, leg-ogling, comedy gropings, an exploding haggis, several scenes of dogs humping dogs and that thing where a dog humping a dog on a lorry is compared to Rob Lowe (“It’s like leading Rob Lowe around on a leash!” quips Caine), extended burping and farting scenes, the worst stunt dummy ever seen in film, a giant kettle, a Jim Bowen cameo, nose surgery, Michael Caine being delighted by his own nose, slurs on Michael Jackson, Michael Caine falling off a bus, there’s no end to the horrors of watching Bullseye!
‘He gets Kim Basinger, I get Nightmare on Elm Street,’ is another of Caine’s quotably witty lines here; those who laugh at his work on Jaws 4 will have to admit that his phoned-in performance in that shark sequel is a portrait of an actor’s immersion in cinema compared to his awful performance here, with Moore a close second. With the big high-tech action sequence involving the memorising of a six digit digital code, thrills are few and far between, and you’ll spend more time looking at the boom mike than John Cleese’s miniscule cameo. At least we finish on a note of reflective honesty when Caine ends proceedings on the following note, addressing the audience with a message that seems both heartfelt and genuine in the context of this tatty, ridiculous film’; ‘You can’t have your money back, we’ve already spent it!’
There must be more contenders for the worst film ever made. As a matter of interest, who was the worse at the doppel-gangin.
Sure, I’d like a good dozen other Winner movies to be taken into consideration. But this takes the biscuit…
Winner does the doppleganger trick on the cheap by filming body-doubles for caine and Moore with their backs to the camera. It doesn’t sell the central idea of the film in any way. But I’d have to day, while Moore is predictably self-regarding, Caine’s two performances here must be amongst his very worse…
Hopefully, they were both well-paid.
Oh dear, I totally forgot about the Scottish connection. But on the bright side I do have “It’s a long way to Inverary” singing away in half of my head… And I am puzzled in the other half of what the original song was.
It’s a long way to go
It’s a long way to Tipparary…oh wait, that’s a different song.
Please do carry on singing it, no reason Tipparary should get all the attention…
It’s better than thinking about this film . Did Caine’s mum need a new house??
That’s been his excuse before, but it doesn’t wash here. Apparently Caine was advised against it, but wanted to work with Moore…
Will let him off. I would probably be happy to do a cameo with these two on board…
That’s presumably what John Cleese, David Bowie and, erm, Jim Bowen thought. Let’s see what you could have won…
Or maybe it was Jim Bowen that clinched the deal.
Huge if true.
“Caine plays Sidney Lipton, a small-time con-man who happens to look exactly like nuclear scientist Dr Daniel Hinklar, also played by Caine.”
Oh boy. You’re always playing with fire when you cast a famous actor to play twins.
A fire which burns this film down in seconds. You can’t tell who is playing who, it’s completely confusing…
In fairness Winner made some cracking stuff in his Charles Bronson era, before he went batshit crazy.
He did, but turning down French Connection and Jaws doesn’t look smart if this was his ultimate goal…
No, agreed, he lost the plot completely.
Sorry but I laughed out loud watching the trailer with the tug-of-war crotch gag. That’s a winner!
a Michael Winner!
The man knew comedy. But I guess Eddie prefers his teen rom-coms.
You clearly do not know comedy.
A Michael Loser.
See, THIS is what you should be reviewing instead of that Shakespeare stuff….
I don’t see how anyone could not laugh at 1:03.
I’m just rewatched it and did not laugh. Years of watching Shakespeare have taken a toll…
Exactly. Shakespeare is a waster of time when Alex is better attuned to material like this.
Better than John Wick?
What is this comment in reply to?
Alex, who seems to think John Wick is a nothingburger of a film.
Huh, I missed that comment. Probably just as well.
Alex on the first John Wick; ‘crap…fight scenes in the first movie were dreck…’ … does this say more about Alex that the first John Wick movie?
You remember that?
I didn’t even remember that you’d reviewed it, haha 🙂
He was publishing his own review, long before we were a calming influence on him…
Now I’m curious…
Ps I’m sure you left a comment on my review of JW.
I am sure I did too. Not a movie I wouldn’t comment on 🙂
So, this movie is the exception that proves the rule, ie, the Caine Law?
It is. The Caine Law was repealed after this…
That’s an outrage!
I need to sign a petition or something to show how serious I am…
I can’t believe I got new subscribers this morning on the back of this review! Controversy sells!
Apparently so. You know what that means, right?
MORE MICHAEL CAINE REVIEWS!!!!!
Got done more coming!
Now that’s service!
Service with a smile!
And not a bunty or bope in sight…
Have you done his Batman stint already? I actually thought he was good in those.
He was good in these film, a bit overqualified. The second Batman film was pretty good, keep meaning to write something about that one…
Did all 3 over the past few Saturdays and agree, number 2 was the best.
It certainly expands the universe in a way the first film does not…
The last one was too ‘bitty’ if you know what I mean, but Ann Hathaway was grand!
It’s a bit all over the shop, but still a classy movie…
I liked all 3 better than any of the others.
Even The Batman?
The new one? Not seen it.
As good as Dark Knight IMHO.
Will give it a go then at some point when it streams.