Ahead of the NZ Film Festival (which is full of excellent films), the Herald team decided to watch five of the worst films we could think to inflict on each other. Today, Joanna Hunkin watches the 2010 box office flop The Tourist.

Here's what I remember about The Tourist when it released seven years ago: Critics were appalled.

It was, they claimed, one of the worst films ever committed to celluloid. A crime against cinema. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie had sold their souls by agreeing to appear in such a travesty.

via GIPHY

Advertisement

Here's what I thought finally sitting down to watch The Tourist in 2017: Meh.

I mean, it's not great, by any stretch of the imagination. But it's certainly not the worst thing I've ever watched (that honour goes to yesterday's entry, Bad Boy Bubby, which remains the most traumatic movie experience of my life).

The Tourist is part perfume ad, part spy parody. A film stuffed with panoramic vistas and sweeping orchestral flourishes. I'm sure that's not what the director (Oscar-winner Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck ) was going for but it's certainly what he delivered.

It was meant to be a thriller. Imagine Henckel von Donnersmarck's dismay when it was nominated for best musical/comedy at that year's Golden Globes.

In hindsight, there was something rather charming about Depp's bumbling tourist Frank.
In hindsight, there was something rather charming about Depp's bumbling tourist Frank.

Which is really where The Tourist's bad rap comes from. Were it not for the Hollywood Foreign Press singling it out as one of the year's best film offerings, The Tourist would have flown under most people's radars. Just another mediocre film destined for the in-flight entertainment menu.

And it would have been just fine there. The Tourist is the exact type of nonsense that works well at 36,000 feet, where every third word is lost due to a dodgy headphone connection.

Instead, it became a target, which saw comedians and late night hosts take aim repeatedly. Ricky Gervais wasn't the first but became the most notorious, when he cracked - in front of Jolie and Depp at the Golden Globes - "Everything this year was three-dimensional, except the characters in The Tourist. I feel bad about that joke. I'm jumping on the bandwagon, because I haven't seen that movie. Who has?"

Well, I have Ricky. And you're not wrong. But while the idea of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp starring in anything less than sterling was laughable in 2010, these days it's kind of a given.

Angelina Jolie has only featured in four films since the release of The Tourist in 2010.
Angelina Jolie has only featured in four films since the release of The Tourist in 2010.

Depp has become box office poison. He's gone from loveable rogue to derelict creep thanks in no small part to his particularly public and particularly messy divorce from Amber Heard.

Jolie has all but disappeared from our screens - having only featured in four films since The Tourist was released, two of which were animated features (Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3).

Watching them now, engenders a kind of nostalgic affection for them both. It's nice to remember a time when Depp was still mildly charming and not full blown skeeze.

via GIPHY

Does that make it good? Definitely not. But of all the films to feature in The Terrible Film Festival, The Tourist is probably the least offensive.

READ: The Terrible Film Festival: Bad Boy Bubby
• We're doing this because having to watch bad movies is funnier than getting to watch good ones. But if you want to see better movies, check out what's going on at the NZ International Film Festival.