Across The Universe: Worst Movie Ever?

Now don’t get me wrong, Across the Universe is filled with some talented actors and performers and some of the songs (ok, a couple) sounded pretty good, but you really have to love musical theater to tolerate this piece of self-indulgent crap. I kid you not, I sat beside a guy seemingly pretty compatible in my tastes and he burst out laughing in embarrassment at least as many times as I did. There was definitely an unspoken understanding between us of, “Where are we, how the hell did we get here, and most importantly, how do we get out?”


The placement of the songs was entirely contrived and forced. Only Broadway directors and actors would think this works on the screen: introspective singing alone by the beach with cliché crashing waves, underwater artsy mermaid performances, and my personal favorite, the girl (Prudence) who is feeling sad and locks herself in the closet only to be serenaded back to happiness by a group of friends singing, “Dear Prudence, won’t you came out and play?’

Re-swallow the puke.

And how many endings does a movie really need? This movie literally had an ending (with a full solo performance of a song of course) for every single cliché ’60s plotline. I actually finally walked out and never saw the real ending, but it was mainly due to the fact that I had to pee so bad from waiting so long for the stupid thing to end.

The interesting thing about Across the Universe is that I hated this movie so much; I kinda want to see again. But I want to rent it and buy a lot of beer. It’s the kind of movie that sucks so bad that you should get a bunch of friends together and get drunk and throw empty cans at the TV set. To see it in the theater evokes too much anger for anybody to cope with in public, but in the privacy of your own home, this might just be fun. I will say it did have some sweet psychedelic scenes, but not nearly good enough to pull it from the gutter. Regardless, anyway you cut it, this is the worst movie ever made.

If anyone else saw Across the Universe, I’m dying to know your opinion. Although, I expect you’re probably all smart enough to know better.

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46 Responses

  1. The placement of the songs was entirely contrived and forced.-Agreed

    This movie literally had an ending for every single cliché ’60s plotline.-Agreed

    I thought that Bono and Joe Cocker were interesting. Some of the imagery was interesting and I liked that parts of it were updated from the old Beatles cartoons. Even the fake “Jimi Hendrix” going solo was fun (I’d really like to see more footage of Jimi playing the small clubs in London) But, it completely reminded me of the time my sister made me go see the awful Broadway play “Moving Out” where they stick all the Billy Joel songs together and try and hatch a plot out of it. Honestly if they wanted to make a movie based loosely on the facts with great music they should have taken their cues from “I’m Not There”, especially the scenes with Heath Ledger…

  2. I’ve seen it twice now, once in the theater and at home last week, but I don’t think it’s as terrible as you make it sound. Sure, some of the parts are cliche and contrived, but can you really talk about the Beatles’ music in the context of the ’60 and not be a little cliche?

    I thought the film was very visually appealing, the whole Dr. Robert scene and the Mr Kite scene were great. I didn’t like the way they mixed and combined real characters with fake ones. The main guitarist represented hendrix, but not really, and Bono seemed to be playing Dr. Robert and Kesey at the same time.

    And on the music, did they even have permission to use the actual Beatles’ recordings? I assumed that’s why the went with the musical concept, not the other way around. But I think having the characters sing showed that the Beatles’ music was more than just a background soundtrack, that people actually lived it and celebrated it in their lives.

    While not a perfect execution, I think this is an enjoyable flick for any Beatles’s fan (isn’t that everyone?).

  3. I’m gonna have to disagree with this. I enjoyed this movie so much I had to see it again. The fact that it’s not set to the music of the Beatles made me appreciate it even more. It’s a very simple love story told through the Beatles music. The movie is far from perfect but it’s extremely uplifting and entertaining. The variations of all The Beatles songs makes it all the more interesting.

  4. agreed… as a fan of both The Beatles and director, Julie Taymor, i was very excited about this movie. I don’t think i lasted more than 20 minutes until i decided i had to leave the theater before the film ruined another one of my favorite songs.

    i think it very well may be the worst movie ever.

    fucking boo.

  5. If you didn’t realize from the preview that this movie was a musical then you are the idiot. The movie was a great journey through the 60s, with some good covers of the songs. But to say that this movie sucked because it is a musical is ludicrous. This guy probably hated the modern day musical Once as well cuz he thought it wasn’t going to be singing in the movie.

  6. It’s a weird thing with this movie. I watched the whole thing all the way through, and on many occasions it felt uncomfortabel, and at other times I thought to myself “I cant believe I’m watching this”, but when it was done, I realized I’d enjoyed it. Go figure.

    The performance of the young boy singing Let it Be was worth the price of the DVD.

  7. I actually wrote about how I really liked Once on here before. Once was a great story with songs that fit perfectly. This movie just crammed a bunch of songs into a story, resulting just a klunky mish mash of a 60s plot.

  8. I didn’t get very far into this garbage before turning it off. I was so ready to LOVE it and I don’t mind musicals, in some cases I would say I like them (used to do musical theatre myself) but but this movie was completely un-watchable. What a shame. I couldn’t tolerate it enough to get into the psychedellic scenes… which I was loooking forward to.. that and seeing Eddie Izzard, oh well. Maybe some day I’ll give it another try but I agree whole heardetly with the writer here.

  9. robert stigwood and the bee gees didnt kill the beatles. yoko and linda didn’t kill the beatles. nixon didn’t kill the beatles. mark david chapman didnt kill the beatles.

    however, bono in this movie? THAT killed the beatles.

  10. Agreed with the article–this movie was absolutely horrible. The singing left a lot to be desired, the story was seemingly written by monkeys at typewriters, and there was no consistent direction.

    My take on it was that the director couldn’t decide what she wanted to do with the movie. Parts of it were psychedelic and visually interesting and crazy. Other parts of it were played like a straight musical. It flipped back and forth between the two too often for either to work. Had she chosen to go one way or the other, I think there could have been a lot of potential.

    And don’t get me started on the performances. Yeah, they’re actors, not singers, but come on. That was atrocious.

  11. I couldn’t agree more with this review. Across the Universe was the biggest disappointment of my life! I cried, not because I was moved by the story, but because something so special to my heart had been butchered and served on a platter for dimwits who know nothing about the Beatles to eat up. I can only assume people who liked this movie were non-Beatles fans, and did not like the original songs in the first place. Each song was strung together by the director in an attempt to make something coherent. Her failure resulted in a drawn out and yes very contrived piece of crap. I mean could she have forced any more Beatles references down our throats (including that every single character’s name was from a song’s lyrics), as if we were supposed to find this clever and amusing. I will stand by your statement that his IS in fact the worst movie ever!!!

  12. Hmmm… I enjoyed it. Wasn’t perfect, but I loved how they changed the arrangements of some of the classic songs. “I wanna hold your hand” was beautiful. Completely changed the way I hear the song.

    I think it could probably have been done better, yeah. But it sure as hell also could have been done A LOT worse.

    Plus, I was expecting a musical. I thought everyone was? Guess not.

    The director did a much better job with Frida, but I still enjoyed this one.

  13. Wow.. so much for artistic free thinkers on the net.. your reviews are very much what I would expect of American TV addicts. I realize I am wasting my time even writing this as it will likely fall on ignorant ears but here goes…

    The musical re-arrangements in this movie are tremendous and the story line succeeds in joining the meanings behind the Beatles songs it features to the music. The musical arrangements and the flow of the show are fantastic. The Beatles would be proud of the political ramifications and historical context that are brought to the fore with this creative bit of genius.

    The backgrounds in each scene reflect emotions of the scenes 100%. If you don’t understand this maybe sign up for an intro to literature class at your local college and get an education and appreciation for something other than TV. A history class wouldn’t hurt you either.

    The Beatles music reflects emotions, politics, and the lived human experience of the 60s. This movie presents everything the Beatles stood for by pushing the meaning behind the songs to the front. Cliche is a vehicle in this movie, not an artifact.

    P.S. It might be time to turn OFF your TVs and go to some live performances.

    1. So glad you wrote this so I didn’t have to! Plus you probably said it a lot better than I would’ve. 😉 You perfectly wrote more or less what I was thinking while reading this. Thank you!

  14. Hey .. big Beatles fan here … and have no problem recommending the movie to my students. Dont like it .. go create one of your own, I’ll watch it.

  15. Loved it!

    Will definitely watch again when it gets to DVD here in NZ. I thought Jim Sturgess was great as Jude and as a filmmaker myself I couldn’t help but be blown away by the overall production. I just wouldn’t even know where to start to put together a movie such as ATU. Its definitely a movie that some people won’t get but an enjoyable ride for those that do.

    4 out of 5 for this Beatles fan.

  16. This movie suck!

    The psychedelic part is like a joke, i wonder if the director or anybody in this hole movie took LSD or at least a joynt in they re entire life?

    The covers made me considered about what the fuck i am doing with my life!

  17. I thought Across The Universe was amazing. The soundtrack changed my life. I love the beatles lyrics but I definately think the Across The Universe covers of the songs were much better than the original versions. Not to mention Jim sturgess’ voice was absolutely infactuating. Overall the movie was extremely creative and I would watch it over and over again.

  18. I totally disagree with this article, and I think whoever wrote this probably could of been more professional about the whole thing to be honest. I think this movie was wonderful, it was long because you can’t cram the way the Beatles revolutionized and changed that whole era into an hour. Not that many people truly understand what they did during this time. They gave people something to believe in and something to stand up for, which people today are really losing sight of today. The time right now everyone seems to be more infatuated with themselves, i really think we need a revolution! This movie really opened up my eyes to all of this. Brilliant!

  19. I have to say I am a big fan of this movie, and I am really happy to read that some others enjoyed it, too. I love the Beatles, their music, and what they stood for very much. And I just really enjoyed the journey that this movie took me on. I loved the performances of the actors; Jim Sturgess was truly an amazing talent. I think the songs were done well. Of course no one will compare to the originals themselves, but as new renditions I really really enjoyed the music of this movie. It was very creative, and I think it must have been a very hard task to make a plot out of the songs, so I have a lot of respect for those involved in putting this whole piece together. I love the feel of it, and I love hearing the music. <3

  20. I see both sides t the arguement. I really do. I personally loved this movie, but because my dad grew up with the Beatles I realize that he finds no appeal in this movie and I understand why he will never watch it.

    I really enjoyed it, but I do concur with both sides.

    1. He should watch it. He may be pleasantly surprised at how well most of the songs are rearranged (assuming he is somewhat open minded). My mother is also a Beatles fan from youth and she absolutely fell in love with it!

  21. I saw this movie a few days ago for the first time, and have watched it three or four times. It was wonderfully creative and very well thought out. I have always been a pretty big fan of the Beatles, but this movie really opened my eyes to some of the songs I had not heard of before as well as giving new life to some of the classics. I understand that a lot of the songs may have not translated into the movie as their original meanings were intended, but it was very tastefully done. I love this movie!

  22. Loved the movie, loved the music (can definitely hear the T-Bone Burnett influence)….

    I totally understand that this will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, it really, really worked.

  23. It makes me crazy to hear this movie be called the worst movie ever made!

    This is one of the best movies I have ever seen! This is truly a work of art… visually stunning, the music was wonderful and the acting was fabulous.

    Get a new job.. because it is very obvious you should NOT be a movie critic.

    Thank you

  24. Hear, hear!

    ‘Moulin Rouge!’ shouldn’t have worked but does, beautifully.

    This seemed a sure thing – and wasn’t.

    It had its moments – the only time the music and the action worked together was ‘Revolution’ – but other than that it SUCKED.

  25. wow dude. this movie is a freakin’masterpeice! I can see how you wouldn’t like it if you hated musicals but if you even slightly enjoy the beatles, you should at least be tolerant of it! I mean, happiness is a warm gun is an amazing scene in this movie! And the whole Kurt Cobain/Hendrix/Janice Joplin thing was pretty cool too. overall? best movie ever

  26. How much this crap costs?

    It costs real artists to get the meaning of Art and audience taste back on track!

  27. I think this review is crap. across the universe is one of my favorite movies. im not sure that you understand the movie.

  28. This review is just terrible. You only focus on the fact that you personally didn’t like it. Get a new job, because you obviously can’t review anything without severe bias. Any college freshman knows that if you’re going to write an essay or a review, then make sure you show both sides. At least mention something good about it. The singing was amazing, choreography was great… Yes it was cliche, but cliche doesn’t mean bad. In this case, it worked in the movie’s favor.

  29. This movie did suck. It’s nothing but stupid liberal propaganda using the Beatles music to push some dumb hippie ideas in which the Beatles had nothing to do with. Peace and love in England had nothing to do with the hippie bullshit in the U.S. This movie literally makes it difficult for me to listen to the Beatles. It was the most rancid musical I’ve ever seen.

  30. I’m a huge Beatles fan. I own almost all their vinyls, and know all of their songs. And yet, I thought this movie was complete crap. Why? Because it is a disgrace to them. The plot has absolutely nothing to do with them. It’s almost as if they tried to shoehorn them in. And even with that, they decided to turn it into a musical, by covering the songs instead. This movie is a disgrace to the Beatles. It looks like the people who are fans of this film only liked the one or two singles that everyone does. But to true fans, who have grown to love all of the Beatles’ songs, the movie is nothing but a slap across the face to their legacy.

    1. The movie was never supposed to be about them! It was about the 60s. It wasn’t about how the hippie movement in America affected the Beatles so much as how the Beatles affected the hippie movement in America. I can understand that you’d be disappointed if you went in expecting the movie to be ABOUT The Beatles, but that’s your own fault. Saying it sucked just because it wasn’t what you somehow expected is very close minded. Try being open to what it actually is about.

  31. you are correct sir! wow. you’d think it would be hard to make even the beatles suck… nope… here they’ve done it with masterful ease…. lennon and harrison are not only rolling over in their graves… their on a fucking rotisserie! i read that uno and mcartney and ringo were in full support of the project. can you imagine! are they that de$perate?? WTF?? i concur sir… this movie is a big ol’ stinkin’ turd with beatles stamped all over it!!!

  32. I agree…. I wanted to see this movie so bad as i love musicals and the beatles. However i bought the movie and i only liked about two scenes from the movie. Everything else sucks ass . It was the worst movie ever and i watched it anyway hoping it would get better. I had class the next day and i couldn’t concentrate from the lack of entertainment from that trashy movie. it was dumb and the directors should be hanged.

  33. Two words on why this movie sucks: Auto tune… Although, there are so many other things wrong with this movie, the review hits on a few, this should be a straw big enough to break any camel’s back. To call yourself a Beatles fan and still respect the music in this movie shows a complete lack of understanding of the band and music at all.

  34. This movie was so cringeworthy, trite and cheesy it actually made me furious. It was an insult to true Beatles fans. What an unmitigated, fat turd.

  35. Wow. To trash this film one must be pretty angry and clueless. It’s not a masterpiece, but as far as movie musicals go, which I loath, this is done fairly well. Some of the arrangements were interesting and tastefully done, the performances were all very good, and the storyline was interesting with many Beatle references thrown in. Stop hating, so much crap out there to really criticize.

  36. Obviously some people are incapable of understanding the point of this movie. I went in VERY skeptical as a huge Beatles fan and expected to feel exactly how a lot of the people hating on it feel. At first I was upset because they weren’t interpreting the music the way I personally interpret it, but once I became open to the directors take on the songs and how she cleverly made the songs fit in with what was happening during that time even though they likely weren’t meant to, I really started to enjoy it and it is now one of my all time favorites.

  37. As good as some of the points are I still absolutely love this movie and it is an all time fav.

  38. I don’t understand the problems everyone has with this movie. I love it. I think the interpretations of the songs were amazing and I continue to love watching them. As an under 30 person I will continue to watch it and stay in live with what the Beatles tried to share with all human kind.

  39. It’s a musical designed to appeal to a wide audience- not some deep/hardcore psychedelic experience. Certainly plenty of cliche, but still a good job of setting the catalogue up to tell a loose story and anyone who claims that the singing is “bad” just doesn’t want to hear these songs sung by anyone but the beatles themselves. The fact that it’s my 10 year old daughter’s favorite movie helps with my perspective, but try to keep a little more love in your heart folks.

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