The 13 Worst ’80s Kids Movies, Ranked

For every brilliant, Oscar-nominated film, there’s a slew of truly awful pieces of cinema–like not even enjoyable-bad. And during the ’80s, it was a time when Hollywood started catering more towards kids, but there wasn’t really a formula for how to create a money-making blockbuster with at least a somewhat coherent and interesting story.

So what we got during this time was a lot of not-so-great movies that parents had to sit through that were either bland, trying to rip off another movie, or just incredibly bizarre–something that should have never been made. Luckily, we rounded-up some of the worst of them.

We looked for some of the worst-reviewed movies from the ’80s on GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic and found the 13 worst-reviewed movies from that decade. Sadly, some films we wanted to see on this list, like Munchies or Little Monsters, didn’t receive enough reviews to get an average rating. Luckily, we have 13 others to talk about.

13. BMX Bandits (1983)

Metacritic score: 53

In the ’80s, BMX biking was hot. If you grew up during that time, you probably had one yourself. BMX Bandits was the best movie to come out of that trend. The film was about a group of BMXers (Nicole Kidman played one of their friends) taking down a group of bank robbers. How do they do it? Jumping over cars and getting sick air, duh.

12. Supergirl (1984)

Metacritic score: 41

Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies were a big hit, and they were good to boot. So in 1984, there was a spin-off movie starring Brenda Vaccaro as Superman’s cousin–Kara, Supergirl–as she took on a witch. Yep, a witch. It’s one of the blandest superhero movies of the ’80s, and that’s saying a lot.

11. Annie (1982)

Metacritic score: 39

It’s a hard knocks life for the movie Annie because critics did not like it. This musical is the story of the titular red-haired orphan who stays for a week with billionaire “Daddy” Warbucks. It’s a musical adaptation of a comic strip, and while the story is a hit and famous now, its roots weren’t originally beloved.

10. The Karate Kid III (1989)

Metacritic score: 36

The weakest of the original Karate Kid movies, John Kreese returns and wants revenge on Daniel LaRusso–a teenager who is very good at karate–so he gets some help from Terry Silver, another karate man. However, this karate man is very rich and pretends to be Daniel’s friend in order to betray him.

9. Masters of the Universe (1987)

Metacritic score: 35

A stark departure from the original cartoon–which was merely around to sell toys–Masters of the Universe takes He-Man to Earth to team up with Courtney Cox (rather the character she’s playing), so he can retrieve a mystical key and take down Skeletor.

8. The Black Stallion Returns (1983)

Metacritic score: 34

There are many people who love a good horsie movie. This is not one of them. This classic early-80s movie follows the titular Black Stallion who is stolen while in Morocco. Now, his own must find him. Everything people loved about the original was not here in the sequel, and it came off as corny.

7. Howard the Duck (1986)

Metacritic score: 28

In 1986, the Marvel movies we got weren’t good by any means. There was no Shang-Chi or Iron Man. We got Howard the Duck, a movie marketed to kids that should not have been. The film follows an alien duck who comes to Earth and needs to stop another alien. The film features a topless female duck and some really intimate scenes between Howard and his very human friend played by Lea Thompson.

6. Mac & Me (1988)

Metacritic score: 26

Most people remember Mac & Me because of Paul Rudd playing the same clip of it on Conan O’Brien. Yes, the clip is very funny, in the context of Paul Rudd appearing on a talk show. However, the movie is very bad. It’s a rip-off of E.T., and follows an alien who comes to Earth and befriends a young boy.

6. Rad (1986)

Metacritic score: 24

Somehow, for some reason, critics didn’t like the best BMX movie of all time: Rad. In fact, they hated it for some unknown reason. Rad follows BMXer Cru Jones who wants to win Helltrack, a very dangerous BMX race. It’s perfect, and frankly, it shouldn’t be on this list at all.

5. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Metacritic score: 24

Superman was on a role in the ’70s and ’80s, but the fourth movie in the franchise was the nail in the coffin. In this movie, Lex Luthor creates Nuclear Man to fight Superman. It is, without a doubt, a giant fall from grace. The only entertaining part of the movie is seeing Superman, in space, with all of the world’s nuclear missiles, in a giant net, and he swings them into the sun.

4. Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

Metacritic score: 24

Ernest has been to many places during his run on the big screen: Jail, the North Pole, England, and to fight trolls in Missouri. This was the first Ernest movie, which saw him working at a summer camp, and critics did not like it one bit–ya know what I mean, Vern? This is an ’80s classic. Yes, it’s terrible, but it’s an Ernest movie. You know what you’re getting into when you turn this one on.

3. The Wizard (1989)

Metacritic score: 23

Taking off the rose-colored glasses, The Wizard is objectively bad. Yes, we did get to see the debut of Super Mario Bros. 3 in it, and yes, we did get Lucas saying the infamous line, “I love the powerglove. It’s so baaaad.” However, the movie is very bizarre, as it’s a journey-across-the-country story of a boy, his little brother, and this girl he has a crush on, as they head to a video game tournament in California. The weirdest thing about the entire movie is that the relationship between the two young teens (maybe even pre-teens). They talk to each other like they’re in their 20s and have the relationship maturity of such. It’s very awkward to watch.

2. Teen Wolf Too (1987)

Metacritic score: 8

Jason Bateman is fantastic in Ozark. However, many people remember the first time he graced our screens, and that was the sequel to Michael J. Fox’s classic Teen Wolf. This movie follows the original Teen Wolf’s cousin, who is in college, struggling with life, who turns into a wolf.

1. The Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie (1987)

Metacritic score: 1

With one of the lowest scores ever on Metacritic, The Garbage Pail Kids movie is serious terrible. Adapted from trading cards (which my first grade teacher took from me and never gave back), the movie follows aliens from a garbage spaceship save a young boy from bullies. The aliens are all gross, much like the trading cards, and the film itself is an incredibly tough watch.

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