1. 'Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace'
In hindsight, the signs were everywhere that Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was going to be an epic disappointment. With the notable exception of the Indiana Jones movies, George Lucas wasn't exactly involved in many great films in the 1980s and 1990s. Also, he opted to write and direct Phantom Menace completely by himself. (He had lots of help on the originals.) Finally, Jar Jar Binks was annoying even in the brief trailer. South Park was making fun of him before anyone had seen the movie, though a certain magazine put him on the cover with the cover line "Superstar." Whoops.
Still, everyone wanted to believe and some otherwise sane people didn't immediately realize it was a turd. Roger Ebert even gave it three-and-a-half stars. "It is an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking," he wrote. "There is a sense of discovery in scene after scene as [Lucas] tries out new effects and ideas, and seamlessly integrates real characters and digital ones, real landscapes and imaginary places." It's a rare instance of Ebert being off, and it's endlessly sad he won't be around to see the upcoming seventh movie in the series. Let's all pray J.J. Abrams doesn't botch this. We can only stand so much Star Wars-related disappointment in one lifetime.