"Gotti" is one of the most incompetent movies I've seen in a while, and not in the so-bad-it's-good kinda way - more like, so bad it needs to be witnessed like a crime so those responsible can face justice and punishment. 

It aims to tell the story of the rise and fall of John Gotti, one of the most famous and notorious gangsters of the late 20th century, and it treats the convicted murderer like some kind of folk hero. It spans more than thirty years, but the script and direction are so inept at hopping back and forth in time that only way to get a sense of the year is judging from John Travolta's hair piece. 

Oh, poor John Travolta. "Gotti" was a passion project for him, and his last passion project didn't work out well, either (remember "Battlefield Earth?" Of course not). He reportedly thought he'd be in the Oscar race for this, and fought to get it a theatrical release for that reason. But his performance is a cartoonish Italian gangster stereotype like something Joey from "Friends" would try and pull off. 

Over its seven years of development, the movie burned through dozens of producers, a few directors and cast members - including Lindsay Lohan. When Lindsay Lohan doesn't want to be in your movie, it might be a clue something is very wrong. 

The director "Gotti" ended up with is Kevin Connolly - otherwise known as "E" from HBO's Entourage. That's oddly fitting because "Gotti" plays like a movie the "Entourage" bros would have made after a drug-addled weekend binge-watching Scorsese and "Scarface."

All the mob movie cliches are here, thrown together in a blender that caught fire and exploded. I watched "Gotti" marveling at mess that it is. It's an unmitigated disaster - a film felony. 

EPPLER'S RATING: * 

RATING SCALE

* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful  - The worst, an insult to movies