Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Top Ten worst films of the year

Now, some people get all upset when you list any of the big, summer films, that ones turned out terrible, in your “worst of” lists.

They prefer, in the usual poser-snob scenester way, to dig for the lamest, smallest, most idiotic and delusional little independent “film” made that year that they can find. It's a highschool game of one-up-manship and they act as if you’re less of a film fan because you avoided such an obviously bad film.

You know the one, the one that nobody saw because the film was awful because the production had no money because the people involved had no real equipment, experience, and even less all around talent and as a result, the film was never actually released on any kind of real national level… so then these jerks go and hold this wretched cinematic creature up before us and they point and they laugh and they talk about how bad it is, which though that may be true, it certainly does a disservice to the people involved by not applauding their passion, dedication, and enthusiasm, and the sheer amounts it took just to complete their project in the first place.

I hate those guys, here’s why… You see, making a bad list is not about finding the films that had no other option but to turn out sub-par, it’s about the films that failed, DESPITE having every advantage available.

1. Fucking duh, moron. Oh, so the sci-fi epic that the group home with an old beta max camcorder and a bunch of aluminum foil made turned out to be terrible? Wow. Nice critical eye, wad-job, way to spot that one.

2. The reverse side of that, having ample money, opportunity, experience, talent, and distribution available to you? That means you don’t get any excuses. That means that there is a certain level of quality demanded of you. And the more stuff you had available for use, the less leeway you get, got it?

It’s kind of like how when the C student gets a B, everyone claps, but if the A student gets a B, everyone is disappointed. And if you don’t understand why that is… well, hopefully someday you’ll finally make that B, kid. (clap, clap, clap)

On to the list!

10. Avatar
Ok, ok, yeah, I know… I already said (at great length) that it’s not that bad, I know, and honestly, I still stand by that. It’s true, Avatar is NOT BAD, but then… but then I start to think about 15 years and then I think about 500 million dollars and then I consider the myriad of resources James Cameron has available to him. I think about the fact that while Cameron was off, all busy-beaver, making every single blade of grass look uber-real, he could have hired a good screen writer and have them come in and, who knows… maybe punch up the script up a bit. Clean it up, add some flourishes and nuances, maybe some depth. Maybe give the Cat-girl something to do that didn’t revolve around Might Whitey Cripple Man saving her and her people, Maybe make it so it wasn’t a hodge-podge of a thousand other films… but then, what do I know? The stupid thing has already made over a billion dollars and in under three weeks to boot...

9.Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
I enjoy the books, even though I have yet to read the last one, but I haven’t seen a single one of these films that I would ever consider even close to “good”. Even Azkaban, the supposedly good one, is no better than okay. Now mostly, I blame this on the complete inability, so far, to translate the heart and soul of the books to the screen. Inevitably, the film version has ended up being a hacked and slashed version of the book with so, so many of the great little character moments, the ones that make up the fabric of the story, excised that their sum total loss simply can not be overlooked and we get left with a hollow sub-par shell of a film that lacks even spectacle. The only continued saving grace is some phenomenal casting, the main being Alan Rickman, talk about being born for a part.

8.Bride Wars
Oh, a Romantic Comedy… big shocker, right? You’d think so. Except, I actually see a lot of these films and really, most of them cute and funny, sure, sometimes they’re a bit shallow or strangely unrealistic, or at worst: kind of dumb. But the good ones are generally just sweet and funny, if somewhat predictable, little comedies. I don’t have a problem with the genre, a good movie is a good movie. True, they’re not really my cup of tea, but whatever. Like I said, some of them are pretty damn funny. This one, though, this one… absolutely NOT funny. Horrible, ugly, stupid… Women the world over should be mad about this film and the way they’re portrayed. Because, you see ladies, according to this film, it doesn’t matter how smart, powerful, successful, and/or independent you are—once you start planning your wedding, you go bat-shit insane and turn into a beady-eyed little screaming bitch harpy cow whose whole world is consumed by one thing and one thing alone: having the bestest wedding ever! And God help anyone who gets in your way.

Its probably not fair to pile on Nic Cage at this point, I mean, the guy has fallen and he is taking just about anything he can get his hands on at this point. It’s been a rough year for Mr. Cage (although this coming year may end up being redemptive… Kick-Ass). All that being said… this film was just dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. The least of which is the moment that “proves” his theory about the found sheet of numbers when a plane just happens to crash right next to him. This is a film that, despite calling itself "Knowing”, it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It starts out as horror, switches to mystery, then to apocalyptic thriller, to sci-fi epic, and finally, to a film that promotes child abandonment… My poster tag-line: “If I know one thing, it’s that Knowing is Dumb!” –Jon, This Is Mine

6.Observe and Report
This film was just… creepy. It was like a sweaty, hairy, clammy fat guy in gold Speedos rubbing up against you while making yummy noises and crooning softly. Just gross. And creepy. And ridiculously unfunny. Ugh. There’s a line in the film where this cop is eaves-dropping on another cop that is pulling a mean-spirited prank and halfway through, the first cop comes out of his hiding spot and says: “I’m sorry… I have to go. I thought this was going to be funny, but it’s just… sad.” And that line completely sums up this horrible, horrible, horrible movie.

5.Away We Go
Oh, Sam Mendes… you know, you’re pretty good, but… damn, man. Sure, sure, you’re maybe doing the next Bond, and that excites me, but then I look at Revolutionary Road (actually, I’d rather not… depressing…) and even more… I look at this film. This movie is just offensive. Plain old offensive. And I don’t mean in a: said the N word, claims the holocaust didn’t happen, or comes completely from a place of white man’s guilt type of way… No, I mean: This movie is EVERYTHING that is wrong with “Independent” cinema. Everything. It’s so bad, so formula, it’s like it was spit out by some kind of satirical website’s “How to create an Indy film” machine. From casting, to costumes, to script. It is god damn unbearable. Intolerable. Agonizing. It made me wish for Garden State. This movie makes me consider Michael Bay… ehhh, you know, not so bad… I hate this movie so much, it leaves me with no other option then to talk nonsense in a vain attempt to quantify my hate: If an independent coffee shop and consignment thrift store had a baby, it would be this film. Then I would drown it.

Now, where the last movie was offensive, but not for the usual reasons, this film bravely goes straight for the usual reasons. Lets just skip past the whole Liam Neeson ridiculous old man with transparent skin, are-you-sure-that-wasn’t-a-stunt-double action stuff. Let’s ignore the part about the evil little French kid who gets run over by a truck that comes out of nowhere at 90 miles an hour in an airport parking garage. Let’s not even bother with the whole Brittany Spears: Savior, Redeemer, Mentor subplot. All of that is… I mean, there’s no need to poke the stupid kids with sticks, right? So let’s move on and discuss this film’s ridiculous right wing, Bush-was-right view of the World. A world where a girl goes to Paris, despite her Dad’s warnings, because her shrewish, jew-marrying mother let her, where she is promptly kidnapped by evil Russians (Commies, right?), who then turn around and sell her to fat, reclining, grape-eating Arabs lookin’ for some young, white pussy to violate. Man, was Dad ever right. So was Bush. And did the French even care? Hell no… bunch of cheese eating, surrender-monkeys… They’d rather drink wine! Guess Dad has to bring some good ol’ US of A boot in the ass action to town! God… What a dumb film. It’s the post 9-11 cinematic equivalent to the 1950’s Hook-hand killer on Lover’s lane type of horror stories.

3.X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This film got a lot of leeway, but that’s only because a couple of other films decided to show us what bad REALLY means. But make no mistake. This movie is terrible. And not just because it barely bothered to consult the source material, because it didn’t. Honestly, that doesn’t even matter. A. Because Wolverine is the type of character who can fit in to just about any story. And B. If it’s told well enough, who cares if it’s been done that way in the comics before? Not me. Although, it should be stated that there are some great stories in some of those four color pamphlets that would translate amazingly to the big screen. There’s even a couple of writers there at the famed House of Ideas who could maybe lend a hand and help you out… those are good ideas, right (Cough-Iron Man-Cough)? But no, this film decided to go the route of the old Batman and Robin franchise: Day-glo colors, a stupid plot, uneven pacing, overdone set pieces, and a massively unnecessary glut of cameos by pre-established characters, all of which are completely fumbled and “mis-used”. This is one of those films that should be so easy, yet somehow started out wrong way, way back in its initial pre-production meetings and then just kept being wrong all the way up until I had the misfortune of finally seeing it.

2.Terminator Salvation
It is only through the extreme efforts of the number one worst film of the year, that this one did not take the top seat. And the reason is only partly do to the fact that it is a terrible movie with a terrible script that is terribly directed, and all despite a couple of good performances. No, the main reason is just pure disappointment. I knew McG was the Director for a long time. I am well aware of his well-established suck. I knew this. Plus, I had heard the rumor about John Conner dying and his skin being grafted onto a Terminator, which was obviously true at some point, that was so bad and the fan outcry was so great that thankfully, it was changed. I knew, in my mind, I knew it was going to be stupid. I knew, in my mind, that it was going to be BEYOND stupid. I knew this—in my mind. But in my heart? In my heart, I wanted it to be awesome. The glimpses in the trailer, the little moments of the war between man and machine… it was something I’d waited years to finally see… I was so, so secretly hopeful. And then… I was so, so, so disappointed. The machines track with infrared (heat), but they don’t see you up on the cliff side? The Terminator motorcycles have external controls and Skynet has keyboards? For who? Were we supposed to be shocked that one of the characters was a Terminator? Isn’t that the point of the character… that they are disguised as humans? And, in a film that is obviously hoping for a new trilogy, how come you waste so much time with a character that doesn’t even make it out of the first film? Huh? Look, the first three films were all about, ALL ABOUT, saving John Conner for the future… shouldn’t the next trilogy be about why that was so important? Damn you, McG.

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Wow. If you haven’t seen this film—don’t. Ever. There are no “so bad it’s good” moments. None. Zero. It’s just bad. There’s no plot. It makes no internal sense. You can’t even appreciate the robot fights because they are too much of a loud mess. Terrible. Beyond terrible. Horrible. And the worst part? Even though Avatar will eventually pass it by on Domestic Box Office Returns, if you just count the calendar year of 2009? Transformers 2 is not only my #1 worst film of the year, hands down. It is also, hands down, the number one Box Office Draw of the year. WTF, man… wtf


David said...

As I was reading this and not seeing your number one, I kept getting angrier and angrier.

Imagine my relief when I saw it there. God that movie fucking blew. I could reproduce the movie entirely using tin foil, a blender, my son banging on shit around the house, and a picture of megan fox.

Jon said...

A picture of Megan Fox?!?! ... I'm listening..