The year that was. Often as we prepare for the new year we look back and try our best to remember the good times. We’ll get to those later. As for now, let’s look back at those movies from this past year that drove critics to mass suicide and continued to lower the bar on what we consider film. Get ready folks, it’s time to bash the worst movies of the year!
Now I attempt to see as many movies as possible, but even my almost infinite patience can get tried from time to time. Below is a countdown which represent the worst movies I sat through this past year. Those which quite possibly missed the list only because either 1) the weren’t screened for critics, or 2) I passed on the “opportunity” to view them, include Meet the Spartans, The Nottie and the Hottie, The Love Guru, Witless Protection, Fools Gold, and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. Whether these films are better or worse than those below is a question I’m willing to leave unanswered. Now, let’s get on with the list…
10. Max Payne
Video games make for lousy movies. Exceptions to this rule are few and far between. Max Payne is not an exception. Unintelligible story? Check. Laughable casting (like, say, Mila Kunis as a bad-ass assassin)? Check. Thuggish anti-hero (Mark Wahlberg) with a past? Check. Plot holes the size of Omega Supreme? Check. But, hey, at least it’s pretty. The film wastes its visual style (about the only thing which works) by wrapping it around the crap which is the rest of the movie. Is it worse than Duum? No, I’ll give it that, but how many movies are? Hollywood is in need of quite a few New Year’s Resolutions, here’s one: NO MORE MOVIES BASED OFF VIDEO GAMES!!!
Speaking of genres which need to be taken out back and shot, can we please stop with the brain-dead romcoms? I know they help to pay to keep Kate Hudson and Many Moore in the style they have become accustomed, but enough is enough. This latest disaster is about a guy (Stoopid McDreamy) who discovers, to his amazement, that his best friend (Michelle Monaghan) is hot and decides to proclaim his love despite her engagement to a Scottish noble (Kevin McKidd). Lack of hilarity (including our protaganist dressed in a kilt 3 sizes too small, giving a bridle shower, and riding a horse on the way to the wedding) ensues.
It was a darn good year for comic book movies…at least until I saw Punisher: War Zone. Hollywood’s third attempt at making a watchable film based off the Marvel Comics character made me want to kill someone (like the director and writers). Can we please enforce the three-strike rule? First Dolph Lundgren, then Thomas Jane and John Travolta, and now this. The only place to go from here is to cast Freddie Prinze Jr. as Tombstone and Wesley Snipes as Rocket Racer for the next sad attempt. Seriously, if this is the best you can do given this much time and, presumably, effort you need to stop. The audience is the only one getting punished here.
7. The Women
A strong argument can be used against remaking any classic film using only The Women as an example. Say what you want about the original, at least it had talent and grace. Better suited to The Lifetime Chanel this uber chick flick (sans anything resembling a man) suffers from an excess of estrogen and a lack of brains. It’s kinda’ like Britney Spears. You get what you expect here: Meg Ryan mopes and the girls, I refuse to call them women, (Annette Benning, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith) gather around their bosom pal when her marriage is threatened by a hot young chic (Eva Mendes). Lessons on love, friendship and independence follow.
I’m sure, at the beginning, those involved in this travesty thought they were making a good film. They were wrong. Australia is an over-ambitious undertaking, riddled with problems, better suited for a television mini-series. Nicole Kidman stars as an aristocratic widow and Hugh Jackman is the rough-n-tumble ranch hand and the man she hates, loves, needs, pushes away, and holds onto too tightly. Stealing from everything from Red River to Pearl Harbor without having any voice of its own, or ever really deciding what it wants to be, Australia is a three-hours of your life you’ll never get back.
5. 27 Dresses
What’s so sad about 27 Dresses is the plot could have made for an amusing (not saying good, but at least interesting) film. Instead Jane (Katherine Heigl), who has spent her life devoted to throwing friends and acquaintances weddings, gets the cliched romcom treatment. She’s in love with the wrong guy (Edward Burns) and hates the right one (James Marsden) when they meet, cute of course. They get together, she finds out a secret and hates him, and, well, you know where it goes from there. Kudos to Malin Ackerman (who has a small role as Heigl’s sister) for making the list two years running.
If a film doesn’t contain a mummy can you still call it The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor? I learned a few things from the latest entry into The Mummy franchise. First, director Rob Coen’s (Stealth, xXx) answer to that question is yes. And second, whatever joy the original film contained has long ago been wrung dry from this series. Other insights: Yetis like football (and are invulnerable to avalanches), ancient swords can cut through anything (including stone) like butter, and control over the elements allows you to transform yourself into a massive three-headed dragon. This franchise needs to be entombed.
Poor Diane Lane, getting roped into this retarded techo-torture-porn-thriller. What (other than a seriously big check) was she thinking? Lane stars as the head of an FBI task force trying to take down a serial killer (Joseph Cross) who kills people, wait for it, by the hits received on his unstoppable Internet page which can’t be shut down. Is it just me or does this sound like it was thought up by the same techno-savy folks who gave us Firewall? In keeping true to its genre the killer has knowledge, abilities and skills far beyond that of normal men (the guy hacks OnStar, the FBI, and cell phones) who’s only caught through implausible logic leaps and dumb luck.
At least the girl (Amber Heard) is hot. Seriously, what else can you say about this Karate Kid wannabe? Sean Faris stars as a troubled teen who moves to a new town and promptly gets the snot beaten out of him by the Zabka-esque Cam Gigandet. Djimon Honsou does a fair Mr. Miyagi impersonation, but the film is derailed by a jerk of main character, some outrageously bad dialogue, montages aplenty, plot and scenes stolen from countless films (Rocky III, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Bloodsport, just to name three), and an absurd ending which is appropriate only for a film which sucks this hard.
…and finally, the worst of the worst
As bad as everything on this list is, there is one film which puts them all to shame. The only film from 2008 which earned a Zero rating, Over Her Dead Body raises the bar for bad cinema. How bad is it? Jason Biggs provides the “funniest” moment of the film by dropping an animal (something he does more than once by the way). Call me crazy, but I expect movies to aim a smidge higher than America’s Funniest Home Videos. Eva Longoria plays a ghost haunting the psychic new girlfriend (Lake Bell, who lies, conspires and contrives – and she’s the NICE ONE!) of her former beau (Paul Rudd). The film makes Rudd unfunny, Longoria unattractive, and Biggs the “funny one.”