Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Worst of 2008

Here are my 20 worst movies of last year.

20 - Fool's Gold
Matthew McConaughey. Kate Hudson. Wants to be National Treasure. Makes National Treasure look like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
19 - Vantage Point
Pretty simple premise. The president gets assassinated while speaking at a summit in a foreign country. But if you're going to tell the same story over and over again from multiple perspectives, you have to give us something interesting every time. By the 3rd time, we knew everything we needed to know. And it still replayed the scene another 97 times.
18 - The Forbidden Kingdom
I hate, hate it when fight scenes are edited so much that you can't see what's going on. Why hire Jackie Chan and Jet Li if you are going to edit each punch and kick? I could film my brother and I fighting and edit it to look that good. And Michael Angarano is the most boring actor since Paul Walker. And don't get me started on the horrible scene with the bullies that bookends the movie.
17 - W.
This movie should have been great. Maybe if Oliver Stone had taken another month to edit it, he could have structured it better. But cutting back and forth in W.'s life got annoying. And the movie didn't have an ending. Its like he looked at the running time and said "let's end it here." And Thandie Newton's performance as Condoleezza Rice? WTF???
16 - The X-Files: I Want to Believe
I'm so glad I'm not a huge X-Files fan. How disappointing to wait this long for another Mulder / Scully adventure, and this is the best they could come up with? If this were an episode of the series, it would never run in syndication.
15 - 88 Minutes
Laughably bad. Pacino has become a caricature of himself. Its getting old.
14 - Wanted
This movie really should have been more fun. But it took itself way too seriously.
13 - All Roads Lead Home

This was like the worst Hallmark Channel made-for-TV movie I had ever seen. As many endings as The Return of the King. And someone should have looked at the dailies of Peter Boyle and realized he was in no condition to act in a movie.

12 - The Fall

I have seen 4 star reviews for this, and I can't believe it. It looks great, but that's because Tarsem is a visual artist. If this movie was running in the background of a party or something, it would give the guests something nice to look at. I'm sure he was inspired by The Princess Bride; man tells a story to a young child, the bulk of the movie is the fantasy story he is telling. But the story was boring. He really should have gotten help writing the fantasy part. And the movie looked so much like a car commercial I kept expecting the camera to pan over to a luxury car sitting on the edge of a cliff with a voiceover saying "The new Cadillac CTS."

11 - The Spirit
I have seen Sin City, and you, sir, are no Sin City.
10 - 21

Its like someone wrote this using a screenplay outline. So predictable. Why do they keep going to the same casino? Why didn't they stick to the facts in the book? Why didn't they cast Asian Americans? Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth are two of my least favorite actors.

9 - Semi-Pro

Remember when Will Ferrell was funny? Between this and my #6 pick, he is the new Adam Sandler. Or Eddie Murphy. And I'm a big fan of dirty language and R-rated movies. But it has to be funny. Superbad was dirty, but funny. And as Gene Siskel would have said, it had heart. The vulgarity in this movie offended me. It didn't serve any purpose, and it makes good vulgarity look bad.

8 - Seven Pounds

A movie doesn't have to spell everything out for me, but an hour in, I was really tired of not knowing what was going on. There was about 20 minutes of the movie I liked. It was Will Smith and Rosario Dawson's romance scenes. For a little while, I believed in the characters and I wanted more of that. They should have made the whole movie about their romance.

7 - Death Race

The people who made this movie have no idea what makes Death Race 2000 a great movie. And just like the fight scenes in Forbidden Kingdom, the action involving the cars was so choppily edited that I had no idea what was going on. No sense of geography. Would it have killed them to show a wide shot for more than 1 second without cutting to a close-up?

6 - Step Brothers
I don't think I laughed once in this movie. Are the brothers supposed to be mentally challenged, or are they deliberatly lazy / stupid / ignorant? I can buy a lazy man living with his mom or dad, but to have no idea of how to behave in a job interview? Sometimes they acted like they were kids in adult bodies. Maybe they thought they were remaking Big. And I hope Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen got paid a lot of money. I also hope the money explains why they didn't read the script before signing on.
5 - Eagle Eye
I didn't believe any of the characters. I didn't believe anything they said or did. I can suspend disbelief when it comes to the omniscient supercomputer. I can buy all the sci-fi elements of this movie. But not one character talks or acts like a believable human being. And Shia LaBeouf gets shot like 6 times in the chest and lives.
4 - Four Christmases
Vince Vaughn has never given a less funny performance. And Reese Witherspoon has never been funny. Who thought this would be a good match? The only time I laughed in this movie was when they were playing Taboo, and the funny actors were Jon Favreau and Sissy Spacek.
3 - Bedtime Stories

Just when I thought Adam Sandler couldn't make anything worse, we get this. They tried to make a movie for kids. I think 4-year olds are too mature for this movie. Any movie that has to cut to a shot of a guinea pig with giant CGI eyes for a laugh is in trouble. They're eating smores. Oh look, the guinea pig has marshmellows all over his face. They're eating hamburgers. Oh look, the guinea pig has ketchup and mustard all over his face. Shoot me now!

2 - Strange Wilderness
I spoke too soon about Adam Sandler. As bad as his movies are, they aren't as bad as the ones his friends make. If you have your own production company and your friend wants to make a movie, you should give him one condition: it needs to be at least a little funny. What a waste of talent. Steve Zahn. Justin Long. Jonah Hill. Ernest Borgnine. Robert Patrick. Kevin Heffernan (Officer Farva from Super Troopers). Joe Don Baker. I would kill for a DVD extra of the cast talking about how bad the movie is, and explaining why they signed on. Once again, I hope they got paid a lot of money.
1 - The Happening
The worst of the worst. Most filmmakers learn more about their craft as they go along, but M. Night Shyamalan's movies are getting worse and worse. He is the Benjamin Button of filmmakers.

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