Friday, January 29, 2010

2009 Year in Review: The Worst Movies of the Year

Even when I try to cut down on the number of terrible movies I see in a given year, I seem to still see too many. Sometimes it’s a simple case of boredom, sometimes it’s because my wife wanted to see it, and something I just didn’t think the movie would be as bad as it was when I walked into the theater. Below is the list of the worst films of the year, with a list of dishonorable mentions as well. Angels and Demons (Ron Howard), The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (Troy Duffy), Confessions of a Shopaholic (PJ Hogan), Couples Retreat (Peter Billingsley), Crossing Over (Wayne Kramer), Deadgirl (Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Hadrel), Did You Hear About the Morgans? (Marc Lawrence), Fired Up (Will Gluck), Gamer (Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor), Land of the Lost (Brad Silberling), Law Abiding Citizen (F. Gary Gray), Push (Paul McGuigan), Taking Woodstock (Ang Lee), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Chris Weitz). And now, onto the worst of the year.

10. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Mark Waters)
Matthew McConaghey is one of the most vacuous and empty actors in the world. He has occasionally flashes of an actual actor, but for every one of those movies, we seem to get 10 films like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, a pathetic romantic comedy that takes the form of A Christmas Carol, with McConaghey playing a womanizer who finally sees what an idiot he is. This painfully unfunny comedy, Jennifer Garner, Lacey Chabert, Michael Douglas and Breckin Meyer are all quite bad as well, would be higher (lower?) on the list if not for the presence of Emma Stone, who still looks adorable even in bad ‘80s hair and braces. A bad year for romantic comedies and this is one of the worst.

9. He’s Just Not That Into You (Ken Kwapis)
This movie is a series of inane, annoying stories about inane, annoying characters that spend most of the movie whining about their failed relationships. How can a movie featuring Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck, Justin Long, Jennifer Aniston and Scarlett Johansson among others be this bad? Easy. Give them nothing interesting to say or do. This is the most obvious, most annoying chick flick in recent memory.

8. Amelia (Mira Nair)
Amelia Earhart was a fascinating woman, yet Mira Nair’s biopic about her is as dull as dishwasher. Hilary Swank is annoying and one note, with her Southern Accent and her boy’s haircut, as Earhart, who based on the evidence in this movie apparently didn’t really do all that much. Worse then her is both Richard Gere, as her adoring, dullard of a husband and Ewan McGregor as her lover. The film just sits there on screen and does absolutely nothing. Nair is a gifted filmmaker, but she had no idea how to make this movie.

7. Transformers: Rise of the Fallen (Michael Bay)
The original Transformers is a guilty pleasure movie, but this sequel was nearly unwatchable. Bay’s direction is more chaotic and incomprehensible - during the action sequences I could barely tell who was who. The screenplay was stupid and made almost no sense. Shia LaBeouf sleepwalks through his role. The special effects are fine, but they serve no purpose. The only thing good about the movie is Megan Fox running in slow motion, which to be fair does represent about 95% of her screen time. Awful.

6. The Unborn (David S. Goyer)
David S. Goyer should not be able to direct movies. As a writer, he co-wrote Dark City, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. As a director, he is responsible for Blade Trinity, the worst of the Blade series, The Invisable, a pathetic little teen horror film, and now The Unborn a terrible horror film about a teenage girl (a Megan Fox look-a-like who we will probably never see again) who is being haunted by her evil teen who died in the womb. I did appreciate the act that instead of bringing in a priest to perform an exorcism, they bring in a rabbi (Gary Oldman), but this is an uninteresting, unscary horror movie that I have effectively blocked from my memory.

5. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Patrick Tatopoulus)
It’s not like either of the first two Underworld movies were masterpieces. To be honest, watching Kate Beckinsale walk around in skintight leather was really the only thing those movies had going for them. But this movie is way worse than those ones - and not just because Beckinsale isn’t in the movie. The film is horribly written, and the performances don’t do anything to make the film more bearable (even Michael Sheen as a werewolf is utterly awful). The action sequences are awful, but not nearly as painful as the scenes where the characters actually talk to each other. This film is better left forgotten.

4. The Fourth Kind (Olatunde Osunsanmi)
This utterly terrible, incomprehensible and downright stupid alien movie is incompetently written, directed and acted. Debut filmmaker Osunsanmi tries to pull a fast one on the audience by telling us that this is based on a true story, when we can all tell that it is bogus. It wouldn’t be a big deal if the film worked in any conceivable way, but it doesn’t. It’s just headache inducing.

3. Year One (Harold Ramis)
Harold Ramis has written and directed some of the best comedies of the last few decades - Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and his most recent film before this was the criminally underrated The Ice Harvest. But Year One is one of the unfunniest pieces of garbage I have seen in recent years. Great comedic talents Jack Black and Michael Cera play cavemen who leave their tribe and go on a journey through ancient times, running into characters from the bible and every other ancient civilization imaginable. It takes real talent to make a movie this bad.

2. All About Steve (Phil Traill)
Sandra Bullock had a career year in 2009, with The Proposal and The Blind Side both making a ton of money, not to mention her being on the verge of an Oscar nomination. I’m sure she would want to forget all about this absolute stinker. Bullock plays a delusional stalker who follows her blind date all over America in an attempt to seduce him. That she is not portrayed as a nutcase, but rather a sympathetic romcom heroine in unbelievable. You cannot believe just how awful this film is.

1. Crank 2: High Voltage (Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor)
Action movies are rarely this chaotic, incompetent, sexist and downright awful then this sequel to the original that topped this same list a few years ago. Neveldine and Taylor still have no idea how to direct a sequence - the cinematography and editing make Michael Bay seem restrained. Crank 2 has Jason Statham running around LA trying to keep his artificial heart charged enough until he can get his real heart back. In the course of the movie, he gets into multiple gun fights, fist fights and even fucks his girlfriend (Amy Smart) is front of a rowdy crowd at a rodeo. This movie is offensive, poorly made garbage.

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