Sunday, January 3, 2010

Worst 10 Films of 2009

Dishonorable mentions (aka the worst 11-20):

ALIEN TRESPASS - Lovingly recreates terrible sci-fi alien b&w horror movies circa 1959, with no real satirical point. So it's a terrible sci-fi alien b&w horror movies circa 2009 set in 1959. But I'm sure my friend Scott will love it.

DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION - Probably the silliest movie of the year. Some Japanese kids cartoons just shouldn't be brought to life. My understanding is this was intended to be the first film in a trilogy, but that ain't gonna happen.

THE EDGE OF LOVE - One of them corseted Keira Knightley dramas people used to fall asleep to when flipping to PBS too late in the day.

HORSEMEN - Serial killer movie that makes less sense the longer it goes on until it finally crashes and burns with a ridiculous ending. Dennis Quaid continues to squander his comeback made possible by The Rookie.

LAND OF THE LOST - Will Ferrell trashes a 1970's kid show by amping up the vulgar humor, which isn't funny no matter what vehicle they were using. File this under "What were they thinking?"

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT - Unpleasant and unnecessary.

MANAGEMENT - Boring, chemistry-free comedy with Jennifer Aniston as a traveler, and Steve Zahn as the motel employee who falls in love at first sight and then stalks her.

OBSESSED - Ali Larter copies Glenn Close's performance from Fatal Attraction, but the character never comes alive as a real person. Then we have Idris Elba who practically walks around exclaiming "I am so faithful to my wife!" trying to rebuff her advances. I didn't buy a single second of this movie. It's just there as an excuse to let Beyonce and Ali have a catfight for the climax.

THE UNBORN - It goes through the motions of previous PG-13 supernatural horror movies with no real understanding what does or doesn't generate suspense. But kudos for nabbing Gary Oldman to play the exorcising rabbi.

WHATEVER WORKS - Woody Allen hasn't made a good comedy in a long time, and this is no exception. Larry David plays a curmudgeon that makes his Curb Your Enthusiasm alter-ego look compassionate, and like all Woody movies, a young beautiful woman falls for a much older unattractive man.

... My Worst Ten Movies of 2009...

10. 12 ROUNDS - John Cena continues to prove that his acting skills won't get any better. But this role ain't exactly Duvall in The Apostle. It's just so by-the-numbers pointless. Renny Harlin must really be scraping for work these days.

9. BATTLE FOR TERRA - Same plot as Avatar, but much much worse. Humans and their military invade a peaceful planet and are the bad guys while primitive aliens fight back. Too simplistic for teens and adults, and too dark and humorless for kids.

8. OUTLANDER - A spaceman (Jim Caviezel) lands in Norway 709 A.D., blends right in, and we have our Viking movie for the first half. Then it's revealed he brought a generic human-chomping alien with him, so the second half is a creature feature. This movie tried to be two things at once, stinking at both.

7. BRIDE WARS - If you've seen the preview you've seen the movie. In fact, if you watched the preview 40 times, your feelings probably wouldn't change if you spent the same amount of time watching the movie. Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway try to out-bridezilla each other, then hug it out in the last two minutes. End credits.

6. YEAR ONE - Career lows for Jack Black and Michael Cera. One key factor to a successful buddy comedy is chemistry and they guys don't have it. They underline each other's weaknesses. Meanwhile the two cavemen wander a landscape of Biblical characters that just shouts how much better is The Life of Brian. I'm tempted to rent 1980's Caveman just to see if it's somehow worse.

5. THE MUTANT CHRONICLES - Shoulda been straight-to-DVD actioner about 28th-century soldiers battling a Matrix-like machine that turns humans into zombie-brained mutant killlers. Only fun part was John Malkovich's three-minute cameo of self-parody. Three minutes out of ninety. Sigh.

4. STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI - It makes the 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme look like an action classic. This felt like a combination of Elektra and Ballistic: Ecks v. Sever, two movies that also made my Worst Ten lists in the years they came out.

3. TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN - This movie had the marketing. It could have had much higher quality and still grossed over $800 million worldwide. It's a noisy, chaotic mess, and that could have still been okay. But this franchise nuked the fridge with the gold-toothed jive-talking autobot twins. At this rate, Michael Bay's career send-off will be two hours of a man jingling keys at the camera. Shiny, explosive keys.

2. BRUNO - Sacha Baron Cohen won't break character even when serious physical harm seems imminent, so I'll give him that. But Bruno is no Borat, not even close to Borat. Bruno is a freak, a self-absorbed deviant who deserves to be shunned, a host of the meanest episode of Punk'd ever. He sexually assaults people, and their recoiling in horror means the joke's on them? Is that what this is supposed to be? I just felt sorry for the people that came within a hundred yards of him.

1. MISS MARCH - Zach Cregger & Trevor Moore, from IFC's sketch-comedy show The Whitest Kids U Know, wrote, directed and starred in this disaster about a guy who gets knocked out on prom night before he can lose his virginity, only to wake up four years later from a coma and discover his girlfriend is now a Playboy centerfold. So he and his pal go cross-country to confront her at Hef's mansion. Everything about this movie feels like it was written, directed and acted as a five-minute sketch stretched 80 minutes too long in the editing room. Trevor Moore should be nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actor in a Comedy.

P.S. I have not seen Crank 2, The Informers, Imagine That, The Ugly Truth, I Love You Beth Cooper, The Goods, Shorts, H2, All About Steve, Beyond A Reasonble Doubt, The Burning Plain, Old Dogs, The Fourth Kind, Did You Hear About the Morgans, or anything with Nia Vardalos.

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