Friday, December 31, 2010

My Worst Ten Films of 2010

I still want to catch a few reportedly good movies (True Grit, for one) before I do my Top Ten list, but I feel safe to do this one.

First I should mention I had no desire to see such alleged stinkers as Leap Year, The Spy Next Door, The Tooth Fairy, Dear John, Remember Me, Our Family Wedding, The Last Song, Why Did I Get Married Too, Death at a Funeral, Boogie Woogie, Furry Vengeance, Love Ranch, Life During Wartime, Cats & Dogs 2, Step Up 3, Middle Men, Twelve, Lottery Ticket, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Legendary, Alpha & Omega, You Again, Chain Letter, Hatchet 2, Life As We Know It, I Spit on Your Grave, Skyline, Little Fockers, and you'd have to pay me a large sum of money to sit through The Human Centipede, on ClearPlay.

Dishonorable Mentions:

AFTER.LIFE - Half-hour Twilight Zone concept stretched out to 90 minutes, with Christina Ricci on the slab at the morgue. Her mortician (Liam Neeson) insists she's dead and only he can talk to her, but is that really the case? It's a bad sign if you can watch the first ten minutes and the last ten minutes and not really miss anything.

CLASH OF THE TITANS 3D - Maybe the 2D version isn't too bad, but the 3D version was one of the ugliest renditions I've seen since the glasses had one red lens and one blue. It only underlined everything I wasn't enjoying about this remake. Shouldn't Perseus be in the love with the princess he's trying to save? Shouldn't Perseus's men, dying left and right, beat him until he agrees to use the gifts the gods have given him? Since when does Zeus have more in common with Jehovah than Jupiter?

MARMADUKE - CGI talking animals is no longer cute or original or novel for a movie to take such a gimmick and rest on its laurels. Buuut at least my six-year-old liked it.

SAW 3D - The weakest installment of an ever-weakening franchise finally ends four chapters after the main villain died. Costas Mandylor's Hoffman was nowhere near as interesting as Tobin Bell's Jigsaw. About time the game's over.

ST. JOHN OF LAS VEGAS - Steve Buscemi's all dressed up with nowhere to go in an alleged comedy with no real plot or laughs. Just Buscemi wandering around in the desert.

VAMPIRES SUCK - Friedberg & Seltzer are getting better, which means this spoof movie just lands in my Dishonorable Mentions instead of my Worst Ten list. Maybe someday they'll figure out the Zucker magic, but I highly doubt it.

WHEN IN ROME - Girl meets boy, girl suddenly has four stalkers magically obsessed with her. The Pepe le Pew movie has written itself. It'll make you never want to see Jon Heder or Dax Shepard act again, and sad that this is how Academy-Award winner Anjelica Huston needs to pay her bills.

And now...

.... The Worst Ten

10. THE KILLER INSIDE ME - Repugnant character study of a deputy sheriff in the 1950's who discovers his inner psychopath and finds he enjoys killing women by beating them to death. The goal seems to be punishing the audience for watching it.

9. 44 INCH CHEST - Some talented actors from across the pond, among them Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Tom Wilkinson and John Hurt, spin their wheels in a movie where 95% takes place in one room, where no characters are revealed to be deeper than when we first meet them, and where everything's about the same at the end of the movie as it was at the beginning, minus one decision.

8. VALENTINE'S DAY - All-star cast attempts to be the U.S. version of Love Actually and fails miserably. So many characters that nothing sticks, nothing surprises, no insight, no actual laughs happen. It's like watching a game of Telephone played by Hallmark executives. I'm glad everyone got their paydays for such easy work.

7. LEGION - Dull thriller where God's decided to wipe out the human race, starting with a diner in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately for the handful that survive, one angel has decided to fight for them. If you've seen the preview, you've seen the movie.

6. JONAH HEX - Whatever good idea might have been on the page at the beginning of the filmmaking process was left on the bloodied cutting-room floor, leaving us a 73-minute movie full of holes. Josh Brolin does his best Heath Ledger-as-Ennis impression behind burnt-face makeup, and John Malkovich pulls out stock mustache-twirling as the bad guy who must be hunted down. Makes Wild Wild West look like Silverado.

5. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET - Egregiously unoriginal reboot of a classic franchise. Jackie Earle Haley is fine as Freddy Krueger, and that's about the only bright spot. If you're going to do a remake, try to at least do something creative with it.

4. SEX & THE CITY 2 - Two and a half hours of shallow, middle-aged Barbie dolls waltzing through Abu Dhabi without a care in the world. It's the big-budget soulless blockbuster of the year, the female equivalent of Transformers 2.

3. REPO MEN - I have a hard time deciding which was worse. This, or Repo: The Genetic Opera. RTGO was going for Rocky Horror territory and missed the mark by a gruesome mile. This seems like it should be better, but the logic of the laws in this future make no sense. To release a movie like this, in this economy, goes beyond being a bad idea. It also has the honor of featuring the worst twist-ending of the year. The best thing about this movie? Rolling the closing credits to "Dream a Little Dream."

2. COP OUT - Bruce Willis looks bored and Tracy Morgan looks lost in this mish-mash of 1980's cop-buddy cliches. Is it homage? Is it parody? Can't tell. Regardless, Kevin Smith isn't an action director, and unfortunately he's directing someone else's screenplay, one that lacks witty dialogue or a reason to care. The lesson to remember is that some 1980's cop-buddy cliches were lame and don't deserve to be recycled. But I would say the greater misfortune of this movie existing is that Kevin Smith is convinced it's good and will burn bridges with anyone who claims otherwise.

... and now, my least favorite movie of 2010 ...

1. GROWN UPS - Lazy gathering of SNL buddies who slap together an excuse to hang out together and make millions doing so. But at least David Spade falls face-first in poop. Hardy har har. I am pretty sure this is Adam Sandler's worst movie. At least Little Nicky had a story in mind. Really, what was the point of this?

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